Health benefits of Ground ivy

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Health benefits of Ground ivy

Ground Ivy Quick Facts
Name: Ground Ivy
Scientific Name: Glechoma hederacea
Origin Europe and parts of Asia
Colors Dark brown
Shapes Egg-shaped, smooth, and have 1 rounded and 2 flat side
Taste Bitter taste
Health benefits Good for Eye and Digestive System
Glechoma hederacea commonly known as Ground-ivy, field Balm, ground-ivy, gill-over-the-ground, creeping charlie, alehoof, tunhoof, catsfoot, field balm, run-away-robin, creeping jenny, Haymaids, hedgemaids, hove, lizzy-run-up-the-hedge, robin-run-in-the-hedge, run-away-robin, tun hoof, tunhofe, turnhoof, wild snakeroot is an aromatic, perennial, evergreen creeper of the mint family Lamiaceae. The herb 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. The word ‘Glechoma’ was derived from ‘glechon’, which is Greek for mint or thyme. ‘Hederaceae’ is Latin meaning ‘ivy-like’ and probably refers to either the leaf shape or creeping habit of the weed. It has several medicinal uses, and is used as a salad green in many countries. European settlers carried it around the world, and it has become a well-established introduced and naturalized plant in a wide variety of localities.

Plant Description

Ground-ivy is an aromatic, low-growing evergreen creeper herb growing about 2 to 24 inches (5-60 cm) tall. The plant is located in disturbed areas, open woods, forest edges, damp, shaded areas, lawns, gardens, pastures, road and railroad right-of ways, and waste grounds. It is occasionally found on river banks and floodplains. It grows primarily on damp, heavy, fertile and calcareous soils with pH ranging from 5.5 to 7.5. It does not tolerate strongly acidic soils. It is also salinity intolerant. It has fine, fibrous and shallow root system. Stems are long, trailing, unbranched and square shaped. It may have short stiff hairs.  It creeps along the ground and are 20-75 cm (18-35 in.) in length. It spreads by branched horizontal stolons that root at their nodes. It is clonal and forms patches or carpet-like mats.

Leaves

Leaves are opposite, heart-shaped with scalloped margins, about 2–3 cm diameter, on 3–6 cm long petioles and have a musky mint odor when crushed. When growing in partial shade, leaves are usually deep green, but they may be reddish if located in full sun. Visible on leaves are veins that emit outward from a common point like fingers. Leaves attach to stems by way of long petioles. The leaves are stalked and opposite to one another, the undersides paler and dotted with glands.

Flower & Fruit

Flowers 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. Flowering occurs from March to July. Upon maturity, each flower is replaced by pods with 4 nutlets and has a white spot at their base. Nutlets are dark brown, egg-shaped, smooth, and have 1 rounded and 2 flat side. While considered an invasive weed in North America, Glechoma has been used for medicinal purposes in Europe for thousands of years.

Origin

Ground ivy herb was originated in Europe and is presently distributed all over Europe and Asia. Early settlers brought the plant to North America after which it spread throughout northeastern U.S. and southern Canada. Today in the U.S., it grows abundantly within an area located east of Colorado and north of Georgia. The species is adapted throughout Ohio. It can be found in waste areas, ditches, roadsides, pastures, orchards, open woods, agricultural fields, and is especially troublesome as a weed in lawns. Ground ivy thrives in damp, rich soils and shady places but will grow in full sun.

Health Benefits of Ground Ivy

Ground Ivy has been used medicinally for centuries, and for the Angelo-Saxons it was appreciated as a flavoring, clarifier, and preservative for beer. Apart from that it is also used medicinally. Listed below are the many health related benefits of Ground ivy:

1. Digestive System

Ground ivy is quite beneficial for solving indigestion and digestive issues like colic, gas, heartburn, diarrhea etc. Ground ivy infusion is also used as an herbal remedy for colic in babies. It can be used to solve digestive issues in children just like the herb Catnip.

2. Ear, Nose and Throat

Ground ivy is used for treating medical conditions related to the ears, nose and throat (ENT issues). As a traditional medicine, Ground ivy tea is used to treat cold symptoms, allergic rhinitis, bronchitis, asthma, ear infection, sinus infection, chest congestion, sore throat and for drying up nasal secretions & phlegm.

It is believed that the herb can clean the mucous membranes and clear out old mucous. It is also used to bring down fever. It is often combined with other herbs and used as a snuff or is stuffed into the nostrils to solve headache.

3. Eye Health

Since early centuries, Ground ivy was used in tea form to cool and encourage the eyes. Herbal tea made from Ground ivy is called gill tea and is considered an all-purpose herbal formula. Ground ivy infusion is used as a wash to solve sore eyes, black eyes, watery eyes, itchiness, spots, cataracts, inflammation of the eyes and poor eye sight.

4. Diuretic

Ground ivy has diuretic actions and can be beneficial against kidney related issues like slow urine and burning sensation while passing urine. It is also related with the treatment of stones in the urinary tract.

5. Skin Conditions

Ground ivy is considered an excellent poultice for treating skin related infections and abscesses. The herbal infusion can be applied on the face to clean facial oil and can also close pores.

6. Other Benefits

Ground ivy is also quite beneficial for buzzing ears, circulatory issues, gout, vertigo, depression, tinnitus, jaundice, palpitation and premature aging. The herb is also used as a liver tonic. Lately, the herb has been researched for its effects against red blood cancerous cells carrying the TN antigen.

