Sweet Woodruff: Explore its History, Uses, & Benefits

What is Sweet Woodruff?

Have you ever heard of Sweet Woodruff? This unique herb has a long and fascinating history, dating back to ancient times. Used for everything from flavoring beer to treating ailments, Woodruff has been a staple in many cultures for centuries. Despite its popularity, many people are still unaware of its unique flavor and benefits. As a copywriter and content writer, I’ve had the pleasure of diving deep into the world of Woodruff, exploring its rich history and uncovering its many uses. In this article, I’ll take you on a journey through the world of Woodruff, unlocking its secrets and revealing why this one-of-a-kind herb is a must-try for any foodie or health enthusiast. From its traditional uses in German May wine to its potential health benefits, we’ll explore all that Woodruff has to offer. So, sit back, relax, and get ready to discover the magic of Woodruff.

History & Background

Woodruff, also known as sweet woodruff or Galium odoratum, is a low-growing perennial plant that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Its name comes from the Old English word “wudrofe,” which means “woodruff.” In ancient times, Woodruff was used by the Greeks and Romans for its medicinal properties. It was believed to have a calming effect on the mind and was often used to treat nervous disorders.

Throughout history, Woodruff has been used for a variety of purposes. In Europe, it was used to flavor beer and wine, and in Germany, it is still used to flavor the traditional May wine. In medieval times, Woodruff was used as a strewing herb, which means it was scattered on the floor to help mask unpleasant odors.

Sweet Woodruff flavor profile

So what is woodruff flavor? Well, it has a unique flavor profile that is difficult to describe. It has a sweet, slightly vanilla-like taste, with hints of spice and earthiness. Some people describe it as having a flavor that is similar to fresh hay. The flavor of Woodruff is most pronounced when it is fresh, and it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Dried Sweet Woodruff Herb

100% natural Dried Sweet Woodruff Herb.

Infuse to make a refreshing tea or add as a flavor to ice creams and desserts. Perfect for adding to soups and stews, or using in a marinade rub for chicken.

This is also organic, Non-GMO, gluten-free, no sugar or additives.

50 grams of flavor in a resealable packet.

Is Sweet Woodruff good for you?

Sweet Woodruff has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and diuretic properties. It has also been used to treat digestive issues, such as upset stomach and diarrhea. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of Woodruff.

It is important to note that Woodruff contains coumarin, a compound that can cause liver damage in large doses. Therefore, it is recommended to use Woodruff in moderation and to consult with a healthcare professional before using it for medicinal purposes.

Sweet Woodruff in traditional and modern medicine

Woodruff has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It was believed to have a calming effect on the mind and was often used to treat nervous disorders. It was also used to treat digestive issues and to improve liver function.

In modern medicine, Woodruff is being studied for its potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has also been studied for its potential use in treating liver disease.

Cooking with Sweet Woodruff

Sweet Woodruff can be used in a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory. In Germany, it is often used to flavor May wine, a sweet white wine that is traditionally drunk in the spring. It can also be used to flavor desserts, such as ice cream, panna cotta, and custard.

Try using it in savory dishes, such as soups and stews. It also pairs well with chicken, pork, and lamb, and can add a unique flavor to vegetarian dishes, such as risotto and pasta.

When using it in cooking, it is important to use it in moderation, as its flavor can be quite strong. It is also best to use it fresh, as the flavor can deteriorate quickly.

Recipe ideas using Sweet Woodruff

Cultivation and harvesting

Sweet Woodruff is a relatively easy herb to grow. It prefers partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. It can be propagated by seed or by dividing existing plants. In the right conditions it can grow quite vigorously, so it is best to plant it in a contained area or in a pot.

It is typically harvested in the spring, when the leaves are at their peak flavor. It is important to harvest the leaves carefully, as they are delicate and can bruise easily.

Sweet Woodruff in perfumery and aromatherapy

Sweet Woodruff has a sweet, floral scent that makes it a popular ingredient in perfumes and fragrances. It can also be used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Common uses

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, it has a variety of other uses. It can be used as a natural dye, producing a yellow-green color. It can also be used as a natural insect repellent, and can be added to potpourri and sachets for its fragrance.

Alternatives for Sweet Woodruff

If you are unable to find Sweet Woodruff, there are a few substitutes that you can use. Some people suggest using vanilla or almond extract, as they have a similar flavor profile. Others suggest using mint or lemon balm, which can add a fresh, herbal flavor to dishes.

Have a look at our substitutes section for ideas on what other ingredient you can use in place of sweet woodruff.


In conclusion, Sweet Woodruff is a unique and versatile herb that has been used for centuries for its flavor and medicinal properties. Its sweet, vanilla-like taste can add a unique flavor to both sweet and savory dishes, and its potential health benefits make it a valuable addition to any diet. While it should be used in moderation due to its coumarin content, Sweet Woodruff is a must-try for any foodie or health enthusiast. Whether you use it to flavor May wine, add a unique twist to a dessert, or to promote relaxation in aromatherapy, Sweet Woodruff is a one-of-a-kind herb that is worth exploring.