Sweet Cicely is often overlooked except by fishermen who know it’s secret. The herb has a strong Anise flavor and is often incorporated into chum of made into a liquid to spray on artificial lures. Some of the old timers would swear by their Anise. The common creek chub here ( also known as a Red Fin Sucker ) isn’t considered to be a game fish so there’s less restrictions on the harvest. Most people go after the little ones to use as bait fish but they do get pan sized in some streams. And you can’t really tell the difference between this little member of the carp family and tilapia which is also a type of carp. Where the Sweet Cicely comes in is a coworker a long time ago who saved an empty soda bottle and drilled holes in it with a hot wire. He’d place his secret “anise mix” in the bottle along with something to weigh it down. With a string tired to the bottle to keep it from washing away He’d toss it into the water and them approach from downstream with a large gig and hunt the chubs that were attracted to the anise smell.
Traditionally, the root can be cooked as a vegetable and fed to people who are having trouble gaining weight.
The stems are also eaten in the same way while the leaves and unripe seeds are used for their anise flavor.
Neduxinally, sweet cicely is for sure throats and coughs by simply chewing on the root. And it’s used on simple skin ailments like boils. A tea made from the roots has also been used to sooth sore eyes.
A major word of caution when dealing with any member of the parsley family. It would be really easy to confuse it with poison hemlock which has purple spots and hollow stems & roots.
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