How to get rid of Ground Elder :)

September 27, 2011 at 12:54 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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When I went outside a few days ago I was thrilled as I found a new spot full of Ground Elder (also known as Goutweed, bishops weed and herb Gerard)! 🙂 My heart starting singing and my voice, too. 😉 I know many people try to get rid of Ground Elder as this is a very easy to spread weed. Buuut if you just be happy and appreciate it’s existence it will do you some good! You can actually eat it in your salad, Super Green Smoothies, etc. I use it en masse if I can find it. I always have to smile when people try to weed their garden. If they just knew how precious those weeds are that try to get their attention. Chances are if it grows around you (and sometimes it is a weed that you can’t get rid of or you have in abundance and wonder why) it is growing for you! It is known that plants do interact with humans and bring forth their best sides and nutrients in order to help you with your health and ailments! Amazing, isn’t it??

Well, then let’s look at the Ground Elder a little closer. The name itself sounds very wise ;). The elder…may be we should go and ask it if we need help… Anyway, Ground Elder is often used as ground cover or it decides by itself ;).

It’s Latin name is aegopodium podagraria and is PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies. The plant is self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. Ground elder is native to Europe, naturalized inNorth America and found in woodlands.  It was also cultivated as a food crop in the Middle Ages, especially in Russia (and in Siberia in particular – the Russian Saint Seraphim of Sarov is said to have survived three years on eating mainly ground-elder while on self-exposed exile in a deep forest), Scandinavia, in Central Europe. Old Finno-Ugric peoples were keen consumers of ground-elder, too. According to some sources, old traders wrapped their vegetables into ground-elder leaves to keep them fresh looking and smelling – the leaves are high in essential oils and helped to keep the other produce fresh and aromatic, too. Ground elder is a rampant weed that grows in any soil and almost impossible to eradicate once established.


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.

The leaves are high on Vitamin E, as well as vitamin C, they’re rich in antioxidants, minerals, flavonoids and fibre. Dishes containing ground-elder are easily digestible, and have cleansing properties – so they’re good for that spring-time detoxing :).

 Edible Parts: Leaves and stems.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Eaten raw they are more nutritious though! The taste reminds me of celery. The leaves are best harvested before the plant comes into flower, they can be used in salads, soups, or cooked as a vegetable. If you cut it down once in a while or pick it it will come back young and tender. Yummy! 

Now – go out and pick it! 🙂

Here are some pictures to help you identify it:

Watch the triangle stem. Once you smell it you will remember it, too! I do anyway ;)…

The leaves are interesting, too. You might want to eat the young ones only. I do eat both:

The whole plant – Umbels of white flowers rise on long stems to 90cm above the leaves.

This is what I use for my Super Green Smoothies in the morning:

Dandelion, ground elders, silverweed, cleaver, plantain, common hogweed, lady’s mantle, lambsquarters, malva, leaves of apple/cherry trees, leaves of hawthorn and more…depending on what’s available at that time… and fruit.

And this is how my Superdrink looks like then:

It takes soooo good and gives energy for the whole day :)… Try it and report back! 🙂

If you are interested in great books about gardening & wild foods:



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