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The Cottage April/Beltane 2002
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This month---  Woodruff

sweetwoodruff.jpg

WOODRUFF: Galium Odoratum
 
Other names: May Grass, Master of The Woods, Wood Rove, Herb Walter
 
Gender: Masculine
Element: Fire
Planet: Mars
Magickal Uses: Money and Protection
 
Folklore
In Germany, woodruff is known as "Waldmister" or Master of The Forest.  Since the thirteenth century sprigs from the plant have been used to flavor May Wine.  A "May Day" has long been celebrated in many parts of the world to mark the passing of winter to spring.  It is also used as a seasoning in some foods and fruit juices.  Another name for the plant in the thirteenth century was Woodrove.  The "rove" was derived from the French word "rovelle" or a wheel.  This referrs to the spoke-like arrangement of the leaves in whorls.  Also in thirteenth century France it was called "Musk Of The Woods".  It used to be kept among the linen to repel insects.  In the middle ages it was used to stuff beds.  Woodruff leaves have prickly ends.  I'm not sure I would want my bed stuffed with this . 
 
Growing And Cultivation
Woodruff can be propagated by seeds.  However the seeds take quite awhlie to germinate.  You can sow at 64 to 71 dergees F, for 2 to 4 weeks.  Then move to 24 to 39 degrees F, for another 4 weeks.  Then move to 41 to 53 degrees when the seeds will germinate.  Sounds like loads of fun,right? A "much" easier way would be to plant the seeds outside in the fall.  Let them set through the winter and when the ground warms in the spring they will germinate.  Or, the one I like best, in the spring go to the nursery and buy the seedlings already for planting. 
 
Woodruff is a perennial.  So it will come back year after year.  The leaves are a dark green and the flowers look like little white stars.  I think they have a pretty sent.  Woodruff only grows 8 to 12 inches high, so it makes a very nice ground cover. It will also spread on its own if left unchecked each year, because it is self sowing.  It tolerates partial shade quite well so it can be grown under trees as a shrub.  Woodruff gives off a sent of fresh cut hay.  When I recently made a tea out of dried woodruff leaves, I was "happy" to find that it didn't tast like hay. 
 
For harvesting,snip off a few sprigs before flowers bloom.  Then tie into a bundle and hang to dry in a cool dry area. 
 
Magickal Uses
Woodruff was very much used as a medicine in the middle ages.  It was used to treat bruises, cuts and small wounds.  Also used as a cure for upset stomach and liver disorders.  Today it is mostly used as a hot tea drink before bedtime as it can help one to relax.  It is also used as seasoning in some food dishes.  As well as what we all know so well at this time of year, a seasoning for May Wine. 
 
Woodruff contains coumarin.  the same drug found in the blood thinner Coumadin, but in such a small quantity, that is unlikely to have any effect.  So don't give up that little pill yet.   To a minor degree it can relieve some spasms and inflamation.  So far medical research has found no medical conditions that would contraindicate the use of woodruff. 
 
WARNING: Now Hear This!!!
Long term use may cause liver damage.  See a doctor if you experience headache or disorientation.  Never use with children or when breastfeeding.  Remember people, all things in moderation.
 
Culinary Uses
Woodruff, as I stated previously, can be used to flavor May Wine, or just to spice up any white wine.  It's also used as a tea, as a seasoning in food dishes and as a flavoring in fruit juices. 
 
MAY WINE
1 bottle white wine
2 cups fresh strawberries
5 or 6 blossoming sprigs of woodruff
sugar to taste (if desired)
Combine in a large bowl.  Chill for a few hours before serving.   Use your imagination and decorate around the May Bowl, with spring flowers and woodruff sprigs.
 
 
BROCCOLI CHEESE QUICHE WITH WOODRUFF
3 eggs
1/2 cup cooked broccoli
1/2 cup chedder sheese
1 cup whole milk or half & half
2 teaspoons dried woodruff leaves (ground)
1 unbaked pie crust
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place pie crust in pie pan.  Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Pour into pie crust and bake for 45 to 55 min.  Let stand for 15 min. before cutting and serving. 
 
 
WOODRUFF AND CHAMOMILE TEA
1 teasppon dried woodruff leaves
1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers
Combine the 2 herbs.  Add 1 teaspoon to 1 cup of boiling water.  Let steep for 10 to 15 min.  Strain and enjoy before bedtime or whenever you want to relax. 
 
 
CRAFT IDEA
Pick some woodruff sprigs with flowers  bloomed.  Wire together in shape of a wreath.  Place at the base of a candle for a nice center piece for a table at Beltane.  This is also a very pretty site around a May Bowl when lit.
 
 
WOODRUFF HERBAL PILLOW OR SHACHET
1 cup sweet woodruff leaves (dried)
1 cup chamomile flowers (dried)
1 cup lavender flowers (dried)
Combine ingredients.  Stitch together a 12X12 inch piece of light weight cotton fabric leaving one end open.  Pour in the mix and stitch the last end closed.  Place next to your pillow at night for a restful sleep. 
 
               Compiled by Pearlmoon