COSTMARY (Chrysanthemum balsamita syn. Tanacetum
Cultivation – Well drained to dry, stony soil in the
Sun. This plant can be invasive
Propagation – Seed sown in Spring. Division in
Spring or Autumn. Basal cuttings in Spring.
Semi-ripe cuttings in Summer
Harvest – Whole plants are cut when flowering.
Leaves are picked as required
Dimensions – 90cm high. 60cm wide.
Internal – This herb is obselete today but was once
used internally as a liver and gall bladder remedy
External – Insect stings
Culinary – Fresh leaves are used sparingly in
salads, dressings, meat and vegetable dishes. Dry
leaves can be used in herbal teas
Magical – None found
FOLKLORE AND HISTORY
This herb while rarely used these days was used in the
Middle Ages to flavour beer, hence the other name of
Alecost given to it. This herb can be used to scent
rinsing water for the hair or to scent the bath water.
It has digestive properties so can be used sparingly
as a culinary herb. The leaves of this plant were
once used as fragrant bookmarks (hence the name
Bibleleaf). The word ‘cost’ comes from the Sanskrit
‘kustha’ which translates to ‘an aromatic plant’.
While ‘mary’ refers to the fact that this plant was
once dedicated to the Virgin Mary
The Royal Horticultural Society New Encyclopedia
of Herbs and Their Uses by Deni Bown (ISBN
0751333867) Published by DK
The Essential Herb Garden (Growing and Using Herbs
in Australia) by Gilian Painter (ISBN 1854290455)
Published by Millennium Books
The Complete New Herbal by Richard Mabey (ISBN
0140126821) Published by Penguin Books
Disclaimer: This is for reference guide only.
Herbs can be used effectively for mild ailments but
medical advice should be consulted first to rule out