THE LIST

DANDELION

PLANETARY RULER: SUN AND JUPITER (PREDOMINENLY SUN)

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL AROUND THE VERNAL (SPRING) EQUINOX

TALISMAN USES: SOLAR

  1. Culpeper:

Vulgarly called piss-a-beds.

Description. It is well known to have many long and deep gashed leaves, lying on the ground round about the head of the roots; the ends of each gash or jag on both sides, looking downwards towards the roots; the middle rib being white, which being broken yieldeth abundance of bitter milk, but the root much more; from among the leaves, which always abide green, arise many slender, weak, naked foot-stalks, every one of them bearing at the top one large yellow flower, consisting of many rows of yellow leaves, broad at the points, and nicked in with deep spots of yellow in the middle, which growing ripe, the green husk wherein the flowers stood turns itself down to the stalk, and the head of down becomes as round as a ball: with long reddish seed underneath, bearing a part of the down on the head of every one, which together is blown away with the wind, or may be at once blown away with one’s mouth. The root growing downwards exceeding deep, which being broken off within the ground, will yet shoot forth again, and will hardly be destroyed where it hath once taken deep root in the ground.

Place. It groweth frequently in all meadows and pasture-grounds.

Time. It flowereth in one place or other almost all the year long.

Government and virtues. It is under the dominion of Jupiter. It is of an opening and cleansing quality, and therefore very effectual for the obstructions of the liver, gall and spleen, and the diseases that arise from them, as the jaundice, and hypochondriac; it openeth the passages of the urine both in young and old; powerfully cleanseth imposthumes and inward ulcers in the urinary passages, and by its drying and temperate quality doth afterwards heal them; for which purpose the decoction of the roots or leaves in white whine, or the leaves chopped as pot-herbs, with a few alisanders, and boiled in their broth, are very effectual. And whoever is drawing towards a consumption, or an evil disposition of the whole body, called cachexia, by the use hereof for some time together, shall find a wonderful help. It helpeth also to procure rest and sleep to bodies distempered by the heat of ague-fits, or otherwise. The distilled water is effectual to drink in pestilential fevers, and to wash the sores.

You see here what virtues this common herb hath, and that is the reason the French and Dutch so often eat them in the spring: and now if you look a little farther, you may see plainly without a pair of spectacles, that foreign physicians are not so selfish as ours are, but more communicative of the virtues of plants to people.

CALENDULA OR MARIGOLD

PLANETARY RULER: SUN AND JUPITER (PREDOMINENLY JUPITER)

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL AROUND THE VERNAL (SPRING) EQUINOX AND SUMMER SOLSTICE

TALISMAN USES: JUPITER

  1. Culpeper:

These being so plentiful in every garden, and so well known that they need no description.

Time. They flower all the Summer long, and sometimes in Winter, if it be mild.

Government and virtues. It is an herb of the Sun, and under Leo. They strengthen the heart exceedingly, and are very expulsive, and a little less effectual in the smallpox and measles than saffron. The juice of Marigold leaves mixed with vinegar, and any hot swelling bathed with it, instantly gives ease, and assuages it. The flowers, either green or dried, are much used in possets, broths, and drink, as a comforter of the heart and spirits, and to expel any malignant or pestilential quality which might annoy them. A plaister made with the dry flowers in powder, hog’s-grease, turpentine, and rosin, applied to the breast, strengthens and succours the heart infinitely in fevers, whether pestilential or not.

CALENDINE OR GREAT CALENDINE

PLANETARY AND STELLAR RULER: SUN AND REGULUS ROYAL STAR

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL AROUND THE VERNAL (SPRING) EQUINOX

TALISMAN USES: REGULUS

  1. Culpepper:

Description. This has divers tender, round, whitish green stalks, with greater joints than ordinary in other herbs as it were knees, very brittle and easy to break, from whence grow branches with large tender broad leaves, divided into many parts, each of them cut in on the edges, set at the joint on both sides of the branches, of a dark blueish green colour, on the upper side like columbines, and of a more pale blueish-green underneath, full of yellow sap; when any part is broken, of a bitter taste, and strong scent. At the flowers are four leaves a-piece; after which come small long pods, with blackish seed therein. The root is somewhat great at the head, shooting forth divers long roots and small strings, reddish on the outside, and yellow within, full of yellow sap.

Place. They grow in many places by old walls, hedges and waysides, in untilled places; and being once planted in a garden, especially some shady places, it will remain there.

