The Plague Water

October 13th, 2015

Take Rosemary, Red Balm, Burrage, Angelica, Carduus, Celandine, Dragon, Featherfew, Wormwood, Penyroyal, Elecampane roots, Mugwort, Bural, Tormentil, Egrimony, Sage, Sorrel, of each of these one handful, weighed weight for weight; put all these in an earthen Pot, with four quarts of white Wine, cover them close, and let them stand eight or nine days in a cool Cellar, then distil it in a Glass Still.

Source: The Queen-like Closet or Rich Cabinet, Hannah Wolley

The Plague-Water which was most esteemed of in the late great Visitation

April 19th, 2015

Take three Pints of Muskadine, boil therein one handful of Sage, and one handful of Rue until a Pint be wasted, then strain it out, and set it over the Fire again.

Put thereto a Penniworth of Long Pepper, half an Ounce of Ginger, and a quarter of an Ounce of Nutmegs, all beaten together, boil them together a little while close covered, then put to it one penniworth of Mithridate, two penniworth of Venice Treacle, one quarter of a Pint of hot Angelica Water.

Take one Spoonful at a time, morning and evening always warm, if you be already diseased; if not, once a day is sufficient all the Plague time.

It is most excellent Medicine, and never faileth, if taken before the heart be utterly mortified with the Disease, it is also good for the Small Pox, Measles, or Surfets.

Source: The Queen-like Closet or Rich Cabinet, Hannah Wolley

Remedy for Asthma

October 12th, 2008

Elecampane, angelica, comfrey and spikenard roots, with hoarhound tops, of each 1 oz; bruise and steep in honey 1 pt. Dose: a table-spoon, taken hot every few minutes, until relief is obtained, then several times daily until a cure is effected.

Source: Dr Chase’s Recipes, or Information for Everybody, A.W. Chase

Dr Butler’s Cordial water

May 11th, 2008

Take Pimpernel, Carduus, Angelica, Scordium, Scabious, Dragon, and still these severally in a Rose-still; and when you have a pint of the water of every of these sorts of Herbs, then mingle all thse together very well, and dissolve in it half a pound of Venice Treacle, then still all these together, and mingle the stronger water with the small; six spoonfuls of this water, made blood warm, given to one sick of the Plague, driveth all venome from the heart. It is excellent so used, for the Small Pox, or for any pestilent Feaver.

Source: The Queens Cabinet Opened: Or, The Pearle of Practice. Accurate, Physical and Chirurgical Receipts, Nathaniel Brooke

Ingredients: Balm

February 9th, 2008

The herb Balm, or Melissa, which is cultivated quite commonly in our cottage gardens, has its origin in the wild, or bastard Balm, growing in our woods, especially in the South of England, and bearing the name of “Mellitis.” Each is a labiate plant, and “Bawme,” say the Arabians, “makes the heart merry and joyful.” The title, “Balm,” is an abbreviation of Balsam, which signifies “the chief of sweet-smelling oils;” Hebrew, Bal smin, “chief of oils”; and the botanical suffix, Melissa, bears reference to the large quantity of honey (mel) contained in the flowers of this herb.

When cultivated, it yields from its leaves and tops an essential oil which includes a chemical principle, or “stearopten.” “The juice of Balm,” as Gerard tells us, “glueth together greene wounds,” and the leaves, say both Pliny and Dioscorides, “being applied, do close up woundes without any perill of inflammation.” It is now known as a scientific fact that the balsamic oils of aromatic plants make most excellent surgical dressings. They give off ozone, and thus exercise anti-putrescent effects. Moreover, as chemical “hydrocarbons,” they contain so little oxygen, that in wounds dressed with the fixed balsamic herbal oils, the atomic germs of disease are starved out. Furthermore, the resinous parts of these balsamic oils, as they dry upon the sore or wound, seal it up, and effectually exclude all noxious air. So the essential oils of balm, peppermint, lavender, and the like, with pine oil, resin of turpentine, and the balsam of benzoin (Friars’ Balsam) should serve admirably for ready application on lint or fine rag to cuts and superficial sores. In domestic surgery, the lamentation of Jeremiah falls to the ground: “Is there no balm in Gilead: is there no physician there?” Concerning which “balm of Gilead,” it may be here told that it was formerly of great esteem in the East as a medicine, and as a fragrant unguent. It was the true balsam of Judea, which at one time grew nowhere else in the whole world but at Jericho. But when the Turks took the Holy Land, they transplanted this balsam to Grand Cairo, and guarded its shrubs most jealously by Janissaries during the time the balsam was flowing.

