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Salad Burnet is a beautiful herb that's a lot tougher than it looks. This seemingly fragile, whimsical-looking herb is cold hardy and is usually one of the first herbs ready in early Spring. Its preference for poor soil conditions and little water also make it an attractive filler plant for substandard areas. Thomas Jefferson saw the engineering potential in this plant and employed it to help fight erosion on the slopes near his home as well as to feed his livestock.
Related to the Rose family, Salad Burnet's beauty and aroma have made this herb a fond addition to gardens for centuries. Highly popular in Elizabethan England, it was used as a garnish for expensive wines and appetizers and was seen as a symbol of class and sophistication.Preferring partial shade and mild temperatures, intense sun and too much moisture will ruin Salad Burnett. The hotter the weather, the more bitter the plant's leaves become and too much water will cause the roots to rot. Try planting this pretty, delicate looking herb in a pot or container so you can adjust to changing temperatures!
Since the Medieval times Salad Burnett has been highly regarded for the belief that it could stop internal hemorrhaging and bleeding, and is commonly known as "blood drink" which is taken from its Latin name. Soldiers would drink teas and tonics made with Salad Burnet to stop wounds from bleeding and it was also used in anti plague tonics during outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague. Though the herb does possess astringent medical value it has never been proved to be effective to heal wounds or prevent contagious disease.
Used in culinary form, the plant's tender young leaves have a cucumber-like taste and compliment salads well. Though it tends to lose its flavor when dried, it can be frozen for preservation. With age, the leaves become more bitter so prune back the flowers to encourage new, more flavorful growth.