Medicinal Food

August 11th, 2018

Spinach has a direct effect upon complaints of the kidneys; the common dandelion, used as greens, is excellent for the same trouble; asparagus purifies the blood; celery acts admirably upon the nervous system, and is a cure for rheumatism and neuralgia; tomatoes act upon the liver; beets and turnips are excellent appetizers; lettuce and cucumbers are cooling in their effects upon the system; beans are a very nutritious and strengthening vegetable; while onions, garlic, leeks, chives and shallots, all of which are similar, possess medicinal virtues of a marked character, stimulating the circulatory system, and the consequent increase of the saliva and the gastric juice promoting digestion. Red onions are an excellent diuretic, and the white ones are recommended raw as a remedy for insomnia. They are tonic, nutritious. A soup made from onions is regarded by the French as an excellent restorative in debility of the digestive organs. We might go through the entire list and find each vegetable possessing its especial mission of cure, and it will be plain to every housekeeper that a vegetable diet should be partly adopted, and will prove of great advantage to the health of the family.

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

Ingredient: Carrot

April 17th, 2015

Carrots are strongly antiseptic. They are said to be mentally invigorating and nerve restoring. They have the reputation of being very indigestible on account of the fact that they are generally boiled, not steamed. When used medicinally it is best to take the fresh, raw juice. This is easily obtained by grating the carrot finely on a common penny bread grater, and straining and pressing the pulp thus obtained.

Raw carrot juice, or a raw carrot eaten fasting, will expel worms. The cooked carrot is useless for this purpose.

A poultice of fresh carrot pulp will heal ulcers.

Fresh carrot juice is also good for consumptives on account of the large amount of sugar it contains.

Carrots are very good for gouty subjects and for derangements of the liver.

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

Nervous Pill

December 28th, 2008

Alcoholic extract of the Ignatia Amara (St Ignatius bean) 30 grains; powdered gum arabic 10 grains. Make into 40 pills.

Dose: One pill to be taken an hour after breakfast, and one an hour before retiring at night. Half a pill is enough for young, or very old or very delicate persons. The pills may be easily cut if laid on a damp cloth for a few moments.

These pills will be found applicable in bad dyspepsia, nervous headache, sleeplessness, palpitation of the heart, confusion of thought, determination of blood to the head, failure of memory, and all other forms of general nervous debility, no matter of how long standing. Where a prominent advantage is discovered in two weeks from the commencement of the medicine, one a day will suffice until all are taken.

The extract is made by pulverizing the seed or bean, and putting it into alcohol from ten to fourteen days, then evaporating to the consistency for working into pill mass with the powdered gum.

Source: Dr Chase’s Recipes, or Information for Everybody, A.W. Chase

Ingredients: Oat

November 15th, 2008

The Oat is a native of Britain in its wild and uncultivated form, and is distinguished by the spikelets of its ears hanging on slender pedicels. This is the Avena fatua, found in our cornfields, but not indigenous in Scotland. When cultivated it is named Avena sativa. As it needs less sunshine and solar warmth to ripen the grain than wheat, it furnishes the principal grain food of cold Northern Europe. With the addition of some fat this grain is capable of supporting life for an indefinite period. Physicians formerly recommended highly a diet-drink made from Oats, about which Hoffman wrote a treatise at the end of the seventeenth century; and Johannis de St. Catherine, who introduced the drink, lived by its use to a hundred years free from any disease. Nevertheless the Oat did not enjoy a good reputation among the old Romans; and Pliny said “Primum omnis frumenti vitium avena est.”

American doctors have taken of late to extol the Oat (Avena sativa) when made into a strong medicinal tincture with spirit of wine, as a remarkable nervine stimulant and restorative: this being “especially valuable in all cases where there is a deficiency of nervous power, for instance, among over-worked lawyers, public speakers, and writers.”

