Strong smell and taste. This is how we could simply define the medical sedum.
This herb has had its place in our kitchen for many centuries, especially for its healing abilities and unmistakable taste, which can turn ordinary food into extraordinary.
Read more about this versatile plant and find out how and what to use and process the individual parts.
What is a medicinal libacek?
This herb belongs to the same family as parsley, carrots and celery. We can find it not only in gardens and kitchens throughout Europe, but also in some eastern countries.
It is a perennial plant that is easy to grow due to its frost-resistant properties. The dark green leaves of the plant resemble cilantro and Italian parsley in shape and color. The stalks are often compared to stalked celery. The herb dominates and is known for its strong aromatic scent.
Libeček is incredibly versatile, as its leaves, stems and roots can be included among the parts that can be used for medicinal purposes. The herb is commonly processed into essential oils and can also be used in infusions, tinctures, vinegars and lozenges.
This medicinal herb can be consumed in its fresh form or its dried version can be used to flavor, enhance the taste and add nutrients to our cooked dishes.
How to recognize a lovebird?
Libeček is a herb that grows up to 2 meters tall, with a spread of about 1 meter. The plant produces tall, upright ribbed stems that divide into branches at the top. When the stem breaks, the hollow center is revealed.
Libeček grows from a strong fleshy root that resembles a carrot root and is gray-brown on the outside and whitish on the inside. All its parts, including the stems, flowers, root and leaves, are intensely aromatic.
What does the libecek taste like?
Imagine the combination of the taste of celery with a little parsley, but stronger. It is by no means a bland herb. In addition to the predominant celery flavor, Libeček also offers a bit of a citrus touch.
Medicinal effects of libečka
Libeček can act as a diuretic. The herb can stimulate urination (and help flush the bladder and kidneys) without losing vital electrolytes (such as sodium).
The plant is also thought to contain a calming substance called eucalyptol, which can help reduce lung irritation and promote healing of some types of respiratory ailments.
Among the other health benefits of libečka we can include:
- Treatment of stomach ailments
- Cough and respiratory disease
- Sore throat
- Colic (in young children)
- Urinary tract infection
- Kidney stones
- Diuretic effect
- Antibacterial properties
- Anti-inflammatory properties
Possible side effects
One common side effect involves a condition called photodermatitis. This occurs after the herb is eaten or applied to the skin and can cause the skin to become more sensitive to sunlight.
Since licorice is considered a diuretic (a substance that increases urine output), caution should be exercised in anyone with heart or kidney problems.
Recipes with Libeček
Libeček gets along well with a large number of ingredients.
The leaves can be used in salads, soups and anything containing pork, poultry and strongly flavored fish. You can add lovage leaves to many dishes that would require parsley, such as grilled or baked meats, baked dishes, stews, soups.
But be careful: libecek has a very strong aroma and taste. So start with one or two chopped leaves in a bowl so that the flavor of the dish is not overpowered by the flavor of the licorice and gradually add to taste.
The seeds can be used just like celery seeds. Both the seeds and leaves can also be added to the pickling liquid. Use them as fennel seeds or to flavor liqueurs. You can also crush them and add them to mixes with other spices.
The stalks and roots of lovage can be cooked and used with other root vegetables. Add the chopped stalks to egg or chicken salad, chicken stock, or boil them whole for pickling.
The oil from the roots of the plant is yellow or brownish. The root oil is resinous in nature, with a very strong floral scent and just a hint of celery-like fragrance. The essential oil of linden extracted from the leaves has a thinner consistency and gives off a sweet, spicy aroma.
Libeček, like other herbs, can be dried or frozen to extend its shelf life. Dried leaves will not be as aromatic as fresh, but they still add flavor to various dishes.
Add libeček to one of these recipes with eggs , flavor these garlic spreads with it or prepare this delicious and healthy recipe for cauliflower brains !
How to grow lovage
Sow the seeds in the soil immediately in the spring, as soon as the soil temperature reaches 15 degrees. You can also let the seeds germinate indoors and transplant the seedlings in late spring, after the last frost.
Be sure to plant Libeček in a place where it will have enough light. Partial sun will work in warmer climates, but full sun is ideal.
Libeček grows best in sandy, loamy soil. Water as often as needed to keep the soil moist but not wet.
What to replace the libecek with?
A combination of celery, parsley and celery seed (perhaps with a bit of lemon zest) will do a similar service.
How to store libecek?
To dry licorice, remove its leaves and store in a container that is sealed and airtight.
Fresh libecek can be stored in the refrigerator in a closed container for up to a week.
Storing the herb for a long time is possible by blanching the leaves and then placing them in a freezer bag and in the freezer.