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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.

The Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) is a common Labiate plant in our hedges and woods, branched and hairy, with whorls of small dull purple flowers on a spike two feet high or more. There are other varieties of the herb, such as the Marsh (March) Woundwort, the Corn Woundwort, and the Downy 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.

It is called by some the Hedge Dead Nettle, from its nettle-like leaves, and the place of its growth.

"The leaves," says Gerard, "stampt (pounded) with hog's grease, and applied unto green wounds in the manner of a poultice, heal them in such short time and such absolute manner, that it is hard for anyone that hath not had the experience thereof to believe.

For instance, a deep and grievous wound in the breast with a dagger, and two others in the abdomen (or nether belly), so that the fat commonly named the caul, issued forth, the which mortal wounds, by God's permission, and the virtues of this herb, I perfectly cured within twenty days--for the which the name of God be praised."

The name Stachys given to this herb, is from the Greek stakos, a bunch, because of the arrangement of the flowers. It contains a volatile oil, and a bitter principle undetermined.

The Stachys Germanica (Downy Woundwort) is so called from its soft, downy leaves having been employed instead of lint as a surgical dressing to wounds. The plant grows on a chalky soil in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, and Oxfordshire: being named also "Lamb's Ear."

This Stachys lanata (Woolly Woundwort) is known as Saviour's blanket, in Sussex; also in Devonshire and Somersetshire, as Mouse's ear, Donkey's ear, and Lamb's tongue.

The Knights' Water Woundwort (Statiotes aloides) was supposed from its blade-like leaves, acting on the doctrine of signatures, to heal sword wounds.

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