The medicinal power of ground elder

If you have a vegetable garden, it is often overgrown by ground elder. Ground elder is easiest to recognize by the fact that each branch has seven leaves. What should you do about a large expansion of ground elder in the garden? Very simple: eat it! Ground elder is a healthy, tasty and medicinal herb. In the past, ground elder was one of the first herbs people ate after winter. Young shoots of ground elder shoot out of the ground from February onwards. Ground elder is a perennial plant. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.


  • Ground cover vegetable
  • Nutritional value of ground elder
  • Healing power
  • Eating tips for seven leaves
  • Ground elder pesto
  • Herb butter
  • Quiche


Ground cover vegetable

Zevenleaf was spread by the ancient Romans. The Roman invasion is mirrored by the invasion tactics that the ground elder carries out in many gardens. The armies always needed food. That is why this plant is planted everywhere. The monks also often had this plant in the vegetable garden of a monastery. The plant was historically described by Chinese, Tibetan and European monks. It is a very easy plant that grows rapidly once it grows somewhere. It likes shaded areas and grows very densely so that there is no room for other plants. In some countries this plant is sold in garden centers as a ground cover, while in other countries it is controlled as a weed. Ground elder provides food and produces a beautiful white flower, who wants to eliminate that from their garden?

Nutritional value of ground elder

Zevenleaf is tasty as an alternative lettuce leaf in an original salad, but you can prepare it like spinach. It is a healthy plant that contains many vitamins A and C. The minerals potassium, calcium and magnesium are contained in large quantities. Ground elder is an easy plant to grow, so easy in fact that you can hardly ever get rid of it unless you have to eat a lot of it. If you pick it again and again, the root system becomes impoverished and the plant will disappear.

Healing power

Ground elder strengthens the functioning of the kidneys and is a diuretic. All kinds of toxins are stored in the kidneys and ground elder helps to ensure that they are removed via the bladder. Accumulation of these substances can lead to gout and rheumatism. That is why ground elder has a relieving effect on these diseases and is good for kidney and bladder problems. In earlier times, the medicinal properties of ground elder were well known and it was used against ‘traveler’s gout’. The leaves were not only eaten but also wrapped around joints to relieve pain. Zevenleaf has a soothing and slightly laxative effect.

Eating tips for seven leaves

Ground elder is a delicacy that tastes somewhat like parsley. You can add the leaves raw to a salad or blanch them or stir-fry them. They taste great with fried rice. You can make a variation on a potato stew with ground elder or with a mix of ground elder, nettle and spinach. Below are 3 more recipes for ground elder.Botanical drawing of ground elder / Source: Public domain, Wikimedia Commons (PD)

Ground elder pesto

You can use ground elder to make a pesto. To do this, mix the following ingredients: ground elder, pecorino (Italian sheep’s cheese), garlic, olive oil, walnuts and salt and pepper. Spread the pesto over a slice of bread with butter.

Herb butter

You can make a delicious herb butter with ground elder: Take a pack of butter and add finely chopped nettle, wild garlic, thyme and ground elder. Finish it off with a few drops of lemon juice. Serve the herb butter with potatoes or as butter on toast.


You can make a savory pie with ground elder. For this you need 4 eggs, 100 grams of Dutch cheese and two to four handfuls of ground elder. Of course you also need puff pastry. Place these slices of dough in a baking tin. Make sure the dough fits well; let it overlap and also cover the walls of the baking pan. Spread the egg-cheese-sieved leaf mixture over the base. Bake it in an oven at 160 degrees for 40 minutes.

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