SPEEDWELL, Veronica officinalis

As a legend has it, there was a lady named Veronica who wiped the sweat or blood from the face of the Lord Jesus as he carried his cross up the rugged hill toward Calvary. His sweat, blood and tears left a mark on the cloth that the Saint Veronica used. They say the blossoms on the plant speedwell resemble these marks left on the cloth. The commemorate this; they named the genus or scientific name of this plant Veronica. The common name, speedwell, comes from the word “thrive.” Speedwell is a hardy plant, thriving in most stony or gravelly soils that are slightly acidic. When they started to use speedwell, it was used for many problems, so they called it an herb for survival.

When the Romans conquered the Germanic lands, they learned of a highly valued herb called speedwell. The Romans gathered speedwell and took it back to Italy and all over Europe. If they wanted to compliment a friend, they would say that he had as many good qualities as the highly esteemed herb speedwell.

Speedwell is a stomachic that assists the stomach in digesting our foods. Most everyone likes sweets and goodies and foods that the stomach has a hard time digesting. We don’t like bitter things and things that aren’t pleasant to our taste or to our pallet. So consequently, there aren’t enough bitter juices to break down and digest our food. The food sits there in the warm, moist environment of our stomach and instead of digesting, it ferments and putrefies. That is why people have a lot of gas on their stomach. As a bitter herb, speedwell stimulates the stomach so it will release more digestive juices to help us digest our food more easily. Many years ago, you could buy bitters for digestion at the drug store, but it’s hard to find them anymore. Speedwell has also been known to expectorate mucus from the stomach and help eliminate intestinal disorders.

Besides being a digestive aid, speedwell is also a blood cleanser. When made into a tea with stinging nettle tops, it is used to cleanse the blood and help to overcome eczema and other toxins out of the blood and help them overcome senile pruritus flaky skin.

A lady told of a man who had been hospitalized several times because of the high cholesterol level in his blood. The lady recommended that he drink two cups of speedwell tea each day. He was desperate and said he would try anything. She was pleased when she saw him a few months later and found out that he had just come from a checkup and found out that his cholesterol level was down to normal. He also said he seemed able to remember more. This stands to reason, when the cholesterol and sludge or plaque is removed from the blood vessels, more blood can feed the brain and the memory improves. An old preacher was having trouble remembering some parts of his sermon. He said when he took speedwell and horsetail tea for a time; he didn’t have such a hard time remembering his sermons.

Although speedwell is a member of the snapdragon family, it looks as though it should be a mint. It is a perennial with a creeping rootstock and opposite leaves and a spike that grows from 5 to 10 inches high and has many small, purple flowers.

It has been known to help rheumatism, gout, the liver and the spleen. It is used as a tonic to tone the body. It is used in syrups and elixirs, but mostly it is used as a tea. For centuries, it has been used for skin complaints.
Not bad for a pretty little flower.

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