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Acorn & Oak

Acorn & Oak

This is the well-known fruit of our British Oak, to Which tree it gives the name—Aik, or Eik, Oak.

The Acorn was esteemed by Dioscorides, and other old authors, for its supposed medicinal virtues.

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Agrimony

Agrimony

The Agrimony is a herbal simple well known to all country folk, and abundant throughout England in the fields and woods, as a popular domestic medicinal herb.

Agrimony 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."

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Anemone

Anemone

The Wood Anemone, or medicinal English Pulsatilla, with its lovely pink white petals, and drooping blossoms, is one of our best known and most beautiful spring flowers. Herbalists do not distinguish it virtually from the silky-haired Anemone Pulsatilla, which medicinal variety is of highly valuable modern curative use as a Herbal Simple. The active chemical principles of each plant are "anemonin" and "anemonic acid."

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Angelica

Angelica

The wild Angelica grows commonly throughout England in wet places as an umbelliferous plant, with a tall hollow stem, out of which boys like to make pipes. It is purple, furrowed, and downy, bearing white flowers tinged with pink. But the herb is not useful as a herbal simple until cultivated in our gardens, the larger variety being chosen for this purpose, and bearing the name Angelica Archangelica.

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Aniseed

Aniseed

The Anise Pimpinella, from "bipenella," because of its secondary, feather-like leaflets, belongs to the umbelliferous plants, and is cultivated in our gardens; but its aromatic seeds chiefly come from Germany. The careful housewife will do well always to have a supply of this most useful herbal simple closely bottled in her store cupboard.

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Apple

Apple

Old Scandinavian traditions represent the Apple as the food of the gods, who, when they felt themselves growing feeble and infirm, resorted to this fruit for renewing their powers of mind and body

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Arum

Arum

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.

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Asparagus

Asparagus

"Liebig, or some other scientist maintains that asparagin—the alkaloid in asparagus-develops form in the human brain: so, if you get hold of an artistic child, and give him plenty of asparagus, he will grow into a second Raffaelle!"

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Balm

Balm

"Balm," adds John Evelyn, "is sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory, and powerfully chasing away melancholy." In France, women bruise the young shoots of balm, and make them into cakes, with eggs, sugar, and rose water, which they give to mothers in childbed as a strengthener.

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Barberry

Barberry

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.

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Barley

Barley

Hordeum Vulgare—common Barley—is chiefly used in Great Britain for brewing and distilling; but, it has dietetic and medicinal virtues which entitle it to be considered among serviceable herbal simples.

Roman gladiators who depended for their strength and prowess chiefly on Barley, were called Hordearii.

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Basil

Basil

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.

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Bennet Herb

Bennet Herb

The Bennet Herb, the Herba Benedicta, or Blessed Herb, or Avens (Geum Urbanum) is a very common plant of the Rose tribe, in our woods, hedges, and shady places.

It has an erect hairy stem, red at the base, with terminal bright yellow drooping flowers. The ordinary name Avens—or Avance, Anancia, Enancia—signifies an antidote, because it was formerly thought to ward off the Devil, and evil spirits, and venomous beasts.

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Betony

Betony

Few, if any, herbal plants have been more praised for their supposed curative virtues than the Wood Betony (Stachys Betonica), belonging to the order of Labiates. By the common people it is often called Bitny. The nameBetonica is from the Celtic "ben," head, and "tonic," good, in allusion to the usefulness of the herb against infirmities of the head.

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Bilberry

Bilberry

This fruit, which belongs to the Cranberry order of plants, grows abundantly throughout England in heathy and mountainous districts.

The small-branched shrub bears globular, wax-like flowers, and black berries, which are covered, when quite fresh, with a grey bloom.

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Blackberry

Blackberry

Blackberry is the well-known fruit of the Common Bramble (Rubus fructicosus), which grows in every English hedgerow, and which belongs to the Rose order of plants.

It has long been esteemed for its bark and leaves as a capital astringent, these containing much tannin; also for its fruit, which is supplied with malic and citric acids, pectin, and albumen.

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Bluebell

Bluebell

The bluebell—the Agraphis mutans,—of the Lily tribe—is so abundant in English woods and pastures, whilst so widely known, and popular with young and old, as to need no description.

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Borage

Borage

The Borage, with its gallant blue flower, is cultivated in our gardens as a pot herb, and is associated in our minds with bees and claret cup. It grows wild in abundance on open plains where the soil is favourable, and it has a long-established reputation for cheering the spirits.

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Broom

Broom

The Broom, or Link (Cytisus scoparius) is a leguminous shrub which is well known as growing abundantly on open places in our rural districts. The prefix "cytisus" is derived from the name of a Greek island where Broom abounded.

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Bryony

Bryony

English hedgerows exhibit Bryony of two distinct sorts—the white and the black—which differ much, the one from the other, as to medicinal properties, and which belong to separate orders of plants.

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Buckbean

Buckbean

The Buckbean, or Bogbean or Marsh Trefoil, which is common enough in stagnant pools, and on our spongy bogs, is the most serviceable of all known herbal tonics.

The Buckbean may be easily recognised growing in water by its large leaves overtopping the surface, each being composed of three leaflets, and resembling the leaf of a Windsor Broad Bean.

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Buckthorn

Buckthorn

The common Buckthorn grows in our woods and thickets, and used to be popularly known because of the purgative syrup made from its juice and berries. It bears dense branches of small green flowers, followed by the black berries, which purge violently.

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Buttercup

Buttercup

The Buttercup generally is known in Wiltshire and the adjoining counties as Crazy, or Crazies, being reckoned by some as an insane plant calculated to produce madness; or as a corruption of Christseye (which was the medieval name of the Marigold).

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Cabbage

Cabbage

"The time has come," as the walrus said in Alice and the Looking
Glass
, "to talk of many things"—

"Of shoes, and ships, and sealing-wax; of Cabbages, and kings."

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Camphor

Camphor

The medicinal basis of Camphor is certainly a powerful agent, and its stimulating volatile principles are found to exist in most of the aromatic herbs; in fact, Camphor is a concrete volatile vegetable oil, and camphoraceous properties signalise all the essences derived from carminative Herbal Simples.

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Capsicum

Capsicum

The Capsicum, or Bird Pepper, or Guinea Pepper, is a native of tropical countries; but it has been cultivated throughout Great Britain as a stove plant for so many years (since the time of Gerard, 1636) as to have become practically indigenous. Moreover, its fruit-pods are so highly useful, whether as a condiment, or as a medicine, no apology is needed for including it among serviceable Herbal Simples.

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Caraway

Caraway

The name Caraway comes from the Gaelic Caroh, a ship, because of the shape which the fruit takes. By cultivation the root becomes more succulent, and the fruit larger, whilst more oily, and therefore acquiring an increase of aromatic taste and odour.

