Creeping hairy perennial growing to 20 in (50 cm). Has oval leaves and darkly veined lilac flowers.
Habitat & Cultivation
A common wild plant in Europe and North America, speedwell is most often found on heaths and in dry grassy places. It is picked in summer.
Speedwell contains iridoid glycosides (including aucubin), acetopenone glucosides, and flavonoids (including apigenin and scutellarin).
History & Folklore
Speedwell was formerly considered a useful diuretic and expectorant. It was much used to treat congestion, coughs and chronic skin conditions. It was also given to counter nervous exhaustion due to excessive mental activity or concentration. However, in 1935, the French medicinal plant specialist Leclerc stated that “the infusion has no more virtue than the hot water used to prepare it.”
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Speedwell is now considered to have only a slight therapeutic effect. It is little used today.