The variegated variety is more prone to the formation of leaf cankers. Rumoured old cancer cure, grown for beer gruit.
Alehoof is a small creeper with round, hairy, veined leaves held horizontally. Normally a deep green, a variegated variety exists, which is preferred for medicinal purposes. The plant spreads by thin creeping runners above ground that sprout rootlets every so often from the nodes that also carry leaves. The flowers are tiny purplish or blue trumpets with corrugated edges.
The creeping branches easily lift off the soil and breaks easily. Leaves are slightly leathery and can be grabbed in bunches. It is best to do this during cool, dry weather. The fibrous hair on the leaves absorb surprising quantities of water that may spoil your harvest, while hot dry weather tends to wilt the leaves to the point where rough handling bruises them.
Clean, dry, fresh leaves ground for a poultice on sores to fight infection has been effective, but in conjunction with other herbs. The original purpose for acquiring the herb was for cancer, but we never had time even to try. The use in gruit is under investigation, and literature still has to be generated.
We have as yet no proof that this herb is of immediate need in the average herb garden.