Powders for Children

August 20th, 2015

A very excellent carminative powder for flatulent infants may be kept in the house, and employed with advantage whenever the child is in pain or griped, dropping five grains of oil of anise-seed and two of peppermint on half an ounce of lump sugar, and rubbing it in a mortar, with a drachm of magnesia, into a fine powder. A small quantity of this may be given in a little water at any time, and always with benefit.

Source: The White House Cookbook, F.L. Gillette

Ingredient: Angustura Bark

May 13th, 2015

Angustura bark (Cusparia) is a valuable tonic, especially in cases of dyspepsia, with diarrhoea and loss of appetite. It may be given in powder in doses of ten grains, twice or thrice a-day; or in infusion, or decoction. In cases of flatulency of the stomach, attended by nausea, five grains, with the same weight of rhubarb, taken an hour before dinner, will often effectually restore the appetite and digestion.

Source: A Companion To The Medicine Chest, John Savory.

Ingredient: Assafoetida

April 5th, 2015

This substance is used as a stimulant and anti-spasmodic in hysterical and nervous diseases, and spasmodic cough; as an expectorant in asthma; and as a carminative in flatulent colic. The usual dose is from five grains to half a drachm, combined, if necessary, with expectorants in cough, and with chalybeates and aloetics in hysterical complaints. The following formula will sometimes allay obstinate attacks of spasmodic cough, and has been found useful even in [w]hooping-cough : —

Take of Assafoetida, half a drachm;
Mindererus’s Spirit, two ounces;
Penny-royal Water, two ounces.

Mix, and take one or two table spoonsful for a dose.

For the relief of colic in the bowels, the following glyster may be administered :—

Assafoetida, two drachms;
Thin Gruel, ten ounces.

(Assafoetida was used by the ancients as a condiment, under the names of Silphion and Laserpitium. In Persia, it is still esteemed as a condiment, and mixed with almost all their dishes. Gastronomers, as the French term those who delight in the pleasures of the palate, among the moderns, employ it for the same purpose; having the hot plates on which they eat beef steaks rubbed with it.)

Source: A Companion To The Medicine Chest, John Savory.

Ingredients: Pimpernel

January 17th, 2009

The “Poor Man’s Weather Glass” or “Shepherd’s Dial,” is a very well-known and favourite little flower, of brilliant scarlet hue, expanding only in bright weather, and closing its petals at two o’clock in the day. It occurs quite commonly in gardens and open fields, being the scarlet Pimpernel, or Anagallis arvensis, and belonging to the Primrose tribe of plants. Old authors called it Burnet; which is quite a distinct herb, cultivated now for kitchen use, the Pimpinella Saxifraga, of so cheery and exhilarating a quality, and so generally commended, that its excellence has passed into a proverb, “l’insolata non buon, ne betta ove non é Pimpinella.” But this Burnet Pimpinella is of a different (Umbelliferous) order, though similarly styled because its leaves are likewise bipennate.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is named Anagallis, from the Greek anagelao, to laugh; either because, as Pliny says, the plant removes obstructions of the liver, and spleen, which would engender sadness, or because of the graceful beauty of its flowers:–

“No ear hath heard, no tongue can tell
The virtues of the Pimpernell.”

The little plant has no odour, but possesses a bitter taste, which is rather astringent. Doctors used to consider the herb remedial in melancholy, and in the allied forms of mental disease, the decoction, or a tincture being employed. It was also prescribed for hydrophobia, and linen cloths saturated with a decoction were kept applied to the bitten part.

Narcotic effects were certainly produced in animals by giving considerable doses of an extract made from the herb. The flowers have been found useful in epilepsy, twenty grains dried being given four times a day. A medicinal tincture (H.) is prepared with spirit of wine. It is of approved utility for irritability of the main urinary passage, with genital congestion, erotism, and dragging of the loins, this tincture being then ordered of the third decimal strength, in doses of from five to ten drops every three or four hours, with a spoonful of water.

