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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SPEEDWELL ( VERONICA OFFICINALIS) - INFORMATION: USES AND BENEFITS OF SPEEDWELL HERB : COMMON SPEEDWELL TISANE RECIPE


SPEEDWELL, VERONICA OFFICINALIS and GERMANDER SPEEDWELL, VERONICA CHAMAEDRYS
There are many varieties of Speedwell or Veronica but they have different medicinal properties, with officinalis being the one used in herbal remedies (hence the ‘official’ title). The Common Speedwell (V. officinalis) is native to Europe, including the British Isles, and to temperate parts of Asia, but it now grows abundantly in North America and other parts of the world. It is believed that it got its name Veronica because the flowers have streaky marks on them resembling the ones which were left on the cloth Veronica, the woman who wiped the face of Jesus while he was carrying the cross to his crucifixion at Calvary or Golgotha.
  It was used by the Physicians of Myddfai (Wales) along with other native plants in a number of remedies. This is an old remedy for abdominal complaints and the following herbs were used to make a medicine: - “sweet gale, bay leaves, pimpernel, male speedwell, river star tip, borage, moss, liverwort, the young leaves of the earth nut, and the mallow.” Another remedy was for carbuncles although it was a third alternative: - “…take the roots of the purple dead nettle, the roots of mugwort, and the speedwell, boiling all together in goat’s whey, adding butter to the scum thereof, and drinking it day and night.”
  Speedwell means to thrive, and it has been used as a general cure-all and modern medical trials have found that the V. officinalis contains more potent properties than the Germander speedwell. John Gerard, writing in the 16th century, thought rather highly of the Germander Speedwell, and believed that “given in good broth of a hen” it was useful for cancer treatment. He also thought that it got its name “from the form of the leaves like unto small oak leaves” and so he claims it was given the name “chamaedrys which signifieth a dwarf oak.” This is rather stretching one’s imagination as the leaves do not appear to resemble those of any kind of oak. However the old writers extolled the virtue of this Speedwell and wrote that it was a good wound healer, blood purifier, as well as being useful in the treatment of small pox and measles. A decoction of the whole plant was used to stimulate the kidneys and the leaves were thought to be good for coughs. The juice from the fresh plant was boiled with honey to make a syrup for asthma and catarrh.  It is best to harvest the whole plant in summer (May-July) and dry it for future use.
   An infusion of the Common Speedwell (V. officinalis) has been given through the centuries for gout, to promote sweating in fevers, as a diuretic, expectorant, tonic, for heart and liver complaints, haemorrhages skin problems and wounds. Today the infusion or tisane is used externally for skin complaints and for coughs and catarrh.
  In clinical trials it has been discovered that the Common Speedwell enhances the regeneration of the gastric mucous and is useful in the treatment of old ulcers.  The plant contains β-sisterol, and is rich in vitamins including E (phytol) and K as well as vitamin C. The polyphenols in this plant have potent antioxidant activities and it also contains the omega-3 fatty acids. Trials have shown that it can reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood of lab animals and it contains the glycoside, aucuboside which is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. The astringency of the plant is due to the tannins it contains. It is an ingredient of some skin whitening creams along with Lemon Balm and yarrow, although whether or not these work is open to question.

COMMON SPEEDWELL TISANE
Ingredients
2 tsps fresh flowering herb
½ cup boiling water

Method
Chop the herb and pour the boiling water over it. Allow to steep for 15 mins then strain and drink.
This has Taste and is a Treat(ment).  

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