Time. They flower all the summer.

Government and virtues. This is an herb of the Sun, and under the celestial Lion: it is one of the best cures for the eyes: for the eyes are subject to the luminaries; let it then be gathered when the Sun is in Leo, and the Moon in Aries, applying to this time; let Leo arise, then may you make into an oil or ointment, which you please, to anoint your sore eyes with: I can prove it doth both by my own experience, and the experience of those to whom I have taught it, that most desperate sore eyes have been cured by this only medicine; and then I pray, is not this far better than endangering the eyes by the art of the needle? For if this does not absolutely take away the film, it will facilitate the work, that it may be done without danger. The herb or root boiled in white wine, and drank, a few anniseeds being boiled therewith, opens obstructions of the liver and gall, helps the yellow jaundice; and often using it, helps the dropsy and the itch, and those that have old sores in their legs, or other parts of the body. The juice thereof taken fasting, is held to be of singular good use against the pestilence: The distilled water, with a little sugar and a little good treacle mixed therewith (the party upon the taking being laid down to sweat a little) has the same effect. The juice dropped into the eyes, cleanses them from films and cloudiness which darken the sight; but it is best to allay the sharpness of the juice with a little breast-milk. It is good in all old, filthy, corroding, creeping ulcers wheresoever, to stay their malignity of fretting and running, and to cause them to heal more speedily: the juice often applied to tetters, ring-worms, or other such like spreading cankers, will quickly heal them; and rubbed often upon warts, will take them away, the herb with the roots bruised, and bathed with oil of camomile, and applied to the navel, takes away the griping pains in the belly and bowels, and all the pains of the mother; and applied to women’s breasts, stays the overmuch flowing of the courses. The juice or decoction of the herb gargled between the teeth that ach, eases the pain; and the powder of the dried root laid upon any aching, hollow, or loose tooth, will cause it to fall out. The juice, mixed with some powder of brimstone, is not only good against the itch, but takes away all discolourings of the skin whatsoever; and if it chance that in a tender body it causes any itchings or inflammations, by bathing the place with a little vinegar, it is helped.

Another ill-favoured trick have physicians got to use to the eye, and that is worse than the needle; which is to take away the films by corroding or gnawing medicine. This I absolutely protest against.

  1. Because the tunicles of the eyes are very thin, and therefore soon eat asunder:
  2. The callus or film that they would eat away, is seldom of an equal thickness in every place, and then the tunicle may be eaten asunder in one place before the film be consumed in another; and so be a readier way to extinguish the sight, than to restore it.

It is called chelidonium, from the Greek word chelidon, which signifies a swallow, because they say, that if you put out the eyes of young swallows when they are in the nest, the old ones will recover their eyes again with this herb. This I am confident, for I have tried it, that if we mar the very apple of their eyes with a needle, she will recover them again: but whether with this herb, I know not.

Also I have read (and it seems to be somewhat probable) that the herb being gathered as I have shewed before, and the elements being drawn apart from it by the art of the alchymist, and after they are drawn apart rectified, the earthy quality, still in rectifying them, added to ther terra damnata (as alchymists call it) or terra sacratissima (as some philosophers call it) the elements so rectified are sufficient for the cure of all diseases, the humours offending being known, and the contrary element given: it is an experiment worth the trying, and can do no harm.

POTENTILLA ERECTA OR TORMENTIL

PLANETARY RULER: SUN

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL AROUND THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

TALISMAN USES: SUN

One legend tells how once, tired of the mockery of her better herbs-sisters, the tormentil complained to the good fairy: “Everybody laughs at me that I’m neither brilliant nor my colors are beautiful, and that my leaves are only four, not five or more. I look inconspicuous, no one pays attention to me. ” “Do not be sad,”said the fairy. You may not shine with great beauty, but people will look for you because of your healing qualities and magical power!” So it happened. Besides having many healing properties, the tormentil is said that if you wear it in the form of a talisman, the most wonderful things will come to you in the long run: love, money and wisdom. And you will keep your health and strength to deep old age.

  1. Culpepper:

Description. The root of Tormentil is pretty thick and large, for the bigness of the plant, frequently crooked and knotty, of a reddish colour in the inside, with many small fibres, the stalks are long and very slender, and hardly able to support themselves. It has frequently seven, though sometimes only five, long, narrow leaves growing at a joint, less than cinquefoil, and serrated only at the ends. The flowers are small and yellow, of four leaves, with a few stamina in the middle: the seed is small, growing naked on the calyx.

