Eupatorium purpureum. Compositae
Found on low-lying land, likes damp soil. Leaves are medium, lance-shaped. Flowers are purple, tubular, growing in corymbs. The roots are the medicinal part used, and they are rather bitter, emitting, when sliced, an “old hay” smell.
This plant is the popular “Joe pye weed” of American pioneer days, and a favorite of the American Indians. Its botanical name recalls a king of remote times; its common name (Joe pye), is that of an Indian medicine-man. Formerly it was used in most American homes as a valued remedy against rheumatism and backache, ailments typical of the strenuous physical work and primitive housing conditions of those times. Another common name of this plant is “gravel root.”
Treatment of all rheumatic complaints, all ills of the joints, including aching or sprained back. For all strains and sprains, and for treatment of pulled ligaments and tendons. Disorders of the urinary system; powerful effects on the kidneys and bladder; removing gravel and stones. Treatment of inflamed bladder, scanty urine, burning urine, also dropsy. Soothing to the nerves, for neuralgia, headache, diabetes. An old remedy for gout.
Of a Standard Brew of the finely sliced root/herb, two tablespoons morning and night.
Mentha x piperita. Labiatae
Found in damp meadows and verges of woodland, also widely cultivated in gardens. Leaves are downy, grayish; flowers are pale purple, in whorls, and very aromatic. The plant yields a warming oil, Indeed, few plants excel peppermint for its warming, heartening qualities. As a nerve-stimulating drink, it is far more effective than either coffee or tea, without sharing their harmful properties.
This herb cleanses and strengthens the whole body. Good to take after shock, or swimming cramps, and for a feeling of faintness. Mint is a general tonic for the whole body, especially for the digestive and nervous system. For gas in stomach, stomach pains, cramps, indigestion, nausea, headache. For constipation, painful menstruation. To banish mental depression, induce sleep, cure fainting attacks.
Of a Standard Brew, a cupful taken morning and night, or after meals in digestive troubles. More frequently – as desired – for other conditions; before bedtime for sleeplessness. Take many hot cups as a headache remedy, in preference to aspirin or similar pain – relief drugs. Sweeten with honey.
Passiflora incarnate. Passifloracea
Named by the Spaniards, as in this beautiful flower they saw the passion of Christ, the flower symbolizes his crucifixion. The flower is said to have risen from the ground at the foot of the cross on which Christ was crucified. There the tears of Mary, mother of Christ, watered the ground, and this flower was born, its head of white and purple being wonderfully symbolic of the crucifixion. The filaments of the corona depict the thongs of the whip which flogged the Christ, the circle-shaped corona is the thorny crown, the carpels are the three nails, the pointed leaves are the spears which wounded Christ.
This is indeed a passionate plant of great power. It is a strong high climber, and apt to dominate other plants. Indeed it almost reaches to the heavens. Both fruits and the flower are used fresh or dried.
The flowers are powerfully sedative, a proven soother for headaches, and one of the very best quellers of children’s rages, given as a tea several times daily, and especially as night time beverage, sweetened with honey. The fruits are appreciated as a strengthener, and as a general, very useful, tonic. They are good tasting and very strengthening.
Juice pressed from passion fruits is soothing for sore, inflamed and aching eyes.
The fruits, as a tonic, as much as desired. The flowers, as a sedative, a teaspoon brewed in a cup of warm water, squeeze well to extract all its properties.
Petroselinum sativum. Umbrelliferae
Found on dry rocky soil and cultivated in gardens. Leaves are curled or plain and of an intense green color. They have a characteristic odor and flavor, due to a substance called apiol. All parts of the plant are used including the seed. The Spanish peasants warn against eating too much; they say it will make people look older than their true years!
