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(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
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Least Viewed Herbs

Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Acorn
Poppy
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Asparagus
Anemone (wood)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)



Ivy (ground)








This common, and very familiar little herb, with its small Ivy-like
aromatic leaves, and its striking whorls of dark blue blossoms
conspicuous in early spring time, comes into flower pretty
punctually about the third or fourth of April, however late or early
the season may be. Its name is attributed to the resemblance borne
[284] by its foliage to that of the true Ivy (Hedera helix). The
whole plant possesses a balsamic odour, and an aromatic taste, due
to its particular volatile oil, and its characteristic resin, as a
fragrant labiate herb. It remaineth green not only in summer, but
also in winter, at all times of the year.

From the earliest days it has been thought endowed with singular
curative virtues chiefly against nervous headaches, and for the relief
of chronic bronchitis. Ray tells of a remarkable instance in the
person of a Mr. Oldacre who was cured of an obstinate chronic
headache by using the juice or the powdered leaves of the Ground
Ivy as snuff: Succus hujus plantoe naribus attractus cephalalgiam
etiam vehementissimam et inveteratam non lenit tantum, sed et
penitus aufert; and he adds in further praise of the herb:
Medicamentum hoc non satis potest laudari; si res ex usu
oestimarentur, auro oequiparandum. An infusion of the fresh herb,
or, if made in winter, from its dried leaves, and drank under the
name of Gill tea, is a favourite remedy with the poor for coughs of
long standing, accompanied with much phlegm. One ounce of the
herb should be infused in a pint of boiling water, and a wineglassful
of this when cool is to be taken three or four times in the day. The
botanical name of the plant is Nepeta glechoma, from Nepet, in
Tuscany, and the Greek gleechon, a mint.

Resembling Ivy in miniature, the leaves have been used in weaving
chaplets for the dead, as well as for adorning the Alestake erected as
a sign at taverns. For this reason, and because formerly in vogue for
clearing the ale drank by our Saxon ancestors, the herb acquired the
names of Ale hoof, and Tun hoof (tun signifying a garden, and
hoof or hufe a coronal or chaplet), [285] or Hove, because,
says Parkinson, it spreadeth as a garland upon the ground. Other
titles which have a like meaning are borne by the herb, such as Gill
go by the ground, and Haymaids, or Hedgemaids; the word gill
not only relating to the fermentation of beer, but meaning also a
maid. This is shown in the saying, Every Jack should have his Gill,
or Jill; and the same notion was conveyed by the sobriquet
haymaids. Again in some districts the Ground Ivy is called Lizzy
run up the hedge, Cat's-foot (from the soft flower heads), Devil's
candlesticks, Aller, and in Germltny Thundervine, also in the
old English manuscripts Hayhouse, Halehouse, and Horshone.
The whole plant was employed by our Saxon progenitors to clarify
their so-called beer, before hops had been introduced for this
purpose; and the place of refreshment where the beverage was sold
bore the name of a Gill house.

In A Thousand Notable Things, it is stated, The juice of Ground
Ivy sniffed up into the nostrils out of a spoon, or a saucer, purgeth
the head marvellously, and taketh away the greatest and oldest pain
thereof that is: the medicine is worth gold, though it is very cheap.

Small hairy tumours may often be seen in the autumn on the leaves
of the Ground Ivy occasioned (says Miss Pratt) by the punctures of
the cynips glechomoe from which these galls spring. They have a
strong flavour of the plant, and are sometimes eaten by the
peasantry of France. The volatile oil on which the special virtues of
the Ground Ivy depend exudes from small glandular dots on the
under surface of the leaves. This is the active ingredient of Gill tea
made by country persons, and sweetened with honey, sugar, or
liquorice. Also the expressed juice of the herb is [286] equally
effectual, being diaphoretic, diuretic, and somewhat astringent
against bleedings.

Gerard says that in his day the Ground Ivy was commended against
the humming sound, and ringing noises of the ears by being put into
them, and for those that are hard of hearing. Also boiled in mutton
broth it helpeth weak and aching backs. Dr. Thornton tells us in his
Herbal (1810) that Ground Ivy was at one time amongst the
'cries' of London, for making a tea to purify the blood, and Dr.
Pitcairn extolled this plant before all other vegetable medicines for
the cure of consumption. Perhaps the name Ground Ivy was
transferred at first to the Nepeta from the Periwinkle, about which
we read in an old distich of Stockholm:--

Parvenke is an erbe green of colour,
In time of May he bereth blo flour,
His stalkes are so feynt and feye
That nevermore groweth he heye:
On the grounde he rynneth and growe
As doth the erbe that hyth tunhowe;
The lef is thicke, schinende and styf
As is the grene Ivy leef:
Uniche brod, and nerhand rownde;
Men call it the Ivy of the grounde.

In the Organic Materia Medica of Detroit, U.S.A., 1890, it is
stated, Painters use the Ground Ivy (Nepeta glechoma) as a
remedy for, and a preventive of lead colic. An infusion is given
(the ounce to a pint of boiling water)--one wineglassful for a dose
repeatedly. In the relief which it affords as a snuff made from the
dried leaves to congestive headache of a passive continued sort, this
benefit is most probably due partly to the special titillating aroma of
the plant, and partly to the copious defluxion of mucus and tears
from the nasal passages, and the eyes.





Next: John's Wort

Previous: Ivy Common (_araliaceoe_)



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