Scouring Soap for Cotton and Silk Goods

October 4th, 2017

Mix one pound of common soap, half a pound of beef-gall and one ounce and a half of Venetian turpentine.

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

To Remove Sunburn

October 1st, 2016

Take two drachms of borax, one drachm of Roman alum, one drachm of camphor, half an ounce of sugar-candy, and a pound of ox-gall. Mix and stir well for ten minutes, and stir it in the same way three or four times a day for a fortnight. When clear and transparent strain through blotting-paper, and bottle for use.

Source: Cassell’s Household Guide

Spongy Gums

March 9th, 2016

If the gums become spongy, or detached from the necks of the teeth, your diet is probably defective, and more fresh vegetable is demanded. Lance the gums, however, and let them bleed freely, and
gargle the mouth with alum and water, or strong sage-tea unsweetened ; but the best application to spongy gums, and in case of salivation, is pure tannin, or, as a substitute, tincture of galls.

Source: Health, Disease and Remedy, George Moore

Ingredients: Oak

January 20th, 2008

The Oak — Quercus robur — is so named from the Celtic “quer,” beautiful; and “cuez,” a tree. “Drus,” another Celtic word for tree, and particularly for the Oak, gave rise to the terms Dryads and Druids. Among the Greeks and Romans a chaplet of oak was one of the highest honours which could be conferred on a citizen. Ancient oaks exist in several parts of England, which are traditionally called Gospel oaks, because it was the practice in times long past when beating the bounds of a parish to read a portion of the Gospel on Ascension Day beneath an oak tree which was growing on the boundary line of the district. Cross oaks were planted at the juncture of cross roads, so that persons suffering from ague might peg a lock of their hair into the trunks, and by wrenching themselves away might leave the hair and the malady in the tree together. A strong decoction of oak bark is most usefully applied for prolapse of the lower bowel.

Oak Apple day (May 29th) is called in Hampshire “Shikshak” day.

The bark of an oak tree, and the galls, or apples, produced on its leaves, or twigs, by an insect named cynips, are very astringent, by reason of the gallo-tannic acid which they furnish abundantly. This acid, given as a drug, or the strong decoction of oak bark which contains it, will serve to restrain bleedings if taken internally; and finely powdered oak bark, when inhaled pretty frequently, has proved very beneficial against consumption of the lungs in its early stages. Working tanners are well known to be particularly exempt from this disease, probably through their constantly inhaling the peculiar aroma given off from the tan pits; and a like effect may be produced by using as snuff the fresh oak bark dried and reduced to an impalpable powder, or by inhaling day after day the steam given off from recent oak bark infused in boiling water.

Marble galls are formed on the back of young twigs, artichoke galls at their extremities, and currant galls by spangles on the under surface of the leaves. From these spangles females presently emerge, and lay their eggs on the catkins, giving rise to the round shining currant galls.

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

Techniques: To Powder Substances

January 9th, 2008

Place the substance in the mortar, and strike it gently with direct perpendicular blows of the pestle, until it separates into several pieces, then remove all but a small portion, which bruise gently at first, and rub the pestle round and round the mortar, observing that the circles described by the pestle should gradually decrease in diameter, and then increase again, because by this means every part of the powder is subjected to the process of pulverization.

Some substances require to be prepared in a particular manner before they can be powdered, or to be assisted by adding some other body. For example, camphor powders more easily when a few drops of spirits of wine are added to it; mace, nutmeg and such oily aromatic substances are better for the addition of a little white sugar; resins and gum-resins should be powdered in a cold place, and if they are intended to be dissolved, a little fine well-washed white sand mixed with them assists the process of powdering. Tough roots, like gentian and calumba, should be cut into thin slices; and fibrous roots like ginger, cut slanting, otherwise the powder will be full of small fibres. Vegetable matter, such as peppermint, loosestrife, senna, &c., requires to be dried before it is powdered.

Be careful not to pound too hard in glass, porcelain or Wedgwoodware mortars; they are intended only for substances that pulverize easily, and for the purpose of mixing or incorporating medicines. Never use acids in a marble mortar, and be sure that you do not powder galls or any other astringent substance in any but a brass mortar.

Source: Enquire Within Upon Everything

Techniques: Decoction

January 1st, 2008

Decoction, or boiling, is employed to extract the mucilaginous or gummy parts of substances, their bitter, astringent or other qualities, and is nothing more than boiling the ingredients in a saucepan with the lid slightly raised. Be sure never to use an iron saucepan for astringent decoctions, such as oak-bark, galls, &c., as they will turn the saucepan black and spoil the decoction. The enamelled saucepans are very useful for decoctions, but an excellent plan is to put the ingredients into a jar and then boil the jar, thus preparing it by a water bath, as it is technically termed; or by using a common pipkin, which answers still better. No decoction should be allowed to boil for more than ten minutes.

Source: Enquire Within Upon Everything.