Other Names: Alehoof, Cats foot, Creeping
Gill-over-the-ground, Gillrun, Hay maids, hedge maids
Ground ivy is a
creeping European perennial evergreen, naturalized in North America and found in moist
shady areas, along paths, around hedges, and roadsides from Ontario to deep south, west to
Kansas, and along the Pacific Coast. Cultivation: it is easily cultivated through root
division and thrives in moist shady areas. A member of the mint family it is finely haired
all over and has a square creeping stem which grows from a few inches up to two feet long.
The leaves are heart shaped, opposite, scalloped, and dark green, sometimes tinted purple.
The main root is thick and matted it sends out runners as long as 36 inches. Flowers
appear in march and are purplish to blue, two lipped and grow in axillary whorls of six.
Gather leaves, flowers and stems year round. Can be dried for later herbal use.
Medicinal and edible, a light
taste very agreeable in salads. Ground ivy is used in alternative medicine
and is an excellent spring tonic, it is an appetite stimulant. It
contains a volatile oil which aids in relieving congestion and inflammation of mucous
membranes associated with colds, flu, and sinusitis. It is Anti-allergenic, Antibacterial,
Anti-flu, Antihistaminic, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic,
Antiviral, Cancer-Preventive, Expectorant, Immuno-stimulant, and Sedative. Ground ivy tea
or juice is well tolerated and can be given to small children. Some of the most valuable
plant constituents are 1,8-cineole, alpha-pinene, apigenin, beta-sitosterol,
borneol, caffeic-acid, ferulic-acid, hyperoside, iodine, luteolin, menthol,
oleanolic-acid, rosmarinic-acid, rutin, ursolic-acid. Ground-Ivy is being studied for use in preventing
Leukemia, Bronchitis, Hepatitis, many kinds of cancer, and HIV. The fresh juice or a
medicinal tea is used to treat digestive disorders, gastritis, acid indigestion, and
diarrhea. It is also beneficial for liver and kidney function, said to relieve gravel and
stones. Although results are not conclusive it is being used as an antidote for lead
poisoning. Added to bath as an emollient to soften skin and has a sedative effect.
Ground ivy has a long history of use in alternative medicine and
as an edible herb, dating back to the first century A.D. it was long considered a panacea
(cure-all). Known for its hi vitamin C content it is said to be one of the first
herb and edible plants brought to the North American continent by early settlers.
Spring Tonic: Steep 2 tsp. of fresh or dried herb in
1 cup water for 10 min. flavor with peppermint or honey to taste take in ½ cup doses
twice a day.
Colds and flu: Express fresh juice with press. Take
in 1 tsp. doses 3 times a day, ½ tsp. for children. Use 2 or 3 drops in nose twice a day
Article by Deb Jackson & Karen
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