Glechoma hederacea. N.O. Labiateae.
Synonym ► Alehoof, Gill-go-over-the-Ground, Haymaids, Runaway Jack. Habitat ► Woods and shady places, near old walls and under hedges.
Features ► This ivy, as its common name and second synonym convey, creeps along the ground. The quadrangular, unbranched stem is six inches or so long. Two kidney- shaped leaves appear opposite each other at every joint. They are deeply crenate, the upper leaves purplish in colour and paler underneath. The roots issue at the corners of the jointed stalks, and the two-lipped, purplish flowers bloom three or four together in the axils of the upper leaves. The taste is bitter and acrid, the odour strong and aromatic.
Part used ► The whole herb.
Action ► Astringent, tonic, diuretic.
It is applicable to kidney disorders and dyspepsia. It was formerly valued as an antiscorbutic, but with advances in food distribution, this property is now rarely considered. In conjunction with Yarrow or Chamomile flowers an excellent poultice may be made for application to abscesses and gatherings. The infusion of 1 ounce of the herb to 1 pint of boiling water is taken in wineglass doses.