Lime-flower Tea

February 24th, 2017

To half an ounce of lime-flowers, placed in a tea-pot or jug, pour a pint of boiling water, and when the infusion has stood for ten minutes, sweeten with honey or sugar, and drink the tea hot, to assuage the pains in the stomach and chest, arising from indigestion. This beverage may also be successfully administered in attacks of hysteria.

Source: A Plain Cookery Book for the Working Classes, C.E. Francatelli

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.

Ingredient: Caraway Seed

April 1st, 2015

Caraway seeds sharpen the vision, promote the secretion of milk, and are good against hysterical affections. They are also useful in cases of colic. When used to flavour cakes the seeds should be pounded in a mortar, especially if children are to partake thereof.

When used medicinally 20 grains of the powdered seeds may be taken in a wineglassful of hot water. But for children half an ounce of the bruised seeds are to be infused in cold water for six hours, and from 1 to 3 teaspoonfuls of this water given.

A poultice of crushed caraway seeds moistened with hot water is good for sprains.

Caraway seeds are narcotic, and should therefore be used with caution.

Source: Food Remedies: Facts About Foods And Their Medicinal Uses, Florence Daniel

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

Ingredients: Feverfew

May 17th, 2008

The Feverfew is one of the wild Chamomiles (Pyrethrum Parthenium), or Matricaria, so called because especially useful for motherhood. Its botanical names come from the Latin febrifugus, putting fever to flight, and parthenos, a virgin. The herb is a Composite plant, and grows in every hedgerow, with numerous small heads of yellow flowers, having outermost white rays, but with an upright stem; whereas that of the true garden Chamomile is procumbent. The whole plant has a pungent odour, and is particularly disliked by bees. A double variety is cultivated in gardens for ornamental purposes.

The herb Feverfew is strengthening to the stomach, preventing hysteria and promoting the monthly functions of women. It is much used by country mediciners, though insufficiently esteemed by the doctors of to-day.

In Devonshire the plant is known as “Bachelor’s buttons,” and at Torquay as “Flirtwort,” being also sometimes spoken of as “Feathyfew,” or “Featherfull.”

Gerard says it may be used both in drinks, and bound on the wrists, as of singular virtue against the ague.

As “Feverfue,” it was ordered, by the Magi of old, “to be pulled from the ground with the left hand, and the fevered patient’s name must be spoken forth, and the herbarist must not look behind him.” Country persons have long been accustomed to make curative uses of this herb very commonly, which grows abundantly throughout England. Its leaves are feathery and of a delicate green colour, being conspicuous even in mid-winter. Chemically, the Feverfew furnishes a blue volatile oil; containing a camphoraceous stearopten, and a liquid hydrocarbon, together with some tannin, and a bitter mucilage.

The essential oil is medicinally useful for correcting female irregularities, as well as for obviating cold indigestion. The herb is also known as “Maydeweed,” because useful against hysterical distempers, to which young women are subject. Taken generally it is a positive tonic to the digestive and nervous systems. Our chemists make a medicinal tincture of Feverfew, the dose of which is from ten to twenty drops, with a spoonful of water, three times a day. This tincture, if dabbed oil the parts with a small sponge, will immediately relieve the pain and swelling caused by bites of insects or vermin. In the official guide to Switzerland directions are given
to take “a little powder of the plant called Pyrethrum roseum and make it into a paste with a few drops of spirit, then apply this to the hands and face, or any exposed part of the body, and let it dry: no mosquito or fly will then touch you.” Or if two teaspoonfuls of the tincture are mixed with half a pint of cold water, and if all parts of the body likely to be exposed to the bites of insects are freely sponged therewith they will remain unassailed. Feverfew is manifestly the progenitor of the true Chamomilla (Anthemis nobilis), from which the highly useful Camomile “blows,” so commonly employed in domestic medicine, are obtained, and its flowers, when dried, may be applied to the same purposes. An infusion of them made with boiling water and allowed to become cold, will allay any distressing sensitiveness to pain in a highly nervous subject, and will afford relief to the faceache or earache of a dyspeptic or rheumatic person. This Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium), is best calculated to pacify those who are liable to sudden, spiteful, rude irascibility, of which they are conscious, but say they cannot help it, and to soothe fretful children. “Better is a dinner or such herbs, where love is; than a stalled ox, and hatred therewith.”

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