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The

Encyclopedia of

II

Edited by
Malcolm Stuart

\v

"*
r.yfr.

In The Encyr' ^edia of Herbs and Herbalism, an


enthusiastic

Malcolm

team

<

experts headed by

Dr

Stuart has produced a practical

detailed guide. Beginning with the origins


development of herbalism, they give fall

and
and

r;

account of the biology and chemistry of plants,


moving on to present-day usage ranging from
medicine, cooking and cosmetics, to dyes and
animal food-stuffs. Practical aspects of herb
cultivation, collection and pr-- ^1 vation are also
examined. The alphabetical section describes
420 herbs in detail, with full botanical
descriptions, their habitats

and methods of
and

cultivation, their chemical constituents

their

many and varied uses.

The 350 superb photograph^ and over


1 go specially commissioned drawings and
diagrams allow the reader to identify each
species, and the notes on cultivation will c.iable
anyone to start a personal herb garden. The
possibilities provided by modern processes such

as electric drying,

and the age-old refinement

traditional herb cookery, are all elements in

comprehensive new work of reference on


an increasingly popular subject.

this

Jacket photograph by

Mike Foster

Below : The Mandrake, thought for

centuries to

possess magical powers because of its resemblance


the

human form. ( IGDA)

Back flap : Galanthus


(Pat Brindley)

rac>^v "

<&*

nivalis

- Snowdrop

to

of

The Encyclopedia of

Herbs and Herbalism

The
Encyclopedia of

Herbs
Herbalism
Edited by
/

Malcolm Stuart
Publishers

GROSSET & DUNLAP

New

York

A FILMWAYS COMPANY

7
'

B^VIf

rr

YC

Copyright

1979 Orbis Publishing


Limited, London, and Istituto
("

Geografico de Agostini, SpA, Novara


All rights reserved

Printed in Italy by
Grafiche,

IGDA,

Officine

Novara

SBN: 0-448-15472-2
Library of Congress catalog card

number: 78-58101
First Grosset & Dunlap Edition 1979

Endpapers

from
(

Spices

haded by

Mansell Collection)

HalJ-litle page

The pomegranate Punica


I

granatum from Duhamel's


century herbal,
(

the Chinese,

a seventeenth-century illustration

nineteenth-

Traite des Arbres

Michael Holjord)

Title page

spica

English Lavender

'Lavandula

(Jane Burton/Bruce Coleman)

Right: Some of

the ingredients for

pot-pourri (Leslie Johns)

making
s<

Contents

Introduction

Malcolm Stuart

The history of herbalism

Kay Sanecki and Christopher Pick

The biology and chemistry of plants


Allen Paterson

and Peter Hy lands

The medicinal uses


Peter Hylands

of plants

47

and Malcolm Stuart

Herbs
/.

29

in the kitchen
Audrey Ellison and Christopher Pick

The domestic and cosmetic uses of herbs

71

93

Kay Sanecki
Cultivation, collection

and preservation of herbs 115

Kay Sanecki

Reference section

141

Malcolm Stuart

v>

Glossary

284

Conversion tables

291

Organizations

291

Bibliography

292

General index

294

Index of plants

296

Acknowledgments

304

ar*

8T

y*

$*2

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-it

---

&&

Introduction

Herbalism

has

long

been

thought

to

almost exclusively of the lighthearted study of early printed works


which dealt with the supposed medicinal
action of plants or their use in cookery.

consist

The

only recently
with quack
medicine and become part of the return
to a more natural way of life with the
study

begun

of herbs

has

to lose its association

rediscovery of our pre-industrial heritage.


The study of herbs cannot be slotted into a

narrow botanical niche, either, since the


development of man's relationship with
plants has always been inextricably linked
with economics, religion and science.
"herb",
In defining the term
'herbaceous' plants arc those which lack a
wood) stem and die down to the ground at

end of

tin

the plant

is

their

growing season, or

an annual. Yet

life if

this definition

cannot accommodate some of


herbs that come to mind such

the

first

as Sage.

Rosemary or Lavender. These arc among


the most commonly used herbs which are
woody and do not die down. As het

dictionary restricts our study to

the-

use of

and leaves from plants whereas


herbalism can involve the- use of lichens,
fungi and innumerable other plants whose

steins

fruit, roots,
us.

bark and

we must simply

gums

are of value to

define herbalism as the

stuck of those plants which are of use to

man. The

definition of a herb

complicated
Left

.'

by

the

inclusion

is

further
of

such

The old-world charm of a formal

herb garden showing the use

of a focal point
and plants with foliage of various colours
(Gatdden Manor, near Taunton, England).

plants as certain onions, beetroot, celery,

and chicory, which we now term

olives

vegetables. Originally herbs were divided


into

three

types:

different

pot

herbs,

which

included onions, for example;


sweet herbs, such as thyme, which we now
call culinary herbs; and salad herbs such
as wild celery. In the seventeenth century
pot herbs began to be called vegetables
since they were no longer thought of as
suitable only for the pot but

The

used at table.

were

also

horticultural breeding

of these plants led to the development of


their structure

and

from the wild plant


bitter

modern

Until

their

away
and less

flavour

to the larger

equivalents.

comparatively

recently

herbs

and quite clearly a


necessary commodity in life. In medieval
were an
Europe,

integral

for

instance,

their

cultivation,

and distribution were essential


to the smooth maintenance of any household. In the kitchen Ash twigs (Fraxinus
excelsior) and Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
served respectively as egg whisks and
brushes. Such herbal implements are to be
collection

found today only

Soapwort

or

in exclusive chandlers.

Bouncing

Bet

(Saponana

was used as a soap for delicate


fabrics, and Pennyroyal {Mentha pulegium)
Verbascum
as a flea-repellent. Mullein
thapsus) and other herbs served as tapers or
emergency candles, and almost every
daily task involved one herb or another.
For cheesemaking Lady's Bedstraw {Galium verum) provided a juice which acted as
the rennet. Herbs still play a vital role in
the tobacco and brewing industries, in the
manufacture of wine and liqueurs, as
officinalis)

INTRODUCTION
and colourings in the conand in the manufacture of
dyes. With their lovely natural scents and
oils, herbs are once again becoming as
essential to the modern cosmetic business
as they have always been to perfume
flavourings

fectionery trade

manufacturers.
In order to understand the present
revival of herbalism, the development of
man's relationship with plants through
the centuries should be examined. Historv
from the emergence of Homo sapiens to
the present day can be divided into three
broad epochs the hunter-gatherer period,
the agricultural period and the present
agricultural-industrial period with its
beginnings some four hundred years ago.
:

Our knowledge
of man

We

and

his

know

can

of the very early history

evolution

very

early man's diet

is still

little for

very vague.

certain about

and way of

and our

life,

assessment of his dependence on plants


must, therefore, be a combination of

Above: This ancient painting of healing drugs

Below

page from an eleventh-century

surmise and deduction from the remains

was used

herbal. It illustrates an Ivy

discovered by archaeologists. While tools

Galen, whose accounts of botanical drugs

herb's

and describes the


medicinal applications. (This one was

and

were undisputed until the Middle Ages.

written at

Bury St Edmunds, England.)

indication of economics and technology,

to illustrate

a book by

artifacts

plants

^T.

C/'flbnTndlu.

ftulluTfarrom
aVU-

JLrpprui

l^rfriu cdcti,

M .u]iui
Qbtai

\rj u

JtSau

'fun>

<

jM

a* myczu
tnirr far

regions and, often, caves. Plant remains

comprise a variety of forms, mostly seeds,

some flower and

fruit stalks

and

leaves.

can identify plants from


these remains, and even fossilized faeces
can provide clues.

skilled botanist

hunter-gatherer,

man hunted

animals, fished, gathered wild fruits and


leaves

and grubbed up the edible

wild plants.

He may

or

may

roots of

not have

poisonous plants. Certainly he must have


experimented with and come to know the
many plants within the limits of his

rsfcC-Mtm*
jttiiii).;^'

wanderings. Most were innocuous and bland; some nourished him;


a handful were particularly pleasant to
taste and some equally unpleasant. By
trial and error he discovered that some
could relieve pain, some proved fatal and
a few had a strange unearthly effect on his
mind and body. In this period man was
able to develop techniques for neutralizing or rendering palatable the parts of
plants which he discovered to be of any
value to him.
Plants were chopped, leached, dried,
roasted and cooked. There is even some
evidence that the hunter-gatherer may
have experimented with fermentation.

nomadic

fumr

aqua

adite,-

aiyauom

l>ocfarirf lurvt cjirca tcciTttX*

li rtiu nlatt t^ uino

7mrr Umax

in

reacted instinctively in his rejection of

Cdrra niqia

ftbrr

and foods are only preserved

As a
aiirf fbrtr

m oUd rof*mo frgS

ltmino

nna

bucaf A,

luptu ponti-

survive to give an

ideal conditions, such as particularly dry

commonly

(rbvrc fuf^

5*

>

boo

urnr cotara Tfunbar^

Tiiairolr*^^

mmjytnffmr^J dLumoftilZ*n^ ruf mdxzun


lb ^
nwUifliinc
aim riidcra) <eto&JJ PW^ducr tufoTDtTn

(rdrrr for

Right : Marjoram was cultivated

vV^

medieval times not only as a food flavouring


but also for

its

medicinal qualities,

particularly as an antiseptic.

HUNTER-GATHERERS

INTRODUCTION
The hunter-gatherer period was
est clinical trial in

ally

history

the long-

which eventu-

produced the herbs that provided the

best foods, the poison to destroy enemies,

the

finest

drinks,

fuels

and weapons,

soporific

medicines, the plants that pro-

duced colour for body and cave paintings,


and the 'magic' plants which carried
primitive man away from reality.
This last group consists, of course, of
those

herbs

tactile, taste or

causing

visual,

auditory,

other hallucinations.

They

are variously described as hallucinatorv.


psvchedelic. narcotic or psychoactive,

and

can vary from mild euphoria


inducement of artificial psychoM s.
Their importance cannot be overemphasized since the effects they have on the

human mind and body


ful role

To

led to the

early

man

such herbs offered tempor-

ary relief and an escape from the severitv


of his environment.

When

The

power-

they played in primitive society.

sick they pro-

and

early doctors

herbalists

were

invested with an appropriately high social


status

and indeed, they often enhanced

their

social

secrets'

position

of their

by

herbal

guarding the
remedies and

ills,

stage-managing superstition. Mandrake.

though often we must suppose that the


psychic effects of these plants were of more
importance than their purely physical

a herb with anciently appreciated anaes-

vided a direct palliative or cure for his

effects.

we

This

is

when
modern

especially significant

consider that to early

man

the

between science, medicine, art


and religion would not have had any
meaning. Sickness, in primitive societies,
divisions

often attributed to supernatural forces

their effect

is

to the

entering; the

body and from the earliest


medicine was linked with

times, therefore,

the supernatural.

and purgative properties, was imbued with many forbidding superstitions.


In the first century a.d.. Josephus the
Jewish historian said that Mandrake had
the power to expel evil spirits from sick
persons but that it was certain death to
uproot it casually. The Paeony. too. had
to be dug at night, for if a woodpecker
thetic

caught a gatherer by day. woe to his c


Hallucinatory herbs and their products
have been used for thousands of years in
all civilizations. Today their abuse is a
topic of much contention in what is known
as the drug problem. Opium, hashish,
cannabis, morphine, and cocaine are the
most frequently misused. The long historical associations of such herbs with the
supernatural and primitive religion have
been incorporated into modern attitudes
to herbalism. Much of the valuable knowledge our ancestors accumulated about
herbs has been dismissed because of superstitious contamination.
The second period in history witnessed
the birth of agriculture, not as was once
supposed in the fertile valleys of M>
potamia. but in the Near East. One of the
earliest archaeological sites

i>

at

Jarmo

in

where excavations have revealed


evidence of wheat and barley which have
been dated at 6750 B.C. Agriculture began
a few thousand years later in the New
W( >rld and probably started independently.
Maize, gourds, beans and squashes
have been found in early sites in Mexico.
Iraq

The

discovery

Neolithic

of

agriculture

revolution,

as

or

the

archaeologists

was to change man's whole


Whereas the hunter-gatherer
needed a good deal of land to sustain him.
term

it.

existence.

agriculture

meant

that relatively smaller

under cultivation could


sustain a whole community. Man began
to make permanent settlements and the
prerequisites for the growth of science
areas

of land

commenced. Instead of subsisting man


could open up the forests to make suitable
environments

for

the

herbaceous sun-

loving crops he favoured.


B.C.. the Egyptians were makPapyrus and palm fibre,
ropes
from
ing

By 3500

they had begun to


Left:

make

cosmetics and

The frontispiece of a compendium of


was published in France in

plants, which

IJJ4- It describes the plants' range of uses


man.

to

10

REVIVAL OF INTEREST
Right

Many

aquatic herbs are

still

important as medicinal or aromatic plants

Papyrus, the best known aquatic herb, was


used by the Egyptians

5000 years

perfumes and

treatment of disease
reliant on magic. By

in their

became

they

2700

the

B.C.

ago.

less

Chinese had started

to

approach healing
with the use of herbs on a more scientific
basis. Everywhere those species most usecultivate

and

to

or highly prized for domestic, medicin-

ful
al

tea

or religious

employment were brought

into cultivation, planted nearer to

dwellings and stored.

man

The

human

Persians gave

first gardens by planting aroscented herbs together with


and
matic
shade-offering trees in beautiful and
peaceful sites. In some early cities like
Nineveh, municipal herb gardens were
planted for popular use. State-run medicinal herb gardens can be seen in Nepal.
Slowly scholarship and trade developed
and flourished. Ideas were exchanged as
communication grew and with the great
civilizations of Greece and Rome the
foundations of modern science and medicine had been laid. The classical works of
the Greeks and Romans provided standard reference sources right up to the

the

seventeenth century, but nevertheless the


most useful herbs included in them can be
traced back to the hunter-gatherers and
Neolithic

man. Herbalism and our under-

have a far more restricted


than the Roman conquerors of Europe. Sadly, industrializ-

and most of
vegetable

us

diet

meant

ation has

the loss of

much

of the

standing of the benefits of plants did not


Stop developing with the Greeks and

valuable herbal knowledge of our ancestors and the misconception that we can

Romans, however, neither has its stud)


been limited to Europe.
he dis< o\ ei \ of
New
World
brought
the
many new plants
which were added to European herbals
and pharmacopoeias. But even so u only
have records of a mere fraction ol the

manage without
This

world's 342.000 estimated species ol plant


life.
Wild products and plants are still

gathered in large quantities even in the


most economically advanced countries;
new spei ies of wild plants are still being
taken into cultivation

way

in exactly

same

the

as the firsl auric ulturalists did, while-

more

uses air being found

leu

well-known

plants.

enthusiasm for the


initial
Yet OUl
hemical and synthetic alternatives to
herbs made available by modern science

has had the effect

our
Rein o\ eel from the basic proe esses o| prod lie tion, we now know little or nothing about

real

e>l

blindfolding us

and continued need

for

tei

herbs,

raw mate-rials or staye-s involved in the


we cannol tell
commodities we- buy
whether the- d\e in blue- jeans is from
Incline. e>r India, Efficiency had dictated
the

thai

e>|

the-

200,000

spec ies of

plants, only 12 or 13 arc- widely

herbs.

clearly a very great misconcep-

is

tion if one thinks of the

massive quantities
crude herbs used today <\ en in the- most

ol

sophisticated of societies.

revival

hundred

herbalism is now experiencing a


>>\
both public and professional

interest.

The

culed medic

al

professions

which

herbalism

ineffective

wi\es"

'old

Superstitious

nature

.is

tales'

so ridi-

are-

and

once

an attempt to
methods
and
materials
free horn
discover
tinundesirable side-effects frequently
experienced with the modern 'chemically
again turning

to

tailored' synthetic drug.

in

New methods

reappraisal are being used to judge

of

the

produced by centuries of practical


experience. There ate- signs that the
beliefs

revival

of interest

tremely profitable
practices ol our
i

ic

it

ol

in

to

herbs will be ex-

man and

ancestors

the-

herbal

are

being

reasingly vindicated. By careful studies

has been shown that a good proportion


the beliefs of the old herb physicians

flowering

were right, and that, for example, plants


do indeed posse-ss different properties if

ultivated.

harvested

at

herbs used separately.


There has also been a revival

of popular
Enthusiasm has been
aroused for the charm and serenity of the
old fashioned herb garden with its associated culinary and aromatic herbs which

interest

different times ol the da\ 01

in

herbs.

somehow suit the requirements of modern


times. Herb gardens provide useful materand

ials

Alter a decline of about two


years,

year and that certain combinations of


more active than the individual

plants are

minimum

yet

require

not

remain attractive with a

of maintenance, for herbs do

horticultural

special
skills.

soils
or complex
Herbs provide the

vitamins and minerals increasingly sought


alter for a healthy diet. They provide an
ideal starting-point for a range of home-

made products
wines,
dyes.
use.

such as cosmetics, ales,


pot-pourris and

scented sachets,

Not only are herbs cheap and easy


but

those in general

advantage of being
to

free

to

use have- the

from the dangers

health often contained in

man-made

commodities, be they drugs, food colourings or hair dyes.

Herbalism has become part of the new


concern in our society for an ecological
balance and an unpolluted 'natural' way
of life. This late twentieth-century appreciation of herbs and their immense value
in food and medicine truly represents the
rediscovery of old wisdom indicating that
the biblical expression
as true-

today

as

it

'all

flesh

is

grass'

is

always has been.


I

Sfet

Skri

The history
#

of herbalism

&&
^*fcm.

sa.

mn.

"-

Who first used plants we do not know. But


someone - more probably, many different

religious belief in a

people - in the earliest mists of history,


long before the earliest records that now

the gods, receiving their powers of healing


from them.
This much is assumption. But it is valid
assumption, given our understanding of
human nature in general and our knowledge of the earliest communities that
archaeologists have been able to trace. It
also accords with the first medical records
that we have, from India, China, Egypt

survive, discovered that

good

to eat

and

some plants are

that others have healing

properties. This

was the

first

step in a

lengthy process of trial and error by which


early man in different communities slowly

up a corpus of knowledge about


To this gradual process was
added, no doubt, experience handed
down from generation to generation by
word of mouth and a measure of intuition.
Why and how a plant should have been
capable of curing sickness must have remained a mystery to those early communities,
Indeed, only the development of
built

plants.

sophisticated techniques of chemical an-

century or so has at last


provide the solution. So those

alysis in the last

begun

who

to

took a special interest in the healing

qualities of plants

and became especially

gradually
gained an honoured place in society. Their
skills and knowledge singled them out
from the mass as medicine men. Because
there were no readily comprehensible
explanations of how plants healed, primitive communities tended to attribute the
process to a god or gods, as indeed they did
any phenomenon that puzzled them.
Thus the earliest medicine men became
associated with the whole structure of
skilled

in

their

application

were

priests

who

community.

Many

acted as instruments of

and Assyria.
This very vagueness about the first
herbalists points to an important dichotomy in our knowledge of herbs and those
who used them. The story that follows
inevitably recounts what might be termed
the 'official' aspect of herbalism - the only
one for which records remain. We can
only suppose - but none the less with every
confidence - the existence of an 'unofficial' side to herbalism, a succession of
ordinary country men and women skilled
and knowledgeable about the herbs of
their area and their uses - medicinal,
culinary and in the preparation of dyes,
perfumes and cosmetics. Only rarely do
these people emerge in the 'official' story.
Finally, in the nineteenth-century industrial revolution in the western world,
urbanization and the increasing division
of labour gradually caused such rural

Mandrake. For centuries it was thought that


if humans dug up the plant it meant certain

wisdom to die out.


We know little of the origins of medicine in China and in India. It is thought
that the Emperor Chin Nong composed a
herbal in about 2700 b.c. and that some
60 years later another Emperor, Huang-

death.

ti,

Left:

dog uprooting the 'shrieking

wrote a

treatise

on medicine. In India.
'3

HISTORY
the Rig Yeda. one of the sacred books of

ledge

the Brahmins, mentions the use of medi-

spread

cinal plants.

The

scarcity of

knowledge

about ancient medical practice in these


countries should not. however, lead us to
assume that no developed system existed
there, nor that ideas, beliefs and practices
may not have passed across Asia, between
these ancient civilizations, in a process of

which we now know


nothing. Lack of evidence means that we
can only point to China and India and
cross-fertilization of

state that a tradition of medicine as old as

that of

Europe does

exist

there, perhaps

one that is even older, and that plants


were undoubtedly used as remedies. As a
result,
an account of the history of
herbalism is confined to describing the
gradual development of medical know-

in

Egypt and Mesopotamia,

first

its

to the countries of the eastern

Mediterranean and Persia and Armenia,


to ancient Greece and then throughout
Europe and - two thousand years later to the New World.
For many centuries botany and medicine were closely linked, and plants were
central to medical practice. They provided the chief,

if

not the only, remedies

other than surgery, and


theories

were

addition,

many

many medical

around

them. In
ordinary people will have
put their faith in the long line of herbalistwho sold their patent remedies made up
from different herbs in towns and villages,
successful because they were cheaper than
doctors and physicians and perhaps also
because they appealed to the always very
built

potent traditions of folklore and magic.

Only

have
and medical scienthe same time medical

since the eighteenth century

the paths of botanists

tists divided: at
treatment has become available for everyone, and the old herbal remedies have
died out.

EGYPT
The Egyptian civilization is the first of
which we have any extensive medical
knowledge. Much of that is somewhat
imprecise, as

is

illustrated in the case of

Imhotep. the first Egyptian physician


whose name survives. He served Zoser. a
3rd Dynasty Pharaoh, in about 2980 B.C.
and was renowned as an astrologer and
magician as well as for his healing powers.
His reputation lived on after he died:
legends grew up about his work and he
was eventually transformed into a god of
healing. For the Egyptians some two
millennia later, whether Imhotep had
actually lived or not would have been unimportant; in fact, his reality would not
have been questioned in such terms. Just
as a contemporary healer would have
been regarded as a priest and instrument
of the gods because of his healing

Imhotep.

skills.

who had been the subject of


down for many centurie-.

legends handed

would have been regarded as a god.


The ground becomes rather firmer by
about 2000 b.c. Various medical papyri most important among them being the
famous Ebers Papyrus - discovered by
archaeologists in the last 100 years

list

of medical prescriptions in use after


about 1800 B.C. Mineral substances and
series

animal products were included, but about


five-sixths of the ingredients were of
vegetable origin. Each prescription dessymptoms of the disease and

cribes the

gives instructions

on how the cure

One

is

to

be

administered and prepared.


prescription, intended "to empty the belly
and clear out all impurities from the body
typical

of a sick person", required field herbs,


honey, dates and uah grain to be mixed
together and chewed by the patient for
one day.
These same papyri demonstrate the
central role of the gods in Egyptian medicine - and. of course, in the entire life of
Egyptian society. Osiris was worshipped
as a god of vegetation. Isis. his twin sister
Left: Imhotep (c.2g8o B.C.). the first

known Egyptian physician. A celebrated


sage among his contemporaries, he was
worshipped as a god after his death.
Imhotep was the patron of the sciences and of
doctors. For ordinary people he was regarded
as the god of healing.

ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS

and mother, was one of the most ancient


goddesses of Egypt. She held it in her
power to renew life and was reputed to
have transmitted the secrets of healing to
mankind. As such a powerful magician
and healer, it was to her that the Egyptians
prayed for deliverance from disease.
Thoth was believed to have formulated
each healing prescription. He is represented as holding in his left hand the
symbol of life and in his right a staff

around which a serpent is coiling itself - a


symbol of the physician to this day.
So the picture that comes down to us
from Egyptian sources is of increasing
medical skill confined as it were within a
framework of magic. A herbalist carried
with him both a casket of medicines and a
magician's wonder-working rod; before
treatment could begin, the gods had t<> be
called on to cast out the devil which

We

shall find this

association between medic

me and magic
How much

possessed the patient.

continuing in ancient Greece.


both there and in Egypt it was

,i

resull ol a

genuine belief in the power of the L, ods,


how much because of a desire on the
herbalist's part to keep his skills secrel
through a pio< ess ol mystification we anr

uot

now

distinguish. But before

Greece
objectiveat

turn to
<>l

we must look
Mesopotamia and

medical science

the civilizations of

their

we

also saw the beginnings

which

approach

to

medic

inc.

or vice versa
ly,

is

not known. Quite probab-

they both borrowed from a

Asian source

common

in a process of cultural

con-

which is now lost.


The earliest Sumerian herbal dates
from some time after 2500 b.c. and has
come down to us in the form of a copy
tact all trace of

dating from the seventh century b.c. Later


Assyrian inscribed tablets are

much more

informative. Tablets from the library of

Ashurbanipal. King of Assyria between


668 and 626 B.C.. reveal that knowledge of
herbs and their medicinal properties must
have been considerable. Some 250 vegetable drugs are mentioned, as well as 120
mineral drugs and some 180 that remain
unidentified. This wealth of information
makes it reasonable to assume that
gardens where medicinally useful plants
wen cultivated must have been established. Whether physic gardens in the
sense th.it the term came to be used in the
Middle Ayes ever existed is uncertain.
But we do know that gardens and parks

were

laid out

that in

one

round the royal palaces and


herbs were grown.

at least

Language is
and spread of ideas, and it is
significant that a number of the names \>\
which plants are known today are derived
an obvious indicator of the

Above: Tablet depicting Ashurbanipal.

King of Assyria, at work on his herbal.


Ashurbanipal was very interested in herbs
and their medicinal properties, and large
numbers were grown in the royal gardens
for his

use.

Aesculapius
Like the Sumerians and Egyptians, the
Greeks believed that the gods were the
first herbalists and physicians and that
they had taught the art of healing to man.

Aesculapius was the first, and probably


greatest, of them. Historians now

the

believe that he actually lived, but

whether

he did or not is of little importance.


Aesculapius must have been a healer
whose skills and successes brought him

renown and about

whom

after his

death

legends gradually grew up. His signifi-

cance lies in those legends. They tell that


Aesculapius was the son of Apollo and
Coronis. Born in Epidaurus in about 1250
B.C., he was slain by Zeus, who was
jealous of his success in healing the sick

and

daughter was
Another
closer link with

raising the dead. His

Hygieia, the goddess of health.

provides

origin

tradition

from the Sumerians, having passed


through the Greek and Arabic languages.

Egypt by claiming that Aesculapius was


born in the Egyptian city of Memphis and
emigrated to Greece, bringing with him
Egyptian medical techniques and know-

These include Apricot, Saffron, Cumin,


Turmeric, Myrrh, Mandrake, Almond,
Poppv. Mulberry and Sesame.

MESOPOTAMIA

ledge.

The root-gatherers
The

link

with the Egyptian association of

ANCIENT GREECE

healing with magic and mystery

that

The civilization of classical Greece took


much from the Egyptian world and from

physicians.

Mesopotamia, including, of course, its


knowledge of the practice of medicine. It
took much, but it added even more-. It also

demonstrated by the rhizotomists


is
root-gatherers who wandered from place
to place gathering roots and herbs used in
medical prescriptions For the most part,
they were uneducated and would follow
a complex ritual as they went about their
work complex in all likelihood, again, to

he

Sumerians believed

that sickness

the manifestation of devils

and

was

evil spirits

had attacked the human body. Magic


and medicine went hand in hand, and
many of the- gods were believed to be

The

similarity of these

beliefs

Egyptians is cleat. Whether


the Egyptians influenced die Sumerians

io

diose

ol

began, perhaps most important of


basis lor medic

establish a scientific

all.

inc.

to

is

clear.

It

also

'"

HISTORY
He earns

protect their trade from inquisitive out-

known

Certain prayers and chants had to


be spoken as the plants were gathered, and
specific times were appointed for the task.

this

person to establish and

The

to

learning he took from Egyptian sources.

pharmacopolists, who prepared drugs


and other healing remedies for sale in
village markets. The rhizotomists and

But he dropped the elements of mystery


and magic and, recognizing disease as a
natural phenomenon, established for the
first time a system of diagnosis and prognosis. Hippocrates used about 400 drugs,

siders.

rhizotomists

sold

their

plants

pharmacopolists of ancient Greece together form the start of a long tradition of


what might best be described as dealers in
herbs, usually itinerant and always re-

magic and mystery to justify


Such people could still be
the markets and fairs of Europe in

ferring to

their products.

seen in

the early part of this century.

Hippocrates
Despite

the

traditional

framework of
ancient Greece

was in
that scientific medicine fas we now understand the term) was first developed.
Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.), who was
born and practised on the island of Cos, is
religious belief,

it

tific

as the father of medicine.

description because he was the


set

system of medicine.

down

Much

first

a scien-

of his

mostly of vegetable origin, but he never


wrote a herbal.
The Hippocratic Oath, to which all
doctors until very recently had to swear
before they could practise, is of course
named after Hippocrates. Its opening
words - 'I swear by Apollo, the Physician,
by Aesculapius, by Hygieia and Panacea
and by all the Gods and Goddesses that
to the best of

my power and judgment

BED(pPAI"F5

MEAANTA

.'
.

demonstrate a close and fascinating


link between modern medical practice
and the beliefs of the earliest medical

EPE2I DS

scientists.

'

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Aesculapius, the Greek god of

medicine.

Left

Hippocrates, the most important

physician of the classical world.

He

wrote a

number of medical works distinguished for


their scientific content, much of which is
still valid.

memorial
16

The Hippocratic Oath

to his ethical

philosophy.

is

THE ALEXANDRIAN SCHOOL


Left: Theophrastus ( c. 37 2-286 B.C.)
the

Greek philosopher, was a pupil of

Aristotle

and

the first scholar to attempt to

establish a scientific classification

plants.

He

is

reputedly the author

of

of

227 works.
Right: Hygieia, the Greek goddess of health
and daughter of Aesculapius. She is usually
depicted with

him and

others

of the family

such as her sister Panacea.

Greek herbals

The

first

The

earliest

Greek herbal of which any-

known was written by Diocles


Carystius, who was born some time in the

thing

first

is

half of the fourth century B.C.

He

noted their habitats and


briefly described their medicinal properplants,

listed

ties.

Nothing

is

now

left

of Diocles'

writings.

was Theophrastus of Eresus c.372286 B.C. on the island of Lesbos, who was
the first person to try to establish any
scientific system of plants. Theophrastus
was Aristotle's friend and pupil and was
bequeathed Aristotle's garden on the
latter's death. His two treatises. Historia
Plantarum and De Causis Plantarum Inquiry
which
into Plants and Growth oj Plants
between them listed some 500 plants, were
based on Aristotle's botanical writings.
These he supplemented with his own
observations made during his travels and
with the reports of foreign travellers and
It

merchants.

The Alexandrian School


Alexandria
Greek Emperor Alexander the Great - in 331 B.C. that Greek
medicine really began to flourish. A
school of medicine was rapidly set up commonly referred to as the Alexandrian
S( hool
which attracted the foremost
scientists and botanists from all over tin
Near East. Gradually a body of knowledge and experience was built up, based
on the observations of contemporary
writers, but also drawing on Egyptian
knowledge and practices and on the
beliefs of the Sumerians and Assyrians. In
addition much information was brought
back from Alexander's campaigns into
western Asia. The Alexandrian School
thus brought together beliefs and practices from many different sources and
developed and extended them through
research and writing, so forming a tradition that was eventually transmitted to
medieval Europe- through the writers and
u holara of the Arab world.
The written herbals produced dining
the Alexandrian period were mainK the
It

was

after the foundation ol

named

after the

works of physicians.
first

half of the

Of these. Herophilus
century B.C.
Andreas of Karystos

third

Mantias (.270 B.C.;,


d.217 B.C. and Appolonius Mys ir.220
were perhaps the most important.
B.C.
Later, in the second century B.C.. Nikander produced a work on poisons and
their antidotes.

Mithridates
Experimental work was also carried out
under the aegis of the Alexandrian School
and was encouraged by Mithridates,
who was Eupator king of Pontus
between 120 and 63 B.C. Mithridates

was especially interested in poisons


and their antidotes. His name is commemorated in the word 'mithridate',
which came to mean any concoction used
an antidote against poison. Up to the
eighteenth century every physician would

as

be equipped with his personal mithridate.


Mithridate's rhizotomist. Kraetus, was
more intelligent and sensitive than most of
his calling. He not only collected plants
but

wrote about them and

nificant of all

including

its

most

sig-

illustrated the entire plant,


roots.

Each drawing was


the plant and

name of

accompanied by

the

by a description

ol its

medicinal

uses.

HISTORY
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acri

Below

Galen, philosopher, teacher and

physician.

proposed

The

theories

and diagnoses he

in his extensive

medical works

Above: Pages from an


version

illustrated Latin

of Dioscorides' writings

made

in the

twelfth century. Beautiful though the

may

remained, in essence, unchallenged until the

illustrations

Renaissance.

scientific value.

be, they

have

little

or no

Dioscorides
Thus the picture

at the beginning of the


century a.d. is one of increasing
experimentation and knowledge. One
man, the Greek physician Dioscorides,
first

drew

knowledge together and assembled it in one vast work, De Materia Medica.


Dioscorides was a physician with the
Roman army and much of his information
came from first-hand observation in the
Near East, France, Spain, Germany and
Italy. He supplemented this with material
taken from Hippocrates - about 1 30 of the
plants known to Hippocrates are mentioned by Dioscorides - Theophrastus,
Andreas, Kraetus and many others. His
work mentions some 600 plants. Each
entry names the plant, describes it and its
habitat, notes how it should be prepared
for medicinal use and the effect it has.

18

this

Dioscorides was without doubt the

first

medical botanist. For 1500 years his


Materia Medica was the standard reference
work on the medical application of plants
and most later herbals were closely
modelled on it. Indeed, many of the
plants he mentions still gain a place in
modern pharmacopoeias such as Aniseed,
Chamomile, Cinnamon, Dill, Ginger.
Marjoram, Pepper, Rhubarb and Thyme.
real

Other Greek
Christian

era

herbalists

were

in

the early

Pamphilos,

who

arranged the plants in his herbal in alphabetical order, Menecrates, physician to

Emperor Tiberius (reigned


37), and Andromachos of Crete.
the

a.d.

14-

ANCIENT ROME
Pliny was the most important writer on

He devoted
in ancient Rome.
seven of the 37 volumes of his Historia

plants

Naturalis {Natural History),


a.d.

77,

to

their

medical

writing was uncritical,

uses.

in

Pliny's

information

and thus his work is now of


value. It was during this time.

unverified,
little

his

composed

THE DARK AGES


however, that the Doctrine of Signatures,
become of such significance in
Paracelsus' hands, originated.
later to

Galen

Much more
Galen

significant are the writings of

perhaps the great-

(a.d. 131 -201),

physician after Hippocrates. Galen was


Greek by birth; he travelled extensively in

est

the Near East and had an enormous output of books, which earned him a great
reputation as a philosopher, teacher and
physician. His herbal, which forms part of
De Simplicibus, contains information on
each plant and its habitat, usually to-

gether

with

about

note

its

use

in

medicine.

THE DARK AGES


Greek herbal tradition,
seen, embraced the
much older traditions of Egypt and
Mesopotamia, comes to an end. Though

With Galen,

the

we have

which, as

the dark ages after the

fall

Empire no longer seem

of the

so

dark

Roman
to the

and writing
stopped. Six centuries or so must pass
before we can point with any confidence
historian, scientific research

evidence to a resumption of interest


and, indeed, in botany and
medicine in general.
What happened in the intervening time
can only be sketched in outline. In
Europe, only the monasteries kept alive
the literature of medical and herbal pracin the
in

herbs

Monks were

tices.

often physicians

and

care for the sick was seen as part of a

Above

Avicenna,

ad. g8o-iojy,

and 950 by a

possibly the greatest physician and scientist

of the Moslem world. His

Medicinae was
kept

its

Canon

translated into Latin

been a friend of King Alfred of England.


This is the first book on herbs written in
the vernacular and also the first which did

and

place as a standard university

became very

lore

influential;

travelling

and herb women treated the


and magic were resorted
much as they had been in ancient

bone-setters
sick,
to,

and

ritual

Egypt.

not base itself directly on Greek texts.

century.

knowledge it displays of herbs is remarkable. Another such manuscript is the


Lacnunga, thought to have been written in

and pharmacological lore of the entire


Orient' and on their own observations.
Among them were Rhazes (865-925), a
Persian employed as a royal physician in
Baghdad, whose investigations into clinical practice gave a considerable impetus
9H0 1037)5
to knowledge, and Avicenna
whose ('.anon Medicinae brought together
information about the diseases, drugs and

THE ARAB WORLD

medical

In contrast, the highly sophisticated cul-

world. In Spain, in particular, where the

Arab world maintained and


the Greeks. By

Cordoban physician Abulcasis (d.1013)

ture of the

added
about

to

the legacy of

900 or a little after, all the


surviving Greek medical works had been
A.I).

known

theories

in

the

practised, especially high standards

reached, and wealthy men


over Europe for treatment.

Arab

all

eighth century.
this

The

greatesi physicians ol

Arab empire drew

011

the

works

ol

the

Greek physicians arid writers as well as on


what one writer on medieval Spain has
described as the 'accumulated botanical

ANGLO-SAXON HERBALS
was the Arab world that prethe main tradition of medical
learning, it should not be supposed that

Although

it

served

came to a halt in northern


Europe. The Anglo-Saxon inhabitants of

all

writing

England,

were very interesnumber of manuscripts

for instance,

ted in herbs,

and

have- survived.

The

Leech Book of Bald,

earliest ol these

the late eleventh or early twelfth century.


It

consists chiefly of a

poem

in praise

of the

Nordic god
Woden. Ritual and magic still played an
enormous role in the herbalist's work, just
as they had in ancient Egypt Waybroad,
for instance, one of the nine sacred herbs,
was believed to cure a headache if it were
gathered, untouched by iron, before sunrise and its roots bound round the sufferer's head with a red ribbon.
nine

herbs

sacred

of the

were

came from

translated in the great cultural centres ol

Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo. Knowledge of them spread with the advancing
Arab armies across North Africa and into
Spain, almost all of which had fallen
under Moslem rule- by the end ol the

The

textbook until as late as the seventeenth

Christian's duty. In another way, too, the

monasteries preserved knowledge, tor it


was there that scribes copied manuscripts
by hand. Outside the cloister walls, folk-

named Cild under the


who is thought to have

scribe

direction of Bald,

is

the

compiled between 900

THE REVIVAL OF KNOWLEDGE


Greek medical theory - supplemented as
we have seen by Arab observation and
practice - was restored to western Europe
at the end of the dark ages by two main
routes. In Spain, a school of translators

grew up

in

Toledo (which had

century.

The

fallen to

twelfth
1085)
work generally went in two

Christian forces in

in

the-

from Arabic to Romance (a


form of old French), then from Romance
to Latin, the universal language ol scholarship in medieval Europe. In Italy,
stages,

first

|(

>

HISTORY
Fulda - produced numerous influential
medical works. Two emanating from
Salerno were the Liber de simplici medicina.
a herbal compiled by Matthaeus Platearius during the middle of the twelfth

Constantine the African c. 1020- 1087


translated a number of Arabic philosophical, scientific and medical works into
Latin. Constantine remains a shadowy
figure of whom little is known except that
he was an Arabic-speaking Christian who
became a monk and spent the last years of
his life at the Benedictine abbey at Monte
Cassino. where he composed most of his
translations. His work spread rapidly
throughout Europe.

century, and the Regimen Sanitatis Salerno.

have been assembled by


to
Arnold of Villa Nova, a Catalan who
thought

simplici

Both these cultural channels, as one might


describe them, centred upon monasteries
the school of translators at

Toledo had

ists and until the invention of printing


were the most important in early medieval times probably the only source of
Others were horticulturalists;
books.
again, they were secure in their monasteries and had both time and opportunity to
cultivate herbs and other plants; contacts

with

other

monasteries

in

their

order

Europe no doubt led to an


of information and of actual
of the sick was another part of
and in many areas only the
monks possessed any medical skills. At
throughout
interchange
plants. Care
their work,

Barnwell Abbey in England, the infirmarius


the monk in charge of the pharmacy was
required always to have 'ginger, cinnamon, penny and the like, ready in his
cupboard, so as to be able to render
promptly assistance to the sick if [they
were] stricken by a sudden malady".

The study of medicine

Two

of the most important schools of


medicine were at Salerno, where Con-

were

stantine the African's translations

particularly

influential,

and

MontCremona

at

founded by Gerald of
14- 1 187
who had translated Avicenna's Canon Medicinae. The Canon be-

pellier.
1

came

a standard

work

at the

University

and was

still

as 1650.

These schools and others -

a prescribed textbook as late


for in-

stance at St Gall. Bobbio. Reichenau


Right: Page from

and

Trattato de
Pestilentia, a fourteenth-century work on
the human body and the diseases to which it
is subject. Almost all medical writing at this
time

was

derivative

the

and

theoretical

practical experimentation of any

consequence

was

centuries later.

20

not to begin until several

medicina

Above: Constantine

the African (c.1020io8j), an Arabic-speaking Christian,


translated a number of Arabic medicinal and

scientific

marked

works

the

into Latin.

These new ideas

end of the dark ages.

usually

Circa instans
was concerned with the medicinal use of plants
and was compiled from both Latin and
Arabic sources. It had considerable influence throughout the Middle Ages.
Despite increasing medical studies from
the twelfth century onwards, the framework within which writers and physicians
worked and thought had remained unaltered since Galen's day. There was

opening words.

The work of the monks

been established under the patronage of


Archbishop Raymond, a member of the
And the monasteries
Cluniac order
played a vital role in medieval Europe in
the spread of medical knowledge and
writing. Many monks were skilled copy-

The Liber de
known by its

studied at Salerno for a time.

THE MIDDLE AGES


little

new observation

or research.

What

was confined within galenic


there
was little questioning of basic
ideas;
certainly no attempt to overpremises
throw them - and most medical writers
were content to base their writings on the
works of Greek physicians which, as has
been shown, had been translated into
Arabic and then further into Latin. This
cumbersome process had led to numerous
there was

errors; illustrations of plants often bore


little

or no resemblance to the original

from any scientific


names of the plants
themselves had become altered because of

plants

and were

useless

point of view often the


;

errors of transcriptions

The development

made by

scribes.

of medicine had stultiwas to take a complete revolution in methods and outlook before any
genuine progress was made. Even the
fied,

and

it

foremost medieval scientist Albertus

200on plants on
nus

(c.

