Owing to its wide variety of healing applications, this herbal panacea was highly regarded by northern Europe’s Germanic tribes. Indeed, an ancient meaning of the word “speed” is “thrive.” Any botanical reputed to offer a toolbox filled with cures would, indeed, be one associated with the concept of “thriving well.” In later times Roman armies conquered and assimilated their northern neighbors, bringing speedwell into that magical circle of healing substances that spread quickly across the continent.
What does it do?
Speedwell is best known for its curative properties in dealing with coughs and skin conditions. It works well as an expectorant, clearing phlegm from mucus-clogged breathing passages. The leaves and roots aim their healing prowess in the direction of the kidneys, while the green portions of the plant have been processed to address otitis media (Tenderness of the middle ear). Mildly diuretic, speedwell also comforts the gastro-intestinal system. Preparations of this remarkable plant have been made commercially available to bring relief in cases of sinusitis.
About the herb
Common speedwell carries the scientific name, Veronica officinalis, since its streaked flower petals bring to mind the facial imprint left after Saint Veronica wiped the bloodstained face of Jesus during his crucifixion walk up Mount Calvary. A small plant, speedwell features a hairy stem that rises between 3 and 10 inches above the ground. Small, pale blue flowers appear between May and August.
To one cup of boiled water add a heaping teaspoon of speedwell herb, allowing the mix to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and drink twice daily. Freshly picked flower heads can also be cleaned and processed through a juice extractor. Apply either liquid to common skin complaints.