Several counties give it different names, so that there is scarcely any herb growing of that bigness that has got so many. It is called Cat’s-foot, Ground-ivy, Gill-go-by-ground, and Gill-creep-byground, Turnhoof, Haymaids, and Alehoof.
This well known herb lies, spreads and creeps upon the ground, shoots forth roots, at the corners of tender jointed stalks, set with two round leaves at every joint somewhat hairy, crumpled and unevenly dented about the edges with round dents; at the joints likewise, with the leaves towards the end of the branches, come forth hollow, long flowers of a blueish purple colour, with small white spots upon the lips that hang down. The root is small with strings.
It is commonly found under hedges, and on the sides of ditches, under houses, or in shadowed lanes, and other waste grounds, in almost every part of this land.
They flower somewhat early, and abide a great while; the leaves continue green until Winter, and sometimes abide, except the Winter be very sharp and cold.
Government and virtues.
It is an herb of Venus, and therefore cures the diseases she causes by sympathy, and those of Mars by antipathy; you may usually find it all the year long except the year be extremely frosty; it is quick, sharp, and bitter in taste, and is thereby found to be hot and dry; a singular herb for all inward wounds, exulcerated lungs, or other parts, either by itself, or boiled with other the like herbs; and being drank, in a short time it eases all griping pains, windy and choleric humours in the stomach, spleen or belly; helps the yellow jaundice, by opening the stoppings of the gall and liver, and melancholy, by opening the stoppings of the spleen; expels venom or poison, and also the plague; it provokes urine and women’s courses; the decoction of it in wine drank for some time together, procures ease to them that are troubled with the sciatica, or hip-gout: as also the gout in hands, knees or feet; if you put to the decoction some honey and a little burnt alum, it is excellently good to gargle any sore mouth or throat, and to wash the sores and ulcers in the privy parts of man or woman; it speedily helps green wounds, being bruised and bound thereto.
The juice of it boiled with a little honey and verdigrease, doth wonderfully cleanse fistulas, ulcers, and stays the spreading or eating of cancers and ulcers; it helps the itch, scabs, wheals, and other breakings out in any part of the body. The juice of Celandine, Field-daisies, and Ground-ivy clarified, and a little fine sugar dissolved therein, and dropped into the eyes, is a sovereign remedy for all pains, redness, and watering of them; as also for the pin and web, skins and films growing over the sight, it helps beasts as well as men. The juice dropped into the ears, wonderfully helps the noise and singing of them, and helps the hearing which is decayed. It is good to tun up with new drink, for it will clarify it in a night, that it will be the fitter to be drank the next morning; or if any drink be thick with removing, or any other accident, it will do the like in a few hours.