Benefits Of Costmary (Chrysanthemum Balsamita) For Health

Benefits Of Costmary (Chrysanthemum Balsamita) For Health


Costmary (Chrysanthemum Balsamita)


Costmary (Chrysanthemum Balsamita) is known as other name: Tanacetum balsamita, Pyrethrum balsamita, Alecost, Bible-leaf, Costmary, Sweet Tongue, Sweet Mary...

Costmary is a useful perennial herb that grows up to a height of one meter (three feet) and bears broad, greenish-gray, egg-shaped, perfumed leaves with saw-like borders. The plant bears yellowish, button-like blossoms that bear a resemblance to those of tans. The costmary flowers bloom in assorted groups between the later phases of summer to early autumn. Occasionally positioned in the genus Chrysanthemum, customary is usually used as a potherb (plants whose leaves or stems or flowers are cooked and used for food or seasoning) or salad green. In addition, at times this herb is used for potpourri, preparing tea or adding essence.

Benefits Of Costmary (Chrysanthemum Balsamita) For Health
Costmary (Chrysanthemum Balsamita) Picture

Costmary was originally cultivated in the Orient, but soon spread to sixteenth century England and later to the American colonies. Colonists used the leaves as bookmarks in their Bibles and prayer books. The plant earned its name as "bible leaf" from this practice.

Costmary was also used as a cure for dysentery, liver diseases, ulcers, and even consumption as late as the eighteenth century. Occasionally positioned in the genus Chrysanthemum, customary is usually used as a potherb (plants whose leaves or stems or flowers are cooked and used for food or seasoning) or salad green. Its leaves are used for flavoring foods and tea, and for their fragrance. Costmary is also said to be helpful as a moth preventative. In addition, at times this herb is used for potpourri, preparing tea or adding essence.


Legends, Myths and Stories of Costmary (Chrysanthemum Balsamita)


More than a thousand years ago, Costmary was taken from its native home of India and brought to Asia Minor. From there it was carried to most parts of Europe and then to the New World. It was reared in New England gardens and brought westward to the Rockies with civilization. Here the plant seems to have reached the end of its journey as well as popularity. It is now found mainly in the wild state on very old farm sites. Costmary is a handsome, silvery yellow green plant with scent similar to Spearmint. The plant forms clusters of base leaves with slender stalks of daisy like flowers. Formerly dried branches were tied with lavender and placed in chests and drawers as moth repellent and to give linens a fresh sweet scent. The leaves were used to make “sweete washing water.” Because of its taste and aroma, the herb was used to give ale a spicy flavor. For this reason, it was known also as Ale-cost.

The leaves of costmary are put in Bibles or in linens to give a sweet aroma. A leaf often served as a bookmark in the Bibles and prayerbooks of churchgoers. Costmary has always had a special place in Christianity. When the sermon grew boring and drowsiness set in, the sleepy listener treated self to a minty flavor of the costmary leaf in an effort to stay awake. Therefore, the nickname “Bible leaf” grew popular.

Ages ago, costmary leaves were dropped into a drooping pint of ale to bring the drink back to life. Very popular among beer drinkers.

Benefits Of Costmary (Chrysanthemum Balsamita) For Health
Costmary (Chrysanthemum Balsamita) Picture

The name of this sweet-smelling herb combines the Latin word costus (meaning fragrant root) with “Mary” the mother of Jesus. In medieval France costmary was called “Herbe Sainte-Marie”, but other references identify it with Mary Magdalene as often as the Virgin Mary. According to medieval legend, costmary was the balsam with which Mary Magdalene washed Jesus’ feet.

Originally found in the Orient, it was introduced into England in the 16th century and soon became extremely popular.

A relative of the “mums” with a minty flavor. A 220 year old book states: “Many people are fond of this herb in soups. The French used leaves to give fragrance to salads.” Found growing in New England and old home-sites. 

Benefits Of Costmary (Chrysanthemum Balsamita) For Health


Traditionally Costmary tea was taken with honey and cloves to ease pain and cramps.

Costmary have some what astringent and antiseptic properties, chiefly as an aperient, its use in dysentery being especially indicated.

Costmary was used to treat an assortment of ailments, including diarrhea,  liver, worms, colds, flu, fever, indigestion, gas, problems and to cure cerebral disorders. Many herbal medicinal practitioners have also prescribed the herb to bring on delayed menstrual periods.

Costmary ointment used for bruises, heals old ulcers, sores, dry itches, strains of veins and sinews, burns, the shingles, blisters, external vermin, and scabs. 

Costmary is Used as a bookmark in the Bible to keep pages free from moths and fish moths and to scent it with its minty, camphor refreshing fragrance.