A Good Hair Oil

January 21st, 2020

Tincture of Spanish fly one ounce;
Oil of rosemary half an ounce;
Oil of thyme half an ounce;
Best castor oil four ounces;
Cologne water two ounces;
Mix well together.

Source: Household Recipes, Constance Hatton Hart

News: The Six: Traditional natural remedies from the Middle East

October 18th, 2018

This article discusses some well-known herbal remedies from the Middle East — some overlap with remedies historically used in Europe, but not all of the ingredients would have been available (or at least, not cheaply).

Read the full article at Arab News.

An Indispensable Powder

September 3rd, 2016

A trouble scarcely to be named among refined persons is profuse perspiration, which ruins clothing and comfort alike. For this it is recommended to bathe frequently, putting into the water a cold infusion of rosemary, sage or thyme, and afterward dust the under-garments with a mixture of two and a half drachms of camphor, four ounces of orris-root, and sixteen ounces of starch, the whole reduced to impalpable powder. Tie it in a coarse muslin bag, (or one made of flannel is better if you wish to use it on the flesh,) and shake it over the clothes. This makes a very fine bathing powder.

Source: The Housekeeper’s Friend: A Practical Cookbook

Pneumonia, Herb Tea and Poultice for

March 7th, 2008

“Congestion of the lungs. One ounce of each of the following, slippery elm bark, crushed thyme, coltsfoot flowers, hyssop or marshmallow. Simmer in two quarts of water down to three pints; strain and add one teaspoonful of cayenne. Dose:– Wineglassful every half hour. Apply hot bran poultices or chamomile scalded in vinegar, changing often until the violence of the symptoms abate. If the bowels are confined, give an injection of half pint of hot water in which one-half teaspoonful each of gum myrrh, turkey rhubarb and ginger powder have been well mixed. If possible give vapor bath. Apply hot stones or bottles to the feet.”

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

Ingredients: Basil

February 15th, 2008

The herb Sweet Basil (Ocymum Basilicum) is so called because “the smell thereof is fit for a king’s house.” It grows commonly in our kitchen gardens, but in England it dies down every year, and the seeds have to be sown annually. Botanically, it is named “basilicon,” or royal, probably because used of old in some regal unguent, or bath, or medicine.

This, and the wild Basil, belong to the Labiate order of plants. The leaves of the Sweet Basil, when slightly bruised, exhale a delightful odour; they gave the distinctive flavour to the original Fetter-Lane sausages.

The Wild Basil (Calamintha clinopodium) or Basil thyme, or Horse thyme, is a hairy plant growing in bushy places, also about hedges and roadsides, and bearing whorls of purple flowers with a strong odour of cloves. The term Clinopodium signifies “bed’s-foot flower,” because “the branches dooe resemble the foot of a bed.” In common with the other labiates, Basil, both the wild and the sweet, furnishes an aromatic volatile camphoraceous oil. On this account it is much employed in France for flavouring soups (especially mock turtle) and sauces; and the dry leaves, in the form of snuff, are used for relieving nervous headaches. A tea, made by pouring boiling water on the garden basil, when green, gently but effectually helps on the retarded monthly flow with women. The Bush Basil is Ocymum minimum, of which the leafy tops are used for seasoning, and in salads.

The Sweet Basil has been immortalised by Keats in his tender, pathetic poem of Isabella and the Pot of Basil, founded on a story from Boccaccio. She reverently possessed herself of the decapitated head of her lover, Lorenzo, who had been treacherously slain:–

“She wrapped it up, and for its tomb did choose
A garden pot, wherein she laid it by,
And covered it with mould, and o’er it set
Sweet Basil, which her tears kept ever wet.”

The herb was used at funerals in Persia. Its seeds were sown by the Romans with maledictions and curses through the belief that the more it was abused the better it would prosper. When desiring a good crop they trod it down with their feet, and prayed the gods it might not vegetate. The Greeks likewise supposed Basil to thrive best when sown with swearing; and this fact explains the French saying, Semer la Basilic, as signifying “to slander.” It was told in Elizabeth’s time that the hand of a fair lady made Basil flourish; and this was then planted in pots as an act of gallantry. “Basil,” says John Evelyn, “imparts a grateful flavour to sallets if not too strong, but is somewhat offensive to the eyes.” Shenstone, in his School Mistress’s Garden, tells of “the tufted Basil,” and Culpeper quaintly says: “Something is the matter; Basil and Rue will never grow together: no, nor near one another.” It is related that a certain advocate of Genoa was once sent as an ambassador to treat for conditions with the Duke of Milan; but the Duke harshly refused to hear the message, or to grant the conditions. Then the Ambassador offered him a handful of Basil. Demanding what this meant, the Duke was told that the properties of the herb were, if gently handled, to give out a pleasant odour; but that, if bruised, and hardly wrung, it would breed scorpions. Moved by this witty answer, the Duke confirmed the conditions, and sent the Ambassador honourably home.

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

Tonsilitis, Thyme for

January 19th, 2008

You can make a tea of the common garden thyme and gargle or rinse your mouth and throat with it every half to one hour. This is not only healing and soothing, but it is also antiseptic. This is a constituent of many of the antiseptic preparations.

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