An aromatic sweet tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves.An extract of the leaves is used as a flavouring in baked goods, sweets, ice cream and soft drinks.
The leaves are an aromatic pleasant tasting tonic herb that reduces spasms, expels phlegm and lowers fevers. They are especially recommended for treating diseases of the chest and respiratory system, including asthma, and are also used in the treatment of hay fever. A bitter tea made from the leaves has been much used as a bitter tonic and a stimulating balsamic expectorant. A steam bath made from the branches and leaves has been used in the treatment of rheumatism. A decoction of the leaves has been used as a wash for sore areas and painful fatigued limbs. A natural mouthwash is prepared by rolling the leaves into balls and allowing them to dry in the sun. These are then chewed and at first have a bitter flavour but this is soon replaced by a sweetness if a drink of water is taken. The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use.The plant has been smoked as a remedy for asthma.
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This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to about -5°c. It is probably best grown against a sunny wall. If the plant needs pruning to keep it within bounds, then this is best carried out in spring or early summer. Do not cut back to wood more than 2 years old.This plant is remarkable for the coating of varnish-like resin that covers the upper leaf surface. The foliage is very aromatic.
Problems, pests & diseases
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