Artemisia of the Week – SOUTHERNWOOD


southernwood 3Species: Artemisia abrotanum

Common names: Southernwood, Lad’s Love, Boy’s Love, Old Man’s Beard, Garderobe (clothes protector)

History/Folklore: Originating in Spain and Italy it was brought to the UK around 1550. In the US it is mainly used as an ornamental. It was believed, combined with Rue, to protect against contagious diseases. The leaves were powdered, added to treacle (molasses) and given to children to expel worms. In medieval times it was used to flavor fatty meats, probably to hide the taste of rancid fat as well as to aid in digestion. It has been recorded that the Shakers were using Southernwood medicinally as early as 1830. Southernwood was burned and the ashes were added to lard or oil and smeared on the face by young men to encourage beard growth. The leaves were strewn between clothes to deter months and other insects, hence the French name Garderobe.

Appearance: The leaves are green, feathery and aromatic with a bitter lemon scent

Parts Used: leaves

Collection: Harvest and dry in August and September. Cut stems and hang to dry.

Actions:  tonic, emmenagogue, antiseptic, bitter, anthelmintic and deobstruent.

Indications: induces or hastens menstrual flow, aids in digestion, expelling of parasitic worms, to clear or open the natural ducts of the fluids and secretions of the body.

Counter indications: Avoid during pregnancy, may cause contact dermatitis.

Cultivation: Perennial to zone 5. Plant 2 feet apart in slightly acidic, well drained soil. Propagation is by root division, layering or cuttings.

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Zones : 5-9

Plant Type: Perennial, Herb, Shrub

About Airmeith Naturals

Anna has over 25 years of experience working with herbs. She trained as a chef specializing in classical French cuisine. Anna has extensive knowledge of herbs used in cooking, as well as having researched the historic use of culinary herbs & spices. She is a Certified Community Herbalist who has completed multiple apprenticeships and classes with renowned Herbalists along with her own studies. Her concentration is in Western European Herbal Practices. She has attended college for Environmental Science as well as earning her certificate in Massage Therapy and is licensed in the state of Massachusetts. In addition, Anna is a Certified Reiki Master Teacher. Anna lives in Western Massachusetts with her family and has over an acre of gardens to play in. Anna is the herbalist at Airmeith Naturals in Holyoke Massachusetts
This entry was posted in Artemisia, Gardening, herbalism, Materia medica, Natural Health, Uncategorized, western Mass and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s