A natural insect repellent, a herbal tea and more …

I can’t remember where this plant originally came from, perhaps a school or church fair. We always look for those little unusual treasures at such places and delight in finding out more about them. With the rather mysterious name Balm of Giliead, which sounds quite biblical; this plant occupies one end of a raised bed in our front garden. A good friend told me it can be “rather a thug”  and she is quite right, it needs constant taming (pruning) but isn’t invasive by self seeding.

I can’t remember where this plant originally came from, perhaps a school or church fair. We always look for those little unusual treasures at such places and delight in finding out more about them. With the rather mysterious name Balm of Giliead, which sounds quite biblical; this plant occupies one end of a raised bed in our front garden. A good friend told me it can be “rather a thug”  and she is quite right, it needs constant taming (pruning) but isn’t invasive by self seeding.

Balm of Gilead
Balm of Gilead

Balm of Giliead (Cedronella canariensis)  Family:  Mint (Lamiaceae) orihinates from the Canary Islands, off the north-west coast of Africa. It exudes a strong and memorable camphorous scent.so good to place in a position where you can pass by it and enjoy the aromatic leaves. The smallish pink flowers are loved by bees. This plant can be frost tender, so plant in a sheltered position so it can safely over winter

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I should mention a note of caution here, that Balm of Giliead is a name that seems to have been widely used for several groups of plants from the balsalm family including the willow and popular. Our plant, a perennial shrub is pictured below, make sure it is the same if you want to make a herbal tea from it.  It is a medicinal herb and can be used as an inhalant for the lungs as it has decongestant to aid breathing and chest complaints. It has also been used as a treatment for coughs and colds and can be taken as a tea infusion using the flowers and leaves. It enhances digestion and has pain relieving qualities. Sometimes it is used as a relaxant and antidepressant with its wonderful smell revives the spirits. Being fair skinned I am constantly under attack from biting insects.  The good news is this herb can used as an insect repellent, mozzies in particular dislike it.

 

So all in all, this is a most useful addition to any garden.

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