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Sweet Grass, Holy Grass, Vanilla Grass (Hierochloe odorata)
£3.25 – £8.95
Attractive, sweet-scented grass found in damp spots in colder areas in both hemispheres.
Prefers a sunny but damp position in a rich soil but succeeds in most soils including quite dry conditions. Root system can spread aggressively when grown in suitable conditions – containing may be necessary.
Traditionally used as a strewing herb throughout Northern Europe – where it was was strewn before church doors on saints’ days and also used as incense to scent churches on Holy Days. Sweet grass is widely used by Indigenous peoples from many different Nations in North America.
The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use. As it dries it emits a strong scent of freshly mown hay. Basketweavers sun-dry cut sweet grass until it is dry and brittle. It is then soaked in warm water until it becomes pliable. The pliable grass is typically braided into thick threads and then re-dried for use.
A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers, coughs, sore throats. It has been used as a flavouring for a wide range of foods and drinks. Sweet Grass has been used as an insect repellent in clothes cupboards and the leaves can be soaked in water to make a tonic hair wash.