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Carrot

Carrot

The yellow core of the Carrot is the part which is difficult of digestion with some persons, not the outer red layer.

Before the French Revolution the sale of Carrots and oranges was prohibited in the Dutch markets, because of the unpopular aristocratic colour of these commodities.

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Celandine

Celandine

The celandine flower is a conspicuous herald of spring, which is strikingly welcome to everyone living in the country throughout England, and a stranger to none. The Pilewort, or lesser Celandine, bespangles all our banks with its brilliant, glossy, golden stars, coming into blossom on or about March 7th, St. Perpetua's day.

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Celery

Celery

In 1879, Mr. Gibson Ward, then President of the Vegetarian Society, wrote some letters to the Times, which commanded much attention, about Celery as a food and a medicament.

"Celery," said he, "when cooked, is a very fine dish, both as a nutriment and as a purifier of the blood; I will not attempt to enumerate all the marvellous cures I have made with Celery, lest medical men should be worrying me en masse. Let me fearlessly say that rheumatism is impossible on this diet."

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Centaury

Centaury

Of all the bitter appetising herbs which grow in our fields and hedgerows, and which serve as excellent simple tonics, the Centaury, particularly its white flowered variety, belonging to the Gentian order of plants, is the most efficacious. Centaury shares in an abundant measure the restorative antiseptic virtues of the Field Gentian and the Buckbean

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Chamomile

Chamomile

No Simple in the whole catalogue of herbal medicines is possessed of a quality more friendly and beneficial to the intestines than "Chamomile flowers." This herb was well known to the Greeks, who thought it had an odour like that of apples, and therefore they named it "Earth Apple," from two of their words, kamai—on the ground, and melon—an apple.

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Cherry

Cherry

The wild Cherry (Cerasus), which occurs of two distinct kinds, has by budding and grafting begotten most of our finest garden fruits of its genus. The name Cerasus was derived from Kerasous, a city of Cappadocia, where the fruit was plentiful. According to Pliny, Cherries were first brought to Rome by Lucullus after his great victory over Mithridates, 89 B.C.

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Chervil

Chervil

"There is found," writes Parkinson, "during June and July, in almost every English hedge, a certain plant called Choerophyllum, in show very like unto Hemlockes, of a good and pleasant smell and taste, which have caused us to term it 'Sweet Chervill.'"

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Chestnut

Chestnut

Ever since 1633 the Horse Chestnut tree has grown and flourished in England, having been brought at first from the mountains of Northern Asia. For the most part the Chestnut tree is rather known and admired for its wealth of shade, its large handsome floral spikes of creamy, pink-tinted blossom, and its white, soft wood, than supposed to exercise useful medicinal properties.

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Chickweed

Chickweed

Subsequently, the chickweed herb, when given in quite small doses of tincture, or fresh juice, or infusion, has been found by its affinity to remove the train of symptoms just described, and to act most reliably in curing obstinate rheumatism allied therewith.

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Christmas Rose

Christmas Rose

The Christmas Rose or Black Hellebore, a native of Southern Europe, and belonging to the Ranunculus order, is grown commonly in our gardens for the sake of its showy white flowers, conspicuous in winter, from December to February. The root has been famous since time immemorial as a remedy for insanity. From its abundant growth in the Grecian island of Anticyra arose the proverb: Naviget Anticyram—"Take a voyage to Anticyra," as applied by way of advice to a man who has lost his reason.

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Cinnamon

Cinnamon

Cinnamon possesses positive medicinal as well as aromatic virtues. What we employ as this spice consists of the inner bark of shoots from the stocks of a Ceylon tree, first cultivated here in 1768.

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Clover

Clover

The word clover is a corruption of the Latin clava a club; and the "clubs" on our playing cards are representations of clover leaves; whilst in France the same black suit is called trefle.

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Cloves

Cloves

Cloves (from clavus, a nail), also found in the kitchen spice box, and owning certain medicinal resources of a cordial sort, which are quickly available, belong to the Myrtle family of plants, and are the unexpanded flower buds of an aromatic tree (Caryophyllus), cultivated at Penang and elsewhere.

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Club Moss

Club Moss

Though not generally thought worth more than a passing notice, or to possess any claims of a medicinal sort, yet the Club Moss, which is of common growth in Great Britain on heaths and hilly pastures, exerts by its spores very remarkable curative effects, and therefore it should be favourably regarded as a Herbal Simple. It is exclusively due to homoeopathic provings and practice, that the Lycopodium clavatum (Club Moss) takes an important position amongst the most curative vegetable remedies of the present day.

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Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot

The Coltsfoot, which grows abundantly throughout England in places of moist, heavy soil, especially along the sides of our raised railway banks, has been justly termed "nature's best herb for the lungs, and her most eminent thoracic."

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Comfrey

Comfrey

The Comfrey of our river banks, and moist watery places, is the Consound, or Knit-back, or Bone-set, and Blackwort of country folk; and the old Symphytumof Dioscorides. It has derived these names from the consolidating and vulnerary qualities attributed to the plant, from confirmo, to strengthen together, or the French, comfrie.

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Coriander

Coriander

Coriander comfits, sold by the confectioner as admirably warming to the stomach, and corrective of flatulence, consist of small aromatic seeds coated with white sugar. These are produced by the Coriander, an umbelliferous herb cultivated in England from early times for medicinal and culinary uses, though introduced at first from the Mediterranean.

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Cowslip

Cowslip

The tiny people were then supposed to be fond of nestling in the drooping bells of Cowslips, and hence the flowers were called fairy cups; and, in accordance with the doctrine of signatures, they were thought effective for removing freckles from the face.

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Cress

Cress

It includes "Land Cress (formerly dedicated to St. Barbara); Broad-leaved Cress (or the Poor-man's pepper); Penny Cress (thlapsus); Garden, or Town Cress; and the well known edible Water Cress." Formerly the Greeks attached much value to the whole order of Cresses, which they thought very beneficial to the brain

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Cumin

Cumin

The ancients were acquainted with the power of Cumin to cause the human countenance to become pallid; and as a medicine the herb is well calculated to cure such pallor of the face when occurring as an illness.

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Currants

Currants

The original Currants in times past were small grapes, grown in Greece at Zante, near Corinth, and termed Corinthians; then they became Corantes, and eventually Currants.

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Daffodil

Daffodil

The chemical principles of the Daffodil have not been investigated; but a yellow volatile oil of disagreeable odour, and a brown colouring matter, have been got from the flowers.

Arabians commended this oil to be applied for curing baldness, and for stimulating the sexual organs.

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Daisy

Daisy

Daisies were said of old to be under the dominion of Venus, and later on they were dedicated to St. Margaret of Cortona. Therefore they were reputed good for the special-illnesses of females.