A decoction of the plant is held in esteem by countryfolk as checking pulmonary consumption in its early stages. Hill says there are many authenticated cases of this dire disease being absolutely cured by the herb. The infusion is best made by pouring boiling water on the fresh plant. It contains “saponin,” such as the Soapwort also specially furnishes.

In France the Pimpernel (Anagallis) is thought to be a noxious plant of drastic narcotico-acrid properties, and called Mouron–qui tue les petits oiseaux, et est un violent drastique pour l’homme, et les grands animaux; à dose tres elevée le mouron peut meme leur donner la mort. In California a fluid extract of the herb is given for rheumatism, in doses of one teaspoonful with water three times a day.

The Burnet Pimpinella is more correctly the Burnet Saxifrage, getting its first name because the leaves are brown, and the second because supposed to break up stone in the bladder. It grows abundantly in our dry chalky pastures, bearing terminal umbels of white flowers. It contains an essential oil and a bitter resin, which are useful as warmly carminative to relieve flatulent indigestion, and to promote the monthly flow in women. An infusion of the herb is made, and given in two tablespoonfuls for a dose. Cows which feed on this plant have their flow of milk increased thereby. Small bunches of the leaves and shoots when tied together and suspended in a cask of beer impart to it an agreeable aromatic flavour, and are thought to correct tart, or spoiled wines. The root, when fresh, has a hot pungent bitterish taste, and may be usefully chewed for tooth-ache, or to obviate paralysis of the tongue. In Germany a variety of this Burnet yields a blue essential oil which is used for colouring brandy. Again the herb is allied to the Anise (Pimpinella Anisum). The term Burnet was formerly applied to a brown cloth. Smaller than this Common Burnet is the Salad Burnet, Poterium sanguisorba, quod sanguineos fluxus sistat, a useful styptic, which is also cordial, and promotes perspiration. It has the smell of cucumber, and is, therefore, an ingredient of the salad bowl, or often put into a cool tankard, whereto, says Gerard, “it gives a grace in the drynkynge.” Another larger sort of the Burnet Pimpinella (Magna), which has broad upper leaves less divided, grows in our woods and shady places.

A bright blue variety of the true Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis) is less frequent, and is thought by many to be a distinct species. Gerard says, “the Pimpernel with the blue flower helpeth the fundament that is fallen down: and, contrariwise, red Pimpernel being applied bringeth it down.”

The Water Pimpernel (Anagallis aquatica) is more commonly known as Brooklime, or Beccabunga, and belongs to a different order of plants, the Scrophulariaceoe (healers of scrofula).

It grows quite commonly in brooks and ditches, as a succulent plant with smooth leaves, and small flowers of bright blue, being found in situations favourable to the growth of the watercress. It is the brok lempe of old writers, Veronica beccabunga, the syllable bec signifying a beck or brook; or perhaps the whole title comes from the Flemish beck pungen, mouth-smart, in allusion to the pungent taste of the plant.

“It is eaten,” says Gerard, “in salads, as watercresses are, and is good against that malum of such as dwell near the German seas, which we term the scurvie, or skirby, being used after the same manner that watercress and scurvy-grass is used, yet is it not of so great operation and virtue.” The leaves and stem are slightly acid and astringent, with a somewhat bitter taste, and frequently the former are mixed by sellers of water-cresses with their stock-in-trade.

A full dose of the juice of fresh Brooklime is an easy purge; and the plant has always been a popular Simple for scrofulous affections, especially of the skin. Chemically, this Water Pimpernel contains some tannin, and a special bitter principle; whilst, in common with most of the Cruciferous plants, it is endowed with a pungent volatile oil, and some sulphur. The bruised plant has been applied externally for healing ulcers, burns, whitlows, and for the mitigation of swollen piles.

