Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Ground ivy

0801. I remember from my childhood in the twenties and thirties in Longbridge Deverill, Wilts … ground ivy – for styes on the eyes [Aldbury, Hertfordshire, February 1998].

2. An infusion of boiling water poured over ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) leaves and allowed to cool will cure styes, a gypsy told me when I was in my teens, and it worked! [Tadley, Hampshire, February 1998].

3. ¬†When my son went into the Army he did a lot of shooting, and the gunsmoke made his eyes red and sore. He asked us to send something to relieve them, but we didn’t know what to send, so my husband went to see a woman of gypsy origin who lived in the village … She told us to put a large handful of ground ivy in a saucepan, just cover it with water, and simmer for about 20 minutes. When cool, strain and use to bathe the eyes. We sent some to our son and it soon cleared up the trouble. I still sometimes use some myself as it makes a lovely smooth lotion, almost oily, and has a pleasant smell [Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, September 1993].

Images: main, Synderford, Thorncombe, Dorset, April 2014; inset, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, September 2015.