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Dandelion

Dandelion

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.

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Date

Date

Dates are the most wholesome and nourishing of all our imported fruits. Children especially appreciate their luscious sweetness, as afforded by an abundant sugar which is easily digested, and which quickly repairs waste of heat and fat. With such a view, likewise, doctors now advise dates for consumptive patients; also because they soothe an irritable chest, and promote expectoration; whilst, furthermore, they prevent costiveness. Dates are the fruit of the Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), or, Tree of Life.

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Deadly Nightshade - Belladonna

Deadly Nightshade - Belladonna

The Deadly Nightshade or Belladonna berries (in size like small cherries) are of a rich purplish black hue, and possess most dangerously narcotic properties. They are medicinally useful, but so deadly that only the skilled hands of the apothecary should attempt to manipulate them

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Dill

Dill

Cordial waters distilled from the fragrant herb called Dill are, as every mother and monthly nurse well know, a sovereign remedy for wind in the infant; whilst they serve equally well to correct flatulence in the grown up "gourmet." This highly scented plant (Anethum graveolens) is of Asiatic origin, growing wild also in some parts of England, and commonly cultivated in our gardens for kitchen or medicinal uses.

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Dock

Dock

The term Dock is botanically a noun of multitude, meaning originally a bundle of hemp, and corresponding to a similar word signifying a flock. It became in early times applied to a wide-spread tribe of broad-leaved wayside weeds. They all belong to the botanical order of Polygonaceoe, or "many kneed" plants, because, like the wife of Yankee Doodle, famous in song, they are "double-jointed.

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Elder

Elder

The Tree-Mother has been thought to inhabit the elder bush; and it has been long believed that refuge may be safely taken under an Elder tree in a thunderstorm, because the cross was made therefrom, and so the lightning never strikes it. Elder was formerly buried with a corpse to protect it from witches, and even now at a funeral the driver of the hearse commonly has his whip handle made of Elder wood. A cross made of the wood if affixed to cow-houses and stables was supposed to protect cattle from all possible harm.

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Elecampane

Elecampane

Elecampane is a tall, stout, downy plant, from three to five feet high, of the Composite order, with broad leaves, and bright, yellow flowers. Campania is the original source of the plant (Enula campana), which is called also Elf-wort, and Elf-dock.

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Epilogue: The Olitory

Epilogue: The Olitory

In olden times the Olitory, or Herb-garden, formed an important annex to all demesnes having any pretensions to completeness, and was under "My Lady's" special charge. In fact, the culture and preparing of Herbal Simples formed a part of every lady's education.

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Eyebright

Eyebright

Found in abundance in summer time on our heaths, and on mountains near the sea, this delicate little plant, the Euphrasia officinalis or eyebright, has been famous from earliest times for restoring and preserving the eyesight. The Greeks named the herb originally from the linnet, which first made use of the leaf for clearing its vision, and which passed on the knowledge to mankind. The Greek word, euphrosunee, signifies joy and gladness.

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Fennel

Fennel

Pliny also asserts that the ophidia, when they cast their skins, have recourse to to the Fennel Plantt for restoring their sight. Others have averred that serpents wax young again by eating of the herb; "Wherefore the use of Fennel is very meet for aged folk."

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Fern

Fern

Only some few of our native Ferns are known to possess medicinal virtues, though they may all be happily pronounced devoid of poisonous or deleterious properties. As curative simples, a brief consideration will be given here to the common male and female Ferns, the Royal Fern, the Hart's Tongue, the Maidenhair, the common Polypody, the Spleenwort, and the Wall Rue.

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Feverfew

Feverfew

The herb Feverfew is strengthening to the stomach, preventing hysteria and promoting the monthly functions of women. It is much used by country mediciners, though insufficiently esteemed by the doctors of to-day.

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Fig

Fig

Bacchus was thought to have acquired his vigour and corpulency from eating Figs, such as the Romans gave to professed wrestlers and champions for strength and good sustenance.

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Flag

Flag

The root of the Blue Flag, "Dragon Flower," or "Dagger Flower," contains chemically an "oleo-resin," which is purgative to the liver in material doses, and specially alleviative against bilious sickness when taken of much reduced strength by reason of its acting as a similar.

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Flax

Flax

The Flax seeds ate very rich in linseed oil, after expressing which, the refuse is oil-cake, a well-known fattening food for cattle. The oil exists chiefly in the outer skins of the seeds, and is easily extracted by boiling water, as in the making a linseed poultice.

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Foxglove

Foxglove

Chemically, the Foxglove contains a dangerous, active, medicinal principle digitalin, which acts powerfully on the heart, and on the kidneys, but this should never be given in any preparation of the plant except under medical guidance, and then only with much caution.

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Fumitory

Fumitory

The common Fumitory (Fumaria officinalis) is a small grey-green plant, bearing well known little flowers, rose coloured, and tipped with purple, whilst standing erect in every cornfield, vineyard, or such-like manured place throughout Great Britain.

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Garlic

Garlic

The Garlic (Allium sativum), Skorodon of the Greeks, which was first cultivated in English gardens in 1540, takes its name, from gar, a spear; and leac, a plant, either because of its sharp tapering leaves, or perhaps as "the war plant," by reason of its nutritive and stimulating qualities for those who do battle.

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Ginger

Ginger

Ginger (Zingiberis radix) is the root-stock of a plant grown in the East and West Indies, and is scraped before importation. Its odour is due to an essential oil, and its pungent hot taste to a resin. It was known in Queen Elizabeth's reign, having been introduced by the Dutch about 1566.

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Gooseberry

Gooseberry

The Gooseberry (Ribes grossularia) gets its name from krüsbar, which signifies a cross, in allusion to the triple spine of the fruit or berry, which is commonly cruciform. This is a relic of its first floral days, preserved like the apron of the blacksmith at Persia, when he came to the throne. The term grossulariaimplies a resemblance of the fruit to grossuli, small unripe figs.

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Goosefoot

Goosefoot

Among Curative Simples, the Goosefoot, or Chenopod order of British plants, contributes two useful herbs, the Chenopodium bonus Henricus (Good King Henry), and the Chenopodium vulvaria (Stinking Goosefoot).

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Goosegrass

Goosegrass

The medicinal Goosegrass (Galium aparine), which is a highly useful curative Simple, springs up luxuriantly about fields and waste places in most English districts. It belongs to the Rubiaceous order of plants, all of which have a root like madder, affording a red dye.

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Goutweed

Goutweed

A passing word should certainly be given to the Goutweed, or, Goatweed, among Herbal Simples. Goutweed is, though but little regarded, nevertheless, a common and troublesome garden weed, of the Umbelliferous tribe, and thought to possess certain curative virtues.

