Sweet woodruff is a perennial plant with emerald-green leaves and small white star-shaped flowers. After they are dried, the leaves give off a honey or vanilla-like aroma. This herb, which is known by its white flowers, is native to central North Africa, Europe, and Siberia, but it can also be found in some parts of Canada and the United States of America.
Sweet woodruff is made up of volatile oils that contain powerful compounds like terpinene, hexanal, cineole, limonene, and borneol.
Traditionally, sweet woodruff is used for its ability to treat ailments related to the urinary tract, stomach, heart, gallbladder, lungs, circulatory vessels, and liver. The herb is also used to soothe people suffering from sleep disorders, hysteria, and restlessness. According to some studies, due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, sweet woodruff can be an excellent treatment for hemorrhoids and wounds when it is applied topically to the skin.
This herb is used as a flavoring agent in herbal teas, wine, soft drinks, juice, brandy, beer, and ice cream. Sadly, the use of this herb isn’t as popular as it once was.
Benefits of Sweet Woodruff
In addition to the benefits listed above, sweet woodruff also helps to treat an impressive range of health conditions. Now, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of the herb.
Effective for Medicinal Use
Sweet woodruff is a herb that contains anthraquinone and its derivatives, making it a natural antifungal, larvicidal, antimicrobial, antiviral, and antioxidant. According to certain studies, the powerful compounds of sweet woodruff makes it effective in the treatment of various ailments and disorders, including kidney problem, heart palpitation, liver disorder, varicose veins, migraine, indigestion, inflammation, sleep irregularity, uterine pains, as well as menopausal issues. It can also be used for the inhibiting and treating lung and gallbladder infections.
The dried leaves of sweet woodruff can be also be used to prepare herbal teas and decoctions that can function as a tranquilizer. However, it is important to note that drinking sweet woodruff tea in large quantity can result in dizziness and vomiting.
In addition, sweet woodruff can significantly strengthen weak veins as well as improve normal blood circulation. Some studies show that sweet woodruff is anti-arthritic in nature thus has the ability to avert and alleviating the symptoms of arthritis.
When squeezed, the extract of sweet woodruff leaves contains tannin, making it a potent remedy for wounds, cuts, and bruises. You only need to apply sweet woodruff extract on the affected area to stop bleeding and ensure faster healing.
Sweet woodruff is also a powerful bactericide that can function as both an antiseptic and disinfectant. This makes the herb effective for destroying bacteria and preventing the growth of microorganisms.
Owing to the presence of the coumarin chemical in sweet woodruff, the herb is also considered an anticoagulant. Some studies suggest that sweet woodruff can be used for purifying the blood as well.
Furthermore, sweet woodruff can be used for making herbal medicines that help to soothe and fortify the nervous system. As an excellent laxative, sweet woodruff can be decocted and ingested to clear up chest congestion, cold, and cough too.
Owing to the aromatic smell of the sweet woodruff, its leaves and flowers are commonly used as a fragrance for homes, offices, and other places. The herb can be incorporated into medicines to enhance their taste and smell.
While sweet woodruff contains the coumarin chemical that produces the sweet scent and fragrance of this herb, studies reveal that very large doses of this chemical can be toxic and should be used with caution.
Acts as Repellent
The sweet woodruff can be dried and stored in clothing, beddings, and linens to prevent the invasion of insects and moths. The herb is an excellent fragrance for producing perfumes too.
Has Culinary Purposes
Sweet woodruff is used for sweetening food, juice, jam, wines, beers, jelly, soft drinks, tea and ice cream etc. It can also be used as a food colorant.
Used for Dyeing Textile
Sweet woodruff contains alizarin, purpurin, and anthraquinone which makes it effective for dyeing paintings, textiles, and clothing.
Sweet Woodruff Tea
Sweet woodruff herbal tea is made from the plant’s leaves and flowers. This plant contains various curative properties and functions as a diuretic, antispasmodic, sedative, and diaphoretic. The herbal tea can also treat cardiac problems and is commonly used in Homeopathy.
In the medieval times, sweet woodruff was used in herbal medicine to treat wounds, cuts, digestive problems, and liver disorders. In modern times, it is more popular as a tonic and for its diuretic and anti-inflammatory ability. The tea is also used for the treatment of sleeping disorders, jaundice, nervous problems, as well as other related problems. It is also a cure for varicose veins.
To make sweet woodruff tea:
- Add one teaspoon of dried or fresh sweet woodruff leaves to a cup of boiling water.
- Sweeten to taste with honey or raw sugar.
Side Effects of Sweet Woodruff
Generally, sweet woodruff is considered safe when it is consumed in small quantities. It is also safe when consumed in moderately for medicinal purposes. However, if you are considering using the sweet woodruff herb, it is important to take note of the following:
- The consumption of large doses of sweet woodruff has been reported to have side effects like vomiting, dizziness, liver damage, and even cancer. It is then advisable to consult with your doctor before using this or any herb.
- There is not enough trusted evidence on the safety of consuming sweet woodruff during pregnancy or lactation. This means that pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should stay on the safe side and avoid using the herb.
- Sweet woodruff is made up of some chemicals that might slow blood clotting. This might, in turn, increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people suffering from bleeding disorders.
- Since sweet woodruff contains some chemicals that might slow blood clotting, it can easily lead to extra bleeding during and after surgery. Therefore, you should stop making use of sweet woodruff at least 15 days before a scheduled surgery.
- Excessive dosage can result in dizziness and poisoning. In fact, anticoagulant drugs are derived from this plant.
Sweet woodruff is an herb with parts that are used to make medicine. The herb is commonly used for its ability to prevent and treat liver, lung, stomach, urinary tract, and gallbladder issues. Sweet woodruff is also used for the treatment of heart problems, blood purification, strengthening of weak veins, and other circulation issues.
The other uses of sweet woodruff include treating hysteria, restlessness, stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders. Sometimes, the herb is used to alleviate migraines and nerve pain or neuralgia. It also is used to induce sweating, clear up chest congestion, relieve water retention (edema), and improve the flow of urine.
There are also claims that sweet woodruff can treat wounds, skin diseases, vein problems, hemorrhoids, and inflammation if applied topically to the skin. Sweet woodruff also contains components that can help reduce swelling (inflammation) and kill germs.
In the production of certain foods and beverages, sweet woodruff is still popular as a flavoring agent. And in manufacturing, the extracts of sweet woodruff are often used as a fragrance in perfumes.