The plant Glechoma hederacea, Linné (Nepeta Glechoma, Bentham).
COMMON NAMES: Ground ivy, Cat-foot, Gill-go-over-the-ground.
ILLUSTRATION: Johnson's Med. Bot. of N. A., Fig. 145, p. 213.
Botanical Source and Description.—This plant, the Glechoma hederacea of Linnaeus, is a perennial, gray, hairy herb, with a prostrate, creeping stem, radicating at base, square, and from a few inches to 1 or 2 feet long. The leaves are petiolate, opposite, roundish, cordate-reniform, crenate, hairy, and glaucous on both sides, though often purplish beneath. The floral leaves are of the same form. The flowers are bluish-purple, about 3 together in axillary whorls. The corolla is about 3 times as long as the calyx, with a variegated throat. The calyx is long, curved, villous, the limb oblique, the teeth lanceolate-subulate, the upper being the largest. The bracts are scarcely as long as the pedicel. The 2 anthers of each pair of stamens meet with their 2 divaricate cells, forming the appearance of a cross (L.—W.—G.).
History and Chemical Composition.—This plant is common to Europe and the United States, where it is found growing in shady places, waste grounds, dry ditches, fences and hedges, and on the sides of moist meadows, flowering in May and August. The leaves are the parts used, and yield their virtues, by infusion, to boiling water. They have an unpleasant odor, and a harsh, bitterish, slightly aromatic taste. This plant was found by Mr. Charles A. Ridgway to contain an essential oil (0.06 per cent), fat, resin, gum, wax, sugar, tannic acid, about 16 per cent of ash, etc., and an acrid, fatty substance (0.96 per cent) (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1892, p. 66).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Ground ivy is stimulant, tonic, and pectoral, and has been recommended in diseases of the lungs and kidneys, asthma, jaundice, hypochondria, and monomania. An infusion of the leaves is highly recommended in lead colic, and it is stated that painters who make use of it often are never troubled with that affliction. The fresh juice snuffed up the nose is said to cure headache. Dose of the powdered leaves, from ½ to 1 drachm; of the infusion, 1 or 2 fluid ounces. A tincture of the fresh plant, prepared with 98 per cent alcohol, may be given in doses of 1 to 15 drops.