Friday, 4 June 2010

Herb Bennet

I have this lovley little plant popping up around the garden, where it gets left to its own devices. I might try the root for flavouring ale, though - that could be interesting! The following is taken from Wikipedia:

Geum urbanum, also known as Wood Avens, Herb Bennet, Colewort and St. Benedict's herb (Latin "herba benedicta"), is a perennial plant in the Rose family (Rosaceae) which grows in shady places (such as woodland edges and near hedgerows) in Europe and the Middle East.

Usually reaching a height between 20 and 60 cm, wood avens blooms between May and August and its flowers are 1 - 2 cm in diameter, having five bright yellow petals. The hermaphrodite flowers are scented and pollinated by bees. The fruits have burrs, which are used for dispersal by getting caught in the fur of rabbits and other animals. The root is used as a spice in soups and also for flavouring ale.

The Geum urbanum x rivale hybrid.Geum urbanum hybridises fairly regularly with Geum rivale as they are closely related and occur together.

In folklore
In folklore Wood Avens is credited with the power to drive away evil spirits, and to protect against rabid dogs and venomous snakes. It was associated with Christianity because its leaves grew in threes and its petals in fives (reminiscent of, respectively, the Holy Trinity and the Five Wounds). Astrologically, it was said to be ruled by Jupiter.

In herbal medicine
Wood Avens was stated to be a treatment for poison and dog bites. Paracelsus suggested its use against liver disease, catarrh and stomach upsets.

Modern herbalists use it to treat diarrhoea, heart disease, halitosis and mouth ulcers, and to prevent colic. Not all of these uses are supported by scientific evidence.


Carolyn said...

Could this be the stuff that is growing like crazy in my allotment as soon as I have neglected it for a few weeks?
A bit like buttercups, but not!!!

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