Torpid Liver, Boneset Tea for

September 9th, 2008

“Drink boneset tea at any time during the day and at night. It is also good for cleansing the blood.” This is a very good remedy, especially for people who live in a low damp region.

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

Jaundice, Peach Tree Bark for

September 8th, 2008

“Take the inner bark of a peach tree, and make a strong tea, and give a teaspoonful before each meal for five days, then stop five days, and if the patient’s indications do not warrant a reasonable expectation that a cure is effected repeat the medicine as above. I never knew of a case in which the above medicine failed to cure. Keep the bowels open with sweet oil.”

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

Ingredients: Dandelion

September 6th, 2008

Owing to long years of particular evolutionary sagacity in developing winged seeds to be wafted from the silky pappus of its ripe flowerheads over wide areas of land, the Dandelion exhibits its handsome golden flowers in every field and on every ground plot throughout the whole of our country. They are to be distinguished from the numerous hawkweeds, by having the outermost leaves of their exterior cup bent downwards whilst the stalk is coloured and shining. The plant-leaves have jagged edges which resemble the angular jaw of a lion fully supplied with teeth; or, some writers say, the herb has been named from the heraldic lion which is vividly yellow, with teeth of gold-in fact, a dandy lion! Again, the flower closely resembles the sun, which a lion represents. It is called by some Blowball, Time Table, and Milk “Gowan” (or golden).

“How like a prodigal does Nature seem,
When thou with all thy gold so common art.”

In some of our provinces the herb is known as Wiggers, and Swinesnout; whilst again in Devon and Cornwall it is called the Dashelflower. Botanically it belongs to the composite order, and is named Taraxacum Leontodon, or eatable, and lion-toothed. This latter when Latinised is dens leonis, and in French dent de lion. The title Taraxacum is an Arabian corruption of the Greek trogimon, “edible”; or it may have been derived from the Greek taraxos, “disorder,” and akos, “remedy.” It once happened that a plague of insects destroyed the harvest in the island of Minorca, so that the inhabitants had to eat the wild produce of the country; and many of them then subsisted for some while entirely on this plant. The Dandelion, which is a wild sort of Succory, was known to Arabian physicians, since Avicenna of the eleventh century mentions it as taraxacon. It is found throughout Europe, Asia, and North America; possessing a root which abounds with milky juice, and this varying in character according to the time of year in which the plant is gathered.

During the winter the sap is thick, sweet, and albuminous; but in summer time it is bitter and acrid. Frost causes the bitterness to diminish, and sweetness to take its place; but after the frost this bitterness returns, and is intensified. The root is at its best for yielding juice about November. Chemically the active ingredients of the herb are taraxacin, and taraxacerine, with inulin (a sort of sugar), gluten, gum, albumen, potash, and an odorous resin, which is commonly supposed to stimulate the liver, and the biliary organs. Probably this reputed virtue was assigned at first to the plant largely on the doctrine of signatures, because of its bright yellow flowers of a bilious hue. But skilled medical provers who have experimentally tested the toxical effects of the Dandelion plant have found it to produce, when taken in excess, troublesome indigestion, characterized by a tongue coated with a white skin which peels off in patches, leaving a raw surface, whilst the kidneys become unusually active, with profuse night sweats and an itching nettle rash. For these several symptoms when occurring of themselves, a combination of the decoction, and the medicinal tincture will be invariably curative.

To make a decoction of the root, one part of this dried, and sliced, should be gently boiled for fifteen minutes in twenty parts of water, and strained off when cool. It may be sweetened with brown sugar, or honey, if unpalatable when taken alone, several teacupfuls being given during the day. Dandelion roots as collected for the market are often adulterated with those of the common Hawkbit (Leontodon hispidus); but these are more tough and do not give out any milky juice.

The tops of the roots dug out of the ground, with the tufts of the leaves remaining thereon, and blanched by being covered in the earth as they grow, if gathered in the spring, are justly esteemed as an excellent vernal salad. It was with this homely fare the good wise Hecate entertained Theseus, as we read in Evelyn’s Acetaria. Bergius says he has seen intractable cases of liver congestion cured, after many other remedies had failed, by the patients taking daily for some months, a broth made from Dandelion roots stewed in boiling water, with leaves of Sorrel, and the yolk of an egg; though (he adds) they swallowed at the same time cream of tartar to keep their bodies open.

