Speedwell

A prized herb

The name also alludes to the plant’s powers: Aucubin, the active ingredient, releases defensive compounds that prevent infection. The tannins thicken mucilage and the bitters tighten the pores, thus giving healthy-looking skin. Speedwell also soothes inflammations of the digestive tract, helping absorb nutrients. It also cleanses the blood.

(Hi)stories

A King from Franken was supposedly cured of leprosy with ‘Veronica officinalis’ on the advice of a hunter. Afterwards, he declared the plant’s worth as ‘honor and prize’. Speedwell is useful for treating rashes, eczema, skin allergies or acne.
The blue flowers of ‘Veronica’ are associated with the eyes of St. Veronica. (St. Veronica handed Jesus her veil to wipe his brow.)
As a herbal remedy officially sold in apothecaries or drugstores, it was also given the name ‘officinalis’.
Some people believe that ‘Veronica’ – the scientific name – is based on a misunderstanding:
Veronica is a simple typo, as ‘Vetonica’ was inserted instead of ‘Betonica’!

In brief

Plant family: Figwort (Scrophulariaceae)
Origin: Europe, West Asia, North America
Harvest: June to August
Grows here: Forest clearings, moorland, dry and open woodland, forest margins
Habitat: Meadows, waysides and along arable fields, open forest ground, rubble and waste ground
Key feature: Light blue to purple flowers, meaning ‘loyalty’ and a sign of
kind-heartedness, grace and charm

Gallery

Try it out for yourself

Enjoy wild herb cuisine: Speedwell is great in salads, as a vegetable or in soup.
As a tonic for chronic skin complaints, the pressed juice of 60 g of fresh herb is recommended – take a few teaspoons several times a day.
A tea blend, which prevents coughs, contains a quarter each of Speedwell, Plantain and Coltsfoot leaves and flowers. For a cup of tea, infuse one teaspoon of the herb mixture in hot water. Leave for 8 minutes, strain and drink (without sugar) lukewarm.