Herb of the Day: Alecost

Alecost ( Tanacetum balsamita )

other name are know as… Costmary, Sweet Mary, English Mace, and Bible Leaf.

It is a perennial, which grows to 3 ft. with a cluster of small white yellow daisy flowers, and oblong silver, green camphor scented leaves.

The first syllable in its common name comes from the use to which its scented flowers and leaves were used in the Middle Ages, namely to clear, preserve and impart an astringent minty flavour to beer. The word costs derives from kostos, the Greek word meaning spicy herb for ale. With its demise of use in beer, it has become a rare plant in Europe, however in North America you can find it in garden escape, and growing wild in the Eastern and Mid West states.

Medicinal uses are;  was traditionally as a tea made from its leaves used for the pain of child birth, a tonic for colds, catarrh, stomach upsets and cramps.  Rub a fresh leaf on a bee sting or horse fly bite to relieve the pain.

Warning… do not use camphor in any culinary dishes.


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