Monday, 10 July 2017

Wild marjoram



I've gone back to the more traditional cure alls for this post and 
hopefully won't get sidetracked onto the more gruesome 
cures as before!

Wild Marjoram, according to Culpepper's Herbal 1653, also called Organy and Joy of the Mountain is a herbal cure-all. Made into a tea or infusion "stengthens the stomach and head much, there being scarce a better remedy growing for such as are troubled with a sour humour in the stomach, it restoreth the appetite, helps the cough and consumption of the lungs, helps the biting of venomous beasts and such as have poisoned themselves by eating hemlock, henbane or opium. It provokes urine and the terms of women, helps the dropsy, the scurvy, scabs, itch and yellow jaundice."

I like this recipe tho!

Sir William Paston's recipe for a 'pleasant mead' 1669

To a gallon of water, put a quart of honey, about ten sprigs of sweet majoram, half so many tops of bay. Boil these very well togethere and when it is cold bottle it up. 
It will be ready in ten days.

These days, essential oil from the leaves of wild marjoram is popular. 
It is used in massage to relax tense muscles or to support the nervous system, 
and is often simply used for its soothing aroma.

Other interesting facts about the plant.


Bees like it!


The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that the goddess of love first cultivated marjoram and that her gentle touch had given it its fragrance, so newly married couples were crowned with marjoram wreaths.
  • The Greeks dressed their hair and eyebrows with a fragrant pomade made from marjoram.
  • A bunch of sweet marjoram was placed beside milk containers during thundery weather as it was thought that this would prevent the milk going sour. 





Thursday, 6 July 2017

Old fashioned cures versus high street chemists


Perhaps it's easier to walk into your nearest chemist but you could also 
try a few of the traditional remedies for what ails you.
Take Herb Bennet for example, above, now it is seeding it is 
a good time to use to cure spots.
Place the root into wine then use to 'scoureth out foul spots if the 
face be washed daily.
It also refresheth the heart and maketh it merry.'

This is one that I would not recommend.
To cure the thrush, take  a living frog place it in a cloth  so
 that it does not go down the child's throat and place the head of 
the frog into the child's mouth until it is dead. 
Then take another frog and do the same again.





Found this article in the Telegraph about Frog snot!




The mucus of a rare frog that lurks in the south Indian jungle could provide the basis of a powerful new class of drugs to combat influenza.
It is found to " host defence peptides" that proved able to destroy numerous strains of human flu, whilst protecting normal cells.
Don't get too excited tho as people  are advised to treat this with caution as three out of the four of the peptides found in the mucus were found to be toxic to humans. 

Some flu cure!


In Peru they use frogs along with white bean broth, honey, 
raw aloe vera, maca; a quick whizz in the blender and there you have
 an aphrodisiac called The Peruvian Viagra! 




Or another use for a frog!
To cure the Black death, place a live frog on the plague sore. 
The frog will swell up and burst. Keep doing this with further frogs until they stop bursting. Apparently some people say that a dried toad will work better.


Sorry, I started writing this in the intention of illustrating a 
few 'nice' floral and herbal remedies but I seemed to have gone 
off in a different direction!
Perhaps tomorrow!




Friday, 30 June 2017

To protect your home against faeries



And evil spirits around  midsummer which can be the most dangerous
 of the year, gather:
St John's Wort, Mugwort, Plantain, Corn Marigold, Dwarf Elder, Yarrow, 
Ivy, Vervain and Orphins. 
These must be picked at dawn with the dew still on them. Fashion them into garlands 
and hang them over over the threshold to your home or alternatively burn them on 
the fire to drive off the spirits of the air.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Midsummer is the time to keep your house clean...




As nothing annoys the faeries more than a dirty home!
So sweep your hearth and set upon it a dish which holds a 
mess of milk and bread. This will please the fae and if you leave your 
shoes by the fire they will sometimes leave a coin in one of them. 
But do not speak of it or they will leave, never to return.

"Farewell, Rewards and Faeries,
Good housewives now may say,
For now foul sluts in Dairies,
Do fare as well as they,
And though they sweep their hearths no less,
Than maids are wont to do,
Yet who of late for cleanliness,
Finds six pence in her shoe?"

The Faeryes Farewell. Richard Corbet c. 1625

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Faeries are active at this time of year...



So this period around midsummer is the best time to bind them to 
your service. 
One way to get a faerie:
First obtain a broad crystal of approx 3" length and breadth
and lay it in the blood of a white hen for three Wednesdays.
Then remove and wash it with Holy Water and fumigate it.
Take three young hazel rods, peel them and write the faerie's name, 
calling out the name three times as you write, bury the 
rods under a faerie hill. Call the faerie on the following Wednesday 
in the light of the moon. Keep your face turned to the East and when 
she answers your summons bind her in the crystal.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Swifts




We have been delighted every night this week by the aerial acrobatics 
of a pair of swifts. In the cool of the evening we have sat on our decking 
and have marveled at the way these birds swoop and glide so close to the 
buildings that they have made us duck on several occasions.






Historically these birds have been known as the devils birds or devils bitches 
because they are so mysterious , disappearing every winter only to reappear 
when the summer arrives. Now we know they migrate to Africa.

But what amazing birds!

They can fly up to around 10,000 feet and do everything on the wing, feed, 
drink, preen their feathers and even mate.






They also sleep on the wing and apparently shut down half their brain, while 
still correcting their flight so that they wake up in the same place where they fell asleep. 
Amazing!


In Moray the swift was believed to bring bad luck to river fishermen, while
 historically farmers in southern counties were encouraged to shoot at them as they 
were believed to be ‘regular limbs of Satan’. 
However one farmer in Hampshire shot seventeen of the birds out of bravado and 
subsequently had seventeen of his finest cows die!
Serves him right!

Since writing the above we now have two pairs entertaining us every night!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Is May an unlucky month?

According to folklore the month of May seems to be incredibly 
unlucky, for example Kittens born at this time grow into 
unlucky melancholy cats!

And to marry in May is notoriously unlucky, and to do it dressed 
in green is sheer madness!

"Married in May and kirked in green
Both bride and bridegroom won't long be seen.
O' marriages in May
Bairns die in decay"


And the May weather is considered to unreliable for shorn 
sheep, which may take cold and die.

"Shear your sheep in May
You'll shear them all away"

Thunder during this month presages a poor summer and a bad harvest.
"Thunder in May
Frightens the summer away"

According to a Devon legend the sharp frosts that occur at this time of year
 are the revenge of a beer brewer called Frankin who was put out of business by 
the rising popularity for drinking cider.
He pledged his soul to the Devil in return for frosts on each of the 'Frankin's days' 
around the May 21st hoping that these would kill the apple blossom and 
ultimately ruining the cider crop.