280),

who based

Mag-

his writings

first-hand observations

and

by Konrad von Megenberg (1309- 1374),


which was written in German - contributed

the

to

process.

So,

did the

too,

refused to accept without question the

increasing

statements

spices from the East available in western


Europe.
For much of the Middle Ages Venice
was the European centre of this trade, and
Venetian merchants grew rich from the
commodities that eventually reached
Europe after the long journey across Asia
from India and China.

of earlier writers,

failed

to

break out of the galenic mould.

The birth of the herbals


As the Middle Ages progressed, increasing
interest began to be taken in herbal
remedies. The first major work in English
on botanical medicine was the Rota
Medicinae also
(

known

as the

Rosa Anglica

written between 1314 and 1 3 1 7 by a


known as John of Gaddesden. His

but also included observations based on


personal experience. Other vernacular
herbals - among them the Book of Nature

ft

of exotic herbs and

monk

work
combined Greek, Arabic, Jewish and
Saxon medical writings and herbal lore

*>*

number

Dissemination of knowledge
The whole intellectual revolution of

the

Renaissance had of course a profound


effect on medical science. The old galenic
preconceptions
gradually
fell
away;
observation and experiment flourished,
drawing on the works of ancient writers
but soon soaring beyond their preconceptions. More particularly, the invention of
printing in the mid-fifteenth century gave
a tremendous boost to herbalism, as
indeed it did to all forms of knowledge.
Herbals could be circulated in far greater
numbers. The first to be printed had previously been available in manuscript
form, but by the early sixteenth century
original works were being reproduced.
These were vast improvements on their
immediate predecessors, both in their
scope and organization and in the quality
of their woodcuts, which depicted the
plants described accurately

and

in detail

rather than as mere decoration, which had

previously

Tragus'

Germany
tions

been

the

Kreuterbuch,

of

in
all

case.
first

Hieronymus
published

in

1539, gave precise descripthe plants included. In

England, William Turner, the first part of


whose New Herball appeared in 1551, was
the first person to study plants scientifically.
He travelled widely throughout
Europe and grew herbs in his garden at
Kew, coincidentally on the site of the
present Royal Botanic Gardens. Three
years later in the Low Countries, R.
Dodoens published his Cruydboeck, in
which he grouped plants according to
their properties and affinities rather than
alphabetically. Later a French translation was published, and in 1578 an
English version. John Gerard's Herball,
first published in 1597 and extended and
Left: Illustration of Coltsfoot fTussilago

farfaraj from an illuminated Greek copy of


Dioscorides'

De Materia Medica.

commentary Dioscorides wrote that


leaves could be dried

through a reed

to

In his

the

and then smoked


mucus and catarrh - a

clear

remedy that has now been used for over two


thousand years.
21

HISTORY
Below : Title page of the first edition of
John Gerard's Herball. Gerard was the
Elizabethan

best-known herbalist

in

England; he had

own garden

his

in

London, where he grew plants assembled

from

all over the world.

gardener

to

He was

Lord Burghley for

also

over

20 years. Gerard's herbal


is based entirely on the work Pemptades,

revised by Thomas Johnson


proved extremely popular. By

1583 by the Flemish physician


Dodoens. But it is in fact the later editions

herbals had

written in

of Gerard's Herball, which were considerably


Thomas Johnson in 1633,
that are most valuable.
extended by

become

in

1633,

this

time

authoritative

and

comprehensive, covering practically every


plant then known; one which appeared in
1640 mentioned 3800 plants, whereas von
Megenberg's Book of Mature, the first
printed edition of which had appeared in
1475, had dealt with just 89.

THE DOCTRINE OF SIGNATURES


Despite what, to use a twentieth-century
term, might be called a 'boom' in herbals,
all of them consisted of what we today
would describe as 'objective' information.

not

In the sixteenth century in particular, the


Doctrine of Signatures held sway over
many writers. It was promoted by Paracelsus (1493- 1 541), a physician whose
controversial opinions and manner (not
for nothing was his second name Bombastus!) caused him to lead an unsettled
existence in

many

of the

Europe. According

plant acted in effect as

of

medical

its

cities

its

of central

dogma, every

to this

own

application,

definition

resembling

body afflicted or the


cause of the affliction. William Coles, an
English herbalist who published the Art of

either the part of the

God had not


only 'stamped upon them [plants] (as
upon every man) a distinct forme, but
also given them particular signatures,
Simpling in 1656, wrote that

Man may read even in legible


Characters the Use of them. Heart
Trefoyle is so called not only because the
Leafe is Triangular like the Heart of a
Man, but also because each Leafe contains the perfect Icon of an Heart and that
in its proper colour.' Nicholas Culpeper
6 6- 654^, too, was an influential exponent of the Doctrine of Signatures, as
whereby a

by
under the domination of the sun, the moon or one of the five
planets then known. His herbal, published
in 1652, was immediately successful and
was reprinted many times. He was per-

well as of various astrological theories,

which herbs were

set

haps the first herbalist to write directly for


ordinary people who might collect and
use herbs during the course of their daily
lives.

THE APOTHECARIES
The

increasing

number

of herbals being

produced and their growing scope and


accuracy (Culpeper being the last important adherent to the Doctrine of Signatures)
reflected the widening interest in herbal
remedies and the developing status of the
apothecary. Originally, apothecaries had
merely sold drugs - the root of the word
comes from the Greek for a store - but
gradually they had absorbed skills and

APOTHECARIES
knowledge and had come

compound

to

prepare and

drugs, as well as

sell

them.

establish

fessionally

In England they had been associated prowith the Grocers' Company

were

body of general traders who


and drugs. (Interestingly
enough, the Grocers themselves had their
origin in the twelfth century in one of the

this

since 1378, a

also sold herbs

early City of

London

Guild of

guilds, the

Pepperers, a reminder of the importance


trade in medieval times.)
purchased
herbs and roots
Apothecaries
collected in the countryside by wandering
'green men and women' the term is one of
many used to describe rural herb collectors), the descendants, nearly two thousand

of the spice

years later, of the rhizotomists of ancient

and also imported drugs and


from abroad. They also established

Greece,
spices
their

own

their

demanded

own

Their work

guild.

specific professional skills,

and

had been allegations that grocers


Then, in
1586, came an attempt by the College of
Physicians to set up their own physic

there

selling adulterated drugs.

garden.

was

The

apothecaries thought that

their prerogative

for

by that

time the practice was for physicians to


diagnose and prescribe, while the apothecaries dispensed medicine and attended
the patient. Although the apothecaries
failed to prevent the physicians establishing their garden, they did in 161 7 succeed
in forming the Worshipful Society of
Apothecaries of London, with 114 members. At the same time a law was passed
forbidding medicines to be sold by surgeons or grocers.

physic gardens, so serving as a

between horticulture and medicine


by growing their own medicinal herbs.
By the late sixteenth century in England the apothecaries were trying to dissociate themselves from the Grocers and
link

THE PHYSIC GARDENS


The

origins

of physic gardens can be

traced back several centuries.


astic

communities,

as

alive interest in herbs

we have
and

The monseen, kept

their healing

and the
Middle Ages, and it

potential during the dark ages


early part of the

seems fairly certain that the first herb


gardens were established behind monastic
walls. The monastery at St Gall in
Switzerland probably had 16 herb beds as

and twelfth-century plans


monastery at Canterbury indicate a
small piece of ground set aside for a herb
garden. But the first garden intended to
provide plants for the purpose of study
(until then, students had worked from
herbals alone) was not established until
1545, at the medical school of the University of Padua in Italy. Botany and
medicine - hitherto studied as one subject
- were from then on taught separately.
Pisa followed almost immediately and
also set up a herbarium (in which pressed
and dried plants are preserved on paper).
Within two decades, Florence, Rome and
Bologna had started their own gardens.
Nor was the rest of Europe far behind. By
the end of the seventeenth century,
physic gardens had been laid out at
early as 830,

for a

Tnr

.-7-

i-t

'/

tti.it

i< i

Above

Bo/y krtr

aiAiC U

trves rut a
Jff" Jnhil'tjuj* fjrr

St j-iras'u

a'rl'crie'ttl

r/iV

vou
t '

rind

Mu

h-'lu

mind.

CofKt

Bookt

Portrait of Nicholas Culpeper and,

right, illustrations

from

his herbal.

Culpeper'1 theories rested on his belief

in

astrological influences: herbs were placed

under the dominion of one of the


the sun or the

moon

five

planet \.

different parts of the

body were themselves governed by the planets.

Hi

also believed that plants resembled

either the part 0/ thf

body or the ailment

which they were intended

Herbal! and

to lira/. I lis

Physical Dire* tory both

enjoyed an enormous

sale.

23

HISTORY
Right

The botanical garden

at the

Founded in
16j j and destroyed by fire in 1702, the
garden was revived by Carl Linnaeus who
University of Uppsala, Sweden.

arranged the plants according

and described

it

in

system,

to his

Hortus Upsaliensis.

translated into English as Joyfull Newes out

ofthe.XeweFounde W'orldem 1577. as well as


into Italian, French, Flemish and Latin.
Interest in the plants ofthe Xew World
continued for a long time. In the eighteenth century in particular, numerous

made

botanists

the transatlantic journey:

more frequent passenof packing them was to

plants were even


gers - one

way

wrap them

in an ox bladder half filled with


wet moss and the plant's natural soil - and
form the basis of the North American

collections

in

many European

botanic

gardens.

Bv the early eighteenth century the


heyday of herbalism was passing. William
Salmon's Botanologia : The English Herbal
(1710) was the last herbal of any import-

iyoy-ijj8) the
founder of modern botany. The system of
Above: Carl Linnaeus

plant classification he developed opened the

way for
and

the precise identification

their properties at a time

ance

of plants

when m a

to

The

be published.

erties of plants

still,

curative prop-

of course, played a

plants were being discovered at a great

vital role in

rate throughout the world.

two centuries the skills of the herbali^


were slowly replaced by medical tech-

Although

Linnaeus' s system has been continually


modified,

it

remains the basis

ojf

owed more

niques that

today'

medicine, but over the next

to the scientific
laboratory than to traditional wisdom.

internationally applicable system.

Heidelberg, Leiden, Montpellier. Stras-

CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS

bourg. Oxford, Paris (the garden there

The system

now

is

famous and popular Jardin des


Plantes), Uppsala and Amsterdam, to
name only a few. All of them were linked
with universities where medicine was
taught. In London, the Chelsea Physic
Garden was founded by the Worshipful
the

Society of Apothecaries in 1673:


on the same site today.

it

still

of plant classification estab-

by Carl Linnaeus in his Genera


Plantarum and Critica Botamca of 1737 was
a harbinger ofthe new attitudes. Linnaeus
lished

in effect formalized a

new

scientific lan-

guage - botanical Latin. Each plant was


described by two separate names: one. the
generic

name

given

first

identified

THE BEGINNINGS OF TRADE

which the plant belonged,


that is, a group with common structural
characteristics; the second name, of the

One consequence ofthe age of exploration,


inaugurated by Christopher Columbus'

from

flourishes

discovery of central America in 1492, was


an increase in the number and varietv of
imported herbs and spices available in

Europe. The English in India and Ceylon


and the Dutch in the East Indies were the
main suppliers, and London became the
centre of the world spice trade, keeping
this position until the early

years of the

twentieth century, when New York superseded it. Xor were herbs, spices and plants
of all kinds the only imports from the Xew

World; great

was taken in the


remedies practised by the native inhabitants. Nicholas Monardes. a physician from Seville, was one of the first to
interest

describe these. His three books, published


in

24

Spain

in

1569,

1571 and

1574. were

the class

to

individual species, distinguished the plant


all its

fellows within the

same

class.

In his Philosophica Botanica of 1751 Linas a group of species

naeus defined a genus

constructed organs
and arranged in a similar way later he
published rules for the formulation of a
generic name. Though changes have since

possessing

similarly

been made

upon which the


made, the principle of

in the bases

classifications are

Linnaeus' system is still in operation.


Indeed, it is now obligatory throughout
the world.
Thus by the mid-eighteenth century, it
was possible for the first time to disting-

manner.
might have given
the same plant widely differing names.
For instance, the Autumn Crocus, used as
uish specific plants in a scientific
Before, different writers

remedy against gout, was given no less


seven Latin names by different

than

herbalists during the sixteenth century. In

addition, it was known by at least half a


dozen names in English and by a similar
number in most ofthe different European

languages.

The new svstem made

it

im-

possible, at least for trained botanists, to

confuse different plants.


it

also identified

many

More important.
previous mistakes

and misconceptions, thus enabling herbalists to refine and extend their skills and
knowledge.

Although herbalists of course benefited


from Linnaeus' work, in as much as it
helped all those associated in one way or
another with plants, in another, wider,
sense it helped to speed the decline ofthe
herbal

tradition

and

to

establish

the

CLASSIFICATION

between botany and medicine.


Botanists were interested in all aspei is ol
plants, rather than merely those that had

division

value as herbs.

From

the late eighteenth

century, and especially throughout the


nineteenth, plant-collecting expeditions

were mounted, and plant-hunters


ally out

of the best

s<

ientific

sometimes spurred on b\ desire


mercial gain
ously

unknown,

for

roamed over man)


oi at least

comprevi-

uninvestigated,

parts ol the world, sometimes


ing,

usu-

motives, but

accompany-

lew steps
on other occasions onk
many famous explorers. he\
,i

behind,

and other botanical writers

at

home

than merel)
have medical value.
rathei

ol

those thought

frequently administered as a sedative for

MEDICINE

was the- Second World War,


however, during which traditional sources
of plant drugs dried up (quinine from

to

shell-shock.

At the same time, medical

science-

was

moving in quite different directions. The


slow development of chemical and biochemical techniques during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries gradually
enabled scientists to isolate and then to
manufacture the chemical substances previously administered in plant form. Plain
material was never entirely rejected, but
nevertheless it came to be considered old
fashioned and in some way second class
None th<- less, even today, the orthodox
medical

ed flora rather than heibals. sc ienstudies of all the plants ol an an a

|)ioc|uc
tific

THE ROOTS OF MODERN

profession

relies

extracted from plants

on

substances

digitoxin from the

Foxglove and morphine from the Opium


Poppy, for example. During the First
World War, inn tine ol Valerian was

It

Malaysia for malaria, for example), that


provided the impetus for the search for
alternative chemical synthetic drugs.
Alter the war, an enormous programme
ol research and development, much of it
carried out by international drug companies, gave- us the wide range of antibiotics available today.

Even the most dedicated and

skilled

herbalist found himself gradually denied

work of modern medicine


be divided among the drug
which became ever larger

a role as the

slowly

came

to

companies,
from the mid-nineteenth century
wards, who manufactured, doctors,

on-

who
25

HISTORY

}
remedies and is
slowly realizing that they have by no
means been entirely superseded by medical science. To begin with, actual plant
material is still used to a far greater extent
than many people are aware - in 1968,
some 3 per cent (over 41 million items) of
interest in the old herbal

prescriptions in the United States con-

tained crude herbs. Conferences have


examined the role of traditional medicine
in contemporary society, and increasing
notice

is

being taken of the experience of

the Third World, both in regard to those


nations'
its

own medical development and

to

application in the industrialized world.

In this context, Chinese practice


ally interesting:

acupuncture

is

is

especi-

practised

alongside western medicine, neither tradition

dominating

at

the expense of the

other. In herbaria throughout the world, a


vast

store

much, no

of information

doubt, merely native folklore but some


surely of enormous importance - noted by
plant-collectors
ally

is

only

now being gradu-

tapped and collated

(it

took research-

and a half years to survey the


collection at Harvard University; they
ended with almost 6000 notes of interest,

ers four

revealing new information of value not


only to medical scientists but also to those
active in the fields of nutrition

taxonomy and entomology


the Herb Society has started
national

Above: Stripping
tree to

the

300 years

is

used

between

to treat
its

and the
World War it was the only effective
remedy. The tree is found principally in

introduction to western medicine

tropical South America, as well as in

Asia.

who

dispensed.

were forbidden to practise (although, no doubt, in


remote country areas, remedies continued
to be dispensed - part of the continuing
In

some countries

'unofficial'

herbalists

tradition

of herbalism),

in

work was frowned on and


came to be dismissed as in some way
'cranky' (though schools of homeopathy
others their

thrived and, in the United States, a school

of physiomedicalism
latter part of the

flourished

in

the

nineteenth century).

MEDICINE IN THE TWENTIETH

CENTURY
Today,

century, the

quarter of the twentieth

dominance of what might be

termed chemical medicine is indisputable.


the less the medical profession - and,
beyond it, an increasingly concerned and
informed lay public - is taking a growing

None

26

up a

herb centre with a botanical

This then points to the way ahead. No


one suggests that the clock should be
turned back and the advances of modern
science be ignored, nor that the old folklore remedies have any credibility merely
despite
by virtue of their longevity. Yet
all the mystery and charlatanism that
have surrounded herbalists and their work
- surely we should not ignore the wisdom
accumulated and found effective over

many

centuries.

Right : Interior view of a pharmacy or


apothecary's shop at Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia,
thought to be one of the oldest in Europe.
Such shops flourished in medieval Europe and
dispensed a wide variety of medicines.

Between

in the last

to build

which will eventually provide


data for a computerized collection of
literary and scientific references to herbs.
Research centres have also been established in China, Germany, Holland, Poland
and the United States.

First

prescribed, and chemists,

and plant

In England,

garden

bark oj the Cinchona

obtain quinine, which

malaria - in the

the fifteenth

and

seventeenth

centuries they were the centres


practice. Doctors

would meet

of medical
their patients at

pharmacy where the drugs they prescribed


would be made up and sold by the
apothecary. The word 'pharmacy' comes
from the Greek word for drug.
the

KK

n
I'll

Jul

11

$*

^v^w
*cjS"

:vs^-""-n<c.*c

5s*-

IPS

'

''

The biology and


chemistry of plants
sH

"-.

Most herbs belong to the relatively highly


developed class of living organisms known
as flowering plants, but nearly all tindivisions of the plant world include at
least a number of herbs. They are different from other plants only in that they
being nutritious to
are beneficial to man
good flavouring agents or effective
medicines because they happen to contain

eat,

certain 'active constituents'. This section


sets out the evolutionary interrelationships
of the plant kingdom and explains the
basic plant anatomy and physiology which
is essential lor an understanding of herbs

THE BIOLOGY OF PLANTS


There are two

(lasses of living things on


animals and plants. Both owe
their existence to the presence of an cxtrcinelv complicated chemical substance
this

plaint

known as deoxynbose nucleic acid DNA


which has the remarkable ability of being
able to replicate itself from smaller chemicals in

vicinity. Ibis material

its

house the genes, and


see

shall

later,

organism.

The

all

it

is

said to

controls, as

the activities of

DNA

molecules

ol

the

I.rjl

As

this

Bumble Bee

collects nectar

jiom a Siottish 'Hustle, pollen nibs


its

legs which become involuntary

pollinators.

off onto

may be

looked upon as the

first

strand of

DNA which happened to be formed in the


'primeval soup' and then replicated

itself.

This single molecule subsequently developed into a unicellular organism by


enclosing its own controlled environment
around itself, within a cell-wall. There are
still present today a number of unicellular
organisms exactly like those original ones
from which all living things evolved. We
know that there have been two main
routes of evolutionary development, one
resulting in plants and the other in
animals. As will be explained later, the
fundamental difference between the two
classes is the way in which they obtain
their food, but first we should examine the

way

in

which a plant grows.

considering

In
herbs,

we

the

basic

biology of

are concerned mainly with the

higher plants.

They can be recognized by

we

the greenness of their aerial vegctativ e

the

parts this characteristic separates chemic-

all

and
minute variations in the composition
of this material determine the type of
organism that results.
Lite, then, is literally dependent on the
presence of this DNA. The original oceans
contained millions of organic and inliving things are essentially similar,

organic substances formed by the action


of heat, light and electric storms on the
air and minerals. The first living thing

from the lower, and


plants themselves from animals
the
possession of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is

ally the higher plants

which enables plants to build


body of cells from inorganic
elements. Each body will vary in size,
depending upon the species, from microscopic algae to the- huge California!] redwoods which are certainly the biggesl
living things on earth. Growth depends
upon cell enlargement and division, both
of which are made- nutritionally possible
l>\ the actions of roots and the leaf activity.
the catalyst

up

their

29

BIOLOGY
The

structure of plant leaves

cell

is

with wide intercellular


spaces. Filtering through them is a constant stream of air brought in through
small pores or stomata which are normally
situated on the undersides. Young green
stems also possess stomata. Oxygen is

open

largely

taken from the air for the respiration


process characteristic of all living things.
chlorophyll, however, which

The green

is

apart from the upper and

in all leaf cells

lower epidermal layers, promotes reacenabling the small amount of


tions,
carbon dioxide in the air to be utilized.
This is combined with the water brought
up from the soil to produce usable foods
in the form of carbohydrates. The process
is

known as photosynthesis,

ing

up

simplified process,

nutrition

literally 'build-

presence of

the

in

The

light'.

upon which

all

plant

and hence ultimately animal


is based, can be shown as:

foods as well)

light

6C0 +6H
2

^ C 6 H 12

water

carbon

glucose

+6

oxygen

(a sugar)

dioxide

The energy needed

to

power the process

comes from sunlight. Certain species of


plants are adapted to live in shady
habitats and this is usually reflected in
their larger, thinner leaves which can
utilize the weaker energy source. Once

made

often starch - in roots or tubers.

The enormous

variation in plant forms

can thus be seen

and what

it

climate (that

differentially stained, transverse

shows

the outer cork fat the top)

phloem (dark pink) and


(

mauve)

as
1

30

of a tree trunk (left), magnified

The

the inner

layers in the

the

xylem

xylem are known

annual rings. The main water-conducting

wood -

lements of the

magnified

the vessels (right)

times.

375

is,

existence.

green

fall

into

ex-

products of that unceasing

tinct are the

search for efficiency and effectiveness in

any given habitat which must accompany


success as an organism. 'Survival of the
fittest' is no mere Darwinian catchphrase

temperature, availability

Plants

where the chlorophyll, although present,


is masked by the presence of another pigment - Purple Sage and Purple Basil are
typical examples
and those which have
developed a cuckoo-like existence by
living either on the decomposing remains
of their fellows (saprophytes) or directly,
as parasites upon other living plant or

animal hosts. All fungi come into these


two categories: mushrooms are in the
former group while others, such as various
diseases, fall into the latter.

as facultative parasites,

Some of these,

have the extra-

ordinary ability to live saprophytically on


the remains of the host they have themselves parasitically killed.

Those that die

with the host which they themselves have


probably killed are described as obligate
parasites.

the

and

which are not


two main categories those

their

The range of plants alive today and


number of species that have become

as a response to habitat

offers in soil nutrients

of water and especially light).


Greenness, then, is typical of the more
highly evolved members of the plant kingdom and, at the same time, essential for

30

times,

the simple sugars can be trans-

located around the plant or stored in some

form

Above
section

but a basic fact of

life

compounded upon

competition. This teeming diversity within the plant

kingdom has been

man's existence from the

a part of

earliest times,

notably as a basic source of food, but even


at a very early stage man recognized that

had the power to heal and


As a knowledge of plants
with medicinal powers became of more
certain plants

others to harm.

than local importance, a comprehensive


popular knowledge developed which has
come down to us from classical times.
This produced the beginnings of classification and nomenclature which are still
developing today. Both aspects might
seem to be of only academic interest but
this is far from the case. Unless it is possible
to refer individually to the approximately
342,000

different

and

species

of flowering

6000-odd species of
ferns, or to the almost innumerable algae,
fungi and mosses, no knowledge can be

plants

to

the

successfully disseminated

must be suspect.

and

all

reference

CLASSIFICATION
CLASSIFICATION AND

NOMENCLATURE
The

first

attempt

to classify living things

was made by Theophrastus

in the fourth

century B.C. He classified plants as either


herbs, shrubs or trees. The word 'herb'
here does not, of course, have present-day
implications but merely relates to the
overall size of the plant.
step in classification

A very significant

was made with the

publication in 1753 of Species Plantarum bv


Carl Linnaeus. His system, largely restricted

to

the flowering plants,

noted

differences in the form of flowers. This

was 'artificial' in as much


as variation of one particular character,
namely flower structure, often does not
necessarily indicate any real or 'natural'
affinity. It was not until the publication of
Darwin's theory on evolution that the idea
was fully conceived that living organisms
might be related to each other by descent,

classification

that

is

to say

that certain present-day

organisms share common ancestors. We


have seen already that all living things
have arisen from similar DNA molecules
and as modifications were made to these
original molecules, so branching of the
evolutionary tree occurred.

Some

of these

primitive organisms developed the ability


to

produce certain photosynthesizing pig-

ments, notably those organisms known


now as the blue-green algae. Many simple
green algae survive in fresh and salt waters
today and there is evidence from fossils of
the Pre-Cambrian period that similar
plants existed over one thousand million
years ago. Certain of these original
organisms gradually acquired the ability
to live outside their first environment - the

oceans - and slowly began to colonize


estuaries and mud-flats and then finally

became land-living. Profound structural


and physiological changes were required
and such development were concerned
mainly with the conservation of water.

Modern classification

based on ancestry will


considerably more in-

classification

obviously

yield

formation about the relationships between


plants than one based on similarities of
certain morphological characters, and the
former is the main criterion used in
modern systems of classification. Morphology is not completely disregarded, however. Indeed, with modern analytical
instruments, such as the electron microscope, fine structural differences may be
of use in clarifying certain relationships.
Similarly, recent advances in techniques
of chemical analysis have made it possible
for the presence or absence of certain
chemical substances in plants to be used
for classification purposes. Such taxonomic knowledge may help in the search for
more useful herbs; if, for example, a
medicinally useful plant is known to
possess a certain tvpe of chemical constituent as its active ingredient, a search
in closely related plants, which probably
also contain similar (though not necessarily identical) substances,

discovery of a

the

plant

may

lead to

with similar

useful pharmacological actions, but, for

example,

undesirable

less

side-effects.

way from
undergoing constant
revision as more and more data comes to
come

Classification has

Theophrastus and

a long

is

light.

current classification of the plant


17 initial divisions. It begins

kingdom has

with the bacteria which are the simplest


and therefore probably evolutionarily the

most primitive, and it proceeds in ascending order (in developmental and hence
to the flowering
group, although the
most obviously visible and valuable to

terms)

evolutionary

The

plants.

latter

man, by no means encompasses

all

plant

life.

The

bacteria possess neither chloro-

phyll nor an obvious nucleus in their unibodies,

cellular

and

their

relationship

with the animal kingdom is very close.


The next eight divisions make up what we
generally term the seaweeds. These are
the algae, varying from single-celled
organisms that can move around by
movements of their special whip-like outgrowths called cilia, to the green covering
on ice bark or to the incredibly diverse
marine flora, some of which can be almost
as large as terrestrial trees. A connection
1

/.///.

.Hiding

and gains some

is

own

its

0/ the hint

which

fViscum album J

Mistletoe

parasitt

of

its

is

a temi-

nourishment by

roots directly into the tissue

eithei

deciduous

in this ins,

01 e;ciieeii.

n Silvei

Maple

Acer saccharinumj.
3'

BIOLOGY
can be noticed immediately these simple
plants are not able to conserve moisture
well and so must live in water or in damp,
shady places.
The Mycophyta - moulds, mildews and
mushrooms - are all fungi. Unlike the
algae they cannot photosynthesize because
they do not contain any chlorophyll,
which accounts for their parasitic or
:

Classification of the Plant

Kingdom

Divisions

Bacteriophyta (9 orders)

Cyanophyta

(4)

Pyrrophyta (4)

Euglenophyta (1
Chrysophyta (6)
Chlorophyta (1 1

Algae-

saprophytic modes of existence.


Lichens have an unusual position in the
classification order in that each species is
a symbiotic combination of an alga and a

Chlorochytridiales

Phaeophyta (Brown Seaweeds) [Gelidium]


Rhodophyta (Red Seaweeds)

We

fungus.

Myxophyta
Acrasiophyta
Lichenes [Cetraria]

Fungi-

Mycophyta

(4 Classes, 33 Orders) [Yeasts. Ergot.

Fomes]

see

them usually

grey.

as

yellow or brown circles on rocks, and, in


areas of the world where humidity is high,
lichens can attain considerable proportions.

Liverworts

and Mosses

The

Hepaticae (5)

Bryophyta_

Musci

(1

5)

Lycopsida (club-mosses) [Lycopodium]


Ferns and

Pteridophyta-

Bryophyta and are the lowest generally


noticed level in any

[Dryopteris.

Ophioglossum]

Higher

Cycadales
L Ginkqoale
kgoales

Cycadopsida-f
Coniferophyta

(Gymnospermae)

Coniferales (5 fams)
[Pinus. Juniperus]

Coniferopsida

Taxales (2 fams)
Gnetales (3 fams)
[Ephedra]

community of plants.

in the evolutionary

usually in stature, too,


fern-allies:

Seed-bearing

come

(Dicotyledons)

/lagnoliophyta

plants

[over
44 orders-|_3oo Families

(Angiospermae)
Liliopsida
_

Herb examples

in

fover
(Monocotyledons; 10orders -L60 Families
_

order and

the ferns

the Pteridophyta.

and

They can
some trees

be tiny plants or as large as


(though the trunks of tree-ferns are not
composed of real wood, but compressed
Left

Each main

kingdom

is

division

of the plant

divided into classes, orders,

tribes, families

and genera. Such a

classification reflects origins, relationships

and evolutionary progress from

Magnoliopsida_
Higher flowering

liver-

Psilotinae

Filicopsida (true ferns)

plants

and

types of mosses

Sphenopsida
Equisetinae (Horsetails) [Equisetum]

fern allies

many

worts follow next. These are still humble


plants needing, in most cases, much
moisture to survive. They comprise the

the

most

primitive algae to the higher flowering plants.

Below from

left to right

Different small

fungi -fruiting bodies of a Penicillium; a


young root tip in symbiotic association with
a mycorrbxzal fungus

Mucor.

a black

saprophytic mould.

sporangium

spores

developing

sporangium

hyphae

32

of the

mycelium

LICHENS

foliose
general view

frond-bases

and

fruticose

root-like

growths

and

are invariably leafy in habit.

Of

compacted hyphae

vertical section

the earlier groups only one or two

cross section

have higher plants, and so their world


is greatly circumscribed by external factors. A similar rough comparison may be
made within the animal kingdom

as

mushrooms and yeasts


by man. Although few

ferns

molluscs with

are of use as loods or in any other

utili-

The last two major groups of this plant


kingdom classification arc visually and

useful fungi

cultivated
tarian

used

way
as

exception)

{Dryopteris flix-mas

treatment

many

are

are

which

is

worms is an
grown as objects oi
for

beauty. Bacteria, algae and bryophytes


can usually reproduce themselves by a

by fragmentation
by sexual means; this helps in
classification. Ferns, however, have

vegetative process
as well as
their

a special

method of reproduction

ing a rather complicated life-histoi

involv\

ru

which develop and are shed like


dust from underneath the fern-fronds

spores

germinate, not into a recognizable fern


plant, but into a flat plate <>l green tissiir
which resembles a liverwort. This pro-

produces male and female


sexual organs, the combination of whose
gametes reproductive cells eventually
thallus in turn

develops into a typical fern of the species.


All the plant groups so lar mentioned,
although su( ceeding in their damp, if not

mammals,

economically by

for instance.

Above

Lichens consist of two plants, an

alga and a fungus living in partnership. The


green alga makes food for the fungus which
in turn provides

most important
to man
though the interdependence of
all plant and animal communities should
never be forgotten, as no one group can be
disregarded just because it seems to have
no immediate economic relevance. These
two groups, the Gymnospcrms and the
Ant^iosperms, are the seed-bearing plants.
Gymnosperms include cycads (a feu
tropical palm-like trees) but mainly confar the

lichens are shrubby while crustose lichens

form fat
consists

crusts on rocks or trees.

which enclose the algal


layers

of the

diversity of this

Each of the

dom

possesses

Angiosperms are the highest (evoluspeaking flowering plants whose


development has in many ways been conditioned by the need to ensure pollination

classes,

with specific functions within the organism

tion

and continuation of the

species.

The

upper

group

is

and

legion

is

17

groups

in the plant king-

many, usually thousands,

of different organisms. Since Darwin, the


belief that each was an individual creation

related

the flowers with consequent reproduc-

cells in the

discussed later.

their berry-like fleshy fruits.

of

type

lichen.

continuation

tionarilv

Each

of strands, called hyphae, offungus

of the invaluable conifers so named


because the majority develop their seeds.
not in flowers, but in the axils of woody
(ones'
those of Pine, Cedar, Spruce and
Kir are very familiar. Less obviously
'coniferous' are Yew (Taxus baccata) and
the Maidenhair tree [Ginkgo biloba) with

sist

actually watery, habitats, arc not vn\


highly evolved. This implies that the)
have not developed the range ol organs

moisture and shelter for the

alga. Foliose lichens are leafy, fruticose

has not held credence. As

each plant

is

background

we have

the product of

its

seen,

genetic

affected, gradually, over mil-

lions of years,

by

its

necessity to classify

environment. The
to slot each into

and

the divisions already described requires a

smaller and

into

groups

through

sub-classes,

tribes, sub-tribes

and

smaller

subdivisions,

sub-orders,

orders,
families.

Such

archical placings have been built

hier-

upon

study and research over centuries but as


classification depends utterly

clature

(it

upon nomen-

has to be possible to

relet

to

33

BIOLOGY
something by name
low)

it is

for discussion to fol-

now universal practice to go back

only as far as the eighteenth century to


Linnaeus. In his Species Plantarum, as well
as offering a form of classification, he also

introduced a method for the naming of


plants which has been adopted as standard. His book listed and described all the
plants known at that time. He gave a
two-part name to each, one for its genus
(the generic name) followed by a species

name

(specific epithet).

the plant's

Hellebore

name,

for

The two make up

example, the Green

Helleborus

is

(genus)

viridis

(species). A plant (or animal) species can


thus be referred to by a combination of

words which belong to it and it alone.


Universality was and still is assured by the
use of Latin.

To

be absolutely correct,
such botanical names are followed by the
names of the botanist who first described
the species. Thus the Green Hellebore

THE STRUCTURE OF PLANTS


A prime factor in the success of the flowering (and hence of the seed-bearing) plants

extraordinary diversity of
of species, although
great, cannot compare with that of the
lower plant groups but their dominance
in most habitats is paramount. This will
lies

their

in

form.

The number

be discussed more fully when the adaptation of plants to their environment is


considered. Some aspect of diversity of
form is exhibited by almost every species.
Indeed, it is largely these differences of
form which, as we have seen, have been
used to give a plant its specific status. Even
though every plant specimen is a living
individual and as such is subject to
biological variation, each individual of a
single species maintains enough characteristics of that species to be able to breed
successfully with others of the same species

among

its

community.

The

destiny of an organism

lies in its

part in the successful continuance of the


species. Atropa belladonna is a herb which

grows best on calcareous


shade.

Under

soils in

the half-

these ideal conditions a

strong healthy plant

is formed (that is, the


conditions are good for the health of the
plant as an individual), but, concomitant
with this, the plant makes luscious black

berries

which contain the seeds which

germinate

to

of the plant species. What is good for the


individual must also be good for the
species. Breeding or reproduction is the

end

to

which

all

life-cycles,

plant

animal, are conditioned.

Below

Parts of a generalized plant. All

flowering plants have the same general

arrangement of their parts but individual


to their organs vary
,

modifications

enormously.

should properly be referred to as Helleborus viridis Linnaeus (often abbreviated

toL).
terminal

which we would recognize


as being identical - all the Green Hellethus have
bores, to retain our example
binomial.
Other
plants,
for
the same
Stinking
Hellebores,
are
example the
similar enough to the green ones to be
placed in the same genus {Helleborus) but
have their own species name - foetidus.
Still more plants have enough similar
characteristics to be placed in the same
All the plants

family (the next highest ranking in the


hierarchy) as the hellebores but not in the

same genus, such as Monkshood (Acomtum


napellus) and the Common Buttercup
{Ranunculus

acris).

bud

flower

peduncle

lamina

shoot

leaf

petiole
stipule

All these plants are in

the family Ranunculaceae.

By a similar process of comparison, this


time with other families, these Ranunculaceous plants are placed in the order
Tubiflorae, along with 25 other families,
and the order Tubiflorae in the class
Sympetalae. Sympetalae is a class within
the

subdivision

Dicotyledones,

in

the

division Angiospermae.

Cultivar

is

soil line

the term for a category,

within the same species, of distinct culti-

vated

sorts.

They are

lateral root

usually referred to as

Hybrids
in seed catalogues.
between species of the same or even different genera occur and these are indicated by an x sign, for example, Tilia x
europaea, being the hybrid derived from
T. cordata and T. platyphyllos An inter-

varieties

system of rules now governs


nomenclature.
The necessity for this seemingly very
complicated system of nomenclature is
national

that correct botanical


consistent worldwide.

34

names are thus

beginning of
root hairs

will

provide the next generation

lateral root

or

PLANT STRUCTURE
The

life-cycle of a flowering plant be-

Already diversification
may be a huge cocoA
seed
apparent.
is
de-mer of the Seychelles weighing several
kilograms, the mustard-seed used in the
Bible to illustrate a tiny measure, or the
gins with the seed.

seeds of certain

even smaller dust-like


orchids

and begonias. Each

seed, regard-

less of its size, contains the vital ability to

continue its species for a further generation. It bears the full genetic complement
of

its

parents,

making

it

what

it

will be,

similar to, but not necessarily identical

with, those parents.


that

do occur take

Any slight

their

differences

chance

in the race

variant that helps, however


infinitesimally, an individual to survive
for

life.

habitat than

otherwise
chance of
stands
better
fellows
a
identical
generation,
subsequent
continuing into a
better in its

and

in so

its

is

less

to

likely

The

dispersal

growing

of these methods of seed

prevent young plants from

too close to their parents but rather

new ground.

colonize

to

object

is to

although diversity of form is extreme the


basic parts have the same functions. The
organs of an angiosperm may be classified
as vegetative or reproductive. Vegetative
organs are those structures of the plant
which are concerned with growth, maintenance and development such as roots,
stems and leaves. Those parts of the plant
which are concerned with the production
of the next generation are classified as the
reproductive parts and include the flowers

which give

rise

the seed-containing

to

The

root of an angiosperm

is

are either utilized in the roots themselves

the

Variegated plants, for example, have


reduced photosynthetic capabilities and
only the efforts of gardeners in propagating them vegetatively keep them alive.
Once the seed has found a suitable environment the new generation can begin
to grow. The seed-coat opens and a first
root emerges to give initial anchorage, and
then a shoot appears to reach for the light.
By the time this happens unicellular root
hairs are abstracting water and salts in
solution from the soil. As it breaks above
ground, the shoot's greenness develops

or conducted via the vascular tissue to

other parts of the plant. In addition, they

may have

certain specialized functions:


food storage, especially as starch (as in
Taraxacum officinale, the Dandelion), or as
aerial roots they

may

serve to support the

plant either by growing downwards at an


angle from the stem to the soil (maize, for
example) or by being especially modified
as climbing roots to anchor stems to walls
and rocks Hedera helix Ivy for instance
(

album

some

Further,

species

Mistletoe)

such

Viscum

as

which penetrate the vascular

this first growth-spurt is obtained


from the food-store within the seed itself,
produced while the seed was still developing within the fruit on the parent plant.
From this moment the plant develops and
eventually attains maturity. As with any
living organism its life is beset with dangers and difficulties: problems of competition, availability of food, unpredictability of weather, inevitability of predators. Yet if only because of the sheer
number of any one species generally in-

plant host.

The stem is that part of the plant which


rises above the ground and, together with
the leaves, forms the shoot. Most stems are
erect aerial organs but some remain
underground and still others creep along
the surface. The stem typically serves as a
mechanical support for the leaves, flowers
and fruits; a pathway for conduction of
newly made- food to other parts of the
plant, perhaps for storage, and of stored

volved, success for that species

manufacture of the food

is

assured.

Only geological cataclysms and man's


interference -

ever before

now

a greater danger than

are likely to cause extinction.

Structure of the typical plant


Depending upon the species concerned
vegetative growth continues by extension
of the primary shoot and root structures
fall growth, of course, is by continual
ell
elongation and division) which branch
and branch again. In a 'typical' plant
aerial growth is paralleled by that underground growth which cannot be seen. But
(

food to

stems

its

and

required

site;

tissues

site

itself

for
in

the

green

as a potential reproductive

Certain underground stems


be used for food storage as tubers,
rhizomes, bulbs and corms. Modifications to aerial stems include stolons, ten-

may

and thorns.

Leaves, the characteristic photosynthe-

organs of higher plants, have their size.


shape and structure expressly designed to
promote maximum contact with light and
air. Another important leaf activity is
transpiration, the loss of water vapour
tic

through the leaves.

dispersal

of a

structure.

drils

water

have parasitic roots

and photosynthesis begins. The eneruv


for

dispersal

a subterranean organ whose functions are

reproduce.

to

is

strawberry
cranesbil

animal

typically

A debilitating variant

survive

this

cotoneaster

fruits.

to anchor the plant to its growing medium


and to take up water and other nutrients
from the soil. These absorbed materials

doing gradually changes the

characteristics of the species

process of evolution.

Right

coconut

Leaves, like stems and roots, vary in

many

example, in their shape and


size, their arrangement on the stem and
their vein patterns. Certain basic features
are, however, distinguishable. The leal
blade or lamina is attached to the stem by
means of a continuation of the stem itself,
the stalk or petiole. At the base of the
petiole are axillary buds which produce
secondary branches or flowers or both.
respects

for

Sometimes small

leaf-like structures, called

In some leaves, leaf


and the leaves are said
The blades of some leaves are

stipules, are found.

petioles are absent


to be sessile.

deeply indented at the margins or edges


while others are completely separated
into individual parts called leaflets. II the

lamina remains in one piece even though


deeply lobed, the leaf is referred to as a
simple leal. Complete segmentation of the
35

BIOLOGY
blade into
leaf.

leaflets

produces a compound
different examples

There are many

of both types.

Flowers are specialized branched stems


with lateral appendages. The flower is
supported by a stem or pedicel which enlarges terminally to give a receptacle, to

which the

floral parts are

attached.

