Ground Ivy (Nepeta hederacea) grows wild in moist soils all over Europe and the North American continent.
It is also known as Alehoof, Cat’s-foot, Cat’s-paw, Creeping Charlie, Gill-over-the-ground, Gillrun, Haymaids, Hedge Maids ,Turnhoof, Lizzy-Run-Up-The-Hedge, Robin-Run-In-The-Hedge
The whole herb is gathered or harvested in early May to June when the blueish flowers are still at their freshest.
Traditional Uses of Ground Ivy:-
It is credited with being an Appetizer, Astringent, Digestive, Diuretic and tonic and is particularly used for headaches and as a soothing tea for coughs – it was once used for the diseases once called consumption but which we now know better by its proper name of tuberculosis but no records exist of its effectiveness in this regard.
The liquor or a cold infusion from the, plant has been used to help with sore tired eyes and as a bathing liquor for a black eye, helping to reduce the swelling and colouration.
It is rich in vitamin C and has a distinctive, mildly peppery flavor; it can be cooked as a pot herb
History of Ground Ivy:-
It was once used by eary Saxons when brewing beer as a flavouring and preservatve before the introduction of hops which accounts for some of its alterative names of Alehoof AND Tunhoof
The plant has been used instead of animal rennet for making cheese.
It is no longer recommended in the modern pharmacopea and has fallen into some disuse as a result.
In large doses this herb has known toxicity associations. Avoid large doses.