Sunday, 14 August 2011

Arum

Earlier in the year, I mentioned the large numbers of Lords-and-Ladies (Arum maculatum) plants which seemed to have sprung up around the area.  well, now that the flowers of these woodland beauties have long-since gone, the spikes of bright red berries are showing through in the gloom of the woodland floor.
The berries are extremely poisonous, but that didn't stop the likes of Culpepper using it in various ways as herbal remedies.  He referred to it as Wake-Robin and said that the leaves could be used .. 'either fresh and green, or dried, being eaten and taken, is a most present and sure remedy for poison and the plague'.  He went on... 'A spoonful taken at a time healeth the itch; and an ounce or more, taken at a time for some days together, doth help the rupture; the leaves, either green or dry, or the juice of them, doth cleanse all manner of rotten and filthy ulcers, in what part of the body soever, and healeth the stinking sores in the nose, called polypus'. 
 As for the berries, he says... 'the juice of the berries boiled in oil of roses, or beaten into powder mixed with the oil, and dropped into the ears, easeth pains in them: the berries or the roots, beaten with hot ox-dung and applied, ease the pains of the gout: the leaves and roots boiled in wine with a little oil, and applied to the piles, or the falling down of the fundament, ease them, and so doth sitting over the hot fumes thereof'.  I think if I had any problem with my ears - or for that matter - with my 'fundament falling down', I should think twice before settling for these treatments!
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