The

sepals (collectively forming the calyx) are

joined to the receptacle and within them


are found the petals (or corolla Together
the calyx and corolla are termed the
perianth. The next group of appendages
)

are the stamens (the male parts, collectively called the androecium) each consisting of a

narrow

filament, topped by an

anther which produces the pollen. Within


these, at the centre of the flower, is the
female reproductive structure, the gynoecium. The basic unit of this is the carpel.

At the base is the ovary containing the


ovules which develop into the seeds. The
ovule is surmounted by a style culminating in a stigma. Extraordinary variation

of the relative size and arrangement of


these structures is observed. Some (lowers
so-called perfect flowers
have both
male and female parts, but other plants
havi male flowers which are distinct from
male ones. When both types ol
the
flowers are found on one plant, the plant
is said
to be monoecious (for example.
Cucumber) when they are on separate
It

plants, the species


(for

is

known

as dioecious

example, Holly).

After fertilization, the flower structure


develops into a fruit containing the fertilized ovules or seecis. The embryo within
the seed consists of a short axis with one or

two seed-leaves or cotyledons which are


food stores. After germination, sometimes
the seed-leaves stay below ground (hypogeal germination), but in other species

they break through the soil surface to act


as the primary photosynthesizers (epigeal
germination). Monocotyledonous plants

produce only one cotyledon, dicotyledonous two. In addition the mature


embryo contains a plumule which gives
rise to the shoot and the radicle which
becomes the root system. The seed is
surrounded by a testa or seed-coat.
The wall of the immature ovary gives
rise to

the

main

structure of the fruit-wall

- the pericarp - which

is

generally divided

Right: Diagram of a generalized flower (all


flowering plants have the same general
arrangement )

which may be defined, simply,

as a specialized branched stem with a

number

of modified lateral appendages. The enormous


variations in size, shape

and colour are

often attributable to the plant's adaptation to

a particular method of pollination.

36

into three,

more or

less distinct, layers:

and the endocarp. A very wide range of seeds and fruits


exists. The variation in form and character
the exocarp, the mesocarp

of each of the organs

is

useful in identifica-

tion and a brief description of each main


type will be found in the glossary.

be realized that every plant is


adapted to its habitat. The
available resources of nutrients derived
from the soil (both of organic and inorganic origins) restrict or promote the
It will

perfectly

dominance of certain groups.


do the amounts of water and the

success or
So, too,

vagaries

Because

of climate.

they

are

plants they are able to harness air

and

sunlight. Herbs, as they have

defined, are plants used by

come

man

in a

to

be

num-

ber of different ways: only in a few cases


does this detract from their efficiency as
organisms. Their botanical classification,

however,

human

is

not necessarily determined b\

usage. Certain plant families con-

numbers of herb
plants. The Umbelliferae, which includes
Parsley, Dill, Caraway, Coriander and
Angelica, and the Labiatae with Sage,
Thyme, Mint, Savory, Rosemary, for
example, have main culinary herbs. The
tain

relatively

Solanaceae

large

include

disproportionate

number of drug plants Mandrake,


monium, Belladonna and Henbane

Stra.

PLANT GROWTH
The

growth are
water, warmth, air and nutrients.

basic necessities for plant

light,

We will see shortly how plant forms


develop in response to the search for these
basic requirements, so making maximum
use of the available resources. Air is the
only essential factor for every phase of
growth of the higher plants except in the
short initial stage of seed germination. In
normal conditions the ramifying root
system possesses myriads of root hairs in
contact with the soil. Each soil 'crumb" is
surrounded by a film of water in which
inorganic salts (the product of the continual weathering of inorganic rocks and
decomposing organic remains; are disThe root-hair wall acts as a
membrane through which water and

solved.

certain dissolved salts can pass. Osmosis,

the process by which two solutions (in this


case cell sap

and

soil

a semi-permeable

water), separated by

membrane

(here, the

root-hair wall) attempt to equalize each


other,

means

that

weaker solutions flow

into stronger ones. In this case, the cell

sap

is

more concentrated and hence


salts) from the soil are drawn
root hair. Its contents are now

the

water and
into the

weaker than those of the adjoining inner


cells

and

so the osmotic flow proceeds

inwards until

it

reaches the conducting

NUTRITION
These are groups of specialized
throughout the plant
whose function it is to convey water and
tissues.

extending

cells

dissolved minerals to all part of the plant

(both the nutrients and the products of


photosynthesis in the green parts). The
sophistication of these tissues is a feature

yffctrlM

/.:,

^K^^^^*

^^

of the morphology of the higher plants.


The conducting or vascular tissues are

capable of permitting nutrient movement


in both directions (that is, both to and
from the roots). In young roots and stems
there are separate strands of xylem taking

pimmmmB'

nutrients

up from the

roots)

and phloem

Ij

(bringing the products of photosynthesis


down). There is considerable variation in
the form of these conducting elements
(vessels

and tracheids are examples) and

may

be used for identification purposes. In more developed (older


this diversity

plants, these tissues exist as rings

xi

^|

^8^mr7nHvTTf ~^yij

^H

^m

^^H

which

develop as the stems and roots enlarge.

The nutrition of plants


For efficient growth plants require a wide
range of nutrients in solution, the main
elements being nitrogen, phosphorus and
potassium. To these are added calcium,
sulphur,

magnesium and

a large

number

of trace elements such as boron, iron,


copper, zinc and

molybdenum which

are

equally essential but in minute quantities


only. Deficiencies of these minor or trace
elements show as physiological diseases;
in excess, however, they can be positively

the crop has been harvested. Decomposi-

Above

tion of the root system with the nodules

kept in the dark

and the bacteria they contain

stem with small leaves

into the soil, so

Surprisingly, although nitrogen

a major constituent of the air with


which most plants are in constant contact,
only a relatively small number of them
can make direct use of this source. Most
nitrogen has to be obtained from nitrogenous compounds in the soil
hence ui
apply ammonium nitrate or sodium
nitrate as fertilizers to supplement what
is already
there. But members of one
plant family in particular, the Leguminosae, have developed a symbiotic
01
mutually beneficialj relationship with
is

certain bacteria (notably Bacillus species


or Rhizobium radicicola) which are able to
this

is

for

with most crops which deplete soil nitrogen. The nodules are clearly visible on any
carefully lifted legume root. Alders and a
few subtropical trees such as Casuarinas
also display this adaptation.

atmospheric nitrogen. The bacsmall nodules grown by the

teria live in

roots of the plant host

and provide

it

in

return with nitrogen. This is why crops of


peas or beans, lor example, positively
benefit the soil

provided that the under-

ground parts are

left

in the

ground

after

with

ted

reddish

tinge.

Phosphorus

energy through photosynthesis


respiration, and without it both

transfers

and

body

reactions in the plant

to take

fail

place properly. Potassium seems to have


a special part to play in carbohydrate

metabolism and a deficiency shows as


pool general development in many parts
ol the plant. Potassium also contributes to
resistance against disease
It is

the

not necessary to

inorganic

and

list all

nutrients

the roles of

which

plants

growing in a balanced soil. The vital part


played by water as a pathway to nutrient
is

also clear.

Water

is

also

biochemical processes
in the plant, including photosynthesis.
Most plants, however, take up more
water than they actually require for these
processes because the essential materials
essential to all the

are generally only present in

very dilute solution, so that a


has to

be-

taken into

the-

the-

lot

soil

in

ofwatei

plant for

it

to

obtain enough of its dissolved salts. This


excess water is transpired from the surlae c
ol

the leaf or

young

and

so has developed a long

- a good example of

a plant growing without light, one of the


necessities for healthy

growth.

stems. Vast

of water pass through the plants in this


way a summer crop of grass, for example,
has been estimated to have transpired
some 500 tons of water per acre
255
tonnes per hectare) between May and
:

July.

The warmth needed

for

plant growth

relates directly to the species naturally

occurring in any one climate. Plants are


seldom killed by cold in their own habitats. When a range of exotics is grown in
a cold climate, however, it can be seen
that the ability to withstand frost is not
necessarily

plants

inherent.

much

greater

Among

primitive

extremes

appear

Certain unicellular algae, for


example-, have- been recorded in Antarctica, while some species of bacteria may
live at 77 C
71 F). In higher plants the
life-cycle is also seen to be directly related
to seasonal temperatures. A similar relationship is observed, in the higher or
lower latitudes, according to the amount
of daylight available. Flowering plants
grow rapidly and seeds germinate in
response- to increased temperature and
day-length. These- growth patterns of
vegetative development leading to flowering and seed production have evolved to
capitalize upon or to work within the
conditions that exist in their nativepossible.

frost.

obtain through their roots to appreciate


the importance of a healthy root svstem

availability

This courgette seedling has been

in contrast

Plants lacking phosphorus appear stun-

Nitrogen is a basic constituent of all


proteins but also of the vitally important
chlorophyll, hence a lack of this elemenl
produces weak, yellowish plants. An
excess of nitrogenous fertilizers results in
lush, sappy growth which is prone to

fix'

becoming available

the next season's crop. This

toxic.

disease.

compounds

nitrogen-containing

useful

releases

amounts

habitats.

The

stimulus for activity

may

however, be a direct one, such as this.


Winter-hardy cereals, for example, flower
not,

BIOLOGY
Left: Tangles

fLaminaria digitataj,

with a smooth stalk and a strap-like blade

which

is slit

into several sections, is one

the oar-weeds.

of
These are brown algae which

are specially adapted to live only in

particular zones along the seashore.

flowering plant divisions are predominant. Flowering plants which

now

live in

water have probably moved back to it


from the land to cope with excessive
terrestrial competition and have, therefore, had to develop very specialized
structures. The floating leaves of waterlilies have stomata on their upper sides,
not mainly on the lower ones as do most
aerial plants.

The

merged water

cells

of the largely sub-

plants,

hydrophytes, are

wide intercellular spaces, for


air is at a premium. If a plant is to succeed
each problem has to be solved. The swamp
large with

cypress of the Florida Everglades, Taxo-

dium distichum, grows snorkel-like structures,


in the

warmth of

the early

summer

be-

cause their seedlings have been subjected


to winter cold. Chrysanthemums only
flower in

autumn

as the night-length in-

creases sufficiently to allow production ol

hormones which in turn


cause the buds to develop. That we now
accept as normal the permanent availability of chrysanthemums, and other
the various plant

crops, out of season,

man's success

is

an indication of

in providing, particularly

in the highly controlled environments of


greenhouses, the exactly right amount of
the basic necessities for growth. Air is enriched with higher concentrations of
carbon dioxide to accelerate photosynthe-

provided or denied,
temperature
is
controlled,
optimal
amounts of water and concentrations of

sis,

extra

light

is

nutrients are given. All these factors must

be contrived to create the balanced


regime that may accelerate, but cannot
fundamentally alter, the growth pattern
of the plant species concerned.

species)

Plants, no less than animals, are the result


of each species' evolutionary response to
its environment. Yet plants complement

and add

to their

environment

in a

way

that animals cannot.

climate which permits forest as a

vegetation climax (so called because this


represents the peak of plant growth and

development;

is

itself

aided by the convapour from

tinual transpiration of water

the highest branches of the trees that form


a forest canopy.

The

soil

the trees to attain maturity

annual
38

leaf-fall

(even

which enables

is enriched by
from evergreen

In

in the root network of the


Within such woodland a stratification of other plants, from shrubs to
mosses, is encouraged and helps to develop
its associated fauna. A fully developed
habitat encourages a great richness ol
plant and animal life. Yet the natural

being held
plants.

balance

ecological

is

very

sensitive

to

man's interference. The aridity of the


Sahara desert today, and the pollution of
much of the Mediterranean coastal areas,
is a reminder of the hazards of careless

human
Not

exploitation.

all

natural environments, however,

permit the attainment of the woodland


climax and yet in the areas of the earth
which are able to provide even a minimum of the necessary requirements for
plant growth, some such growth is always
present. Its form reflects the availabilitx
of the basic necessities and the external
factors that
It

may

limit their utilization.

seems probable that

moved

ADAPTATION TO ENVIRONMENT

and protected from erosion

terrestrial life

very slow evolutionary stages

in

from watery habitats, and thus in plants


the ability to withstand drought can be
seen as a highly developed (and late stage
of this evolution. Thus the world of plants
may be seen as an unbroken continuum
from lake or even sea to desert. Each main
compels plant
habitat
characteristic
species to adapt to it (although the plants
which are successful in this adaptation
may be of widely differing families and of
)

diverse evolutionary origin and age).


This similarity of form in response to the

known

as

pneumatophores. which

protrude above the water level and so


help in obtaining enough air. The mangroves of most tropical swamps have
developed an invaluable seed-dispersal

method: seeds just dropped would fall


into the sea and probably be carried awa\
with little chance of germination. Seeds
of several species thus germinate on the
parent plant, producing a heavy torpedolike first root;

the seedling

falls,

slicing

through the water to stick into, and so


grow in, the mud below.
Bog plants have no difficulty in finding
enough water so long as it is not brackish,
but aeration at the roots presents more of
a problem. The plants of the saline
marshes, halophytes, suffer from physiological drought. Water is available all
around, yet because of its high salt concentration osmotic intake is difficult.
Water-loss must thus be avoided at all
costs and halophytes exhibit similar waterconserving characteristics to desert plants,
where all water is scarce.
Plants which

are

known

grow

best in

as mesophytes.

normal

They

soils

are in-

cluded in a broad band of morphological


types reflecting every sort of habitat and
micro-climate throughout the world. The
great majority of herbs are mesophytic.
In cultivation, however, the individual
requirements of each species have to be
considered: semi-shade and a moist soil
suits Angelica and Sorrel, for example,
while Sage and Basil like full sun and perfect drainage. In general all aromatic

as convergent evolution.

herbs thrive in warmth and sunlight. In


areas of high humidity where plant growth
is at its most concentrated, such as the

In watery habitats the simpler, non-

equatorial jungles, trees will be covered

conditions
habitat

is

prevailing

known

in

particular

ADAPTATION TO ENVIRONMENT
with flowering plants and ferns which
have adapted themselves to enjoy an aerial
life. These so-called epiphytes are especiallv represented in the Orchidacctie for
example, Vanilla) and Bromeliaceae

Pineapple

The

families.

typical plants of desert regions are

They are generally leafless with


stems and deeply
moisture-retaining
thick
the cacti.

stomata to reduce water-loss.


Cacti are good examples of the extreme

sunken

xerophytic

and

condition,

native

are

only to the New World. The problem of


water retention and excessive water-loss
(leading of course to wilting, desiccation
is, however, worldbe a seasonal problem, as in
the Arctic where although there is always
plenty of water, it is unavailable to the
plant in the winter because it is locked
away in the form of ice. Plants have
developed a vast number of ways of minimizing such dangers. Leaves always the
most vulnerable of organs may have
thick, waxy cuticles such as the Bay
Laurel. The woolly covering of many greyleaved shrubs and their colour also helps
to reflect excessive sunlight. Leaves may
be greatly reduced ias in Lavender and
Rosemary or be completely missing
(Ephedra, for example Succulent leaves
Purslane indicate their increased capacity for water storage.
Variation in morphology is also clear
in the type of life a species is programmed
to live, and every possibility exists. Ephemcrals such as Corn Salad rush through

and ultimately death


wide.

It

may

their life-cycle

(that

is

to

sav.

the seed

germinates, develops into the adult plant

which flowers and produces a new generation of seeds) in only a few weeks,

suitable conditions are available.

require a

full

summer

when

Annuals

season. Biennials.

on the other hand, take two years for the


full cycle: during the first year the seed
germinates and develops into a \ egetativc
'body' and an underground storage organ.

The
mer

is used the following sumproduce a flowering spike which


then produces fresh seed. Many vegetables
and herbs do this, for example. Carrot,
Pal nip and Parsley.
1'eiennial plants, which live horn three
to four years to several thousands, have
bifurcated into the herbaceous, which

stored food
to

retire to a resting bulb,

bud

01

some other

inclement seasons

eithei

excessively hot or cold), or the

wood v.

root-stock

in

Shrubs, and especially

trees.

m< rease

theii

vegetative bod) yearly, and this in its turn


has demanded the production of special

strengthening tissues to support the enormous weight of the tree trunks. Similarly
in these cases, special water-conducting

mechanisms within the plant (to convey


water and nutrients from below soil-level
which
to the tips of the highest branches
may be a hundred metres above) have had

Above : Swamp cypress fTaxodium


distichumj, seen here in autumn
coloration, shows adaptation to its marshy

to be developed.

pneumatophores which come above wet

form of body and of lifesi v le a species has evolved, it must be seen


as a preliminary to flowering and sexual
reproduction. The range of flower types
has evolved in parallel with the diversity
of fauna which are available to pollinate
them. Colour, scent, size and season arcgeared to the animate visitors such as
insects and birds and the inanimate wind

water for

Whatever

the'

rain. Efficiency is all and the fact th.it


a plant succeeds in the wild is proof that

and

methods adopted, however bizarre,


u.dk work.
Only distribution of the seeds remains
be considered and the methods are as

the
,k

environment by having modified roots known as

air,

and a

special

soil or

method of seed

germination which avoids losing the seeds in


the sea

where they may fail

to develop.

groups include suitable species which by


trial and error have been discovered to
possess useful properties.

The

alkaloids

which are now used from such species as


Datura stramonium (Thorn Apple) and
Hyoscyamus niger (Henbane) may be byproducts of the plant's normal metabolic
processes or defence mechanisms. 1 1 would
seem that the volatile oils of Rue or

The

Rosemary are in fact intended as a discouragement to browsing animals. Man,


ironic ally, finds them attractive and both
collects them in the wild and cultivates

its

them.

to

varied as those

employed

for pollination.

individual species demonstrates by


existence the efficiency of the whole

organism. Each has reached success and


continues to succeed in its ecological niche
by a constant process of adaptation ovei
many thousands of years.
The- range- of species that man has used
as herbs throughout the world
as food,
medicine or elves is enormous. As already
indicated, almost all of the major plant

It is significant that few herbs are the


product of intensive breeding or, indeed,
selection. They are species that have been
hist collected, then cultivated, and now
even farmed with the development of
horticulture. They have not, however,
been changed genetically from their

original wild form.

39

CHEMISTRY

THE CHEMISTRY OF PLANTS

fundamental point of difference between

We know

plants

that

some plants are

useful in

and animals. The

latter take in

treating certain diseases or in cooking, but

large molecules such as starches, proteins

not sufficient to say that we know that


they work or that they impart pleasing
odours and flavours to food. The reason

and

it is

for their various actions is that they contain certain active chemical substances

and

it

is

these

compounds

that produce

various effects. This section is concerned


with a consideration of what these active

how and why the plant


makes them and how we can best use

materials are,

them. Before discussing the active substances, however, it is necessary to look at


the chemistry of plants in general.

There are a number of similarities


between plants and animals - both are
composed ofcells, for example. The typical
mature plant cell is a very small (about
o.o

to o.ooi

cm

or 0.004 to 0.0004 ins

in diameter), many-sided compartment


enclosed by a cell-wall. Within this wall is

contained the cytoplasm

(in

which most

of the life-giving processes occur) and the


nucleus (which houses the genes and controls all activities

of the

cell).

Most of the

occupied by a cavity or vacuole


containing a watery sap. Some of the
most important components of the cytoplasm are the chloroplasts in which the
plant assimilates its food. This is the

cell

is

(which contain many carbon


atoms), and gradually break them down in
a sort of controlled combustion process,
thus obtaining their contained energy
(required for growth, for example
in
small definite quantities rather than all at
once as in a fire. They then reassemble
these small fragments of the original food
molecules to form their own substance.
Plants, on the other hand, take in from the
air a very small molecule, carbon dioxide,
as their source of carbon and bring together several (sometimes manyi of these
single carbon units, combined with water
from the soil, to make up their own substance, releasing back oxygen into the air
in the process. The energy required for
this conversion is provided by sunlight
which is trapped by the green pigment,
chlorophyll, contained in the chloroplasts. Other pigments, usually yellow.
trap light of slightly different wavelengths
so increasing the efficiency of the conversion of solar to chemical energy. The
initial product of these photosynthetic
reactions is a simple sugar containing six
carbon atoms, glucose, which may then
be used in other reactions or stored as
fats

starch.

Enzymes
Plants are very efficient at carrying out
this process because unlike in the chemical

when

laboratory

a great deal of energy


has to be supplied to cause

(usually heat

a chemical change to take place which

is

very wasteful), reactions in living systems


are controlled by complex protein cata-

enzymes.

called

lysts

These work

by

drastically lowering the energy required


for

each stage in a complicated sequence

of reactions

(like the

process of converting

carbon dioxide to glucose] The protein


of most enzymes is combined in some way
with a metal atom such as iron or manganese which explains why small quan.

of these materials are essential for


healthy growth. If that metal is absent.

tities

enzyme of which it forms a


and the reacwhich that enzyme catalyzes cannot

the particular

part cannot be produced,


tions

proceed so that the chemical constitution


of the plant, hence its development, is
impaired or even stopped. A little energy
still
is
required for enzyme-catalyzed
reactions and this energy is stored in
special chemical bonds high-energy phosphate bonds hence the requirement for
phosphorus. Enzymes are highly specific
materials which can promote only one
small reaction in a complicated sequence
and the overall change from carbon
,

dioxide to glucose requires the presence


of hundreds of closely related enzyme
molecules.

The absence

or malfunction of

one of these means that the reactions


cannot proceed normally. They are also
extremely dependent, among other factors, on temperature
the optimal temperature is usually 37 C or 98 F
The sugars produced by the green

just

tissue in the first stages

of photosynthesis

may

be further metabolized in the same


cell or transported, via the vascular tissue,
to other parts of the plant. They may then
Left: Parts of a typical rigid-walled
cell. ( The cell-wall material

plant
is

mainly cellulose but may be

impregnated with other materials such as


lignin.)

choroplast

B
C

endoplasmic reticulum

nucleolus

E
F

chromatin

nucleus

nuclear

membrane

vacuole

mitochondrion

Golgi membrane

40

cytoplasm

cell membrane
plasma membrane

thickened cell-wall

LIFE-GIVING PROCESSES
Right: The enzyme ( i ) combines with

(2) to form an
This breaks down

certain substrate molecules

activated complex (3)

and

give the products (4)

to

regenerates the

enzyme. Only some molecules will exactly


which explains
'fit' on the enzyme surface
their

high

specificity.

be assimilated

to give, for

example, cellu-

main constituent of plant

lose (the

cell-

important food
walls)
may be used in
or
they
storage material),
important
biothe synthesis of other
chemicals such as proteins (some of which
may be used to make more enzymes),
nucleic acids (which make up part of the
genetic material of the cells - the chromo(an

starch

or

somes) and
A plant

fats.

increases

substance,

its

or

grows, either by enlargement of the existing cells of which it is comprised or by

produce
subsequently
may
which
two further
enlarge and divide themselves. Both
enlargement and division are influenced
by the environment as has been mendivision of certain of these cells to
cells

tioned previously but it is at the biochemical level that control really takes
place.

example, germinate as a
temperature in the
spring because the warmth activates certain enzymes which produce chemical
Seeds,

for

of increased

result

substances whose function

growth by

become important

are to
sion.

An

it

is

on

acting directly

to initiate-

cells

which

centres of divi-

increase in the length ol stems

and roots (as in germination), in the


development of their branching systems
and in the development of lateral growths
such as leaves, Rowers and root hairs is
known as primary growth. The regions ol
extremely active, dividing ells which give
c

these growths

rise to

arc-

called primary

meristems. Secondary meristems also


occur and the most important of these is
known as the cambium. It usually occurs
as a continuous, annular layer ol small
cells from just above the root tip to just
below the stem apex. Lateral division of
these cambial cells inwards towards the
centre- of the stem produces xylem cells.
which conduct water upwards from the
loots.

Outward

nutrients to

all

energy and the energy stored as


phosphate groups ma\ he released

ol
1

'active

cells,

parts of the plant. All cell


elongation
and
requires the utili-

division

zation

same manwhich convex

division in the

ner produces phloem

and so become available- lor carrying out


other processes by a sequence of reactions
which

is

essentially

the-

reverse

breaking

synthesis

tin-

molecules to

much

e>l

photo-

down of

smaller ones

in the-

large
pro-

Above

lack of potassium in the soil

produces browning and death of the leaves of


this

Paeony plant. Other

give

rise to different

may proceed

deficiencies also

diseases but all

may

tually

The

soil

tilled or the fertilizer will be


belli fit the

must be well

unable

ess

takes over as the

is

known

as respiration.

fundamental,

processes

an obvious chemical influence on chlorophyll production as well as inducing


indirect chemical changes which promote
in

inhibited

main growth

Primary and secondary metabolism

Light, vital as an energy source, exerts

flowering

and even-

to

plant.

which

previously

point.

All these(

at other levels

one of the

laterals

generally be rectified by application of the

appropriate fertilizer-

apex, and hence the hormones, are removed by pruning, for example growth

the

Chrysanthemum,

for

example, as has already been mentioned.


In an established plant, cell division and
thus elongation of the stem or branch
occurs at the apical bud because it produces certain growth-retarding substane es
hormones which suppress activity at the
other buds lower down the- stem. If the

(the

literally life-giving,

assimilation

of food,

its

and hence growth)


most plants, and their

digestion, respiration

are

common

to

biochemical control is essentially identical


in all cells (whether they arc on the surface
of a leaf or deep inside a root) of all species
from microscopic, floating seaweeds to the
giant redwoods. For this reason they areknown as primary metabolic processes
and the compounds involved as primary
metabolites.

Most

plants, however,

make other sub-

stances in addition to those they require


4'

CHEMISTRY

..

V->

&

,'

with low osmotic pressures called flavonoids, which happen to be red. A pink
colour thus develops in the leaves. After
some time when the plant has grown and
so needs and can accommodate more
sugar, the red substances are removed by
reconversion into useful sugars so that the
pink hue gradually disappears.

The main types of metabolites


The 'active constituents' of plants may
categorized according

to

their

be
chemical

structure:
Alkaloids are distinguished chemically

by

the fact that they contain a basic nitrogen

atom. An alkaloid-containing plant almost


never contains just one alkaloid but rather
a whole range of closely related chemical
components. Thousands of alkaloids are
known and they are very widespread in
the plant world being present even in
certain fungi.

the

Some

Solanaceous

of the best

group

shows

more may serve a protective function.


Some compounds are extremely toxic
(even in very low concentrations) and a

section through a holly leaf

the 'open' structure

of leaves with
good circulation

large air-spaces to promote

bird, for example, which cats a bcrrv


which contains these substances and as a
result becomes ill soon learns to avoid the
fruit from that particular species: the

of gases. Holly, an evergreen, possesses a


modification to enable it to withstand
drought conditions in winter by having a
thick outer cuticle.

merely to exist and these are often ofver)


complicated structure. They can sometimes be unique to a single species or a

group of very closely related species.


Despite their wide diversity of character
and distribution they all have one thing
in common and that is that their function
in the plant, if they have one at all, is very
poorly understood. It is these secondary
metabolites, sometimes present in an
extremely minute concentration, which
exert

the

physiological

logical effects

on

man and

or

pharmaco-

are responsible

and odours of some


obvious that it is on these
substances that an account of the chemistry of herbs should concentrate.
for the strong flavours

species

and

it is

Biosynthesis

The secondary

may

be

regarded as 'end-products' of metabolism


have an extremely wide range of chemical
structure but their functions are largely
unknown. Some coloured compounds
have an obvious reproductive role in that
they are responsible for the colour of

and the
yellow carotenes of sunflowers are good
examples and hence attract insects which
pollinate and cross-fertilize. Others may
have a role in growth regulation
the
hormones already mentioned while still
flowers (the red flavonoids of roses

42

among other

Deadly Nightshade and Thorn


Apple. Another much more complex
group which includes morphine is found
in certain species of poppy.
Glycosides are compounds which consist of
two parts: a sugar portion attached via a
species,

special

linkage to a non-sugar residue.

chances of survival of the plant are thus

They may be

increased.

action of dilute acid. Probably the most

Some

evidence that

these secondary

substances are concerned, however indirectly, with vital processes is given In


the fact that not

all

parts of those plants

by enzymes or by the

split

important group are those which exert a


powerful physiological effect on heart
muscle
the cardio-active glycosides

which are special

steroids found,

among

which contain these materials have the


same concentration of them. They may.

other plants, in the Foxglove and


the-Valley. Second only to the cardiac

for

example, be concentrated in the bark


Buckthorn) or the fruits (for
example, Caraway). Their concentration,
furthermore, varies with the season (and
this has obvious important consequences
regarding the collection of some medicinal
plants and herbs which will be referred to
later) and even with the time of day. The
concentration of active principles in the

glycosides are those

(as in the

anthraquinone, the purgative substances


of Cascara, Rhubarb, Buckthorn and
Senna.
Saponins are special glycosides which form
stable froths or foams when shaken in
water. Their physiological action depends
on the fact that they break up red blood
haemolysis). The Primula is one of
cells

medicinally useful plants of the family


Solanaceae (particularly the Deadly

the herbs containing saponins.

Nightshade)
metabolites which

are

(atropine and

hyoscine, ibr example) from,

Above: This

known

for

instance

show marked

Lily-of-

compounds based on

mixtures of
oils are complex
quite small molecules which are volatile
Essential

diurnal variation. Another example in


which secondary metabolites may play a

and generally have a pronounced odour.

role in

fundamental metabolism is given


by the so-called 'pink flush' of lettuces.
When growth and photosynthesis is very
active, in young seedlings for example,

many

high concentrations of sugars build up

including Dill, Caraway, Fennel and Anise and the leaves of


certain species of Labiatae including
Peppermint and Thyme). In addition,

increasing the osmotic pressure of the

some

cell

sap to dangerously high levels. If allowed


to proceed the cells could literally explode
at this point certain enzymes are activated
which divert the metabolism to break

down

these sugars to aromatic

compounds

They

are responsible for the flavours of


culinary herbs (for example, the

umbelliferous

fruits

have a therapeutic effect - for


example, oil of Clove is antiseptic.
Mucilages and gums consist of large molecules made up of several hundred individual sugar units linked together to form
chains. They have the special propertv of
oils

EXTRACTION
being able to form gels with water and
thus exert a soothing effect on inflamed

They may

tissue.

also act as laxatives

by

increasing the bulk of the contents of the


intestines and hence induce peristalsis. A
good example is Marshmallow root.
Tannins are complex phenols which react

with protein. Just as a tannin solution is


used to prevent putrefaction of animal
hides by converting them to leather so
may an extract of the Oak (which is high
in tannin content) be used to promote
wound healing by encouraging the formation of new tissue under the leathery layer
formed on broken mucosal surface by the
action of tannins. Because of their astrin-

gent

compounds

these

properties

also

have a marked effect on flavour - as in


tea, for example.
Bitten as the name implies have a strong
bitter taste but do not belong to any one
special chemical class. They are generally
Gentian,
used to stimulate the appetite
for example, is included for this purpose
in a

number of aperitifs.

can be seen that all these different


of substances have very different
chemical properties. Because of these
It

classes

methods used in the preparation of extracts of plants also vary.


The extraction procedures obviously dedifferences, the

pend on the types of constituent present


and it is worthwhile examining the vari< ius
procedures

in detail.

MAKING EXTRACTS OF PLANTS


Although it is desirable for all purposes to
have <ts fresh material as possible It is not
always feasible, and it is thus necessary to
preserve the plant in as near the fresh
state as possible

and sometimes, though

not always, profitable

t<>

extract from

it

the active constituents.

important to choose the appropriate

It is

part of the plant, lor not


theii active

all

plants contain

ingredients distributed evenly

throughout

each

organ.

materials in Bcarbcrry.

fol

The

active

example, are

the simplest

method of preservation. The

concentrated mainly in the leaves while


the useful parts of Chamomile are the

layers

flower-heads.

bunches] and kepi

After collection the pro* edure


ling the material

lot

depends on the

hand-

species,

pail ol the plant, active ingredients

and

whether or not the plant is to be used .it


once or stored, fresh plant material contains a high proportion of water leaves
and flowers usually lose up to about 85 pet
cent ol their weight on drying)

and

foi

reason the fresh materials are ratek

this

used

in

the

preparation of cxtnu is. A


extract may be ob-

more concentrated
tained
the

il

the plant

is first

added advantage

(hied, vvln< h has

that drying

is

also

fresh plant material

certain

in

01

cases

in thin

hung up

in

in a dry, well-\ cnlila-

Tubers and

ted place.

spread out

is

toots will obviously

take longer to dry than flowers

and

Above

The

volatile oil

being extracted.
droplets)

is

The

of certain plants

oil (seen as yellow

driven off mixed with steam

condenses in the upper right-hand

arm

and

of

the apparatus.

leaves

even though the former are sometimes cut

accelerate decomposition by promoting

up

of the

enzyme

also vital.

Once

into

small

Selection

pieces.

correct drying temperature

Too high

,i

temperature ma) cause

active ingredients

volatile oils, for

name

their

as

ple,

is

suggests

loss ol

exam-

vaporize

above about 40 C
or some chemical degradation
10
may oeeur as in Digitalis and most other
readily at temperatures
1

glycoside-containing plants). On the other


temperature ma) actually
hand, too low
,1

activity within the plant

itself.

dried the plant material should

be stored in a dark, cool place in containers that ate as near airtight as possible.

Some

is bound to occur with


and it is advisable to use
only material which has not been Stored
for longer than two years. The material is
usually reduced to a moderate powder b\

deterioration

time, however,

grinding

just

before use.

43

CHEMISTRY
Purification of the extract

The

next problem

is

the extraction ot the

There are two major


the first is to choose a method

active substances.
difficulties:

which
in a

will extract the desired

high yield and the second

compound
is

to ensure

unwanted impurities as possible are removed from the plant at the


same time. As has been seen already the
that as few

principles have very different


chemical, and hence solubility, characteristics depending on the class of comactive

pound

which they belong. Since,

to

example,

oils

for

are insoluble in water, water

or solvents containing a high proportion

of water cannot be used in their isolation.


Alkaloids are soluble in organic solvents

such as chloroform but so are the highly


coloured pigments such as chlorophyll
and carotenes. Glycosides are watersoluble but a great many other substance :s
formed in plants such as the sugars and
acids also dissolve in water.

Thus

it

is

extremely difficult to prepare an extract


which contains a reasonably high concentration of the desired material and
that material alone. A fairly satisfactory
compromise may be achieved, however,
by the use of dilute ethyl alcohol. Ethyl
alcohol contains enough of the properties
of water to dissolve the sugars and acids,

which arc polar compounds.

It

also be-

haves sufficiently like a non-polar organic solvent such as petrol to cause the
larger organic molecules, such as polypeptides and steroids, to dissolve. This has
the

advantage

in

that

in

most herbal

remedies the compounds actually responreported action are either not


known or they are only, or sometime^
more, effective in combination with other
substances either closely related or not
which are found in that particular plant.
This last phenomenon, known as synersible for the

gism,

is

discussed in the next chapter.

The

various ways of

is

making extracts follow.


One of the simplest ways of using herbs
as herbal teas or tisanes, which involves

simply extraction of the plant with water.


If the active ingredients are very soluble
in water, it may be sufficient to macerate
the powder with water for several hours
at room
temperature. Maceration at
higher temperatures (as in the case of

some hard barks;


the drug

is

is

called digestion. If

boiled in water for half an hour

or so the result

is

lor several

days or longer. This

may

either

be by maceration in a closed \ essel with


occasional shaking or stirring or by a
process of percolation which involves
packing the drug into a glass column and
slowly pouring water through, over the

drug.

The

active ingredients dissolve in

may

be collected and
passed through the column a second time.
Concentration by evaporation results in a
the water which

thick

residue

alcohol

is

known

as

an extract.

used the percolate

is

If

called a

tincture.

Volatile oils

may

be extracted

rather pure^state by a process

in

known

as

distillation. This method


heating the powdered drug with boiling
water which causes the oil to vaporize
into the steam. The oil and the steam are
collected together by condensation. The
oil, being lighter than the water, floats on
the surface and may then be collected.

steam

involved-

a decoction; but pro-

bably the best method is to place the plant


in a pot, cover with water that is just
boiling for about a quarter of an hour and
strain the resulting infusion.

Not all plant constituents are soluble in


water under these circumstances, however, and it may be necessary to leave the
44

plant material in contact with the water

This

METHODS OF IDENTIFICATION

quality.

relatively straightforward

when

whole, fresh condition


either by direct comparison with an
authentic specimen or by the use of book^
of plant descriptions floras Many recognizable characteristic features may be
lost on drying, however, and certainly in
is

in the

powdered condition further work is


required and this is best achieved by a
microscopical investigation.
the

Microscopical examination
Although most plants contain essentially
the same sorts of cells cork, for example,
or the elements in the xylem, the conducting tissue

form

which have broadly the same

in all species, the fine, microscopic

structure of these cells

is

often

highly

Examination of a powder
under the microscope and the observation
of xylem vessels shows that the powder
contains wood, but from the fine structure
individual.

may

be possible to identify the source


size of the individual cells
may be important: the width of the fibres
enables powdered Cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum\ to be distinguished from

it

plant.

As the activities of plants are very diverse


and even quite closely related species
often have completely different effects, it
is important
to ensure that the correct
species is being used and that it is of good

is

the plant

Even the

the closely related Cassia

Cinnamomum

cassia).

The

botanical source of the plant

is

not

necessarily a sufficiently strong criterion

CHROMATOGRAPHY

Above

In this chromotagraphic separation,

the various constituents

with the spray reagent


spots.

Unknown

of the plant react


to

extracts

produce coloured

of plants may thus

be compared with those of authentic

specimens.

Left

Closely related plants in the powdered

state are often indistinguishable to the eye

but

may

be easily identified microscopically.

Fibres in powdered Cinnamon (near left)


are rarely greater than

jo

micrometres in

diameter, while those in Cassia (far left)

30 and 40

are usually between

micrometres.

of identity. Certainly such techniques


not be applied to the examination

Some

actually responsible for the

The second technique, which has been


known lor about 30 years but only recently

logical activity of the plant, the pattern of

spots

is

applied to the study of plant extracts,

tic

is

called

ex-

which contain no plain

tracts or tinctures

material.

Chromatography

mav

<>l

further

means of control

obviously desirable, but the problem

complicated by the fact that although


many plants have been thoroughly investigated
referred to

and their biological activity


one particular or more than

one group of constituents, many have nol


and we still have very little idea of which
components are the physiologic ally active
ones. If

purify

we

did,

it

should be possible

to

crude extract and actually

the

chromatography.

into individual

with a suitable

and as it does
components of the mixthe bottom of the plate

port by capillary attraction


so the individual

is

nol

possible in the majority of cases, howevei


and the solution to the problem may be
approached in two ways. One is tin
application of certain chemical tests. It an
extract under investigation is suspce ted to
be of, for example, Blueberry, which is

known

contain

to

chemical

tannins,

simple

with a dilute solution offerric


chloride 'which gives a blue-black colour
with such substances) would rapidly tell
test

the investigator
not. But

the

it

if

tannins were present or

would certainly not

extract

were-

truly

of

tell

him

if

Blueberry
from what-

ause generally all tannins


ever source) would give a similar colour.
bee

ture applied to

move-

as

well,

depending on

but

at

different

rates

their affinity for the solvent

and the adsorbent. When the

solvent

reaches the top of the plate, the

plate-

removed and

dried. Coloured

is

compounds

are visible directly, but the plate

is

usually

sprayed with a detecting reagent which


reacts with colourless compounds to give
coloured spots. The pattern of spots produced by this technique is characteristic
for

particular plant extract under a

particular

Although

of operating conditions.

set
the

to the spots

ompounds which give


mav not be those which
e

none the

less

characteris-

compared

ditions, reasonably certain identification

adsorbent. The paper or plate is then


placed in a tank which contains a solvent.
This solvent gradually rises up the sup-

characterize them chemically. This

is

these patterns are

examined

techniques are available but


essentially all involve placing a small
amount of the sample on a sheet of paper

isolate the active substances so as to fully

if

components.

Several

or glass plate covered

produced

and

with those produced by an authentic


specimen, obtained under identical con-

This enables very

small quantities of material to be

and separated

is

pharmaco-

rise

are

may be made. Extra evidence may be


obtained by comparing the patterns made
using different chromatography solvents.
By this technique small differences in

biochemical make-up of plants may be


is important both from
the- quantitative and qualitative points of
view
the amount of extract of a certain
plant which is low in active ingredient
required for a particular pharmacologic al
effect may be very different from the
quantity of extract required from an
apparently identical plant which contains a high concentration of active
material. Such variations could lead to
serious overdoses. Only chemical examidetected and this

nation

would

show

differences.

these

Qualitative differences will also be shown

up by chromatography. The chemical


assessment

account

of a

crucial

herb

must

variables

take

such

as

into
the

time of collection and the fact


that plants of the same species can have
completely different active constituents.
habitat,

45

tsxvl

W^S^

M!?ti!SS

i*?fc<05

partem

^-Si^r

r**

It.

The medicinal
uses of plants
i

^--J!

last 50 years crude plant use has


been central to medicine and there is little
doubt that herbs are man's most ancient

Until the

therapeutic

aids.

We

are

still

heavily

western world
for semistarting
materials
sources
of
as
synthetic drugs or as the drugs themselves.
Because there are still many conditions we

dependent on plants

in the

unable to treat significantly, and


because synthetic drugs sometimes cause
side-effects, there is a growing tendency to
reconsider the traditional systems of healing as alternative medical treatment, and
one such system is herbalism.
Herbalism is now understood to be a
collection of different methods for using

are

plants in healing: some of these methods


use poisonous plants, some do not; some
employ mixtures of herbs, others believe
in

the success of 'simples' or individual

plants; others

combine

different forms of

treatment with a healing regime using


plants. This situation is reflected in the
names given to the various approaches to
herbalism
such as eclectic medicine,
botanic
medicine,
physiomedicalism,
plant healing, medical herbalism, phyto-

therapy and flower remedies. Their common denominator, however, is their derivation from the beliefs of folklore and
origin in the observations of ordinary
people.
Left: Lonitzer's Kreuterbuch' a German
herbal published in I In sixteenth century,
'

appeared

in various editions until

783.

