Product: Ladies Bedstraw
Latin Name: Galium verum
Plant Family: Rubiaceae
Other Names: Lady’s Bedstraw, Our Lady's Bedstraw, Yellow Bedstraw, Maid's Hair, Petty Mugget, Frigg's Grass, Gul Snerre, Cheese Renning & Cheese Rennet.
Description: A low, scrambling, herbaceous, perennial native to Europe, western Asia and also found in North America. It reaches a height of 120cm, its leaves are up to 3cm in length, dark green in colour and glossy, they form whorls around the stem and have a fine hairy coating on the undersides. The flowers are bright yellow in colour, comprised of 4 petals, 2–3 mm in diameter and are borne in dense clusters.
Brief History: The old herbalists held this plant in high regard as a treatment for epilepsy and hysteria, it was also used in ointment was used as John Gerard points out ‘is good for anointing the weary traveller.' Sprigs of the herb were also put in shoes to help prevent bunions. It was another herb favoured by the Elizabethan’s as a strewing herb, the coumarin that the plant gives off helps to deter fleas and moths, for this reason dried ladies bedstraw was also used to fill mattresses.
The plant can be used as a vegetable rennet, they flowers were once used as a colouring agent in some varieties of cheese. A red dye can be obtained from the roots although it isn’t as easily to collect or get viable quantities. The stems provide a yellow dye used in the food industry.
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