English Mace

English Mace (Achillea ageratum) is another old fashioned herb I grow and use. It shouldn’t be confused with the spice called mace, which is the outer husk of the nutmeg. This plant is a member of the yarrow family, and bears frothy white flowers.

It was a popular herb in the Middle Ages, when it was used as a sweetly scented strewing herb, scattered around the floor to freshen the air and repel lice and moths.  It is rather lovely dried and added to potpourris or added to dried flower arrangements. It was used in Mediaeval times to make ‘sweete washing water’, steeped in boiling water and strained off to make a scented water for washing the hands, especially at the table, when diners ate with their hands, rather than a knife and fork.

The leaves can be used (very sparingly as they have a strong flavour) in soups and stews, stuffings, rice dishes, or fresh in potato salads.

English Mace and Potato Salad

Chop up cooked new potatoes and spring onions and mix together. Combine mayo with finely chopped English Mace and use it to dress the potatoes.

© Anna Franklin


Author: annafranklinblog

Anna Franklin is the High Priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod, which runs teaching circles, a working coven, and the annual Mercian Gathering, a Pagan camp which raises money for charity. She regularly speaks at conferences, moots and workshops around the country. She is the author of many books on witchcraft and Paganism, including the popular Pagan Ways Tarot, Sacred Circle Tarot, The Fairy Ring, Herb Craft, Magical Incenses and Oils, Personal Power, A Romantic Guide to Handfasting, Familiars, The Oracle of the Goddess, Hearth Witch, The Path of the Shaman and The Hearth Witch’s Compendium. Anna’s books have been translated into nine languages.

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