Herb: Sweet Cicely


Latin name: Myrrhis odorata


Family: Umbelliferae



Medicinal use of Sweet Cicely:

The whole plant, including the seed, is aromatic, carminative, expectorant and stomachic. It is useful in the treatment of coughs and flatulence, and also as a gentle stimulant for the stomach. The root is antiseptic and a decoction has been used to treat snake and dog bites. An ointment made from the roots has been used to ease gout and soothe wounds.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Flovering:
May to
June

Habitat of the herb:

Grassy places, hedges and woods in hilly regions, often near human habitations.

Edible parts of Sweet Cicely:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Excellent raw, the leaves have a delicious sweet aniseed flavour and are liked by the majority of people who try them. They are also used as a flavouring for vegetables, and are an important ingredient of the herb mix "bouquet garni". They can be cooked with tart fruits in order to reduce their acidity. The plant produces fresh leaves from late winter to early the following winter. The leaves can also be dried for later use. It is best to prevent the plant from flowering if the leaves are required for culinary use, because they lose their flavour when the plant is in flower. Root - raw or cooked. A similar flavour to the leaves. So long as it is not too old, the root can be boiled and mixed with other vegetables or added to salads. Seed - raw or cooked. An aniseed flavour, it is usually used as a flavouring but can also be eaten raw whilst it is still green and before the fibrous coat has formed. It makes an excellent mouth freshener. A tea is made from the leaves.

Other uses of the herb:

The leaves and the seed make good polishes for wood. You just rub them over the wood and then rub the wood with a clean cloth to remove any greenness. It is particularly good on oak panels, giving a lovely glossy finish and an aromatic smell.

Propagation of Sweet Cicely:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe since stored seed is difficult to germinate. The seed can be sown in an outdoor seedbed or, if supplies are limited, it can be sown in pots in a cold frame. Thin the seedlings in the outdoor bed as necessary (eat the thinnings) and transplant the young plants into their final positions in the following spring. Prick out the pot-grown seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in spring. Division in spring or autumn. Remove the tapering tap root and cut the remaining root into sections with at least one eye per section and replant in their permanent position.

Cultivation of the herb:

Grassy places, hedges and woods in hilly regions, often near human habitations.

Known hazards of Myrrhis odorata:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.