Incidentally with respect to the yolk of an egg, as prescribed here, it is an established fact that patients have been cured of obstinate jaundice by taking a raw egg on one or more mornings while fasting. Dr. Paris tells us a special oil is to be extracted from the yolks (only) of hard boiled eggs, roasted in pieces in a frying pan until the oil begins to exude, and then pressed hard. Fifty eggs well fried will yield about five ounces of this oil, which is acrid, and so enduringly liquid that watch-makers use it for lubricating the axles and pivots of their most delicate wheels. Old eggs furnish the oil most abundantly, and it certainly acts as a very useful medicine for an obstructed liver. Furthermore the shell, when finely triturated, has served by its potentialised lime to cure some forms of cancer. Sweet are the uses of adversity! even such as befell the egg symbolised by Humpty-Dumpty:–

“Humptius in muro requievit Dumptius alto,
Humptius e muro Dumptius–heu! cecidit!
Sed non Regis equi, Reginae exercitus omnis
Humpti, te, Dumpti, restituere loco.”

The medicinal tincture of Dandelion is made from the entire plant, gathered in summer, employing proof spirit which dissolves also the resinous parts not soluble in water. From ten to fifteen drops of this tincture may be taken with a spoonful of water three times in the day.

Of the freshly prepared juice, which should not be kept long as it quickly ferments, from two to three teaspoonfuls are a proper dose. The leaves when tender and white in the spring are taken on the Continent in salads or they are blanched, and eaten with bread and butter. Parkinson says: “Whoso is drawing towards a consumption, or ready to fall into a cachexy, shall find a wonderful help from the use thereof, for some time together.” Officially, according to the London College, are prepared from the fresh dried roots collected in the autumn, a decoction (one ounce to a pint of boiling water), a juice, a fresh extract, and an inspissated liquid extract.

Because of its tendency to provoke involuntary urination at night, the Dandelion has acquired a vulgar suggestive appellation which expresses this fact in most homey terms: quasi herba lectiminga, et urinaria dicitur: and this not only in our vernacular, but in most of the European tongues: quia plus lotii in vesicam derivat quam puerulis retineatur proesertim inter dormiendum, eoque tunc imprudentes et inviti stragula permingunt.

At Gottingen, the roots are roasted and used instead of coffee by the poorer folk; and in Derbyshire the juice of the stalk is applied to remove warts. The flower of the Dandelion when fully blown is named Priest’s Crown (Caput monachi), from the resemblance of its naked receptacle after the winged seeds have been all blown away, to the smooth shorn head of a Roman cleric. So Hurdis sings in his poem The Village Curate:–

“The Dandelion this:
A college youth that flashes for a day
All gold: anon he doffs his gaudy suit,
Touched by the magic hand of Bishop grave,
And all at once by commutation strange
Becomes a reverend priest: and then how sleek!
How full of grace! with silvery wig at first
So nicely trimmed, which presently grows bald.
But let me tell you, in the pompous globe
Which rounds the Dandelion’s head is fitly couched
Divinity most rare.”

Boys gather the flower when ripe, and blow away the hall of its silky seed vessels at the crown, to learn the time of day, thus sportively making:–

“Dandelion with globe of down
The school-boy’s clock in every town.”

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

Ingredients: Lemon

August 30th, 2008

The Lemon (Citrus Limonum) is so common of use in admixing refreshing drinks, and for its fragrancy of peel, whether for culinary flavour, or as a delightful perfume, that it may well find a place among the Simples of a sagacious housewife. Moreover, the imported fruit, which abounds in our markets, as if to the manner born, is endowed with valuable medicinal properties which additionally qualify it for the domestic Herbarium. The Lemons brought to England come chiefly from Sicily, through Messina and Palermo. Flowers may be found on the lemon tree all the year round.

In making lemonade it is a mistake to pour boiling water upon sliced Lemons, because thus brewing an infusion of the peel, which is medicinal. The juice should be squeezed into cold water (previously boiled), adding to a quart of the same the juice of three lemons, a few crushed strawberries, and the cut up rind of one Lemon.

This fruit grows specially at Mentone, in the south of France; and a legend runs that Eve carried two or three Lemons with her away from Paradise, wandering about until she came to Mentone, which she found to be so like the Garden of Eden that she settled there, and planted her fruit.

