For centuries, the woodruff plant has been used in Northern European countries to make Maiwein (or May wine). It is an alcoholic beverage made with the cold extract of woodruff in white wine. Fortunately, people are drinking less and less of this liquor, which, when taken regularly, provokes violent headaches, memory loss, and nervous system disorders.
Woodruff Plant Scientific Facts
- Scientific Name: Asperula odorata L.
- Other Names: Master of the wood, sweet woodruff, woodward.
- French: Asperule, reine des bois.
- Spanish: Aspérula olorrosa, reina de los bosques.
- Environment: It grows in cool forests (usually beech-free) in warm European regions and is cultivated in the United States and other American countries.
- Description: Vivacious plant of the Rubiaceae family, which grows from 20 to 30 cm high, with lanceolate, rough leaves growing in groups from six to eight leaves. Its flowers are white.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The complete plant except for the root.
The active component of the woodruff plant is asperuloside, a glycoside that becomes coumarin, then the plant is dried. Many properties have been ascribed to woodruff:
- Antispasmodic: It promotes digestion for nervous people and fights stomach and intestinal spasms. This is its most outstanding property.
- Sedative and narcotic (induce sleepiness) when taken in high doses.
- Anticoagulant and blood thinning.
- Diuretic and urinary antiseptic: It is recommended for urinary infections (cystitis and pyelonephritis) and kidney stones.
- Eye anti-inflammatory, applied for blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) and conjunctivitis.
How to use Woodruff
- Infusion with 40 to 50 grams of dried plant per liter of water. Drink two or three cups daily.
- Eye baths: Wash your eyes with a decoction of 50 grams of plant per liter of water, and boil for no less than 5 minutes to sterilize it before applying it to the eyes.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 351. Print. [woodruff plant]