Balsamita Major, Costmary | Tanacetum Balsamita

Other Names

Tanacetum Balsamita, Balsamita Vulgaris, Costmary, Alecost, Balsam Herb, Bible Leaf, Mint Geranium, Tanacetum Balsamita, Chrysanthemum Balsamita, Pyrethrum Balsamita, Balsamita Vulgaris, Balsamkraut, Marienbalsam, Marienblatt, Riechblättchen, Schmeckablaadl, Menta Romana, Erba Amara, Erba Buona, Erba Della Madonna, Erba Di San Pietro, Erba Di Santa Maria, Fritola O Menta Greca, Пи́жма Бальзами́ческая, Balsamblad, Luktsalvia, Hierba De Santa María, Balsamita Y Menta Coca, La Menthe-Coq, Grande Balsamite

Description

Costmary has small daisy-like flowers with white ray petals. Its leaves have a strong camphor-like mild scent. Grows to 12 inches tall, with gray-green leaves and 3-foot-tall flower stalks with insignificant yellow flowers. The shiny, pear shaped light green leaves are 6-8 inches long with finely, short, sturdy, and slightly downy branches. Blooms in late summer. The plant forms no seeds.

Ingredients

Essential Oils, Borneol, Pinene, Camphor, Camphenes, Thujone, Tannic Acid

Collection period

Late summer. Grows in sandy soil as well as well-drained clay soil.




Used Parts

Leaves

Uses

  • Antiseptic,

  • Antispasmodic,

  • Astringent,

  • Bladder Weakness,

  • Bloating,

  • Constipation,

  • Digestive Disorders,

  • Digestive Weakness,

  • Diuretic,

  • Edema,

  • Fainting Tendency,

  • Fever,

  • Insect Repellent,

  • Lice,

  • Liver Weakness,

  • Menstrual Cramps,

  • Menstrual Promotional,

  • Period Cramps,

  • Renal Insufficiency,

  • Swollen Feet,

  • Worms,

  • Wounds

Application

Standard infusion or 3-9 grams; tincture, 10-30 drops.

Early use of Costmary was to ease the pain of childbirth. Crushed costmary leaves help ease the pain and swelling of a bee sting. Useful in the treatment of dysentery and diarrhea, worms, colds, flu, fever, indigestion, gas, rheumatism, an ointment used for bruises, heals old ulcers, sores, dry pitches, strains of veins and sinews, burns, the shingles, blisters, external vermin, and scabs.

Summary

More than a thousand years ago, Costmary was taken from its native home of India and brought to Asia Minor. From there it was carried to most parts of Europe and then to the New World. It was reared in New England gardens and brought westward to the Rockies with civilization. Here the plant seems to have reached the end of its journey as well as popularity. It is now found mainly in the wild state on very old farm sites. Costmary is a handsome, silvery yellow-green plant with scent similar to Spearmint. The plant forms clusters of base leaves with slender stalks of daisy-like flowers. Formerly dried branches were tied with lavender and placed in chests and drawers as a moth repellent and to give linens a fresh sweet scent.

The leaves were used to make “sweet washing water.” Because of its taste and aroma, the herb was used to give the ale a spicy flavor. For this reason, it was known also as Ale-cost.The leaves of costmary are put in Bibles or in lines to give a sweet aroma. A leaf often served as a bookmark in the Bibles and prayerbooks of churchgoers. Costmary has always had a special place in Christianity. When the sermon grew boring and drowsiness set in, the sleepy listener treated self to a minty flavor of the costmary leaf in an effort to stay awake. Therefore, the nickname “Bible leaf” grew popular. (http://medicinalherbinfo.org/herbs/Costmary.html)

Side Effects

N/A

Pregnancy and breastfeeding: it is unsafe to take costmary by mouth.

References

  • Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992·

  • Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023, 1984·

  • The Rodale Herb Book, edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanacetum_balsamita

  • Culpepers British Herbal – Pub. William Nicholson and Son – C. 1905 (re-print of the 1653 original)

  • ISHS Acta Horticulturae 306: International Symposium on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, XXIII IHC

  • TANACETUM BALSAMITA L.: A MEDICINAL PLANT FROM GUADALAJARA (SPAIN), M.J. Pérez-Alonso, A. Velasco-Negueruela, A. Burzaco

  • Cumo, Christopher (2013). Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants A-F. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. pp. 329–332. ISBN 978-1-59884-774-1.

  • Атлас лекарственных растений. — «Веда», изд. Словацкой Академии Наук, 1981.

  • Кудинов М. А. и др. Пряно-ароматические растения, Минск, Ураджай, 1986.

  • http://medicinalherbinfo.org/herbs/Costmary.html

Costmary, Balsamita Major

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