Acid Salt

August 25th, 2017

This is the composition commonly, but erroneously called salt of lemon, and is excellent for removing ink and other stains from the hands, and for taking ink spots out of white clothes. Pound together in a marble mortar an ounce of salt of sorrel, and an ounce of the best cream of tartar, mixing them thoroughly. Then, put it in little wooden boxes or covered gallipots, and rub it on your hands when they are stained, washing them in cold water, and using the acid salt instead of soap; a very small quantity will immediately remove the stain. In applying it to linen or muslin that is spotted with ink or fruit juice, hold the stained part tightly stretched over a cup or bowl of boiling water. Then with your finger rub on the acid salt till the stain disappears. It must always be done before the article is washed.

This mixture costs about twenty-five cents, and the above quantity (if kept dry) will be sufficient for a year or more.

Ink stains may frequently be taken out of white clothes by rubbing on (before they go to the wash) some bits of cold tallow picked from the bottom of a mould candle; Leave the tallow sticking on in a lump, and when the article comes from the wash, it will generally be found that the spot has disappeared. This experiment is so easy and so generally successful that it is always worth trying. When it fails, it is in consequence of some peculiarity in the composition of the ink.

Source: Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches, Eliza Leslie

Broth for Sick and Convalescent Persons

July 24th, 2017

Put a Crag-end of a Neck of Mutton, a Knuckle of Veal, and a Pullet into a Pipkin of water, with a spoonful or two of French-barley first scalded in a water or two. The Pullet is put in after the other meat is well skimmed, and hath boiled an hour. A good hour after that, put in a large quantity of Sorrel, Lettice, Purslane, Borage and Bugloss, and boil an hour more at least three hours in all. Before you put in the herbs, season the broth with Salt, a little Pepper and Cloves, strain out the broth and drink it.

But for Potage, put at first a good piece of fleshy young Beef with the rest of the meat. And put not in your herbs till half an hour before you take off the Pot. When you use not herbs, but Carrots and Turneps, put in a little Peny-royal and a sprig of Thyme. Vary in the season with Green-pease, or Cucumber quartered longwise, or Green sower Verjuyce Grapes; always well-seasoned with Pepper and Salt and Cloves. You pour some of the broth upon the sliced-bread by little and little, stewing it, before you put the Herbs upon the Potage.

The best way of ordering your bread in Potages, is thus. Take light spungy fine white French-bread, cut only the crusts into tosts. Tost them exceeding dry before the fire, so that they be yellow. Then put them hot into a hot dish, and pour upon them some very good strong broth, boiling hot. Cover this, and let them stew together gently, not boil; and feed it with fresh-broth, still as it needeth; This will make the bread swell much, and become like gelly.

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

To Make a Meath Good for the Liver and Lungs

July 6th, 2017

Take of the Roots of Coltsfoot, Fennel and Fearn each four Ounces. Of Succory-roots, Sorrel-roots, Strawberry-roots, Bitter-sweet-roots, each two Ounces, of Scabious-roots and Elecampane-roots, each an Ounce and a half. Ground-ivy, Hore-hound, Oak of Jerusalem, Lung-wort, Liver-wort, Maiden-hair, Harts-tongue of each two good-handfulls. Licorish four Ounces. Jujubes, Raisins of the Sun and Currents, of each two Ounces; let the roots be sliced, and the herbs be broken a little with your hands; and boil all these in twenty quarts of fair running water, or, if you have it, in Rain water, with five Pints of good white honey, until one third part be boiled away; then pour the liquor through a jelly bag often upon a little Coriander-seeds, and Cinnamon; and when it runneth very clear, put it into Bottles well stopped, and set it cool for your use, and drink every morning a good draught of it, and at five in the afternoone.

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

The Snail water excellent for Consumptions

March 7th, 2016

Take a Peck of Snails with the Shells on their Backs, have in a readiness a good fire of Charcoal well kindled, make a hole in the midst of the fire, and cast your Snails into the fire, renew your fire till the Snails are well rosted, then rub them with a clean Cloth, till you have rubbed off all the green which will come off.

Then bruise them in a Mortar, shells and all, then take Clary, Celandine, Burrage, Scabious, Bugloss, five leav’d Grass, and if you find your self hot, put in some Wood-Sorrel, of every one of these one handful, with five tops of Angelica.

These Herbs being all bruised in a Mortar, put them in a sweet earthen Pot with five quarts of white Wine, and two quarts of Ale, steep them all night; then put them into an Alembeck, let the herbs be in the bottom of the Pot, and the Snails upon the Herbs, and upon the Snails put a Pint of Earth-worms slit and clean washed in white Wine, and put upon them four ounces of Anniseeds or Fennel-seeds well bruised, and five great handfuls of Rosemary Flowers well picked, two or three Races of Turmerick thin sliced, Harts-horn and Ivory, of each four ounces, well steeped in a quart of white Wine till it be like a Jelly, then draw it forth with care.

Source: The Queen-like Closet or Rich Cabinet, Hannah Wolley

The Plague Water

October 13th, 2015

Take Rosemary, Red Balm, Burrage, Angelica, Carduus, Celandine, Dragon, Featherfew, Wormwood, Penyroyal, Elecampane roots, Mugwort, Bural, Tormentil, Egrimony, Sage, Sorrel, of each of these one handful, weighed weight for weight; put all these in an earthen Pot, with four quarts of white Wine, cover them close, and let them stand eight or nine days in a cool Cellar, then distil it in a Glass Still.