Place. It grows in woods, and on commons.

Time. It flowers in June and July. The roots are used.

Government and virtues. This is a gallant herb of the Sun. Tormentil is most excellent to stay all kind of fluxes of blood or humours in man or woman, whether at nose, mouth, or belly. The juice of the herb of the root, or the decoction thereof, taken with some Venice treacle, and the person laid to sweat, expels any venom or poison, or the plague, fever, or other contagious diseases, as pox, measles, &c. for it is an ingredient in all antidotes or counter poisons. Andreas Urlesius is of opinion that the decoction of this root is no less effectual to cure the French pox than Guiacum or China; and it is not unlikely, because it so mightily resists putrefaction. The root taken inwardly is most effectual to help any flux of the belly, stomach, spleen, or blood; and the juice wonderfully opens obstructions of the liver and lungs, and thereby helps the yellow jaundice. The powder or decoction drank, or to sit thereon as a bath, is an assured remedy against abortion, if it proceed from the over flexibility or weakness of the inward retentive faculty; as also a plaster made therewith, and vinegar applied to the reins of the back, doth much help not only this, but also those that cannot hold their water, the powder being taken in the juice of plaintain, and is also commended against the worms in children. It is very powerful in ruptures and burstings, as also for bruises and falls, to be used as well outwardly as inwardly. The root hereof made up with pellitory of Spain and allum, and put into a hollow tooth, not only assuages the pain, but stays the flux of humours which causes it. Tormentil is no less effectual and powerful a remedy against outward wounds, sores and hurts, than for inward, and is therefore a special ingredient to be used in wound drinks, lotions and injections, for foul corrupt rotten sores and ulcers of the mouth, secrets, or other parts of the body. The juice or powder of the root put in ointments, plaisters, and such things that are to be applied to wounds or sores, is very effectual, as the juice of the leaves and the root bruised and applied to the throat or jaws, heals the king’s evil, and eases the pain of the sciatica; the same used with a little vinegar, is a special remedy against the running sores of the head or other parts; scabs also, and the itch or any such eruptions in the skin, proceeding of salt and sharp humours. The same is also effectual for the piles or hæmorrhoids, if they be washed or bathed therewith, or with the distilled water of the herb and roots. It is found also helpful to dry up any sharp rheum that distills from the head into the eyes, causing redness, pain, waterings, itching, or the like, if a little prepared tutia, or white amber, be used with the distilled water thereof. And here is enough, only remember the Sun challenges this herb.

CICHORIUM INTYBUS L. (ASTERACEAE) COMPOSITAE; SUCCERY

PLANETARY RULER: MOON, MERCURY

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL AROUND THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

TALISMAN USES: SPICA

  1. Culpepper:

Description. The main difference between this and the garden Succory is its growing wild, and not rising on the ground, very much cut in or torn on the edges, on both sides, even to the middle rib, ending in a point; sometimes it hath a rib down to the middle of the leaves, from among which rises up a hard, round, woody stalk, spreading into many branches, set with smaller and less divided leaves on them up to the tops, where stand the flowers, which are like the garden kind, and the seed is also (only take notice that the flowers of the garden kind are gone in on a sunny day, they being so cold, that they are not able to endure the beams of the sun, and therefore more delight in the shade) the root is white, but more hard and woody than the garden kind. The whole plant is exceedingly bitter.

Place. This grows in many places of England in waste untilled and barren fields. The other only in gardens.

Government and virtues. It is an herb of Jupiter. Garden Succory, as it is more dry and less cold than endive, so it opens more. An handful of the leaves, or roots boiled in wine or water, and a draught thereof drank fasting, drives forth choleric and phlegmatic humours, opens obstructions of the liver, gall and spleen; helps the yellow jaundice, the heat of the reins, and of the urine; the dropsy also; and those that have an evil disposition in their bodies, by reason of long sickness, evil diet, &c. which the Greeks call Cachexia. A decoction thereof made with wine, and drank, is very effectual against long lingering agues; and a dram of the seed in powder, drank in wine, before the fit of the ague, helps to drive it away. The distilled water of the herb and flowers (if you can take them in time) hath the like properties, and is especially good for hot stomachs, and in agues, either pestilential or of long continuance; for swoonings and passions of the heart, for the heat and headache in children, and for the blood and liver. The said water, or the juice, or the bruised leaves applied outwardly, allay swellings, inflammations, St. Anthony’s fire, pushes, wheals, and pimples, especially used with a little vinegar; as also to wash pestiferous sores. The said water is very effectual for sore eyes that are inflamed with redness, for nurses’ breasts that are pained by the abundance of milk. The Wild Succory, as it is more bitter, so it is more strengthening to the stomach and liver.

