Herb: Crosswort


Latin name: Cruciata laevipes


Synonyms: Galium cruciata


Family: Rubiaceae (Madder Family)



Medicinal use of Crosswort:

The herb is astringent, diuretic and vulnerary. It is not much used nowadays, but was considered a very good wound herb for both external and internal use. A decoction of the leaves has also been used to treat obstructions of the stomach and bowels, to stimulate the appetite and as a remedy for rheumatism, rupture and dropsy. A number of species in this genus contain asperuloside, a substance that produces coumarin and gives the scent of new-mown hay as the plant dries. Asperuloside can be converted into prostaglandins (hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels), making the genus of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
60 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
May to
June


Scent:
Scented
Perennial

Habitat of the herb:

Open woodland, scrub, hedges, waysides and pastures, especially on calcareous soils.

Edible parts of Crosswort:

Leaves - raw or cooked.

Other uses of the herb:

A red dye is obtained from the root.

Propagation of Crosswort:

Seed - best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe in late summer. The seed can also be sown in spring though it may be very slow to germinate. Division in spring or throughout the growing season if the plants are kept well watered. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Open woodland, scrub, hedges, waysides and pastures, especially on calcareous soils.

Known hazards of Cruciata laevipes:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.