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Herb of the week: Ground ivy.

Botanical name: 

Photo: Glechoma hederacea 13. A short profile:

Latin: Glechoma hederacea.
Family: Lamiaceae, mint family.
Parts used: Aboveground parts.
Taste: Aromatic.
4 humors: Warmish, Dryish.


  • Astonishing for tinnitus. (This effect was already mentioned by Salmon (in 1710).)
  • A nice mint-family anti-inflammatory; it does have an affinity for facial mucosa.
  • Good for a host of mint-family anti-inflammatory things really; digestion, cramps, lungs, whatnots ... but I use it for tinnitus, because I pick my own and ALL of it goes to those sufferers.

Food uses:

  • A nice mild wild spice.


  • This is not the same as ivy, Hedera helix.
  • When I put some into my garden, years ago, the city gardeners at the park right next to my house said: "No no no, Don't! You'll never be able to get rid of it! ... I smiled at them and said, yes, I know. I want it to stay in my garden forever more.
  • It's wild, too, but the garden-grown plants are a nice addition to the wildcrafted plants. I use lots.
  • It'll root from each and any stem branch that touches the ground.
  • It's extremely abundant in shady damp spots. Find it on a dampish compost at the edge of a wood and go nuts ... you'll fill your basket in five minutes or less.


  • It's one of the few herbs that can touch noise-induced tinnitus. A lot of people read my first book in Finnish (the one from 2000, not the Finnish version of Practical Herbs), grabbed the ground ivy, and could start working again ... they'd been on disability for their tinnitus for years. I know because quite a few told me. It's 2-3 cups of tea for weeks or months on end, or until the noise stops. (... what a relief!)
  • It's nice and tasty. Those 2-3 cups a day will go down very nicely.

Comments on Facebook:

  • From Maggie-Mum P.:
    I use it as a hot tea with yarrow, boneset and elderflower at the beginning of colds. My cold tea mix worked much better when I added ground ivy. I use it all the time for upper respiratory infections where there is a lot of catarrh and it always works.
    I introduced it into my tea for head colds this year and am having much better success than without it.
    Now I will start using it for tinnitus. I have had 100% failure rate with tinnitus so far [just one patient]. Can you use it for Meniere's I wonder?
    3 January at 02:40
  • From Henriette's herbal:
    Try hawthorn + ginkgo for meniere's ... I think that's the combo which worked fabulously, for one herbalist.
    3 January at 08:23
  • From Charlotte B.:
    I have tinnitus also & I think I may already have some of that growing beside our barn. As soon as I can I will get a photo and post it to make shore.
    3 January at 18:45
  • From Verona Coxe M.:
    Thanks for the info on Tinnitis. I mix it with violet leaves and Plantain and a sprig of water mint, for a nice tea. Good for coughs/congestion.
    4 January at 04:43
  • From Kelli Hughart A:
    Have you heard of this used for colic? my g-grandmother used it for colicy children (so my aunt said she died 3 months after I was born)
    2 January at 21:57
  • From Henriette's herbal:
    Haven't, but it makes sense that it'd work for that, too. It's a nice herb.
    2 January at 21:59
  • From Janice D.:
    My favorite. I have some in my after supper tea so fats don't make me hurt and after lunch if my balance was off in the morning. Some goes in almost every salad and pot of greens or soup or stew. Good food.
    3 January at 20:19

Comments on the herblist:

  • From Kennedy R.
    Date: 2012 01 03 - 19:27:55 +0200

    Isn't this the same as Creeping Charlie?

  • From Henriette Kress
    Date: 2012 01 03 - 19:30:42 +0200

    Yes, that's one of its names.

  • From Leah
    Date: 2012 01 03 - 23:41:24 +0200

    Ground ivy is used in bioremediation projects to decontaminate areas, like school playgrounds, that have been contaminated with lead. Matthew Wood also mentions the potential of working with ground ivy to remove lead from the body. So I'm curious if all tinnitus responds to ground ivy, or if there's a possibility that it only works for tinnitus that is caused by lead. Also interesting is that I've seen temporary cessation of tinnitus with sweet leaf (Monarda fistulosa) another mint family plant.

    Thanks for this. I think this plant gets overlooked as a wonderful medicine.

  • From KFettig
    Date: 2012 01 04 - 06:17:31 +0200

    I have all kinds of it...winter though here now in Wyoming USA. Tinctured some and my one client really liked it for ringing in his ears.

  • From Sharon M.
    Date: 2012 01 04 - 06:53:18 +0200

    Ground Ivy is very common here in the Central Eastern states. It especially seems to love old compost piles, lawns and wet areas.
    Amazing plant with deep connection to the heart of Earth Mother.
    After tincturing the fresh flowering plant I tasted it and had the same sensation as when my grandma gave me a chocolate chip cookie still warm from the oven - "Please, can I have some more?" - a gentle, persistent decongestant. Somewhere I read that in olden times it was given for carditis (inflammatory conditions of the heart). Hmmm.

  • From diane
    Date: 2012 01 05 - 00:17:01 +0200

    I know this email list isn't geared towards animals, but I just have to chime my two cents worth here .. some of the animals we raise are Shetland sheep. If anyone of you know sheep, you know that they are unlike other barn animals .. they don't show any signs of anything until after the fact. They are either alive or dead. Last year, our prize ewe, was profoundly ill (still don't know why); fortunately, I spotted her right away and made a strong drench of ground ivy with a few other herbs. I credit the ground ivy for saving her life. It is purported to be a tonic of sorts for sheep.
    Me? I use it in some cough remedies for those of us with two legs.

Please add your own experiences etc. in the comments!