Considered useful in cancer prevention and treatment, and taken when cancer is prevalent in families. Parsley is beneficial to the urinary system, and is used for bladder and kidney complaints. The root is a safe and effective aperient. Disorders of bladder and kidneys, gravel, stone, congestion, cystitis, dropsy, jaundice, rheumatism, arthritis, sciatica. Also anemia, rickets. Treatment for female ailments. A strong tea of the leaves provides a good drink for diabetics.
The bruised leaves steeped in vinegar will relieve swollen breasts. The cold leaves, bruised and worn inside a bodice around the breasts, will help to dry up the milk when weaning of infants is desired. To clear head lice, use parsley seed tea. To stimulate growth of hair, check baldness, remove dandruff, and soothe all kinds of insect stings, use parsley lotion.
A handful of fresh parsley leaves eaten once or twice daily in salad. Or it can be chopped fine and put into sandwiches, or mixed with white cottage cheese. Some parsley should be cultivated in pots for winter use.
Parsley Seed Tea:
A tablespoon of seed to two cups of water. Bring to a boil. Steep until cold, and then drink a cupful morning and night. This same tea, when steeped at least seven hours and rubbed into the hair, will clear head lice.
Use hot. Steep parsley seeds and/or leaves as for a Standard Brew. Massage the head and scalp with this.
Avena Sativa. Poacea
Found in cornfields and on bank sides and under cultivation in pastures. Leaves are typical grass-form, darkish, brittle, spikelets are drooping and frail, the grains are awned and turn dark gold when ripe. Oats are a strength-giving cereal. Low in starch, high in mineral content (especially potassium and phosphorus, also magnesium and calcium). Particularly rich in vitamin B, with some of the rare E and G also.
As a nutritive food, nerve tonic, blood tonic, hair tonic. Remedy for rickets, bone-building. Important for ensuring strong nails and teeth. A basic food of the hardy Scottish Highlanders.
Finely ground oatmeal makes an excellent poultice, and is applied to the skin as a cleansing scrub, either directly or via small bags.
Oats cannot be eaten raw, unless taken as flakes, when the slight heat used during their flaking dispenses with the need to cook them further and they can be eaten dry, raw or with milk poured over.
Take two ounces of sweet oatmeal, mix into thin past by gradually adding cold water. Then add salt to taste. Heat a half-pint of cold water and add to this in a wineglass of day-old milk. Before it boils add the oatmeal mixture. Simmer gently but keep well below boiling point. Cook for three to five minutes. The taste is improved by adding a few sprigs of fragrant herb such as marjoram or thyme.
Oatmeal Skin Tonic:
Place finely ground oatmeal in a cotton bag, some drops of perfume being added. The bag is squeezed out in warm water and a milky lotion produced, which is rubbed over the skin as a complexion treatment.
Urtica dioica, Urticaceae
Found over wasteland and in hedgerows. The leaves are serrated, dull green, hairy. These leaves possess an acrid fluid (formic acid) which burns the human skin, causing small blisters, hence the common name of this plant-“stinging nettle.” Flowers are green-yellow, in clusters, small. The whole plant is powerfully medicinal, from the roots to the seed.
Nettle root as a treatment of dropsy, lymphatic ailments, to expel gravel and stones from any organ in which they have formed, especially from the kidneys.
Nettle leaves are a vegetable (lightly boiled, for several minutes only until softened and the stinging quality is neutralized, then add some flaked oats and good butter). Also to cleanse the blood, tone up the whole system. As a cure for anemia, rheumatism, sciatica, arthritis, obesity, infertility. To expel mucus from all parts of the body.
Nettle seeds heated gently in wine and swallowed as a cure for diarrhea, and dysentery. As a Standard Brew, serves as a blood cleanser and to expel worms.
