Last updated: August 10, 2021
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There are some spice plants that have already fallen into oblivion. One of them is the cola herb. Due to its intensely bitter taste, it is no longer traditionally used for cooking. Nevertheless, it is suitable for intensively seasoning all kinds of meat dishes.

With our big cola herb test 2022 we want to help you find the right kind of cola herb for you. We have compared the different ways of using the herb to make your purchase decision easier.


  • Cola herb (also known as rowan) is a rather extinct spice. It smells aromatically of cola and bears its flowers from July to October.
  • The taste of the spice is very bitter, which is why it should be consumed as needed. The shrub of the cola herb grows from 60cm to 150cm in height. It is available as a spice or tea in some online shops, but can also be bought as a whole shrub.
  • The herb has also been proven to have antibacterial properties in medicine and has often been used to treat illnesses and symptoms since the Middle Ages.

The Best Cola Herb: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying cola herb

What is cola herb?

Cola herb, also called rowan, is a type of plant. It is considered a medicinal and spice plant and has a rather intensely bitter taste.

Its appearance includes many branched, upright-growing stems with stalked leaves. The smell of the plant is a very aromatic one, due to the essential oils it contains.

The cola herb includes the following ingredients:

  • Essential oils (piperitone, pinene, cineole, abrotanine, linalool, thujone, sabinene)
  • Bitter substances
  • Flavonoids
  • Coumarins
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Alkaloids
The main ingredient is usually cineole with up to 60%, or thujone with up to 70%.

Artemisia abrotanum, as the cola herb is also scientifically called, belongs to the daisy family. However, it is not as popular as herbs that are somewhat midler, such as oregano or basil. Nevertheless, it has proven itself in naturopathy and is suitable, among other things, for rather heartier meat dishes.

Cola herb sowing time is from April to May, while the flowering and harvesting time is from July to October. During this time, the flowers take on a white to yellow colour. As a semi-shrub, it can take on sizes between 60cm to 150cm.

Is cola herb healthy?

Cola herb has proven to be very useful in medicine. It was already used frequently in the Middle Ages, although it was called staffwort. It became popular because it was used again and again for the following complaints:

  • Hair loss
  • Chest pain
  • Intestinal parasites (worms)
  • Tumours
  • Pneumonia
  • Shortness of breath
  • general sores
Anti-inflammatory properties are mainly present in cola herb due to the flavonoids it contains.

It was also increasingly used by mothers after the birth of their child. Cloths were soaked in a decoction of stavewort and placed on the skin as a poultice.

Cola herb contains anitbacterial properties, which are caused by its ingredients. These anitbacterial properties have been proven by studies.

What does cola herb cost?

Cola herb is offered in different types. It is important to distinguish between whether you want to buy it as a tea, a spice or a plant.

Boar's rue as a tea, which can also be used as a spice, starts at 5.60€/100 grams. and goes up to about 20€/gram, depending on the dosage and quality. Due to the higher price, rowan is definitely more expensive than some other teas.

Cola herb can also be bought as a plant. can usually be found in general DIY stores such as Obi. A smaller shrub pot starts at around €2.50 to €4.


Studies have shown that rue can have antibacterial effects.

What are the alternatives to cola herb?

In general, cola herb can be used to flavour meat and marinades. However, due to its very bitter and specific taste, it should be dosed very carefully.

This is also one reason why cola herb is no longer a common spice nowadays. Due to the bitter substances, it can easily taste inedible.

Therefore, cola herb can be substituted with a few spices.

Some of them are listed in this table:

Spice Property
Rue Intense, aromatic flavour, bitter
Rosemary Highly aromatic, slightly bitter
Oregano Very aromatic, slightly bitter, slightly spicy
Cumin Very spicy, slightly bitter, spicy

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate cola herb

In the following section, we will look at the factors you can use to compare cola herb before you buy it. This should make it easier for you to make the right decision when buying the herb. Although it has lost popularity, there are still factors you can consider when making a purchase.

These factors are as follows:


The cola herb originally comes from Bosnia, Herzegovina and Croatia, areas of the former Yugoslavia. Nowadays it can also be found from the eastern area in Anatolia.

Boar's rue found its place in many gardens of the Middle Ages, whereas it was cultivated less in the following centuries.

It is also known from Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. It is widely cultivated worldwide and has run wild in many areas.

Form of administration

The cola herb can be used directly as a plant. Small parts of the herb are cut off and used as a spice or for a refreshing drink.

In addition, the active ingredient of the mountain rue can also be taken in the form of tablets.


Of course, the dosage depends on the form of administration. If you only take the active ingredient in the form of tablets, the dosage is different and as instructed by the leaflet.

However, if you buy the plant to use it for food or drink, it is important not to consume it in excess.

The bitter substances become more intense the more of the herb you consume. Therefore, it is important to use rue with caution.