The special dietetic value of Lemons consists in their potash salts, the citrate, malate, and tartrate, which are respectively antiscorbutic, and of assistance in promoting biliary digestion. Each fluid ounce of the fresh juice contains about forty-four grains of citric acid, with gum, sugar, and a residuum, which yields, when incinerated, potash, lime, and phosphoric acid. But the citric acid of the shops is not nearly so preventive or curative of scurvy as the juice itself.

The exterior rind furnishes a grateful aromatic bitter; and our word “zest” signifies really a chip of lemon peel or orange peel used for giving flavour to liquor. It comes from the Greek verb, “skizein,” to divide, or cut up.

The juice has certain sedative properties whereby it allays hysterical palpitation of the heart, and alleviates pain caused by cancerous ulceration of the tongue. Dr. Brandini, of Florence, discovered this latter property of fresh Lemon juice, through a patient who, when suffering grievously from that dire disease, found marvellous relief to the part by casually sucking a lemon to slake his feverish thirst. But it is a remarkable fact that the acid of Lemons is harmful and obnoxious to cats, rabbits, and other small animals, because it lowers the heart’s action in these creatures, and liquifies the blood; whereas, in man it does not diminish the coagulability of the blood, but proves more useful than any other agent in correcting that thin impoverished liquidity thereof which constitutes scurvy. Rapin extols lemons, or citrons, for discomfort of the heart:–

“Into an oval form the citrons rolled
Beneath thick coats their juicy pulp unfold:
From some the palate feels a poignant smart,
Which, though they wound the tongue, yet heal the heart.”

Throughout Italy, and at Rome, a decoction of fresh Lemons is extolled as a specific against intermittent fever; for which purpose a fresh unpeeled Lemon is cut into thin slices, and put into an earthenware jar with three breakfastcupfuls of cold water, and boiled down to one cupful, which is strained, the lemon being squeezed, and the decoction being given shortly before the access of fever is expected.

For a restless person of ardent temperament and active plethoric circulation, a Lemon squash (unsweetened) of not more than half a tumblerful is a capital sedative; or, a whole lemon may be made hot on the oven top, being turned from time to time, and being put presently when soft and moist into a teacup, then by stabbing it about the juice will be made to escape, and should be drunk hot. If bruised together with a sufficient quantity of sugar the pips of a fresh Lemon or Orange will serve admirably against worms in children. Cut in slices and put into the morning bath, a Lemon makes it fragrant and doubly refreshing.

Professor Wilhelm Schmole, a German doctor, has published a work of some note, in which he advances the theory that fresh Lemon juice is a kind of elixir vitae; and that if a sufficient number of Lemons be taken daily, life may be indefinitely prolonged. Lemon juice is decidedly beneficial against jaundice from passive sluggishness of the biliary functions; it will often serve to stay bleedings, when ice and astringent styptics have failed; it will prove useful when swallowed freely against immoderately active monthly fluxes in women; and when applied externally it signally relieves cutaneous itching, especially of the genitals.

Prize-fighters refresh themselves with a fresh cut Lemon between the rounds when competing in the Ring. Hence has arisen the common saying, “Take a suck of the Lemon, and at him again.”

For a relaxed sore throat, Lemon juice will help to make a serviceable gargle. By the heat of the sun it may be reduced to a solid state. For a cold in the head, if the juice of a ripe Lemon be squeezed into the palm of the hand, and strongly sniffed into the nostrils at two or three separate times, a cure will be promoted. Roast fillet of veal, with stuffing and lemon juice, was beloved by Oliver Cromwell.

For heartburn which comes on without having eaten sweet things, it is helpful to suck a thin slice of fresh Lemon dipped in salt just after each meal.

The Chinese practice of rubbing parts severely neuralgic with the wet surface of a cut Lemon is highly useful. This fruit has been sold within present recollection at half-a-crown each, and during the American war at five shillings.

The hands may be made white, soft, and supple by daily sponging them with fresh Lemon juice, which further keeps the nails in good order; and the same may be usefully applied to the roots of the hair for removing dandriff from the scalp.

The Candied Peel which we employ as a confection is got from one of the citrons (a variety of the lemon); whilst another of this tribe is esteemed for religious purposes in Jewish synagogues. These citrons are imported into England from the East; and for unblemished specimens of the latter which reach London, high prices are paid. One pound sterling is a common sum, and not infrequently as much as seventy shillings are given for a single “Citron of Law.” The fruit is used at the Feast of Tabernacles according to a command given in the Book of the Law; it is not of an edible nature, but is handed round and smelt by the worshippers as they go out, when they “thank God for all good things, and for the sweet odours He has given to men.” This citron is considered to be almost miraculously restorative, especially by those who regard it as the “tappnach,” intended in the text, “Comfort me with apples.” Ladies of the Orient, even now, carry a piece of its rind about them in a vinaigrette.

