Smil Italian, or a 2-in-1 herb that you can easily replace with maggi and curry

An inconspicuous plant at first glance, but it adds intense flavor to soups, meat and salads.

It is popularly called maggi or curry herb for its specific aroma.

Italian smil is not only a spice, it is also used as a medicine.

What problems does it relieve?

Its tiny yellow flowers can also be easily dried like a straw.

Follow the footsteps of this interesting plant with us.

What is Italian clove?

Helichrysum italicum (Helichrysum italicum) is a hardy herb with strongly aromatic leaves that are used as a spice. Although it smells similar to curry, which is why it is popularly called curry herb, it is not botanically related to Murraya koenigii, or curry tree. In Bohemia, it is also called maggi herb or natural maggi, the reason being the similarity of its aroma with the liquid flavoring of the same name.

From a botanical point of view, the Italian comfrey belongs to the star family, it originally comes from the Mediterranean region, probably from Turkey. It blooms with tiny yellow flowers that are often used as straws because they retain their color even after drying.

As a spice, the maggi herb is used especially in Italian and French cuisine, mainly to flavor roast meat, fish, soups and salads. It can be used fresh or dried. In addition to cooking, it is also used in the production of perfumes and in medicine.

A flowering plant of Italian comfrey.

Kinds of mercy

In addition to the Italian smilus, we can meet several other species that resemble it in many ways in terms of appearance and use. The most famous include:

  • Helichrysum italicum – used as a spice, medicinal herb and decoration.

  • Sand smil (Helichrysum arenarium) – as the name suggests, it is characterized by sandy soil and a very dry and warm environment. It has fewer leaves and smaller flowers compared to the Italian comfrey. It grows wild in the wild.

  • Helichrysum petiolare – often grown as an overhanging plant in hanging pots, its leaves are larger and egg-shaped, flowers can be of different colors.

What does an Italian chameleon look like?

Put simply, at first glance this herb with its narrow silvery green leaves resembles rosemary or lavender. It is an evergreen plant that has the form of a small bush. It grows to a height of about sixty centimeters, in the summer and autumn months it blooms with small yellow flowers.

What does Italian smoky taste like?

The intense spicy aroma gave rise to the folk nicknames curry or maggi herb. The taste of Italian ambrosia is slightly bitter, slightly reminiscent of wormwood or sage. For this reason, it is advisable to use only a small amount of leaves or shoots when cooking and to remove them from food before consumption.

A close-up view of the silvery leaves of Italian sedum.

How to use Italian comfrey in cooking?

As the nickname maggi or curry herb already suggests, Italian sorghum can be used in cooking in all dishes in which you would use maggi or curry spices. Remember that less is more and always use only a few leaves or a small sprig or the herb will overpower all your other flavors.

  • It is very easy to add this herb to rice dishes. There are many variants of risotto recipes that you can make special with an Italian touch, both meat and meatless.

  • You can also appreciate the taste and aroma of Italian smilus when preparing stewed meat or stewed vegetables.

  • At Easter, you can liven up your favorite stuffing with maggi herb. Do you know how to prepare the best stuffing ? Use as many fresh herbs as possible in it, for example chives, nettles, parsley, sage, oregano or thyme.

  • From the point of view of meat, the curry herb will add aroma and flavor to poultry in particular. Try it in chicken roulade recipes .

  • Dried comfrey can be mixed with salt to make a very aromatic herbal salt.

Herb salt prepared from Italian comfrey with ingredients.

Own homemade maggi

If you leave sprigs of myrrh infused in oil for about two weeks and then add a little sugar to taste, you can easily make your own homemade maggi, which you can very easily use to flavor a whole range of dishes, from soups to sauces to meat.

Sweet corn syrup

You can also make syrup to flavor drinks or sweets. Bring 500 milliliters of water to a boil, throw in the smilus sprigs to infuse, then add 200 grams of sugar.

Drying and storage

As a spice, maggi herb can be used in fresh or dried form. The fresh form has a more intense aroma and taste, it is recommended to cut it especially after rain. If we want to have the herb at hand even in the winter months, it is enough to dry the shoots or leaves and store them in an airtight container in a dry and dark place.

Another use of Italian grace

In addition to cooking, you can use this plant in other ways. Since its tiny yellow flowers retain their vibrant color even after drying, it is used as a straw in a variety of decorations. It is best to dry them in the shade, hung with the flower down.

The intense aroma of amla repels insects. In the past, its twigs were therefore placed in wardrobes as protection against moths or hung on balconies or windows, where they served as a natural protection against mosquitoes.

Chamomile essential oil

Essential oil is obtained by distilling Italian comfrey flowers, which is used in aromatherapy and cosmetics, and is added to massage, bath and skin products. According to rumors, he already helped Odysseus in the regeneration of his body and mind.

Common comfrey essential oil often comes already diluted as a cream that you can apply directly to the skin. If it is a pure essential oil, dilute it with a carrier oil before use. You can also use a diffuser and inhale the “mist”. The essential oil is not suitable for consumption.

A bottle with oil prepared from the flowers of Italian sedum.

Chamomile tea

Tea can also be prepared from fresh and dried leaves of the maggi herb. In terms of intense taste and aroma, only a small amount is used, which is often combined with mint leaves. Pour hot water over their mixture and let it infuse for a few minutes. After straining, you can flavor the tea with lemon and honey. Tea is most often drunk in case of breathing problems, in order to clear the bronchial tubes.

What is the Italian elixir good for?

Italian comfrey has also been used as a medicine for centuries. The studies carried out mainly deal with the effects of the essential oil, which has an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect.

  • Allergies – Italian comfrey relieves allergy symptoms, especially contact dermatitis, which is a type of allergic rash caused by contact with an allergen.

  • Colds and coughs – the antimicrobial properties of the essential oil help fight colds and coughs. The best way to treat colds and coughs is inhalation.

  • Skin problems and wound healing – Italian comfrey is generally anti-inflammatory, so it may be able to treat skin inflammations and help wounds heal faster. It is recommended, for example, for the problem of acne. In addition, it slows down or stops the growth of a variety of bacteria that cause infections.

  • Digestive problems – the essential oil is traditionally used to treat a wide range of digestive problems, such as stomach aches, bloating, indigestion, reflux and constipation. It also contains substances that support the production of bile and the activity of the liver.

  • Muscle and joint inflammation – studies suggest that the essential oil may be able to reduce muscle and joint inflammation, such as arthritis or rheumatism, when rubbed into the affected area.

  • Insomnia – the aroma of Italian comfrey has calming and regenerative effects. For this reason, it is also used to make pillows that help with insomnia.

Cultivation of the Italian sweet corn

If you are interested in the use of Italian sedum, you can easily grow it in your garden. Due to its Mediterranean origin, it thrives especially in dry areas with stony soil. If you have, for example, a sunny rockery or a stony path in your garden, they will be the best place for him. But you can also grow it in a larger flowerpot.

Italian smil growing in a pot.

It is important not to overdo it with watering, it is susceptible to mold if overwatered. In the winter months, it is necessary to protect it from frost. For this reason, it is recommended to grow it as an annual or to transfer it indoors or to a greenhouse in winter. You can propagate Italian smoky either using cuttings or from seeds.

Milan & Ondra

We are both fans of good food and enjoy cooking. On this website, we want to inspire you with traditional, but also less common recipes. We will be happy if you try our recipes and let us know how you liked them. Bon appetite! :)