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Grapes

Grapes

Grapes, the luscious and refreshing fruit of the Vine, possess certain medicinal properties and virtues which give them a proper place among Herbal Simples. The name Vine comes from viere, to twist, being applied with reference to the twining habits of the parent stock; as likewise to "with," and "withy."

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Grass

Grass

Our abundant English grasses furnish nutritious herbage and farinaceous seeds, whilst their stems and leaves prove useful for textile purposes. Furthermore, some few of them possess distinctive medicinal virtues, with mucilaginous roots, and may be properly classed among Herbal Simples, including Vernal Grass, Couch Grass, and the Bearded Darnel.

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Groundsel

Groundsel

In the hands of Herbal Simplers the Groundsel formerly held high rank as a herb of power. An old herbal prescribes against toothache to "dig up Groundsel with a tool that hath no iron in it, and touch the tooth five times with the plant, then spit thrice after each touch, and the cure will be complete."

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Hawthorn

Hawthorn

The Hawthorn, or Whitethorn, is so welcome year by year as a harbinger of Summer, by showing its wealth of sweet-scented, milk-white blossoms, in our English hedgerows, that everyone rejoices when the Mayflower comes into bloom. Its brilliant haws, or fruit, later on are a botanical advance on the blackberry and wild raspberry, which belong to the same natural order.

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Hemlock

Hemlock

The Spotted Hemlock (Conium maculatum), is a plant well known to everyone familiar with our Herbal Simples. But it is so highly narcotic as a medicine, and yet withal so safely useful externally to allay pain, as well as to promote healing, that their outward remedial forms of application must not be overlooked among our serviceable herbs. Nevertheless, for internal administration, this herb lie altogether beyond the pale of domestic uses, except in the hands of a doctor.

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Henbane

Henbane

"These, the Henbane seeds, and the juice," says Gerard, "when taken internally, cause an unquiet sleep, like unto the sleep of drunkenness, which continueth long, and is deadly to the patient."

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Hop

Hop

The Hop (Humulus lupulus) belongs to the Nettle tribe (Cannabineoe) of plants, and grows wild in our English hedges and copses; but then it bears only male flowers. When cultivated it produces the female catkins, or strobiles which are so well known as Hops, and are so largely used for brewing purposes.

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Horehound

Horehound

The Horehound or Marrubium was called by the Egyptian Priests the "Seed of Horus" or "the Bull's Blood" and "the Eye of the Star." It was a principal remedy in the Negro Caesar's Antidote for vegetable poisons.

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Horse Radish

Horse Radish

The Horse Radish of our gardens is a cultivated cruciferous plant of which the fresh root is eaten, when scraped, as a condiment to correct the richness of our national roast beef.

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House Leek

House Leek

The House Leek (Sempervivum tectorum), or "never dying" flower of our cottage roofs, which is commonly known also as Stone-crop, grows plentifully on walls and the tops of small buildings throughout Great Britain, in all country districts.

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Hyssop

Hyssop

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,

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Ivy

Ivy

By the ancients the Ivy was dedicated to Bacchus, whose statues were crowned with a wreath of the plant, under the name Kissos, and whose worshippers decorated themselves with its garlands.

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Juniper

Juniper

Juniper oil, used officinally, is distilled from the full-grown, unripe, green fruit. The Laplanders almost adore the tree, and they make a decoction of its ripe berries, when dried, to be drunk as tea, or coffee; whilst the Swedish peasantry prepare from the fresh berries a fermented beverage, which they drink cold, and an extract, which they eat with their bread for breakfast as we do butter.

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Knapweed

Knapweed

Black Knapweed, the Centaurea nigra, is a common tough-stemmed composite weed growing in our meadows and cornfields, being well known by its heads of dull purple flowers, with brown, or almost black scales of the outer floral encasement.

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Lavender

Lavender

The Lavender of our gardens, called also Lavender Spike, is a well-known sweet-smelling shrub, of the Labiate order. It grows wild in Spain, Piedmont, and the south of France, on waysides, mountains, and in barren places. The plant was propagated by slips, or cuttings, and has been cultivated in England since about 1568.

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Leek

Leek

The Leek (Allium porrium) bears an Anglo-Saxon name corrupted from Porleac, and it is also called the Porret, having been the Prason of the Greeks. It was first made use of in England during 1562.

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Lemon

Lemon

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."

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Lentil

Lentil

Among the leguminous plants which supply food for the invalid, and are endowed with certain qualifications for correcting the health, may be justly placed the Lentil, though we have to import it because our moist, cold climate is not favourable for its growth.

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Lettuce

Lettuce

Our garden Lettuce is a cultivated variety of the wild, or strong-scented Lettuce (Lactuca virosa), which grows, with prickly leaves, on banks and waysides in chalky districts throughout England and Wales. It belongs to the Composite order of plants, and contains the medicinal properties of the plant more actively than does the Lettuce produced for the kitchen. An older form of the name is Lettouce, which is still retained in Scotland.

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Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

The Lily of the Valley grows wild in many of our English woods, and possesses special curative virtues, which give it, according to modern knowledge, a just place among Herbal Simples of repute.

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Linden Flowers (Lime Blossom)

Linden Flowers (Lime Blossom)

The Lime Trees sweet-smelling and highly fragrant linden flowers blossom in May, and are much sought after by bees, because abounding with honied nectar.

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Liquorice

Liquorice

The use of the Liquorice plant was first learnt by the Hellenes from the Scythians; and the root was named adipson, being thought from the time of Theophrastus to powerfully extinguish thirst.

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Lupine

Lupine

Allied to the Lentil as likewise a leguminous plant is the LUPINE, grown now only as an ornament to our flower beds, but formerly cultivated by the Romans as an article of food, and still capable of usefulness in this capacity for the invalid.

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Mallow

Mallow

All the Mallows (Malvaceoe) to the number of a thousand, agree in containing mucilage freely, and in possessing no unwholesome properties.

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Marigold

Marigold

In the Grete Herball this plant was called Mary Gowles. Three varieties of the Marigold exercise medicinal virtues which constitute them Herbal Simples of a useful nature—the Corn Marigold (Chrysanthemum segetum), found in our cornfields; the cultivated garden Marigold (Calendula officinalis); and the Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris), growing in moist grass lands, and popularly known as "Mareblobs."

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Marjoram - Sweet Marjoram

Marjoram - Sweet Marjoram

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.

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Mercury - Dog's Mercury

Mercury - Dog's Mercury

The Mercuriallis perennis (Dog's Mercury) grows commonly in our hedges and ditches, occurring in large patches, with egg-shaped pointed leaves, square stems, and light green flowers, developed in spikes and it is decidedly poisonous, even when cooked.

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Mint

Mint

Pliny said: "As for the garden Mint, the very smell of it alone recovers and refreshes the spirits, as the taste stirs up the appetite for meat, which is the reason that it is so general in our acid sauces, wherein we are accustomed to dip our meat."