TANACETUM VULGARE, TANSY

PLANETARY RULER: VENUS

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL AROUND THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

TALISMAN USES: VENUS

  1. Culpepper:

COMMON TANSY

Description. The leaves of this plant are of a bright and pleasant green, and of a very fragrant smell, not coarse, as that of the garden Tansy, but a pleasant aromatic. The stalk grows upright, branchy, of a light green, and a yard high; the flowers are large, and of a bright yellow. The leaves are winged, and the small ones are deeply cut in; and the root is of a dark brown colour.

Place. This sort is most frequently found wild on high grounds, and dry pastures. It is a perennial, and well-looking plant.

Time. It blows in July and August.

Government and virtues. This herb is undoubtedly under the government of Venus. It is an agreeable bitter, a carminative, and a destroyer of worms, for which case a powder of the flowers should be given from six to twelve grains at night and mornings. Worms are often the cause of putrid fevers and epileptic fits, and sometimes bring on a consumption. The medicines usually administered against these are often ineffectual, and many of them very mischievous. Hellebore has brought on convulsions; and ever one knows the danger of mercurials. Besides, it is from these deleterious compounds that half the defective teeth in young people are owing. The flowers are the part to be used, and they should be given in powder, but there requires care in the collecting of them, to obtain all their virtue. Clip off a quantity of Tansy flowers, before they are over blown, close to the stalk. This must be done in the middle of a dry day; spread them on the bottom of a hair sieve turned upside down; shake them often about, and let the wind pass through them, but keep them from the sun, and thus you may have them always. The leaves only are used, and are accounted restringent and vulnerary, good to stop all kind of fluxesand preternatural evacuations, to dissolve coagulated blood, to help those who are bruised by falls: outwardly it is used as a cosmetic, to take off freckles, sun-burn, and morphew; as also in restringent gargarisms. The powder of the herb taken in some of the distilled water, helps the whites in women, but more especially if a little coral and ivory in powder be put to it. It is also commended to help children that are bursten, and have a rupture, being boiled in water and salt. Being boiled in water and drank, it eases the griping pains of the bowels, and is good for the sciatica and joint-achs. The same boiled in vinegar, with honey and alum, and gargled in the mouth, eases the pains of the tooth-ach, fastens loose teeth, helps the gums that are sore, settles the palate of the mouth in its place, when it is fallen down. It cleanses and heals ulcers in the mouth or secret parts, and is very good for inward wounds, and to close the tips of green wounds, and to heal old, moist, and corrupt running sores in the legs or elsewhere. Being bruised and applied to the soles of the feet and handwrists, it wonderfully colls the hot fits of agues, be they never so violent. The distilled water cleanses the skin of all discolourings therein, as morphew, sun-burnings, &c. as also pimples, freckles, and the like; and dropped into the eyes, or cloths wet therein and applied, takes away the heat and inflammations in them.

ACHILLEA MILLEFOLIUM, YARROW

PLANETARY RULER: VENUS, MOON

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL AROUND THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

TALISMAN USES: VENUS, MOON (MAINLY MOON)

  1. Culpepper:

COMMON YARROW

Name. Called also Nose-bleed, Milfoil, and thousand-leaf.

Description. It has many leaves cut into a multitude of fine small parts of a deep green colour, and tough substance; the stalk is upright, of a dull greyish green, and the flowers are usually white, but not all of a whiteness and grow in knots. Some of these, among others, will grow of a delicate crimson, which are those that produce seed, and from this seed will rise red flowered plants.

Place. This is an upright, and not unhandsome plant, common in our pasture grounds, and, like many others, of much more use than is generally known. It is perennial, and grows to two feet high.

Time. They blow from July to the latter end of August.