The left-hand page shows the Spindle


tree f Euonymus,i, whose berries were
urn e

Because plants were so central to medithroughout history they acquired

used as a purgative.

cine

many

of the

beliefs

of folklore, which

sometimes had nothing


intrinsic

and

to

do with the

therapeutic qualities of plants,

order to re-evaluate the efficacy of


herbs, we must, therefore, consider the
development of a medicinal plants usage
in

together with the influence of folklore on

on
and disease
of supernatural spirits, and

that use. All medical folklore converges

common

belief that illness

are the result

hence from the earliest times medicine


and religion have been closely associated.
As soon as primitive societies developed,
the

man who became

the

priest

also

and medicine man


and he started to employ a limited range
of therapeutic methods which included
predominantly herb-lore and suggestion
(psychotherapy). The combination was
an important one, and was effective for as

became

the magician

mankind associated disease with


unknown. Indeed, the success of
suggestive methods of treatment is shown
to this day in the efficacy of placebos.
long as

the

In these early days many of the most


important plants used were those which
acted on the mind - the so-called hallucinogens or narcotics, which temporarily
relieved pain and which in combination
with the suggestion of medico-religious
ritual were probably of material benefit.
Numbers assumed an importance which
was initially derived from the astrological
beliefs of the Babylonians. Seven and nine
were believed to be especially powerful;

thus plants which carried the sign of these


numbers were thought to be particularly

47

MEDICINAL USES
Left: Alchemilla mollis readily seeds

and is used only as a decorative plant.


Other Alchemilla species are of

itself

medicinal importance and of these none had

Mantle
was once used
treat painful menstruation, and in
a greater reputation than Lady's
( Alchemilla

vulgaris,). It

to

veterinary medicine.

Below : An illustration of early surgery


from the anonymous thirteenth-century
Pseudo-Apuleius herbal,
'herb a papauer' or the

in

which

the use

Opium Poppy

of

is

described. Several herbs with the ability to


lessen

pain were known

to

early surgeons,

the Opium Poppy and the


Mandrake were undoubtedly the most

and of these

and ultimately it led to the fusion


between Arabic. Graeco- Alexandrian and
Oriental
medicine that emerged in
Europe at the end of the dark ages.
It was in Alexandria that the best
recorded experiments with poisons were
conducted, and there Mithridates in the
Syria,

second

century

B.C.

formulated

of succeeding centuries.
of Mithridates and

beneficial.

lobes on the leaves

the ages to the present


call

orthodox, which

day - those we now

initially

represented

the efforts by physicians to introduce logic

and experimentation into medical practice, and unorthodox, which represented


a continuation of very old, traditional and
often magical beliefs, but which until two
centuries ago largely represented the
medical treatment available to rich and
poor respectively.
Whether the unorthodox medicine of
the Egyptians was conducted by the herb
women who characterized so much of
later history we do not know. But we do

know

that

much

of the knowledge of

Egyptian medicine was passed on to the


Hippocrates (460-377 b.c.
Greeks
learned much from their works - and that
the close association between medicine
and religion was continued by the Greek
physician priests. Hippocrates, however,
began the process of careful observation
which characterized the birth of science,
and he laid down the laws which deemed

him the 'father of medicine' and which


founded modern medicine. Information
had largely been localized to this point but
48

both

and antidotes which remained


famous as the 'theriacs' and 'mithridates'

poisons

The works

important.

Lady's Mantle with its nine


is one such plant with
numerical power; alternatively, plants
with seven or nine roots or berries or seeds
would be prescribed.
These and many similar folklore beliefs
must have already become associated with
plants by the time the Egyptian physicians
began to formulate their healing remedies
because it was probably the Egyptians
who began the orthodox rejection of
magic in medicine. It is evident that by
1550 B.C. the orthodox physicians had
begun to specialize, for it seems that the
Egyptian doctors then restricted their
treatment to one disease or one part of the
body. Thus there arose the two levels of
healing which have continued through

one of the first important movements of


medicinal plant knowledge began with
the establishment of Alexandria in 331
B.C. and with it the Alexandrian School.
This signalled the introduction of Greek
medicine into Egypt. Mesopotamia and

n aotmicinma ixCc&pttxf fcolorcrru


rDclxi pafuucrftluAttcu oorrctum cum acuta
irtu n id fco Kibut colon

tti'jo fbtnriw c\u x no *>2rmu nt

lvUxipApaucrcuoieocvttSi^montt mouctaf

omm cqvfn mxrc1bmmtmeroaO>ucvr,

all

before

MEDICAL HISTORY
him were

distilled into four

with the 600 best

known

books dealing
-i^ ^s.'

plants by the

greatest figure in the history of herbalism.

t;

v>,

^O

^A

Pedacius Dioscorides. Following the col146 B.C. Greek


lapse of Corinth in

moved to Rome, and from


an army surgeon under Nero

physicians
there as

Dioscorides travelled widely


and described the herbs he saw in use in
what was the first 'materia medica' or

(54-68 a.d.

"pharmacopoeia". Without doubt he was


the first real medical botanist, and his
work was for 1500 years the standard
reference for the medical application of
plants.

Galen

a.d.

- whose name
meaning
had enormous in-

131-201

gave rise to the term galenical,


botanical drug - also

fluence until the seventeenth century, but

Galen was a physician, and

his

major

therapy was the


introduction of a system of 'polypharmacy' or mixing herbal preparations to
treat specific conditions; some forms of

contribution

plant

to

herbalism still retain this type of therapy.


Following Galen and Dioscorides. and

and fall of the Roman Empire.


European medicine entered a stagnant
period which was to last several hundred
the decline

years.

To a

large extent the moral ethics ol

physicians were replaced with greed, envy


and quackery, and the old incantation
and magic of previous ages resurrected.
Folklore rose to the surface again, and
individuals either treated themselves with

family

visited

recipes,

travelling

bone-

and herb women, or were helped


by those in religious orders. Even tin
medical work of monks, however, was
stopped by the Papal decrees which were
setters

issued regularly for a century,

from that

ol

Clermont council
130 to the council ol
Le Mans 1247 In early Germany medicine fell largely into the hands ol 'wise
women' or 'wild women who employed
herbal remedies, magic and amulets, and
to the lekeis who were the equivalent ol
the Anglo-Saxon leech-men.
In Russia the position was similar with
the 'wolf-men' or volkhava employing
herbs and spells, while the Celtic order ol
Druids and Druidesses did likewise. The
1

Druids

favoured

seven

magic

herbs

of

which the Mistletoe held pride of place.


In the dark ages, however, between the
ninth and twelfth centuries. Arabic mechc

ine rose

on the tide of

Mohammedanism,

and physicians ol the standing ofRhazes,


Haly ben Abbas and Avicenna. and the
Jewish physician Avenzoar, combined
the previous Greek work with their own
observations and studies ol botanical
drugs and pharmacology. Much ol this
work was recorded in the thirteenth-

century compilation of Ibn Baitar whose


materia medica described 1400 drugs.
The proximity of Arabia to the- East led
Arabian pharmacists (or sandalani) to the
Stud) ol a wide- range of plants and plant
products which became of immense importance to later European medicine:
they developed the use of Cassia. Senna.

Rhubarb, Camphor. Myrrh. Cloves, and


used

the-

flavouring ability

ol

rose-water,

orange and lemon peel and other aromatics

id

mask

unpleasant

medication.
Before the advent of printing

tastes

in

the mid-

had already begun


the internal wrangling in the medical
profession
to be exacerbated by the
printed word
which continued until the
nineteenth

century.

Initially

concerned the relative status

in full judicial

The Druids had an

excellent

knowledge of the medicinal application of


local herbs, and considered some to possess
magical qualities.

Of all plants,

the

Mistletoe held pride of place.

and barbers; the

being increasingly
persecuted by the surgeons who tried to
pi event them from treating wounds. In
latter

England in 1368 the Master Surgeons


formed a separate guild, and in 1421
joined forces temporarily with the Physic-

in

fifteenth century there

late

Above: An Arch Druid


costume.

ol

this

surgeons

ians,

although

even

these

two

bodies

treated each other with suspicion. This

move

forced

the

barbers

to

obtain" a

separate charter (1462) and led to the


beginning of barber-surgery or surgery of
the

common

place-

in

people. Similar events took

France and Germany. Under


'

MEDICINAL USES
Henry YIU's act of
and surgeons

151

ians

licensed practitioners,

While herbal traditions based on

English physic-

became the only


and all others were

lore continued, the effect of printing


to

mark

folk-

was

the beginning of the Renaissance

excluded from practising medicine, but b\


1542 the greed shown by the profession
caused another act to be passed to allow
those common people having knowledge
of herbal and folk medicine to minister to

and the continuation of the

scientific

method

The

the poor.

its

started by Dioscorides.

teenth century was

marked by

six-

the emerg-

ence of both 'proto-botany' books and


herbals, although the herbal did not reach

peak

in

England

until

1633 when
enlarged

Thomas Johnson improved and


Below

The sumptuous

interior

sixteenth-century apothecary.

of a

As some

apothecaries charged very high prices, people

sought the services of herbalists.

the herbal of

John Gerard,

itself

mostly

employed by apothecaries; the 'materia


medicas', pharmacopoeias and dispensatories (the first edition of the

Pharmacopoeia,

for

London

example, appeared

1 6 1 8
Apothecaries were originally drug and
herb traders, who managed to develop a
special relationship with the medical
fraternity. In England they had been
associated from 1378 with the Grocers'
Company who also sold herbs and drugs,

in

derived from a translation of Dodoens.

and who were the

This period also saw the beginning of


printed works devoted to those substances

Both the grocers and apothecaries purchased herbs and roots collected from the

original

drug vendors.

HOMEOPATHY
countryside, and they also imported
drugs and spices from abroad. The apothecaries frequently established their own
physic gardens and thus served as a link

between horticulture and medicine by


growing their own medicinal herbs. The
Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of
London was incorporated in 1617 and the
apothecaries soon began to diagnose and
prescribe without associating with a physician. They continued to do so until 1886
when medical registration was finally only
granted to those candidates qualifying by
examination in surgery, medicine, and
pharmacy.
By the middle of the seventeenth
century therefore, herbs were being used
in many different ways by physicians,
apothecaries, manufacturers of proprietary medicines and a host of traditional
country herbalists and town quacks.
During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, although herbs continued to play an important role in
medicine, their importance slowly declined.

The

botanic writers

who amassed

details of plant use included

information

from a host of sources - the Greeks, the


Arabs, folklore, early botany, and information received by the grocers or apothecaries from foreign lands. In some cases

mentioned was unand while the real advances of


medicine such as anatomy, physiology
and clinical diagnosis were progressing,
plant-lore became increasingly confused
with an assortment of chemical compounds, mixtures, electrical and magnetic
treatment, and blind faith in tradition.
By the beginning of the nineteenth
century scientific investigation was growing apace, and with it came the realization
the identity of plants
certain,

that specific effects could be demonstrated

when

or

isolated

particular,

purified

substances were applied to living systems.

known

as pharmacology, owes
work and inspiration of
803-1 873 ), the father
Justus von Liebig

This study,

much

to

the

of physiological

chemistry,

who

to

medical

therapeutics:

on

the

effect

specific cells,

Samuel Hahnemann (1 755-1843) and


the work of American physicians of the
early nineteenth century

medicalism,

Homeopathy

is

and

known as physio-

branch

herbalism.

of

a system of healing based

on the supposition that infinitesimally


small quantities of a given substance, such
as a medicinal plant, will cure a condition
in which symptoms exist that would be
identical to the symptoms produced in a
healthy person who is given large quantities

of the same substance.


doctors had an open

Many American

intro-

duced the concept of 'metabolism', and


carried forward the development of organic chemistry which had already produced such important isolated substances
as morphine ,1806; from the Opium
Poppy, strychnine (181 8) from Strychnos
nux-vomica and quinine (1820) from Cinchona bark.
This approach is the modern rationale
specific substances

orthodox practitioner was as eager as the


research worker to move away from crude
plants to the more 'exact', isolated chemical. Notable exceptions to this in the West
were the introduction of homeopathy by

approach to medicine which was unfettered by the historical trappings of their


colleagues in the Old World; certainly

them

the early settlers took with

when

traditional remedies

they

their

Eur-

left

ope, but they soon adapted to the rigours

of

new life by adopting some of the


remedies of the North American Indians.
All these remedies were in continuous use
by an oral culture, rather than a culture

in

which

of their

upon

depended

written

(and,

and

the excitement of the nineteenth-century

therefore, often erroneous) records,

development of organic chemistry the

be reliable. This
led to many reliable drugs being incorporated into the first American materia
medicas and dispensatories.

were therefore found

One group

to

of physicians, led by

Thompson, decided

Samuel

not to interest them-

selves in the isolation of active ingredients

of plants, as was being done elsewhere in

America

and Europe, but simply to


administer tinctures of the whole plant, a

system which became known as the


physiomedical concept, and which was
concerned with assisting the natural
power of tissue regeneration which the
body possesses. Schools specializing in
pliysiomedicalism flourished for a while,

mainly

Chicago, but by the beginning

in

of the twentieth century their influence

declined and
retained in

this

concept

now

is

only

some forms of unorthodox

herbalism.

Herbalism as a system of healing exists


today in name only as there are various
approaches which range from the use of
all types of plant material to the use of
non-poisonous herbs only. In the West the
orthodox employment of medicinal plants
is largely restricted to those with strong
I.i

ft

rural

The less opulent interior of the Swiss


pharmacy of Michael Schuppart, an

eighteenth-century apothecary.

examining

the urine

sitting in front

He

is

of the patient who

is

of him.
")'

MEDICINAL USES
Right: The Opium Poppy (Papaver
somniferum). The latex, which is obtained
by excision of the immature capsules,

25

contains

is

of which
modern medicine

different alkaloids

morphine - indispensable
the strongest

pain

to

reliever (analgesic)

pharmacological action, such as Opium


Poppy, Foxglove and their derivatives.
The great dependence of Third World
nations on traditional plant use has,
however, recently stimulated the beginnings of a modern medical appraisal of

and

herbs,

scientific

possible

that

future

reassessment will

lead

to

it

is

the

orthodox utilization of ancient


herbal remedies and the discovery of new

wider
ones.

MYTHS AND TRADITIONS


Many

magical and religious ideas associ-

ated with plants have survived almost unaltered to the present day. In Crete the fat

onion-like bulbs of the Sea Squill


maritima) are

i'rginea

hung up by farmers

at tin-

entrances to their vineyards to protect the

ripening grapes from harmful influences,


a superstition which seems pointless but

which is explained by tracing the Squill


back to the days when it was sacred to the
god Pan who protected mortals from evil
spirits. Similarly, in some parts of central
Europe villagers still plant the succulent
Houseleek (Sempervivum tectorum) on the
roof tiles to prevent their houses from
being struck by lightning. The Romans
called

Iovis

it

caulis

or Jupiter's

plant

ancient times, and even todav in

plants were thought not only to protect

are tannins, malic acid and mucilages,


and while they may have some minor
effect in treating superficial burns and

man from the dangers of the outside world,

diarrhoea they are completely ineffective

but also to preserve him from disease and

in shingles,

In

some

health, so

ill

properties

wielded.

protect
plants were carried on the person

for the benefit of their protective qualities.

leaf of

Betony

{Stachys officinalis) carried

pocket or purse was said to offer


protection from witchcraft. A sprig of
in the

Mugwort

[Artemisia vulgaris)

worn

inside

the shoe was thought to prevent a traveller


from becoming tired, an old practice
which, surprisingly, persisted in East
Anglia until the beginning of this century.
In southern Europe walking-sticks cut
from the boughs of the Chaste tree Vitex
agnus-castus) were carried by pilgrims
because they believed they were magical
and could protect them from both robbers
(

and the bites of venomous creatures.


These primitive beliefs in the talismanic
qualities of plants are, however, by no
means confined to the ancient cultures of
the world; they abound today in Third
World countries, and you can still be
stopped in the heart of London by
gypsies hawking sprigs of 'lucky heather'.
52

was considered

it

wear a magical plant

because they believed Zeus or Jupiter had


given it to man to protect his property
from the destructive bolt of lightning he

Some

many

parts of the world,

infusion of

or

better

with

still

of these

The

protective

balism

is

this

partly due to the fact that early

drink

to

an

believed to

thatched roofs of medieval


fire from the sky, was also
considered to be effective against fire in
the body - medicine in the Middle Ages
the

houses from

classified diseases into hot

and

cold,

wet and dry. So William Salmon, writing


on the medicinal virtues of the Houseleek
as late as the end of the seventeenth
century was able to say - 'Herba iova is
Glutinative and Segnotick; it quenches
thirst, allays heat, stops fluxes

and abates

the violence of cholerick Fevers, being

given in a spoonful or two of Wine, or the


juice mixt with Sugar.

Balsam

it

is

on the subject received their


information by hearsay or accepted without criticism what they read in the works

Outwardly

in a

cures burns, scalds, shingles,

of other authors. This early attitude led to


the publication of a large number of

accounts of plants which did not even


exist, such as the 'Scythian Lambe' described by John Parkinson, and the
'Fountain tree of water' which Lewis
Jackson maintained grew on the CanaryIslands. There was even thought to be a
'Barnacle tree' that bore fruit which
eventually hatched into live geese. Of the
plants which did actually exist, many
were attributed with medicinal properties
because of their association in previous
a

inflammations.'

examples

these

therapeutic indications are

concerned with
other,

and

vividly

how

the

plant

the

in some form or
example demonstrates

'heat'

the magical 'primary' use of

dictated

its

'secondary'

or

medical use. We now know that the


Houseleek's principal active constituents

who governed
One of the best
common Myrtle Myrtus

ages with a god or goddess

pains of the gout, creeping ulcers and hot


All

of myths and false ideas, and

full

writers

it.

The Houseleek. which was

still

gout and fevers.


history of medical botany or her-

logical to

particular

communis

is

disease.

the

Myrtle was known

to

the Greeks as

and was sacred to the goddess


Aphrodite ^who was also known as
'myrsini'

Myrsini), the goddess of fertility, simply


because the pointed elliptical leaves of
this plant closely resembled the shape of

METABOLISM
As a result of this
was chiefly employed in Greek medicine as a herb for
treating female complaints - a practice
the female genitalia.

association the Myrtle

which was not discredited

until the nine-

teenth century.

Another medicinal plant which earned


reputation by association with the
Greek gods was the Black Hellebore
its

a plant sacred to the

iHelleborus niger |,

'kthonoi' or gods of the underworld.


deities,
spirits

deified

These

whose number included cave


and the souls of the dead and
physicians, belonged to an older

and darker

than the

cult

celestial

Olym-

was believed that they


possessed the power to inflict enormous
suffering on mankind in the form of
disease and madness. Black Hellebore,
which became linked with their worship,
was considered to be the specific remedy
for the diseases for which they were held
responsible, and the root was. used for
pian

deities.

It

treating epilepsy,

and

melancholia, hysteria
disorders. In

neurological

other

Shakespeare's time and beyond it continued to be used for 'the falling sicknesses'
fepilepsyi,

melancholicke

'all

diseases'

and 'convulsions', besides being employed


as a poison, an abortive and a local
anaesthetic. Modern examination, how-

Animals,

including

man,

are

very

ever, has suggested that Black Hellebore

similar to plants in this respect, the funda-

neurological

mental difference between the two groups


being in the way in which they obtain

does

the general

in

assist

conditions for which the Greeks employed

homeopathic tincture is
prepared from the rhizome and used to
treat epilepsy, certain psychoses, eclamp-

and today

it,

sia

(convulsion

with

associated

preg-

nancy), meningitis and encephalitis.


After a period in which herbal medicine

was regarded with the greatest suspicion


by the medical profession, many of the

now being

claims of herbalism are

by

stantiated

scientific

sub-

observation and

reinstated.

up their own food


from small molecules whereas animals
take in large molecules and break them
down. All materials ingested by the
animal are treated in exactly the same
general way: the food is digested in the
their food. Plants build

Above: The evergreen Myrtle fMyrtus

communis )
it

was

is

now of little

importance, but

once sacred to the Greek goddess

Aphrodite. In the Middle Ages Myrtle


berries
It

was

were used as a condiment,


also used in the treatment

like pepper.

of

female complaints.

Below : The Christmas Rose or Black


Hellebore fHelleborus niger,) contains

gastro-intestinal tract, the small molecules

powerful substances which act on the heart

formed are absorbed through the gut


wall and transported via the blood to
other parts of the body where they are
used to build up new enzymes or cell

rather like Digitalis. These

so

much

too strong for

make

modern herbal

the plant
use.

material or act as essential catalysts in

THE INTAKE AND ACTIONS OF

these reactions. Certain foodstuffs contain

MEDICINAL PLANTS

ingredients such as minerals and vitamins

Plants

are

very complicated

composed of millions of

cells

structures

many

per-

forming extremely specialized functions


and each contributing to the existence of
the organism as a whole. Organisms are
'alive' because of the many chemical
reactions which are carried out in each of
these cells; thus life is essentially a series of
highly controlled chemical changes which
consist of building up (anabolismj or
breaking down (catabolism
processes

known

which are

essential

process to occur.

our diet
in

for

some enzymic

deficiency of these in

likely to lead to

some of our

just as

to

is

an impairment

basic metabolic functions,

mineral deficiencies

visible

in plants lead

abnormal symptoms such

as

and yellowing.
digestive and transportation proesses described above are not capable of
discriminating between materials which
spots

The

way
Thus

find their

into the gut from different

metabolism these
changes are initiated by chemical catalysts. All these reactions are under the

sources.

direct

because they contain substances which


after absorption enter certain biochemical

(collectively

found

as

influence of the genetic material


in

the nucleus of each

cell.

certain plants are

'good'

foodstuffs because they are rich in starch

or

protein and

some plants are

'toxic'

53

MEDICINAL USES
Right

magnified section through the wall

of the small intestine showing the folded


mucous membrane (top, pink) through
which food and drugs are absorbed. The
rate

of absorption depends on the nature of


drug molecule and on the other

the food or

substances present in the tract.

and disrupt them. Similarly the


which are medicinally useful contain materials which act in some beneficial way on the fundamental processes
in animal cells, either by promoting
processes

plants

certain reactions or inhibiting other pro-

may

which

cesses

abnormal.

be

The

practice of medicine with herbal products

no fundamental
chemical way different from treatment
with synthetic drugs. Both act by the
introduction of a foreign molecule into
the body (sometimes at a more or less
in

this

respect

specific site) so that

The concept

in

is

it

may

exert

its effect.

of herbalism does, of course,

differ theoretically

from the orthodox

in

that herbal medicine attempts to treat the

patient

as

whole,

rather

than

the

condition in isolation.

Pharmacology
Pharmacology is the study of the manner
in which the functions of living organisms
can be modified by chemical substances.
Since living cells are very complex, many
of the factors which control their activities
are completely unknown. For this reason
a

new

been

science,

pharmacokinetics,

developed

to

study

the

has

factors

hence on the body. This goes


to

a long

wa\

explaining the highly specific nature of

some drug actions, as well as why some


compounds possess powerful, often dangerous, side-effects, since some drugs may
by chance interact with more than one

which would decompose in the


acid stomach juices. Other routes which
invoke passage of active materials through
a mucosal layer are those via the vagina or
urethra. Drugs may also be administered
by slowly dissolving a lozenge under the
orally, or

affecting the absorption, distribution and


eventual elimination of drugs from the

type

body and

Routes of drug administration


The oral route is the one most frequently

nasal

cheap, easy and convenient and the patient can administer


himself tablets which can be manu-

cation

it

largely employs mathematical

models.
A theory which has been advanced
from simple experimental evidence and
has found considerable success in explain-

why

drugs exert their effects is the


It was proposed originally by Paul Ehrlich who believed that
mammalian cells possessed side chains
ing

receptor theory.

which contained receptors (reactive chemical groupings) which combine with another active group on the drug molecule
(in a more or less reversible way) to cause
the drug effect. This proposal was a great
advance and much modern research is
based on a modified form of the theory.
Simply,

drugs

can

be

considered

as

and the receptors on


which may be opened

of

tongue (sublingually) or as snuffs (whereby absorption is effected through the

receptor.

used because

it

is

factured to contain an exact dose.


ever,

if

the medicine

liquid or powder,

is

in the

and most herbal pre-

parations are, the dosage


inaccurate.

How-

form of a

The drug

is

likely to

be

will also be diluted

by the contents of the stomach and intestine.


Since the stomach juices are
strongly acid and those in the intestine
alkaline this may lead to decomposition of
Absorption
the
active
ingredients.
through the gastro-intestinal tract may be
slow or irregular due to the presence of

precisely cut keys,

the partly digested or undigested food,

the cells as locks

thus delaying the effect.

only by the appropriate keys.

When

the

key turns the lock (that is when the drug


reaches and combines with the receptor
on the cell) processes are initiated which
cause chemical changes and so induce the

drug
54

to exert

its

effect

on the

cell,

and

Some

materials are given as suppositor-

ies and the active ingredients are absorbed


through the delicate lining (mucous membrane) of the rectum. This may be

particularly useful for giving substances

which would cause vomiting

if

given

mucosa

When
is

i.

a local effect

made

is

required appli-

to the surface

of the skin in

the form of a cream, paste, ointment, lo-

In these cases some


occur by penetration
through to the subcutaneous tissues.
Sterile solutions may, of course, be injected directly into the bloodstream which
removes the initial absorption step.
The rate and efficiency of absorption of
tion

or liniment.

absorption

may

is largely dependchemical nature but also on the


method of formulation ^how it is presented
for administration). The most obvious
factor is the solubility of the substance in

a material from the gut

ent on

its

the gastro-intestinal contents. No substances can be absorbed from the fluid in


the gut unless they are soluble in the first
place.

Secondly,

the

passage of drugs (that

is

barriers

to

the

the intestinal cell

walls) consist largely of fatty substances,

hence drugs which dissolve well in fats are


absorbed more rapidly and completely
than those which do not. There are some

DRUG ADMINISTRATION
exceptions to this and these depend on the
existence of a specific transport mechan-

ism for a particular type of chemical. In


addition, some drug molecules contain
acidic or basic groupings

which

may

be

ionized (electrically charged) in aqueous


solution. Since only non-ionized or elec-

molecules are fat-soluble,


governed to some extent

trically neutral

absorption

by

also

is

this factor.

Finally, the presence of substances in

whole plants other than the active ingredients may considerably modify not
only the physiological effect of the active
substances themselves but also their solu-

and hence absorption.

bility

The

It will

sweat and milk.


that when one
medicine many-

now be apparent

takes a dose of herbal

the blood

meate

and

drug exerts

its

effect.

but

ingredients

the

also

sub-

'ballast'

body via
compounds that perthrough cell membranes

freely

evenly distributed in
all parts of the body. Some, however, tend
to concentrate at particular sites. Compounds are often bound to carrier molecules - for example, proteins in the blood
plasma - or become strongly attached to
specific

binding

less

sites

in

tissues.

such active transport processes

Where

exist, the

ordinary physico-chemical principles no


longer apply. One particularly effective

mechanism is known as
barriei which prevents

the blood-brain

passage of
most molecules from the bloodstream into
the central
nervous system and the
the

cerebro-spinal fluid.

Metabolism
a drug enters the body,

it

is

acted

upon by enzymes which usually change its


chemical structure into substances which
have less effect (pharmacological activity
on the body. This is why the effects of
drugs wear off gradually. These enzymatic
reactions

which may exert a modifying


on the 'active' substances have first
to be made soluble, then absorbed and
distributed (perhaps via an active binding
process throughout the whole body, to
stances
effect

reach their active site (receptor) before


they can produce an action. Later they
are usually metabolized to inactive sub-

and then excreted.

are

known

as

detoxification

and the most important organ


concerned is the liver.
This does not always happen, however.
Pharmacologically
active
metabolites
(products that have been produced l>\ the
breakdown of the drug; may be formed
from an inactive substance a precursor or
or sometimes the metabolites
'pro-drug'
may have a type of activity which differs
from that of the 'active ingredient in the
drug originally administered. The principal route of excretion of drugs and theii
detoxified metabolites is the urine. This
may be facilitated by metabolic changes

Biological variation

measurements

Repeated

of

same

the

quantity do not always give identical


results. While this may be due to variations in accuracy, with living systems it is

more

be the result of biological


its very nature biological
variable. This produces prob-

likely to

variation - by

material is
lems in the quantitative biological evaluation of all medicines, and these difficulties are particularly severe in the case
of medicinal plants and their extracts.
Medicinal plants are usually administered

as tinctures of the

whole plant, which

many different chemical substances, only


some of which are active pharmacologically. Not only may the presence of the
so-called inactive substances modify the
absorption of the active ones (mixtures
are in general more soluble than pure
compounds), but they may actually modify the pharmacological activity of the
active ingredients, either in a potentiating

way

or

former

is

oppositely

known

as

The

retardants.

The modifying substances need


come from the same plant.

sometimes found that the


particular plant extract

as the detoxification rea< lions

generally produce

than

compounds which

are

soluble in water (hence in urine


in fat.

Alternatively, drugs

may

be

excreted into the intestinal trad via the


bile and so eliminated in the fae< es. Minor

One

of the problems of this

is that haphazard administration of different plant


extracts can produce undesired effects.
For this reason orthodox medical authorities sometimes consider such herbal prac-

tices as unscientific

and inexact.

the-

presence

In recent attempts at the scientific evalu-

of one

effect

considerably
of greater or

is

therapy, often quite complex,

is

the rule

the

exception.

This

is

the

fundamental difference between herbal


and orthodox medicine. Whereas the
latter is often symptomatic in approach,
the former essentially treats the patient as

whole rather than

isolated

effect.

ation of this approach

amounts of extracts of other


plants. This is of paramount importance
in herbal medicine where combination

bined

herbal combination therapy

not

much

helps digestion.

It is

smaller

rather than

Above: Magnification of secretory cells of


the stomach, which secrete the fluid which

Evaluating herbal medicines

necessarily

by

*r.flL

as the s\ net gistic effect or

synergism.

altered

J*

will

consist of solutions in dilute alcohol of

processes,

more

**

r/m&L

and after the


Not only the active

processes intervene before

stances

the

become more or

in as

4.

active materials, once absorbed,

are transported throughout the

When

routes of elimination include the lungs,


saliva, tears,

conditions.

as a collection of
Hence- preparations

containing several different plant extracts


are administered with the intention that
each component will exert its own specific
effect which will produce an overall com-

that

some of

the

it

has been realized

compounds preset

minute concentration

in plants

in

often so

low as to be undetectable by standard


techniques may themselves by extremely
potent
pharmacological agents. This

phenomenon

is

often referred to as the

effect of ballast material.

must be emphasized that everything


body can be considered as
a drug. This is an easy concept to accept
when an active material exerts a pronounced, readily observable pharmacologic al effect on the body such as producing
anaesthesia, but some compounds may
act in a more subtle way, for example, by
promoting efficient working of certain
enzymes or by encouraging the development ol a good immunological defence
It

ingested by the

55

MEDICINAL USES
Plants

system.

belong

the

to

currently

know

producing these effects


group about which we
least:

traditionally they

were the panaceas or tonics - Ginseng


being the best-known example. Today

DISEASES OF THE

HEART AND

blood vessels

The cardiovascular system

is

concerned

difficulties

with the circulation of blood. It consists


essentially of a pump, the heart, and a
system of tubes, the arteries, veins and
capillaries - comprising the blood vessels.
Circulation involves two joined systems
one in which blood passes from the heart
to the lungs where it is oxygenated, and
then back to the heart; and another in
which this oxygen-rich blood is pumped
to the furthest parts of the body, gives up

ticism will

some of its oxygen

they are

known

All these
difficulty

in

as

adaptogens.

problems have led


deciding

how

to great

herbal pre-

parations should be examined, tested and

standardized and this has contributed to


the current scepticism about the efficacy
of the herbal approach. When these

have been overcome this scepundoubtedly decline and some


aspects of plant medication will assume an
even more important role in medicine.
Having described briefly the uptake
and actions of herbs, four groups of
diseases, including their physiology and
their treatment with medicinal plants, are

now examined. The

mentioned
orthodox and

plants

have found use both in


herbal methods and no distinction is made
the examples simply
between them
emphasize the importance of plan's in
medicine as a whole.

The commonest

vessels.

CIRCULATION

to the tissue's cells,

and

then returns to the heart.


Besides oxygen, which

all tissues need


biochemical reactions,
the blood carries foodstuffs absorbed from
the alimentary tract, and is also responsible for carrying the waste products of
metabolism to sites of excretion, such as

for certain of their

the kidneys.

is

disorder of the

arteriosclerosis 'resulting in

narrowing of the arteries), the commonest


site being the blood vessels supplying the
heart (coronary arteries). This leads to a
reduced oxygen supply for the action of
the heart, especially during exercise,
resulting in chest pain (angina pectoris The
coronary blood supply is sometimes so
|

drastically obstructed that a portion of

and this is known as


Another common disorder is
in which the blood pressure is

the heart wall dies,


heart attack.
hypertension,

abnormally raised, causing excessive


strain on the heart, rupture of cerebral
brain blood vessels causing a stroke, and

damage

to the kidneys.

Both coronary artery disease of which


arteriosclerosis is one and hypertension

may

cause heart failure : this


action of the heart

pumping

cope with the work load:

is

when

is

unable

the
to

this results in

and retenand water (causing ankle


swelling, for example) due to a reduced
blood-flow to the kidneys. Other causes of

shortness of breath, tiredness,

The treatment of disorders


Cardiovascular diseases are concerned
with disorders of the heart and blood

of

tion

heart

salt

rheumatic

include

failure

fever,

congenital defects, diseases of the valves

which separate the chambers of the


heart, infections and chronic respiratory
disease.

The treatment of heart failure includes


oxygen, cardiotonic substances (which
improve the function of the heart and
(substances which cause an
increased excretion of salt and water by
the kidneys
The leaf of the Foxglove
Digitalis purpurea is an effective cardiotonic for the treatment of heart failure and
millions of people throughout the world
diuretics

i.

are

still

(or

its

of the

treated with this material today

derivatives

The

|.

active principles

Foxglove are complex steroidal

substances

known

as cardiotonic glycos-

Many

ides or cardenolides.

very closely

Left: Diagrammatic representation of the


cardiovascular system

Superior vena cava

Aorta

Right

Blood exchange

Blood supply within


the

Right atrium

ventricle

Inferior vena cava

in the liver

of
Pulmonary

vein

Pulmonary

arteries

Left atrium

M
A"

the upper part

body especially the brain

Left ventricle

Blood exchange

Portal vein
in the intestine

Blood exchange within the kidneys and

within the lower parts of the body.


Areas of blood exchange consist of
arterioles and venules which meet at the
smallest subdivisions or capillaries.

v>

DIGITALIS THERAPY
compounds of this type are present
plant and some of these have a pro-

related
in the

nounced strengthening
ing heart.

They bind

effect

to heart

on the

fail-

muscle and

increase the force of contraction of the

heart at each beat without increasing

its

for

efficiently.

The need

is

enormous and much modern research

is

for cardiotonic

concerned with the chemical modification


of these active molecules in order to produce better drugs. The major glycosides
digitoxin
and of
digoxin are often isolated from

of Digitalis purpurea
|

the dried leaves by complex and costly


chemical procedures to enable administration to the patient in the form of tablets, but better results, however, are sometimes obtained by treatment with the
whole powdered leaf. It is found that the

combined

effect

of

the

highly

active

glycosides together with the less potent

compounds found in the crude drug may


provide therapy which is less harsh, more
easily controlled, and therefore safer than
the

use

minute

A major problem with Foxglove therapy

of isolated

active

compounds

lanata,) which contains


steroidal glycosides.

63 different
The most important of

these substances is digoxin, often used in

modern medicine

to treat

heart failure.

and diosphenol, Wild Carrot

volatile oil

(Daucus carota) which contains both volatile


oil
and an alkaloid, daucine, or

which

Dandelion

dangerous side-effects occur). This may


be overcome to some extent by the use of
the whole dried leaf, as mentioned above.
Similar cardiotonic activity is found in
the closely related D. lanata and the
Yellow Foxglove. D.lutea. Hedge Hyssop

advantage of containing large quantities


of potassium salts - substances which are
often lost from the body during the process
of diuresis, and which need replacing.
Several medicinal plants may be used

which belongs

to the

as the Foxgloves, the

Scrop-

(Gratiola officinalis)

same family

hulariaceae, has also been

cardiotonic action, but

shown

it is

to possess

considered too

Almost identical
compounds are present in certain Apocytoxic to use medically.

including members of the genera


Strophanthus.
.Xenum. and Acokanthera),

naceae

which

possesses

cardiac

more genera containing


any

than

glycosides

other

so

compounds have
been identified in members of the Ranunculaceae, the Nymphaeaceae, the Celastraceae and the Bignoniaceae.
Similar

studied.

far

Below: The Woolly Foxglove ^Digitalis

Juniper, however, is too powerful to be


used when the kidneys are inflamed, and
it can in this case be replaced with Buchu
leaves {Agathosma betulina) which contains

that the therapeutic dose (the dose


required to produce the desired effect) is
almost as high as the toxic dose (the dose
which undesirable and sometimes
at
is

substances

D. lanata

compounds

present in the leaf in


concentration may completely
alter the physiological effect of the glycosides - this is a good example of
synergism.
certain

oxygen; the heart thus pumps

need

more

Another explanation may be that

alone.

Digitalis glycoside-like active principles

possesses

make

Taraxacum

several

officinale)

substances that

active

one of the most effective of

it

treatment of hypertension, some of


which have been shown to be remarkably
effective. Hypertension has long been
treated in Asia by the root of a shrub,
Rauvolfia serpentina, but it was not until

in the

the 1930s that the agent largely responsi-

was isolated. This comon the central nervous system

reserpine,

ble,

pound

acts

by depleting the stores of a vital transmitting substance called noradrenaline


(or norepinephrine as it is known in the
United States)
without this material
nerve impulses cannot travel and the
resultant loss of smooth muscle tone in the
walls of the blood vessels causes their
relaxation and so reduces blood pressure,
;

are also found in the morphologically far

thus acting as a hypotensive.

removed monocotyledonous
Liliaceae
and Cactaceae.

with

Rauvolfia

families, the

Convallaria

all

plant diuretics. Dandelion also has the

alkaloids

synergistically

act

such

hypotensives

other

as

the

and

this

majalis, of the Liliaceae

alkaloids from

the most powerful of

potentiation of the combined effect (syner-

Family, is in fact
the cardiac glycoside-containing plants growing in temperate zones, and has an important place
in both the folk and orthodox medical
treatment of arrhythmia flack ofa regular
heart brat
especially in eastern Europe.
all

the

exactly

In

same way

that

gism)

Veratrum species,

very useful since

is

it

enables rela-

low doses of both materials to be


used - an important fact since both sub-

tively

stances

may

cause side-effects

when used

on their own.

the

Foxglove glycosides promote regular beatan


ing of the heart so does quinidinc

New Treatments

alkaloid isomeric with quinine, the anti-

that only recently has detailed investi-

malarial substance from the same source,

gation of their activity been started. This

the bark of the

Cinchona

tree.

This

dis-

covery was made quite by chance when it


was noticed that patients being treated
with Cinchona bark for malaria were tree
from arrhythmias.
As well as cardiotonic agents, diuretics
are

essential

failure

and

in

cinal plants possess

Although
there

arc-

certain
effective

treatment of heart
number of medi-

the

a very large

this

is

some

diuretic action.

often not very powerful

Many other

herbs have similar histories in

has shown the presence of other chemical


groups in plants which have a beneficial
effect on the cardiovascular system. The
plants under current investigation include
the
is

Hawthorn

widely used

{Crataegus monogyna),
in the

which

treatment of angina

arteriosclerosis, heart failure,


hypertension and coronary thrombosis.

pectoris,

Its

major constituents are flavonoids.


Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum)
(

also

several herbs, notably those with

contains substances beneficially affecting

contents,

which are

The

fruit

cardiovascular system, as well as


vitamin P. Hawthorn and Buckwheat are
often combined in the treatment of hyper-

volatile
in

oil

diuresis.

ripe

of

Juniper Juniperui communis), for example,


contains up to two per cent ofa volatile oil
plus resins and a bitter principle which,
together, act directly on the kidneys.

the

tension they are frequently also


;

with
Yiscum

I ilia

album

europaea

(Lime

(Mistletoe-

1.

combined
tree

Main

and
herbs
57

MEDICINAL USES
with cardio-active properties contain
kaloids.

The hypotensive

tains several, of which the

are protoveratrin

and

is

blood pressure

Motherwort

most important
B.

Broom

(Saro-

possesses

the alkaloid

employed

to raise the

thamnus scoparius)
sparteine

and

al-

Veratrum con-

in

cardiac insufficiency.

(Leonurus cardiaca), however,

Below : A schematic representation of the


human digestive system which consists
principally of a hollow tube about

produced initially by the liver, not


only facilitates digestion but is also an
important route for the elimination of
certain waste products in the faeces. The
pancreas, in addition to producing a
Bile,

metres

(jo feet) long from the mouth to the anus.


Each part, with its specialized structural or
cellular form, plays one or

more

digestive juice

roles in the

which

is

discharged into the

gut, also releases directly into the blood-

processes of mastication, maceration,

lowering
the blood pressure, and help in angina

processes which all contribute to the

stream a hormone, insulin, which regulates the blood-sugar level. The condition

eventual elimination of unwanted waste

where

insufficient insulin

pectoris.

matter from the body.

known

as diabetes.

contains alkaloids which

assist in

With further detailed study of


itional remedies,

it

is

digestion

and absorption offoodstuffs,

is

produced

trad-

possible that new-

groups of compounds will be discovered or


certain plant combinations will prove to
be useful in cardiovascular disease.
cavity of the

DISORDERS OF THE DIGESTIVE


SYSTEM AND LIVER
The

mouth
vestibule

tongue

digestive system consists of the ali-

pharynx

mentary canal and the accessory digestive


organs. Food passing along the tract is
broken down by enzymes into small units
which are then absorbed into the blood
stream by passage across the gut cell-wall.
Some substances in the diet need no digesfor example,
tion before absorption
water, certain vitamins and minerals - but
the most important foodstuffs - fats, proall
require
teins and carbohydrates
extensive degradation before they may be

trachea

absorbed.