The Bog Pimpernel (Anagallis tenella), is common in boggy ground, having erect rose-coloured leaves larger than those of the Poor Man’s Weather Glass.

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

Ingredients: Lavender

August 16th, 2008

The Lavender of our gardens, called also Lavender Spike, is a well-known sweet-smelling shrub, of the Labiate order. It grows wild in Spain, Piedmont, and the south of France, on waysides, mountains, and in barren places. The plant was propagated by slips, or cuttings, and has been cultivated in England since about 1568. It is produced largely for commercial purposes in Surrey, Hertfordshire, and Lincoln. The shrub is set in long rows occupying fields, and yields a profitable fragrant essential oil from the flowering tops, about one ounce of the oil from sixty terminal flowering spikes. From these tops also the popular cosmetic lavender water is distilled. They contain tannin, and a resinous camphire, which is common to most of the mints affording essential oils. If a hank of cotton is steeped in the oil of Lavender, and drained off so as to be hung dry about the neck, it will prevent bugs and other noxious insects from attacking that part. When mixed with three-fourths of spirit of turpentine, or spirit of wine, this oil makes the famous Oleum spicoe, formerly much celebrated for curing old sprains and stiff joints. Lavender oil is likewise of service when rubbed in externally, for stimulating paralysed limbs–preferring the sort distilled from the flowering tops to that which is obtained from the stalks. Internally, the essential oil, or a spirit of Lavender made therefrom, proves admirably restorative and tonic against faintness, palpitations of a nervous sort, weak giddiness, spasms, and colic. It is agreeable to the taste and smell, provokes appetite, raises the spirits, and dispels flatulence; but the infusion of Lavender tops, if taken too freely, will cause griping, and colic. In hysteria, palsy, and similar disorders of debility, and lack of nerve power, the spirit of Lavender will act as a powerful stimulant; and fomentations with Lavender in bags, applied hot, will speedily relieve local pains. “It profiteth them much,” says Gerard, “that have the palsy if they be washed with the distilled water from the Lavender flowers; or are anointed with the oil made from the flowers and olive oil, in such manner as oil of roses is used.” A dose of the oil is from one to four drops on sugar, or on a small piece of bread crumb, or in a spoonful or two of milk. And of the spirit, from half to one teaspoonful may be taken with two tablespoonfuls of water, hot or cold, or of milk. The spirit of Lavender is made with one part of the essential oil to forty-nine parts of spirit of wine. For preparing distilled Lavender water, the addition of a small quantity of musk does much to develop the strength of the Lavender’s odour and fragrance. The essential oil of Lavandula latifolia, admirably promotes the growth of the hair when weakly, or falling off.

By the Greeks the name Nardus is given to Lavender, from Naarda, a city of Syria, near the Euphrates; and many persons call the plant “Nard.” St. Mark mentions this as Spikenard, a thing of great value The woman who came to Christ having an alabaster box of ointment of Spikenard, very precious “brake the box, and poured it on His head.” In Pliny’s time blossoms of the nardus sold for a hundred Roman denarii (or £3 2s. 6d.) the pound. This Lavender or Nardus, was likewise called Asarum by the Romans, because not used in garlands or chaplets. It was formerly believed that the asp, a dangerous kind of viper, made Lavender its habitual place of abode, so that the plant had to be approached with great caution.

Conserves of Lavender were much used in the time of Gerard, and desserts may be most pleasantly brought to the table on a service of Lavender spikes. It is said, on good authority, that the lions and tigers in our Zoological gardens, are powerfully affected by the smell of Lavender-water and become docile under its influence.

The Lavender shrub takes its name from the Latin lavare, “to wash,” because the ancients employed it as a perfume. Lavender tops, when dried, and placed with linen, will preserve it from moths and other insects.

The whole plant was at one time considered indispensable in Africa, ubi lavandis corporibus Lybes eâ utuntur; nec nisi decocto ejus abluti mane domo egrediuntur, “where the Libyans make use of it for washing their bodies, nor ever leave their houses of a morning until purified by a decoction of the plant.”

