To make the true Palsie-water, as it was given by that once very famous Physician Doctor Matthias

July 31st, 2015

Take Lavender Flowers stripped from the stalks, and fill a Gallon-Glass with them, and pour on them good Spirit of Sack, or perfect Aqua vitæ distilled from all Flegm, let the quantity be five quarts, then circulate them for six weeks, very close with a Bladder, that nothing may breath out; let them stand in a warm place, then distil them in an Alembeck with his Cooler, then put into the said water, of Sage, Rosemary, and Wood-Betony Flowers; of each half a handful, of Lilly of the Valley, and Burrage, Bugloss, and Cowslip Flowers, one handful of each; steep these in Spirit of Wine, Malmsie, or Aqua vitæ, every one in their Season, till all may be had; then put also to them of Balm, Motherwort, Spike-flowers, Bay leaves, the leaves of Orange trees, with the Flowers, if they may be had, of each one ounce, put them into the aforesaid distilled Wine all together, and distil it as before, having first been steeped six weeks; when you have distilled it, put into it Citron Pill, dried Piony seeds hull’d, of each five Drams, of Cinamon half an Ounce, of Nutmegs, Cardamum seeds, Cubebs[1], and yellow Saunders[2], of each half an ounce, of lignum Aloes one dram; make all these into Powder, and put them into the distilled Wine abovesaid, and put to them of Cubebs anew, a good half pound of Dates, the stones taken out, and cut them in small pieces, put all these in, and close your Vessel well with a double Bladder; let them digest six weeks, then strain it hard with a Press, and filtrate the Liquor, then put into it of prepared Pearl, Smaragdus[3], Musk and Saffron, of each half a Scruple; and of Ambergreece one Scruple, red Roses dried well, Red and Yellow Saunders, of each one ounce, hang these in a Sarsenet[4] Bag in the water, being well sewed that nothing go out.

The virtues of this Water

This Water is of exceeding virtue in all Swoundings and Weaknesses of the heart, and decaying of Spirits in all Apoplexies and Palsies, also in all pains of the Joints coming of Cold, for all Bruises outwardly bathed and dipped Clothes laid to; it strengtheneth and comforteth all animal, natural and viral Spirits, and cheareth the external Senses, strengtheneth the Memory, restoreth lost Speech, and lost Appetite, all weakness of the Stomach, being both taken inwardly, and bathed outwardly; it taketh away the Giddiness of the Head, helpeth lost Hearing, it maketh a pleasant Breath, helpeth all cold disposition of the Liver, and a beginning Dropsie; it helpeth all cold Diseases of the Mother; indeed none can express sufficiently; it is to be taken morning and evening, about half a Spoonful with Crums of Bread and Sugar.

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

1. A type of pepper.

2. Sandalwood.

3. Emerald.

4. A type of fine silk.

Ingredient: Primrose

March 9th, 2015

The Common Primrose (Primula veris) is the most widely known of our English wild flowers, and appears in the Spring as its earliest herald.

It gets its name from the Latin primus, first, being named in old books and M.S. Pryme rolles, and in the Grete Herball, Primet, as shortened from Primprint.

In North Devon it is styled the Butter Rose, and in the Eastern counties it is named (in common with the Cowslip) Paigle, Peagle, Pegyll, and Palsy plant.

Medicinally also it possesses similar curative attributes, though in a lesser degree, to those of the Cowslip. Both the root and the flowers contain a volatile oil, and “primulin” which is identical with mannite: whilst the acrid principle is “saponin.” Alfred Austin, Poet Laureate, teaches to “make healing salve with early Primroses.”

Pliny speaks of the Primrose as almost a panacea: In aquâ potam omnibus morbis mederi tradunt. An infusion of the flowers has been always thought excellent against nervous disorders of the hysterical sort. It should be made with from five to ten parts of the petals to one hundred of water. “Primrose tea” says Gerard, “drunk in the month of May, is famous for curing the phrensie.”

The whole plant is sedative and antispasmodic, being of service by its preparations to relieve sleeplessness, nervous headache, and muscular rheumatism. The juice if sniffed up into the nostrils will provoke violent sneezing, and will induce a free flow of water from the lining membranes of the nostrils for the mitigation of passive headaches: though this should not be tried by a person of full habit with a determination of blood to the head. A teaspoonful of powdered dry Primrose root will act as an emetic. The whole herb is somewhat expectorant.

When the petals are collected and dried they become of a greenish colour: whilst fresh they have a honey-like odour, and a sweetish taste.

