Ground Ivy

Glechoma hederacea

(Nicknames: Creeping Charlie, Creeping Jenny, Gill-over-the-ground)

Life Cycle: Perennial

Family: Lamiaceae – Mint, Catnip Cousin (Not a true ivy)

Overview

Description

Ground Ivy is a low, crawling herb sometimes referred to as Creeping Charlie. It is part of the mint family, and grows easily and abundantly in partially shady environments. It is indigenous to Northern temperate zones. Ground Ivy grows horizontally with the exception of the stem/stalk. Upright stems can grow 4-16 inches high. After flowering, the stalks arch downward and resume horizontal growth.

Parts used

Leaves – Ground Ivy leaves are kidney or fan shaped with round, scalloped edges. The upper surface of the leaf is hairy.

Flowering Tops – The flower is either pink or purple, lavender, blue-violet with white spots growing from a square stem.

Medicinal Uses 

Actions

Anti-catarrhal, astringent, expectorant, diuretic, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. . 

Indications

The herb helps relieve congestion and inflammation. Supports Kidney, bladder, liver and stomach function. Used to support diabetes treatment. Reduces fever in colds and flu, acts as an astringent and decongestant. Dries excess mucus in the throat, nose, ears, sinuses, and addresses mild lung problems, coughs, and lung inflammation (bronchitis).

Ground ivy has a longstanding reputation as a cleanser of heavy metals in the bloodstream. It was given to painters to treat “lead-colic.”

Dosage

Infusion/Tea – Pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of dried leaves and let infuse for 10-15 minutes. Drink three times per day.

Tincture – 1/4ml three times a day

Cultivation

 Growing Conditions 

  • The Ground Ivy plant is a ground cover which can become invasive as it grows in thick, turning into carpet-like spreading mats. It adapts to changing environmental conditions such as light and nutrient availability.
  • Prefers shade, although it will tolerate sun and grows well in a wide variety of soil types.
  • It can grow at any elevation.

Propagation

  • Ground Ivy is not cultivated but wildcraft harvested in the mid-springtime when blossoms appear. It is at this time that the plant is most potent. It can however be harvested at any time and maintain good medicinal quality.
  • Once it is established in an area it tends to spread rapidly over large spaces.  It is usually found in abundance wherever it grows. 

Pests

No major pests

Companion Plants

Beardtongue, Day-Lily, Guara

Harvest

  • Harvest blossoms and leaves in the spring to early summer.
  • The best time to harvest is around mid April when stems are standing up, reaching for the sun.

Harvesting Tools

  • Collection Bag: Use cloth or paper that breathes so that the herbs do not collect moisture and grow mold.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Avoid transferring contaminants to the plant. 
  • Scissors or Japanese garden shears made of sharp stainless steel
  • A small stool or sitting mat is optional. It may be helpful when harvesting for a long period of time.

Harvesting Procedure  

  1. Find an abundant patch of Ground Ivy free from debris (with a minimal amount of other plants mixed in).
  2. Relax and express gratitude to the plants. Extend positive regenerative energy to the plants. 
  3. Gather the leaves and flowers. Leave the root and a small amount of the stem so that the plants can regenerate.
  4. Pinch or cut off 2 thirds of each plant and place it in your collecting bag.
  5. Collect one plant at a time until the desired amount is gathered.
  6.  Upon completion of the gathering process extend gratitude to the plant kingdom for the offering of this herbal medicine.

Drying & Production

Ground Ivy Tincture

Items for Production    

  • Disposable Vinyl gloves
  • Alcohol 80 proof
  • Batch jars 
    • 1 gallon wide mouth glass
    • Lids for batch Jars
  • Scale
  • Tincture press
  • Cheesecloth or Press filter bag

Procedure 

  1. Put on a pair of disposable vinyl gloves.
  2. Weigh the materials and document the weight.
  3.  Fill the jar up to its shoulder with Ground Ivy. 
  4. Fill with alcohol to completely cover plant material.
  5. Place the lid on the jar and store in a cool dark place.
  6. Let the jar sit for 6 weeks or more.
  7. Shake jars up periodically during that time.
  8. After this point the tincture is stabilized and can be used as needed.
  9. Drain off the liquid into another batch container.
  10. Place the dregs into a cheesecloth pouch or tincture press filter bags.
  11. Use the tincture press to press the remaining liquid out of the dregs.
  12. Press hard enough to retrieve all liquid.
  13. For internal consumption the menstruum should be 100-140 proof alcohol which is 50-70% alcohol
  14. Measure and document the yield.
  15. The tincture may be stored in batches or decanted into vials for distribution.
  16. Clean up the facility afterwards and put all equipment back in its proper place.

Dried Ground Ivy Tea

Items for Production

  • Disposable vinyl gloves
  • Clean water
  • Washing vats
  • Colander
  • Plant Dehydrator
  • Vita mix commercial blender
  • Storage bags

Procedure

  1. Put on a pair of disposable vinyl gloves.
  2. Weigh fresh ground Ivy to be used and document the weight.
  3. Place the plant material in a large container of clean room temperature water.
  4. Agitate gently to remove potential bugs, soil foreign plant material etc.
  5. Repeat this procedure again.
  6. Rinse well.
  7. Place plant material in a colander over the sink to drain excess water
  8. Shake colander to promote drainage.
  9. Allow to sit until heavy dripping is subsided.
  10. Spread the sprigs evenly across dehydrator trays so that there is airflow between each sprig.
  11. Stack trays into the dehydrator.
  12. Set dehydrator to 100°.
  13. Set the timer to 48 hours.
  14. At the end of the cycle check to see if flower material is fully dried.
  15. If not dried to your satisfaction set timer for another 48 hours.
  16. Dried plant material can now be placed in the vita mix food processor (10 to 12 sprigs at a time).
  17. Use the pulse setting to mill the plant material down to the desired size for bulk tea
  18. If powder is desired the vita mix will be run for the amount of time it takes to break plant material into the appropriate powder.
  19. Upon completion place to dried plant material in tightly sealed storage bags or containers.
  20. Weigh the yield and document the weight.
  21. Carefully label the storage bags or containers.
  22. Store in a dark dry place.
  23. Clean up the facility afterwards and put all equipment back in its proper place