Sir Thomas Gower’s Metheglin for Health

September 8th, 2017

First boil the water and scum it; Then to 12 Gallons put 6 handfuls of Sweet-bryar-leaves, of Sweet-marjoram, Rosemary, Thyme, of each one a handful: Flowers of Marigold, Borrage, Bugloss, Sage, each two handfuls. Boil all together very gently, till a third waste. To eight Gallons of this put two Gallons of pure honey, and boil them till the Liquor bear an Egge, the breadth of threepence or a Groat, together with such spices as you like (bruised, but not beaten) an ounce of all is sufficient.

You must observe carefully. 1. Before you set the Liquor to boil, to cause a lusty Servant (his Arms well washed) to mix the honey and water together, labouring it with his hands at least an hour without intermission. 2. That when it begins to boil fast, you take away part of the fire, so as it may boil slowly, and the scum and dross go all to one side, the other remaining clear. When you take it off, let none of the liquor go away with the dross. 3. When you take it from the fire, let it settle well, before it be tunned into the vessel, wherein you mean to keep it: and when it comes near the bottom, let it be taken carefully from the sediment, with a thin Dish, so as nothing be put into the vessel, but what is clear. 4. Stop it very close (when it is set in the place, where it must remain) cover it with a cloth, upon which some handfuls of Bay-salt and Salpeter is laid, and over that lay clay, and a Turf. 5. Put into it, when you stop it, some New-laid-eggs in number proportionable to the bigness of the vessel, Shell’s unbroken. Six Eggs to about sixteen Gallons. The whole Egg-shell and all will be entirely consumed.

Source: The Closet Of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened, K. Digby

Ingredients: Marjoram

July 19th, 2008

The common Marjoram (Origanum) grows frequently as a wild labiate plant on dry, bushy places, especially in chalky districts throughout Britain, the whole herb being fragrantly aromatic, and bearing flowers of a deep red colour. When cultivated in our kitchen gardens it becomes a favourite pot herb, as “Sweet Marjoram,” with thin compact spikes, and more elliptical leaves than the wild Marjoram. Its generic title, Origanum, means in Greek, the joy of the mountains (oros-ganos) on which it grows.

This plant and the Pennyroyal are often called “Organ.” Its dried leaves are put as a pleasant condiment into soups and stuffings, being also sometimes substituted for tea. Together with the flowering tops they contain an essential volatile fragrant oil, which is carminative, warming, and tonic. An infusion made from the fresh plant will excellently relieve nervous headaches by virtue of the camphoraceous principle contained in the oil; and externally the herb may be applied with benefit in bags as a hot fomentation to painful swellings and rheumatism, as likewise for colic. “Organy,” says Gerard, “is very good against the wambling of the stomacke, and stayeth the desire to vomit, especially at sea. It may be used to good purpose for such as cannot brooke their meate.”

The sweet Marjoram has also been successfully employed externally for healing scirrhous tumours of the breast. Murray says: “Tumores mammarum dolentes scirrhosos herba recens, viridis, per tempus applicata feliciter dissipavit.” The essential oil, when long kept, assumes a solid form, and was at one time much esteemed for being rubbed into stiff joints. The Greeks and Romans crowned young couples with Marjoram, which is in some countries the symbol of honour. Probably the name was originally, “Majoram,” in Latin, Majorana. Our forefathers scoured their furniture with its odorous juice. In the Merry Wives of Windsor, Act v, Scene 5, we read:–

“The several chairs of order look you scour
With juice of balm, and every precious flower.”

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

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

A Snail Water for weak Children, and old People

January 16th, 2008

Take a pottle of Snails, and wash them well in two or three waters, and then in small Beer, bruise them shells and all; then put them into a gallon of red Cows Milk, red Rose leaves dried, the whites cut off, Rosemary, sweet Marjoram, of each one handful, and to distil them in a cold still, and let it drop upon powder of white Sugar candy in the receiver; drink of it first and last, and at four a clock in the afternoon, a wine-glass full at a time.

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

Infants’ Colic, &c.

January 3rd, 2008

Tea made of catnip, and sweetened, given to an infant when it appears to be in pain, is often useful. Sweet marjoram tea also relieves pain, and has a soothing effect on the nerves.

To put the feet in warm water, and put a warm piece of flannel to the stomach, is important; but if neither of these relieve the child, put it in warm water for about ten minutes, and cover it from the air carefully; wipe it dry, and keep it warm afterwards. A little weak ginger tea is good for the colic; as also tea made of dried damask rose leaves; a tea-spoonful of leaves will make a tea-cupful of tea.

Source: Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers, Elizabeth E. Lea