Ajuga reptans (Bugle)

Ajuga reptans () is a member of the Lamiaceae (Labiatae), subfamily Lamioideae (). It is a small perennial plant, 10 to 40 cm high and common in Europe, West Asia, North America, Algeria, and Tunisia (synonym: Bugula reptans; French name: bugle; German name: Giinsel). It is cultivated as an ornamental plant and several varieties have been described: var. viridissima (dark-colored leaves), var. atropurperea (deep blue-purple-colored leaves), var. variegata (leaf borders are white and aquamarine), var. alpina G.B., var. stolonifera, var. alba G.B. (white flowering). Most plants have blue flowers; plants with white, rose or lilac-colored flowers are seldom. Ajuga reptans grows on all kind of soils, especially under trees and in grasslands. It produces stolons, from which the floral shoots stand up. Normal leaves have a peduncle; leaves from flower shoots have no peduncle. Hybrids between Ajuga reptans and Ajuga genevensis and between A. reptans and A. pyramidalis are also known. Ajuga reptans has been used in treating lung diseases, for gargling, as an astringent, and has bile-stimulating activity. Together with mint leaves, it has been used as an anti-dispepticum (). In some regions, the young plants and sprouts Read more […]

Sweet Violet: Echoes, Changes And Additions

With the medieval herbals there are echoes, changes and additions. Macer writes of ‘vyolet’ as cold in the first degree, moist in the second; how it is good for sore, swollen or ‘blasted’ eyes, the root being stamped with myrrh and saffron – no distinction here between the purple and the yellow; for head wounds a plaster of the leaves stamped with honey and vinegar – is this a version of ‘when the head burns’?; and as a foot bath and a binding for the temples for poor sleep due to sickness, ‘and ye shall sleep well by the Grace of God’. The Old English Herbarium carries two uses: for fresh or old wounds (not just the head this time), swellings and calluses, the leaves are applied with lard. Then violet’s use for constipation is introduced; take the flowers mixed with honey and soaked in very good wine to relieve the constipation. Hildegard records a number of uses. She begins with use of the oil for the eyes, against fogginess of the eyes. She gives a recipe for this oil ‘take good oil and make it boil in a new pot, either in the sun or over a fire. When it boils, put violets in so that it becomes thickened. Put this in a glass vessel and save it. At night put this unguent around the eyelids and eyes. Although it Read more […]

Rue

Ruta graveolens The genus includes six species found in Europe. The Flora of Turkey gives two Ruta species, not including Ruta graveolens. Ruta graveolens L. is a native of southeastern Europe but is widely naturalized in southern Europe and cultivated worldwide. It is a shrubby perennial with a distinctive smell. Smooth erect stems (14-45 cm) bear alternate, stalked bluish-grey-green pinnate leaves with deeply lobed obovate leaflets. Shiny yellow flowers with four spoon-shaped petals occur in terminal umbel-like groups in June-August. A smooth green capsule containing many seeds develops in each flower while other flowers around are still coming into flower. Other species used Ruta angustifolia Pers. and Ruta chalepensis L. are found in southern Europe and are similar but with fringed cilia on the petal edge. Quality All Ruta species are associated with phytophotodermatitis (see below) and plants should not be touched with bare hands, especially on sunny days. Rue is included among the plants discussed in this book not because we ourselves use it, but because of its reputation as a great healing medicine in the Western herbal tradition and the suspicion that it is a neglected remedy. Its application extends Read more […]

COUGHS

LEEK juice was often used for whooping cough, or indeed any “old” cough. As Thomas Hill said, “leeke amendeth an old cough and the ulcers of the lungs”. It was used either on its own or mixed with something else, as in the Welsh custom of joining it with women’s milk for coughs, a recommendation that appears both in the Book of Iago ab Dewi (see Berdoe) and in the Physicians of Myddfai. ONION juice was considered essential to cure a cough or bronchitis centuries before its use in various patent medicines. Coughs, including whooping cough, have long been treated with TURNIPS, too. The usual country practice was and still is to cut a turnip into thin slices, put them in a dish, and put sugar on them. Leave them for a day or two, and give a teaspoonful of the juice for the cough. That is the Wiltshire remedy, but it is virtually the same across southern England. NETTLES, whose efficacy in chest complaints was widely believed in, was used for anything from coughs to tuberculosis. Martin, at the beginning of the 18th century, took note of its use in Lewis for coughs. In this case, they used the roots boiled in water and fermented with yeast. Earlier, Gerard had recommended it for “the troublesome cough that children have, Read more […]