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Mistletoe

Mistletoe

The Mistletoe, which we all associate so happily with the festivities of Christmas, is an evergreen parasite, growing on the branches of deciduous trees, and penetrating with simple roots through the bark into the wood.

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Mountain Ash (Rowan Tree)

Mountain Ash (Rowan Tree)

The title Rowan tree has affixed itself to the Mountain Ash, as derived from the Norse, Runa (a charm), because it is supposed to have the power of averting the evil eye.

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Mugwort

Mugwort

Mugwort is named from Artemis the Greek goddess of the moon, and is also called Maidenwort or Motherwort (womb wort), being a plant beneficial to the womb.

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Mulberry

Mulberry

The Mulberry tree (Morus nigra) has been cultivated in England since the middle of the sixteenth century, being first planted at Sion house in 1548. It is now grown commonly in the garden, orchard, or paddock, where its well-known rich syrupy Mulberry fruit ripens in September.

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Mullein

Mullein

Flowers of Mullein in olive oil, when kept near the fire for several days in a corked bottle, form a remedy popular in Germany for frost-bites, bruises, and piles.

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Mushrooms

Mushrooms

In the context of curative Herbal Simples, notice will be bestowed here on two productions of the Mushroom nature—the Puff Ball and the Fly Agaric,—because of their medicinal qualities.

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Mustard

Mustard

Now we have for commercial and officinal purposes two varieties of the cultivated plant, the black Mustard (Sinapis nigra), and the white Mustard (Brassica, or Sinapis alba). There is also a plain plant of the hedges, Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale) which is a mere rustic Simple. It is the black Mustard which yields by its seeds the condiment of our tables, and the pungent yellow flour which we employ for the familiar stimulating poultice, or sinapism.

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Nettle

Nettle

Actually as Nettles are to be found: the annual Urtica dioica, or true Stinging Nettle; the perennial Urtica urens (burning); the White Dead Nettle; the Archangel, or Yellow Weasel Snout, and the Purple Hedge Nettle. This title "Urtica" comes ab urendo, "from burning."

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Nutmeg

Nutmeg

The Banda, or Nutmeg Islands in the Indian Ocean, are twelve in number, and the strength of the Nutmeg in its season is said to overcome birds of Paradise so that they fall helplessly intoxicated.

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Oat

Oat

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.

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Onion

Onion

Seeming at first sight out of place among the lilies of the field, yet Garlic, the Leek, and the Onion are true members of that noble order, and may be correctly classified together with the favoured tribe, "Clothed more grandly than Solomon in all his glory."

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Orange

Orange

Though not of native British growth, except by way of a luxury in the gardens of the wealthy, yet the Orange is of such common use amongst all classes of our people as a dietetic fruit, when of the sweet China Orange sort, and for tonic medicinal purposes when of the bitter Seville Orange kind, that some consideration may be fairly accorded to the orange as a Curative Simple in these pages.

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Orchid

Orchid

Our common English Orchids are the "Early Purple," which is abundant in our woods and pastures; the "Meadow Orchis"; and the "Spotted Orchis" of our heaths and commons. Less frequent are the "Bee Orchis," the "Butterfly Orchis," "Lady's Tresses," and the "Tway blade."

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Parsley

Parsley

Parsely is found in this country only as a cultivated plant, having been introduced into England from Sardinia in the sixteenth century. It is an umbelliferous herb, which has been long of garden growth for kitchen uses. The name was formerly spelt "Percely," and the herb was known as March, or Merich (in Anglo-Saxon, Merici).

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Parsnip

Parsnip

This cultivated Parsnip has been produced as a vegetable since Roman times. The roots furnish a good deal of starch, and are very nutritious for warming and fattening, but when long in the ground they are called in some places "Madnip," and are said to cause insanity.

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Pea

Pea

"Peas were brought from Holland, and were fit dainties for ladies, they came so far, and cost so dear."

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Peach

Peach

The Peach (Amygdabus Persica), the apple of Persia, began to be cultivated in England about 1562, or perhaps before then. Columella tells of this fatal gift conveyed treacherously to Egypt in the first century:--

"Apples, which most barbarous Persia sent, With native poison armed."

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Pear

Pear

The Pear, also called Pyrrie, belongs to the same natural order of plants (the Rosacoe) as the Apple. It is sometimes called the Pyerie, and when wild is so hard and austere as to bear the name of Choke-pear. It grows wild in Britain, and abundantly in France and Germany.

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Pellitori

Pellitori

A plant belonging to the order of Nettles, the Pellitory of the Wall, or Paritory--Parietaria, from the Latin parietes, walls--is a favourite Herbal Simple in many  rural districts.

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Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal

The Mint Pennyroyal (Mentha Pulegium) gets its name from the Latin puleium regium, because of its royal efficacy in destroying fleas (pulices). The French call this similarly, Pouliot. It grows on moist heaths and pastures, and by the margins of brooks, being cultivated further in our herb gardens, for kitchen and market uses.

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Pepper

Pepper

Black pepper is said to ward off evil and in the Middle Ages, was burned like incense to protect from the plague.

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Peppermint

Peppermint

The Roman housewives made a paste of the Peppermint with honey, which they esteemed highly, partaking of it to sweeten their breath, and to conceal their passion for wine at a time when the law punished with death every woman convicted of quaffing the ruby seductive liquor

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Periwinkle

Periwinkle

This periwinkle name has been derived either from pervincire, to bind closely, or from pervincere, to overcome. Lord Bacon observes that it was common in his time for persons to wear bands of green Periwinkle about the calf of the leg to prevent cramp.

In Germany this plant is the emblem of immortality.

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Pimento (Allspice)

Pimento (Allspice)

All-Spice (Pimento) is another common occupant of the domestic spice box. It is popular as a warming cordial, of a sweet odour, and a grateful aromatic taste; but being a native of South America, grows with us only as a stove plant.

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Pimpernel

Pimpernel

The Pimpernel - "Poor Man's Weather Glass" or "Shepherd's Dial," is a very well-known and favourite little flower, of brilliant scarlet hue, expanding only in bright weather, and closing its petals at two o'clock in the day.

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Pink

Pink

The Clove Pink, or Carnation of our gardens, though found apparently wild on old castle walls in England, is a naturalised flower in this country. It is, botanically, the Dianthus Caryophyllus, being so named as anthos, the flower, dios, of Jupiter: whilst redolent of Caryophylli, Cloves.

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Plantain

Plantain

The Plantains (Plantaginacecoe), from planta, the sole of the foot, are humble plants, well known as weeds in fields and by roadsides, having ribbed leaves and spikes of flowers conspicuous by their long stamens. As Herbal Simples, the Greater Plantain, the Ribwort Plantain, and the Water Plantain, are to be specially considered.

