Sweet Cicely - Myrrhis odorata
Also known as garden myrrh
This plant has a beautiful sweet aniseed like flavour - that lends itself well to fruit and vegetable salads alike.
Simply add the leaves to salads
For an unusual desert you could add some raw leaves to a bowl of fruit salad.
It can also be boiled to make a sweet mild tea that provides the perfect finish to main meals and it makes a wonderful snack just to nibble on between meals.
Practice mindful eating
The soft, feathery and delicate leaves remind me of the gentle touch of nature, the ability to tune into the softest most subtle physical senses. Plants connect with us on the material level as food, but they also stir up subtle feelings and senses that are all too easy to miss. Try just feeling the leaves with your eyes closed, when you taste the leaves see if you can tune into an overtone of sweetness - like an afterglow of aniseedy sweetness that seems to infuse the subtlest part of yourself. Some plants demand presence with their softness - this is one such plant. Don’t just shovel it in your mouth with a harsh metal fork and chew it mindlessly…..pick it up gently with your fingers and eat it slowly, with an appreciation for its most subtle offerings. If you make it into a tea, sip it slowly and gently, taking the time to let the flavour make its way through you.
It is one of the main ingredients used in the famous liqueur known as Chartreuse first made by Carthusian monks in the 18th century.
The compound that gives Sweet cicely its sweet flavour is Anethole
To quote a scientific paper regarding Anethole:
In the last few years, various studies have revealed multiple beneficial effects of anethole for human health, such as anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and chemopreventive, antidiabetic, immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, or antithrombotic, that are mediated by the modulation of several cell signaling pathways, mainly NF-kB and TNF-α signaling, and various ion channels (1)
This is truly a special plant.
Note of caution: We have a professional team of well trained foragers collecting this item, do not gather this for yourself without adequate training in plant identification. It can easily be confused with poison hemlock by the inexperienced forager.