In the “Treacle Bible,” 1584, Jeremiah viii., v. 22, this passage is rendered: “Is there not treacle at Gylead?” Venice treacle, or triacle, was a famous antidote in the middle ages to all animal poisons. It was named Theriaca (the Latin word for our present treacle) from the Greek word Therion, a small animal, in allusion to the vipers which were added to the triacle by Andromachus, physician to the emperor Nero.

Tea made of our garden balm, by virtue of the volatile oil, will prove restorative, and will promote perspiration if taken hot on the access of a cold or of influenza; also, if used in like manner, it will help effectively to bring on the delayed monthly flow with women. But an infusion of the plant made with cold water, acts better as a remedy for hysterical headache, and as a general nervine stimulant because the volatile aromatic virtues are not dispelled by heat. Formerly, a spirit of balm, combined with lemon peel, nutmeg, and angelica-root, enjoyed a great reputation as a restorative cordial under the name of Carmelite water. Paracelsus thought so highly of balm that he believed it would completely revivify a man, as primum ens melissoe. The London Dispensatory of 1696 said: “The essence of balm given in Canary wine every morning will renew youth, strengthen the brain, relieve languishing nature, and prevent baldness.” “Balm,” adds John Evelyn, “is sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory, and powerfully chasing away melancholy.” In France, women bruise the young shoots of balm, and make them into cakes, with eggs, sugar, and rose water, which they give to mothers in childbed as a strengthener.

It is fabled that the Jew Ahasuerus (who refused a cup of water to our Saviour on His way to Golgotha, and was therefore doomed to wander athirst until Christ should come again) on a Whitsuntide evening, asked for a draught of small beer at the door of a Staffordshire cottager who was far advanced in consumption. He got the drink, and out of gratitude advised the sick man to gather in the garden three leaves of Balm, and to put them into a cup of beer. This was to be repeated every fourth day for twelve days, the refilling of the cup to be continued as often as might be wished; then “the disease shall be cured and thy body altered.” So saying, the Jew departed and was never seen there again. But the cottager obeyed the injunction, and at the end of the twelve days had become a sound man.

Source: Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure, William Thomas Fernie

Ingredients: Arum

February 4th, 2008

The “lords and ladies” (arum maculatum) so well known to every rustic as common throughout Spring in almost every hedge row, has acquired its name from the colour of its erect pointed spike enclosed within the curled hood of an upright arrow-shaped leaf. This is purple or cream hued, according to the accredited sex of the plant. It bears further the titles of Cuckoo Pint, Wake Robin, Parson in the Pulpit, Rampe, Starchwort, Arrowroot, Gethsemane, Bloody Fingers, Snake’s Meat, Adam and Eve, Calfsfoot, Aaron, and Priest’s Pintle. The red spots on its glossy emerald arrow-head leaves, are attributed to the dropping of our Saviour’s blood on the plant whilst growing at the foot of the cross. Several of the above appellations bear reference to the stimulating effects of the herb on the sexual organs. Its tuberous root has been found to contain a particular volatile acrid principle which exercises distinct medicinal effects, though these are altogether dissipated if the roots are subjected to heat by boiling or baking. When tasted, the fresh juice causes an acrid burning irritation of the mouth and throat; also, if swallowed it will produce a red raw state of the palate and tongue, with cracked lips. The leaves, when applied externally to a delicate skin will blister it. Accordingly a tincture made (H.) from the plant and its root proves curative in diluted doses for a chronic sore throat, with swollen mucous membrane, and vocal hoarseness, such as is often known as “Clergyman’s Sore Throat,” and likewise for a feverish sore mouth, as well as for an irresistible tendency to sleepiness, and heaviness after a full meal. From five to ten drops of the tincture, third decimal strength, should be given with a tablespoonful of cold water to an adult three times a day. An ointment made by stewing the fresh sliced root with lard serves efficiently for the cure of ringworm.