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Poppy

Poppy

The Scarlet Poppy of our cornfields (Papaver Rhoeas) is one of the most brilliant and familiar of English wild flowers, being strikingly conspicuous as a weed by its blossoms rich in scarlet petals, which are black at the base. The title Papaver has been derived from pap, a soft food given to young infants, in which it was at one time customary to boil Poppy seeds for the purpose of inducing sleep.

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Potato

Potato

Our invaluable Potato, which enters so largely into the dietary of all classes, belongs to the Nightshade tribe of  dangerous plants, though termed "solanaceous" as a natural order because of the sedative properties which its several genera exercise to lull pain.

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Primrose

Primrose

Medicinally the primrose 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."

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Quince

Quince

The Quince may well be included among remedial Herbal Simples because of the virtues possessed by the seeds within the fruit. The tree is a native of Persia and Crete; bearing a pear-shaped fruit, golden yellow when gathered, and with five cells in it, each containing twelve closely packed seeds. These are mucilaginous when unbroken, and afford the taste of bitter almonds.

When immersed in water they swell up considerably, and the mucilage will yield salts of lime with albumen.

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Radish

Radish

Radishes were celebrated by Dioscorides and Pliny as above all roots whatsoever, insomuch, that in the Delphic temple there was a Radish of solid gold, raphanus ex auro dicatus: and Moschinus wrote a whole volume in their praise; but Hippocrates condemned them as vitiosas, innatantes, acoegre concoctiles.

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Ragworth

Ragworth

The term Ragwort, or Ragweed, is a corruption of Ragewort, as expressing its supposed stimulating effects on the sexual organs. For the same reason the pommes d'amour (Love Apples, or Tomatoes) are sometimes called Rage apples.

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Raspberry

Raspberry

Raspberry is a cool magical ingredient, giving two important components - the sexy fruit, and the plant itself, which is a tough survivor. Raspberry lends itself to a huge variety of love spells, healing spells and all manner of energy magic potions. 

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Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Our Garden Rhubarb is a true Dock, and belongs to the "many-kneed," buckwheat order of plants. Its brilliant colouring is due to varying states of its natural pigment (chlorophyll), in combination with oxygen. For culinary purposes the stalk, or petiole of the broad leaf, is used.

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Rice

Rice

The custom of throwing a shower of Rice after and over a newly married couple is very old, though wheat was at first the chosen grain as an augury of plenty. The bride wore a garland of ears of corn in the time of Henry the Eighth.

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Rose

Rose

Certain curative properties are possessed both by the Briar Rose, or wild Dog Rose of our country hedges, and by the cultivated varieties of this queen of flowers in our Roseries. The word Rose means red, from the Greek rodon, connected also with rota, a wheel, which resembles the outline of a Rose.

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Rosemary

Rosemary

It was usual to burn Rosemary in the chambers of the sick, just as was formerly done with frankincense, which gave the Greeks occasion to call the Rosemary Libanotis. In the French language of flowers this herb represents the power of rekindling lost energy. "The flowers of Rosemary," says an old author, "made up into plates (lozenges), with sugar, and eaten, comfort the heart, and make it merry, quicken the spirits, and make them more lively."

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Rue

Rue

This herb was further termed of old "Herb of Grace" as well as "Serving men's joy," because of the multiplicity of common ailments which it was warranted to cure. Rue constituted a chief ingredient of the famous antidote of Mithridates to poisons, the formula of which was found by Pompey in the satchel of the conquered King.

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Rush

Rush

The true Rushes (Juncaceoe) include the Soft Rush (effusus); the Hard Rush (glaucus); and the Common Rush (conglomeratus). The Bulrush (Pool Rush) is a Sedge; the Club Rush is a Typha; and the flowering Rush, a Butomus.

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Saffron

Saffron

The fabled origin of the Saffron plant ran thus. A certain young man named Crocus went to play at quoits in a field with Mercurie, when the quoit of his companion happened by misfortune to hit him on the head, whereby, before long, he died, to the great sorrow of  his friends. Finally, in the place where he had bled, Saffron was found to be growing: whereupon, the people, seeing the colour of the chine as it stood, adjusted it to come of the blood of Crocus, and therefore they gave it his name.

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Sage

Sage

A well-known monkish line about it ran to this effect: Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia crescit in horto? "Why should a man die whilst Sage grows in his garden?" And even at this time, in many parts of England, the following piece of advice is carefully adopted every year: "He that would live for aye Must eat Sage in May."

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Samphire

Samphire

Samphire, of the true sort, is a herb difficult to be gathered, because it grows only out of the crevices of lofty perpendicular rocks which cannot be easily scaled. This genuine Samphire (Crithmum maritimum) is a small plant, bearing yellow flowers in circular umbels on the tops of the stalks, which flowers are followed by seeds like those of the Fennel, but larger.

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Savin

Savin

Savin, the Juniper Savin (Sabina), or Saffern, was known of old as the "Devil's Tree," and the "Magician's Cypress," because much affected by witches and sorcerers when working their spells.

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Schalot

Schalot

The Schalot, or Eschalotte, is another variety of the onion tribe, which was introduced into England by the Crusaders, who found it growing at Ascalon. And Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are an ever green perennial herb of the onion tribe, having only a mild, alliaceous flavour. Epicures consider the Schalot to be the best seasoning for beef steaks, either by taking the actual bulb, or by rubbing the plates therewith.

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Scurvy Grass

Scurvy Grass

This Scurvy Grass has the botanical name Cochlearia, or, in English, Spoonwort, so named from its leaves resembling in shape the bowl of an old-fashioned spoon. It is supposed to be the famous Herba Britannica of the ancients. Our great navigators have borne unanimous testimony to its never-failing value in scurvy; and it has been justly noticed that the plant grows most plentifully in altitudes where scurvy is specially troublesome and frequent.

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Sea Holly

Sea Holly

The Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum), or Sea Hulver, is a well-known prickly sea-green plant, growing in the sand on many parts of our coasts, or on stony ground, with stiff leaves, and roots which run to a great length among the sand, whilst charged with a sweetish juice.

A manufactory for making candied roots of the Sea Holly was established at Colchester, by Robert Burton, an apothecary, in the seventeenth century, as they were considered both antiscorbutic, and excellent for health.

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Sea Weed

Sea Weed

Of the more ordinary Sea Weeds (cryptogamous, or flowerless plants) some few are edible, though sparingly nutritious, whilst curative and medicinal virtues are attributed to several others, as Irish Moss, Scotch Dulse, Sea Tang, and the Bladderwrack.

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Selfheal

Selfheal

Several Herbal Simples go by the name of Selfheal among our wild hedge plants, more especially the Sanicle, the common Prunella, and the Bugle.