The citron which furnishes Candied Peel resembles a large juicy lemon, but without a nipple.

Virgil said of the fruit generally:–

“Media fert tristes succos, tardumque saporem
Felicis mali.”

Fresh Lemon juice will not keep because of its mucilage, which soon ferments.

Sidney Smith, in writing about Foston, his remote Country Cure in Yorkshire, said it is “twelve miles from a Lemon.”

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

Ingredients: Hyssop

July 5th, 2008

The cultivated Hyssop, now of frequent occurrence in the herb-bed, and a favourite plant there because of its fragrance, belongs to the labiate order, and possesses cordial qualities which give it rank as a Simple. It has pleasantly odorous striped leaves which vary in colour, and possess a camphoraceous odour, with a warm aromatic bitter taste. This is of comparatively recent introduction into our gardens, not having been cultivated until Gerard’s time, about 1568, and not being a native English herb.

The Ussopos of Dioscorides, was named from azob, a holy herb, because used for cleansing sacred places. Hence it is alluded to in this sense scripturally: “Purge me with Hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm li. 7). Solomon wrote “of all trees, from the Cedar in Lebanon to the Hyssop that springeth out of the wall.” The healing virtues of the plant are due to a particular volatile oil which admirably promotes expectoration in bronchial catarrh and asthma. Hyssop tea is a grateful drink well adapted to improve the tone of a feeble stomach, being brewed with the green tops of the herb. The same parts of the plant are sometimes boiled in soup to be given for asthma. The leaves and flowers are of a warm pungent taste, and of an agreeable aromatic smell; therefore if the tops and blossoms are reduced to a powder and added to cold salad herbs they give a comforting cordial virtue.

There was formerly made a distilled water of Hyssop, which may still be had from some druggists, it being deemed a good pectoral medicine. In America an infusion of the leaves is used externally for the relief of muscular rheumatism, as also for bruises and discoloured contusions. The herb was sometimes called Rosemary in the East, and was hung up to afford protection from the evil eye, as well as to guard against witches.

To make Hyssop tea, one drachm of the herb should be infused in a pint of boiling water, and allowed to become cool. Then a wineglassful is to be given as a dose two or three times in the day.

Of the essential oil of Hyssop, from one to two drops should be the dose. Pliny said: “Hyssop mixed with figs, purges; with honey, vomits.” If the herb be steeped in boiling water and applied hot to the part, it will quickly remove the blackness consequent upon a bruise or blow, especially in the case of “black” or blood-shot eyes.

Parkinson says that in his day “the golden hyssop was of so pleasant a colour that it provoked every gentlewoman to wear them in their heads, and on their arms with as much delight as many fine flowers can give.” The leaves are striped conspicuously with white or yellow; for which reason, and because of their fragrance, the herb is often chosen to be planted on graves. The green herb, bruised and applied, will heal cuts promptly. Its tea will assist in promoting the monthly courses for women. Hyssop grows wild in middle and southern Europe.

The Hedge Hyssop (Gratiola officinalis), or Water Hyssop, is quite a different plant from the garden pot-herb, and belongs to the scrofula-curing order, with far more active medicinal properties than the Hyssop proper. The commonly recognized Hedge Hyssop bears a pale yellow, or a pale purple flower, like that of the Foxglove; and the whole plant has a very bitter taste. A medicinal tincture (H.) is made from the entire herb, of which from eight to ten drops may be taken with a tablespoonful of cold water three times in the day. It will afford relief against nervous weakness and shakiness, such as occur after an excessive use of coffee or tobacco. The title “gratiola,” is from dei gratiâ, “by the grace of God.”

The juice of the plant purges briskly, and may be usefully employed in some forms of dropsy. Its decoction is milder of action, and proves beneficial in cases of jaundice. In France the plant is cultivated as a perfume, and it is said to be an active ingredient in the famous Eau médicinale for gout.

Of the dried leaves from five to twenty-five grains will act as a drastic vermifuge to expel worms. The root resembles ipecacuanha in its effects, and in moderate quantities, as a powder or decoction, helps to stay bloody fluxes and purgings. The flowers are sometimes of a blood-red hue, and the whole plant contains a special essential oil.