Some

dietary

constituents,

however,

such as the cellulose of plant cell-walls are


not digested at all by man because the
appropriate enzymes are lacking, and so
these pass through the gut to be expelled

unchanged
in the diet

in the faeces; their inclusion


is

none the

less

important be-

cause they add bulk to the intestinal con-

and improve peristalsis - the rhythmic contractions which propel the contents
from one end of the gastro-intestinal tract

liver

spleen

tents

all

bladder

pancreas

to the other.
pyloric orifice

duodenum

The

digestive system
alimentary canal comprises the
mouth, pharynx, oesophagus, stomach,
small intestine, large intestine, rectum
and anus. Although digestion begins in
the mouth while the food is being chewed,

The

since saliva contains the

enzyme

ascending
colon

descending
"colon

ptyalin

which breaks down starch into sugars, by


far the most important digestive organs
are the stomach and small intestine.
The stomach produces a secretion
which provides the optimal degree of
acidity for the operation of the

enzyme
The

pepsin, also secreted in the stomach.

sigmoid colon

appendix

rectum

partly digested food passes to the small

where it meets an alkaline secrecomposed of juices provided by two

intestine
tion

glands - the bile from the gall-bladder

and the digestive juices from the pancreas.


58

small intestine

(jejunum and ileum)

is

DIGESTION
is thus completed in the small
and most of the small molecules
so produced - amino-acids, sugars, fatty
acids, and glycerol - are absorbed by the
time the mass of food (bolus) has reached
the far end of the small intestine.

Digestion

(Iceland Moss)

Overactive acid-producing cells in the


stomach initially produce heartburn and
indigestion. If the excessive secretion of
gastric hydrochloric acid is prolonged,
peptic ulcer of the wall of the stomach or
the

duodenum may

Here a small
mucosal lining is

result.

portion of the delicate

digested away, exposing the lower layers

together with their associated nerve-endings,

which are

irritated

by the acidic

produce pain.
Ulcers have long been treated with
Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and a semisynthetic derivative of its major constituent, glycyrrhizin, has been introducgastric contents to

ed with useful results.

Hops

which was the traditional remedy of North American Indians, and Carlina acaulis (Stemless Thistle). In Europe a favourite is Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) which is often
combined with Althaea officinalis (Marshmallowj. The latter contains up to 20
per cent mucilage, which protects the
stomach lining, acting in a similar way
to the natural mucus. For the same reason
(Humulus

the

lupulus)

mucilage-rich

it

Cetraria

islandica

similarly employed.

may

be

desirable

in the elderly

stimulate

to

the

appetite. Usually the agents used for this

ipecacuanha).
Ipecacuanha
(Cephaelis
Other plants have been used in this respect
but their effect was due mostly to their
toxicity - the body simply reacts to the

purpose are bitter tonics containing bitter


principles, which increase glandular secretions. Many plants have a history of this
use and the most popular come from the
family Gentianaceae (which characteris-

presence of a noxious substance in the

contain bitter principles), for ex-

by inhibiting the overactivity of the


vomiting centre in the brain. Some of
these are found in the family Solanaceae.
Their action is drastic however, and often

tically

known and

ample, Gentiana lutea, the best


most widely used bitter tonic,
phylla, G. punctata, G. purpurea,

G. macro-

Menyanthes

(Buckbean) and Sabatia angularis


(American Centaury).
Because the tone of the muscle in the

trifoliata

gastro-intestinal

tract

as

well

secretion of the digestive juices

as
is

the

con-

by nervous as well as chemical


stimulation, an increase in nervous activtrolled

ity

may

acidity

Plants used for indigestion include

is

During convalescence or

intestine

lead
or

intestine,

either

spasm

known

in

to
all

as colic.

may

in

of

and

is

vomit-

often

com-

bined for this purpose with Filipendula


ulmaria, Chamaemelum nobile and Peppermint (Mentha x piperita).

and Wild

Yam

constipation.

cerns

divided

into

Below

Purgatives

main

may

classes

be
bulk

The

performs several

liver

important functions besides producing bile

for use

in the digestive process

the removal

of waste products from blood, the


destruction

of

substances.

tincture

three

purgatives, which simply increase the


volume of the intestinal contents and so

Emesis (vomiting)
cases of poisoning by
the

effective, especially in

preparations for digestive problems con-

villosa).

be induced

and

safer

ing during pregnancy

parts

Many members

gently acting herbs include


mints,
Acorus
and
gentians

administration

associated with side-effects. Ballota nigra


is

Purgatives The major use of herbal

More

root (Dioscorea

act

hyper-

which are powerful antispasmodics. Good examples are Atropa belladonna, Hyoscyamus niger and Datura stramon-

calamus, Alpinia ojficinarum

Anti-emetics include some herbs containing anticholinergic properties which

of the

hyos.cine,

certain

by the most

it

gastric

of the Solanaceae family contain simple


tropane alkaloids, such as atropine and

ium.

stomach and removes


rapidly effective means.

of worn-out blood

vital detoxification

cells,

and

the

of drugs and harmful

vena cava

hepatic veins
liver

spleen

ortal vein

hepatic artery

common
bile

duct

intestine

59

MEDICINAL USES
promote a

'natural' peristalsis

defaecation
act

and hence

lubricant purgatives, which

by generally loosening and softening


epiglottis

and irritants,
which exercise a localized irritant action
on the wall of the large bowel, inducing
the impacted faecal mass;

reflex evacuation.

Foods which contain a high proportion


of indigestible cellulose or 'roughage' such

blood vessels of heart

bran or seeds of Plantago species are not


destroyed by digestion and swell by
absorbing water; when they reach the
lower intestine, therefore, they act as bulk
as

right

bronchus

purgatives.

As the name
tives

suggests, lubricant purga-

include mucilages and

oils

which are

lobes of right lung

heart

extracted from a variety of plants, including the Psyllium species, Athaea

officinalis.

(Castor Oil Tree) and

Ricinus communis

Olea europaea (Olive Tree).


Irritant purgatives are used either
because they are toxic hence causing a
violent reaction to the presence of the
poison, for example, Ricinus communis

and certain Podophylsome specific physiological action. Toxic irritant purgatives


are seldom used because they are danseeds (Castor

oil)

lum species, or for

aorta

gerous.

Of those which

cause a specific physio-

most effective are the


which contain glycosides based on
the anthraquinone nucleus. The main
examples are Senna Cassia angustijolia
and C. acutifolia), Aloes (Aloe ferox, for
and
example), Rhubarb
Rheum spp
logical action, the

species

certain

members

of the

Rhamnaceae such

Rhamnus frangula Alder Buckthorn


and Rhamnus purshiana (Cascara

as

Injection

of extracts of these

plants

Diseases of the liver

may

lead to the

impairment of the metabolism of all kinds


of foods and. since the liver is the main
organ of detoxification in the body, to an
accumulation of waste products.
As the liver is closely associated with the
gall-bladder problems of these organs are

as Anise.

Fennel and

and certain Labiatae


Rosemary, for example).

Mint and

Umbelliferae such
Dill,

DISORDERS OF THE
RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
When we

breathe, air

is

taken

first

into the

Hence

nasopharynx and then into the chest via

but orally they take eight hours or more to


exert their effect. This is because the
active principles are in the form of inactive

some herbs are accredited with both

the windpipe, or trachea. This divides into


two bronchi one for each lung and then

tion of bile,

further into smaller tubes, bronchioles.

These are well absorbed from


the small intestine and are then hydrolyzed by enzymes in the blood to give the
active aglycones. These latter compounds
are excreted into the colon where they
irritate the mucosa to produce evacuation.

the liver itself,

The

results in

purgation

in

about 30 minutes

glycosides.

This process takes several hours and for


this reason extracts of such plants are best
taken at night.
Diarrhoea, an increase in the fluidity
and frequency of the stools, has usually
been treated with plants which predominantly contain astringent tannins.

The

action

of these

compounds

is

to

coagulate protein in a thin layer of the gut


lining thereby stopping its secretory action.

Common

Potentilla

examples of such herbs are


Agnmonia
species.

species,

Rubus idaeus, Polygonum


and Ulmus campestris.

Quercus species,
bistorta

60

usually considered in association.

choleretic action (stimulating the produc-

and thus working directly on


and cholagogue action
increasing the release of bile from the
gall-bladder Important cholagogues are
.

Berberis vulgaris

Balmonv

Barberry Chelone glabra


Taraxacum
officinale
,

and

Dandelion).

The Dandelion
action

and

is

also possesses choleretic

one of the most useful plants

for treating liver disease. It

is

employed

gall-bladder

inflammation of
and cholelithiasis

also relieve the

first

as alveolar ducts,

each

leading to an alveolar sac. These alveoli

and they commain body of the lung itself. They

are small hollow spheres


prise the

have very thin cell-walls which are well


supplied with minute blood vessels called
capillaries.

The respiratory system


Oxygen from

the air contained in the

it

alveoli diffuses across the cell-walls into

stage of cirrhosis.

the blood and in exchange waste products,


notably carbon dioxide, are expelled into
the air. This exchange of gases is known as
respiration. At even breath the air con-

(stones in the gall-bladder or bile duct

may

known

in

jaundice, cholecystitis
the

bronchioles branch further into very

fine tubules

Another important choleretic is Cynara


scolymus Globe Artichoke which has also
been shown to promote liver regeneration, following damage by poisons.
Flatulence can be treated with the
carminative plants which contain volatile
oils.
Important here are the aromatic

tained in the lungs

is

partially

exchanged

for fresh air from the atmosphere.


Oxygen is required for nearly all the
biochemical processes which occur in the

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
to

bronchiole

lung

air

pulmonary vein

passage

from pulmonary artery

alveolus

:fY

bronchus

^bJ^m ess, **
capillary

alveolus

Left

Diagrammatic

representation

of the respiratory system. Increasing


magnification of a portion of one lung (above)

show

to

its

internal structure,

and

relationship between blood vessels

which allows

alveoli,

the air

the

an increased
activity of these glands. There may, in
addition, be spasm of the muscle in the
walls of the bronchi adding to the

Arabs.

obstruction.

tussive agents

Another condition of the bronchial


system which causes considerable suffering is asthma. This is frequently of allergic

rest

tion

exchange of oxygen

The

blood

is

in

high

therefore vital.

rapid removal of carbon dioxide is


important because high blond

contribute

also

to

that attacks (pro-

equally

origin,

or tissue concentrations of this substance

nounced constriction of the bronchi and


excessively viscous secretions which lead
to the characteristic wheezing of asthma

depress many enzyme processes.


Most of the oxygen in the blood is not
simply dissolved in the body fluid but is
actively bound to a special molecule called

may

haemoglobin, found within the red blood


corpuscles. This is
complex organic
;i

molecule, rather like the light-absorbing


of green plants in its structure,

chlorophyll

but

instead

magnesium

of containing

an atom of

as in chlorophyll

it

is

bound

This is the main reason that our


diet should contain an adequate quantity
of this element, for a deficiency of iron or
to iron.

its

to

inefficient utilization in the

body leads

anaemia.
As blood passes around the organs ol
oxygen from the oxygenated

the body,

haemoglobin passes into the cells to be


used up in their chemical processes, and
each cell exchanges its waste carbon

The commonest

chronic disordei

ol

the

chronic bronchitis
inflammation of the bronchi), which may
tract

be associated with

ment

of

that

is

sufferers) are

specific

particular

to say

induced by the inhalation of

foreign

type

of

substance,
pollen.

often

Treatment

bronchi
using bronchodilators, and some of the
best known of these are Ephedra species.

consists of the relaxation of the

is

emphysema

enlarge-

may

be caused

the alveoli). This

as

Cough

is

foreign

materials.

tussives (like alkaloids

is

effective

in

chronic

asthma for
which purpose the North American Indians smoked the leaves. In India the
and

related

nicotianaefolia

L.

bronchial

is

used in

the

same way. The following plants are also


commonly employed in both asthma and
bronchitis often in combination with each
other: Drosera rotundifolia

Euphorbia hirta,

Polygala

senega,

Symplocarpus foetidus and

Urginea maritima.

A relatively new treatment for asthma


depends on the administration of a semisynthetic substance which is a derivative

from Opium, the

dried latex of Papaver somniferum) act by

suppressing

this

reflex.

They

are

thus

widely used in cough syrups.


Also used are extracts of Wild Cherry
bark (Prunus serotina or P. virginiana) which
was once frequently used with a complex
bitter compound produced by the Greater

Wild Lettuce (Lactuca virosa)


combined action is sedative as well as

Prickly or
the

phlegm

infiata

may

and promote sleep. Cough is conby a reflex from a centre in the


central nervous system, and many anti-

to treat this condition.

Lobelia

and

Anti-cough or antibe needed to facilitate

trolled

anti-tussive.

bronchitis

a natural reflex to help clear

the respiratory system of secretions

which contain ephedrine. Ephedra has


been used for 5000 years by the Chinese

Grmdelia camporum, Sanguinaria canadensis,

dioxide-.

respiratory

an anti-asthmatic agent among the

viscous secretions.

and the maintenance of


level in the

air pollu-

the

in the blood.

body,

Smoking and

compound isolated from the


mediterranean umbelliferous plant Ammi
visnaga - a plant which has a long history

of khellin, a

and

with waste carbon dioxide

oxygen

by recurrent episodes of infection which


lead to an increased number of the mucus
glands and therefore an increase in

For difficulty
a

in clearing the chest

class

known

of agents

of
as

may

be used. These act


cough or by increasing
the fluidity of an excessively viscous
bronchial secretion. The best-known irritant or cough-inducing expectorant is
tincture of syrup of Ipecacuanha used in a
much weaker concentration than that for
promoting emesis. Other expectorant
herbs include Cowslip (Primula verts),
Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis), Mullein
Verbascum thapsus) and Snakeroot (Polygala senega), all of which contain saponins

expectorants

either by inducing

(detergent-like substances) that aid dissolution of sputum.

employed

as

Viola odorata

an expectorant;

it

is

also

contains a
()t

MEDICINAL USES
glycoside, violarutin, as well as saponins.

Primary infection of the upper respiratory tract is in go per cent of cases


caused by minute living particles called
viruses. These may be highly infectious
(demonstrated by the occurrence of the
common cold), and so far few plants have
been shown to possess specific anti-viral
activity. General resistance to these and
other infections in the body may be
increased, however, by employing Phytolacca americana, which stimulates the
immunological defence system. Where
primary viral infection is followed by
bacterial infection a

number

of plants are

is

The nervous system


That part of the peripheral system which
is
under active control is called the
voluntary system and is concerned with
the skeletal muscles while the involuntary
or

acts

on the muscles

from min-

controlled by will, such as the heart or the

(Allium

bladder.

Messages are conducted by changes

strongly antibacterial as are

Cone flower
Elecampane

autonomic system

of the organs and glands which cannot be

ute plants, the moulds). Garlic


sativum)

pulses in the reverse direction.

power of

used, although few possess the


antibiotics (originally isolated

and the peripheral nervous system


comprising the major nerves which connect the spinal cord with the minute
nerve-endings in every part of the body.
The peripheral system conducts messages
from the organs to the central nervous
system and also conveys controlling imcord,

and

{Echinacea angustifoliai,
{Inula helenium).

in

the electrical balance of the nerve cells or

neurones concerned. More than one cell


involved with each pathway, and the
electrical change is transmitted from one
cell to another by the release of tiny
amounts, or quanta, of a special chemical
substance called a transmitter.
This process can be illustrated with a
specific example. When you burn your

two
in

The nervous system


grates

all

controls

and

the activities of the body.

inte-

There

are two main parts: the central nervous


system consisting of the brain and spinal

hand, temperature-detecting
Below

showing

The autonomic

nervous system,

the opposing actions

of the

parasympathetic and sympathetic parts on


various organs of the body.
receive nerves

Most organs

of both systems

and

are

controlled by impulses from each.

cells in the

skin activate nerve-endings. This


is

message

passed along afferent or sensory nerve

fibres

to

changes.

spinal

the

When

cord

by

electrical

the message arrives at the

spinal cord, a chemical transmitter passes


it

across the synapse

the junction

between

activates another

cord.

The

'perceived'

and

down

as

a result an impulse

down

the spinal cord

the efferent or

are controlled in distinct regions of the

ies

and brain by two sets of nerve


- the sympathetic and the parasympathetic - which, generally speaking,

spinal cord
cells

The parasympathetnervous system is responsible, for


example, for increased blood-flow to the
digestive system after a meal, and the
decrease in size of the pupil in bright sunlight. The transmitting substance for these
act in opposite ways.
ic

is known as acetylcholine.
The sympathetic nervous system, which

nerves
uses

mainly adrenaline and noradrenaits transmitter compounds, comes

line as

into effect in conditions of stress such as


fear

and anger, and

acts antagonistically

of the parasympathetic
sympathetic stimulation
causes increase both in pupil size and
to

stimulation

system.

Thus

heart-rate but, at the

same

time, constric-

and
abdominal viscera. All these actions prepare the body for intense activity.
tion of the blood-vessels in the skin

At a higher level of activity functions


such as consciousness, thought, memory.

saliva

saliva

glands

glands
heart

heart

lungs

lungs

stomach

stomach

intestine

intestine

bladder

bladder

spinal

cord

sympathetic
trunk

is

and then
motor nerve to the
muscles of the arm and hand - which is
withdrawn involuntarily from the heat.
Function of organs autonomic activit-

passes

pupil

pupil

neurone

"message"

sympathetic

parasympathetic

62

and

spinal

transmitted up the spinal cord to the


cerebral cortex in the brain. The pain is

is

DISORDERS OF THE NERVOUS


SYSTEM

cells)

the

THE NERVOUS SYSTEM


touch receptors
central nervous

in

the skin

system

*
^

'6^

K.

effectors and receptors in the muscles and tendons

and reasoning

reside

in

the superficial

layer of the cerebral cortex in the brain. In

man, with

his

high intellectual capacity,

dominate

these portions of the brain

all

Co-ordination of the reflexes is


carried out in a smaller region of the brain
called the hypothalamus. The mid-brain
and medulla are concerned with the
maintenance of the wakeful state land
hence also sleep temperature regulation,

the

Passion-flower

[Passiflora

incarnata)

which contain the alkaloids passiflorine,


harmol. and harmine, are also used as
sedatives. Other popular medicinal plants
category include Lady's Slipper

others.

in

respiratory regulation

American Valerian; and Tilia species.


Drugs acting on the peripheral nervous
system may be divided into two groups
depending on whether they exert their
effect on the sensory or motor neurones. In

and maintenance

of blood pressure.

this

(Cypripedium

the

first

pubescens\

class

fall

also

nervous

central

the

which

relieve

pain,

the strongest of these

system

are

those

the analgesics,

known

and

in the plant

kingdom are derived from


Poppy Papaver sommjerum

Opium

the

Historically the best-known pain-killer

Mandrake

which,

like

root

Mandragora

Henbane

officinarum

Hyoscyamus

nigei

contains the alkaloids hyoscyaminc and

scopolamine. Both were used during early

Other analgesics include Bos-

surgery.
wellia

serrata,

Chrysanthemum anemijolium.

Ervatamia dichotoma and


'

ontain

certain

many

essential

herbs which

oils,

such

as

Erythroxylum

irritants

coca

American

the

physiological

of Physostigma venenosum

its

active ingredients arc terpenoid

pounds

is
:

com-

ailed \;de pot notes, present in the

root-Stock The Indian spe< ies V.


wallnhn is even more effective. Extra* ts of
fresh

linking with the

via the central nervous system.

The

reflex

response causes the cigarette to be dropped.

Below: Henbane fHyoscyamus


rarely used today since

it

contains

niger,)

is

many

powerful substances but, historically,

it

has

been very important.

Drugs which act on the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system in the


opposite way, that is by inhibiting or

Adrenergic drugs, or those acting on


neuromuscular junction,
include stimulants such as ephedrine
from Ephedra species) and drugs acting

officinalis

pain of a cigarette

pathway (red)
effector pathway (green)

the receptor

such as nicotine in the leaves oi .\icotiana


(from Pilocarpus jaborandi) or eserine isolated from the beans

hallu-

depressant

and

tabacum.i, pilocarpine

and

A well-known

the reaction to the

burn,

autonomic system include stimulants


which act like an excess of acetylcholine

simu-

tincture of Valerian {Valeriana

show

of tin

transmitter

tranquillizers; and, conversely, the

cinogens.

reflex consists

and counter-

antagonizing the effects of acetylcholine,


include the tropane alkaloids from many
species of the family Solanaceae, for
example, Atropa belladonna and Hyoscyamus

lants such as antidepressants

from, for example, the seed of

Wintergreen whose
oil comprises mainly methyl salicylate.
Other central nervous system drugs
include the depressant group comprising
the anaesthetics, hypnotics, sedatives and
Caultheria procumbens

of the
and an
involuntary muscle movement. The diagrams
left

stimulation of a receptor neuron

Mustard and the oil of Wintergreen.


Drugs which act predominantly on the
cholinergic nerves that is those in which
the chemical compound, acetylcholine,
is

is

shrub,

as

the local anaesthetics

(such as cocaine from the South

Treatment of nervous disorders


The most widely used drugs which act on

known

Above and

niger.

the sympathetic

way (antagonists such as


from
both Rauvoljui
rpentina
reserpine
and R. vomitoria) and ergotamine (from
in the

opposite

(Jlaviceps purpurea).

63

SELF-HELP

SELF-HELP WITH HERBS

are frequently described as a diuretic, but

mainstream
medical profession and unorthodox practitioners have tended to dissuade ordinary
people from treating themselves or obtaining the means or information for doing so.
This opposition was often concerned
with the profit motive and, equally, no
doubt because of the need for secrecy to

they must not be used where there is a


kidney inflammation. Similarly, some

history both the

Throughout

lack of knowledge, ineffective


remedies or even outright charlatanism.
The strongest argument today against
self-medication is the danger of misdiagnosis. Certain commonplace symptoms, such as vomiting, stiff neck, head-

conceal

ache,

fever

themselves

or

earache,

may seem

in

complaints. But, con-

trivial

sidered in the perspective of other associ-

symptoms and
dispositions and case

the

ated

patient's

pre-

symp-

history, such

toms may indicate a much more serious


problem.
Since any complaint is best treated
immediately, it is important to remember
that if symptoms do not disappear very
quickly, proper qualified advice must be
sought. Children must never be treated
with herbal remedies, or with any other
form of home medication; in children
ordinary symptoms such as those of the
common cold may develop into a potencondition

tially serious

in as

quickly as 24

may

herbs

person

blood pressure in a
suffering from hyper-

raise the

already

more than 12 hours as they may deteriorate. Even under ideal conditions herbs
lose their activity: leaves, flowers and
fruit

seeds,

should be used within one year;


roots and rhizomes within three

and there are some plants which


must never be taken internally by preg-

years.

nant women.

weight of remedy used is 30 g. For those


remedies containing more than one herb,
the combined weight is still 30 g.

tension,

There

is

also the question of correct

how and when the dose should be


administered, and the length of time for
which a remedy should be taken. Lack of
dosage:

In both infusions and decoctions the

Used

Infusion

water-soluble
dense parts of
leaves, stems and

to extract the

knowledge of correct herb combinations,


and the use of incorrect doses, can produce

substances from the

adverse

is
also sometimes
employed on thin, small or chopped roots
and fruits.
The method consists of pouring 500 ml

Simply because herbs are natural prodoes not follow that their use in
medicine is any easier than the use of

ducts

it

substances - in

It

method

oz to
of boiling water on to 30 g (or
20 fl ozs) of the finely cut material con-

for these reasons, therefore, that

tained in a porcelain, stone or glass vessel,

it is

is

many

the

as

the

ways,

synthetic

indeed,

such

herbs

flowers,

effects.

more complicated.

recommended
many popular modern 'herb-

self-medication cannot be

fitted

and why

volatile substances

als'

less

may

so

be considered with interest, but

be

with a tight

lost

The

lid.

lid

keeps in the

which would otherwise

during the
required

not as medical manuals. In this chapter

normally

some examples have been given of plants

straining the liquid

10
for
is

or

minutes

15

After

infusion.

allowed

to cool to

below blood heat before the dose

medically effective in disturbances of the

just

cardiovascular, nervous, respiratory and

taken,

demonstrate the
effectiveness of herbal medicine as administered by a properly qualified prac-

one cup of infusion taken three times a

systems

digestive

titioner.

Some

to

or

it

completely.

may be allowed
The normal dose

to
is

is

cool

up

to

day, usually before meals.

of these plants are poison-

Hard

hours.

ous even in only moderate doses. There

Decoction

Apart from mis-diagnosis, some individuals do not tolerate certain plant


material either because of an intrinsic
allergic problem, or because an organ or
system in the body is malfunctioning to
some extent. Juniper berries, for example.

are,

however, many simple conditions


which can be treated at home so long as
the warnings above are fully considered.

rhizomes, bark, seed, and

PREPARATIONS

500 ml (or oz to 20 fl ozs) of cold water


an enamel or glass vessel and allowing
it to soak for 10 minutes. The temperature
is raised to boiling point and the mixture
then simmered for 10 to 15 minutes; this is

purposes of self-care, only three methods

need be employed. Infusion involves

external application only.

Left

There are many

different

ways of

preparing herbal remedies but for the

extraction

tin

of water-soluble substances from

the less dense parts

of a herb, such as

leaves, stems or flowers.

Decoction

extraction

its

is

best

for hard plant parts which will release their

water-soluble parts only after being soaked in


hot water. Poultice simply

means

the use

afresh plant by bruising or crushing


pulp, which

is

then

it

Other

of

into a

mixed with a

methods

of specific

to

groups of active

materials from a plant, so that alcoholic

may

indicate all three methods,


kettle, a

and

include a

good mortar and

of wooden spoons,
storage jars, and, most importantly, a wide
range of dried and fresh herbs. 1 Other methods

pestle,

<>)

a fine strainer,

lots

preparing herbal remedies require a

greater knowledge of

pharmacy and

are best left to the experts.)

entire

process

usually one cup

Still

other methods are related to the

physical nature of the herb

itself;

pouring

its

may

constituents,

whereas the same procedure is perfectly


satisfactory for most leaves and flowers.
A complete understanding of all the

methods of preparation of herbal


remedies requires a knowledge of phar-

different

macy, and is thus not relevant to self-care.


For this purpose only three methods need
be employed, namely infusion, decoction
and poultice. These should always be
made fresh before use, and never kept for

the

(or slightly less)

Poultice

extract only a fraction of

saucepan and

the

vessel

should be kept covered. After straining


and cooling the dose may be taken; this is

released or solubilized in water.

of hot water,

body surface. The variety of


containers and implements assembled here

followed by a further 10 minutes steeping.

times a day before meals.

be

boiling water over a thick hard root

in readiness for application

in

needed to remove
therapeutic chemicals which would not be

solutions

moistening material, such as small quantities

directly to the

the

release

more prolonged hot water treatment. This


requires adding 30 g of the herbal remedy

During
related

are

wood

their water-soluble constituents only after

i(

remedies may be prepared in


several different ways. Some methods are
directly related to their form of administration - poultices, ointments, creams and
salves, for example, are obviously for

Herbal

plant parts such as roots,

This method

may

three

utilize either

which is bruised and


a pulp, and then mixed with a

fresh plant material

crushed to
small quantity of hot water; or dried herbs
which are softened by mixing with host
pastes, which act as a suspending material, made from flour, bran, corn meal or
other suitable vehicles. If the latter method is employed 60 g of dried herbs are
mixed with 500 ml (or 2 ozs to 20 fl ozs) of
fairly loose paste. Both fresh and dried
plant poultices are best applied indirectly
to the skin by sandwiching the paste

between thin cloth prior to application


the affected part of the body surface.

to

65

SELF-HELP TABLE

Left

Herb farms, such as

the one

shown

here,

can supply the herbs used in the following


recipes.

Below

is for adults - children


Herbal remedies should

The dosage

must not be

treated.

be taken daily for two to three weeks.

No

medication should be taken continuously

sometimes better

The figures

; it is

vary the formulations

to

indicate the proportionate parts

by weight.

Key

ACIDITY

see Dyspepsia

ANAEMIA

Golden Seal
Myrrh rs

Dandelion

Spinach
Watercress

As salad herbs,

rs

resin

bd

buds

hb

herb

rt

root

bl

bulb

If

leaf

sd

seed

cl

clove

Witch Hazel,

distilled

Wormwood

Angelica

Nettle

water of

If

If
1

Walnut
Sage If

If

Peppermint

Gentian

hb
If

Marigold fl
Black Bryony hb

cup

hr before

European Centaury hb
1
St Johns Wort hb
Infusion: 2 cups per day

Linseed sd
rt

Sweet Flag
Caraway sd

Cuckoopint If
Lime bk
Herb Robert If
Rue hb
Fenugreek sd
Sanicle hb

rt

Agrimony hb

Gentian

Calumba

European Centaury hb

Hemp Agrimony hb
Apply hot poultices of any of the

rt

rt

Decoction: ^ cup
meals

Bogbean hb

Blessed Thistle hb

Mugwort

Infusion: \

If

cup

hr before meals

Globe Artichoke If
1
Gentian rt
Decoction: \ cup 1 hr before meals
1

Garlic

Rosemary hb

cl

Echinacea rt
Juniper by

Poultice or Decoction

Renew

hr before

(external use)

above, alone or
at least

in

combination.

4 times a day

BURNS

If

Comfrey If
St Johns Wort hb

cups per day

European Centaury hb
1
Thyme hb
1
White Horehound If
1
Hyssop hb
Infusion: 2 cups per day

If

Oak If
Cabbage

Decoction: cup \ hr before

fl

Cowslip

meals

Infusion: 2

ANTISEPTIC

hr before meals

cups per day


1

Birch

meals

If

2 Nettle

Hyssop hb
Arnica

rt

Infusion: 5

Infusion: 2

BAD BREATH

see Halitosis

Cucumber

Comfrey

Oak bk

Marigold

ft

If

fl

Johns Wort hb
Poultice: renew frequently
2 St

Marigold

Sanicle hb

Plantain

fl

If

Comfrey If
2 Lady's Mantle hb
2

Onion
Myrrh

Melilot hb

Thyme hb

BILIOUSNESS

bl

see Nausea

rs

Poultice:

Plantain

If

Poultice
1

Golden Rod hb

Wintergreen

If

Rue hb
Southernwood hb

Poultice or Infusion

66

renew

frequently

BLEEDING

Poultice or Decoction

petals

(lack of)

or vegetables:

frequently

Pt

fruit

Apply on cotton wool

Agrimony hb
Infusion: 1 cup

Moss

Iceland

flower

ft

BRUISES
APPETITE

Nettle

ft

berry

Decoction, use diluted

Comfrey

bark

by

rt

Chives

bk

Cranesbill

rt

Raspberry

If

Bistort

rt

Decoction: as a poultice or wash

Chickweed hb
Golden Seal rt
Irish Moss hb

Poultice:

Burdock
Marigold

renew
rt
fl

frequently

SELF-HELP TABLE

Coltsfoot
Plantain

If

Flag

If

Eucalyptus

Garlic

If

cup before

retiring

Severe
3

CONJUNCTIVITIS

Eyebright hb

Infusion: apply as lotion or

Senna If
Marjoram

If

Chamomile
Sweet Flag

fl

rt

eyewash

Peppermint If
Decoction: 7 cup before

Marigold fl
Fumitory hb
1
Eyebright hb
Infusion: apply as lotion or

4 Senna If
1
Ginger rt
4 Sweet Flag

eyewash

Decoction:

retiring

Blessed Thistle hb

Rue hb
Mugwort hb

2 Horseradish

rt

2 Blessed Thistle

Mallow
Sage If

Coltsfoot

Walnut

hb
1

Golden Seal
Rose pt

Elder

If

If

fl

1
1

Chamomil?

4 Slippery Elm bk (powder)


1
Cayenne (powder)
2 Blessed Thistle hb

Cornflower

Poultice

Melilotfl

2 Plantain

Golden Rod hb
2 Yarrow hb
1
Hawthorn fl
Infusion: 2 cups a day

Coltsfoot
Fennel sd

If

1
1

and

Sundew hb
Thyme hb
Aniseed sd
3 cups per day

Infusion:

Fennel sd

2 Irish

Rue

If

Moss hb

Thyme

If

4 Elecampane rt
2 Aniseed sd
4 Liquorice rt
4 Lungwort If
1
Fennel sd
Decoction: 3 cups per day

Mild

Fruit juices, especially

rt

Elecampane rt
White Horehound. hb

fl

4 Slippery Elm bk (powder)

Blood Root

retiring

Decoction: 3 cups per day

Decoction apply as eye compress

prune

Cabbage

Poultice

cup before

Suppressant

CONSTIPATION

fl

apply as lotion or eyewash

rt

rt

If

Infusion: dilute 1:3 with water

Angelica rt
2 Lady's Mantle hb

Rhubarb

COUGHS

rt

Decoction: dilute 1:5 with water


and apply as lotion or eyewash

If

Poultice

Angelica rt
Alder Buckthorn bk

Infusion:

cl

the vapour

Poultice

2
If

Couch-grass hb
Borage If
Dandelion If

rt

CHILBLAINS

rt

Decoction: wash carefully with


any of the above, alone or in
combination

Sage If
Marjoram

Pour on boiling water and inhale

Tormentil

Willow If
Elm bk
Avens rt

Hound's Tongue
Lady's Mantle If

Sweet

Rosemary hb
Peppermint If

If

Figs

COLDS

Expectorant

Dates
Prunes
1

Yarrow

Elder

Peppermint

Raisins

Bran

If

3-4 cups per day

Infusion

2 Coltsfoot

Rhubarb

fl

fl

Hyssop hb
White Horehound. hb
Infusion 3 cups per day

in the diet,

2
1

or their intake

increased

1
1

Elder

fl

Lime

fl

Psyllium sd
Alpine Plantain sd
Decoction: do not strain, drink 3
cups per day

Bayberry bk
1
Ginger rt
Infusion 2 cups per day.

in

doses

small

1
1

Liquorice sd

Fennel sd
Linseed sd

Ginger

rt

3 cups per day

Infusion

Liquorice

2 Elder
1

Meadowsweet hb

2 Violet
1

rt

fl

Garlic

fl

cl

Decoction 2 cups per day

fl

Marshmallow rt
Soapwort hb or

rt

Mullein hb
Balm of Gilead bd

cups per day

Sage If
Marshmallow

Coltsfoot

Comfrey

rt

If
If

Infusion 3 cups per day

Decoction 3 cups per day


4 Boneset hb
4 Elder fl
4 Yarrow fl

rt

Cowslip

Infusion: 2

Infusion 3 cups per day

Liquorice

Decoction 3 cups per day

Spinach
Apples
The above should be incorporated

If

White Horehound. hb

Turnera hb

Yellow Dock rt
1
Dandelion rt
Decoction: 3 cups per day

CUTS

see Bleeding

DIARRHOEA

2 Alder
1

Ash

Alder

Buckthorn bk

Bilberry

If

Bistort

fl

Peppermint

Infusion:

bed

Tormentil

If

cup before

retiring to

rt

Agrimony hb
Ground Ivy hb
Oak bk
ft

rt

Elm bk
Yarrow hb
Lady's Mantle hb

67

MEDICINAL USES
Cranesbill

GARGLE

rt

Decoctions of any of the above,


alone or in combinations. Up to 2
cups per day taken in small doses

Red Sage

Valerian

Chamomile

rt
fl

If

Myrrh rs
Marigold fl
Decoction: as required
1

Lavender fl
Infusion: 2 cups per day
1

Jambul

Oak bk

ft

2 Raspberry

Sweet

rt

hb

2 Tormentil

Peppermint

2 Marigold

day

hb
Rosemary hb
Infusion: 3 cups per day
2 Blessed Thistle

fl

Marshmallow
Sage hb

rt

INDIGESTION

3 or more cups per day

Infusion:
1

If

Marshmallow If
cups per day

Infusion: 3

Sanicle hb

Lavender

Thyme hb

Tormentil

1
1
1

If

to

fl

Dandelion

Meadowsweet hb

Limefl

Marshmallow

rt

Infusion: as required
1

Meadowsweet hb
Lemon Balm

Peppermint

cup as required, not


exceed 4 cups per day

in

Meadowsweet hb

rt

If

Herb Robert hb
Decoction: as required

DYSPEPSIA

Hops hb
Valerian

1
Ginger rt
Decoction: 3 cups per day,
small doses

Infusion: 2 cups per

If

Infusion: as required
1

rt

Thyme hb

Infusion:

2 Blackberry

Decoction. 3 cups per day. in


small doses

Cleavers hb

If

Flag

2 Plantain

Golden Seal rt
Herb Robert hb
Sage If
Sea salt

If

rt

Infusion: 4 cups per

Decoction: as required

Parsley hb

Sage

day

If

Fennel sd
Decoction: 2 cups per day
1

Sweet Flag

Meadowsweet hb

HALITOSIS

rt

Decoction: 3 cups per day

Anise sd

Cardamom

sd

Sweet Flag

rt

Ginger rt
Decoction: \ cup as required, not
to exceed 2 cups per day
1

Gentian

Chamomile

Angelica

Lemon Balm

Clove
Angelica rt
Fennel sd
Peppermint

rt
fl

rt

If

If

Decoction: 3 cups per day

Parsley

If
1

Sweet

Flag

rt
1

Wormwood

Coriander sd

Sage

hb

Dill

If

Liquorice rt
Infusion: 7 cup per day

see Coughs

sd

of any of the above.


combination. Consider
the need for a laxative, dental care.
treatment of flatulence or stomach
little

alone or

in

Wormwood

Chicory

Anise sd
Fennel sd

Orris

rt

Meadowsweet hb

Caraway sd

in

Sweet Flag

Decoction: gargle frequently


2 Lavender

Peppermint

Caraway sd

Garlic

Yarrow

If

cl

Sage

fl

If

to

exceed

Lemon Balm hb
Chamomile fl

Peppermint If
Infusion: 2 cups per day

HEADACHE

Irish Moss
Chickweed

Carrot

Lime

Lemon Balm hb

Coltsfoot

Borage

Rosemary hb

Linseed

Cucumber

Houseleek

Slippery Elm

fl

Infusion: as required.

1-4 cups

per day
1

Caraway sd

Fennel sd

Mugwort hb

Anise sd
Decoction: 3 cups per day
1

1
1

1
1

Lovage

3 cups per day

Vervain hb
Scullcap hb

Infusion:

3 cups per day

rt

Cumin sd
Thyme hb

Decoction: 2 cups per day

68

Catmint hb
Rosemary hb

Infusion:

Winter Savory hb
Angelica rt

5 cups per day

INFLAMMATIONS
cups per day

Myrrh rs
Decoction: gargle 3 times per day

Apple

rt

Turnera hb
1
Cola ft
1
Ginger rt
Decoction: \ cup as required, not

fl

Infusion: 2

taken

small doses

Decoction: 3 cups per day


2

rt

2-3 cups per day.

2 Sarsaparilla

rt

hb

rt

hb

2 Basil

acidity.

4 Sweet Flag
Ginger rt

If

Woodruff hb
Decoction: 2 cups per day

Infusion:

FLATULENCE

If

Chew a

EXPECTORANTS

Tarragon

Fennel sd
Gentian rt
Peppermint

Yarrow

Scullcap hb

Infusion:

fl

23 cups per day

Oats

Purple Loosestrife

Onion

White Pond
Okra
Lungwort

Parsley

Comfrey
Pumpkin

Lily

Marshmallow

Watercress Iceland Moss


Any of the above may be crushed
and pulped with a little hot water
to produce a poultice suitable for
application to inflammations or

swellings

INFLUENZA

see Colds

SELF-HELP TABLE
Black Horehound hb
1
Decoction: 3 cups per day

INSECT BITES
Houseleek

Parsley

Leek
Olive

Golden Rod hb

Meadowsweet hb

Sage hb
Black Horehound hb
1
Vervain hb
1
Pennyroyal hb
Infusion: 3 cups per day (not
during pregnancy)

If

fl

If

bl
oil

Plantain

cl

If

Rue If
St Johns Wort
Marigold

Garlic

Eaten raw: 2 per day

Infusion: gargle

Summer Savory
Infusion: gargle

If

Pennyroyal

If

Comfrey If
Crush the fresh plant of any of the
above and rub on the sting

Red Sage

Raspberry If
Ginger rt
Peppermint hb

Lemon Balm hb

1
1

Bayberry bk

cups per day

Infusion: 2

If

Infusion: gargle

Decoction: gargle

Repellent

Clove

Lavender
of Pennyroyal

Oil of
Oil

Elder

TONICS

Chew one

slowly

(crushed)

If

see Burns

INSOMNIA
SEDATIVES
Valerian

Lime

Betony hb

Scullcap hb

fl

Fennel sd
Aniseed sd
Passion flower hb (i cup only)

Infusion:

1
1
1

1
1

sd
Fennel sd
Dill

3 cups per day

1
1

1
1

Lime

fl

Hops hb
Lemon Balm hb
Valerian

Infusion

cup

(see also Gargle)

Poke Root

Lady's Slipper hb

TOOTHACHE

Hyssop hb
Lemon Balm hb

Mallow

Eaten raw. 2 per day

Clove

oil

to tooth cavity,

rt

Mistletoe hb

Scullcap hb

but avoid

gums

cups per day.

in

small

Chamomile

fl

Infusion: repeatedly rinse

doses
2 Mistletoe hb
4 Lime fl

Hawthorn

ft

VOMITING
or

fl

Decoction 2 cups per day.


small doses

in

Lavender

Orange

Lemon Balm hb

Basil

fl

Valerian

(see also Nausea)

Peppermint hb
Spearmint hb
European Centaury hb

Chamomile

Wormwood

fl

hb

Infusion sip as required, to 3 cups

fl

hb
Hops hb

mouth

per day

Chamomile
Lemon Balm hb

Peppermint hb

Fennel sd

European Centaury hb

rt

fl

fl

Mullein hb
Coltsfoot If

Marshmallow

If

and chew gently

Apply

cl

Mallow

4-5 cups per day

2 Valerian

Infusion 4 cups per day

ft

If

Turnera hb
Saw Palmetto by
1
Cola ft
1
Oats sd
Decoction: 2 cups per day. in
small doses

Hedge Mustard hb

Sace

rt

Decoction: gargle

Garlic

fl

Soften,

at night

8 Coltsfoot If
4 Blood Root rt
4 Balm of Gilead bd
1

Dog Rose

Oats sd
Hops hb

Infusion: 2

LARYNGITIS

Hibiscus

Lavender fl
Infusion: 4 cups per day

rt

3 cups per day

ft

Infusion 3 cups per day

1
Peppermint hb
Decoction I cup at night

Dog Rose

Infusn

Lady's Slipper hb
Oats sd
Scullcap hb

Infusion:

If

Peppermint If
Infusion: 3 cups per day

1
fl

Lavender fl
Woodruff hb
Thyme hb
Infusions of any of the above.
cup at night

Dandelion
Chicory rt

rt

Hops hb
Chamomile

SCALDS

Liquorice

Infusion 2 cups per day. Or take


alone. 2 cups per day

any one
rt

Infusion: as required

SORE THROAT

rt

Infusion 3 cups per day

LAXATIVES

see Constipation

NAUSEA

Golden Seal

Thyme hb

Sage

During Pregnancy

rt

If

Iceland

Moss hb

Black Horehound hb
Decoction: 2 cups per day

Myrrh rs
Decoction: gargle

Black Horehound hb
Infusion: 2

cups per day

Galangal

Marshmallow

rt
rt

Bistort

Balm

rt

of Gilead

1
Sanicle hb
Decoction, gargle

bd

Chamomile

Meadowsweet hb

fl

Black Horehound. hb
cups per day

Infusion: 2

69

'--

*Jk-<'~

-/

\ag

UP

Herbs
in the kitchen

Herbs and spices have had an important


role in cooking tor more than 5000 years.
No doubt herbs were eaten for their
flavour long before it was recognized that

Proverbs (xv:i7), we find 'Better is a


dinner of herbs where love is, than a
stalled ox and hatred therewith'. Classical

various other beneficial

herbs and spices. Theophrastus, born in


Greece in 372 B.C. and a student of Plato

possessed

they

properties.

