Chervil health benefits: might help you pass your exams!

   

Originally published on Herbal Medicine from Your Garden

Chervil in the wild may be confused with hemlock

Chervil in the wild may be confused with hemlock

Chervil has a number of Latin names, the correct one being Anthriscus cerefolium, though you may find it with the label Anthriscus longirostis, Chaerophyllum sativum or Scandix cerefolium. It’s sometimes called garden chervil (perhaps to distinguish it from Spanish chervil, another name for European sweet cicely, Myrrhus odorata, which is not closely related) or gourmet’s parsley – and again parsley is not closely related. There is another herb which is also sometimes called sweet chervil – the American sweet cicely, Osmorhiza longistylis. This is not closely related to any of the others. Just looking at these three herb names is a good example as to why latin names can be so important, particularly when talking about herbs used for medicine.

Chervil bears a strong resemblance to herb hemlock, which is highly poisonous, and for this reason neither seeds nor plants should be collected from the wild.

Chervil is one of the nine sacred herbs of Wicca.

Chervil is a biennial which reaches a height of around 16″ (45cm). It will grow in sun or shade, so long as the soil is well drained, though it does like a bit of moisture round its roots. It was a little known herb until celebrity chefs started promoting it a few years back. It’s now found in top notch salad bowls around the world, for which purpose, leaves should be cut about 8 weeks from sowing. Cut them hard, they will grow back happily. They’re also one of the main ingredients of “fines herbes”. Chervil leaves are no use dried, either use them fresh or freeze for later use.

Medicinally, chervil is a good tonic, anti-depressant and also a useful brain stimulant before exams or for the elderly. You can either eat the leaves or use them to make a standard infusion – about 3 handfuls of fresh leaves to 570ml (2½ US cups, 1 UK pint) of boiling water. Take one third of a cup (75ml) up to 3 times a day. The same infusion (cooled) can be used as an eyewash for sore, inflamed eyes.

I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I tell you that all herbs grown for medicinal purposes, Chervil included, should be grown organically to ensure that the active constituents remain pure and unadulterated by foreign chemicals. To find out more about growing organic chervil visit the Gardenzone.

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