Cicely is an herbaceous perennial plant with soft white flowers. All parts of this plant can be eaten, from the flowers to the roots, which makes it very versatile to have around.
Not only does it make a pretty border in your herb garden, but this anise-scented plant has health benefits too! It's been used medicinally for centuries for a range of minor and more serious ailments.
Drinking tea brewed from the leaves of the cicely plant is said to promote easy breathing and alleviate respiratory tract infections like the flu or common cold. It may aid more severe respiratory conditions like bronchitis and asthma as well.
Cicely contains vitamins and antioxidants and has antibacterial properties, which all help soothe a cold, especially as a warming tea.
Cicely's roots in particular can serve as a sugar replacement or to add more sweetness to baking or cooking. Cicely seeds are also known for tasting like little candies and make a great snack.
Cicely comes from the Apiaceae herb family, which is known to be a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids. This profile, in combination with the sweet taste, makes it a great culinary herb. Research is striving to determine if the herb could be used by people with diabetes or hypoglycemia.
Like many edible plants, cicely contains phytochemicals with antioxidant properties. The herb also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron, and phosphorus. All parts of this plant are edible, so you can get your nutrients in by eating the leaves and flowers raw in a salad or cooking them into a stir fry. The roots can be cooked into a stew, like you would a parsnip or carrot.
The essential oils in cicely have antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties, making it the perfect plant to assist in wound healing. The roots of cicely can be boiled to extract a healing elixir you can apply to inspect bites, or scrapes and cuts on the skin.
Cicely has long been used to treat urinary tract infections. This is because the plant has diuretic properties that can help eliminate toxins in the bloodstream. When a person brews the leaves and drinks them as a tea, cicely may help relieve these symptoms. There is, however, minimal research supporting this particular benefit.
With its aniseedy, licorice flavor, cicely has long been known to settle an upset stomach and can be drunk as a tea to ease discomfort or aid digestion after a heavy meal. The herb is often added to digestives or aperitifs as a palate cleanser between courses or after a meal.
Cicely has a good amount of non-heme iron and may help increase this mineral in the diet — though it should be noted that the body does not absorb iron from plant foods as readily as it does from animal sources.
The leaves of the cicely plant can be cooked much like spinach and added to dishes to provide flavor and an extra dose of iron, which is important for the production of red blood cells.
Apart from providing relief with digestion after a meal, cicely is said to promote the health of the digestive system and help protect against stomach ulcers. Eating cicely raw and drinking as a tea may help neutralize stomach acid and create a harmonious environment in your gut where good bacteria can thrive.
Cecily is a hardy plant and can take over a herb garden if left to its own devices, as it drops many seeds once it has flowered. The plant grows quickly and thrives best in cooler climates. It likes a lot of watering, and it's best to use organic fertilizer if you plan to harvest and consume the plant.
Cecily has soft, fern-like leaves and is a part of the Apiaceae botanical family, which includes caraway and parsley.
It has its origins in the mountainous areas of Central and Southern Europe.
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