World-Way Biotech Inc.


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Asperula odorata or Galium odoratum


Sweet woodruff, Waldmeister (Ger)

         Sweet woodruff's coumarin content is responsible for the fragrant, hay-like scent that develops when the flowering stems are dried. In Medieval times, woodruff was widely employed as a strewing herb, and its fresh, long-lasting perfume made it a popular mattress stuffing. In Germany woodruff was used to flavour new wine and wine cups, a woodruff was used to flavour new wine and wine cups, a tradition dating from the thirteenth century. The wine,usually Rhine wine, is still drunk in some parts on the first of May to welcome the spring, and is known as the `May drink' May to welcome the spring, and is known as the ‘May drink’ or `May bowl'. Adding fresh woodruff ,brandy and sugar, improves the taste and body of the tart young wine.Steep fresh woodruff in white wine for delicious summer wine cups or infuse it  in brandy before making punch.

         In the Middle Ages, woodruff was considered an important medicinal herb. The fresh leaves were applied to cuts and wounds, and a tea was drunk to ease stomach cramps. The herb was still valued medicinally in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when Gerard wrote of woodruff` It is reported to be put into wine, to make man merry, and to be good for the heart and liver, it prevaileth in wounds...' Today, the herb is rarely employed by medical herbalists and the US Food  and Drug  Administrtion  consider it safe for use only in alcoholic drinks. In large quantities, it may cause vomiting and dizziness, and  coumarin has caused liver damage in laboratory animals.

The herb's common name refers to its wooded habitat and the wheel-like arrangement of the leaves on the stem: 'ruff' is from the old French rouelle or wheel. On account of its fragrance, the French called the herb 'musk of the woods', while listed among its English country names are ladies-in-the-hay and sweet grass. In Germany woodruff is known as valdmeister, meaning master of the wood.

          HABITAT Native to Europe, Asia and forth Africa and introduced elsewhere. Cultivated in the USA. Found wild in woods, especially beech woods, and shady banks and hedgerows on moist, loamy soil. Provides good ground cover.

          DESCRIPTION Perennial with erect, smooth, slender stems to 25cm(10in) with whorls of six to nine leaves arranged at intervals along them , like the spokes of a wheel. The narrow  leaves are dark green and lance-shaped with rough edges. From early summer small, white, tubular flowers bloom in loose clusters, followed by bristly seed balls, like cleavers. When fresh the plant is odourless.


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