Traditional health benefits of Ground ivy

  • 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.
  • 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, particularly those due to excess catarrh, also benefit from this remedy.
  • Leaves and flowering stems are anodyne, antiphlogistic, appetizer, astringent, digestive, diuretic, febrifuge, pectoral, gently stimulant, tonic and vermifuge.
  • Leaves are used in the treatment of hypersensitivity in children and are useful in the treatment of kidney diseases and indigestion.
  • Expressed juice speeds the healing of bruises and black eyes.
  • Ground ivy has been used as a cure for cataracts and tinnitus.
  • Tea made from the plant has been used to treat coughs
  • The plant is useful in kidney diseases and for indigestion.
  • It is one of the most popular remedies for coughs and nervous headaches.
  • It is still considered functional in pectoral complaints and in cases of weakness of the digestive organs.
  • Snuff made from the dried leaves of Ground Ivy will reduce marked relief against a dull, congestive headache of the passive kind.
  • Combined with Yarrow or Chamomile Flowers it is said to make an excellent poultice for abscesses, gatherings and tumors.
  • Painters used the Ground Ivy as a preventive and remedy for lead colic in America.
  • Infusion is used as a wash for sore and weak eyes.
  • Ground ivy tea can be a great natural solution for adults and children to combat the symptoms of the flu and cold.
  • Women are recommended to use ground ivy tea to prevent various menstrual irregularities.
  • Ground ivy is used for arthritis and rheumatism in Italy.
  • It is used to treat carbuncles, erysipelas, lower abdominal pain, scabies, scrofulous, irregular menstruation, coughs, dysentery, and jaundice in Chinese medicine.
  • Poultices and compresses are applied externally to treat poorly healing wounds, ulcers, and skin diseases.
  • Add 1 tbsp of dried herb in half cup of boiling water and steep for 10 minutes. Take half cup a day to cure liver disorders.

Culinary Uses

  • Leaves have a bitter flavor; 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 flavoring.
  • An herb tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves.
  • It is often used mixed with verbena leaves.
  • Herb has been added to beer in much the same way as hops in order to clear it and also to improve its flavor and keeping qualities.
  • It is used as a salad green in many countries.
  • Glechoma has been used in the cheese-making process as a substitute for animal rennet.
  • Leaves can also be cooked like spinach, added to soups, stews, or omelets.

How is this product usually used?

Ground ivy is commonly used on the skin by mixing 2 g to 4 g of dried leaves with equal parts (i.e., 2 mL to 4 mL) of water. The mixture can then be applied to the affected area using a cloth as needed. Ground ivy can also be taken by mouth in amounts ranging from 1 g to 4 g 3 times daily for occasional use.

The usual dose of ground ivy for adults (i.e. 18 years and older) is:

  • Tea: prepared by steeping 2 g to 4 g of dried aerial parts in 150 mL of boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes and straining, 3 times daily
  • Tincture: 1 g to 2 g of dried leaves combined with 5 mL to 10 mL of 25% ethanol, 3 times daily
  • Fluid extract: 2 g to 4 g of dried leaves in 2 mL to 4 mL of 25% ethanol, 3 times daily

Do not use this product if you are under 18 years old.

Other Facts

  • A good ground cover plant for shady places.
  • It is rather vigorous though and can swamp smaller plants.
  • It is a popular hanging basket plant.

Belgium Wild Beer Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon water (3.75 L)
  • 2 ounce (2 g) wormwood
  • 2 ounce (2 g) common yarrow
  • 5 ounce (6 g) fresh ground ivy (creeping Charlie)
  • 3 ounces (4 g) chopped dried dandelion roots
  • 3-4 crushed stems bitter dock 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) long or 1 to 2 lemons
  • 1 1/4 pounds (680 g) brown sugar
  • Yeast (wild or commercial)

Instructions

Place the sugar, wormwood, yarrow, dandelion roots and bitter dock stems into a large pot with water (cut and squeeze the lemons if you used them). Bring to a light boil for 30 minutes. Add the fresh ground ivy after 15 minutes of boiling.

Remove from heat and strain the brew into the fermenter then add the yeast. Position the airlock or cover your fermenter with a paper towel or cheesecloth. Let the beer ferment for 10 days. Start counting when the fermentation is active (may take 2 to 3 days with a wild yeast starter). Siphon into swing-top bottles (16 oz. – 500ml) and prime them with ½ teaspoon (2g) brown sugar for carbonation. Close the bottles and store somewhere not too hot. The beer will be ready to drink in around 3 weeks.

Precautions

  • Plant might be toxic to horses.
  • Avoid if you are suffering from kidney disease.
  • It’s unsafe to use ground ivy if you are pregnant. It could cause a miscarriage. It’s also best to avoid ground ivy if you are breast-feeding.
  • Larger doses can irritate the stomach, intestines, and kidneys, and cause serious liver damage.
  • Its use is also contraindicated or prohibited by patients enduring epilepsy.
  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to ground ivy, or other members of the Lamiaceae family, including mint, rosemary, basil, oregano, thyme, and lavender.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=502801#null

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/2733/

http://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Glechoma+hederacea

http://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/25249

http://www.floracatalana.net/glechoma-hederacea-l-subsp-hederacea

https://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/pubs/midatlantic/glhe.htm

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/i/ivygro16.html

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=316891

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=glhe2#

https://www.gbif.org/species/2926557

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glechoma_hederacea

http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/single_weed.php?id=58

http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/Verrill_Wolf/pages/ground_ivy.html

http://www.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/groundivy.htm

https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_glhe2.pdf

http://wssa.net/wp-content/themes/WSSA/WorldOfWeeds/groundivy.html

https://www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/invasive_plants/weeds/ground-ivy.pdf

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