Hop Into Bed

For a plant that’s been around for a long time, there are remarkably few older references to it. I have searched all of my usual herbals and haven’t found mention of this herb under any name for it that I am familiar with in many of them. As with yesterday’s post, I believe that I haven’t yet found the name it was known by to […]

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Tears of Relief

Alexis Soyer, in his Pantropheon, states: Whoever wishes to preserve his health must eat every morning, before breakfast. young onions, with honey.1″ Such a treat is assuredly not very tempting : besides, this rather strong vegetable leaves after it a most unpleasant perfume, which long reminds us of its presence ; wherefore this recipe has not met with favour, and, indeed, it is much to be doubted whether it will […]

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Good For What’s Hurting You

Willow has been used for pain relief since antiquity. It was recommended by Hippocrates, Galen and Dioscorides for that. The Leechbook of Bald suggests this use for it: A head bath for that (baldness); boil willow leaves in water, wash with that, ere thou sinear it, and pound the leaves so sodden, bind on at night, till they be dry, that thou may after smear with the […]

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A Cooling Blue Relief

While the blueberry and the bilberry are used interchangeably in the kitchen, the bilberry has a definite edge in the pharmacy. The most obvious fieldmark (an easily recognizable characteristic identifying a plant or animal positively) between the two is that the flesh of a blueberry is green and the flesh of a bilberry is blue or purple. This indicates a much higher amount of anthocyanins […]

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In The Pinks

The Carnation has been used medicinally for approximately 2000 years, at least in China. This site gives a good account of its use there. Gerard tells us of the carnation: “The conserve made of the floures of the Clove Gillofloure and sugar, is exceeding cordiall,and wonderfully above measure doth comfort the heart, being eaten now and then.” and “It prevaileth against hot pestilentiall fevers, expelleth […]

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You’re Getting Sleepy

The lettuce that our Leech wants in her leech’s bag is Lactuca virosa, the wild lettuce. Lactuca sativa has had most of the active principles bred out of it although Aelfrida would not have hesitated to use the sativa in a pinch, especially for lesser complaints. It has been commonly used as a sedative and a sleep inducer. The plant gives off a milky sap […]

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A Cup of Calm

Linden has long been honored as a gentle and relaxing herb. Gerard in his Herball tells us that: The floures are commended by divers against paine of the head proceeding of a cold cause, against dissinesse (dizziness?),the Apoplexie, and also the falling sicknesse, and not onely the floures,but the disstilled water thereof. Even today, a cup of linden flower tree is recommended for easing headaches […]

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The Ancient Medicine Chest

Our Noble Interest, elderberry, has been well-known and highly respected throughout much of known history. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, called it his “medicine chest”. Galen agreed with him. Oxymel is an ancient greek remedy made of honey and acid. The basic recipe is 4 parts honey to 1 part apple cider vinegar. Appropriate herbs could be steeped in it to treat different discomforts. […]

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A History Of Healthy

The stinging nettle has walked through history hand in hand with the human race. Traces of this herb have been found in the earliest of human habitation sites. It has been recognized as a potent medicine for much of that time. From the Leechbook of Bald, written in the ninth century, we find this recipe:   A wound salve ; take heads of woad and […]

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Who Knew How Healing A Radish Is?

Historically, the radish was almost as important in the leech’s repertoire as it was in the kitchen. According to Dioscorides, it is useful as a laxative, a diuretic and an emetic. There is some discussion as to whether the ancient Egyptians employed it. Some say that they paid their workers a wage of radishes,  garlic and onions, deliberately supplying the workers building the pyramids with […]

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