In this country the sweet-smelling herb is often introduced for scenting newly washed linen when it is put by; from which custom has arisen the expression, “To be laid up in Lavender.” During the twelfth century a washerwoman was called “Lavender,” in the North of England.

A tea brewed from the flowers is an excellent remedy for headache from fatigue, or weakness. But Lavender oil is, in too large a dose, a narcotic poison, and causes death by convulsions. The tincture of red Lavender is a popular medicinal cordial; and is composed of the oils of Lavender and rosemary, with cinnamon bark, nutmeg, and red sandal wood, macerated in spirit of wine for seven days; then a teaspoonful may be given for a dose in a little water, with excellent effect, after an indigestible meal, taking the dose immediately when feeling uneasy, and repeating it after half-an-hour if needed. An old form of this compound tincture was formerly famous as “Palsy Drops,” it being made from the Lavender, with rosemary, cinnamon, nutmeg, red sandal wood, and spirit. In some cases of mental depression and delusions the oil of Lavender proves of real service; and a few drops of it rubbed on the temples will cure nervous headache.

Shakespeare makes Perdita (Winter’s Tale) class Lavender among the flowers denoting middle age:

“Here’s flowers for you,
Hot Lavender: Mints: Savory: Marjoram;
The Marigold that goes to bed with the sun,
And with him rises, weeping: these are the flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age.”

There is a broad-leaved variety of the Lavender shrub in France, which yields three times as much of the essential oil as can be got from our narrow-leaved plant, but of a second rate quality.

The Sea Lavender, or Thrift (Statice limonium) grows near the sea, or in salt marshes. It gets its name Statice from the Greek word isteemi (to stop, or stay), because of its medicinal power to arrest bleeding. This is the marsh Rosemary, or Ink Root, which contains (if the root be dried in the air) from fourteen to fifteen per cent. of tannin. Therefore, its infusion or tincture will prove highly useful to control bleeding from the lungs or kidneys, as also against dysentery; and when made into a gargle, for curing an ulcerated sore throat.

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

Ingredients: Fennel

June 21st, 2008

We all know the pleasant taste of Fennel sauce when eaten with boiled mackerel. This culinary condiment is made with Sweet Fennel, cultivated in our kitchen gardens, and which is a variety of the wild Fennel growing commonly in England as the Finkel, especially in Cornwall and Devon, on chalky cliffs near the sea. It is then an aromatic plant of the umbelliferous order, but differing from the rest of its tribe in producing bright yellow flowers.

Botanically, it is the Anethum foeniculum, or “small fragrant hay” of the Romans, and the Marathron of the Greeks. The whole plant has a warm carminative taste, and the old Greeks esteemed it highly for promoting the secretion of milk in nursing mothers. Macer alleged that the use of Fennel was first taught to man by serpents. His classical lines on the subject when translated run thus:–

“By eating herb of Fennel, for the eyes
A cure for blindness had the serpent wise;
Man tried the plant; and, trusting that his sight
Might thus be healed, rejoiced to find him right.”

“Hac mansâ serpens oculos caligine purgat;
Indeque compertum est humanis posse mederi
Illum hominibus: atque experiendo probatum est.”

Pliny also asserts that the ophidia, when they cast their skins, have recourse to this plant for restoring their sight. Others have averred that serpents wax young again by eating of the herb; “Wherefore the use of it is very meet for aged folk.”

Fennel powder may be employed for making an eyewash: half-a-teaspoonful infused in a wineglassful of cold water, and decanted when clear. A former physician to the Emperor of Germany saw a monk cured by his tutor in nine days of a cataract by only applying the roots of Fennel with the decoction to his eyes.