An

organized

international

literature

is

similarly rich in references to

many

trade in spices already existed by about

and

1550 B.C. The Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian


medical work, contained references to
Indian spices as well as locally grown
plants. In about 950 B.C. King Solomon

of herbs in his writings. Pliny, born in a.d.

was visited by the Queen of Sheba who


brought gifts of Arabian spices and herb
seeds. Ancient Babylon already grew its
own Bay, Saffron, Thyme, Cumin and
Juniper. In 450 B.C. Herodotus described
Indian spices then

known

in

Greece.

It

was from the mediterranean regions that


many plants came to northern Europe as
the Roman empire expanded. Native
herbs were augmented by Roman favourites such as Mustard, and spices were
imported. South Indian Pepper was the
most popular import and this pungent
spice was sprinkled liberally over dishes
both sweet and savoury. Even today
freshly milled pepper is sometimes added
to

strawberries to heighten their flavour.

Ginger was next

in

popularity

cuisine

of first-century

used

many

in

in

the

Rome and was

spiced mixtures, sauces and

stuffings as a digestive

and

laxative.

Biblical references to herbs

and

spices,

obtained from them, abound in


both the Old and New Testaments. In

and

oils

Aristotle, includes

23, included natural history in his writings

and referred to the custom of sprinkling


egg-brushed bread dough with Poppyseeds prior to baking.

In a.d. 812 the

HerbSy bread

and eggs

simple

Emperor Charlemagne

issued an edict instructing his people to

grow certain herbs and vegetables

in their

gardens - probably the earliest 'permitted


list' of herbs. Perhaps the Emperor's best
tended garden, stocked according to his
plan, was in the Benedictine monastery
at St Gall in Switzerland.
In Britain, the Guild of Pepperers was
in existence in 1180. The guild then became the Mistery of Grossers, Pepperers
and Apothecaries, later the Guild of
Grocers and finally the Grocers' Company. From the fourteenth century the
guild acted as a watchbody, controlling
the quality of spices,

with

adulterated

which could easily be


or low grade
water was another

spent

material. Adding
means of defrauding

the buyer.

Only

in

1875 did the necessary legal machinery


come into the hands of the law with the
Sale

of Food

rendered
guild

Left:

descriptions

the

and Drugs Act, which


watchdog powers of the

less vital.

The

fifteenth-century

from

term

'pepperoccasional

materials that can provide cooks with all the

torn

variety they need.

practice of paying rents to landlords in

rent'

arose

the

7'

HERBS IN THE KITCHEN


SI'

ICE

PLANTS

I'

late

ma

Above: Herbs have been used for hundreds of


years, and

it is

only in recent times that they

have been neglected. Here a cook seasons one

of his dishes -

illustration from a cookery

book published

in

1507. For

the

GINGER

medieval

BLACK PEPPER
piper nigrum,.

:in</iicr officinale

cook herbs were an essential part of cooking,


4

most often for heir preservative powers.

Right : Ginger, Black Pepper, Caper and

Cayenne : four spices that have been used


kitchens for

many

in

centuries.

A peppercorn rent signified a trivial amount,


but realistic rents paid in pepper consignments meant that the landowner's annual
pepper expenditure could be avoided.
Rent paid in peppercorns was often preferred because it held its value better than
unstable coinage - suggesting problems
with inflationary currency even in those
days!
The staff of monastic gardens, kitchens
and distilling rooms, the cultivators of the
farms of the Knights of St John of
Jerusalem and church missionaries (often
selected because of their botanical acumen) all played important roles in promoting the knowledge and use of herbs
and spices. The Arab conquest of Spain

his first

meant

Arabian spice traders operated from Spain to the borders of China.


At about the same time Greek, Levantine
and Arabian traders were busy establishing trading stations and factories along

years later Vasco da

the west coast of India.

navigated the Cape of Good Hope and


was transformed, the legendary
overland caravan routes being replaced

Colombo, Ceylon. In 1600 the British


East India Company was founded. The
Dutch formed a similar trading company
two years later, the Danes following in
6 6. In 65 the Portuguese were driven
out of Malakka, in 1658 out of Ceylon,
and for some 200 years London was the

by sea journeys. In 1492 Columbus made

leading spice market.

specified weights of peppercorns.

The

that

period between

the blossoming of the

100 and 1290 saw

North

Italian spice

trade centres. In i486 Bartholomew Diaz


trade

7^

CAYENNE PEPPER

C AJ' F. R

capsicum

capari.i apinosa

voyage

to the

New World and


Gama landed

six

As trade

annuum

in spices slowly

developed,

ref-

in

erences to their culinary use were gradu-

15 10 the Portuguese estab-

lished a base in

Goa and a year later they


entered Malakka in the Spice Islands. In

documented. The fourteenth-century


book Forme of Cury published in England
is evidence of the widespread use of herbs

151 7 the Portuguese established a base in

in cookery.

Calicut.

In

ally

liberally

herbs.

The

plays of Shakespeare are

sprinkled

with

To quote just one

references
extract,

to

from A

Midsummer Nighfs Dream (II.ii.249): 'I


a bank whereon the wild thyme
blows, where ox-lips and the nodding

know

violet

lush

grows; Quite over-canopied with


woodbine, With sweet musk roses

and with

eglantine."

FINDING YOUR HERBS


The

sixteenth

and seventeenth-century

Andrew Boorde, Gervase


Markham and John Evelyn made frequent references to culinary plants. The
indulgent use of herbs and spices may well
writers such as

have been necessary

to

mask

the taints of

partially rotten and rancid food (storage


and preservation techniques were primitive, to say the least), and to add greater

variety

the

to

of basic

flavour

foods.

Today, though methods of food storage


and preservation may be technologically
sophisticated, factory and battery-farming methods of rearing cattle and poultry

much

be desired in terms of
fruit and vegetable
crops (notably apples and potatoes have
come under fire, and the plant breeder is
often reproached for breeding uniform,
unblemished items, designed to suit the
packer's boxes rather than to delight the
leave

flavour.

in

The

function of herbs and spices

transient in dishes

may

be

which are quickly pre-

salad decorated with Nasturtium blooms;

addition at just the right

herbs have more of an effect on diet

necessary.

if,

for

coming

Herbs are often associated with

specific

The

earliest

dates, often religious festivals.

Shrove Tuesday pancakes were tansyflavoured; bitter herbs still symbolize the
Jewish Passover; on Good Friday (tradfree of devilish

itionally

tings of Bay,

Thyme

influence)

cut-

Lavender, Sage, Rosemary


are planted to ensure their

healthy growth; on

May

German

the

cooking process are

all

important

Steeping, distilling, infusion, or

The

dish

moment may be
may be needed for

immediate consumption, or

chutneys, preserves, wines, vinegars, hon-

storage or (as in the case of certain pickles,


chutneys and wines) it may need time to

eys

and

oils.

for

freezer

mature.

AVAILABILITY OF HERBS
Most herbs are grown and harvested

aluminium

when

to the cook's aid.

the

instance, they are used in stored pickles,

in

though nowadays many flourish in town


plots and window-boxes or pots. For those
without access to the fresh form, the cool
cabinets of some chain-stores now have a
limited range of freshly packed containers
or freeze-dried herbs in jars and ring-pull

spices are

whether it is in the fresh


and the method and time of

itself,

or dried state,
factors.

rural settings such as country gardens,

again, herbs and

of the herb

pared, served and eaten, such as a herb


omelette, Elder flower fritters or a bowl of

to

Once

Adding herbs to dishes needs exjudgment and care. The nature

perience,

diets.

Even certain

consumer's palate.

and

min B complex can be a dietary hazard


vegan

cans. Until relatively recently,

upsurge of interest in herbs


began, many cooks were using herbs
which were not always packaged and
stored in the best manner. Often they
were too old, and so generally poor
results were obtained. Today the situation
has much improved. There is more
interest in growing fresh herbs and the
home freezer enables the grower to store
herbs

the

much more

effectivelv.

Four main botanical families supply the


majority of culinary herbs, the Umbelliferae which include Angelica, Caraway,
Dill, Fennel and Parsley, the Labiatae
(the Mints, Basil, Sage and Thyme), the
Compositae (Chamomile, Tansy and Yarrow) and the Cruciferae (Mustard).

Gathering fresh herbs


Pick or snip the young

leaves or whole
from the ends of stems if the plant is
large enough. Avoid over-picking too
many leaves from one stem or from very
sprigs

Below: This flourishing herb bed contains


Marjoram, Lemon Balm, and two types of
Fennel, together with

many

other plants used

by man, which together provide an attractive


kitchen garden.

(The

table on

page 123

lists

some herbs suitable for a cook's garden.)

Mai-Bowie - a white wine cup flavoured


with Woodruff and early Strawberries - is
prepared. August crayfish parties in Swe-

den and Finland would not be traditional


without the flavour of Dill and decorative
Dill heads which are used to garnish the

mounds of succulent

red

pre-

shellfish

viously boiled in a Dill bath.

HERBS AND DIET


As a source of nutrients herbs and spices
are usually consumed in too small quantities

enter

to

the

calculations

concerned

dietician

mended

intakes.

with

The

plant

only significant

is

the

of

recom-

contribution

vitamin

to the diet

daily

of

from a particular
if

a bowlful

is

consumed. Used as a garnishing herb, the


same plant may contribute little in
nutrient terms but a good deal in visual
and palate appeal, thereby playing an
essential role in stimulating the appetite

and aiding digestion.


Gertain plants, however, are known to
be rich sources of nutrients. For example,
vitamin C is present significantly in Rosehips,

Sweet

Peppers.

Nettles

and

Watercress. Nutritional claims are


for certain

and

herbs: for instance,

Alfalfa

source- of

Deficiency

shoots provide an

vitamin B12
oi

tins

in

made

Com In

essential

vegan

diet.

component of the

vita-

in

the

73

HERBS IN THE KITCHEN


Left

Garlic, onions

these are three

of the

popular herbs used


onions belong

and

chillies

best

known and most

on sale

and
same family and both

in the kitchen. Garlic

to the

have a very wide culinary use, ranging from


soups

to

meat. Chillies are an integral part

of Indian cooking and are responsible for that


distinctively hot, spicy taste.

made of dark glass or plastic


with well-fitting lids so that direct light
and air do not shorten the storage life. Do
not store over a warm cooker but in a dry
cool spot. When the herb loses its aroma
it is of doubtful use in cooking and should
be replaced.
containers

Freezing herbs
Perhaps the most satisfactory domestic

method of

storing herbs

in the freezer

is

since variable results are obtained bv dry-

ing and not

all

herbs dry well - Chives

'Allium schoenoprasum)

and leathery

Dill

(Anethum graveolens) and Fennel


Foeniculum vulgare), for example. Freeze the
(

clean herbs in small quantities suitable

average size dishes. Blanching


may be dispensed with if the freezer storage time is to be brief, say six to eight
weeks. For longer storage, blanch the
herbs by immersing them in boiling water
for about 45 seconds, then plunge them
for use in

water, drain, and pack in


wrapping material or freezer bags.
An alternative method of blanching herbs
is to steam-blanch them by placing the
sprigs in a steamer above rapidly boiling
water. Allow about i minutes blanching
into

chilled

freezer

The recommended

time.

blanched

Whole
young
Use at once or wrap in foil
and keep in the refrigerator. Sprigs of
Mint (Mentha spp) and Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) may be kept in a jar of water
plants.

in an airing cupboard or in a barely

warm

oven, leaving the oven door open. The


temperature should not exceed 34C

frozen

sprigs

may

freezer

life

for

months.
be crumbled while

herbs

is

six

frozen.

Frozen herbs can be added to many


dishes without thawing. Defrost before

herbs on wire cooling

using in salads and spreads or for garnish-

racks covered with muslin, cheesecloth or

(95F).

Lay

the

Picking and drying


Herbs are usually harvested when the
flowers are just coming into bloom as they

storage jars, preferably of tinted glass, and

Bouquets garnis and portion-wrapped sprigs of herbs can be protected in the


freezer by placing the labelled foil- or
polythene-wrapped parcels in covered

cover with a plastic screw cap. Should

plastic

are then richest in aromatic

signs of condensation

for a

few days.

nylon

ably a certain

amount

of

loss

oils.

Inevit-

of these

occurs during drying and storage.

when

oils

Some

bloom,
namely Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), Lavender {Lavandula spp), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), and Thyme (Thymus
vulgaris). Sage (Salvia officinalis) is harvested when the earliest buds are seen.
Pick just after the dew has gone and
discard any yellow or damaged herbs.
herbs are harvested

in full

Handle with care and only

move obvious

rinse to re-

Pat the herbs


dry gently with kitchen paper. Dry them

74

dust or

soil.

When

dry the herbs are brittle


and crumbly. Put the dried herbs into
net.

jar, the

appear inside the

herbs are incompletely dried and

should be returned to the drying cupboard or oven.

Long-stemmed herbs may be dried by


hanging them in a warm, dry, airy place
for a

loose

in small bunches in a
Cover the bunches with

few days. Tie


fashion.

dark paper if direct sunlight is liable to


reach them. Crumble and store the dried
herbs as above.
Avoid purchasing large quantities of
dried

avoid

herbs as

shelf-life

paper-packaged

is

and
Choose

limited

brands.

ing.

boxes or screw-top

jars.

Chopped herbs can be mixed with

soft

breadcrumbs and frozen for use as toppings or in stuffings and dumplings. Place
the chopped herbs in ice-cube containers
and top up with stock. Transfer the frozen
bags for storage. Likesprigs of tiny Mint
leaves in ice-cube trays, top with water
and freeze for use in wine cups and some
aperitifs. Chopped herbs can be mixed

cubes

wise,

to freezer

you can put small

with butter, rolled into cylindrical rolls or


flat blocks ready for slicing and served
with grilled meat or fish, or as part of a
sandwich filling. Herbs commonly used in

TEAS AND TISANES


such savoury butters are: Parsley (Petroselinum crispum),

{Ocimum

Basil

basilicum).

Chives {Allium schoenoprasum), Tarragon


(Artemisia dracunculus), Watercress [Nasturtium

officinale),

folium),

Garlic

Chervil

Mustard

Anthriscus cere-

Capers

(Allium sativum),

(Capparis spinosa), Dill

Horseradish

Anethum

and

armoracia

Cochlearia

[Brassica nigra.

graveolens

Lemon juice and

may also be added. Similarly, store


Rose petals (Rosa spp in butter and spread
on sweet scones for tea. Remember that
ready-prepared dishes stored in the freezer
should be seasoned more lightly than
dishes for immediate consumption. Herbs
and other aromatic seasonings become
more pronounced in flavour during freezsalt

er storage.

USING HERBS IN COOKING


Fines herbes are mixtures of three or four

chopped herbs used

to flavour particular

dishes, the classical

mixture consisting of

Parsley

Petroselinum

(Anthriscus cerefolium

dracunculus

crispum

Chervil

Tarragon

Artemisia

and Chives (Allium

schoeno-

prasum). Fines herbes are used in soups,

and cream cheese.


Herb bouquets are small bunches of
herbs added to food usually only for the
duration of cooking. They can easily be
removed if they are tied together with
white cotton thread or bound in cheesecloth. A bouquet simply consists of a lew
sprigs of Parsley [Petroselinum crispum and
sauces, omelettes

a few Chives

Allium schoenoprasum

(hop-

ped and added to sauces, salads or (ream


A bouquet garni is made of two
two
Parsley stalks Petroselinum crispum

cheese.

sprigs of

Thyme

Thymus

vulgaris

one

Marjoram

of

sprig

(Origanum

onites),

and half a Bay leaf (Laurus


nobilis). Such bouquets may be added to
stocks, soups and stews or put into roastoptional)

Ready-made

ing birds.

sachets of the dried

completely dissimilar tastes, the action of


fermentation producing quite different
flavours.

Whether you plan

to

make

or

teas

you should always pick the herbs

tisanes,

come

into full flower. This

herbs are easily obtainable.


Generally speaking, herbs and spices

just before they

should be used carefully and sparingly.


There are exceptions to this rule; for
example in the use of fresh Dill sprigs

flavour.

Anethum graveolens) in the preparation of


dill-marinaded
salmon when liberal
amounts of the herb bring the best results.
Herbs and spices play a major role in
enhancing rather than overpowering nat-

The range

includes Rosehip, Rosehip and

Hibiscus,

Fennel, Peppermint,

ural food flavours in the various foods

and

which they are added.


The addition of one tablespoon of
chopped fresh herbs usually suffices in a
four-portion dish. Correspondingly less of
the dried herb is used (j to f teaspoon if
coarsely chopped. 5 to 7 teaspoon if
ground This last amount also applies to
ground spices. Freshly ground spices are
more flavoursome than those purchased
ready-ground particularly if they have
been stored for some time. Commercially
prepared freeze-dried herbs, such as
Chives and Dill, are almost the equal of
fresh herbs in colour and flavour. They
are expensive to buy but excellent in
quality. Store at room temperature in welldishes to

sealed containers.

Dried seeds are usually bruised prior

to

will

ensure

Individual

sachets

storage period.

Iu frozen foods die flavours of herbs

storage,

become stronger during


them with discretion in
destined for the freezer. Some

dishes

si.

should

Do

last for

about a year.

10

making

a tisane, as the tannin deposits

inevitably

infuse for three to ten minutes, strain

listed

in

table

the

on pages

HERB TEAS
and

tea

tisane arc often used

synonymously, but the distinction


vital importance. A tea is a drink

is

of

made

adding boiling water to the fermented


leaves and stalks of One or more plants. A
tisane is made by adding boiling water to
the fresh or dried
but unlermented
f>\

normally

plant material

green leaves
Left

Making

The

i/b

resulting drinks have

Thyme, Marjoram and

and

casseroles.

bih cotton thread

bubs

Ibi
i\

,.

00k id.

the form of

Tisanes are drunk without milk. They


can be sweetened with a little sugar or
honey according to taste. Some people

an

to

add a

Among
suitable

little

juice,

and

herbs which are most

those

for

lemon

as well.

use

as

tisanes

are

Lime,

In

ni\ily

to

If tied together

f example,
removed whin the /nod
<

string,

Hibiscus, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Sage


and Marjoram. Certain herbs, such as
Bergamot and Lemon Balm for example,

need to be boiled for at least a few


minutes to extract the full flavour.
Aromatic seeds may also be used in the
preparation of infusions. They need to be
bruised and crushed and then simmered
gently for at least ten minutes to draw out

Use four teaspoons of


560ml (20 fl oz). Strain and

their full flavour.

seeds to every
serve hot.

Teas
The characteristic

flavour of Tea (includ-

ing herb teas) results from the high tannin

content of the leaves used; the aroma is


not naturally present in the fresh leaves

This makes a delicious addition

leaf.

toups, slews
,,

in

a bouquet garni which

includes Parsley,

Bay

and

serve hot or cold.

Peppermint, Garden Thyme, Rosehip,

90 91.

The terms

it

contain will mar the


delicate flavour of many herbs. Take
about two to three teaspoons of fresh
herbs (or one teaspoon of dried) to each
140ml (5 fl oz). Pour on boiling water,

will

Angelica, Bergamot, Green Buckwheat,

obtain good culinary results, and

are

these

when

not use an ordinary tea-pot

use

herbs, however, must be used in die fresh


si, tie

Chamo-

to

tend

s|)k es

and

to use.

Simply pack the herbs loosely on a wire


rack in the airing cupboard or any other
warm, airy place out of direct sunlight for
about 48 hours. When they are completely dry and brittle, store them in
airtight jars made of dark glass. They

like

recommended

are

teas

Tisanes

sometimes spices

within the

of herb

and Green Buckwheat.

mile,

herbs retain most of the flavour

used

aroma and

and convenient

readily available

use to help to release their flavour. Frozen


if

very best

the

but

is

formed

during

the

process

of

fermentation.

Due

to their high tannin content the


heih teas include Lady's Mantle,
Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackberry and
Rose-bay Willow herb. The leaves should

best

75

HERBS

THE KITCHEN

IN

Angelica leaves
Aniseed
Anise leaves

Bergamot
Borage
Burdock
Caraway

Agrimony

(red)

Celery seed

Chamomile
Clove pinks

G
( flo

rs )

Coltsfoot

Comfrey
Cowslip

Cumin

Dandelion
Dill

Elder flowers

Fennel
Hibiscus

Hops
Hyssop
Jasmine
Lemon Balm
Lime
Lovage
Mate
Marjoram

Mints

Mugwort

Nasturtium

Nettle

Orange-flower

Parsley

Pennyroyal
Peppermint
Primrose
Raspberry leaf

Red Rose petals


Rose-Geranium
Rosehip
Rosemary

Saffron
1

Salad Burnet
Savory

Sage

Sorrel

Sweet Cicely

Tansy

Thyme

Vervain
Violet

76

Watercress
Wild Strawberry

Woodruff
Yarrow

'

SOUPS
Left :

Most people

think ofjust the everyday

Chinese and Indian varieties when making

There are a great number ofplants,


- such as Aniseed, Dandelion,

tea.

however

Lovage and Vervain


refreshing drink.

that can

Many

make a

of them are also

medicinally beneficial, while others possess


cosmetic properties.

Right: Yerba Mate (Tlex paraguariensisj


being gathered in Paraguay. Once gathered,
the leaves are dried on a

wooden frame

placed over afire and then pounded. The

made from the leaves contains both


and tannin. Mate tea should not be
prepared in advance but drunk when freshly
brewed. It is an effective tonic and mild
tea

caffeine

stimulant.

be collected from the time they start to


unfold until they begin to flower. It is
necessary to use large quantities of the
leaves as small amounts will ferment only
with difficulty.

Leave the

fresh leaves in the

shade

for

24 hours. The temperature should


be sufficiently high to make them wilt but
not so high that they dry out. Then bruise
them with a rolling pin, spreading them
out in thin layers. Fold the bruised leaves
in a cloth. Store the cloth in a warm place
3 Fj for 24 to 48 hours;
(20-45 C, 68
12 to

during

this

generate

time the leaves will start to

own

their

Finish

heat.

the

process by drying the leaves in the shade

temperature of not more than 54 C


29F) The tea leaves should be more or
less brown.
Much the best way of producing satisfactory herb teas is by experiment, both
with the fermented leaves of different
plants and with different blends. Take
about one teaspoon of the dried leaves to
Pour on boiling
each 140ml 5 II oz

SOUP DISHES
Gazpacho

water, infuse for 3 to 10 minutes, strain


and serve hot or cold. As with tisanes, a
little

lemon and honey or sugar may be

added.

Some

blends are as

established

Serves 4
half a

Soak the dried peas in cold water overnight. Rinse and drain. Brown the pork or
ham in a heavy saucepan adding a little
oil if the meat is lean. Add the celery and
onion and cook for a few minutes. Add
the cold water, drained peas, ham bone
and the herbs and spices tied in muslin.
Simmer for about 2 hours. Remove the
ham bone and the muslin bag. Taste and

to taste)

3 tablespoons olive oil

tablespoon superfine or castor sugar

4 tablespoons wine vinegar

280ml
25g
salt

10

fl

oz

oz)

tomato

juice

fresh Parsley

adjust the seasoning. Serve sprinkled with

and white peppei

Parsley accompanied by fresh bread.

Peel and dice the vegetables. Gut


cucumber lengthwise and remove
seeds.

mix

sin^

.1

sieve or an electric blender,

with

vegetables

the

the

wine vinegar and a

sugar,

tomato

juice.

Add

the

making sure

sparingly,

the

the

oil

olive

little

Norwegian Caraway Soup


Serves 4

oil,

of the

and vinegar

that the mixture

becomes neither kxj oily nor too sharp.


Pour into a bowl, add the remaining
tomato juice and seasoning to taste. Stir
together and put in the refrigerator.

Blackberry 8 parts
Strawberry 4 parts
Raspberry 2 parts
Peppermint 2 parts
Blackberry 8 parts
Raspberry 4 parts

Thyme

Serve (hilled sprinkled with Parsley.

Pea Soup
Serves 4-8

2 parts

25g
i5g

Rose-bay Willow herb


Raspberry 4 parts

Lime

(flowers

pans

4 Lady's Mantle 8 parts


Raspberry 8 parts

Peppermint 2 parts
All parts by weight

450^
\

parts

y>f
1

dried

diced

7og ib oz)
jog (6 oz)

2l

70

II

oz) butter or margarine

plain flour (unbleached,

(\ oz)

(35 fl oz) good veal stock


225g (8 oz) chopped Caraway leaves
egg yolk
2 tablespoons cream
litre

salt

ground black pepper


4 poached eggs or 2 hard-boiled

eggs,

sliced

lb

OZ

( 1

enriched

3 Blackberry 8 parts

Mace

and pepper
tablespoons chopped Parsley

cucumber

medium-sized onion
green pepper
2-3 large ripe tomatoes
1-2 cloves Garlic (according
1

follows:

whole Allspice

piece blade

salt

at a
( 1

10
1

peas
pork or

salt

(hopped celery
chopped onion

oz) cold

tablespoons finely chopped

Caraway

split

water

ham

leaves

Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan. Stir in the flour. Gradually add the
Stock, stirring constantly, and bring to the

ham bone

boil.

Bay

gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Beat the egg


yolk and cream together and add a

leaf

6 Parsley stalks

Add

the

Caraway

leaves

and simmer

77

HERBS IN THE KITCHEN


spoonful of the soup to this mixture before
pouring it into the rest of the soup. Keep
the soup hot but do not let it boil once the
cream has been added. Taste for seasoning
and adjust if necessary. Garnish each
serving with a poached egg or slices of
hard-boiled egg. Sprinkle with chopped

Caraway

leaves, serve with buttered toast.

Garlic Soup
Serves 6
6 tablespoons whole Garlic cloves
(i oz) butter
tablespoons
olive oil
4
i litre (35 fl oz) chicken stock

25g

3 e gg y lks
salt

pinch Cayenne and ground

Mace

6 rounds French bread (fresh or toasted


2 tablespoons chopped Parsley

Heat
and a
tablespoon of the olive oil over a low heat
for about 15 minutes. Avoid browning the
cloves. Pour on the stock. Bring to the boil
and simmer for 20 minutes.
Peel

the

Garlic

them

in a

heavy pan

cloves

carefully.

in the butter

Beat the egg yolks with a whisk until


Add the rest of the oil drop
by drop. Stir a few spoonfuls of the soup

they thicken.

into the egg-oil mixture,

then add this

the saucepan
Heat but do not boil.
Rub through a sieve into a warmed pan or
tureen. Season to taste and add the spices.
Place a slice of French bread in each
warmed soup bowl and pour the soup
over. Sprinkle with Parsley and serve.

cream. Serve hot or chilled.

Sorrel Soup

MEAT AND POULTRY DISHES

mixture

very

slowly

to

stirring constantly.

3-5 minutes. Stir in the pureed vegetables


and lemon juice. Check seasoning - adjust with a little sugar if preferred. Pour
into bowls and divide the sour cream
between them. Sprinkle Chives on the

Chicken Legs Hunter's Style

450g (1 lb) French Sorrel leaves


450g (1 lb) spinach
50g (2 oz) onion
40g (1^ oz) margarine
40g (i-jr oz) plain flour (unbleached,

Serves 4

225g (8 oz) button mushrooms


50g (2 oz) margarine
small onion
8 chicken legs
2 tablespoons plain flour (unbleached,
1

enriched)
(35 fl oz) chicken stock
black peppercorns and salt
litre

enriched)

lemon juice
oz) sour cream

7 tablespoons dry white wine


420ml (15 fl oz) chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato puree

2 tablespoons

140 ml (5
finely

fl

snipped Chives

Trim and wash

the Sorrel

and spinach

very thoroughly. Put the leaves into a


large saucepan and cook until tender.
Drain and puree in a blender or rub

through a
onion and

and chop the


fry in the margarine until
softened and clear. Add the flour and stir
to blend. Remove from the heat and stir in
the stock. Return to the heat and bring
to

the

fine sieve.

boil

gently,

^
1

Peel

stirring

Season with pepper and


7

dishes.

chicken legs in the rest of the margarine


until golden brown. Sprinkle the flour
over the chicken and onion and fry

Pour on the wine and stock and


tomato puree, salt, pepper,
Chervil, Thyme and Bay leaf. Cook
gently for 20 minutes or until the chicken
gently.

add

Serves 4-6

Above: Garlic, one of the most popular


kerbs of all. It is most often added to meat

salt.

constantly.

Simmer

for

^
1

teaspoon salt
teaspoon ground black pepper
teaspoon chopped fresh Chervil or
teaspoon dried Chervil
teaspoon chopped fresh Thyme or
teaspoon dried Thyme and 1 Bay leaf
tablespoon finely chopped Parsley

Rinse and chop the mushrooms and fry


in half the margarine in a heavy
saucepan. Lift the mushrooms out of the
pan and fry the chopped onion and the

them

is

the

Add

tender, stirring occasionally.

mushrooms and simmer

for

the

further

couple of minutes. Stir in the Parsley just


before serving. Serve with boiled rice and
haricots verts or a green salad.

Chicken with Rosemary


Serves 4
1

chicken, about ikg (2-25 lb)

25g
1

(1

oz)

margarine

tablespoon chopped Rosemary or


teaspoon dried Rosemary

cream
2 tablespoons tomato puree
pickled cucumber, finely chopped
salt and pepper
200ml

(7

fl

oz) sour

to 425 F (2i5C) or Gas


Divide the chicken into quarters.
Place them in a fireproof dish and brush
them with melted margarine. Season with

Heat the oven

Mark

7.

FISH
Turkish

Lamb

Serves 4

goog

(2 lbs) best

3 large

end of neck of lamb

onions

22<yg (8 oz) carrots

4 fresh or canned tomatoes


1 green pepper
4 diced potatoes
1
teaspoon Fennel or Dill

teaspoon Sage

Bay leaves
2 chopped cloves Garlic
700ml (25 fl oz) stock
2

(2 oz)

50g

lard

flour

and pepper

salt

Melt the lard in a thick pan. Peel and


roughly chop the onions and fry them with
the Garlic until they are golden. Divide
the meat into chops, coat them in
seasoned flour and fry them for a couple of
minutes on each side. Add the carrots,
tomatoes, green pepper, Bay, Sage, Fennel or Dill, stock and seasoning. Cover the
pan, bring to the boil, skim and simmer
for

Add

1 hours.

the diced potatoes

and

chopped onions and Garlic and simmer


for a further

45 minutes.

FISH DISHES
salt,

Pepper and Rosemary. Roast the


in the oven for about 45 minutes
until the meat is thoroughly cooked and
nicely browned. Mix the sour cream,
tomato puree. ( lucumber and seasoning if

Above

chicken

Rosemary, Garlic and Bay leaves

required. Serve the sauce with the chicken

same time masking

accompanied by boiled potatoes and

Goose baked

in a

nay of serving

unusual

moderate oven with


is

an

this bird ; this

combination of herbs brings out to the full


the delicious flavour of the meat, while at the

which tends

to

the slightly fatty taste

be a characteristic of goose.

Chicken may be used instead of goose

salad.

Fish au Poivre Vert


Serves 5

28o~340g (10-12 oz) plaice, flounder or


any white fish fillets, fresh or frozen
7 tablespoons double or whipping cream
7 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons salt

in this

and will

be just as delicious.

Chicken Paprika
Serves

Goulash

Serves
1

25g
25g

()75g

margarine or butter

ozj

(l

oz) lard

chopped or sliced
4 teaspoons Hungarian Paprika
560ml 20 OZ) stock
280ml

10

(1

oz

Sprinkle chic ken pieces with

margarine and lard

<

ream

salt.

Melt the

covered
frying pan. Add onions and cook gentk
until they Stan to brown. Add Paprika
and stock, bring to the boil and add the
in a skillet 01

chicken. Cover pan and simmer until


lender, about 1] hours. Stir the coinlloui
into the sour

Cook gently

cream and
for

few

noi bring to the boil.

made

fillets

under running cold

stir

into

tin

pan.

minutes, but do

This dish can also be

with turkey breasts.

lb

lean stewing beef cut into

shallow pan.

large onions, sliced

dripping
heaped tablespoon Hungarian Paprika

Whip

together the cream,

and herbs and pour the


sauce over the fish. Cover with a lid and
simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with freshly
cooked vegetables and boiled potatoes.
sour cream,

salt

salt

cornstarch)

carton sour

")Og (2 oz)

11

teaspoons cornflour

cubes

3 onions,

frozen

water. Fold them and place them in a

salt
(]

\\ teaspoons chopped Chervil or Parsley


1^ teaspoons chopped Basil

Thaw

or 5 chicken pieces

chopped green peppercorns

\ teaspoons

recipe

teaspoon ( larawa) seeds


teaspoon Marjoram
crushed cloves ol Garlic

stock

55og

Potted Shrimps
Serves 4

225g
(

i^ lb

Fry the onions and Garlic in a casserole


or pan lot a lew minutes in dripping. .Add
the Paprika, salt. Marjoram and Caraua\ seeds and cook briefly. Add the meat
and COVei with stock, (lover the pan and
cook in a slow oven lor at least 3 hours.
Hall an hour before serving add the
potatoes.

(8 oz) freshly

cooked peeled shrimps

(or frozen)

potatoes (optional)
1

iog (4 oz) butter

pinch ground Nutmeg


pinch ground Mace
pinch Cayenne Pepper
salt

Clarify the butter by adding small knobs

of

it

to boiling

When

water

the butter has

in a small
all

saucepan.

dissolved,

remove
79

HERBS IN THE KITCHEN

EGG DISHES
Parsley and Garlic Eggs
Serves 2
2

eggs

25g (1 oz) butter


j tablespoon chopped fresh Parsley
1

clove Garlic, chopped

salt

and pepper

Melt half the butter

in a

heavy-bottomed

saucepan. Break the eggs into the butter


and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Leave
over the heat until the whites of the egg
have almost whitened and formed, then
remove. Meanwhile cream the remaining
butter with the Garlic and Parsley and a
pinch of salt and drop this mixture in
small lumps over the eggs. Serve at once.
This is a delicious and unusual dish to
start a

meal.

Herb Omelette
Serves 2
the

pan from the heat and

let

it

cool. Lift

Above

Fennel stalks and leaves make a

off the solid butter, dry the undersurface

delicious vegetable dish, while the seeds are a

on kitchen paper and divide the but to


into two equal portions.
Heat half the butter in a frying pan to-

pungent flavouring.

gether with the spices. Add the peeled


shrimps and toss them in the butter.
Transfer to small pots and allow to cool.
Melt the rest of the butter and pour over
the shrimps to seal them. Chill before
serving with hot toast.

boiled or left-over
[l

sea-bream or porgy, about ikg (2-2|

slices

lb

Bay

fl

oz

fish

fl

oz

vinegar

oil

dry with kitchen paper. Fill the fish


with Fennel sprigs or chopped Fennel
root and place it on a large sheet of
aluminium foil brushed with the oil.
Warm the Pernod, set it alight and pour it
over the fish. Season the fish with salt and
fish

pepper and wrap in the foil parcel and


it on a baking dish. Bake at 350F

place

or

Gas Mark 4
fish

for

30 minutes,

parcel after the

first

15

minutes.

Check that the fish is thoroughly


cooked before serving with boiled potatoes

and a green

sea-bream
haddock.
If

80

is

:s

salt

lemon

fish

stock with the vinegar

lemon and

and the

Pour over the fish


fish
becomes
thoroughly saturated. Refrigerate and
serve with thin slices of brown bread.

and

Gut and scrape the sea-bream thoroughly


to remove the scales. Rinse and pat the

180

peppercorns and' salt

herbs,

black pepper

'

<

salad.

not available use bass or

leave

medium-sized boiled potato


tomatoes
teaspoon chopped Lovage
teaspoon chopped Chives
teaspoon Tarragon

teaspoon Thyme
teaspoon Marjoram
1^ tablespoons olive oil

stock

leaves

3 slices of

up the

salt

turning the

approx 45og

Place the pieces offish in a deep dish. Boil

of Fennel root

2-3 tablespoons olive


4 tablespoons Pernod

fish

lbj

280ml 10
280ml (10

12
i

clove Garlic, chopped

Serves 4

2 Clo\ es

a few sprigs green Fennel or

medium-sized onion

Serves 6

Soused Fish

4 Fennel lea\

Sea-Bream (Porgy) with Fennel

4 large eggs

so

salt.

that

the

and pepper

Roughly chop the onion, Garlic, potato


and tomatoes. Heat the oil in a frying pan
and gently fry the onion and Garlic until
soft. Add the tomatoes and potato and
few minutes. Break the eggs into
and beat them, adding the
herbs according to taste and season. Mix
quickly with the vegetables in the pan and

cook

for a

a mixing bowl

cook until the underside is setting. Then


finish the omelette under a hot grill.

Pickled Mackerel

Oregano Flan

Serves 4

Serves 4

4 mackerel

280ml (10 fl oz) malt or


140ml (5 fl oz) water
6

Bay

teaspoon Allspice

salt

distilled

vinegar

leaves

and pepper

12 peppercorns

Clean and wash the fish and remove the


bones. Place in a baking dish, sprinkle
with salt and pepper, add Bay leaves,
peppercorns, Allspice, vinegar and water.
Bake in a cool oven for about an hour.
Allow the fish to cool and serve in the
liquor.

Pastry
i40g (5 oz) whole wheat flour

70g (2^ oz) mixed

fats

(butter or

margarine and lard)


salt

Filling

x 400g (14 oz) can Italian peeled


tomatoes
grated Cheddar cheese
1 iog ^4 oz
1
small can anchovies
50g (2 oz) black Olives
6 teaspoons chopped fresh Oregano or
2 teaspoons dried Oregano
1

VEGETABLES AND SALADS


whole wheat flour, salt and fats
bowl, adding water to make
the pastry lightly and
Knead
a stiff dough.
chill for 15 minutes. Roll the mixture out
on a pastry board and cover the base and
sides of a flan case with it. Drain the
tomatoes and chop all but one in half.
Place the whole tomato in the centre of
the case and distribute the halves throughout the case. Drain the anchovies and lay
them like the spokes of a wheel across the

Mix

the

together in a

case.

Scatter

the

cheese,

Olives

and

Bake for 45 minminutes at 400"


(200C) or Mark 6. For the last 30 minC
utes lower the heat to 350 F (i8oC) or
Ores^ano over the

utes,

Mark

the

for

first

15

Rosmarino

lb

spaghetti

the

pan of
water. Meanwhile, melt

spaghetti

salted

in

large

the butter in another pan. If dried Rose-

mary

is

leaves

25mm

(i

in)

Cinnamon

stick

VEGETABLES AND SALADS

4 peppercorns
4 crushed Cardamom seeds
20-30 blanched almonds

Aubergines (Eggplants) with Herbs


Serves 4

20-30 sultanas (or raisins


50-85g (2-3 oz) butter
2
2

tablespoons cooking

teaspoons

salt

(less

4 aubergines (eggplants)
3 slices of streaky bacon

oil
if

salted butter

is

used, fry

it

gently in the butter for

a minute or two. Drain the spaghetti well

and toss it thoroughly in the Rosemary


and melted butter before serving.

and

\\

560ml (20

j teaspoon of dried Basil and Marjoram

fl

monds and

Add

4 tablespoons olive
salt and pepper

When
and

stirring to prevent

it

Then add

it

has melted add

fry for

a few minutes,

Wash
two

Basil

oil

but do not peel the aubergines. Cut


lengthwise in each. Chop the

slits

mix with herbs, pepper and salt.


Dice the bacon and fill the slits in the
aubergine with bacon and Garlic. Pour
the oil over the vegetable. Bake slowly in
a shallow, covered dish for 1 hour.
Garlic,

sticking to the base of

and
and reduce the
heat to just above the minimum. Cover
the pan and let it simmer for 5 to 10
minutes. The water will evaporate and

Below: Spring

the rice will cook without being stirred or

following two pages.

the pan.

fresh

or

mixed

sultanas for a few minutes.

the butter.

chopped

teaspoons

Marjoram mixed

oz) water

the drained rice

the water, salt

sugar. Bring to the boil

.V>*
'

2 small cloves Garlic

used
2 teaspoons sugar

iog (4 oz) butter

boiling,

Bay

4 Cloves

the rice and soak in cold water for


about
hour. Heat the oil in a thick
saucepan and fry the Bay leaves. Gloves,
Cinnamon, peppercorns, Cardamom, al-

6 tablespoons chopped fresh Rosemary or


2 tablespoons of dried Rosemary

Cook

rice

Wash

Serves 4
('

during the first 5 minutes. Decorate the


with slices of tomato, hard-boiled
egg or fried onions

rice

onions
hard-boiled eggs
tomatoes

PASTA DISHES

45g

disturbed in any way. Test the rice by


eating a few grains, but do not lift the pan
lid

(1 lb)

450g

flan.

4.

Spaghetti

Herb Rice
Serves 4

herbs

to taste

Summer

Risotto, an Italian dish with

such as Basil, Oregano

and

Savory.