The tincture is ordered to be given in a dose of from ten to twenty drops, once or twice during the day, in hot water to act speedily; and a somewhat increased dose in cold water at bedtime so as to produce its beneficial effects more slowly then. It proves an admirable remedy for sleeplessness from nervous exhaustion, and as prepared in New York may be procured from any good druggist in England. Oatmeal contains two per cent. of protein compounds, the largest portion of which is avenin. A yeast poultice made by stirring Oatmeal into the grounds of strong beer is a capital cleansing and healing application to languid sloughing sores.

Oatmeal supplies very little saccharine matter ready formed. It cannot be made into light bread, and is therefore prepared when baked in cakes; or, its more popular form for eating is that of porridge, where the ground meal becomes thoroughly soft by boiling, and is improved in taste by the addition of milk and salt. “The halesome parritch, chief of Scotia’s food,” said Burns, with fervid eloquence. Scotch people actually revel in their parritch and bannocks. “We defy your wheaten bread,” says one of their favourite writers, “your home-made bread, your bakers’ bread, your baps, rolls, scones, muffins, crumpets, and cookies, your bath buns, and your sally luns, your tea cakes, and slim cakes, your saffron cakes, and girdle cakes, your shortbread, and singing hinnies: we swear by the Oat cake, and the parritch, the bannock, and the brose.” Scotch beef brose is made by boiling Oatmeal in meat liquor, and kail brose by cooking Oatmeal in cabbage-water. Crushed Oatmeal, from which the husk has been removed, is known as “groats,” and is employed for making gruel. At the latter end of the seventeenth century this was a drink asked-for eagerly by the public at London taverns. “Grantham gruel,” says quaint old Fuller, in his History of the Worthies of England, “consists of nine grits and a gallon of water.” When “thus made, it is wash rather, which one will have little heart to eat, and yet as little heart by eating.” But the better gruel concocted elsewhere was “a wholesome Spoon meat, though homely; physic for the sick, and food for persons in health; grits the form thereof: and giving the being thereunto.” In the border forays of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries all the provision carried by the Scotch was simply a bag of Oatmeal. But as a food it is apt to undergo some fermentation in the stomach, and to provoke sour eructations. Furthermore, it is somewhat laxative, because containing a certain proportion of bran which mechanically stimulates the intestinal membranes: and this insoluble bran is rather apt to accumulate. Oatmeal gruel may be made by boiling from one to two ounces of the meal with three pints of water down to two pints, then straining the decoction, and pouring off the supernatant liquid when cool. Its flavour may be improved by adding raisins towards the end of boiling, or by means of sugar and nutmeg. Because animals of speed use up, by the lungs, much heat-forming material, Oats (which abound in carbonaceous constituents) are specially suitable as food for the horse.

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

Sick Headache, Aromatic Spirits of Ammonia for

August 14th, 2008

“For a nervous headache there is nothing better for immediate relief than fifteen or
twenty drops of the aromatic spirits of ammonia.” This relieves the pain and quiets the nerves and stimulates the heart.

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

Catnip Tea for Nervousness

June 24th, 2008

“A tea made of catnip will quiet the nerves. This is good for women when they are apt to be nervous.”

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

Sleeplessness, Milk Will Stop

February 15th, 2008

“Sip a glass of hot milk just before retiring. This is very soothing to the nerves, and a good stimulant for the stomach.”

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

Definition: Anodyne

January 1st, 2008

Anodynes are those medicines which relieve pain by blunting the sensibility of the nerves, or of the brain, so that it does not appreciate the morbid sensation. An anodyne may be a stimulant in one dose, and a narcotic in a larger one. The properties of different anodyne agents vary, consequently they produce unlike effects. The size of the dose required, differs according to circumstances and condition. An adult, suffering acute pain, requires a much larger dose to produce an anodyne effect than one who is a chronic sufferer. An individual accustomed to the use of anodynes, requires a much larger dose to procure relief than one who is not. Doses may be repeated, until their characteristic effects are produced, after an interval of thirty or forty minutes. When the stomach is very sensitive and will not tolerate their internal administration, one-sixth of a grain of Morphia can be inserted beneath the skin, by means of a hypodermic syringe. Relief is more quickly experienced, and the anodyne effect is much more lasting than when taken into the stomach.

Source: The People’s Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English or, Medicine Simplified, R.V. Pierce.