Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea)


Ground ivy belongs to the Lamiaceae family, which includes mints and herbs such as rosemary, pennyroyal, spearmint, basil, catnip, and thyme. Ground ivy is found in dams and shady places, especially in thickets, in Canada, most of the United States, the United Kingdom (except Scotland), Europe, northern Asia, and Japan.
Traditionally, ground ivy has been used for tinnitus, catarrh, diarrhea, bile disorders, hemorrhoids, and as a tonic. Before hops were available in the early 16th Century, the British used ground ivy to clarify beer. During the Tudor period, it was used to preserve beer for sea voyages. Some old English recipes flavored jam with ground ivy and added young spring leaves to oatmeal, soups, and vegetables. In the early 20th Century, ground ivy tea was used in Britain as a cure-all, and was frequently used for tuberculosis and as an antidote for lead poisoning. The stems of the plant were also made into wreaths for the dead.
Today, ground ivy is often a recommended addition to compost heaps because of its high iron content. Animal and laboratory studies indicate that ground ivy may be useful for its antibiotic or anti-inflammatory effects. However, ground ivy is considered by some local governments to be a bothersome and aggressive weed in Europe and North America. There are currently no high quality studies available on the medicinal applications of ground ivy.

Related Terms

Alehoof, apigenin, beta-sitosterol, catsfoot, cat's-foot, cat's-paw, chi hsueh ts'ao, choline, creeping Charlie, creeping Jenney, edera terrestre (Italian), field balm, flavonoids, free amino acids, gillrun, gill-go-by-the-hedge, gill-go-over-the-ground, gill-over-the-ground, Glechoma hederacea, Glechoma hederacea var. hederacea, Glechoma hederacea var. micrantha, Glechoma hederacea var. parviflora, Glechoma hederaceum, glechomafuran, glechomine, gleheda, ground ivy tea, groundivy, Gundermann (German), haymaids, hedgemaids, hiedra terrestre (Spanish), hondsdraf, hu po ho, hydroxy-polyenoic fatty acids, kaki-doosi, kakidosi, Labiatae (family), Lamiaceae (family), lectin, lien ch'ien, lierre terrestre (French), lizzy-run-up-the-hedge, luteolin, Lysimachia nummularia, Nepeta glechoma, oleanolic acid, phenolic acids, polyphenols, pseudotannins, pulegone, quercetin, resin, robin-run-in-the-hedge, robin-runs-away, saponin, sesquiterpenes, ti ch'ien ts'ao, triterpenoids, ts'ao, tun-hoof, turnhoof, turnhoofd, triterpenoids, volatile oil, yer sarmasigi.
Note: Glechoma hederacea (ground ivy) should not be confused with Hedera helix (English ivy), although the species have similar common names.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.