Alehoof (Glechoma hederacea) is a perennial herb native to Europe. The tea of the dried plant is high in Vitamin C and is often used to treat minor wounds and scratches. Used fresh, the plant is considered edible and nutritious in salads, and may be steamed as a potherb. The widespread use of Alehoof in beer making was largely supplanted when hops gained popularity.
Alehoof made as a tea, called gill tea, was an all-purpose drink, cooling, stimulating, and held in high esteem as a wash for treating the eyes, whether it was for black eyes, soreness, watery eyes, inflammation, itch, spots or failing eye sight. It may also be placed on sores, wounds, abrasions and other skin ailments as a possible cure for these conditions. Glechoma hederacea is also good to treat cancer. It contains anti-catarrhal, astringent, diaphoretic and expectorant therapeutic properties.
The medicinal properties are astringent, diuretic, expectorant, aromatic, and tonic as well as stimulant. Herbal teas are all the range for the many medicinal qualities they are supposed to possess. It’s claimed they can help with everything from easing a cold and indigestion to fighting infection and nausea. It is also used to treat headaches, griping pain, gout, sciatica, vertigo, weak backs, nervous disorders and depression; jaundice, arthritis, persistent coughs and respiratory ailments; normalising heart beat; stones in the urinary tract and stimulating circulation.
Alhoof has a balsamic odour and aromatic bitter taste. It was used by the early Saxons to clarify and flavour ale and minty liquers. Before hops have been introduced, alhoof leaves were steeped in the hot liquer. Today you can add the fresh leaves to stir fries, salads, soups and vegetable dishes. Dip sprigs of fresh leaves in batter, fry and serve with salt and olives, this snack can be served with ale.
It has diuretic properties and is useful against kidney complaints, slow burning urine and to purify the blood. It also treats indigestion and digestive disturbances like heartburn, colic, gastritis, diarrhoea and dries up watery stools.
Before taking any herbal supplement, always remember to consult a health care provider before use, especially if pregnant or nursing.