“Whoso taketh,” says Parkinson, “but one scruple of Gratiola (Hedge Hyssop) bruised, shall perceive evidently his effectual operation and virtue in purging mightily, and that in great abundance, watery, gross, and slimy tumours.” Caveat qui sumpserit. On the principle of affinities, small diluted doses of the tincture, or decoction, or of the dried leaves, prove curative in cases of fluxes from the lower bowels, where irritation within the fundament is frequent, and where there is considerable nervous exhaustion, especially in chronic cases of this sort.

Jaundice, Sweet Cider Sure Cure for

March 25th, 2008

“New cider before it ferments at all. Drink all you can.” This is a very simple remedy, but a sure one if taken in the early stages of jaundice. It causes the bowels to move freely and carries off any impurities in the system.

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

Ingredients: Barberry

February 13th, 2008

The Common Barberry (Berberis), which gives its name to a special order of plants, grows wild as a shrub in our English copses and hedges, particularly about Essex, being so called from Berberin, a pearl oyster, because the leaves are glossy like the inside of an oyster shell. It is remarkable for the light colour of its bark, which is yellow inside, and for its three-forked spines. Provincially it is also termed Pipperidge-bush, from “pepin,” a pip, and “rouge,” red, as descriptive of its small scarlet juiceless fruit, of which the active chemical principles, as well as of the bark, are “berberin” and “oxyacanthin.” The sparingly-produced juice of the berries is cooling and astringent. It was formerly held in high esteem by the Egyptians, when diluted as a drink, in pestilential fevers. The inner, yellow bark, which has been long believed to exercise a medicinal effect on the liver, because of its colour, is a true biliary purgative. An infusion of this bark, made with boiling water, is useful in jaundice from congestive liver, with furred tongue, lowness of spirits, and yellow complexion; also for swollen spleen from malarious exposure. A medicinal tincture (H.) is made of the root-branches and the root-bark, with spirit of wine; and if given three or four times a day in doses of five drops with one tablespoonful of cold water, it will admirably rouse the liver to healthy and more vigorous action. Conversely the tincture when of reduced strength will stay bilious diarrhoea. British farmers dislike the Barberry shrub because, when it grows in cornfields, the wheat near it is blighted, even to the distance of two or three hundred yards. This is because of a special fungus which is common to the Barberry, and being carried by the wind reproduces itself by its spores destructively on the ears of wheat, the AEcidium Berberidis, which generates Puccinia.

Clusius setteth it down as a wonderful secret which he had from a friend, “that if the yellow bark of Barberry be steeped in white wine for three hours, and be afterwards drank, it will purge one very marvellously.”

The berries upon old Barberry shrubs are often stoneless, and this is the best fruit for preserving or for making the jelly. They contain malic and citric acids; and it is from these berries that the delicious confitures d’epine vinette, for which Rouen is famous, are commonly prepared. And the same berries are chosen in England to furnish the kernel for a very nice sugar-plum. The syrup of Barberries will make with water an excellent astringent gargle for raw, irritable sore throat; likewise the jelly gives famous relief for this catarrhal affection. It is prepared by boiling the berries, when ripe, with an equal weight of sugar, and then straining. For an attack of colic because of gravel in the kidneys, five drops of the tincture on sugar every five minutes will promptly relieve, as likewise when albumen is found by analysis in the urine.

A noted modern nostrum belauds the virtues of the Barberry as specific against bile, heartburn, and the black jaundice, this being a remedy which was “discovered after infinite pains by one who had studied for thirty years by candle light for the good of his countrymen.” In Gerard’s time at the village of Ivor, near Colebrooke, most of the hedges consisted solely of Barberry bushes.

The following is a good old receipt for making Barberry jam:– Pick the fruit from the stalks, and bake it in an earthen pan; then press it through a sieve with a wooden spoon. Having mixed equal weights of the prepared fruit, and of powdered sugar, put these together in pots, and cover the mixture up, setting them in a dry place, and having sifted some powdered sugar over the top of each pot. Among the Italians the Barberry bears the name of Holy Thorn, because thought to have formed part of the crown of thorns made for our Saviour.

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

Aqua Gentianæ compositæ

January 27th, 2008

Or Gentian Water compound.

College. Take of Gentian roots sliced, one pound and a half, the leaves and flowers of Centaury the less, of each four ounces, steep them eight days in twelve pounds of white Wine, then distil them in an alembick.