Government and virtues. It is under the influence of Venus. As a medicine it is drying and binding. A decoction of it boiled with white wine, is good to stop the running of the reins in men, and whites in women; restrains violent bleedings, and is excellent for the piles. A strong tea in this case should be made of the leaves, and drank plentifully; and equal parts of it, and of toad flax, should be made into a poultice with pomatum, and applied outwardly. This induces sleep, eases the pain, and lessens the bleeding. An ointment of the leaves cures woulnds, and is good for inflammations, ulcers, fistulas, and all such runnings as abound with moisture.

Some writers of credit take the pains to inform us what plants cattle will not eat; they judge of this by looking at what are left in grounds, where they feed; and all such they direct to be rooted up. We have in this an instance, that more care is needful than men commonly take to shew what is and what is not valuable. Yarrow is a plant left standing always in fed pasture; for cattle will not eat its dry stalk, nor have the leaves any great virtue after this rises; but Yarrow still is useful. It should be sown on barren grass ground, and while the leaves are tender, the cows and horses will eat it heartily. Nothing is more welcome for them, and it doubles the natural produce. On cutting down the stalks as they rise, it keeps the leaf fresh and they will eat it as it grows.

TRIFOLIUM PRATENSE

PLANETARY RULER: MERCURY

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL AROUND SPRING EQUINOX AND THE SUMMER SOLSTICE

TALISMAN USES: MERCURY, SPICA

  1. Culpepper:

TREFOIL

Name. Called also Honey-Suckle.

Description. Common white Trefoil grows with a long slender root, hung with many fibres. The first leaves are supported on long slender foot-stalks, of a pale green; three leaves grow on each foot-stalk; and they are of a deep green, broad, short, and marked with a white spot, usually in the form of a crescent, in the middle. The stalks are numerous, short, and procumbent; they divide into branches as they run upon the ground, and send out, in an irregular manner, a great many leaves of the same form and structure with the first, and the stalks for the flowers among them; these are slender, like those of the leaves, and of the same pale green. The flowers are small and white; and they stand a great many together, in a round thick head, each cell containing four small seeds.

Place. They grow in almost every place in this country.

Time. They flower in June.

Government and virtues. Mercury has dominion over the common sort. Dodoneus saith, The leaves and flowers are good to ease the griping pains of the gout, the herb being boiled and used in a clyster. If the herb be made into a poultice, and applied to inflammations, it will ease them. The juice dropped in the eyes, is a familiar medicine, with many country people, to take away the pin and web (as they call it) in the eyes; it also allays the heat and blood shooting of them. Country people do also in many places drink the juice thereof against the biting of an adder; and having boiled the herb in water, they first wash the place with the decoction, and then lay some of the herb also to the hurt place. The herb also boiled in swine’s grease, and so made into an ointment, is good to apply to the biting of any venomous creature. The herb also bruised and heated between tiles, and applied hot to the share, causes them to make water who had it stopt before. It is held likewise to be good for wounds, and to take away seed. The decoction of the herb and flowers, with the seed and root, taken for some time, helps women that are troubled with the whites. The seed and flowers boiled in water, and afterwards made into a poultice with some oil, and applied, helps hard swellings and imposthumes.

VINCA MINOR (PERIWINKLE)

PLANETARY RULER: MERCURY AND VENUS, SPICA

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL AROUND SPRING EQUINOX

TALISMAN USES: MERCURY, VENUS, AND MAINLY SPICA

The healing properties of vinca were described in the 2nd century BC by the Lucius Apulius Roman Herbarium. It was recorded that the plant was used against “diabolical disease and demonic possessions” as well as against snakes and dragon bites.

It was believed that the green leaf of the winter, in various combinations, was used to cure many nervous diseases and high blood pressure.

  1. Culpepper:

PERIWINKLE

Description. The common sort hereof hath many branches trailing or running upon the ground, shooting out small fibres at the joints as it runs, taking thereby hold in the ground, and rooteth in divers places. At the joints of these branches stand two small, dark-green, shining leaves, somewhat like bay leaves, but smaller, and with them come forth also the flowers (one at a joint) standing upon a tender foot-stalk, being somewhat long and hollow, parted at the brims, sometimes into four, sometimes into five leaves. The most ordinary sorts are of a pale blue colour; some are pure white, some of a dark reddish purple colour. The root is little bigger than rush, bushing in the ground, and creeping with his branches far about, whereby it quickly possesses a great compass, and is therefore most usually planted under hedges where it may have room to run.

Place. Those with the pale blue, and those with the white flowers, grow in woods and orchards, by the hedge-sides, in divers places of this land; but those with the purple flowers, in gardens only.