Target group

Anyone who likes the taste of rue can consume it. However, pregnant women are excluded from the target group.

Pregnant women are strongly advised not to take rue. Especially within the first three months, it could harm the foetus. Even after this time, the antispasmodic effect of the cola herb can trigger premature contractions, which could lead to a miscarriage.

Decision: Which way of taking cola herb is right for me?

In this section we will explain in which form one can take cola herb. In addition to the general plant, which can also be bought as a whole piece, the rowan can also be purchased in the form of tea and even tablets.

Cola herb as a plant

If you want to buy the rowan as a plant, you can do so. It is available for sale in some online shops and DIY shops. The advantage here is that the rowan as a plant can be used in many ways:

The twigs can be poured over with hot water in a cup and thus drunk as tea. It can be used decoratively or practically as a spice. So if you buy the rue as a plant, you can use it in many ways.

  • Use as a spice
  • Make into a drink
  • Decorative
  • Use as a medicine: Dosage may be too weak

Cola herb as a tea

Cola herb can also be bought as a ready-made tea. However, it is rare to find it in the shops, and it is somewhat more expensive than other common teas.

The herb can often be bought without ready-made tea bags, which must be taken into account when buying it. The leaves are poured over hot water and should steep for 5-10 minutes.

  • Easy to drink
  • Good for digestion
  • Taste needs getting used to

Cola herb as a tablet

Artemisia abrotanum, i.e., the mountain rue, can also be taken in the form of tablets. These can be bought over-the-counter at pharmacies. Online shops also offer them.

The herb has an antibacterial effect and was thus established in medicine at the time.

It can thus be summarised in a table:

  • Quick, easy to take
  • Longer lasting
  • No unpleasant smell/taste
  • Swallowing can be a problem
  • Delayed effect
  • Limitation in adjusting the dose

Facts worth knowing about cola herb

How is cola herb used?

Cola herb can be used in different ways:

  • Alleviate discomfort
  • Cooking
  • Drinks

Relieve discomfort

Cola herb is known to relieve ailments such as menstrual pain. It can also be used for breast pain and general sores and cramps. Anti-inflammatory effects are caused by the flavonoids contained in cola herb.

Use for cooking

As already mentioned, cola herb can be used as a seasoning in any meat dishes, and can be added as a sauce. However, one should not use too much of it: Due to the aromatic, strictly bitter taste, it can easily become inedible.

Making it into a drink (here: cola)

Everyone knows the well-known Coca Cola. To make a variant of the drink, all that is needed are shrubs of the cola herb, mineral water, sugar and lemons.

The sweet variant:

  1. Chop branches of cola herb
  2. Cut lemon into slices
  3. Boil sugar and water in head
  4. Pour sugar water over lemons and cola herb in bowl
  5. Refrigerate for three days
  6. Mix with mineral water
  7. Enjoy the refreshing drink

The healthy variant:

Alternatively, you can omit the sugar for the refreshing drink with cola herb. The preparation is much faster. It is as follows:

  1. Crush cola herb twigs
  2. Steep cola herb twigs in mineral water for several hours
  3. Enjoy the refreshing drink

What kind of cola herb is there?

Cola herb is divided into two different types. These are:

  • Lemon berry
  • Lemonwort

In this decision section we will list and explain both types.

What distinguishes the "lemon rue"?

Lemon rue, also called citrina, has a lemony scent and its taste is also reminiscent of citrus fruits. Its tangy aroma easily distinguishes it from the camphor rue.

When cooking, it can be used especially for hearty meat dishes such as roast goose. However, it can also be used for vegetable pans or stews.

The flowering time of the lemon rue is from August to September. The lemony flavour of the rue is caused by the essential oil.

What distinguishes the "camphor rue"?

The aroma of the camphor rue is much more intense from the bitterness. It smells of camphor and should be used sparingly because of its very bitter taste.

Because of its antispasmodic ingredients, it was often used for a long time against menstrual cramps.

Variety Scent Aroma
Lemon rue Lemony, mild Bitter, tart
Camphor rue After camphor More bitter than lemon rue, intense

In comparison, it can be said that the camphor rue tastes much more bitter than the lemon rue and smells like camphor. The lemon rue, on the other hand, smells of citrus fruits and has a more bitter aroma than the camphor rue.

How do I grow cola herb myself?

Cola weed is a fairly easy plant to grow. In the garden it protects other plants from pests with its essential oils.

When growing it, care should be taken that the soil is rich in lime. To increase permeability, it can be helpful to mix stones, gravel or sand into the soil.

The location should be warm and sunny. The cola plant only needs to be watered during a prolonged dry spell. Too much water can cause the plant to rot and die. Too much shade can also harm the cola cabbage. In winter, however, it must be protected from heavy frost by mixing the soil with leaves.

It is advisable to grow the plant in a pot first, as the seeds can occasionally be carried away by ants as food.

Image source: Mejia/