The Roman Nettle (Urtica urens) species has large seed capsules like green balls and was planted extensively by Romans as a rheumatic remedy, for flogging the human skin to increase blood flow. Also, as with bee and ant stings, the formic acid was considered beneficial. To this day bruised leaves of stinging nettles are rubbed on the skin in treatment of chronic rheumatism. As a nerve and tissue excitant, in treatment of chronic rheumatism, paralysis, stiffness of joints, failing muscular strength. The Gypsy method is to bind fresh-cut plants into a bunch and beat the affected parts with this until great heat is created in the limb. Then cotton cloths, soaked in cold vinegar, are applied and after several hours the nettle flogging is repeated. Many cures of chronic cases have been achieved whit this primitive treatment-and, as already written, the Romans planted nettles for this curative purpose.
The leaves, applied fresh to bleeding wound, will often act effectively within a few minutes.
Flowers and seed (nettles produce much seed): as a hair rinse and for scalp massage. Will improve the color and texture of the hair and remove dandruff.
Eat the boiled leaves as a vegetable as freely as you would eat spinach and other greens. No other green vegetable excels the nettle in mineral and vitamin content. This is one of the world’s most chlorophyll-rich plants.
Of a Standard Brew of the leaves, a wineglass three times daily. Nettle juice can be made in a juicer. Standard Brew of the flower and/or seed: similar dose to the leaves.
A Lotion for Aching Feet:
Brew one handful of nettle leaves, and one of marshmallow leaves, in one cup and a half of whey pr plain water. Use warm.
Barrisca nigra (black) or Sinapis alba (white) Cruciferae
Found on waste land and in gardens. Also cultivated as a pasture herb. Leaves are cress-form, hot biting. Flowers are intense yellow, cross-form, also hot and biting. Seeds are long, narrow, also very hot. The herb is used both in medicine and to cleanse pastures. As a green manure crop, mustards are dug in just at flowering time. The condiment is usually prepared from seeds of black mustard.
An important antiseptic tonic. Treats poor appetite, flatulence, bad breath. Also colds, catarrh, pneumonia.
Mustard is a poultice and plaster herb. In external application it acts as an irritant and excitant and so is valuable treatment of paralysis and pectoral complaints. As a poultice or rubbing remedy, to relieve internal and external or inflammations, congested lungs, paralyzed limbs, rheumatic and arthritic pains and stiffness. Mustard baths are a decongestant.
Eat the young leaves freely as a salad herb. And a handful can be eaten easily, daily, as a spring tonic and general blood remedy. When a cold is threatening, chew a teaspoon of the seeds several times during the day to expel the accumulating mucus.
To make a Mustard Poultice:
Use a handful of mustard powder to a handful of bran; make a past with hot water; apply hot.
To make a Mustard Plaster:
To every handful of ground mustard add three parts of whole wheat flour. Mix into a pliable past with hot water. Then add further some hot vinegar (about two teaspoons of vinegar to one cup of the mustard-whole wheat flour mixture). Spread on a piece of cloth and apply hot over the area to be treated: chest, kidneys, paralyzed areas. In cases of sensitive skin where blisters may be provoked, add the white of an egg to every half pint measure of the mixture.
Verbascum thapsus. Scrophulariaceae
Found along waysides and on neglected land. Leaves are broad, grey and very downy, giving the plant one of its common names:”blanket herb.” The flowers are in tall spikes and are of yellow, rose-form. This is a famed old household remedy and a favorite of the American Indians. It has always been a standby remedy for lung ailments in cattle, another of its common names being “cow lungwort.” It is equally good for humans in this respect. The leaves and flowers are used. The flowers must be stored in tin containers for they turn black in light, once off the plant. Yet another name is “candle light,” the down being used once as wicks.
Valued for its effect on the chest area. Treatment oaf cough, pneumonia, pleurisy, bronchitis, tuberculosis, asthma (internally and as an inhalant). Also a remedy for bleeding from the mouth, nose lungs, bowels. Treatment of dropsy, all bowel complaints, and hay fever. A tea of the flowers will promote sleep and soothe headaches.
Make hot fomentations of a cloth wrung out in a brew of the leaves or flowers, and apply to mumps, swollen glands, stiff neck, and the throat for inflamed tonsils. Some vinegar can be added to the fomentation with advantage. Use the Standard Brew as an application for warts.
