White Deadnettle: Modern Use

Modern texts, if the herb appears in them at all, mainly limit themselves to white deadnettle, but vary quite widely in their range of applications. Chevallier cites Gerard on lifting the spirits but restricts his internal uses mainly to women’s complaints. It is, he says, astringent and demulcent, used as a uterine tonic, to stop intermenstrual bleeding and menorrhagia; traditionally for vaginal discharge; sometimes taken to relieve painful periods. It can be taken against diarrhoea and externally used for varicose veins and haemorrhages. Wood cites Hill, Weiss and a 19th century UK herbalist who records the familiar traditional uses of helping the spleen, whites, flooding, nose bleeds, spitting blood, haemorrhages, green wounds, bruises and burns. The source of some of his specific indications ― cough, bronchitis, pleurisy, inflamed prostate, anaemia -is unclear, given his text. Menzies-Trull covers a broad range of uses, although there is no specific discussion of them. Bartram too gives a broad sweep, designating the flowering tops haemostatic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, antispasmodic and menstrual regulator, with uses including heavy and painful menstrual bleeding, cystitis, Read more […]

Raspberry: In Preparation For Birth

Raspberry may not now be amongst the herbs most commonly used as an astringent, but it is very widely used as a ‘partus praeparator’, to prepare for birth. Although it is considered to have been used ‘since ancient times’, references to use by women are few in the older authors. The Old English Herbarium gives ripe blackberries for ‘a woman’s menstrual flow,’ ‘three times seven’, simmered down in water by two thirds, made daily and taken on an empty stomach for 3 days. Dodoens recommends the juice of brambles for heavy menstrual flow. Gerard refers to the use of the decoction in all bleeding, and Parkinson, followed by Culpeper, recommends the decoction of the leaves and dried blackberry stems for heavy menstrual flow. Miller says it is considered good in miscarriage. However, there is an association between astringency and strengthening of the tissues and this provides a linkage to the recommendation of raspberry as a ‘partus praeparator’. Quincy includes astringents under strengtheners; substances which maintain the solids in a condition ready to exert themselves into action when needed. Strengtheners include substances ‘which crisp and corrugate the fibres into a more compacted tone’ and substances which absorb and Read more […]