Over the last couple of springs my husband has started to regret planting sweet woodruff (Galium odorata asperula) in the little fairy bed he made at the bottom of our lawn. You see it is such a greedy plant and had begun to take over, squeezing out all of the other plants, taking all the space for itself. It is in fact a very pretty little plant which is just coming into flower, so it is hard not to like, but somehow it has bullied all the other plants in that bed into submission and lost our favour as a result.
So imagine my delight this weekend when sat in a talk at The Malvern Spring Gardening Show I was told it could be used infused as a tea. In response, earlier today, I collected a handful of stems from my garden, it came up very easily, willingly I would say. I collected quite a bit as I have read it is best used wilted and slightly dried.
It has a lovely smell which comes from the active constituent, coumarin. In fact, in the past it was used as a strewing herb on the dirt floors of dwellings, better for health than a modern air freshener, although a bit more messy!
Drunk as a herbal infusion it has many beneficial properties which include: relieving nervous tension and stomach pains, improving liver function, strengthening capillaries. It can be drunk as a spring tonic, a diuretic, a remedy for varicose veins, and a remedy for insomnia. Quite an all rounder it seems.
I had a chew on a spring earlier but will drink my first cup later, closer to bed time. It is best to limit yourself to just two cups a day as drinking too much can make you feel dizzy, and poisoned :(. It is also important to avoid drinking entirely if you are pregnant or on blood thinning or other circulatory medication.