Originally published on Herbal Medicine from Your Garden
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.
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.