Cow Parsley

Cow Parsley
Name: Anthriscus sylvestris
 Type: Biennial
 Warning: Confused with HEMLOCK

 

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Cow Parsley is a hollow-stemmed, tall plant that grows rapidly in the summer before dying back. It likes shady habitats in particular, and can be found decorating woodland edges, roadside verges and hedgerows with masses of frothy, white flowers. These flower umbels (umbrella-like clusters) appear from May until June

Cow Parsley also known as wild chervil, belongs to the carrot family –it has frothy finely cut leaves, hollow furrowed stems, and heads of delicate white flowers. Cow parsley is often called Devil’s parsley, which may be because it has a close resemblance to hemlock (same family), which is a highly poisonous white flower closely linked with witchcraft. Care should be taken if you are picking it & taking back to your horses that you have the right plant. From a people point of view; Cow Parsley’s cultivated cousin, chervil, a well known culinary herb, can be made into infusions, which can be used in to treat water retention, stomach upsets and some forms of skin eruption and it is also said to promote wound healing. Chervil water is prepared commercially and used for babies as a constituent of gripe treatments. Whilst Cow parsley is also rumored to be a natural mosquito repellent when applied directly to the skin. It took me a while to try and find any reference to cow parsley & feeding it to horses, I knew it wasn’t poisonous but I wanted to find out what benefits it had. I finally found it mentioned in Chris Dyer’s book, Plants, potions and Oils for Horses:
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He says “…with properties similar to fennel. You can feed as much as you like and it will aid digestion, has calmative properties and speeds the healing process.” Well thats all good news as far as Jasper & his sarcoids are concerned. Sadly cow parsley doesn’t dry very well and so can’t be stored so its well worth taking your horses out & letting them take advantage of this beneficial free herb while its here. Its a good idea to avoid the stuff beside busy roads not just from a safety point of view, but also it will be contaminated with exhaust fumes. Until next time, enjoy the cow parsley,

 

 

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