Herbalist Robin Rose Bennett

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Veronica Officinalis

By Robin Bennett
Posted in Blog
On May 10, 2022

One of my favorite springtime (and lesser-known) plants: Veronica!


I'd like to see this generous plant come back into more popular usage. It's one of the little-known, sort of forgotten herbs.

There are thousands of species of Veronica, including Veronica officinalis, also known as Speedwell. The species designation "officinalis" refers to a plant that has been an officially recognized medicine in the U.S. Or British pharmacopeia. And you can bet that when a plant is nick-named "speedwell" it has been an esteemed herb wherever it was used.

This is one of those herbs that is so common in our lawns that it is easily overlooked. It is an herb “whose medicinal virtues are out of all proportion to its size", to quote our esteemed herbal grandmother, that great lover and herbal healer of animals, Juliette de Bairacli Levy.

The beautiful Speedwell I gathered here (above) is called: Veronica chamaedrys. The specific epithet chamaedrys means “charisma”, or “gift”. The origin of the common name Germander is variously attributed to a corruption of the Latin chamaedrys - or to the Greek chamai, which means “on the ground”. I encourage this wildflower to grow among the plantings in my gardens. Herbal lore says that the speedwell which grows at the base of oak trees makes the most effective medicine. More musings on that are below.
I love to gather any Veronica I find, even the tiny blue/white flowers of thyme-leaved speedwell in the lawn are a delight to the eye if you get close enough! ( use the entire above-ground portion of Veronica officinalis, or whatever species is at hand, drying and tincturing the leaves, stems and flowers. Hmmm. I think this year I'll try making an infused vinegar, too! I love to have my food be my medicine and I put herbal infused vinegars into the pot or pan anytime I cook vegetables, especially dark leafy green ones like kale or collards., since the acid in the vinegar helps break open the cell walls and extract the minerals that are so helpful for the nervous system.

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Veronica Tea
1 tsp dried or 1 tbsp fresh to 8 ounces of boiled water.
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Steep for 15 -20 minutes.
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Drink as a bitter or add honey to taste.

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Typically, speedwell is used for bronchial and lung conditions. Its bitter taste tells us of its uses to help the stomach, liver, and intestines. Personally, what I've used speedwell for the most is for quieting an overactive mind. It is very effective! And it can help you even when you're stuck on a hamster wheel of circular thinking.

I’ve enjoyed gathering this plant from the base of a very old oak tree whom I love, and sense that the strength and solidity of the oak infuses even more grounding energy into the speedwell so that when I drink the Veronica officinalis tea, oak helps veronica to bring about peace and quiet to replace the din when my mind is overrun with loud chattering.

Another esteemed herbalist, Maria Treban of Austria, writes that she uses speedwell with fresh nettles to heal chronic eczema, as well as for memory, and to prevent arteriosclerosis. She also uses it externally for all inflamed, non-healing wounds, especially near the shinbone, used as washes and compresses. Good to know!

Green blessings,

Robin Rose ~*~

Robin Bennett

Robin Bennett

Robin Rose Bennett is a writer, teacher, green witch, herbalist, and a wisewoman… one who loves the earth and gives voice to the healing wild food and medicine plants which surround us. She has been a practicing herbalism for over 30 years, based in New Jersey & NYC. Robin focuses on the spiritual and ecological lessons of plants and treatment of illness.