The Asperula is a perennial plant, it grows up to a height of about 30 centimeters and has a thin but erect stem that does not tend to fall downwards, it is endowed with a quadrangular stem, its leaves are lanceolate, not very large and elongated, of a rather intense green color, they have a rough surface and are arranged in a radial pattern, grouped in quantities ranging from six to eight leaves and are arranged in the shape of a star.
The flowers of the woodruff are quite small and white in color, they too come together in small groups of inflorescences with the stem, the corolla is made up of four petals, they bloom only for a short period during the spring, from the beginning of April until mid-June or early July when the heat starts to get too intense.
This plant is native to Europe and western Asia, it is particularly widespread because in Italy it finds climatic conditions favorable to its growth and also because it does not require much care. In fact it grows spontaneously at altitudes between 400 and 1600 meters, it is widespread practically all over Italy and finds its preferential position in Tuscany in the undergrowth of woods mainly constituted by broad-leaved and beech trees, loves shady areas and does not need large quantities of water.
The Asperula usually grows spontaneously but can also be cultivated, both in full ground and in pots. It is generally used as a decorative plant because it acts as a ground cover for flower beds, borders and rocky flower beds, in fact it expands to occupy all the space at its disposal. If placed in a vase it will instead form a round, dense and compact bush giving it a soft and pleasant appearance.
The plant does not need great care to grow healthy and lush: the Asperula should be placed in a rather shady position, so as to receive direct sunlight for a short period during the day. It tolerates the heat while it suffers from the cold and it is for this reason that with the arrival of the winter season it must be covered.
The soil must be rich, it is advisable to periodically add organic fertilizer, mature manure at the time of planting and liquid fertilizer during the vegetative period by diluting the fertilizer in the water of the waterings a couple of times a month, if possible the solution it is better to use rainwater.
The Asperula requires a moist but drained soil because it is subject to radical rot in the case of stagnation of water: it is advisable to wet the plant quite frequently but not too abundantly, waiting for the soil to dry between one watering and the next.
• Use of dried plants
There are many uses for this herbaceous plant, thanks to its many properties.
The most well-known and evident is its scent (which also depends on its scientific name) which, however, is not felt when the plant is fresh if not minimally, for this reason it is dried and then used to make perfumed sachets like those which are composed for example with lavender to be used as perfumers for linen drawers, as moth-proofers or to keep away many types of insects.
The plant can be harvested when it is in full bloom and is placed in small bunches, the bunches are then hung with the stem at the top and placed in a room, even small, airy and dark: the plant will dry over time some days taking on a dark color and fully releasing its scent.
Other uses that are made when the flower is dried is to add it in small quantities to pipe tobacco to vary the smell of the tobacco and its taste or add some flowers to the pot-pourri compounds to fix the perfume.
Asperula: Property and other uses
The woodruff also has beneficial therapeutic properties, in fact it is used in medical preparations for gastrointestinal and antispasmodic uses.
This plant contains a large amount of vitamin C, particularly in the leaves, fats, pigments and coumarins.
The most frequent use that is made of it is in detoxifying treatments, taken as an infusion, using the entire plant including the flowers but with the exception of the roots. The Asperula has in fact tonic and sedative properties, but above all diuretic, purifying and detoxifying properties.
Therefore the infusion of Asperula can be taken in cases of difficult digestion or in cases of colic in children of few months of life, it can also be taken when one feels agitated or nervous because it has the ability to calm.
In some countries of Northern Europe the Asperula is macerated in wine to obtain a very pleasant variant with tonic and digestive properties.
The fresh leaves can also be used in the care of cuts, bruises and wounds thanks to their toning and soothing virtues: you can prepare a dough by squeezing and chopping the leaves well washed and dried and apply it directly on the affected area, the benefit will be almost immediate.