Thursday, 22 May 2008


Regarded as obsolete by herbalists today, Speedwell (veronica officinalis) was a popular healing herb in the middle ages in Europe, known as ‘herba Veronica majoris’.

It was formerly taken internally for nervous exhaustion and stomach upsets, as well as for bronchial, arthritic, rheumatic and skin complaints, and was used externally for minor injuries. The name ‘speed well’ is testament to its reputation as a healer!

An infusion is now suggested for digestive problems, diarrhoea, coughs and colds or as a gargle for mouth and throat infections.

A bitter, astringent herb with weak diuretic and expectorant effects.

Flowers June to August.

PLEASE NOTE: These notes on the history and use of herbs have been compiled for general interest and are not intended as medical advice, for which you should consult a professional herbalist.

‘Herbs and Healing Plants of Britain and Europe’ Dieter Podlech (1987)
'A Modern Herbal' Mrs M. Grieve FRHS ed. Mrs C. F. Leyel (1973)
'The Herb Society's Complete Medicinal Herbal' Penelope Ody MNIMH (1993)
'RHS Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses' Deni Brown (2002)


Cheryl said...

I love the pretty little speedwell, havn't seen it in the garden for quite a while.
Can I hear bird song coming from my lap top? I am sitting in the garden again listening to the birds...and I think it sort of intermingled.....quite extraordinary....please tell me I am not having one of my funny moments!!

Cheryl said...

Hi Hedgewitch....Brought my laptop is lovely. So calming.

Rose said...

I like speedwell, but didn't have much luck growing them so I don't have any now. I've read about many different plants and herbs with medicinal properties, but I've never heard this about speedwell/veronica. But, yes, as you say, it's a good idea to check before taking something like this.

Hedgewitch said...

hi cheryl .. it is a pretty one isn't it, just peeping out from among the bigger plants! this is the last of the photos from my trip to the nature reserve on Earth Day (I looked up the plants I found when I got home).

was the birdsong emanating from Earth and Tree?! I think it must have been from the Chicken Out thingummy! better than squawking, anyhow, lol!!

hi rose, how are you? i've only seen it wild, never grown it.. I really like looking up something people consider a weed and then finding it has these wonderful healing properties.. always interesting to find a new one. but I'm not a trained medical herbalist, so wouldn't want people going out and doing something inappropriate after reading one of my posts!!

Salix Tree said...

I love the tiny speedwell flowers, they grow in my grass here and there. But I never knew it had medicinal qualities.

Hedgewitch said...

Hi salix tree, nice to see you :-)Its pretty isn't it?

Sarah said...

I have speedwell everywhere at the moment. I've never tried using it as a remedy, so thanks for researching the uses. The colour is just gorgeous!

Hedgewitch said...

hello sarah.. you're welcome, glad you found it interesting :-)