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Costmary or alecost, a mint-like herb for cough and digestion

Costmary benefits

Costmary, also called alecost (Tanacetum balsamita), is a herbaceous perennial plant with a rhizome crown that produces a wide, dense bunch of healing flowers.

It is native to Europe and Asia Minor.

From it emanates a fragrance that is very similar to that of mint. In herbalism, the leaves of this herb are used for their digestive, diuretic and wound-healing properties.

Health benefits of costmary

  • Costmary health benefitsCostmary has acknowledged antispasmodic properties. It alleviates bouts of cough, bronchitis and intestinal spasms.
  • It is advised for its digestive properties in case of intestinal gas, flatulence and digestive disorders of any kind.
  • Thanks to its diuretic properties, costmary is effective in case of water retention.
  • Costmary infusions are excellent de-wormers.
  • Topical use in the form of oil (macerate dried leaves in olive oil) with costmary accelerates wound-healing for small cuts and soothes superficial burn wounds and insect bites.

Growing costmary for its health benefits

  • Costmary must be planted in full sun to boost the development of its leaves.
  • It grows in rather light and cool soil and only asks for little care.
  • Very hardy, costmary can be planted anywhere. It resists the cold very well.

Costmary in cooking for its properties

  • This herb can be used a bit like mint, even though the fragrance isn’t exactly the same. Take note that it tastes quite bitter though.
  • Fresh chopped costmary is paired with mixed salads, beef stew, green peas, potatoes and vegetable soup.
  • For sweet-toothed children, costmary is a delicious enhancement to fruit salad.

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY 2.0: Tim Green
Pixabay: Sirounian Armen
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