Culpeper. It conduces to preservation from ill air, and pestilential fevers: it opens obstructions of the liver, and helps such as they say are liver-grown; it eases pains in the stomach, helps digestion, and eases such as have pains in their bones by ill lodging abroad in the cold, it provokes appetite, and is exceeding good for the yellow jaundice, as also for prickings or stitches in the sides: it provokes the menses, and expels both birth and placenta: it is naught for pregnant women. If there be no fever, you may take a spoonful by itself; if there be, you may, if you please, mix it with some cooler medicine appropriated to the same use you would give it for.

Source: The Complete Herbal and English Physician Enlarged, Nicholas Culpeper

Ingredients: Agrimony

January 15th, 2008

The Agrimony is a Simple well known to all country folk, and abundant throughout England in the fields and woods, as a popular domestic medicinal herb. It belongs to the Rose order of plants, and blossoms from June to September with small yellow flowers, which sit close along slender spikes a foot high, smelling like apricots, and called by the rustics “Church Steeples.” Botanically it bears the names Agrimonia Eupatoria, of which the first is derived from the Greek, and means “shining,” because the herb is thought to cure cataract of the eye; and the second bears reference to the liver, as indicating the use of this plant for curing diseases of that organ. Chemists have determined that the Agrimony possesses a particular volatile oil, and yields nearly five per cent. of tannin, so that its use in the cottage for gargles, and as an astringent application to indolent wounds, is well justified. The herb does not seem really to own any qualities for acting medicinally on the liver. More probably the yellow colour of its flowers, which, with the root, furnish a dye of a bright nankeen hue, has given it a reputation in bilious disorders, according to the doctrine of signatures, because the bile is also yellow. Nevertheless, Gerard says: “A decoction of the leaves is good for them that have naughty livers.” By pouring a pint of boiling water on a handful of the plant — stems, flowers and leaves — an excellent gargle may be made for a relaxed throat; and a teacupful of the same infusion may be taken cold three or four times in the day for simple looseness of the bowels; also for passive losses of blood. In France, Agrimony tea is drank as a beverage at table. This herb formed an ingredient of the genuine arquebusade water, as prepared against wounds inflicted by an arquebus, or hand-gun, and it was mentioned by Philip de Comines in his account of the battle of Morat, 1476. When the Yeomen of the Guard were first formed in England — 1485 — half were armed with bows and arrows, whilst the other half carried arquebuses. In France the eau de arquebusade is still applied for sprains and bruises, being carefully made from many aromatic herbs. Agrimony was at one time included in the London Materia Medica as a vulnerary herb. It bears the title of Cockleburr, or Sticklewort, because its seed vessels cling by the hooked ends of their stiff hairs to any person or animal coming into contact with the plant. A strong decoction of the root and leaves, sweetened with honey, has been taken successfully to cure scrofulous sores, being administered two or three times a day in doses of a wineglassful persistently for several months. Perhaps the special volatile oil of the plant, in common with that contained in other herbs similarly aromatic, is curatively antiseptic. Pliny called it a herb “of princely authoritie.”

The Hemp Agrimony, or St. John’s Herb, belongs to the Composite order of plants, and grows on the margins of brooks, having hemp-like leaves, which are bitter of taste and pungent of smell, as if it were an umbelliferous herb. Because of these hempen leaves it was formerly called “Holy Rope,” being thus named after the rope with which Jesus was bound. They contain a volatile oil, which acts on the kidneys; likewise some tannin, and a bitter chemical principle, which will cut short the chill of intermittent fever, or perhaps prevent it. Provers of the plant have found it produce a “bilious fever,” with severe headache, redness of the face, nausea, soreness over the liver, constipation, and high-coloured urine. Acting on which experience, a tincture, prepared from the whole plant, may be confidently given in frequent small well-diluted doses with water for influenza, or for a similar feverish chill, with break-bone pains, prostration, hot dry skin, and some bilious vomiting. Likewise a tea made with boiling water poured on the dried leaves will give prompt relief if taken hot at the onset of a bilious catarrh, or of influenza. This plant also is named Eupatorium because it refers, as Pliny says, to Eupator, a king of Pontus. In Holland it is used for jaundice, with swollen feet: and in America it belongs to the tribe of bone-sets. The Hemp Agrimony grows with us in moist, shady places, with a tall reddish stem, and with terminal crowded heads of dull lilac flowers. Its distinctive title is Cannabinum, or “Hempen,” whilst by some it is known as “Thoroughwort.”

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