Of a Standard Brew of the leaves and/or flower, a small cupful night and morning. In treatment of dysentery, and bleeding from the bowels, boil a teaspoon of mullein leaves to one cup of new milk, add honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, and take two tablespoons of this drink after each bowel movement, or at least three times daily. For asthma, use an old kettle, place within a heaped tablespoonful of leaves, cut fine, pour on to this some boiling water, and inhale the steam through the spout (keeping the head beneath a towel).This same inhalation can be used for hay fever, congestion of the nose, and all sinus troubles.
Mentha viridis, M. spicata and M.rotundifolia. Labiatae
Found in moist places, also among rocks. Widely cultivated in gardens for culinary use. Leaves are narrow, rough, very fragrant, possessing the peculiar mint scent and flavor. Flowers are thin spikes of pale mauve, and are also highly scented with mint odor.
A wild water mint grows along ditch sides.
Mint soothes as well as excites, quells stomach pains and gas, and has an altogether beneficial effect on the stomach and digestive tract. Will restore failing appetite and allay rheumatic pains. It was once esteemed as a cure for frigidity in both sexes, and even today is used as a tonic for bulls and stallions when their sexual powers are waning, The Arabs drink mint tea frequently , to ensure virility, also as a social drink, because Moslems are not wine drinkers. The only negative quality of this excellent herb is that it is apt to diminish milk secretion and therefore should not be taken by nursing mothers. To treat suppression of urine, also suppressed menstruation. To quell vomiting and general nausea. To cure disorders of the digestive system, including acid stomach, flatulence, gastritis, diarrhea, dysentery. To treat infertility and lack of sexual desire.
As a rub for rheumatism, arthritis and stiff joints. As a headache remedy, use tea internally and a cold pack applied to the forehead externally.
A stronger Mint Treatment for Headache:
Steep slices for raw potato in cold, strong brew of mint, and apply the potato slices to the head, placing a cloth wrung out in the water over them to keep them in place. Change the potato slices at intervals.
Mint Vinegar Lotion-an excellent headache remedy:
Crush mint leaves; heat gently for a few minutes. Then steep in apple cider vinegar overnight. Use cold. Steep cotton cloth in this lotion and lay it across the forehead. Renew frequently.
To be eaten in salads, a few sprigs daily. Or make a strong sweetened tea with honey. Take a cupful after meals.
Silybum marianum (Cardus marianum). Compositae
Found on waste lands and in pastures. Likes rich organic soil. Leaves are grey with veins of silver-white, large, with prickly edges. Flowers are large , thistle-form purple, and the involucres prickly and barbed. (Another species of milky-veined thistle grows in the Holy Land, also called after the Virgin Mary).
The name –Marianum- is sometimes explained thus; a drop of milk from the breast of the Virgin Mary is said to have fallen on the thistle as she was cutting thistle fodder to feed her donkey. The thistle then became medicinal and edible. The word Carduus shows that the species was once used for carding wool. The word comes from the Gaelic word for carding wool. On good ground it can reach man-height. All parts of the plants are useful, but especially the seeds.
As a medicinal salad, blood cleansing, jaundice remedy. Treatment of anemia, rickets, scurvy. The young shoots, called in Arabic khurfesh, are gathered and eaten by the Bedouin shepherds and other Arabs. It is a refreshing salad food. The green fleshy stems are the best part. The seeds to cure fits, epilepsy, once used against rabies.
A wound herb. Treats petsas-those big , deep sores found in eastern Mediterranean countries.
The hearts of several plants eaten daily as a salad herb. Collect before the thistle becomes tough and spiky; trim off any soft prickles. Eat a teaspoon of seeds, morning and night, in treatment of those ailments for which they are intended.
Young, large leaves are trimmed of their prickles with scissors, gently crushed, then bound over wounds and sores. They will turn black later from the heat and foul matter drawn out.