Herb: Ground Elder

Latin name: Aegopodium podagraria

Family: Umbelliferae

Medicinal use of Ground Elder:

Ground Elder has a long history of medicinal use and was cultivated as a food crop and medicinal herb in the Middle Ages. The plant was used mainly as a food that could counteract gout, one of the effects of the rich foods eaten by monks, bishops etc at this time. The plant is little used in modern herbalism. All parts of the plant are antirheumatic, diuretic, sedative and vulnerary. An infusion is used in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and disorders of the bladder and intestines. Externally, it is used as a poultice on burns, stings, wounds, painful joints etc. The plant is harvested when it is in flower in late spring to mid-summer and can be used fresh or be dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is made from the flowering plant. It is used in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Hedgerows and cultivated land. A common garden weed.

Edible parts of Ground Elder:

Leaves - raw or cooked. An unusual tangy flavour, the majority of people we give it to do not like it although some reports say that it makes a delicious vegetable. The leaves are best harvested before the plant comes into flower, they can be used in salads, soups, or cooked as a vegetable.

Other uses of the herb:

This species makes a good ground-cover for semi-wild situations. Make sure that it has plenty of room since it can be very invasive and is considered to be a weed in many gardens.

Propagation of Ground Elder:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Very easy, divisions can be carried out at almost any time of the year and the divisions can be planted out straight into their permanent positions.

Cultivation of the herb:

Hedgerows and cultivated land. A common garden weed.

Known hazards of Aegopodium podagraria:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.