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(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)
Anemone (wood)

Least Viewed Herbs

(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)
Anemone (wood)


The Common Primrose (Primula veris) is the most widely known
of our English wild flowers, and appears in the Spring as its earliest

[448] It gets its name from the Latin primus, first, being named in
old books and M.S. Pryme rolles, and in the Grete Herball,
Primet, as shortened from Primprint.

In North Devon it is styled the Butter Rose, and in the Eastern
counties it is named (in common with the Cowslip) Paigle, Peagle,
Pegyll, and Palsy plant.

Medicinally also it possesses similar curative attributes, though in a
lesser degree, to those of the Cowslip. Both the root and the flowers
contain a volatile oil, and primulin which is identical with
mannite: whilst the acrid principle is saponin. Alfred Austin, Poet
Laureate, teaches to make healing salve with early Primroses.

Pliny speaks of the Primrose as almost a panacea: In aqua potam
omnibus morbis mederi tradunt. An infusion of the flowers has
been always thought excellent against nervous disorders of the
hysterical sort. It should be made with from five to ten parts of the
petals to one hundred of water. Primrose tea says Gerard, drunk
in the month of May, is famous for curing the phrensie.

The whole plant is sedative and antispasmodic, being of service by
its preparations to relieve sleeplessness, nervous headache, and
muscular rheumatism. The juice if sniffed up into the nostrils will
provoke violent sneezing, and will induce a free flow of water from
the lining membranes of the nostrils for the mitigation of passive
headaches: though this should not be tried by a person of full habit
with a determination of blood to the head. A teaspoonful of
powdered dry Primrose root will act as an emetic. The whole herb is
somewhat expectorant.

When the petals are collected and dried they become of a greenish
colour: whilst fresh they have a honey-like odour, and a sweetish

[449] Within the last few years a political significance and
popularity have attached themselves to the Primrose beyond every
other British wild flower. It arouses the patriotism of the large
Conservative party, and enlists the favour of many others who
thoughtlessly follow an attractive fashion, and who love the first
fruits of early Spring. Botanically the Primrose has two varieties of
floral structure: one pin-eyed, with a tall pistil, and short
stamens; the other thrum-eyed, showing a rosette of tall stamens,
whilst the short pistil must be looked for, like the great Panjandrum
himself, with a little round button at the top, half way down the
tube. Darwin was the first to explain that this diversity of structure
ensures cross fertilisation by bees and allied insects. Through
advanced cultivation at the hands of the horticulturist the Primula
acquires in some instances a noxious character. For instance, the
Primula biconica, which is often grown in dwelling rooms as a
window plant, and commonly sold as such, will provoke an
crysipelatous vesicular eruption of a very troublesome and inflamed
character on the hands and face of some persons who come in
contact with the plant by manipulating it to take cuttings, or in other
ways. A knowledge of this fact should suggest the probable
usefulness of the said Primula, when made into a tincture, and given
in small diluted doses thereof, to act curatively for such an eruption
if attacking the sufferer from idiopathic causes.

The Latins named the Ligustrum (our Privet) Primrose. Coles says
concerning it (17th century): This herbe is called Primrose; it is
good to 'Potage.' They also applied the epithet, Prime rose to a

The Evening Primrose (OEnothera biennis, or odorata) is found
in this country on sand banks in the West of England and Cornwall;
but it is then most probably a [450] garden scape, and an alien, its
native habitat being in Canada and the United States of America.
We cultivate it freely in our parterres as a brilliant, yellow, showy
flower. It belongs to the natural order, Onagraceoe, so called
because the food of wild asses; and was the vini venator of
Theophrastus, 350 B.C. The name signifies having the odour of
wine, oinos and theera. Pliny said: It is an herbe good as wine
to make the heart merrie. It groweth with leaves resembling those of
the almond tree, and beareth flowers like unto roses. Of such virtue
is this herbe that if it be given to drink to the wildest beast that
is, it will tame the same and make it gentle. The best variety of this
plant is the OEnothera macrocarpa.

The bark of the Evening Primrose is mucilaginous, and a decoction
made therefrom is of service for bathing the skin eruptions of
infants and young children. To answer such purpose a decoction
should be made from the small twigs, and from the bark of the
larger branches, retaining the leaves. This has been found further of
use for diarrhoea associated with an irritable stomach, and asthma.
The infusion, or the liquid extract, acts as a mild but efficient
sedative in nervous indigestion, from twenty to thirty drops of the
latter being given for a dose. The ascertained chemical principle of
the plant, OEnotherin, is a compound body. Its flowers open in
the evening, and last only until the next noon; therefore this plant is
called the Evening Primrose, or Evening Star.

Another of the Primrose tribe, the Cyclamen, or Sow-bread (Panis
porcinus), is often grown in our gardens, and for ornamenting our
rooms as a pot plant. Its name means (Greek) a circle, and refers
to the reflected corolla, or to the spiral fruit-stalks; and again,
[451] from the tuber being the food of wild swine. Gerard said it was
reported in his day to grow wild on the Welsh mountains, and on the
Lincolnshire hills: but he failed to find it. Nevertheless it is now
almost naturalised in some parts of the South, and East of England.
As the petals die, the stalks roll up and carry the capsular berries
down to the surface of the ground. A medicinal tincture is made
(H.) from the fresh root when flowering. The ivy-leaved variety is
found in England, with nodding fresh-coloured blossoms, and a
brown intensely acrid root. Besides starch, gum, and pectin, it yields
chemically, cyclamin, or arthanatin, with an action like
saponin, whilst the juice is poisonous to fish. When applied
externally as a liniment over the bowels, it causes them to be
purged. Gerard quaintly and suggestively declares It is not good
for women with childe to touch, or take this herbe, or to come neere
unto it, or to stride over the same where it groweth: for the natural
attractive vertue therein contained is such that, without controversie,
they that attempt it in manner above said, shall be delivered before
their time; which danger and inconvenience to avoid, I have
fastened sticks in the ground about the place in my garden where it
groweth, and some other sticks also crosswaies over them, lest any
woman should by lamentable experiment find my words to be true
by stepping over the same. Again, the root hanged about women in
their extreme travail with childe, causeth them to be delivered
incontinent: and the leaves put into the place hath the like effect.
Inferentially a tincture of the plant should be good for falling and
displacement of the womb. Furthermore, Sowbread, being beaten,
and made into little flat cakes, is reputed to be a good amorous
medicine, to make one in love.

[452] In France, another Primula, the wild Pimpernel, occurs as a
noxious herb, and is therefore named Mouron.

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