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  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World

GALE ( Myrica gale [L.] )
Names in Other Languages:

English Sweet gale, Candle berry, Bog myrtle
French Galè odorant, Myrique, Myrique baumier, Piment royal; Bois-sent-born (Canada)
German Gagel, Sumpfmyrte, Gagelstrauch
Spanish Mirto holandés, Mirto de Brabante
Italian Mirica
Turkish Kral Biberi
Japanese 谷地柳 Yatiyanagi

FAMILY: Myricaceae

ORIGIN:   : The plant is found in oligotrophic habitats of Northern Europe, Asia and North America.


Gale Plant

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

A deciduous, bushy shrub, growing to 4 feet high. The wood and leaves fragrant when bruised. The dried berries are put into broth and used as spice.A decidious shrub growing to 2m by 1m . It is hardy to zone 1.

USEFUL PARTS:


Gale shrubs
Leaves, fresh or dried. Gale leaves are densely covered with oil glands; in the picture on the right side, the glands appear as a grainy surface texture, which is, however, an artefact produced by the scanner. To the eye, gale leaves appear shining brown.










SENSORY PROPERTIES:

Gale leaves have a nice, pleasant aromatic smell that increases when the leaves are dried. The taste is similar, but also somewhat bitter and astringent The leaves are often dried to perfume linen, etc., their odour being very fragrant, but the taste bitter and astringent


MAIN CONSTITUENTS:

The leaves contain an essential oil rich in terpenes, but of varying composition. Main components are α-pinene, 1,8 cineol, myrcene and limonene; furthermore, β-cadinene, 11-selinene-4-ol, β-terpinene, p-cymene, caryophyllene, 4,11-selinadiene, β-elemenone, germacrone and others are reported.

MAIN USES IN FOOD PROCESSING:


Gale Leaves
Gale is used as a condiment and it is used as tea. Also the fruits of gale plant is edible. Gale leaves are used whole and steeped in soups and sauces, to be removed before serving to ensure that no bitter flavour is imparted. Gale is a good addition to boiled vegetable stews and legumes, but is less efficient for meat dishes. The most important application of gale was in the flavouring of beer. Beer was flavoured with a mixture of herbs and spices called gruit or grut, not only to alter the taste, but also to improve the durability.

The aromatic fruits and leaves are used either fresh or dried to flavour soups, stews etc. They are sometimes put in beer and ale to improve the flavour and increase foaming. The dried leaves make a delicate tea.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES:

The leaves of gale abortifacient, astringent, emmenagogue and stomachic properties. It has antimicrobial properties as well. The leaves have been used in France as an emmenagogue and abortifacient.The leaves are generally used as a tea, but they do contain a poisonous aromatic oil, so some caution is advised in their use.

Cautions :Myrica gale is listed as an abortifacient and, therefore, should not be consumed by women who are, or might be, pregnant

REFERENCES and SOURCES:

http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Myri_gal.html

http://www.aidanbrooksspices.blogspot.com/2007/10/gale.html

http://biotechpharmaceuticals.suite101.com/article.cfm/antibacterial_bog_myrtle_next_acne_cure

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/galswe03.html

http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Myrica+gale