Wildcrafting? What’s that? Well wildcrafting is basically responsible and sustainably harvesting that which is found naturally occurring in nature. It’s often done with herbs, flowers, roots, wood/bark and more! Ever go picking wild berries? You’re wildcrafting. The biggest thing to keep in mind when wildcrafting is to take only what you need. Never take more than that, and never at the expense of what you are harvesting. Never ever take so much that it will damage what you are harvesting.
You may think that you can only wildcraft if you are in a rural setting. This isn’t true! I’m currently living in suburbia with a small ranch house with a small fenced in yard surrounded by neighbors all within a stone’s throw (literally). You might be amazed what you can find in your own yard, and what it can be used for.
Doing yard work with my husband this weekend he mentioned the mint he mowed over, it had taken up the better part of under the large maple tree in our back yard. I was unfamiliar with this particular plant so I picked a piece and went in to see what we had. It certainly does have a minty smell…kinda…it’s a fresh, green smell but not minty like peppermint might be. As you can see in the image to the left it has pretty purple flowers, a square stalk, and is covered in tiny hairs. The leaves are round with crenate leaves.
Traditional Medicinal Uses:
Ground Ivy has a long history of medicinal use. It was used before the introduction of hops in the brewing of beer by the Saxons. It has also been used throughout history to treat ailments such as tinnitus, indigestion, kidney ailments, astringent and tonic. The essential oil has been used as a common cold remedy for hundreds of years due to it’s expectorant properties. However, it’s safety has not been evaluated by the FDA or any other organization. The information presented here is intended to be informative only and not meant to cure, treat or diagnose any ailments and is not medical advice. Consult with a physician or other health care professional before taking any supplements, including herbal supplements.
Ground Ivy is an excellent ground cover to prevent erosion. It is also a food source for a number of pollinators and bees.
It has a soft pepper flavor, and is high in vitamin C. It is edible and is most commonly prepared as a light tea by steeping in hot water, or it may be eaten raw in a salad. It can also be used in the clarification process of brewing, or as a vegan alternative to rennet in cheese making.
Folk Lore Uses:
It promotes sleep, divination, meditation and healing. Sipping a tea of ground ivy is said to help overcome shyness. It is also a good herb to use to break curses and hexes.
Ground ivy is an aggressive plant, and can overtake an area. It certainly has expanded it’s reach since last summer in my yard! So it is wise keep an eye on it, so that it does not overtake your entire yard (unless you like it, it certainly is a pretty and useful herb). I’m rather pleased to have such a nice herb in my yard. I prefer it to the wild onions that are trying to take over! It’s prettier and smells nicer! Have you found any interesting “weeds” in your yard? Have you tried ground ivy in your salad? Let me know in the comments!