Squill

(Scilla maritima) According to Arnaldo de Vilanova (early 14th century), squills hung up are a cure for the results of sorcery (Lea), and Dalyell also said that they precluded the accesss of sorcery. The 10th century Geopontica said that squills serve as a means of foretelling the harvest, for if the flower is long, like a stick, and does not soon fall, the crops will be good (Rose. 1933). The bulb is effective as a rat poison because the vermin like it and will readily eat it (Kingsbury....

Emblems

The LEEK is the national emblem of Wales. But the stories that explain its adoption are mainly from the English point of view, the most scurrilous being that the Welsh were long ago infested with orang-outans. They (the Welsh) asked the English to help them exterminate the apes, but the English killed several Welshmen by mistake. So, in order to distinguish them from the apes, they asked them to stick a leek in their hats (Howells). On the Welsh side, the explanations vary from the very...

Nutmeg

(Myristica fragrans) The fruits are rather like apricots in appearance, and inside the orange-yellow pulp is the large brown seed (the nutmeg), which is surrounded in turn by crimson arillus fingering. This is mace, which serves as a distinct spice, and contains quite different essential oils from those of the nutmeg seed. Nutmeg in large doses (more than one teaspoonful according to Farnsworth) is a hallucinogen. A few of the kernals will relieve weariness and bring euphoria eventually, for it...

Lime

I.e., COMMON LIME (Tilia x vulgaris) In German mythology, the Elf King lived in the Linden tree (Bayley. 1919), and dwarfs loved to haunt the tree. Heroes fell into enchanted sleep beneath them. In both Hungary and Germany, magical properties were ascribed to the tree. In some villages it was usual to plant one in front of a house to stop witches entering. It was sacred to Venus among the Greeks, due, it was said, to the heart-shaped leaves. This was transmitted to Christian symbolism the...

Wormwood

(Artemisia absinthium) Wormwood was cultivated quite extensively in the 18th century around London, for use as an aromatic tonic and vermifuge (Salisbury. 1964). The drink known as absinthe was actually taken as a tonic drink it became very popular by the end of the 19th century. Made from oils of wormwood, combined with anise, coriander and hyssop, absinthe is a narcotic alcoholic drink, banned now that it is realised that it causes permanent neural damage (Emboden. 1979). At one time,...

Doctrine Of Signatures

A system of medical recognition based on the idea that each plant displayed as its signature the ailment for which it formed a cure. Some of them are very simplistic a plant with a yellow latex would cure the yellow disease, jaundice, as with Gerard's prescription using CORN MARIGOLD for just such a purpose, or GORSE, as another example (Leyel. 1937), or the Irish use of buttercup juice (O Suilleabhain), or the sap of GREATER CELANDINE, or the yellow latex of MEXICAN POPPY (Argemone mexicana)....