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Shepherd's Purse

Shepherd's Purse

The small Shepherd's Purse (Bursa Capsella Pastoris) is one of the most common of wayside English weeds. The name Capsella signifies a little box, in allusion to the seed pods. It is a Cruciferous plant, made familiar by the diminutive pouches, or flattened pods at the end of its branching stems.

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Silverweed

Silverweed

Country folk often call it Cramp Weed: but it is more generally known as Goose Tansy, or Goose Gray, because it is a spurious Tansy, fit only for a goose; or, perhaps, because eaten by geese. Other names for the herb are Silvery Cinquefoil, and Moorgrass. It occurs especially on clay soils, being recognised by its pinnate white silvery leaves, and its conspicuous golden flowers.

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Skullcap

Skullcap

A useful medicinal tincture (H.) is made from the Skullcap (Scutellaria), which is a Labiate plant of frequent growth on the banks of our rivers and ponds, having bright blue flowers, with a tube longer than the calyx.

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Sloe

Sloe

The term Sloe, or Sla, means not the fruit but the hard trunk, being connected with a verb signifying to slay, or strike, probably because the wood of this tree was used as a flail, and nowadays makes a bludgeon.

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Snake Root

Snake Root

Snake Root, Echinacea or Purple Coneflower is a North American perennial that is indigenous to the central plains where it grows on road banks, prairies, fields and in dry, open woods; it  belongs to the Aster, or Daisy family. It is called snake root because it grows from a thick black root that Indians used to treat snake bites.

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Soapworth

Soapworth

The Soapworth root has a sweetish bitter taste, but no odour. It contains resin and mucilage, in addition to saponin, which is its leading principle, and by virtue of which decoctions of the root produce a soapy froth. A similar soapy quality is also observed in the leaves, so much so that they have been used by mendicant monks as a substitute for soap in washing their clothes.

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Solomon's Seal

Solomon's Seal

The Arabs understand by Solomon's Seal the figure of a six-pointed star, formed by two equilateral triangles intersecting each other, as frequently mentioned in Oriental tales. Gerard maintains that the name, Sigillum Solomunis, was given to the root "partly because it bears marks something like the stamp of a seal, but still more because of the virtue the root hath in sealing or healing up green wounds, broken bones, and such like, being stamp't and laid thereon."

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Southernwood

Southernwood

Southernwood, or Southern Wormwood is the Artemisia Abrotanum, a Composite plant of the Wormwood tribe, commonly known as "Old Man." Pliny explains that this title is borne because of the plant being a sexual restorative to those in advanced years.

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Spearmint

Spearmint

The Spearmint (Mentha viridis) is found growing apparently wild in England, but is probably not an indigenous herb. It occurs in watery places, and on the banks of rivers, such as the Thames, and the Exe. If used externally, its strong decoction will heal chaps and indolent eruptions.

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Speedwell

Speedwell

This little plant, with its exquisite flowers of celestial blue, grows most familiarly in our hedgerows throughout the Spring, and early Summer. Its brilliant, gemlike blossoms show a border of pale purple, or delicate violet, marked with deeper veins or streaks. But the lovely circlet of petals is most fragile, and falls off at a touch; whence are derived the names Speedwell, Farewell, Good-bye, and Forget-me-not.

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Spinach

Spinach

Spinach (Lapathum hortense) is a Persian plant which has been cultivated in our gardens for about two hundred years; and considerably longer on the Continent. Some say the Spinach was originally brought from Spain. It was produced by monks in France at the middle of the 14th century.

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Spindle Tree

Spindle Tree

During the autumn, in our woody hedgerows a shrub becomes very conspicuous by bearing numerous rose-coloured floral capsules, strikingly brilliant, each with a scarlet and orange-coloured centre. This is the Spindle Tree (Euonymus), so called because it furnishes wood for spindles, or skewers.

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Spurge

Spurge

Conspicuous in Summer by their golden green leaves, and their striking epergnes of bright emerald blossoms, the Wood Spurge, and the Petty Spurge, adorn our woodlands and gardens commonly and very remarkably.

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St John's Wort

St John's Wort

The name Hypericum is derived from the two Greek words, huper eikon, "over an apparition," because of its supposed power to exorcise evil spirits, or influences; whence it was also formerly called Fuga doemoniorum, "the Devil's Scourge," "the Grace of God," "the Lord God's Wonder Plant." and some other names of a like import, probably too, because found to be of curative use against insanity.

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Stitchwort

Stitchwort

The Stitchworts, greater and less (Stellaria holostea), grow very abundantly as herbal weeds in all our dry hedges and woods, having tough stems which run closely together, and small white star-like (stellaria) blossoms.

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Strawberry

Strawberry

"Strawberry" is from the Anglo-Saxon Strowberige, of which the first syllable refers to anything strewn. The wild woodland Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) is the progenitor of our highly cultivated and delicious fruit. This little hedgerow and sylvan plant has a root which is very astringent, so that when held in the mouth it will stay any flow of blood from the nostrils.

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Succory

Succory

The Wild Succory (Cichorium intybus) is a common roadside English plant, white or blue, belonging to the Composite order, and called also Turnsole, because it always turns its flowers towards the sun.

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Sundew

Sundew

The fresh juice of the Sundew herb contains malic acid in a free state, various salts, and a red colouring matter; also glucose, and a peculiar crystallisable acid. Cattle of the female gender are said to have their copulative instincts excited by eating even a small quantity of the plant.

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Sunflower

Sunflower

Golden Sunflowers are introduced at Rheims into the stained glass of an Apse window in the church of St. Remi, with the Virgin and St. John on either side of the Cross, the head of each being encircled with an aureole having a Sunflower inserted in its outer circle. The flowers are turned towards the Saviour on the Cross as towards their true Sun.

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Tamarind

Tamarind

The parent tree, Tamar Hindee, "Indian date," is of East, or West Indian growth; but the sweet pulpy jam containing shining stony seeds, and connected together by tough stringy fibres, may be readily obtained at the present time from the leading druggists, or the general provision merchant. It fulfils medicinal purposes which entitle it to high esteem as a Herbal Simple for use in the sick-room.

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Tansy

Tansy

The name Tansy is probably derived from the Greek word Athanasia which signifies immortality, either because it lasts so long in flower, or because it is so capital for preserving dead bodies from corruption. Tansy was said to have been given to Ganymede to make him immortal.

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Tarragon

Tarragon

The volatile essential oil of Tarragon is chemically identical with that of Anise, and it is found to be sexually stimulating. The word Tarragon means "a little dragon."

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Thistle

Thistle

As a class Thistles have been held sacred to Thor, because, say the old authors, receiving their bright colours from the lightning, and because protecting those who cultivate them from its destructive effects.