Within the last few years a political significance and popularity have attached themselves to the Primrose beyond every other British wild flower. It arouses the patriotism of the large Conservative party, and enlists the favour of many others who thoughtlessly follow an attractive fashion, and who love the first fruits of early Spring. Botanically the Primrose has two varieties of floral structure: one “pin-eyed,” with a tall pistil, and short stamens; the other “thrum-eyed,” showing a rosette of tall stamens, whilst the short pistil must be looked for, like the great Panjandrum himself, “with a little round button at the top,” half way down the tube. Darwin was the first to explain that this diversity of structure ensures cross fertilisation by bees and allied insects. Through advanced cultivation at the hands of the horticulturist the Primula acquires in some instances a noxious character. For instance, the Primula biconica, which is often grown in dwelling rooms as a window plant, and commonly sold as such, will provoke an crysipelatous vesicular eruption of a very troublesome and inflamed character on the hands and face of some persons who come in contact with the plant by manipulating it to take cuttings, or in other ways. A knowledge of this fact should suggest the probable usefulness of the said Primula, when made into a tincture, and given in small diluted doses thereof, to act curatively for such an eruption if attacking the sufferer from idiopathic causes.

The Latins named the Ligustrum (our Privet) Primrose. Coles says concerning it (17th century): “This herbe is called Primrose; it is good to ‘Potage.'” They also applied the epithet, “Prime rose” to a lady.

The Evening Primrose (OEnothera biennis, or odorata) is found in this country on sand banks in the West of England and Cornwall; but it is then most probably a garden scape, and an alien, its native habitat being in Canada and the United States of America. We cultivate it freely in our parterres as a brilliant, yellow, showy flower. It belongs to the natural order, Onagraceoe, so called because the food of wild asses; and was the “vini venator” of Theophrastus, 350 B.C. The name signifies having the odour of wine, oinos and theera. Pliny said: “It is an herbe good as wine to make the heart merrie. It groweth with leaves resembling those of the almond tree, and beareth flowers like unto roses. Of such virtue is this herbe that if it be given to drink to the wildest beast that is, it will tame the same and make it gentle.” The best variety of this plant is the OEnothera macrocarpa.

The bark of the Evening Primrose is mucilaginous, and a decoction made therefrom is of service for bathing the skin eruptions of infants and young children. To answer such purpose a decoction should be made from the small twigs, and from the bark of the larger branches, retaining the leaves. This has been found further of use for diarrhoea associated with an irritable stomach, and asthma. The infusion, or the liquid extract, acts as a mild but efficient sedative in nervous indigestion, from twenty to thirty drops of the latter being given for a dose. The ascertained chemical principle of the plant, OEnotherin, is a compound body. Its flowers open in the evening, and last only until the next noon; therefore this plant is called the “Evening Primrose,” or “Evening Star.”

Another of the Primrose tribe, the Cyclamen, or Sow-bread (Panis porcinus), is often grown in our gardens, and for ornamenting our rooms as a pot plant. Its name means (Greek) “a circle,” and refers to the reflected corolla, or to the spiral fruit-stalks; and again, from the tuber being the food of wild swine. Gerard said it was reported in his day to grow wild on the Welsh mountains, and on the Lincolnshire hills: but he failed to find it. Nevertheless it is now almost naturalised in some parts of the South, and East of England. As the petals die, the stalks roll up and carry the capsular berries down to the surface of the ground. A medicinal tincture is made (H.) from the fresh root when flowering. The ivy-leaved variety is found in England, with nodding fresh-coloured blossoms, and a brown intensely acrid root. Besides starch, gum, and pectin, it yields chemically, “cyclamin,” or “arthanatin,” with an action like “saponin,” whilst the juice is poisonous to fish. When applied externally as a liniment over the bowels, it causes them to be purged. Gerard quaintly and suggestively declares “It is not good for women with childe to touch, or take this herbe, or to come neere unto it, or to stride over the same where it groweth: for the natural attractive vertue therein contained is such that, without controversie, they that attempt it in manner above said, shall be delivered before their time; which danger and inconvenience to avoid, I have fastened sticks in the ground about the place in my garden where it groweth, and some other sticks also crosswaies over them, lest any woman should by lamentable experiment find my words to be true by stepping over the same. Again, the root hanged about women in their extreme travail with childe, causeth them to be delivered incontinent: and the leaves put into the place hath the like effect.” Inferentially a tincture of the plant should be good for falling and displacement of the womb. “Furthermore, Sowbread, being beaten, and made into little flat cakes, is reputed to be a good amorous medicine, to make one in love.”

In France, another Primula, the wild Pimpernel, occurs as a noxious herb, and is therefore named Mouron.

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

The Ale of Health and Strength, by Viscount St. Albans.

June 15th, 2008

Take Sassafras wood half an ounds, Sarsaparilla three ounces, white Saunders one ounce, Chamapition an ounce, China-root half an ounce, Mace a quarter of an ounce, cut the wood as thin as may be with a knife into small pieces, and bruise them in a Mortar; put to them these sorts of Herbs, (viz.) Cowslip flowers, Roman-wormwood, of each a handful, of Sage, Rosemary, Betony, Mugwort, Balm and Sweet-marjoram, of each half a handful, of Hops; boil all these in six gallons of Ale till it come to four; then put the wood and hearbs into six gallons of Ale of the second wort, and boil it till it comes to four, let it run from the dregs, and put your Ale together, and tun it as you do other purging Ale, &c.

Source: A Queen’s Delight: Or, The Art of Preserving, Conserving and Candying, Nathaniel Brooke