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Costmary (tanacetum balsamita)

A herb from the compositae family, originating in Western Asia, with a strong minty scent and bitter flavour. The name, by introducing a proper name for motherhood, conveys the plant"s traditional use as a tisane relaxant during childbirth. It was also used in medieval beer making, to clarify, preserve and impart an astringent minty flavour to beer (hence one of its names "alecost") - the second syllable "cost" comes from kostos, Greek for "spicy". Literally "alecost" means "a spicy herb for ale". Bible leaf came about as the leaves were used as bible marks by the Puritans. See 'Cosmary; in cooking'; 'Costmary; Medicinally'

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