In the Elizabethan age the herb was quoted as an emblem of flattery; and Lily wrote, “Little things catch light minds; and fancie is a worm that feedeth first upon Fennel.” Again, Milton says, in Paradise Lost, Book XI:–

“The savoury odour blown,
Grateful to appetite, more pleased my sense
Than smell of sweetest Fennel.”

Shakespeare makes the sister of Laertes say to the King, in Hamlet, when wishing to prick the royal conscience, “There’s Fennel for you.” And Falstaff commends Poins thus, in Henry the Fourth, “He plays at quoits well, and eats conger, and Fennel.”

The Italians take blanched stalks of the cultivated Fennel (which they call Cartucci) as a salad; and in Germany its seeds are added to bread as a condiment, much as we put caraways in some of our cakes. The leaves are eaten raw with pickled fish to correct its oily indigestibility. Evelyn says the peeled stalks, soft and white, when “dressed like salery,” exercise a pleasant action conducive to sleep. Roman bakers put the herb under their loaves in the oven to make the bread taste agreeably.

Chemically, the cultivated Fennel plant furnishes a volatile aromatic oil, a fixed fatty principle, sugar, and some in the root; also a bitter resinous extract. It is an admirable corrective of flatulence; and yields an essential oil, of which from two to four drops taken on a lump of sugar will promptly relieve griping of the bowels with distension. Likewise a hot infusion, made by pouring half-a-pint of boiling water on a teaspoonful of the bruised seeds will comfort belly ache in the infant, if given in teaspoonful doses sweetened with sugar, and will prove an active remedy in promoting female monthly regularity, if taken at the periodical times, in doses of a wineglassful three times in the day. Gerard says, “The green leaves of the Fennel eaten, or the seed made into a ptisan, and drunk, do fill women’s brestes with milk; also the seed if drunk asswageath the wambling of the stomacke, and breaketh the winde.” The essential oil corresponds in composition to that of anise, but contains a special camphoraceous body of its own; whilst its vapour will cause the tears and the saliva to flow. A syrup prepared from the expressed juice was formerly given for chronic coughs.

W. Coles teaches in Nature’s Paradise, that “both the leaves, seeds, and roots, are much used in drinks and broths for those that are grown fat, to abate their unwieldinesse, and make them more gaunt and lank.” The ancient Greek name of the herb, Marathron, from maraino, to grow thin, probably embodied the same notion. “In warm climates,” said Matthiolus, “the stems are cut, and there exudes a resinous liquid, which is collected under the name of fennel gum.”

The Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia orders “Sweet Fennel seeds, combined with juniper berries and caraway seeds, for making with spirit of wine, the ‘compound spirit of juniper,’ which is noted for promoting a copious flow of urine in dropsy.” The bruised plant, if applied externally, will speedily relieve toothache or earache. This likewise proves of service as a poultice to resolve chronic swellings. Powdered Fennel is an ingredient in the modern laxative “compound liquorice powder” with senna. The flower, surrounded by its four leaves, is called in the South of England, “Devil in a bush.” An old proverb of ours, which is still believed in New England, says, that “Sowing Fennel is sowing sorrow.” A modern distilled water is now obtained from the cultivated plant, and dispensed by the druggist. The whole herb has been supposed to confer longevity, strength and courage. Longfellow wrote a poem about it to this effect.

The fine-leaved Hemlock Water Dropwort (Oenanthe Phellandrium), is the Water Fennel.

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

Ingredients: Flax (Linseed)

May 13th, 2008

The common Flax plant, from which we get our Linseed, is of great antiquity, dating from the twenty-third century before Christ, and having been cultivated in all countries down to the present time. But it is exhausting to the soil in England, and therefore not favoured in home growth for commercial uses. The seeds come to us chiefly from the Baltic. Nevertheless, the plant (Linum usitatissimum) is by no means uncommon in our cornfields, flowering in June, and ripening its seed in September. Provincially it is called “Lint” and “Lyne.” A rustic proverb says “if put in the shoes it preserves from poverty”; wherever found it is probably an escape from cultivation.