Time. They flower in March and April.

Government and virtues. Venus owns this herb, and saith, That the leaves eaten by man and wife together, cause love between them. The Periwinkle is a great binder, stays bleeding both at mouth and nose, if some of the leaves be chewed. The French used it to stay women’s courses. Dioscorides, Galen, and ægineta, commend it against the lasks and fluxes of the belly to be drank in wine.

HELLEBORE

PLANETARY RULER: SATURN, ALGOL

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL BEFORE SPRING EQUINOX

TALISMAN USES: ALGOL

  1. Culpepper:

BLACK HELLEBORE

Names. It is also called Setter-wort, Setter-grass, Bear’s-foot, Christmas-herb, and Christmas-flowers.

Description. It hath sundry fair green leaves rising from the root, each of them standing about an handful high from the earth; each leaf is divided into seven, eight, or nine parts, dented from the middle of the leaf to the point on both sides, abiding green all the Winter; about Christmas-time, if the weather be any thing temperate, the flowers appear upon foot stalks, also consisting of five large, round, white leaves a- piece, which sometimes are purple towards the edges, with many pale yellow thumbs in the middle; the seeds are divided into several cells, like those of Columbines, save only that they are greater; the seeds are in colour black, and in form long and round. The root consists of numberless blackish strings all united into one head. There is another Black Hellebore, which grows up and down in the woods very like this, but only that the leaves are smaller and narrower, and perish in the Winter, which this doth not.

Place. The first is maintained in gardens. The second is commonly found in the woods in Northamptonshire.

Time. The first flowers in December or January; the second in February or March.

Government and virtues. It is an herb of Saturn, and therefore no marvel if it has some sullen conditions with it, and would be far safer, being purified by the art of the alchymist than given raw. If any have taken any harm by taking it, the common cure is to take goat’s milk. If you cannot get goat’s milk, you must make a shift with such as you can get. The roots are very effectual against all melancholy diseases, especially such as are of long standing, as quartan agues and madness; it helps the falling sickness, the leprosy, both the yellow and black jaundice, the gout, sciatica, and convulsions; and this was found out by experience, that the root of that which grows wild in our country, works not so churlishly as those do which are brought from beyond sea, as being maintained by a more temperate air. The root used as a pessary, provokes the terms exceedingly; also being beaten into powder, and strewed upon foul ulcers, it consumes the dead flesh, and instantly heals them; nay, it will help gangrenes in the beginning. Twenty grains taken inwardly is a sufficient does for one time, and let that be corrected with half so much cinnamon; country people used to rowel their cattle with it. If a beast be troubled with a cough, or have taken any poison, they bore a hole through the ear, and put a piece of the root in it, this will help him in 24 hours time. Many other uses farriers put it to which I shall forbear.

WORMWOOD, Artemisia absinthium

PLANETARY RULER: PARTIALLY SPICA, PARTIALLY REGULUS, MERCURY, MARS

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL BEFORE SPRING EQUINOX

TALISMAN USES: SPICA, REGULUS

N. Culpepper:

Description. This very useful plant grows to about a yard high; the stalk is of a pale green, tough, upright, and divided wildly into many branches; the leaves are of a pale green on both sides, divided into a multitude of parts, and they feel soft to the touch, but make the fingers bitter. The flowers are very numerous, small, chaffy, hang down, and of a pale olive colour at first; but, after standing a while, the grow brownish.

Place. This is a perennial weed, which nature scatters every where. Farm yards and dry waste grounds are full of it.

Time. They blow in June and July.

Government and virtues. This is a martial herb, and is governed by Mars. This is the strongest; the Sea Wormwood is the second in bitterness, and the Roman joins a great deal of aromatic flavour, with but a little bitterness: therefore, to acquire and enjoy the full powers they possess, they must be separately known and well distinguished, for each kind has its particularly virtues. The two first grow wild in our country; the third is frequent in the physic garden, and may always be had, but, as not a native, is not particularly considered here. The common Wormwood here described, is very excellent in weakness of the stomach; and, far beyond the common knowledge, is powerful against the gout and gravel. The leaves are commonly used, but the flowery tops are the right part.

LEMON BALM, Melissa officinalis

PLANETARY RULER: MOON

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL AROUND SPRING EQUINOX AND SUMMER SOLSTICE

TALISMAN USES: MOON

N. Culpepper:

BALM

This herb is so well known to be an inhabitant almost in every garden, that I shall not need to write any description thereof, although the virtues thereof, which are many, may not be omitted.

