Traditional names: heatch speedwll, common gypsyweed, “glorius grass”, “sickle grass”, “blood-dew grass”.
Common speedwell belongs to the order of Scrophulariales and family of Scrophulariaceae. Within Veronica genus there are known some 250 species, from which about 30 is native in our region. Common speedwell is often substituted by germander speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys). It is a perennial herbaceous plant. It has a cylindrical rhizome, climbing, 15-30 cm long, hairy stem. The leaves stand opposite, are oval and slightly serrated. The flower looks like a loose garland; the corolla is light blue with two outstanding stamens. The flowers come out from June to August.
Common speedwell occurs almost throughout Europe, West-Asia and North-America. It prefers less acidic, fresh soil. It appears in forests, scrublands, clearings, along embankments, dykes and roads.
The healing effect of common speedwell was already known by Romans, who widely used it. It was a real compliment to say someone: you have so many virtues like the common speedwell.
The drug (Veronicae officinalis herba) is composed of the flowering sprout with leaves and can be collected from June to August. Germander speedwell (Veronicae chamaedrys herba) might also be collected, but the two species must not be mixed. We can gain 1 kg of dried drug from 4-5 kg of fresh sprouts.
The herb contains iridoid-glycoside (catalpol, veronicoside), flavonoids, triterpenoid-saponins, tannins, rests of volatile oils and organic acids.
It is a frequently and widely used medicinal plant in traditional medicine. It is used first of all in case of diseases of the upper respiratory tract, gastro-enteritis, bladder problems, rheumatic pain and skin inflammations. It is the main compound of depurant teas. It is able to soothe climax symptoms. Common speedwell is also present in expectorant tea mixtures and those used against diarrhea.
Tea: infuse one teaspoon of common speedwell in 3 dl of boiling water and strain it in 5 minutes.
Tincture: macerate 2 handful of minced herb in 1 l of 38-40% spirit for two weeks. Rub this tincture into the skin in case of rheumatic pains or joint goat. It can be used internally for bronchitis: drink 15 drops dissolved in tea or water three times a day.
Tea mixture: usually it is used in a mixture with dandelion and succory in 2:1:2 proportion. Infuse one teaspoon of this mixture with 3 dl of boiling water and strain it in 5 minutes. It is very effective for liver- and spleen-diseases.