Herbs & Plants

Glechoma hederacea

Botanical Name : Glechoma hederacea
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Glechoma
Species: G. hederacea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Nepeta Glechoma (Benth.). Alehoof. Gill-go-over-the-Ground. Haymaids. Tun-hoof. Hedgemaids. Lizzy-run-up-the-Hedge. Gill-go-by-the-Hedge. Catsfoot. Robin-run-in-the-Hedge.

Common Names : ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground, creeping charlie, alehoof, tunhoof, catsfoot, field balm, and run-away-robin.It is also sometimes known as creeping jenny

Habitat :Glechoma hederacea is native to Europe and southwestern Asia but has been introduced to North America and is now common in most regions other than the Rocky Mountains.It grows on Damp waste ground, hedgerows and woodland margins.

Glechoma hederacea is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).It can be identified by its round to reniform (kidney or fan shaped), crenate (with round toothed edges) opposed leaves 2–3 cm diameter, on 3–6 cm long petioles attached to square stems which root at the nodes. It is a variable species, its size being influenced by environmental conditions, from 5 cm up to 50 cm tall.
It is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Mar to May. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The flowers of Glechoma are bilaterally symmetrical, funnel shaped, blue or bluish-violet to lavender, and grow in opposed clusters of 2 or 3 flowers in the leaf axils on the upper part of the stem or near the tip. It usually flowers in the spring.

Prefers a heavy soil and dappled shade. Prefers a moist well-drained soil, succeeding in sun or shade. A very invasive plant, spreading freely at the roots. A good bee plant.

Propagation :
Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in situ as soon as it is ripe, or in the spring. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Edible Uses:      
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

Young leaves – raw or cooked. The leaves have a bitter flavour, they can be mixed into salads to add a slight aromatic tang. They can also be cooked like spinach, added to soups etc or used as a flavouring. Available very early in the year. A herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves. It is often used mixed with verbena leaves. The herb has been added to beer in much the same way as hops in order to clear it and also to improve its flavour and keeping qualities. This species was the most common flavouring in beer prior to the use of hops from the 16th century onwards

Medicinal Uses:

Part Used Medicinally:  The whole herb, gathered early in May, when most of the flowers are still quite fresh.

Anodyne;  Antidiarrhoeal;  Antiphlogistic;  Antirheumatic;  Appetizer;  Astringent;  Digestive;  Diuretic;  Febrifuge;  Miscellany;  Pectoral;
Stimulant;  Tonic;  Vermifuge.

Ground ivy is a safe and effective herb that is used to treat many problems involving the mucous membranes of the ear, nose, throat and digestive system. A well-tolerated treatment it can be given to children to clear lingering catarrh and to treat chronic conditions such as glue ear and sinusitis. Throat and chest problems, especially those due to excess catarrh, also benefit from this remedy. The leaves and flowering stems are anodyne, antiphlogistic, appetizer, astringent, digestive, diuretic, febrifuge, pectoral, gently stimulant, tonic and vermifuge. They are best harvested in May whilst still fresh, and are dried for later use. The leaves are used in the treatment of hypersensitivity in children and are useful in the treatment of kidney diseases and indigestion. Applied externally, the expressed juice speeds the healing of bruises and black eyes. Use with caution.

Ground ivy has had a long history as a headache cure. The fresh juice squeezed from the leaves was snuffed up the nostrils and this was a very popular remedy, said to relive the most stubborn headache. In the U.S., a tea from the leaves was at one time considered to be a remedy for and preventer of a type of lead poisoning known as ‘painter’s colic’. In China, most of the folk names for it allude to the resemblance o the leaves to Chinese coins. It was used medicinally to treat toothache and earache, but was believed most valuable in reducing fever. Ground ivy is tonic, diuretic, and a decongestant, and is used to treat many problems involving the mucous membranes of the ear, nose, throat and digestive system. A well-tolerated herb, it can be given to children to clear lingering congestion and to treat chronic conditions such as ‘glue ear’ and sinusitis. Throat and chest problems, especially those due to excess mucus, also benefit from this remedy. Ground ivy is also a valuable treatment for gastritis and acid indigestion. Further along the gastrointestinal tract, its binding nature helps to counter diarrhea and to dry up watery and mucoid secretions. Ground ivy has been employed to prevent scurvy and as a spring tonic, and is considered beneficial in kidney disorders. It aids lingering diseases; conditions of chronic waste, rot and purulent discharge; and chronic metabolic diseases. It can help where pus develops in the body or where a lingering metabolic disease exists.

Best used fresh, for remedial preparations, juice the freshly gathered leaves and mix the juice with buttermilk in equal parts. As a follow-up treatment for tuberculosis, it’s recommended mixing ground ivy juice with goat’s milk.

Traditionally, ground ivy is added to bath water to refresh the body’s muscles and joints. It also strengthens the nerves and aids bladder and kidney conditions and pains related to rheumatism and gout. The homeopathic mother tincture  ‘Glechoma hederacea’ is made from the fresh plant.

As an inhalant, a hot infusion of ground ivy acts as a pleasant relief on head colds and stuffy noses. An infusion can be used as a lotion, or on compresses, to cleanse sores and ulcers.

Other Uses: A good ground cover plant for shady places. It is rather vigorous though and can swamp smaller plants….CLICK & SEE

A number of wild bees fly upon this plant, including Anthophora furcata, Anthidum manicatum, Anthophora plumipes, Anthophora quadrimaculata, Osmia aurulenta, Osmia caerulentes, and Osmia uncinata. The plant is also galled by several insects, including Rondaniola bursaria (Lighthouse Gall),[dead link] Liposthenes glechomae or Liposthenes latreillei (Kieffer, 1898) (a gall wasp)

Known Hazards:
A report in the medicinal uses says the plant should be used with caution, no reason is given. Another report says that the plant might be toxic to horses. Avoid if pregnant as abortifacient. Contraindicated in epilepsy. Avoid if kidney disease.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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