Source: The Queen-like Closet or Rich Cabinet, Hannah Wolley

Corns – To Cure

May 25th, 2015

Two drachms potash and 1 drachm salt of sorrel. Mix into a fine powder. Put on enough to cover the corn for four successive nights, binding it on with a cloth.

Corns can often be cured by paring them down and rubbing on a little strong vinegar or acetic acid every night. Each morning, rub them over with lard or olive oil.

The latest cure for soft corns is this: Wash and dry the foot thoroughly, and put on a sprinkling of dry sulphur night and morning for several weeks, and a cure is assured.

Source: Mrs Owens’ Cook Book and Useful Household Hints, Frances Owens

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

Doctor Butler’s Preservative against the Plague

March 3rd, 2008

Take Wood Sorrel, and pick it from the stalk, and pound it very well in a stone Mortar; then take to every pound of beaten Sorrel a pound of Sugar finely beaten, and two ounces of Mithridate, beat them very well together, and put them in pots for your use; take every morning before and after the Infection for some time together of this Conserve, as much as a Walnut.

The Queens Cabinet Opened: Or, The Pearle of Practice. Accurate, Physical and Chirurgical Receipts, Nathaniel Brooke

Ingredients: Arum

February 4th, 2008

The “lords and ladies” (arum maculatum) so well known to every rustic as common throughout Spring in almost every hedge row, has acquired its name from the colour of its erect pointed spike enclosed within the curled hood of an upright arrow-shaped leaf. This is purple or cream hued, according to the accredited sex of the plant. It bears further the titles of Cuckoo Pint, Wake Robin, Parson in the Pulpit, Rampe, Starchwort, Arrowroot, Gethsemane, Bloody Fingers, Snake’s Meat, Adam and Eve, Calfsfoot, Aaron, and Priest’s Pintle. The red spots on its glossy emerald arrow-head leaves, are attributed to the dropping of our Saviour’s blood on the plant whilst growing at the foot of the cross. Several of the above appellations bear reference to the stimulating effects of the herb on the sexual organs. Its tuberous root has been found to contain a particular volatile acrid principle which exercises distinct medicinal effects, though these are altogether dissipated if the roots are subjected to heat by boiling or baking. When tasted, the fresh juice causes an acrid burning irritation of the mouth and throat; also, if swallowed it will produce a red raw state of the palate and tongue, with cracked lips. The leaves, when applied externally to a delicate skin will blister it. Accordingly a tincture made (H.) from the plant and its root proves curative in diluted doses for a chronic sore throat, with swollen mucous membrane, and vocal hoarseness, such as is often known as “Clergyman’s Sore Throat,” and likewise for a feverish sore mouth, as well as for an irresistible tendency to sleepiness, and heaviness after a full meal. From five to ten drops of the tincture, third decimal strength, should be given with a tablespoonful of cold water to an adult three times a day. An ointment made by stewing the fresh sliced root with lard serves efficiently for the cure of ringworm.

The fresh juice yields malate of lime, whilst the plant contains gum, sugar, starch and fat. The name Arum is derived from the Hebrew jaron, “a dart,” in allusion to the shape of the leaves like spear heads; or, as some think, from aur, “fire,” because of the acrid juice. The adjective maculatum refers to the dark spots or patches which are seen on the smooth shining leaves of the plant. These leaves have sometimes proved fatal to children who have mistaken them for sorrel. The brilliant scarlet coral-like berries which are found set closely about the erect spike of the arum in the autumn are known to country lads as adder’s meat–a name corrupted from the Anglo-Saxon attor, “poison,” as originally applied to these berries, though it is remarkable that pheasants can eat them with impunity.

In Queen Elizabeth’s time the Arum was known as starch-wort because the roots were then used for supplying pure white starch to stiffen the ruffs and frills worn at that time by gallants and ladies. This was obtained by boiling or baking the roots, and thus dispelling their acridity. When dried and powdered the root constitutes the French cosmetic, “Cypress Powder.” Recently a patented drug, “Tonga,” has obtained considerable notoriety for curing obstinate neuralgia of the head and face–this turning out to be the dried scraped stem of an aroid (or arum) called Raphidophora Vitiensis, belonging to the Fiji Islands. Acting on the knowledge of which fact some recent experimenters have tried the fresh juice expressed from our common Arum Maculatum in a severe case of neuralgia which could be relieved previously only by Tonga: and it was found that this juice in doses of a teaspoonful gave similar relief. The British Domestic Herbal, of Sydenham’s time, describes a case of alarming dropsy, with great constitutional exhaustion treated most successfully with a medicine composed of Arum and Angelica, which cured in about three weeks. The “English Passion Flower” and “Portland Sago” are other names given to the Arum Maculatum.

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

Carbuncle, Sheep Sorrel Poultice for

January 24th, 2008

“Gather a bunch of sheep sorrel leaves, wrap them in a cabbage leaf and roast in the oven. Apply to the carbuncle, and it will soon ripen and break.”

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