The Asperula (Gallium Odoratum), commonly called Odorous starlet, is a perennial herbaceous plant, with creeping rhizomatous root, lanceolate leaves (6 -12) of an intense green color arranged in a circle around the quadrangular stems. It produces small flowers white, grouped in corymb inflorescences that usually appear on the stems from April to July.
Properties of the woodruff or odorous or scented starlet
L‘Woodruff, Woodruff odorata, is rich in vitamin C (mainly contained in the leaves), but also in lipids, tannins, flavonoids, coumarins, anthraquinones, flavonoids and nicotinic acid.
It is a medicinal plant with remarkable phytotherapeutic properties and thanks to its particular composition it has diuretic, purifying, detoxifying, antiseptic, tonic and cholagogue, but also decongestant and sedative properties.
Read also: Asperula – Galium odoratum
In phytotherapy and herbal medicine it is recommended for internal and external use in the treatment of numerous ailments:
- indigestion and stomach pain
- kidney infections
- red and congested skin
Usable parts of the Asperula
The parts of the Asperula plant used in phytotherapy are: the aerial parts, leaves, stems and flowers, excluding the roots.
Collection and conservation
The woodruff is harvested in full bloom, in April-June. May. The stems with and without flowers are collected in bunches, cutting them off with a sharp knife, being careful not to damage its root system.
The collected bunches are put to dry arranged on a grating, in the shade, in a dry and well ventilated environment.
To avoid fermentation and blackening, the parts must be turned often. The blackish-brown parts of Asperula lose their aromatic and healing properties and therefore must be eliminated.
The dried woodruff is then stored in paper bags or in dark glass jars.
When and how to harvest woodruff
L’Woodruff it is harvested at the beginning of flowering, after drying in dry and ventilated places it gives off a pleasant aroma.
You may be interested in: Finocchiella – Myrrhis odorata
Medicinal uses of woodruff
In herbal medicine the Asperula is used for the preparation of infusions, decoctions, herbal teas is tablets.
Infusion of Woodruff
The homemade infusion is excellent as a natural remedy against indigestion and intestinal colic.
It is prepared by leaving in infusion:
- 1 tablespoon of dried woodruff
- 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes.
The dried woodruff is poured into boiling water and left to infuse for 10 minutes, covering the cup with a cloth. After the time has elapsed, it is filtered, sweetened at will and drunk before meals.
The infusion is also excellent as a decongestant for reddened skin. Apply bandages soaked in the infusion on the affected areas for 5-10 minutes.
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Decoction of woodruff
In case of insomnia and nervousness, the ideal is to prepare a decoction:
- 2 tablespoons of woodruff
- 2 tablespoons of mint
- 1 tablespoon of hawthorn
- 2 tablespoons of lemon balm
- 1 cup of water
Pour the herbs into the water and boil for 2 minutes. Filter the infusion, sweeten to taste and sip it after dinner.
The herbal tea is effective against headaches.
- 20 grams of woodruff
- 10 leaves of lemon balm
- 5 grams of lavender flowers
- 15 grams of rosemary.
- 1 cup of water
The herbs are poured into the water and left to infuse for 5-10 minutes. The decoction is filtered and drink 1 cup 3 times a day
The intake of woodruff is contraindicated in patients who use anticoagulants and is not recommended for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The woodruff for its very pleasant scent, which is felt above all when it is dried, has always been used to perfume linen and to purify the air of the house and also as a natural repellent against annoying insects.
In Germany and Eastern countries, this medicinal plant is used to flavor and perfume Maitrank o May wine an infusion of Asperula in fiore in sweetened white wine.
The liquor industry uses woodruff to flavor Vermuth, aperitifs and digestives.
The root is used in the dyeing industry for the extraction of a yellow pigment.
In Italy, the Asperula plant grows spontaneously in cool mountain places and is cultivated as an ornamental and officinal herb also in pots: Asperula cultivation.