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Least Viewed Herbs

Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
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Poppy
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Asparagus
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House Leek (crassulaceoe)



Rosemary








The Rosemary is a well-known, sweet-scented shrub, cultivated in
our gardens, and herb beds on account of its fragrancy and its
aromatic virtues. It came originally from the South of Europe and
the Levant, and was introduced into England before the Norman
Conquest. The shrub (Rosmarinus) takes its compound name
from ros, dew, marinus, belonging to the sea; in allusion to the
grey, glistening appearance of the plant, and its natural locality, as
well as its odour, like that of the sea. It is ever green, and bears
small, pale, blue flowers.

Rosemary was thought by the ancients to refresh the memory and
comfort the brain. Being a cordial herb it was often mentioned in the
lays, or amorous ballads, of the Troubadours; and was called
Coronaria [471] because women were accustomed to make
crowns and garlands thereof.

What flower is that which regal honour craves?
Adjoin the Virgin: and 'tis strewn o'er graves.

In some parts of England Rosemary is put with the corpse into the
coffin, and sprigs of it are distributed among the mourners at a
funeral, to be thrown into the grave, Gay alludes to this practice
when describing the burial of a country lass who had met with an
untimely death:--

To show their love, the neighbours far and near
Followed, with wistful looks, the damsel's bier;
Sprigged Rosemary the lads and lasses bore,
While dismally the Parson walked before;
Upon her grave the Rosemary they threw,
The Daisy, Butter flower, and Endive blue,

In Romeo and Juliet, Father Lawrence says:--

Dry up your tears, and stick your Rosemary
On this fair corse.

The herb has a pleasant scent and a bitter, pungent taste, whilst
much of its volatile, active principle resides in the calices of the
flowers; therefore, in storing or using the plant these parts must be
retained. It yields its virtues partially to water, and entirely to
rectified spirit of wine.

In early times Rosemary was grown largely in kitchen gardens, and
it came to signify the strong influence of the matron who dwelt
there:--

Where Rosemary flourishes the woman rules,

The leaves and tops afford an essential volatile oil, but not so much
as the flowers.

A spirit made from this essential oil with spirit of wine will help to
renovate the vitality of paralyzed limbs, if rubbed in with brisk
friction. The volatile oil [472] includes a special camphor similar to
that possessed by the myrtle. The plant also contains some tannin,
with a resin and a bitter principle. By old writers it was said to
increase the flow of milk.

The oil is used officinally for making a spirit of Rosemary, and is
added to the compound tincture of Lavender, as well as to Soap
liniment. By common consent it is agreed that the volatile oil (or the
spirit) when mixed in washes will specially stimulate growth of the
hair. The famous Hungary water, first concocted for a Queen of
Hungary who, by its continual use, became effectually cured of
paralysis, was prepared by putting a pound and a half of the fresh
tops of Rosemary, when in full flower, into a gallon of proof spirit,
which had to stand for four days, and was then distilled.


Hungary water (l'eau de la reine d'Hongrie) was formerly very
famous for gout in the hands and feet. Hoyes says, the formula for
composing this water, written by Queen Elizabeth's own hand in
golden characters, is still preserved in the Imperial Library at
Vienna.

An ounce of the dried leaves and flowers treated with a pint of
boiling water, and allowed to stand until cold, makes one of the best
hair washes known. It has the singular power of preventing the hair
from uncurling when exposed to a damp atmosphere. The herb is
used in the preparation of Eau de Cologne.

Rosemary wine, taken in small quantities, acts as a quieting cordial
to a heart of which the action is excitable or palpitating, and it
relieves ally accompanying dropsy by stimulating the kidneys. This
wine may be made by chopping up sprigs of Rosemary, and pouring
on them some sound white wine, which after two or [473] three
days, may be strained off and used. By stimulating the nervous
system it proves useful against the headaches of weak circulation
and of languid health. If a garlande of the tree be put around the
heade it is a remedy for the stuffing of the head that cometh from
coldness.

The green-leaved variety of Rosemary is the sort to be used
medicinally. There are also silver and gold-leaved diversities. Sprigs
of the herb were formerly stuck into beef whilst roasting as an
excellent relish. A writer of 1707 tells of Rosemary-preserve to
dress your beef.

The toilet of the Ancients was never considered complete without
an infusion, or spirit of Rosemary; and in olden times Rosemary
was entwined in the wreath worn by the bride at the altar, being first
dipped in scented water. Anne of Cleves, one of Henry the Eighth's
wives, wore such a wreath at her wedding; and when people could
afford it, the Rosemary branch presented to each guest was richly
gilded.

The custom which prevailed in olden times of carrying a sprig of
Rosemary in the hand at a funeral, took its rise from the notion of an
alexipharmick or preservative powder in this herb against
pestilential disorders; and hence it was thought that the smelling
thereof was a powerful defence against any morbid effluvia from the
corpse.

For the same reason it was usual to burn Rosemary in the chambers
of the sick, just as was formerly done with frankincense, which gave
the Greeks occasion to call the Rosemary Libanotis. In the French
language of flowers this herb represents the power of rekindling lost
energy. The flowers of Rosemary, says an old author, made up
into plates (lozenges), with sugar, [474] and eaten, comfort the
heart, and make it merry, quicken the spirits, and make them more
lively. There's Rosemary for you--that's for remembrance! Pray
you, love, remember! says Ophelia in Hamlet. The spirit of
Rosemary is kept by all druggists, and may be safely taken in doses
of from twenty to thirty drops with a spoonful or two of water.
Rosemary tea will soon relieve hysterical depression. Some persons
drink it as a restorative at breakfast. It will help to regulate the
monthly flow of women. An infusion of the herb mixed with poplar
bark, and used every night, will make the hair soft, glossy, and
strong.

In Northern Ireland is found the Wild Rosemary, or Marsh Tea
(Ledum palustre), which has admirable curative uses, and from
which, therefore, though it is not a common plant in England, a
medicinal tincture (H.) is made with spirit of wine.

The herb belongs to the Rock Rose tribe, and contains citric acid,
leditannic acid, resin, wax, and a volatile principle called
ericinol.

This plant is of singular use as a remedy for chilblains, as well as to
subdue the painful effects of a sting from a wasp or bee; also to
relieve gouty pains, which attack severely, but do not cause swelling
of the part, especially as regards the fingers and toes. Four or five
drops of the tincture should be taken for a dose with a tablespoonful
of cold water, three or four times in the day; and linen rags soaked
in a lotion made with a teaspoonful of the tincture added to half a
tumblerful of cold water, should be kept applied over the affected
part.

It equally relieves whitlows; and will heal punctured wounds, if
arnica, or the Marigold, or St. John's Wort is not indicated, or of
use. When tested by provers in large doses, it has caused a
widespread eruption of [475] eczema, with itching and tingling of
the whole skin, extending into the mouth and air passages, and
occasioning a violent spasmodic cough. Hence, one may fairly
assume (and this has been found to hold good), that a gouty,
spasmodic cough of the bronchial tubes, attended with gouty
eczema, and with pains in the smaller joints, will be generally cured
by tincture or infusion of the Wild Rosemary in small doses of a
diluted strength, given several times a day, the diet at the same time
being properly regulated. Formerly this herb was used in Germany
for making beer heady; but it is now forbidden by law.





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