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Lady’s Bedstraw (Galium verum)
I was amazed when I came across this plant on one of my walks, as it drew my attention with a lovely honeyed scent. The clouds of soft yellow flowers were in a large sunny patch on the top of a small hill and were very inviting to sit next to and rest.
Lady’s bedstraw was once used for stuffing mattresses before the days of wire springs or feathers, as the dried plant retains a scent of fresh hay. The name appears to come from a medieval Christian legend about the birth of Christ, rather than it’s usefulness in mattresses. I’ve read two versions, either that it was used to line baby Jesus’ cradle, or that the Virgin Mary made a bed of Lady’s Bedstraw to lie on when she gave birth.
As well as being used in cheese production, to give an added sweet flavour and a delicate yellow colour, Lady’s Bedstraw was also used as a medicine. The famous 17th century physician Culpeper says a decoction of the flower eases urinary infections and the crushed plant can be used as a compress to staunch a nosebleed. He also recommends a decoction of the whole plant to bathe the feet of weary travellers and ‘lacquies’ (servants) "whose long running causes weariness and stiffness in the sinews and joints".
There doesn’t seem to be a flower essence of Lady’s Bedstraw, which seems a shame, as it seems a very sunny and restful flower.
[Complete Herbal, Culpeper; A Modern Herbal, Mrs M Grieve]

Lady’s Bedstraw (Galium verum)

I was amazed when I came across this plant on one of my walks, as it drew my attention with a lovely honeyed scent. The clouds of soft yellow flowers were in a large sunny patch on the top of a small hill and were very inviting to sit next to and rest.

Lady’s bedstraw was once used for stuffing mattresses before the days of wire springs or feathers, as the dried plant retains a scent of fresh hay. The name appears to come from a medieval Christian legend about the birth of Christ, rather than it’s usefulness in mattresses. I’ve read two versions, either that it was used to line baby Jesus’ cradle, or that the Virgin Mary made a bed of Lady’s Bedstraw to lie on when she gave birth.

As well as being used in cheese production, to give an added sweet flavour and a delicate yellow colour, Lady’s Bedstraw was also used as a medicine. The famous 17th century physician Culpeper says a decoction of the flower eases urinary infections and the crushed plant can be used as a compress to staunch a nosebleed. He also recommends a decoction of the whole plant to bathe the feet of weary travellers and ‘lacquies’ (servants) "whose long running causes weariness and stiffness in the sinews and joints".

There doesn’t seem to be a flower essence of Lady’s Bedstraw, which seems a shame, as it seems a very sunny and restful flower.

[Complete Herbal, Culpeper; A Modern Herbal, Mrs M Grieve]

Apologies, lovelies! It’s been such a long time since I put a post up on here. I’ve been caught up in all sorts of other things over the last two months and have been very neglectful.

Work has been very consuming and I think I needed a little time away from the computer in my rest time, getting involved with craft projects and spending time in nature, instead.

I’ve been learning how to make wire-wrapped rings just for fun, hand-dyed and distressed a skirt for a ‘wood fairy’ costume, visited a megalithic site in Kent, and spent lots of time at my local country park learning to recognise the wildflowers* (this photoset shows bramble, St John’s wort, yarrow and hedge bedstraw).

I think I’ve learnt quite a lot over the last few months, so more posts will be on their way soon!

* my wildflower studies are all on my instagram @smallblackcats.

PS Hello new followers! Thanks for your patience. I hope you enjoy my posts. My ask is always open if anyone has any questions, particularly on plant lore, wildflowers and British folk customs.