Overleaf: You can select suitable herbs for


each dish you cook from the chart on the

HERBS IN THE KITCHEN

Alcoholic beverages

Apples

o o

Apricots

Artichokes, globe

Artichokes. Jerusalem

Asparagus
Baked goods
Beans. Broad

Beef

Beetroots
Brussels sprouts

Carrots

Citrus fruits

Cocoa
Coffee

Dairy foods

Eggs

Fish

Game

Lamb
Marinades
Mayonnaise
Onions
Pasta sauces
Peaches

Pears

o
o

Gooseberries

Peas

Pickles

Pork

o
o

Potatoes

Poultry

Salads

Spinach

Stews

Swedes (Rutabagas)
Sweet sauces
Tomatoes

rice

Tea

Salad dressing

Soups

Pumpkins
Rhubarb

o o

Turnips

O indicates herb must be used fresh %


82

Currants

Veal
Vinegars

Chocolate

Condiments
Cream
Cucumbers

Cherries

Cabbages

Beans, French

Savoury

indicates herb

may be used

fresh or dried

and sometimes candied

SELECTING YOUR HERBS

Artichokes. Globe
Artichokes. Jerusalem

Asparagus
Baked goods

Apples

Beans. Broad

Beans, French
Beef

Beetroots

Brussels sprouts

Alcoholic beverages
Apricots

Cabbages

Carrots

Cherries

Chocolate

Citrus fruits

Cocoa
Coffee

Condiments
Cream
Cucumbers

Dairy foods

Currants

o
[ o o

i

Eggs

Fish

Game
Gooseberries

Lamb

Marinades

Mayonnaise
Onions

Pasta sauces

Peaches
Pears

Peas

Pickles

Pork

Potatoes
Poultry

Pumpkins
Rhubarb

oo

o
o o

Stews

Swedes (Rutabagas)
Sweet sauces

rice

Soups
Spinach

Salads

Savoury

Salad dressing

Tea

Tomatoes
Turnips

Veal

Vinegars

83

HERBS IN THE KITCHEN


Cinnamon Spinach

and cook briefly. Pour the wine into the


pan and cook slowly until the mixture is
bubbling gently. Peel and roughly chop
the tomatoes, wash the mushrooms and
halve them if they are the field variety

Serves 4

2kg (4^ lb) spinach


50g (2 oz) butter
a\ tablespoonfuls cream

(button ones can be

Cinnamon

the Parsley stems.

salt

whole).

Chop

mushrooms,
Parsley stalks and a
the

tomatoes, Bay leaves,


sprinkling of Thyme to the mixture in the

sugar

lemon rind

Trim and prepare

the spinach

and wash

several times in a lot of cold water. Place

saucepan with very

in a

left

Add

water and
minutes until

little

salt to taste. Boil for 5 to 10

pan and cook uncovered for about 15


minutes. The mushrooms and carrot
should be tender but
refrigerator

still

and serve

Put in the

crisp.

slightly

chilled,

Horseradish Sauce
25g (1 oz) Horseradish
140ml (5 fl oz) double or whipping cream
pepper and salt
prepared English Mustard
vinegar
superfine or castor sugar

Wash,
Whisk

and grate the Horseradish.


cream lightly. Fold the Horseinto the cream and add the

peel

the

radish

seasonings, sparingly, to taste. Serve, with

boiled

fish, beef,

tongue or

sprinkled with finely chopped Parsley.

cheeses such as

Mint and Grapefruit Cocktail

Poppyseed Sauce

as a garnish to

Edam.

tender.

Strain

of water.

and press the spinach until free


Over a low flame, melt the

Add

butter in a frying pan.

the cream, a

salt and Cinnamon to


and a teaspoon of grated lemon
To this add the spinach and stir

pinch of sugar and


taste,

rind.

Serves 4

well. Serve at once.

3 fresh grapefruits

chopped

Sweet and Sour Tomato Salad

the grapefruit into small segments

in a bowl. Add a little gin, about


tablespoon will be sufficient. Sprinkle
with chopped mint and serve chilled. This
makes a delicious hors d'oeuvre.

medium-sized onion

Herb Dredge

malt or distilled vinegar


2 tablespoons granulated sugar
water

Franco's Dip

Wash and

and place in a
chopped onion. Add
of freshly chopped Chives and

dice the tomatoes

bowl with the


a lew sprigs

finely

a few torn Basil leaves. Prepare the dres-

combining equal parts of vinegar


and hot water with the sugar. Pour over

sing by

the tomatoes, sprinkle very lightly with


freshly milled black

bunches of Parsley, chopped


\ medium-sized red pepper, cleaned and
chopped
a small can of anchovy fillets, drained and
chopped
2 large

ground black pepper

freshly

pepper and place

in

breadcrumbs
vinegar or lemon juice
fresh

Chop

olive

Mushrooms
lb)

(1

a la Grecque

fairly

large onion

large carrot

and an-

Add enough
oil and breadcrumbs to make a
stiff 'dip'. Then add a very small
together thoroughly.

amount of vinegar or lemon juice but not


to make it tart. Season to taste.

mushrooms

the Parsley, red pepper,

chovies as finely as possible, and then mix


all

enough

2-3 dozen Coriander seeds (according

This is delicious eaten with really good


old fashioned home-baked bread. Don't
to

leaves

black pepper

280ml
140ml

Chop

\o

(5

fl

fl

oz) white

wine

oz) olive oil

the onion finely

the olive oil until

it

is

lightly fry in

beginning to turn

golden. Dice the carrot and add

it

to the

onion, frying for a further 5 minutes. Add


the salt, black pepper and Coriander seeds
84

tablespoon lemon juice

5 teaspoon salt

and

Grind the Fennel and Coriander seeds


and mix together with the Cinnamon and
sugar to taste. Add a few breadcrumbs and
a very

j teaspoon Basil

Mix

a pestle and mortar. Use in sandwiches or


or meat.

Score the side of a joint


this seasoning in

lamb and rub

before roasting.
A'ioli

Provencal Garlic Mayonnaise

4-6 Garlic cloves


ground black pepper
teaspoon

salt

French Mustard

y lks

wine vinegar or lemon juice

Pound

the Garlic cloves with a pestle in a

mortar together with the Pepper, salt and


Mustard until smooth. Add the egg yolks
and mix well. Add the oil, drop by drop at
first. If the sauce becomes too thick add a
vinegar or lemon juice or a teaspoon of hot water. When the aioli has
reached a firm consistency pour it into a
bowl and serve chilled with fresh vegetlittle

the ingredients in a blender or with

on hot French bread or with

little flour.

of pork or

olive oil

iog (4 oz) butter or margarine


3 tablespoons finely chopped celery leaves
3 tablespoons finely chopped Chives or
spring onion greens
1

salt

flour

3 e gg

Herb Butter

Thyme

breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons

sprigs Parsley

3 large tomatoes

Cinnamon
sugar

put butter on the bread.

taste)

Bay

Fennel seeds
Coriander seeds

(quantities to taste)

olive oil

them

the refrigerator. Serve slightly chilled.

3-4

Mix the ingredients in a small heavy


saucepan over a gentle heat. Serve as an
accompaniment to hot cooked carrots,

SAUCES AND DRESSINGS

Basil

or 3

pinch Paprika
\ teaspoon salt

cauliflower or peas.

Chives

chopped Marjoram or

Thyme

Mint

6 tomatoes

450g

and place

Serves 4

fresh

5 teaspoon freshly

gin to taste

Chop

(2 oz) butter or margarine, melted


teaspoons Poppyseeds
tablespoon lemon juice

50g

400g (14 oz) can grapefruit segments or

grilled fish

ables, eggs or fish.

SAUCES AND DRESSINGS


Forcemeat

Herb Sauce
i

tablespoon of grated Horseradish

2 finely

chopped

shallots

a few sprigs each (or

Winter Savory,
Tarragon.

Basil,

teaspoon of dried)

Marjoram, Thyme,

6 Cloves
thinly peeled rind

280ml (10
560ml (20

Wash

and juice of

fl

oz) strong vinegar

fl

oz)

lemon

and remove

stalks

from the herbs. Put all the ingredients into


saucepan and simmer gently for 20
minutes. Strain. When quite cold pour
into bottles for storing.

Make

The

Garlic, black

of

artichokes, tomatoes,

and green

all

the dry ingredients together.

Add

egg and enough milk to moisten. Season


with salt and pepper. This is suitable for
pork, duck or veal.

Mustard Dressing

traditional ingredients

Provencal cooking

Mix

and pepper

sure they

are securely corked.

e gg

salt

Below

milk

water

the Horseradish

4 tablespoons grated suet


8 tablespoons white breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons chopped Parsley
teaspoon powdered mixed herbs
1
\ teaspoon Nutmeg
\ teaspoon grated lemon rind

olives, olive oil,

Parsley and wine and, of course, a variety of

aromatic flavouring herbs including

Marjoram, Basil and Bay.

i\ tablespoons olive or cooking oil


2j teaspoons dry English Mustard
juice of j

Add

lemon

Mustard to the oil, beating until


all the lumps have vanished. Add the
lemon juice and mix thoroughly. The
the

Above: Basil

leaves provide one of the most

distinctive flavours.

ingredients of this dressing can be varied

according

to taste. It

is

especially tasty on

a salad of lettuce alone.

Sage and Onion Stuffing


3

medium-sized onions

10 Sage leaves
1

iog (4 oz) breadcrumbs

40g 1^ oz) margarine or dripping


egg yolk
salt and pepper
(

Peel the onions, put into boiling water

and simmer for 10 minutes. Just before


you take the onions out, put the Sage
leaves in for \ minute. Chop the onion
and Sage leaves very finely and then add

the breadcrumbs, seasoning,


or dripping,

and egg

yolk.

Mix

margarine
together.

Pesto
Basil,

washed and

Cheddar

cheese, finely

3-5 small bunches


dried

25g

oz) strong

fi

grated

25g
25g

(1

oz)

50ml

Parmesan cheese,

finely grated

oz) Pine mils

1
I

(2

fl

oz) olive oil

of Garlic, finely chopped


pinch of salt

2 (loves

Chop
(lie
(

lombine

oil.

Let

PestO

Crush
and mortar.

(he Basil into very fine pieces.

Pine

is

nuts in a

pestle

the ingredients with the olive


stand for 2 hours before using.
used as a sauce with spaghetti.
all

it

85

HERBS IN THE KITCHEN


Left

Gathered from

-from

the plant

the

hedgerows, rosehips

Rose - can be used

Dog

make a tasty dessert soup,


syrup and rosehip wine.

to

Gooseberry Fool
Serves 4

as well as rosehip

gooseberries

(1 lb)

450g

6 tablespoons water
2

Elder flewer Fritters

i7og (6 oz) plain flour (unbleached,


enriched)

25g
2

280ml (10

tablespoons vegetable

140ml

oil

to

white wine (or

cider) vinegar for use in salad dressings

and marinades. Pour the warmed vinegar


onto the chosen herbs (560ml or 20 fl oz
vinegar to 8 tablespoons herbs). Cover the
container and allow to infuse for 14 days
in a warm place. If the flavour is strong
enough, strain the vinegar, bring to the

140ml

(5

oil for

frying

oz)

fl

lukewarm water

of the

and

Dip the flower-heads


hot

ing sprig of the appropriate fresh herb.

Rosehip Soup

Cap

Serves 6 -8

in

cool

place.

fused.

Use

14-Og

Garlic cloves to

(5
il

oz)
(35

peeled,
fl

ozi

bruised

hot white

wine vinegar. Cloves, peppercorns and

Caraway
after

seeds

may

also be

added. Strain

one week.

Christmas Day Pudding


Serves 4
pkt raspberry- jelly (3 oz pkt gelatin
(2 oz) crystallized Ginger

50g

iog (4 oz) glace cherries


1 iog (4 oz) well-drained pineapple pieces
i70g (6 oz) mixed dried fruit

chopped walnuts
Cinnamon and Nutmeg
whipped cream
(2 oz)

Soak the dried fruit in orange juice and a


water overnight. Make the jelly with

little

of hot water.

Chop

Ginger and soak it in a little hot water


for 5 minutes. As the jelly is about to set,
pour the dried fruit and orange juice, pinethe

a tiny sprig of fresh Mint.

BREAD AND CAKES

kg (25

(8 oz) each whole wheat and plain


white unbleached, enriched flours
iog (5 oz) lard, rubbed in

3 litres

Rosehips
(105 fl ozi water
lb)

cornstarch

50g (2 02 cornflour
25g (1 oz) almonds
sugar

2 teaspoons

salt

and sugar

If possible, collect the Rosehips following


an overnight frost. They should be well
ripened and have a good red colour. Trim
off the stalks and rinse the Rosehips
thoroughly. Simmer the hips for a couple
of hours in the water, strain and return the

liquor to the heat.

Cream

each

teaspoon Dill seed


2 teaspoons chopped fresh Savory or
teaspoon dried Savory
teaspoon chopped fresh Dill weed or
teaspoon
dried Dill weed
j
1

cream

Add

sugar to

the cornflour with a

water then whisk

it

Cook

constantly.

little

taste.

cold

into the soup, beating


for

to

minutes.

Scald the almonds and remove the skins.


Slice the nuts lengthwise and add to the
soup. Serve with cream and sweet rusks.

5g (j ozj fresh yeast or


2 teaspoons dried yeast
280ml (10 fl ozj warm water
1

To make
the

the

dough with

mix
and sugar

fresh yeast,

herbs,

lard,

flours,

salt

together in a bowl. Blend yeast in the


all at once. Mix to a soft
dough (adding more blended

water and add


scone-like
flour

if

necessary so that

it

leaves the

bowl

clean.

To make

the

dough with dried

dissolve a teaspoon of the sugar in a

Ginger Jelly

yeast

on

Serves 4

until

frothy.

water

to the flours,

pkt lime jelly (3 oz pkt gelatin


4 to 6 pieces Ginger preserved in syrup,

lard, herbs, salt

top.

and
and sprinkle with Cinnamon
and Nutmeg. Wet a mould and turn the
jelly into it. Chill and serve with cream.

Leave

Add

drained and sliced


Reconstitute the jelly according to the
instructions on the packet and allow to

When

cool.

sherry into

and leave

86

(1^ lb)

225g
1

apple, walnuts, Ginger, glace cherries


it

Ginger. Pour
and decorate each with

into chilled glasses

amount

cold fold in the cream

crystallized

yeast,

cup of

the hand-hot water. Sprinkle the dried

4 tablespoons medium dry sherry


can unsweetened orange juice

half the usual

electric blender. Stir in

When

and chopped

50g

an

in

the custard.

Makes about 675g

sweet rusks

DESSERTS

into the batter

and puree

Whole Wheat Herb Bread

Popular vinegars include French Tarragon, Basil, Thyme, Marjoram, Rosemary


Mint and Sage. Garlic may also be in-

the

Rinse the gooseberries. Simmer gently


with the water in a heavy, partially
covered pan with the chopped Mint and
peeled, chopped green Ginger. Stir in the
sugar. Rub through a nylon sieve or cool

oil.

castor sugar.

store

melted
beaten white of
in

Drain on kitchen paper.


Serve immediately sprinkled lightly with
try in

and pour into suitable hot, sterilized


bottles, adding a decorative and identify-

and

parb

Mix

water.

boil

tightly

(flat

butter. Fold in the stiffly

egg.

whipping cream,

4 young Mint sprigs

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.


Put the egg yolk in the centre and a little
of the water. Mix to a batter with a wooden spoon or fork, gradually adding the
rest

eggs and Vanilla sugar

oz) double or

fl

4 pieces crystallized Ginger, chopped

Elder flower-heads

Herb Vinegars

(5

whipped

salt

egg, separated

superfine or castor sugar

Most herbs can be added

oz) custard sauce (preferably

fl

made with

oz) melted butter

(1

pinch

tablespoons chopped Mint


piece fresh green Ginger
iog (4 oz; sugar

almost

set, stir in

the

Ginger

ly

rest

of the sugar.
light-

floured board. Half-fill two well-greased

loaf

tins.

(The inside of the pots may be

sprinkled with cracked wheat after greas-

Serve chilled, decorated with whipped

cream and

dough

crystallized Violets.

and the

Mix to a soft scone-like dough.


Knead the dough thoroughly on a

Place the
polythene bag,

in a cold place until fully set.

for about 10 minutes


with the rest of the
containing rubbed-in

ing.)

tins inside a large, oiled


tie

to rise until

loosely
it

and allow the

doubles

in

volume.

BREAD AND CAKES

Remove

bag. Bake on the middle shelf of a

hot oven at 450F (230C) or Gas


for

Mark

30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot with soup

or salad

and cheese.

Above

Freshly baked bread decorated with

Sesame

seeds.

Sesame seeds may also be used

in

combination with Cinnamon, for example,

to

flavour bread.

Many

other herbs can be

dough. Spread the mixture out in the prepared tin and level the top. Sprinkle evenly with topping. Bake at 400F (200C) or
Gas Mark 6 for approximately hour.
1

used as a flavouring, notably Garlic with or

Gingerbread
1

without some finely chopped green herbs such


as Parsley.

iog (4 oz) margarine

i70g (6 oz) black treacle


50g (2 oz) golden syrup

Cardamom Cake

140ml

fresh

breadcrumbs

340g

(12 oz) self-raising flour

(5

fl

oz) milk

eggs

225g

(8 oz) plain flour

(unbleached,

enriched)

(2 oz) sugar
teaspoon mixed spice
tablespoon ground Ginger
teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

This quantity

is

teaspoon baking powder

(7 oz)

3 teaspoons

granulated sugar

ground Cardamom or Cinna-

mon
1

suitable for the following

joml

90ml

(5

(3

fl

fl

oz

cream

tins;

oz) milk

the size of the tin.

i5g

(j oz) plain flour

almonds

(1

oz) flaked

(1

oz) granulated sugar

teaspoons

(unbleached,

enriched)

140ml

(5

fl

oz) milk

teaspoon Garlic salt


1

optional

teaspoon Poppyseeds

salt

and pepper

Grease and flour a 20cm


Roll

out

the

floured board to

(8 in)

sandwich

dough on a

fit

the

tin.

lightly

Place in the

cover with a lightly oiled polythene


bag and allow to rise until double in size
(30-45 minutes at room temperature).
tin,

Topping
25g
25g

225g (8 oz) white bread dough


225g (8 oz) onions, peeled and sliced
50g (2 oz) butter or margarine

tin.

18cm

(7 in) or 20cm (8 in) round cake


two 18cm (7 in; square tins, 2.5cm
deep; two 18cm (7 in) loaf tins.
(1 in
Using a large saucepan, warm together
the margarine, treacle and syrup. Add
milk and allow to cool. Beat eggs and
blend with cooled mixture. Sieve dry
ingredients into a bowl, add the cooled
mixture and blend with a tablespoon.
Turn into prepared tins and bake on the
middle shelf of a slow oven 300 F I50C)
0T Gas Mark 2 for i hours depending on

tins:

level

iog (4 oz) butter or margarine

200g

50g
1

Onion Kiichen

Cinnamon

Grease a qoog (2 lb) loaf tin and line with


fresh breadcrumbs. Mix the flour and
baking powder together. Cut the butter or
margarine into the flour and rub in with
the fingertips until the mixture resembles
fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar and
Cardamom. Add the cream and milk and
Stir well until the mixture forms a stiff

Cook

the

margarine

in

onions

Stir in the flour

Add

the

in

the

butter

or

a saucepan until just tender.

milk

stirring, boil for

and cook for one minute.


and bring to the boil
1

minute. Stir

in the salt,

pepper and Garlic salt. Spoon the onion


mixture onto the risen dough base and
sprinkle with Poppyseeds. Bake on the
middle shelf of the oven at 375F (io,oC)
or

Gas Mark

5 for 30 minutes.

87

HERBS IN THE KITCHEN


Garlic Bread
i

French

85g

stick or

Vienna loaf
creamed with

Soaking

Beaume

Balling

Herb and spice sugars

Time

Reading

Reading

hours
hours
hours
hours
hours

25
27
28

46
50

Vanilla sugar is made by inserting a piece


of Vanilla pod into a jar of superfine or

30
32

da Y s

35

65

for use in

24
24
24
24
24

1-2

butter

ozj

^3

Day

cloves Garlic
3

and chunkily,
leaving the base layer intact. Spread both
sides of each slice with the creamed garlic
butter. Spread garlic butter over the
Slice

the loaf obliquely

crust of the loaf.

Wrap

the loaf in alu-

foil and heat in the oven at 400F


(200C) or Gas Mark 6 for 10 minutes.
Serve this delicious bread crusty and hot
either with soups, cheese or salads.

minium

castor sugar. Seal the jar during storage.


It

55

cakes and

60

and

Remove and

drain the Angelica (Angelica

beverages

Store in covered jars in a cool

5.

added

their original

syrup

petals into jars. Cool

boiled to soft ball

is

sugar

280ml (10

to

Use 450g

fl

oz)

lb)

of

Add

water.

a few of the leaves or the (lowers at a

time and boil (at 234F or 94C) for one


minute. Drain using a frying spoon and
transfer to a tray covered with aluminium
foil. Allow to dry thoroughly in a warm

atmosphere such

more than
Markf).
(not

as a barely

iooF

1.

taining the bruised herbs, spices or flower

col-

warm oven

(38 C)

or

Gas

warm

following

brief

list

This method requires the use of a hydrometer. Use green tender young stems
picked in April or May. Trim the stems
and cut them intofemr (3 in) lengths.

Soak for
and boil

15 minutes in cold water. Rinse

water for 5 to 10 minutes,


Drain and scrape off the
outer skin. Prepare a syrup by boiling
450g (1 lb) of sugar with 560ml 120 fl oz
of water. (If you use a Beaume hydrometer, the strength should be 25, or 46
until

when

in

tender.

Balling or Brix hydrometer

is

Grange in his book The


Book of Home Food Preservation

Cyril

used.)

Complete

prescribes the following eight-

Cassell)

day sugar-boiling programme for Angelica. Each day more sugar is added and the
syrup

is

boiled to the prescribed degree of

strength,

and the stems are soaked

prescribed time.

88

lor the

gives

possible additions to honey:

in

The

few of the

Lemon Balm

Monarda
Bergamot
officinalis,
Borage Borago officinalis CardaCinnamon
Elettaria cardamomum,

mom

(irmamomum zeylanicumu
gium aromaticum
sat/nun
Fennel
.

Cloves

Coriander

Syzy-

[Coriandrum

Foeniculum vulgare

Gin-

ger (Zingiber officinale .Mints Mentha spp


Rose
\Papaver somniferum
petals (Rosa spp
Sage (Salvia officinalis

Poppyseeds

>,

Savory (Satureia hortensis), Sesame seeds


Sesamum indicum), and Thyme (Thymus
vulgaris

(left)

and Cinnamon

of their
It is

specific

surprising to

how many of the drinks

most and reserve

for

that

special

we
oc-

although they may not always be immediately identifiable. Some of the most
popular alcoholic drinks, ranging from
sweet mead to mulled wines and exotic
liqueurs,

derive

their

special

qualities

American iced juleps are made of


bourbon whisky, sugar, Mint sprigs and
ice and American cobblers and coolers are
similarly flavoured with pleasantly additive herbs.

Pimms No.

is

decorated with

Borage
officinalis and Mint
Mentha spp
Spices such as Cinnamon
sticks (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), Cloves [Sysprigs (Borago
.

zygium aromaticum
tana cardamomum

1,

Cardamom

seeds (Ele-

and

sometimes root
Ginger (Zingiber officinale are added to
mulled red wines and Swedish gldgg.

Many
Below: Coriander

much

with

from herbal additives.

Melissa
didyma

istic

aperitif

wines owe their character-

flavours to herbs.

(right) plants. Both of these herbs can be

misia absinthium

used for flavouring hone) and mulled nine.


Coriander and Cinnamon have both been used

anisum

for thousands ofyears.

Candied Angelica

and cover. Stand

place for one week before use.

sugar

casions owe their desirable taste and


smell to the judicious use of certain herbs -

and

and newly opened


flowers or buds should be good specimens
young and unblemished. A sugarboiling thermometer is a useful aid in
candying.

may be
warmed honey clover or orange
blossom
Pour the warmed honey conBruised fresh herbs and spices

delicious

leaves, stems

stage (234F or 94C).

prize

to

in

Herbs have always provided alcoholic


flavour and properties.

Additional

ouring and flavouring can occasionally be


added, and the crystallized, as opposed to
the candied, forms are encrusted with a
surface layer of fine sugar crystals.

can be infused

for use in fruit dishes.

Mark

The leaves, stems, Mowers and buds of


many herbs and fragrant flowers can be

The

puddings. Sprigs of Lemon Balm


officinalis

realize just

attractively preserved using sugar syrups

be mixed with sugar

HERBS IN ALCOHOL

Herb honeys

and then dried to retain


colour and shape making

Ground Cinnamon

biscuits.

Cardamom may

archangelica stems on a wire cake tray. Dry


on foil-covered baking trays in a barely
warm oven at about 100 F 38 C or

HERB AND FLOWER


CONFECTIONS

confections.

is

(Melissa

dark cupboard.

decorative

delicious in ice cream, egg custard,

51

is

Wormwood

(Arte-

used in vermouth and

Anise (Pimpinella
Pernod, bitter herbs in Campari, and globe artichokes (Cynara scolyabsinthe

in

production,

HERB WINES
Mead

mus) are used in Italian Cynar.

is

flavoured with herbs such as Rosemary


[Rosmarinus officinalis and spices such as
i

zeylanicum),
(Cinnamomum
Cinnamon
Nutmeg (Myristica jragrans
Mace,
.

Transfer to a cold place for a further two


days. Strain and bottle using robust
flasks. Screw the tops down firmly only
when fermentation has ceased. Store for

about one week only.

not a brew for

It is

long storage.

with herbs. Creme de Menthe, for example, is flavoured with Mint oils (Men-

Mrs Tritton's Dandelion Beer

Kiimmel is Cumin [Cuminum


cyminum) and Caraway flavoured (Carum
carvi) and Green Chartreuse may contain
over one hundred different plant flavours.
spp

Aquavit

[Cuminum

Cumin-flavoured

is

cyminum) and gin

is

flavoured with Juniper

Juniperus communis).

Dandelion plants with taproot


demerara or light brown sugar
i5g (j oz) crushed root Ginger
juice of 2 lemons
liquid ale yeast

water

to 4.5I

berry leaves

Rubus

idaeus

Chamomile

nobile
Burdock Arctium
and leaves, Betony \Stachys
Agrimony Agnmoma eupatona

(Chamaemelum

root

lappa)

officinalis.,

Dandelion
Nettles

(Taraxacum

(Urtica

officinale)

Hops

dioica\,

leaves,

[Humulus

lupulus, Dock Rumex crispus< and Horehound Marrubium vulgare) leaves. Ground
(

Ginger Zingiber
<

Botanic Beer
50g
50g
50g
50g
25g

typical

sugar.

then bottle.

Allow

Meadowsweet

(2 ozj

Agrimony

(2 ozj

Raspberry leaves
Hyssop

oz)
2!

SUgai

11)

litres (2 galls

water

ale yeast
Boil the leaves in the
utes. Strain.

add a

Add

water

the sugar.

ale yeast

little

and

15

min-

When

tepid

for

herb wine-makers task since


equipment for fermentation and storage
is readily available. A wide range of plant
material may be used in herb winemaking such as Cowslip flowers (Primula

and bring

Simmer

nale

offici-

Elder flowers (Sambucus nigra Com(Symphytum officinale


Coltsfoot

for

the boil, adding the

about

10

minutes.

Decant into a
Add the lemon juice

to cool until tepid.


flask.

yeast. Stir to mix. Bottle after four

Marigold Wine
2.3I (4 pts)

flowers

Marigold flowers

2 oranges

lemon

1.4kg 13 lb) sugar

root

frey

to

months, tying the corks down.

Dandelion flowers (Taraxacum

veris),

4.5I

(i

gall)

water

Tussilago farfara

Lemon Balm

Rosemary

I5g (j oz) baker's yeast

Rose petals (Rosa spp


RhuRheum rhabarbarum
Burnet Poterium sanguisorba and Bramble tips. Note
that measurements in wine-making are
usually by volume. Do not press the herbs
down in the jug but firm them by
'bumping' the jug once or twice.

Put the flowers, the thinly pared orange


and lemon rinds and the juice of the
orange and lemon into a large bowl.
Pour on the water which has been brought
to the boil with the sugar. Allow to cool.
Add the yeast. Stir thoroughly, cover and
leave in a warm place for one week.
Strain into a fermentation jar, cover and
leave in a warm place until fermentation

Dandelion Wine

ceases. Store in a cool place for three to

Melissa

officinalis

(Rosmarinus
|,

four weeks before bottling.

Dandelion (lowers
4.3I
gall water
2 large oranges
pts

2.3I

bottle.

large

lemon

V>g (2 oz) raisins


2

Stir

Nettle Beer

facili-

stir.

the

tates

home wine-making

and

leave for three days, stirring occasionally.

and
in

barb

Betony

(1

The upsurge

Pour on
Cover and

into a large bowl.

fermentation

Herb wines

officinalis).

(2 oz)

Put the flower-heads and thinly peeled

washed roots in some of the water,


and add the rest of the ingredients.
Ferment until most of the sugar has gone,

recipe for

is:

(2 oz)

.2kg

often used to

officinale) is

flavour the brew.

of tartaric acid will suffice).

the boiling water

Boil the

i5g (\ oz) yeast (preferably champagne


activated two days before being
added, but baker's yeast creamed with
some of the sweetened must and a pinch

lemon rinds

gall)

cool

Alcoholic beverages
Herb beers and ales can provide the
amateur beer-maker with new experimental lines based on herbs such as
Meadowsweet [Filipendula ulmana Rasp-

water

yeast

lb)

( 1

(tightly

'4 k g (3 Ib ) su g ar

(8 oz)

225g
450g

560ml (1 pt) Elder flower-heads


packed into the measure)
2 lemons
4.5I (1 gall) boiling

Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum and Ginger


(Zingiber officinales Liqueurs are flavoured

tha

Elder flower Wine

kg (i\ lb) young Nettles

tops onl\

1.

tablespoons ye, 1st

6kg

(3^ lb

sugar

lemons
Put the flowers into the water in a large

teaspoon ground Ginger

4.5I

water
demerara or light brown sugar
cream of tartar

gall)

fi

45<>g

lb

25g <i oz)


20g (\ oz) fresh baker's yeast or
teaspoon dried yeast
1

Bring the rinsed Nettle tops, the peel

lemon and the Ginger


water

in

large

pan.

ol

the

pan and bring to the boil. Add the orange


and lemon rinds and sugar and boil for
one hour. Strain, cool until tepid then add
the yeast. Next day add the orange and
lemon juices and raisins. Bottle. Cork
loosely about a month later when fermentation has ceased.

*'

to the boil in the

Simmer

lor

20

Right: Elder flowers

minutes, strain onto the sugar and (ream


another large (lean vessel. Stir
and allow to cool. Add the lemon juice

variety

and yeast. Covei with linen tea towels and


have in a warm place lor three days.

garnishing.

ol tartar in

in the wild.

Overleaf: The chart shows the tremendou

'

and may well


you new ideas for flavouring and
of uses fin your herbs,

89

HERBS IN THE KITCHEN

Agrimony
Alecost (Costmary)
Allspice (Pimento. Jamaica Pepper)
Angelica leaves
Angelica root
Angelica seeds
Angelica stems
Anise

Lemon

Balm.

Aniseed

Basil

Bay
Bergamot
Borage

Burnet (Salad Burnet)


Capers

Caraway
Caraway seeds

o
o

o
o

o
o

o
o

Celery

powder

Chives
Chive salt
Cicely seeds

Sweet
Cinnamon, ground
Cinnamon stick
Cicely.

Clove Pinks (Gillyflowers)


Cloves (whole or ground)
Coriander leaves
Coriander seeds
Cumin seed
Cumin, ground (Jeera)
Curry powder

Dandelion
Dill

seed, ground

Dill

seed,

whole

Elderberry

Garlic
Garlic

Elderflower

Fennel
Fennel seed

Dill

powder

Garlic salt

Geranium
Ginger, ground

Ginger, root

Hops
Horseradish

Hyssop

90

Chamomile
Chervil

o
o

salt

Celery seed

Chili

o
o

Cayenne (Pepper, Tabasco)


Celery

Cardamom


O indicates herb must be used fresh #

indicates herb

may be used

fresh or dried

and sometimes candied

USING YOUR HERBS

9'

gflfc

Wma.
U*

*?.

5PH/

,v,v

vV
-^Cv-JS

i^

rat-

:i3S

-*----"

fc

The domestic

and cosmetic uses


of herbs

a**

$**

^^M
The multitude

of uses

man

has found for

including medicinal,
demonstrates his
domestic and culinary
close association with nature.
plant

material

Apart from their traditional use for all


man's ills and ailments, herbs have proved
invaluable in many other different ways
in the domestic context. They have provided shelter, floor coverings, fire, weapons and utensils; imparted colour, flavour
and decoration to a great variety ol
commodities; proved beneficial to health
and been used to enhance man's natural

'//>

beauty.

And

it

has been since the very

IN

THE HOME

Reeds, grasses, heather and turf have all


been used as roof coverings, while a variety
of plants, man) of them still to be found
to

be useful

home itself. Birch twigs Betula spp)


still make the strongest and most effective
broom or garden besom, though Heather
>c"v*<i

and Ling
long-lasting

Sarothamnus

Calluna

and

vulgaris

effective.

Koparius

Broom

received

its

employed

variety

economy and
from

of ways,

bridges to buildings and furnishings, for


utensils, vehicles

and decoration.

Often the vernacular names of plants


provide a clue to their use. The main
applications of Equisetums or Horsetails
are belied by their prehistoric appearance.

of beautiful natural dyes, producing a

huh imparts

its

different plants,

ou n individual

formerly exported from the Netherlands.


has been

known

Pewterwort.

It

will

Scouring Rush or
clean pewter and form

as

a substantially effective scourer for sauce-

pans, baking utensils and


surfaces.

It will

wooden kitchen

also polish because ol

its

preparation of food and washing materials

range of subtle and vibrant colours. These

garments have been dyed with

are deposited in their stalks render-

them invaluable for polishing and


scouring. Dutch Rush [Equisetum hyemaU

itself

Left: Herbs form the basis of an infinite

fragrance.

in

com-

from being used as such. Birch


bark can be fashioned into a waterproof
The North American
tray or basket.
Indians made household dishes and trays
from Birch bark, which they stretched

each of u

{Phyllostachys spp) has

to oriental

abrasive action. Several fresh Horsetails


tied together form an effective whisk in the

are equally

mon name

variety

Bamboo

ing

in the

:-<

pouring.

always been basic

silica,

growing wild, have been found

zFqrZ'O,

edges

Large quantities of the abrasive material,

earliest times.

HERBS

i.

so

shape and decorated around the


with grasses. It was also the
Indians who used Birch bark rolls as
roofing materials, and formed small rolls
into funnels which could be used for
into

but do not use the dried plant since


fall off the stem. Plants

pieces are liable to

of a high acid content such as

Rhubarb

[Rheum palmatum or Rheum officinaL and


Sorrel
Rumex acetosa) can be boiled in
water and used as pan cleaners, often
bringing a high polish to the surfaces; but

do not leave a strong rhubarb solution in


aluminium pans as it may bum a hole
through the bottom.
Soapwort [Saponaria
known as Latherwort,

officinalis
is

almost

also
self-

<;

DOMESTIC AND COSMETIC USES


4

Above: Soapwort, as

its

name

W,"'

implies, has

traditionally provided an effective cleansing

agent ; however,

it

has a somewhat astringent

lather.

explanatory.

It

useful

is

as

a cleaning

agent, especially for old or delicate fabrics


that require gentle treatment.

The

leaves,

and to a lesser extent the root, produce a


somewhat astringent green soapy solution
when decocted (covered and boiled) in
hot water which restores old fibres and
vegetable dyes to their former strength
and clarity. The green coloration soon
washes out in the rinsing process. Soapwort has been specifically employed in the
restoration

of valuable

and

tapestries

brocades.

Above

Rushlights were once the most

economical source of domestic lighting in

many

The rushes are gathered


Then fat - in this case mutton fat
shown being melted (left). The
rural areas.

(above)

is

rushlight

(below

is

left)

dipped once only into the fat


,

and finally (below)

it is

placed in a traditional holder. One rush

CANDLES

candle will last for about an hour indoors.

Chandling has long been a home

craft, the

They provide a

simplest of candles being created from

the particular

kitchen by-products, such as beef

any wax.

fat

or

marrow bone grease (obtained after boiling). The low melting-point of tallow
demands a rather larger wick and this is
best obtained from rushes.

Rush dipping can be mastered with a


practice. It is best to use the soft Rush

little

[Juncus

Both

effusus

grow

pasture, bogs
pecially

or

Juncus conglomerate).

fairly

and

on acid

abundantly

in

damp woodland,

soils.

wet
es-

After gathering,

soak the rushes for a few hours and then


dry out of doors, preferably in the sunshine. Strip the outer husk

away and then

hang the pithy centre part

to dry before
dipping in hot tallow or wax. Dip repeatedly, drying the tallow or wax before
each operation.

When
them
94

using reeds as candles, secure

safely as they are longer in length

lovely soft light

and have

advantage of not dripping

POT-POURRI
less stable than household candles,
but they have the advantage of not dripping wax. They are best contained in
special holders which take several at one
time and can be adjusted as they burn
down. They can be burned indoors or out-

and

One

doors without excessive guttering.

candle will last approximately one hour


when used indoors; outside any breeze
reinforce the burning but will
will

probably cause flickering.


Some nuts with a fleshy kernel such as
Coconut (Cocos nucifera) can be threaded
onto a reed wick and burned to provide
light. Though adequate, they will smoke
and smell fairly strongly, however, so they
should be kept for barbecues or summer
evenings when this will not matter. For
such festive occasions, the reeds can be
coloured before they are dipped. Either

one colour may be used, or bands can be


created along the length of the reed.
A modest range of various tallows and
waxes is available from most craft shops,
but it is far more satisfying to manufacture
all the raw materials from plant matter.

TO SWEETEN THE AIR


and Santolina

spica)

as well

Tansy Tanacetum
(

as

(Santolina chamaecy-

the tough, resilient

vulgare),

were tradition-

strewn about the house to act as


sweet-smelling anu absorbent floor coverings. Their scent helped counteract the
fetid atmosphere of less hygienic days.
Air fresheners have always been popually

lar

because

of the

alleged

properties of certain herbs

fully

(Lonicera periclymenum)

common
(Iris

salt

or bay salt

and Orris root

germanica) These fixatives are the key


.

to the long life of pot-pourri.

ing

up the

common

fixative,

salt

When mak-

use twice as

much

or bay salt as Orris. Rose

petals traditionally comprise the greater

bulk, but the other ingredients invest the

mixture with a lasting individual fragrance, and any combination of attractive


scented leaves, flowers and flower buds
can be used. No single perfume should
predominate.

There are two kinds of pot-pourri, the


dry and the moist. The former is easier to
make, and quicker too, but is not as enduring or as fragrant as the moist variety.
The materials for both need to be assembled over a period, and this is why the
recipes are intentionally flexible. Generally, the flowers should be gathered as dry
as possible immediately prior to being

blown and

day when they are


that

Honeysuckle

like

if,
,

there

at their

is

a time of

most fragrant,

the time for harvesting.

is

For moist pot-pourri pull apart the


petals and scatter them on trays or flat
boxes covered with foil, then cover with
sheets of greaseproof paper or cheesecloth. If it is not too windy, dry them out
of doors in a shaded position; otherwise a
shed or spare room is ideal. Once the
petals are limp and leathery, they can be
used to

make

the moist pot-pourri.

Dry pot-pourri
The

must be dried thoroughly


papery but not brittle; they
should still retain some colour and, of
course, their scent. Drying time varies
petals

until they are

moisture content of
individual petals. Carnations (Dianthus
caryophyllus) and Roses (especially Rosa

according

rugosa,

to

the

Rosa damascena and Rosa

example,

take

(Lavandula spica) or

gallica), for

Lavender
Rosemary (Rosmarinus

longer

than

officinalis)

Ingredients to choose from

Sweet rushes, evergreens such as Juniper


(Juniperus communis), Lavender [Lavandula
parissus),

POT-POURRI
This is essentially a homogeneous mixture
of dried sweet-scented flowers and leaves
with aromatic spices and stabilizing agents
or fixatives - the most usual of which are

antiseptic

and

their use

was promoted to counteract disease.


There were many different methods some
were held in the hand; others placed
among linen and clothing; many simply
placed in bowls around the house.

Seeds and Spices Grind very coarsely

Flowers
Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus)
Elder flowers

(Sambucus

nigra)

Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)


Jasmine (Jasminum)
Lavender (Lavandula spica)
Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaha majalis)
Philadelphus spp
Pinks (Dianthus p/umahus)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus
Rose (scented) spp

officinalis)

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)


Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

Nutmeg

Stocks (Matthiolas)
Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus)

Thyme (Thymus

the following seeds and spices in any


combination, in a coffee grinder.
Alexanders (Smyrnium olustratum)
Allspice (Pimenta dioica)
Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum)
Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia)

(Myristica fragrans)

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)


Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia)

vulgaris)

The
talum

Sandalwood
Cedarwood (Cedrus

subtle scents of

album),

Lavender
flowers

(Lavandula

spica)

Tilia x vulgaris)

and

scattered

Lime
in

cupboard permeate the contents


and maintain freshness. Even the common custom of bringing fresh flowers into
a sickroom not only delights the eye but
freshens the atmosphere as well. Sweet
(Asperula odorata) scattered be-

Aromatic leaves Rub leaves through


them in an electric

sieve or grind

blender after drying


Bay (Laurus nobilis)

Bergamot (Monarda didyma)


Choisya (Choisya ternata)
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
Lavender (Lavandula spica)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)


Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Sweet Woodruff (Asperula odorata)
The scented-leaved Geraniums such as
Pelargonium quercifolium and P.

wood

crispurn

will dissipate mustiness,

(Artemisia

drawers

fresh

abrotanum)

and pleasant, while

same time discouraging

insects.

them, however, pot-pourri


al

favourite.

keep closed

is

at the

Of all

of

the tradition-

retain the

essential for a successful pot-pourri.

