Anemone (wood)

The Wood Anemone, or medicinal English Pulsatilla, with its

lovely pink white petals, and drooping blossoms, is one of our best

known and most beautiful spring flowers. Herbalists do not

distinguish it virtually from the silky-haired Anemone Pulsatilla,

which medicinal variety is of highly valuable modern curative

use as a Herbal Simple. The active chemical principles of

each plant are anemonin and anemonic acid. A tin
ture is

made (H.) with spirit of wine from the entire [21] plant, collected

when in flower. This tincture is remarkably beneficial in disorders

of the mucous membranes, alike of the respiratory and of the

digestive passages. For mucous indigestion following a heavy or

rich meal the tincture of Pulsatilla is almost a specific remedy.

Three or four drops thereof should be given at once with a

tablespoonful of water, hot or cold, and the same dose may be

repeated after an hour if then still needed. For catarrhal affections

of the eyes and the ears, as well as for catarrhal diarrhoea, the

tincture is very serviceable; also for female monthly difficulties its

use is always beneficial and safe. As a medicine it best suits

persons of a mild, gentle disposition, and of a lymphatic

constitution, especially females; it is less appropriate for quick,

excitable, energetic men. Anemonin, or Pulsatilla Camphor, which

is the active principle of this plant, is prepared by the chemist, and

may be given in doses of from one fiftieth to one tenth of a grain

rubbed up with dry sugar of milk. Such a dose (or a drop of the

tincture with a tablespoonful of water), given every two or three

hours, will soon relieve a swollen testicle; and the tincture still

more diluted will ease the bladder difficulties of old men.

Furthermore, the tincture, in doses of two or three drops with a

spoonful of water, will allay spasmodic cough, as of whooping

cough, or bronchitis. The vinegar of Wood Anemone made from

the leaves retains all the more acrid properties of the plant, and is

put, in France, to many rural domestic purposes. When applied in

lotions every night for five or six times consecutively, it will heal

indolent ulcers; and its rubefacient effects serve instead of those

produced externally by mustard. If a teaspoonful is sprinkled

within the palms and its volatile vapours are inhaled through the

mouth and nose, this [22] will dispel an incipient catarrh. The

name Pulsatilla is a diminutive of the Latin puls, a pottage, as

made from pulse, and used at sacrificial feasts. The title Anemone

signifies wind-flower. Pliny says this flower never opens but

when the wind is blowing. The title has been misapprehended as

an emony. Turner says gardeners call the flowers emonies;

and Tennyson, in his Northern Farmer, tells of the dead keeper

being found doon in the woild enemies afoor I corned to the

plaice. Other names of the plant are Wood Crowfoot, Smell Fox

(Rants), and Flawflower. Alfred Austin says, With windflower

honey are my tresses smoothed. It is also called the Passover

Flower, because blossoming at Easter; and it belongs to the

Ranunculaceous order of plants. The flower of the Wood Anemone

tells the approach of night, or of a shower, by curling over

its petals like a tent; and it has been said that fairies nestle

within, having first pulled the curtains round them. Among the old

Romans, to gather the first Anemone of the year was deemed a

preservative against fever. The Pasque flower, also named

Bluemoney and Easter, or Dane's flower, is of a violet blue,

growing in chalky pastures, and less common than the Wood

Anemone, but each possesses equally curative virtues.

The seed of the Anemone being very light and downy, is blown

away by the first breeze of wind. A ready-witted French senator

took advantage of this fact while visiting Bacheliere, a covetous

florist, near Paris, who had long held a secret monopoly of certain

richly-coloured and splendidly handsome anemones from the East.

Vexed to see one man hoard up for himself what ought to be more

widely distributed, he walked and talked with the florist in his

garden when the anemone [23] plants were in seed. Whilst thus

occupied, he let fall his robe, as if by accident, upon the flowers,

and so swept off a number of the little feathery seed vessels which

clung to his dependent garment, and which he afterwards cultivated

at home. The petals of the Pasque flower yield a rich green

colour, which is used For staining Easter eggs, this festival

having been termed Pask time in old works, from paske, a

crossing over. The plant is said to grow best with iron in the soil.