Government and virtues. It is an herb of Jupiter, and under Cancer, and strengthens nature much in all its actions. Let a syrup made of the juice of it and sugar (as you shall be taught at the latter end of this book) be kept in every gentlewoman’s house, to relieve the weak stomachs and sick bodies of their poor sickly neighbours: as also the herb kept dry in the house, that so with other convenient simples, you may make it into an electuary with honey, according as the disease is, as you shall be taught at the latter end of my book. – The Arabian physicians have extolled the virtues thereof to the skies; although the Greeks thought it not worth mentioning. Seraphio saith, it causes the mind and heart to become merry, and reviveth the heart, faintings and swoonings, especially of such who are overtaken in sleep, and driveth away all troublesome cares and thoughts out of the mind, arising from melancholy or black choler: which Avichen also confirmeth. It is very good to help digestion, and open obstructions of the brain, and hath so much purging quality in it (saith Avichen) as to expel those melancholy vapours from the spirits and blood which are in the heart and arteries, although it cannot do so in other parts of the body. – Dioscorides saith, That the leaves steeped in wine, and the wine drank, and the leaves externally applied, is a remedy against the stings of a scorpion, and the bitings of mad dogs; and commendeth the decoction thereof for women to bathe or sit in to procure their courses; it is good to wash aching teeth therewith, and profitable for those that have the bloody flux. The leaves also, with a little nitre taken in drink, are good against the surfeit of mushrooms, helps the griping pains of the belly; and being made into an electuary, it is good for them that cannot fetch their breath: Used with salt, it takes away wens, kernels, or hard swelling in the flesh or throat: it cleanseth foul sores, and eases pains of the gout. It is good for the liver and spleen. A tansy, or caudle made with eggs, and juice thereof while it is young, putting to it some sugar and rosewater, is good for a woman in child-bed, when the after-birth is not properly voided; and for their faintings upon or in their sore travail. The herb bruised and boiled in a little wine and oil, and laid warm on a boil, will ripen it, and break it.

MILK THISTLE

PLANETARY RULER: MARS, ALDEBARAN

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL AROUND SUMMER SOLSTICE AND AUTUMN EQUINOX

TALISMAN USES: ALDEBARAN

One of the most common uses of milk thistle is to treat liver problems, help inflammatory conditions of the skin, helps in cancer prevention and spreading, supports bone health, improves cognition, and boosts the immune system. The plant has not been studied enough. In folk medicine it is used for the treatment of malignant cancers and purulent wounds. Doctors in some countries use it as a prophylactic agent after surgery for malignant cancers, as well as skin cancer, ulcers, wolf (erythema lupus) and scrofules. Experimental studies have found that preparations from it are somewhat toxic, and do not cause side effects in prolonged use. In small doses it excites, and in large doses it oppresses the nervous system. Preparations have a cardiotonic effect, increase the strength of cardiac arrest, constriction of the peripheral vessels, increase blood pressure, increase diuresis, have bloodshed and some bactericidal actions.

PRIMULA OR PRIMROSE

PLANETARY RULER: VENUS

TIME TO GATHER: MOST POWERFUL AROUND THE VERNAL (SPRING) EQUINOX

TALISMAN USES: VENUS

  1. Culpepper:

Description. This has a perennial root consisting of a short thick head, furnished with a great number of thick and long fibres. The leaves immediately arising from the root are numerous, and altogether make a large round tuft; they are large, oblong, without leaf stalks, wrinkled on the surface, entire at the edges, and of a deep green colour. The flowers are supported singly on long slender hairy fruit-stalks, which rise immediately from the root; they are large, and of a white or pale yellow colour. The seeds are small, numerous, and of a roundish figure.

Place. It is common in woods, hedges, and thickets, particularly in clayey soil.

Time. The flowers appear in March and April.

Government and virtues. It is under the dominion of Venus. The roots are used as a sternutatory for the head; the best way of using them is to bruise them, and express the juice, which being snuffed up the nose, occasions violent sneezing, and brings away a great deal of water, but without being productive of any bad effect, which is too often the case with remedies of this class. Dried and reduced to powder, it will produce the same effect, but not so powerfully. In this state it is said to be good for nervous disorders, but the dose must be small.

A drachm and a half of the dried roots, which are taken up in autumn, acts as a strong, but safe emetic.

 

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