The word “flax” is derived from filare, to spin, or, filum, a thread; and the botanical title, linum, is got from the Celtic lin also signifying thread. The fibres of the bark are separated from the woody matter by soaking it in water, and they then form tow, which is afterwards spun into yarn, and woven into cloth. This water becomes poisonous, so that Henry the Eighth prohibited the washing of flax in any running stream.

The seeds are very rich in linseed oil, after expressing which, the refuse is oil-cake, a well-known fattening food for cattle. The oil exists chiefly in the outer skins of the seeds, and is easily extracted by boiling water, as in the making of a linseed poultice. These seeds contain gum, acetic acid, acetate and muriate of potash, and other salts, with twenty-two parts per cent. of the oil. They were taken as food by the ancient Greeks and Romans, whilst Hippocrates knew the demulcent properties of linseed. An infusion of the seeds has long been given as Linseed tea for soothing a sore chest or throat in severe catarrh, or pulmonary complaints; also the crushed seed is used for making poultices. Linseed oil has laxative properties, and forms, when mixed with lime water, or with spirit of turpentine, a capital external application to recent burns or scalds.

Tumours of a simple nature, and sprains, may be usefully rubbed with Linseed oil; and another principal service to which the oil is put is for mixing the paints of artists. To make Linseed tea, wash two ounces of Linseed by putting them into a small strainer, and pouring cold water through it; then pare off as thinly as possible the yellow rind of half a lemon; to the Linseed and lemon rind add a quart of cold water, and allow them to simmer over the fire for an hour-and-a-half; strain away the seeds, and to each half-pint of the tea add a teaspoonful of sugar, or sugar candy, with some lemon juice, in the proportion of the juice of one lemon to each pint of tea.

The seeds afford but little actual nourishment, and are difficult of digestion; they provoke troublesome flatulence, though sometimes used fraudulently for adulterating pepper. Flax seed has been mixed with corn for making bread, but it proved indigestible and hurtful to the stomach. In the sixteenth century during a scarcity of wheat, the inhabitants of Middleburgh had recourse to Linseed for making cakes, but the death of many citizens was caused thereby, it bringing about in those who partook of the cakes dreadful swellings on the body and face. There is an Act of Parliament still in force which forbids the steeping of Flax in rivers, or any waters which cattle are accustomed to drink, as it is found to communicate a poison destructive to cattle and to the fish inhabiting such waters. In Dundee a hank of yarn is worn round the loins as a cure for lumbago, and girls may be seen with a single thread of yarn round the head as an infallible specific for tic douloureux.

The Purging Flax (Linum catharticum), or Mill Mountain (Kamailinon), or Ground Flax, is a variety of the Flax common on our heaths and pastures, being called also Fairy Flax from its delicacy, and Dwarf Flax. It contains a resinous, purgative principle, and is known to country folk as a safe, active purge. They infuse the herb in water, which they afterwards take medicinally. Also a tincture is made (H.) from the entire fresh plant, which may be given curatively for frequent, wattery, painless diarrhoea, two or three drops for a dose with water every hour or two until the flux is stayed.

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

Ingredients: Caraway

April 10th, 2008

The common Caraway is a herb of the umbelliferous order found growing on many waste places in England, though not a true native of Great Britain. Its well-known aromatic seeds should be always at hand in the cupboard of every British housewife. The plant got its name from inhabiting Caria, a province of Asia Minor. It is now cultivated for commerce in Kent and Essex; and the essential oil distilled from the home grown fruit is preferred in this country. The medicinal properties of the Caraway are cordial and comforting to the stomach in colic and in flatulent indigestion; for which troubles a dose of from two to four drops of the essential oil of Caraway may be given on a lump of sugar, or in a teaspoonful of hot water.

