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Sweet Vernal Grass (Anthoxanthum odoratum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Sweet Vernal Grass
Anthoxanthum odoratum

The aromatic leaves and dried flowers are used as a strewing herb, they are also woven into baskets[169, 257] and used in pot-pourri[238].

The plant contains coumarin – this is used medicinally and also in rat poisons where it prevents the blood from co-aggulating and thus means that the slightest cut can kill the rat[13].

  • Medicinal Use

    The whole plant, and especially the flowering stems, is anticoagulant, antispasmodic and stimulant[9, 13]. It is normally only applied externally, where it is used in the treatment of rheumatic pain, chilblains, nervous insomnia etc[9].

    It is said that a tincture made from this grass with spirit of wine is an effective and immediate cure for hay fever[4, 240].

  • Edible Use

    Seed[105, 177]. The seed is very small and its use would be fiddly[K].

    A tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[144]. A sweet pleasant fragrance[183]. Some caution is advised, see notes at top of the page.

  • Cautionary Notes

    The plant contains coumarins, this is what gives it the scent of newly mown hay. When used internally, especially from dried plants, it can act to prevent the blood from co-aggulating[13].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow April in situ, only just covering the seed. The seed usually germinates in 2 – 3 weeks[134]. Division in spring. Very easy, it can be done successfully at almost any time of the year, though it is best to pot up the divisions in a cold frame if you are doing it outside the growing season.
Succeeds in most soils[200]. Dislikes shade. This is one of the earliest grasses to flower in the year, it produces a lot of pollen and is a major irritant to people who suffer from hay fever[4]. The dried plant releases a strong and persistent fragrance with a refreshing pungent smell that is difficult to describe but is somewhat like newly-mown hay[245].
Most of Europe, including Britain, south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.