Herb of the month: ground-elder | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: July 14, 2024

Herbalist Trudy van Diepen-Stam knows an herb for every ailment. This month: ground-elder, also known as bishop’s weed, or gout weed (not related to the Elder tree).
Many plant lovers have mixed feelings about ground-elder, the roots are notorious because they spread rapidly, even through the toughest clay soil. To show its good side we’re giving it a little extra attention. The herb has very useful medicinal applications for gout and arthritis.
In June ground-elder spreads its flowers in a white shield over the plant. In a bygone time people referred to ground-elder as Roman spinach, the official name is Egopodium podagraria after the Greek word for ‘goat’s foot’.
Podagraria also has medicinal qualities. The plant can be used to treat gout and arthritis. Ground-elder contains vitamin C, provitamin A, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and silicic acid. These all aid in removing acid from the blood, alkalizing our system. Arthritis, gout and many other afflictions are caused by elevated acid levels in the blood.
The intestines benefit from the power of ground-elder as well as it can strengthen intestine’s cell walls. Aside from the medicinal benefits of ground-elder it also works improves energy. It helps us to release the blockages that stagnate our growth and allow us to manifest our goals in the right way.
There are many applications for ground-elder. A strong decoction of the leaf and stem can be had as a tea or used as a compress. Compresses can be used for gout, insect bites and arthritic joints.
You can also cook with ground-elder. The herb is easy to braise or puree. And is a suitable substitute for spinach in many recipes. Ground-elder soup also comes highly recommended. The flavor can be a little overpowering so we recommend adding potatoes to soften the flavor.
And finally, it’s lovely as a pesto spread on some bread and enjoyed with a glass of wine in the evening.
Screen-shot-2014-06-02-at-11.30.36-AMVegetable side dish with ground-elder
10.5 oz. ground-elder, stems removed, washed and chopped
2 teaspoons oil
2 onions chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 apples cut into cubes
Some bouillon powder (to taste, if preferred)
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
Fry the onion in the oil until soft, add the apple cubes. Add ground-elder and stir fry thoroughly. Now add the curry, bouillon if using, salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Serve over rice or pasta.
PestoGround-elder pesto
2 handfuls of shredded ground-elder
4 cloves of garlic
salt and peper
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 oz. walnuts
3.5 oz. parmesan cheese
Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth, add more oil if needed. If you prefer a spicier version, add more garlic or use a little red onion.

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