Gardening Revelation: Ground Ivy

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : June 8, 2007

glechoma.JPGSo, we’re slowly trying to convert our lawn into an urban garden.  We are growing vegetables for our hospitality meals. And one of our biggest gardening and lawn care foes has been our massive amount of Ground Ivy (most commonly called “creeping charlie,” its Latin name is glechoma hederacea).  My wife hates the stuff.  But I kinda like it; it looks cool and doesn’t require mowing.

Well, I just did some research on ground ivy.  And amazingly enough–ground ivy isn’t the simple “weed” that we had suspected.  This humble little invader has a story:

While often thought of as a weed because of its propensity for spreading, Glechoma has culinary and medicinal uses which were the cause of its being imported to America by early European settlers. The fresh herb can be rinsed and steeped in hot water to create an herbal tea which is rich in vitamin C. The essential oil of the plant has many potent medicinal properties; the plant has been used for centuries as a general tonic for colds and coughs and to relieve congestion of the mucous membranes. The plant has been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been claimed to increase excretion of lead in the urine. (from wikipedia)

Other sources claim that glechoma is great in salads, stimulates the appetite, has mild sedative effects and is useful for gastritis and indigestion.

Even more amazing, it was one of the primary plants used to clarify beers before hops was introduced.  Hence it is also known by the names alehoof and tunhoof.  It not only made beers clearer, but also added flavor.  In fact, I am chewing on ground ivy right now–it tastes a bit minty.

And so, instead of trying to kill it, we’re going to begin harvesting our abundance of ground ivy.  We’ll wash it, dry it, and use it for tea.

for further reading . . .

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One Response to “Gardening Revelation: Ground Ivy”

  1. Beyond Words on June 9th, 2007 12:59 pm

    This is fabulous news. I happen to think it’s pretty, so I don’t pull it up. I am so happy. (It obviously doesn’t take much to induce euphoria in me these days.)

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