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Healing Herbs, Herbs That Heal, Herbs as Herbal Simples
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.
Added Jun 12, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 5,389 Reads
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."
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."
Added Jun 12, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 5,638 Reads
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.
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.
Added Jun 12, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 5,115 Reads
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.
"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!"
Added Jun 12, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 4,824 Reads
"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.
Added Jun 12, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 5,076 Reads
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.
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.
Added Jun 12, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 4,782 Reads
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.
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.
Added Jun 13, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 4,076 Reads
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.
Added Jun 13, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 11,931 Reads
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
Added Jun 18, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,107 Reads
"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.'"
Added Jun 19, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,086 Reads
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.
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.
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.
Added Jun 28, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,807 Reads
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.
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."
Added Jul 3, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 2,982 Reads
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.
Added Jul 3, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,163 Reads
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.
Added Jul 3, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 6,600 Reads
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
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.
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.
Added Sep 19, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 4,777 Reads
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
Added Jul 11, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 2,909 Reads
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.
Added Jul 11, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,633 Reads
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.
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.
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.
Added Jul 11, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 2,883 Reads
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."
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.
Added Jul 20, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,452 Reads
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).
Added Jul 20, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 8,010 Reads
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.
Added Jul 20, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 2,850 Reads
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.
Added Jul 24, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 2,992 Reads
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."
Added Jul 24, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 4,088 Reads
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.
"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."
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.
Added Aug 21, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,698 Reads
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.
Added Aug 21, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 2,628 Reads
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.
Added Aug 21, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 4,529 Reads
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.
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,
Added Sep 9, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 2,829 Reads
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.
Added Sep 9, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 2,900 Reads
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.
Added Sep 19, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,118 Reads
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.
Added Sep 19, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 2,651 Reads
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.
Added Sep 19, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,153 Reads
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."
Added Sep 19, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 5,203 Reads
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.
Added Sep 19, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,500 Reads
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.
Added Sep 19, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 4,388 Reads
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."
Added Sep 29, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,206 Reads
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).
Added Oct 28, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,515 Reads
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.
Added Oct 28, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,032 Reads
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
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.
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.
Added Dec 1, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,506 Reads
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."
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.
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.
Added Dec 1, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 2,967 Reads
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."
Added Dec 1, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,282 Reads
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.
Added Dec 1, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,277 Reads
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.
Several Herbal Simples go by the name of Selfheal among our wild hedge plants, more especially the Sanicle, the common Prunella, and the Bugle.
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.
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.
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.
Added Dec 1, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,189 Reads
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.
Added Dec 1, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 2,962 Reads
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.
Added Dec 15, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 3,539 Reads
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.
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.
Added Dec 15, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 4,343 Reads
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.
Added Dec 16, 2010 | Healing Herbs | 5,721 Reads
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.
Added Jan 9, 2011 | Healing Herbs | 3,626 Reads
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."
Added Jan 9, 2011 | Healing Herbs | 3,729 Reads
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.
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.
Added Mar 4, 2011 | Healing Herbs | 3,842 Reads
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.
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."
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:
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.
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.
Added Mar 5, 2011 | Healing Herbs | 3,179 Reads
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.
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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