Woodruff, Asperula odorata, pretty forest garden herb

woodruff

Little sprawling plant for the woodland garden or shaded places. Very ornamental , it looks cute and dainty, especially when in flower. The flowers are white. Likes moisture, however, I never water mine.

Wooddruff is mainly known for its use in ‘Maibowle’, were the herb is steeped in white wine together with strawberries or in ‘Berliner Weisse’ a wheat beer served with woodruff syrup. It can be a vanilla substitute in various sauces and beverages.

Woodruff can be used in perfumery, in wardrobe sachets or in potpourri, not only for its own fragrance, but for its property of fixing other odours. The fragrance lasts for years, but develops its odour of fresh mown hay only after being dried.

Woodruff was much used as a medicine in the Middle Ages for wound healing, stomach upsets, weak veins, circulatory problems, to strengthen the nervous system, for heart function, blood purification, restlessness, agitation, hysteria, insomnia, migraine and neuralgia.

Woodruff contains coumarin and should therefore not be overdosed. The safety limit for preparation of spiced wine is about 3 to 3.5 g of fresh woodruff per litter of beverage. High doses have caused headaches, liver damage, testicular atrophy, and cancer in laboratory animals.

Family: Caryophyllaceae

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Frost Hardiness: Hardy in Katoomba

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Country of Origin: Eastern Cape of South Africa

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Common names: African Dream Root, Undlela Ziimhlophe (White Ways/Paths), Ubulawu

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