April Showers: Sweet Woodruff and Chamomile Tea

You might be wondering why it’s taken me so long to post my Tea of the Month.

Or you might not be wondering at all [you’ve been too busy enjoying Spring].

I’ve been busy as well. Spring quarter is always the toughest. Sun lingers on the horizon a little longer each day and my productivity goes out my now open window. I suppose I needed something truly inspiring to write this post.

And guess what. I’ve found it.

Yesterday, as I was wandering through the Bastyr University garden waiting for my botanical medicine lab to start, I found something I had been looking for since first year.

Galium odoratum.

Galium ordoratum

I actually didn’t know that this is what I had been searching for, so it was quite a lovely surprise.

Let me explain.

Since I started at Bastyr, I would pass by the garden and the sweet smell of lavender, vanilla, baby powder and fresh hay would fill my nose. I would pause and take a few deep breaths before continuing on my way. A few times, I would stop and search for the source of the smell, which always led my nose to a nearby lavender bush. Though the lavender smelled lovely, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.

In the garden at Bastyr University

This smell has haunted me on evening walks in my neighborhood and on runs through the trails behind Bastyr. I never knew how to describe it or where to find it.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally know this plant by name. It feels like I’ve found a long lost friend. Not only does Galium odoratum, or Sweet Woodruff, smell delightful, she’s also got an impressive list of medicinal properties too. [And yes, I will be incorporating her into some preparations soon]. The plant blooms in April or May and generally grows in the shade [see, April showers do bring May flowers!]. It grows in moist woodland and shady areas on damp calcareous and base rich soils.

Full bloom.

So my suggestion to you for the month of April: Brew a cup of organic chamomile tea and add a few leaves of dried Galium odoratum. You can also use fresh leaves, but allow them to wilt and dry slightly. The active constituent, coumarin, gives the leaves their characteristic smell once they have wilted and dried. Your tea will be fragrant and relaxing; both Chamomile and Sweet Woodruff are indicated for nervous tension and insomnia.

Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

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