Ground Ivy

Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Alehoof, Catsfoot, Cat's-Paw, Couronne de Terre, Courroie de Terre, Courroie de la Saint-Jean, Creeping Charlie, Gill-Go-By-The-Hedge, Gill-Go-Over-The-Ground, Glechoma hederacea, Glécome Lierre, Haymaids, Hedgemaids, Herbe de Saint-Jean, Lierre Terrestre, Lizzy-Run-Up-The-Hedge, Nepeta hederacea, Robin-Run-In-The-Hedge, Tierra-Hiedra, Tun-Hoof, Turnhoof.


Ground ivy is a plant. The dried plant and crushed leaves are used to make medicine.

People take ground ivy for mild lung problems, coughs, and bronchitis. They also take it for arthritis and other joint pain, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), stomach problems, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, bladder infections, bladder stones, and kidney stones. Women take it for menstrual (period) problems.

Some people apply ground ivy directly to the skin for wounds, ulcers, and other skin conditions.

In food manufacturing, ground ivy is used as a flavoring.

How does it work?

Ground ivy might work as an astringent to dry out body fluids such as mucus and to help stop bleeding.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Mild lung problems.
  • Coughs.
  • Arthritis.
  • Joint and muscle pain (rheumatism).
  • Menstrual (period) problems.
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
  • Diarrhea.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Stomach problems.
  • Bladder stones.
  • Kidney stones.
  • Wounds or other skin conditions, when applied directly to the skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of ground ivy for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Ground ivy is POSSIBLY SAFE in the amounts used to flavor foods and in small doses as medicine. However, it is known to contain substances that can damage the liver and also cause miscarriages. Larger amounts can irritate the stomach, intestines, and kidneys, and cause serious liver damage.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s UNSAFE to use ground ivy if you are pregnant. It could cause a miscarriage.

It’s also best to avoid ground ivy if you are breast-feeding. There isn’t enough information to know whether it is safe for a nursing infant.

Kidney disease: Ground ivy contains a chemical that can irritate the kidneys. Don’t use ground ivy if you have kidney problems.

Liver disease: Ground ivy contains a chemical that can harm the liver. It could make existing liver disease worse. Don’t use ground ivy if you have liver problems.

Epilepsy or another seizure disorder: Don’t use ground ivy if you have epilepsy or a history of seizures.


The appropriate dose of ground ivy depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for ground ivy. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Wang, W., Hause, B., Peumans, W. J., Smagghe, G., Mackie, A., Fraser, R., and van Damme, E. J. The Tn antigen-specific lectin from ground ivy is an insecticidal protein with an unusual physiology. Plant Physiol 2003;132(3):1322-1334. View abstract.

Wang, W., Peumans, W. J., Rouge, P., Rossi, C., Proost, P., Chen, J., and van Damme, E. J. Leaves of the Lamiaceae species Glechoma hederacea (ground ivy) contain a lectin that is structurally and evolutionary related to the legume lectins. Plant J. 2003;33(2):293-304. View abstract.

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