• The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World

CICELY ( Myrrhis odorata [L.] Scop. )
Names in Other Languages:

English Sweet cicely, Anise cicely, Spanish chervil, Sweet chervil, Anise chervil, Garden myrrh, Sweet scented myrrh
French Cerfeuil d’Espagne, Cerfeuil musqué, Cerfeuil odorant
German (Wohlriechende) Süßdolde, Spanischer Kerbel, Myrrhenkerbel
Italian Cerfoglio di spagna, Felce muschiata, Finocchiella, Mirride odorosa
Turkish Misk Maydanozu
Japanese ミリス Mirisu

FAMILY: Apiaceae

ORIGIN:   : The plant is originated fromWestern Europe. It is a common garden plant in parts of Western Europe, mainly Scandinavia.

Cicely leaf and unripe fruits

Cicely leaves and flowers

Cicely is a herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 2 m tall. The leaves are finely divided, feathery, up to 50 cm long. The flowers are white, about 2-4 mm across, produced in large umbels. The seeds are slender, 15-25 mm long and 3-4 mm broad.


Leaves, mostly used fresh. The unripefruits are a good substitute for anise.


It has a strong fragrance and sweet taste particularly the stem parts. In the unripe seeds fragrance and taste are very strong.


Cicely leaves contain an essential oil (0.05%), which is rich in the phenylpropanoids anethole (85%) and methyl chavicol.


Since it is tolerant to cold it is a useful herb for cooks in Scandinavia, where it provides fresh fragrant leaves nearly all year even in Iceland and the Faroe islands. Cicely fruits are a good substitute for anise, fennel or liquorice.

The leaves may be used as a replacement for chervil, although they give a much more dominant aroma. Cicely is an essential ingredient of the fines herbes of French cuisine. In Scandinavia, cicely is common to flavour stewed fruits. Cicely fruits and stalks may also partly substitute for sugar because of their naturally sweet taste.


Cicely plants in flower
Cicely is aromatic, stomachic, carminative and expectorant. It is used extensively by Native American Indian tribes to treat digestive disorders and as an antiseptic wash for a range of problems. Sweet Cicely is medicinal and edible, the root being the strongest for use in alternative medicine it is antiseptic, aromatic, febrifuge, oxytocic, pectoral, stomachic, carminative, tonic, ophthalmic, and expectorant.

Medicinal tea made from the root is a very good digestive aid and is a gentle stimulant for debilitated stomachs. A weak herb tea is used to bath sore eyes. A strong infusion has been used to induce labor in a pregnant woman and to treat fevers, indigestion, flatulence, stomach aches. The crushed root is an effective antiseptic poultice for the treatment of boils and wounds. A medicinal cough syrup can be made of the fresh juice and honey, it is very effective and quite tasty, children take it readily. The leaves and flowers are edible in salad and add a great flavor, or boiled and eaten as a pot herb. The root is eaten raw or dried and ground for use as spices.