The fresh juice yields malate of lime, whilst the plant contains gum, sugar, starch and fat. The name Arum is derived from the Hebrew jaron, “a dart,” in allusion to the shape of the leaves like spear heads; or, as some think, from aur, “fire,” because of the acrid juice. The adjective maculatum refers to the dark spots or patches which are seen on the smooth shining leaves of the plant. These leaves have sometimes proved fatal to children who have mistaken them for sorrel. The brilliant scarlet coral-like berries which are found set closely about the erect spike of the arum in the autumn are known to country lads as adder’s meat–a name corrupted from the Anglo-Saxon attor, “poison,” as originally applied to these berries, though it is remarkable that pheasants can eat them with impunity.

In Queen Elizabeth’s time the Arum was known as starch-wort because the roots were then used for supplying pure white starch to stiffen the ruffs and frills worn at that time by gallants and ladies. This was obtained by boiling or baking the roots, and thus dispelling their acridity. When dried and powdered the root constitutes the French cosmetic, “Cypress Powder.” Recently a patented drug, “Tonga,” has obtained considerable notoriety for curing obstinate neuralgia of the head and face–this turning out to be the dried scraped stem of an aroid (or arum) called Raphidophora Vitiensis, belonging to the Fiji Islands. Acting on the knowledge of which fact some recent experimenters have tried the fresh juice expressed from our common Arum Maculatum in a severe case of neuralgia which could be relieved previously only by Tonga: and it was found that this juice in doses of a teaspoonful gave similar relief. The British Domestic Herbal, of Sydenham’s time, describes a case of alarming dropsy, with great constitutional exhaustion treated most successfully with a medicine composed of Arum and Angelica, which cured in about three weeks. The “English Passion Flower” and “Portland Sago” are other names given to the Arum Maculatum.

Source: Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure, William Thomas Fernie

Ingredients: Angelica

January 29th, 2008

Also called Master-Wort.

The wild Angelica grows commonly throughout England in wet places as an umbelliferous plant, with a tall hollow stem, out of which boys like to make pipes. It is purple, furrowed, and downy, bearing white flowers tinged with pink. But the herb is not useful as a simple until cultivated in our gardens, the larger variety being chosen for this purpose, and bearing the name Archangelica.

“Angelica, the happy counterbane,
Sent down from heaven by some celestial scout,
As well its name and nature both avow’t.”

It came to this country from northern latitudes in 1568. The aromatic stems are grown abundantly near London in moist fields for the use of confectioners. These stems, when candied, are sold as a favourite sweetmeat. They are grateful to the feeble stomach, and will relieve flatulence promptly. The roots of the garden Angelica contain plentifully a peculiar resin called “angelicin,” which is stimulating to the lungs, and to the skin: they smell pleasantly of musk, being an excellent tonic and carminative. An infusion of the plant may be made by pouring a pint of boiling water on an ounce of the bruised root, and two tablespoonfuls of this should be given three or four times in the day; or the powdered root may be administered in doses of from ten to thirty grains. The infusion will relieve flatulent stomach-ache, and will promote menstruation if retarded. It is also of use as a stimulating bronchial tonic in the catarrh of aged and feeble persons. Angelica, taken in either medicinal form, is said to cause a disgust for spirituous liquors. In high Dutch it is named the root of the Holy Ghost. The fruit is employed for flavouring some cordials, notably Chartreuse. If an incision is made in the bark of the stems, and the crown of the root, at the commencement of spring, a resinous gum exudes with a special aromatic flavour as of musk or benzoin, for either of which it can be substituted. Gerard says: “If you do but take a piece of the root, and hold it in your mouth, or chew the same between your teeth, it doth most certainly drive away pestilent aire.” Icelanders eat both the stem and the roots raw with butter. These parts of the plant, if wounded, yield a yellow juice which becomes, when dried, a valuable medicine beneficial in chronic rheumatism and gout. Some have said the Archangelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the plague; others aver that it blooms on the day of Michael the Archangel (May 8th, old style), and is therefore a preservative against evil spirits and witchcraft.

Source: Herbal Simples Approved for Modern Uses of Cure, William Thomas Fernie