For earache, in some districts the country people pound up the crumb of a loaf hot from the oven, together with a handful of bruised Caraway seeds; then wetting the whole with some spirit, they apply it to the affected part. The plant has been long naturalised in England, and was known here in Shakespeare’s time, who mentions it in the second part of Henry IV. thus: “Come, cousin Silence! we will eat a pippin of last year’s graffing, with a dish of Caraways; and then to bed!” The seeds grow numerously in the small flat flowers placed thickly together on each floral plateau, or umbel, and are best known to us in seed cake, and in Caraway comfits. They are really the dried fruit, and possess, when rubbed in a mortar, a warm aromatic taste, with a fragrant spicy smell. Caraway comfits consist of these fruits encrusted with white sugar; but why the wife of a comfit maker should be given to swearing, as Shakespeare avers, it is not easy to see. The young roots of Caraway plants may be sent to table like parsnips; they warm and stimulate a cold languid stomach. These mixed with milk and made into bread, formed the chara of Julius Caesar, eaten by the soldiers of Valerius. Chemically the volatile oil obtained from Caraway seeds consists of “carvol,” and a hydro-carbon, “carvene,” which is a sort of “camphor.” Dioscorides long ago advised the oil for pale-faced girls; and modern ladies have not disregarded the counsel.

From six pounds of the unbruised seeds, four ounces of the pure essential oil can be expressed. In Germany the peasants flavour their cheese, soups, and household bread — jager — with the Caraway; and this is not a modern custom, for an old Latin author says: Semina carui satis communiter adhibentur ad condiendum
panem; et rustica nostrates estant jusculum e pane, seminibus
carui, et cerevisâ coctum
.

The Russians and Germans make from Caraways a favourite liqueur “Kummel,” and the Germans add them as a flavouring condiment to their sawerkraut. In France Caraways enter into the composition of l’huile de Venus, and of other renowned cordials.

An ounce of the bruised seeds infused for six hours in a pint of cold water makes a good Caraway julep for infants, from one to three teaspoonfuls for a dose, It “consumeth winde, and is delightful to the stomack; the powdered seed put into a poultice taketh away blacke and blew spots of blows and bruises.” “The oil, or seeds of Caraway do sharpen vision, and promote the secretion of milk.” Therefore dimsighted men and nursing mothers may courageously indulge in seed cake!

The name Caraway comes from the Gaelic Caroh, a ship, because of the shape which the fruit takes. By cultivation the root becomes more succulent, and the fruit larger, whilst more oily, and therefore acquiring an increase of aromatic taste and odour. In Germany the seeds are given for hysterical affections, being finely powdered and mixed with ginger and salt to spread with butter on bread. As a draught for flatulent colic twenty grains of the powdered seeds may be taken with two teaspoonfuls of sugar in a wineglassful of hot water. Caraway-seed cake was formerly a standing institution at the feasts given by farmers to their labourers at the end of wheat sowing. But narcotic effects have been known to follow the chewing of Caraway seeds in a large quantity, such as three ounces at a time.

As regards its stock of honey the Caraway may be termed, like Uriah Heep, and in a double sense, “truly umbel.” The diminutive florets on its flat disk are so shallow that lepidopterous and hymenopterous insects, with their long proboses, stand no chance of getting a meal. They fare as poorly as the stork did in the fable, whom the fox invited to dinner served on a soup plate. As Sir John Lubbock has shown, out of fifty-five visitants to the Caraway plant for nectar, one moth, nine bees, twenty-one flies, and twenty-four miscellaneous midges constituted the dinner party.

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

Flatulent Dyspepsia, Wormwood tea for

March 19th, 2008

“Wormwood, one to two teaspoonfuls, water one pint. Make a tea and take from one to four teaspoonfuls daily.” This is an old tried remedy and one that should be given a trial if affected with dyspepsia.

Source: Mother’s Remedies: Over One Thousand Tried and Tested Remidies from Mothers of the United States and Canada, T. J. Ritter

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