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Thyme

Thyme

The name Thyme is derived from the Greek thumos, as identical with the Latin fumus, smoke, having reference to the ancient use of Thyme in sacrifices, because of its fragrant odour; or, it may be, as signifying courage (thumos), which its cordial qualities inspire. With the Greeks Thyme was an emblem of bravery, and activity; also the ladies of chivalrous days embroidered on the scarves which they presented to their knights the device of a bee hovering about a spray of Thyme, as teaching the union of the amiable and the active.

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Toadflax

Toadflax

When used externally an infusion of Toadflax acts as an anodyne to subdue irritation of the skin, and it may be taken as a medicine to modify skin diseases. The fresh juice is attractive to flies, but at the same time it serves to poison them: so if it be mixed with milk, and placed where flies resort they will drink it and perish at the first sip.

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Tomato

Tomato

Belonging to the Solanums the Tomato (Lycopersicum) is a plant of Mexican origin. Its brilliant fruit was first known as Mala oethiopica, or the Apples of the Moors, and bearing the Italian designation Pomi dei Mori. This name was presently corrupted in the French to Pommes d'amour; and thence in English to the epithet Love Apples

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Tormentil

Tormentil

A decoction of Tormentil makes a capital gargle, and will heal ulcers of the mouth if used as a wash. If a piece of lint soaked therein be kept applied to warts, they will wither and disappear.

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Turnip

Turnip

When mashed, and mixed with bread and milk, the Turnip makes an excellent cleansing and stimulating poultice for indolent abscesses or sores.

The Scotch eat small, yellow-rooted Turnips as we do radishes. "Tastes and Turnips proverbially differ." At Plymouth, and some other places, when a girl rejects a suitor, she is said to "give him turnips," probably with reference to his sickly pallor of disappointment.

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Turpentine

Turpentine

From our English Pines, if their stems be wounded, the oleo-resin known as Turpentine, can be procured. This is so truly a vegetable product, and so readily available for medical uses in every household, being withal so valuable for its remedial and curative virtues that no apology is needed for giving it notice as a Herbal Simple.

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Valerian

Valerian

The great Wild Valerian, or Heal-all (from valere, to be well), grows abundantly throughout this country in moist woods, and on the banks of streams. It is a Benedicta, or blessed herb, being dedicated to the Virgin Mary, as preservative against poisons.

The roots of Valerian have been given from an early period with much success for hysterical affections, and for epileptic attacks induced by strong emotional excitement, as anger or fear.

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Verbena

Verbena

The Druids gathered Verbena with as much reverence as they paid to the Mistletoe. It was dedicated to Isis, the goddess of birth, and formed a famous ingredient in love philtres. Pliny saith: "They report that if the dining chamber be sprinkled with water in which the herb Verbena has been steeped, the guests will be the merrier."

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Violet

Violet

Also, the Sweet Violet is thought to possess admirable virtues as a cosmetic. Lightfoot gives a translation from a Highland recipe in Gaelic, for its use in this capacity, rendered thus: "Anoint thy face with goat's milk in which violets have been infused, and there is not a young prince upon earth who will not be charmed with thy beauty."

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Viper's Bugloss

Viper's Bugloss

The Viper's Bugloss is called botanically Echium, having been formerly considered antidotal to the bite of (Echis) a viper: and its seed was thought to resemble the reptile's head:

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Wallflower

Wallflower

There are two varieties of the cultivated Wallflower, the Yellow and the Red; those of a deep colour growing on old rockeries and similar places, are often termed Bloody Warriors, and Bleeding Heart. The double Wallflower has been produced for more than two centuries. If the flowers are steeped in oil for some weeks, they contribute thereto a stimulating warming property useful for friction to limbs which are rheumatic, or neuralgic.

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Walnut

Walnut

The leaves of the Walnut tree, when slightly rubbed, emit a rich aromatic odour, which renders them proof against the attacks of insects. Qualities of this odoriferous sort commended the tree to King Solomon, whose "garden of nuts" was clearly one of Walnuts, according to the Hebrew word eghoz. The longevity of the Walnut tree is very great. There is at Balaclava, in the Crimea, a Walnut tree believed to be a thousand years old.

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What Are Herbal Simples?

What Are Herbal Simples?

It may happen that one or another enquirer taking up this study will ask, to begin with, "What is a Herbal Simple?"

The English word "Simple," composed of two Latin words, Singula plica (a single fold), means "Singleness," whether of material or purpose.

From primitive times the term "Herbal Simple" has been applied to any homely curative remedy consisting of one ingredient only, and that of a vegetable nature.

Many such a native medicine found favour and success with our single-minded forefathers, this being the "reverent simplicity of ancienter times."

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William Thomas Fernie MD

William Thomas Fernie MD

William Thomas Fernie MD was a physician in the late 19th and early 20th century and very little is known about him and his life that is easily discoverable.

However, he left behind a lifetime's fascination and love with exploring not just the world of all things hard, but taking a greater view - comparing his knowledge with that what has been told over the ages, collecting ideas and trying to find connections between people, plants, animals and minerals.

 

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Wood Sorrel

Wood Sorrel

In olden days the Monks named this pretty little woodland plant Alleluia, because it blossoms between Easter and Whitsuntide, when the Psalms--from the 113th to the 117th, inclusive--which end with the aspiration, "Hallelujah!" were sung.

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Woodruff

Woodruff

Its terminal syllable, "ruff," is derived from rofe, a wheel,--with the diminutive rouelle, a little wheel or rowel, like that of an ancient spur,--which the verticillate leaves of this Woodruff herb closely resemble. They serve to remind us also of good Queen Bess, and of the high, starched, old-fashioned ruff which she is shown to wear in her portraits.

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Wormwood

Wormwood

The Wormwood herb was formerly thought to possess the power of dispelling demons, and was thus associated with the ceremonials of St. John's Eve, owning the name, on the Continent, of St. John's Herb, or St. John's Girdle.

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Woundwort

Woundwort

The Hedge Woundwort was named by Gerard, Clown's all heal, or the Husbandman's Woundwort, because a countryman who had cut his hand to the bone with a scythe, healed the wound in seven days with this plant.

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Yarrow

Yarrow

Elspeth Reoch, in 1616, when tried for witchcraft, acknowledged to having employed the Yarrow in her incantations. She "plucked one herbe sitting on her right knee, and pulling it betwixt the mid-finger and thumbe, and saying: In nominee Patris, Filii, et Spiritus Sancti."

By the yarrow plant so gathered, she was enabled to cure distempers, and to impart the faculty of prediction.

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Yew

Yew

Although the Yew--a Conifer--which is so thoroughly English a tree, is known to be highly poisonous as regards its leaves to the humans subject, and as concerning its loppings or half-dead branches, to oxen, horses, and asses, yet a medicinal tincture (H.) is made from the young shoots, which has distinct and curative uses. Both the Yew and the Ivy were called abiga, because causing abortion

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