Gum Benzoin (Styrax benzoin and


Styrax spp,)
Orris root powder (Iris germanica)
Storax (Liquidamber orientalis)
Sweet Flag powder (Acorus calamus)
Violet root powder (Viola odorata)

Melilot (Melilotus officinalis)

while
sachets, pomanders, lavender bags and
nosegays of dried herbs such as Pennyroyal {Mentha pulegium) and Southern-

hind books

These are substances which


aroma of the pot-pourri
components and help to release them
slowly into the air. All are themselves
fragrant materials and they are
Fixatives

(San-

spp),

closed

Woodruff

Wallflowers (Cheiranthus)
(Thick-petalled flowers such as Lily
(Li/ium spp,) and Hyacinth (Hyacinthus
spp,) are not really suitable.)

The sweet-scented Artemisias such as


Artemisia abrotanum

Thyme (Thymus

vulgaris)

Verbena (Verbena

officinalis)

Note: Ground citrus peel can be added


as above, or a whole Orange (Citrus
sinensis) or Lemon (Citrus limon) can
be stuck with Cloves (Syzygium
aromaticum) and immersed in the
pot-pourri mixture to absorb the scent

95

DOMESTIC AND COSMETIC USES


The dry

mixed

recipes can be

as the

season progresses and, provided they are


not

left

their

uncovered

fragrance

Though some

for too long, will retain

for

up

to

two years.

varieties will lose

some of

containing

coumarin, such as Woodruff Asperula odorata


and Melilot Melilotus officinalis develop
their

strength,

others

new-mown

a scent like

hay.

Dry

scented leaves and flowers you wish.

usually superior

are

because they last longer and ingredients


can be accumulated over the growing
season. Once petals are dry and leathery,
store them in a mixture of common salt,
coarsely

ground

Iris germanka
Pack a layer of petals

Orris root
jar.

jar, then sprinkle

mm

5 in

is full.

in

in the

base of the

with a generous layer of

cover the petals to a depth of

fixative, to

jar

bay salt and


a wide-necked

sea salt or

Repeat

in layers until the

Place a weight on the top and

then cover to exclude light and air.


Treat aromatic leaves in exactly the
same way, harvesting them prior to the
plant flowering - this is when the essential
oils are at their peak. As the season draws
to a close, assemble all the dried plant
matter, checking that they bear no hint of
mustiness.

mix
pot-pourri

will

about two years. The


moist varieties last longer and need not be
stored in covered containers. They can be
revived very quickly by adding a few
generally

last

for

drops of essential

such

oils,

Cananga

or

odorata

as

oil

of

Ylang-Ylang
Spike Lavender

Bergamot Monarda didyma

pot-

pourri can be improved by the addition of


both these herbs. Use any combination of

Moist pot-pourri
The moist recipes

Keeping pot-pourri
The dry recipes for

Once the drier kind


however, the mixture cannot be
restored to its former fragrance.
Use one of the many specially designed
porcelain bowls or jars for storing potpourri. The lids of these are pierced with
Lavandula spica

\.

fades,

holes or

the scent,

release

to

slits

and

sometimes there is an inner lid with a


fitted cover to keep in the fragrance.

Connoisseur's pot-pourri
Mix a jug full of dried Rose
one handful of

and then leave


(

thus

in

officinalis

Pinks

and Wallflowers

or bay

Cheiran-

and some scented

salt

Prepare wedges of citrus fruit peel


by sticking them all over with Cloves
(Syzygium aromaticum and allowing them
to dry naturally for a few weeks.

leaves.

When

all

the ingredients are ready,

thoroughly mix the petals with the lea\


the citrus fruit and Cloves whole or
grind them in an electric blender and add
handfuls to equal the quantity of salt
used. Add a teaspoon of Cinnamon
C.innamomum .zeylanicum and another of

Add
Below:

Orris.

The

dried powdered root

used with other herbs in pot-pourris and

some dry shampoos.

is

Allspice

Pimenta dioica

quarter of a 9 litre 2 gall bucket


filled with Rose petals
85g 3 oz common salt
50g 2 oz fine rubbed bay salt
50g 2 oz Allspice Pimenta dioica
50g 2 oz Cloves Syzygium aromaticum

Mix

Then add

well

and

50g

brown sugar

oz

Gum

Benzoin Styrax benzoin


5g 5 oz
oz
Orris
root Iris germanica
2
50g
2 tablespoons brandy
iog

Lavender heads Lavandula

4 oz

spica

iog

Verbena

4 oz

leaves

Verbena

officinalis

50g

Rose-Geranium

oz

leaves

Pelargonium graveolens

Sprinkle the fresh Rose petals with the

common salt and


in the

leave for three days. Stir

remaining ingredients, then place

the mixture in a stone pot. Stir every three

days

two weeks, adding a few drops of


the mixture appears too dry and

for

brandy

if

lacking in scent.
this will

A quick
Throw
petals
spica

moist pot-pourri

like

have a more lingering perfume.

pot-pourri

together handfuls of dried Rose

and dried Lavender


Honeysuckle Lonicera

Lavandula
periclymen-

Carnations
Dianthus caryophyllus
um
Rosmarinus officinalis
and
Rosemary
.

Lavender Lavandula spica


Bergamot Monarda didyma and Geranium Pelargonium spp Store in a closed

Sweet William Dianthus barbatus flowers.


Ensure that you have twice the bulk of the
flowers in Rose petals. Add some powCinnamomum zeylanidered Cinnamon

container for eight to ten weeks.

cum. Nutmeg

leave overnight.

a few drops of

essential oils:

(Syzygium

Lemon

Traditional pot-pourri
9

litre

3_L0g

2 gall

12 ozi

bucket of Roses

common

salt

for a

oz

Orris root

Iris

peel

Cloves

and some dried

Citrus limon

at the ratio of

month

or so before using.

Using pot-pourri

An

50g

Myristica fragrans

aromaticum:

about one teaspoon of the mixed powders


to every two handfuls of flowers. Add a few
drops of brandy and or pot-pourri reviver,
and then store the mixture tightly packed

225g (8 oz) finely powdered bay salt


85g 3 oz Allspice Pimenta dioica
85g 3 oz Cloves Syzygium aromaticum
50g 2 oz brown sugar
iog (4 oz) Gum Benzoin Styrax benzoin
germanica

attractive alternative to putting pot-

pourri into an open container

j cupful of brandy
Several handfuls of dried fragrant flowers
and leaves such as Carnations Dianthus
caryophyllus),
Pinks
Dianthus plumarius
Wallflowers [Cheiranthus
and Jasmine
.

Jasminum).
Place the Rose petals and salt in a jar in
layers, then add the other ingredients and

96

coarsely ground

salt.

RoseDian-

the

petals with

or bay

separate containers, together with

little salt

Elizabethan recipe

Lavandula spica

mary Rosmarinus

An

Open and

room

is to be
perfumed. If the pot-pourri appears to
dry out too much, moisten with a few
drops of brandy.

weeks. Store

for several

dried Lavender
thus plumarius

salt

when

occasionally

common

well. Store in closed jars.

stir

into a porcelain

cupboard or

sachets

using

of the
scraps

cutting

required,

is

to tuck

it

pomander and hang it in


wardrobe You can make

of

sweet-smelling

mixture

pretty

fabrics,

light,

them to the size and shape


and then embroidering them or

adding beads, lace or ribbon.


Cut two pieces of fabric to shape and

SCENTED ARTICLES
or two of an aromatic
(Citrus

aurantium),

spied),

Patchouli

such as Neroli

oil

Lavender (Lavandula
(Pogostemon

patchouli).

The most widely used herb

pillow to

promote

sleep

Hops (Humulus

one containing dried

is

and it is certainly
Hops are replaced
months after which they

lupulus)

effective providing the


ever)' four to six

lose their strength.

Rosemary herb
Mix

pillow

a sufficient quantity of herbs in the

following proportions
4 cups dried Rosemary leaves [Rosmarinus
officinalis)

cup

Lemon Verbena

dried

leaves

(Aloysia triphylla)
i

cup dried Pine needles


crushed

tablespoon

(Pinus)

Orris

root

(Iris

germanica)
2

crushed Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)

When

adding the Pine needles to


the mixture, be sure that you make the

Note:
Above
dried

may

Sweet-smelling Lavender

and used wherever

enhance the household

its

plaiting

be

aroma will

corn dollies.
Incorporate a narrow ribbon in a pretty
colour as you work, not only to add decorative interest but to help hold the dolly

as scented

accessories to aid sleep, as a fragrant

pot-pourri or placed with clothes.

size,

them

place

together,

then stitch

facing,

all

right

sides

round leaving a

Turn

small opening for stuffing.

to the

seam allowances
around any curves and cutting across
corners to achieve an even shape. Tack
any trimming into the seam before
right side, clipping the

stitching.

Turn

to the right side, stuff

with pot-

pourri and slip stitch the opening to close.

Trim
Place

the edges afterwards

among

linen

where it will remain


two years.

if

preferred.

among

or

clothes

effective for

up

to

LAVENDER BAGS
You

can

make

sachets

similar

Lavender [Lavandula

spica).

It

is

with

best to

gather the flowers just before they open so


that they are still firm. The drying process
will not alter the shape of the flowers and

you will find them easier


making up the bags.

to

them to make Lavender dollies, in


same way as you would make

exactly the

handle when

weave small capsule-shaped


cylinders and fill them with dried Lavender flowers for an even more powerful
together; or

aroma.

pillow slip of strong, closely woven cotton,


otherwise your sleep might be interrupted

by

their prickly escape into the bed.

Fragrant herb pillow

Mix

cup dried Rosemary leaves and flowers

(Aloysia triphylla)

HERB PILLOWS
an extension
of the idea of stuffing mattresses with
sweet-smellinggrassesand aromatic herbs.
They are usually small and cushion-like
in appearance and are mainly used today
to add fragrance to bedclothes. Many
people believe that if a herb pillow is
tucked under a pillow proper or used as a
neck rest, the fragrance of the herbs will
encourage a deep and restful sleep; if
trimmed with lace and made up in pretty
prints, herb pillows make delightful bed-

(Rosmarinus

Historically, herb pillows are

room

accessories

You can

and charming gifts.


any fragrant and
or petals, and assemble

Lily-of-the- Valley (Convallaria majalis),

Jasmine (Jasminum)

Ground
Note:

aromatic leaves
them in any combination that

from

Oranges

The Lemon

powdered Orris

Lemons

Make

is

person-

is
added as a
add two teaspoons
germanica), or Sweet

peel

(Iris

a pillow slip in a plain

OTHER SCENTED ARTICLES


The number of ideas for creating other
scented articles is wide ranging. Here are

cotton fabric, decorated to taste.


Choose from dried petals, flower-heads

gifts

Rosemary {Rosmarinus officinalLavender (Lavandula spica), Roses,


Lemon Verbena {Aloysia triphylla), Thyme

and then

a separate cover in an attractive

just

a few suggestions to stimulate en-

thusiasm for making your own

and

or leaves of

Clove oranges

sneezing agent.

is),

These are surprisingly easy

and smell

so

{Thymus
out so well

good that it is a pity not to


remain fairly soft, try

use them. As they

vulgaris),

and

Marjoram {Origanum

Rose-Geranium
[Pelargonium graveolens), enhancing their stent
with spices, ground citrus peel and a drop
vulgare)

home-made

accessories.

wear a mask of some sort over the mouth


and nose as Lavender is a powerful

Lavender dollies
The stalks of Lavender dry

(Citrus

(Citrus sinensis)

Flag (Acorus calamus) root or three drops of


oil of Bergamot (Monarda didyma).

flowers from the stalks.

make

and

fixative. Alternatively,

cotton, stuff with the mixture

advisable to

citrus peel

limon)

use almost

ally pleasing.

is

officinalis)

cup other dried flowers, for example,


Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)

Hang up the stalks in bunches in a dry


place for a week or so; once dry, rub the
It

together:

cup dried Rose petals


cup dried Lavender (Lavandula spica)
cup dried Lemon Verbena leaves

will last well

when hung

prepare and
wardrobes or

to

in

on a Christmas tree for a spiry festive


atmosphere. Use thin-skinned Oranges
(Citrus sinensis) preferably

and make

around the

in

fruit

working

slits

both direc97

DOMESTIC AND COSMETIC USES


- top

to bottom and left to right.


These will hold the ribbon in place for
hanging the finished article.
Dry the Orange for a day or two above a
stove or domestic boiler, then push Cloves

tions

(Syzygium

aromaticum)

into

the

entire

place and hang so that


the

room

its

spicy scent

fills

Tussie-mussies
The name 'tussie-mussie'

ha been

known

touch. If you find

ally,

first

them hard to push in,


with a sharp needle or

bodkin.
Roll the Orange in a powder
of equal parts of Cinnamon

powder
(Cinnamomum zeylanicum) and Orris powder (Iris germanica), then leave wrapped in
the powder for two weeks. Remove the
wrapping after this time, shake off the
surplus powder,

Below

tie

A pomander

First the orange

is

makes a delightful

gift.

cut so that the ribbon can

eventually be tied on.


into the

a ribbon or cord in

The

orange (below)

cloves are stuck

It is

then rolled in

powdered Cinnamon bark and Orris root and


left to dry, wrapped in greaseproof paper, in
a

warm

in

the

is

is

tied on

making an attractive and


fragrant pomander (bottom).
(below right)

Sweet Flag root powder

tablespoon

(Acorus calamus

a sweet-scented nosegay, small

to carry

travellers in

around,

its

bad odours and

carried

infection.

Collect fragrant leaves and flowers,

and

form a tiny Victorian posy-like bunch.


Use a Rose-bud (Rosa sppi or a feather of
Artemisia foliage as the centrepiece, and
arrange the other leaves and flowers
around it. Tie or bind with a ribbon and
back with a paper frill or doily (or an
especially pretty finish.

Give them away as presents, tuck into


cupboards or drawers, or place in a small
vase to decorate a dressing table.

Lavender-scented pomander beads


By making up beads of herbs and (lower
materials and then stringing them to-

tablespoon ground

Gum Benzoin

(Styrax

benzoin

origins being

by judges and
the Middle Ages to ward off

posies

place (such as an airing cupboard or

above a stove). Finally, the ribbon

it

Lavender flowers

(Lavandula spica)

fifteenth

enough

made up

2 level tablespoons dried

multitude of different forms since the

in a

make

holes

or wrist right

through wintertime.

century when it appeared as


'tumose of flowrys or other herys'. Basic-

surface of the skin so that the heads almost

you can wear your memories of

gether,

summer around your neck

or cupboard.

teaspoons Sandalwood powder (Santalum album)

6 drops essence of Lavender (Lavandula


spica)

3 drops essence of Ambergris


teaspoon powdered Gum Tragacanth
Astragalus gummifer
8 teaspoons Orange-flower water
i

Lavender

oil

Grind the dried Lavender flowers to a fine


sift into a bowl with the
Sweet Flag, Gum Benzoin and Sandalwood powders. Mix them all together
thoroughly, then add the essence of
Lavender and Ambergris.
Make a mucilage of Gum Tragacanth
by mixing one teaspoon of the Tragacanth
with eight teaspoonfuls of Orange-flower
water. Then use the mucilage to mix all
the ingredients into a paste. If you find the
powder does not form a paste easily,
add a drop or two more of Orange-

powder and

flower water.

Moisten your hands with a few drops of


Lavender oil and break the paste into
small equally sized pieces. Roll each one
into a round, oval or cylindrical shape.

Pierce with a large needle. Either string

immediately and place in a dark cupboard or drawer for about a week, or dry
the beads first and string later.

Aromatic beads
i

tablespoon finely ground

level

Benzoin
i

level

Gum

(Styrax benzoin)

tablespoon Orris root powder

(Iris

germanica)
i

heaped tablespoon Sweet Flag root


powder (Acorus calamus
heaped tablespoon Mace powder (Myristica fragrans)

heaped tablespoon Nutmeg powder

Myristica fragrans)

heaped tablespoon dried powdered


Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Syzygium aro4 finely ground Cloves
i

maticum)
2

drops

drop

oil

oil

of

Cedarwood

Cedrus spp

of Spike Lavender (Lavandula

spica)

3 drops essence of Ambergris

Gum

Tragacanth
Rose-water

98

(Astragalus gummifer)

NATURAL DYEING
Tin (Stannous chloride)

powdered herbs and spices


and blend thoroughly
oil
of Cedarwood, Spike
the
Add
bowl.
in a
Incorporate all
Ambergris.
and
Lavender
Pass

all

the

through a

these oils into the mixture.

Make

a brightening

agent used to brighten colours.


Iron (Ferrous sulphate) - usually called a
'saddening' agent because of its dulling

fine sieve

and darkening

a thick

mixture of Gum Tragacanth and the Rosewater, add to the other ingredients and
stir thoroughly to form a paste.
Lubricate your hands with a fragrant
oil, pull off a small piece of the paste about
the size of a cherry pip and roll into a ball.
Before it becomes too hard, pierce with a
bodkin or large needle, then thread on a

effect

on colours.

Chrome (Potassium dichromate) - deepand creates a more lasting dye.


sulphate
or blue vitriol - adds a
Copper
blue-green tinge to a colour.
ens colours

Household ammonia- the clear kind-and


white vinegar can also be used as mordants, providing an alkaline or acid

string.

medium respectively, as required.


The chart suggests some plants suitable

have strung
warming.

for dye extractions, plus the effects you


can expect to obtain when various mordants are added. The acid or alkaline
content of the dye-bath will affect the

Lubricate the piercing instrument


and the string with oil to make both jobs
easier. If the paste hardens before you
all

the string, soften

by

it

fastness of the colour

Moth bags
You can protect your

washed
clothing and linen

by making up small bags or sachets to


hang in wardrobes and scatter in drawers.
The perfume will deter insects.
Mix equal quantities of dried Cotton
chamaecyparissus)
(Santolina
Lavender
Tanacetum vulleaves with dried Tansy
gare) or Costmary {Chrysanthemum balsamita) leaves. Put them all in a grinder or
chop and pound together in a mortar.
Make up as required - their effectiveness
will last for about three to six months. To
increase effectiveness, add a small quantity of Pyrethrum powder or, even better,
Pyrethrum flowers {Chrysanthemum cine-

to a

was

The

use of

Tansy as an

insecticide

once essential as part of the day-to-day

running of a home.

It

can be hung up in

general guideline of

textile or yarn.
to

cram

bath,

bunches and will effectively repel flies and

Spread
wool -

other insects.

too

different plants to achieve the colours


here. Saffron, for

shown

example, has been used

to

produce the deep, rich yellow tones. (See the


table overleaf for dyeing at

home.)

to

much

the

(35 fi oz)
oz) of woven

litre

(1

A common

resulting

failing

is

textile into the

patchy

in

material

out

in the liquid

and

to try

dye-

colouring.
especially

so that the fibres are

immersed
in

Sri Lanka. Their robes have been dyed with

Natural dyes are the pigments obtainable


from plant matter. They are soluble in
water and have the capacity of imparting
colour to fibre.
Fibres of animal origin such as wool and
silk are essentially protein-based, while
those from vegetable sources such as
cotton and linen are predominantly cellulose in structure. The former take natural
dyes especially well, as the structure of the
fibres expands when the temperature of
the dye-bath is raised, thus providing an
increased surface area for the dye to
permeate with colour.

is

alkaline fixed dye, for

of liquid dye for each 25g

Above

Below : A procession of Buddhist monks

TEXTILE DYES

the fabric

example, can be washed very successfully


with soap which is alkaline based.
Dyes are extracted from herbs by
boiling or soaking; the plant matter is
then removed and the textiles or fibres to
be dyed immersed in the dye-bath together with the mordanting agent. Work

rariifolium).

An

later.

when

stir

completely
constantly

ensure even dyeing.

Natural dyeing

is

not usually cheaper

and certainly not easier than using


commercial dyes, but the colours are
beautifully subtle and impart a delicious
fragrance to woven or natural yarns.

Mordants are generally employed in


natural dyeing process. These are
chemical substances that combine with
the dye and fix the dyestuff in the fabric or
fibres, and they can also be used to control
the

the colour, either by shade or strength.

The range

of chemicals suitable for

use-

mordants is as follows:
Alum (Aluminium potassium sulphate) this is usually combined with cream of
tartar in the ratio of three parts alum to
one part of tartar.
as

'.<>

DOMESTIC AND COSMETIC USES


Guide to natural dyeing
Colour

Plant

Mordant

Colour

Plant

Grey

Horsetail {Equisetum

alum

Acid yellow

Pseudocyphellaria

sylvaticum)

Black

thouarsii

st

Onion {Allium cepa)

chrome (on bleached

sk

wool)

lemon yellow Coreopsis

wp

chrome and
alum or

fl

rt

Onion {Allium cepa)

chrome

sk

Pale lemon

Rhododendron spp

Greenish yellow

Dyer's

tin

iron
Iv

chrome

fl

{Daucus carota)

Carrot

Madder {Rubia
tinctorum)

iron

alum and

Iv

Greenweed

{Genista tinctoria)

Coreopsis

tin

iron

[Fili-

pendula ulmaria)

ammonia

wp

Evernia spp
Bright

Meadowsweet

Dark brown

Mordant

rt

Iv

chrome

chrome

Murky yellow

If

Evernia spp

wp

copper sulphate and

ammonia
Chocolate brown

New

alum and washing


soda

Zealand Flax

{Phormium tanax)

rt

Mid brown

Rhododendron spp

Warm brown

Madder {Rubia

chrome and

Iv

Rhododendron spp

Dark green

alum and iron and


copper sulphate

Iv

iron

Pseudocyphellaria
tinctorum)

rt

If.

alum

rt/lf

Light golden

New

{Phormium tanax)

brown

New

Zealand Flax

Carrot

Pale green

Rhododendron spp

Blue-green

Evernia spp

tin

and cream of

iron

Apricot shades

fl

bd

Pseudocyphellaria
thouarsii

New

tartar

murky blue

and copper

Elder

{Sambucus

tin
fl

and vinegar

and cream of

{Sambucus

Lavenders and

Elder

purple

nigra)

Rich rose purple

Umbilicana spp

chrome and cream

vulgare)

tartar

Golden yellow

Onion {Allium cepa) sk

and

fl

tin

Chestnut red

alum

Onion {Allium cepa) sk

alum and

Tansy {Tanacetum

alum

H. perforatum)

ft

Dyer's Greenweed
{Genista tinctoria)

alum and
If

tin

rt/lf

Wort
{Hypericum maculatum

alum and cream of


tartar

H. perforatum)

(dried)

Magenta

Dandelion {Taraxacum

soda

alum and

Onion {Allium cepa) sk

tin

Rose

Umbilicaria spp

Pink

New

wp

tin

alum and iodized

Zealand Flax

{Phormium tanax)

alum

Marshmarigold

alum

rt

ammonia and washing

wp

salt

Iv

Dandelion {Taraxacum

none

fl

officinale)

Greenwood

{Genista tinctoria)

Umbilicaria spp

wp

ammonia

alum
Pink-fawn

Iv

Carrot {Daucus carota)


Iv

Iv

alum
alum

none

Madder {Rubia
tinctorum)

Birch {Betula spp)

rt

none

fl

Rose pink

IOO

tin
iv

Pse udoc yphellaria

Creamy yellow

rt

St John's

officinale)

Dyer's

-fbd

Madder {Rubia

ft

Coreopsis

fl

tin

none
Bedstraws {Galium
verum and G. mollugo) n

and

(Caltha palustris)

and vinegar

iron

Brownish red

Clear yellow

tin

rt

St John's

tinctorum)

Bright yellow

alum and ammonia

Wort
{Hypericum maculatum

Red

Rusty red

alum and

Coreopsis

thouarsii

wp

Iv

Gold

vulgare)

salt

of

chrome

Greenweed

alum and

rfr

Dandelion {Taraxacum

Purple

Tansy {Tanacetum

{Genista tinctona)

none

tartar

bd

ft

nigra)

sulphate

tin

Zealand Flax

Dyer's

copper sulphate

rfr

officinale)

Orange yellow

copper sulphate
iron

Iv

wp

wp

{Phormium tanax)
Orange

Iv

rt

Zealand Flax

{Phormium tanax)
Copper

{Daucus carota)

Bright green

Soft
of

and copper

sulphate

chrome

brown
Shades

tin

wp

rt/lf

Madder {Rubia
tinctorum)

thouarsii

New

rt

If

rt/lf

alum

Zealand Flax

{Phormium tanax)

fl

or

aluminium
soda

+ bd and washing

WRITING MATERIALS
PAPER AND INK
New

transformed the

techniques have

making of paper from an ancient craft to


a modern industry, but the basic proremain the same.

cesses

The Chinese

are attributed with the

invention of paper in about a.d.

105,

though papyrus and parchment had been


comparable forerunners. The Chinese
used bark fibre and Flax (Linum usitatissimum), steeping the raw materials in water
and beating them to a paste with stones
and hammers to produce a sheet that was

Some 700 years


Japanese perfected the process
of making hand-made paper from the
wood of the Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia
then dried in the sun.
later, the

papyrifera)

in

known

the fibre being

as kozo

Japan.

Many plants have fibres substantial


enough to provide the basic ingredient for
making paper in the home, such as Nettle
(Urtica dioica), Flax (Linum usitatissimum)

and Pineapple Ananas


i

sativus).

Pineapple

used extensively in the production of textiles, but the waste from this
material is excellent for making paper.
Woods such as Magnolia {Magnolia

fibres are

sppj

and Poplar are

also used, particularly

and

Populus tremula, P. alba

P. italica.

The

Cotton plant (Gossypium hirsutum) offers


another suitable fibre.
Plants of the grass family (Gramineae)
which possess long, straight, conductive
are excellent too. Suitable species

cells

from

range

bamboos

tall-growing

cultivated cereals

to

Common Oat

the

(Avena saliva), Barley (Hordeum sativum

Common Wheat

Maize

(Secale cereale),

(or

Indian corn

i^ea mays), Esparto (Stipa tenacissima)


the

Danube Weed

can

all

when

was invented, pulped


Left:

selection
it,

and

{Phragmites communis)

be used with good

Prior to 1800,

results.

chlorine bleaching
fibre

was treated

dyer's chart to facilitate the

of the right herb, or specific part of


mordant which will

together with the

combine

from a

to

produce the

Rye

(Triticum vulgare),

specific colour required

plant.

Above:

Key
skin

Iv

leaves

ft

flowers

ft

flower tops

section from the ancient

but

with a range of animal and vegetable


glues during the process of sizing to prevent wetting and the penetration of the
paper by inks and paints. The Chinese
first painted on paper with a short stick of
hardened Pine wood (Pinus spp) using a
mixture of soot and glue, which was
rubbed on an inkstone with a drop or two
of water to produce the required con-

The Romans used reed pens, the


Egyptians made use of rushes for writing,
while styli of all kinds have been fashioned
from wood through the centuries. Today,
the best quality artist's charcoal is made
from the Willow (Salix sppj.
A writing ink has been made in Europe
since the Middle Ages from the Bullet Gall

Oak

These are not the commonly


known Oak Apples, but galls, formed by
insects, which mature in August and
remain on the tree throughout the winter
long after the insects have left the tree.
They are to be found on the Pedunculate
Oak (Quercus robur and Q. pedunculata), and
nut.

the Sessile

St

stalks

Oak

(Quercus petraea syn.

G\

ft (dried)

dried flower tops

both commonly to be found in


the scrubland, copses and hedgerows of
Europe. On the whole, northern European-grown galls do not contain enough

fl+bd

flower and buds

tannic acid to

ripe fruit

try.

450g

(1 lb)

bruised galls

gall) boiling water


I55g (5^ oz) ferrous sulphate
85g (3 oz) Gum Arabic (Acacia Senegal)
previously dissolved in a few drops of
antiseptic such as a five per cent
carbolic acid solution, or Tincture of
Myrrh (Commiphora molmol).
(1

Macerate the

The

ingredients.

bottling

by steeping for 24
and add to all the other

galls

hours, then strain

and

ink

is

then ready for

use.

sistency.

root or leaf

whole plant

worth

certainly

Black ink

4.5 litres

word paper comes from papyrus.

rtllf

rfr

are

suggested in later recipes.

of the .Vile. The writing material was made


from the pith of this strong, reed-like plant,
and ink was applied to it with reed pens. The

root

wp

they

Alternatively try some of the scented inks

wrote

an aquatic herb which grows along the banks

rt+lf

and leaf

Egyptian

on the material they obtained from Papyrus,

or

sk

Book of the Dead. The Egyptians

sessiliflora),

make

really successful ink,

Lemon Verbena

scented ink

You can use this basic recipe with other


herbs and flowers such as Rosemary
(Rosmarinus officinalis) and Lavender leaves
(Lavandula spica).

\ cup tightly packed and crushed

Verbena

Lemon

leaves (Aloysia triphylla)

55 ml (2 fl oz) bottle of ink


\ cup cold water
Place the Lemon Verbena leaves in a
small saucepan with the cold water. Bring

and then simmer for


10-30 minutes with the pan covered. Do
not let the water evaporate completely;
when it becomes opaque and brownish in
colour, remove the pan from the heat.
to the boil rapidly,

Strain the liquid, allow

add

to

bottle

of ink.

it

to cool,

The

then

resultant

aromatic ink

will vary in potency according to the freshness of the dried leaves.

101

DOMESTIC AND COSMETIC USES


Smoking

ingredients,

The American

Indians used to call their

smoking pipes 'tabaco'. These pipes were


Y-shaped and hollow, the two points
being inserted into the nostrils to inhale

smoke from burning Tobacco. So closely


identified with Tobacco has smoking
become that the word now describes any
variety of plant matter which is smoked
for pleasure.

Herbs

such as Coltsfoot
Tussilago
farfara) are rendered into a smoking mix(

commer-

ture by a process similar to the

production of Tobacco. This involves


drying or 'curing' the leaves, and then
mixing or blending them with other
materials. Smoking tobacco mixtures include Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), salt,
saltpetre and sugar. Herbal mixtures can
be blended with other leaves and seeds.
Coltsfoot tobacco is rubbed in the hands
much as a pipe smoker prepares his
cial

guarded

many

secrets.

of which are closely

After fermentation has

taken place, the mixture is dried and


ground, and then sometimes fermented a
second time to enrich the flavour even
further.

Whether of

the dry or moist variety,

damp, though not


damp. Throughout the nineteenth

snuff needs to be kept


too

century flavours were refined to newer


heights of sophistication, and today an
enormous range of blends exists, and the
habit is again becoming popular. Many
incorporate such plants as Mints [Mentha

Jasmine (Jasminum sppj, Rose {Rosa


Bergamot (Monarda didyma), Violet

spp),

spp),

odorata), Geranium
Pelargonium
and Carnation (Dianthus caryophylMost powders ground from Tobacco

(Viola

spp)
lus).

are so fine that a moistening agent

is

required to prevent the powder blowing

away.

tobacco.

Above

nicotine

shown

Tobacco leaves drying

and

tar-rich tobacco has

now

been

be harmful, the traditional praclit

to

Contemporary thinking blames the


smoking of Tobacco for chest complaints
and cancers, but it should not be for-

As

in (he sun.

gotten that

of mixing and blending plant smoking


mixtures has once again become popular.
large

number of

the herbal

smoking mixtures

many 'poisonous' plants are


when used correctly. The

galus gummifer), Ghatti

smoking of leaves to relieve pulmonary


congestion and coughs has been recom-

latifolia)

mended

Coltsfoot.

2000 years ago, when he smoked through

since

the days of Dioscorides,

a reed.

Scented notepaper
is

'British

made by

easily

sheets of paper

in a

storing several

box with

a liberal

sprinkling of either dried pot-pourri or

one of several powdered aromatic substances.

Use Orris root

(Iris

germanica),

Sweet Flag root (Acorus calamus), and


Violet root (Viola odorata); or even powdered Allspice (Pimenta dioica), Aniseed
(Pimpinella

momum

anisum),

zeylanicum),

teryx odorata),

folia) or

Cinnamon (CinnaTonka beans (Dip-

Vanilla pods (Vanilla plani-

Sandalwood (Santalum

album).

achieved by spraying; an
aromatic water (Rose-water or RoseGeranium water, for example) by means
of a fine hand spray, and then hanging
the sheets to dry in the sun before storing.

crinkled effect

is

LEISURE AND PLEASURE


The knowledge
tabacum)

and

its

of Tobacco
uses

(Nicotiana

derives from the

Americas where, in 1492, a party of


Columbus's men reconnoitring Cuba reported seeing men carrying lighted firebrands and perfumed herbs. Tobacco
chewing was also observed on the coast of

South America in 1502. On Columbus's


second visit from 1494 to 1496, he noted
was
that snuff a derivative of Tobacco
in popular use.
102

Fairly simple glues can be

foot

is

Herb Tobacco', of which

a principal

cludes Buckbean

Evebright

Thyme

ender (Lavandula
flowers

Menyanthes

[Euphrasia

(Thymus
spica),

(Matricaria

also

in-

trifoliata),

officinalis),

Rosemary

Stachys officinalis'.
officinalis),

ingredient,

Colts-

Betony

Rosmarinus

(Anogeissus

colostomy bags to the body.


The quantity of powdered gum to water
varies according to your requirements
and the gum used. Usually half a teaspoon of gum to half a cup of water is
sufficient.

Several plants contain natural mucil-

and Chamomile

ages which can be used as simple gums.

recutita).

In

pleasing herbal smoking mixture

France,
is

made up

of the leaves and roots of Arnica (Arnica


folium)

Gum

and Carob Gum (Ceratonia siliqua). Karaya or Katira Gum (Cochlospermum gossypium) is especially effective and is
still
used in some countries to attach

Lav-

vulgaris).

tabacs des Vosges or tabacs des Savoyards

Yarrow [Achillea milleand Mallow (Malva sylvestris) can

montana).

made from

powdered gums such as Gum Arabic


(Acacia Senegal), Gum Tragacanth (Astra-

quite harmless

commercially available today are based on

This

GUMS AND GLUES

Both

be used for herbal tobaccos too.

The

berries of Mistletoe (Viscum album)

and the bulbs of


nonscriptus) are

the Bluebell (Endymion

examples.

In the Middle Ages small birds were


caught on sticks coated with birdlime, a
practice which is still carried on in such

countries as Portugal

and

Italy.

Today the

glues are obtained from the petro-chemi-

Snuff
Parliament acted to
'Prevent the Mischiefs by manufacturing
In

7 15, the British

leaves and other things to Resemble


Tobacco, and the Abuses in Making and
Mixing of Snuff. The bill notes that 'It is
found by experience that of late Several
Evil Persons have Cut, Cured, Manufactured and Sold Wallnut-Tree-Leaves,
Hop leaves, Sycamore Leaves and other

Herbs, Plants and Materials


resembling Tobacco.'
Snuff is made by a complicated and
intricate process of fermenting Tobacco
with salt, Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra),
Tonka bean [Dipteryx odorata) and other
Leaves,

400 years ago one of the


most effective birdlimes came from the
Holly tree (Ilex aquifolium).
The Holly's young bark was stripped
from the tree, soaked and boiled, and the
inner layer allowed to ferment - sometimes this was done by burying the material in a closed container. This fermentation
produced a mucilaginous mass, which was
then ground, washed and refermented,
finally being mixed with a fatty substance
to produce an extremely effective sticky
cal industry, but

paste.

Birdlime from Holly is a useful glue in


greenhouses or animals' quarters, and can
be incorporated in fly papers.

GARDENING
the

GARDEN AND VETERINARY

number of herbs can be used in


garden to deal with pests and have the

Below:

advantage of not producing the


chemical insecticides. The
moles, Clover

Quassia

is

is

side-effects

Mole Plant

in particular

- have

a number of parts to play in the natural


cycle. Some decompose to form valuable

of

repels

fertilizers; others control pests or act as

a good fertilizer , and

an excellent pest deterrent.

makes much

Plants - and herbs

and there are some plants


other plant and insect
without there being any known

insecticides;

It

seem

that

better sense, ecologically, to

to affect

use herbs such as these judiciously in the

life

garden.

scientific basis to their success.

COMPOST ACCELERATOR
Home-made compost is a valuable asset

can be made into an accelerating material


that rapidly breaks

Mix equal
officinalis),

quick guide to successful gardening

Fertilizers

green manure
sativa)

Clover
{Tri folium pra tense)

green manure

Wrack

mulch manure

Pyrethrum

{Chrysanthemum

aphids. leaf-hoppers,

cinerariifolium)

spider mites, etc


controls:

{Denis elliptica and


D. malaccensis)

aphids, leaf-eating
caterpillars,

mosquito

larvae

Quassia
{Picraena exelsa)

controls:

mealybugs,

leaf-

hoppers, thrips. slugs

plants, leaves or

bark

box or bin

is

ANIMAL CARE
Animals benefit from medicinal herbs in
the same way that humans do, and there
are many substances which are effective
but considered too powerful for human
use. Examples include some of the stronger plant purgatives and vermifuges used to
expel worms.
plants
history

(POISONOUS)

aphids, leaf-hoppers.

{Nicotian a tabacum)

thrips. spider mites.

White Bryony {Bryonia


has been used
supplement horse and

sativus) skins,
floor

3-4

left

on

nights

Angelica {Angelica
archangelica) -

lathyrus)

planted
crops

among

salad

Parsley {Petroselinum
cri spurn)

ex-

for

traditionally

to

fodder to
dried root of the

cattle

The

traps:

can also be used as a purgative.


lice in animal coats can be
treated very easily and successfully with a
decoction of Walnut (Juglans regia) leaves
or Stavesacre {Delphinium staphisagria)
seed, soaked overnight. Pyrethrum {Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium), Derris {Derris

earwigs

disperses:

rodents

hides. It

Fleas

elliptica)

and

or

Wormwood

{Artemisia absin-

each mixed with water are also


very effective. Soak the coat thoroughly
with the liquid, then brush and comb well
once dry. If used in large quantities, use as
a dip rather than a lotion.
Horseheal or Scabwort {Inula helenium)
has been used in veterinary medicine in
the effective treatment of sheep scabs.
thium)

repels:

moles

Onions {Allium cepa)

dioica),

ample,

same plant can be used directly to polish


the coat, while tanners use it to thicken

and
over the garden

Mole Plant {Euphorbia

employed

supplements.

condition their coats.

root into pieces

scatter

been

food

as

repels:

hollow stem among


herbaceous plants

chop

have

cockroaches, woodlice in
sheds and greenhouses

scatter pieces of the

White Hellebore
{Veratrum album) -

form thin

essential.

Many

Cucumber {Cucumis

to

layers, and then alternate with any green


garden rubbish and soil, dampening the
pile with water as it is made. Compost
manufacture is greatly assisted by a warm

through

whitefly

Plant associations

whole

controls:

Nicotine

from folklore

officinale),

Yarrow {Achillea milleand Oak bark (Quercus spp). Use

folium)

post

controls:

Derris

Traps and controls

DandeChamomile

Nettle [Urtica dioica),

temperature, and a well-ventilated com-

(Fucus vesiculosus)
Insecticides

waste.

{Matricaria recutita),

Lucerne

{Medicago

down

parts of Valerian [Valeriana

{Taraxacum

lion

to

the gardener, making use of green waste


and enriching the soil. Some herbs decompose more quickly than others and

discourages:
rabbits

repels:

Rose beetle
repels:

HERBS FOR BEAUTY

Chives {Allium

blackspot, mildew,

The

schoenoprasum)
- near Roses

aphids

reflects

Garlic {Allium sativum)

repels:

an individual. Healthy
skin and hair cannot be obtained by

or Chives {Allium

aphids

Garlic {Allium sativum) or

lettuce or peas

Hyssop {Hyssopus
officinalis) - near beans

the inner physical

and psycho-

logical health of

schoenoprasum)

- near

health and appearance of the skin

repels:

blackfly

cosmetic use alone and attention should


be paid to well-balanced diet and adequate exercise, rest and general health.
Herbal or natural cosmetics are, however,

of material

especially

if

benefit

to

the

body

used on a regular basis.


103

DOMESTIC AND COSMETIC USES

HERBAL BATHS
The

scenting of water is a long practised


custom, and it renders the water refreshing for bathing. The Romans threw

Lavender {Lavandula spp) into

their baths,

not only to scent the water, but to act as a

name

disinfectant. In fact, the

Lavandula

from the Latin lavare, meaning to wash.


Herbal baths are taken today for one or

is

more of

They

several reasons.

stimulate

the action of the pores, relax the muscles

and soothe the

joints,

and perfume the

water.

Bath bags
The best results

are to be obtained by

using a herb sachet.

square or circle of
should be

or muslin

either cheesecloth

with herbs and tied securely. Fix the


bag under running hot water, agitating
and wringing it out to release the oils and
filled

perfume, then allow

it

to steep in the

bath

water.

Oatmeal can be mixed together with


the herbs to help soften the water and
impart smoothness to the skin. Use in the
proportion of twice the amount of finely
ground oatmeal to the amount of herbs.
The herbs can be chosen from what is
available or they may be mixed according
to

stimulating effect,

Some

herbs have a
while various others

personal preference.

Tonic baths

Above

Herbs

astringent for oily skin

when

only yield their essential oils


subjected to heat, so those rich in
will

fragrant

used

sauna:

Elder flowers

flowers

(Matricaria

Sambuciu nigra

recu-

Lime

Tilia x europaea or T. x vulgaris

Sage leaves (Salvia officinalis


Thyme
{Thymus vulgaris
and Verbena leavelerbena officinalis, or Eucalyptus Euca-

are relaxing.

Herbs

for the bath

Stimulating

(Ocimum

basilicum)
Bay (Laurus n obilis)
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Lavender (Lavandula spica)
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla)
Basil

Lovage (Ligusticum officinale) also


considered to act as a deodorant

Meadowsweet

(Filipendula ulmaria)

Mint (Mentha sppj


Pine (Pinus sppj
Rosemary (Rosmarinus

Sage (Salvia

officinalis)

Thyme (Thymus

cataria)

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)


Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)
Lime flowers
T.

(Tilia x

europaea or

x vulgaris)

Vervain (Verbena officinalis)

Healing

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)


Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris)
Mangold (Calendula officinalis)
Mint (Mentha spp,)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

104

to look really

Collect

is

required

when

dingy and tired


will
prove

new young

shoots

after

the skin tends

Blackberry
invaluable.

leaves

(Rubus)

and

is

an ingredient

'

cleansers.

Bath oils
Very few oils

will disperse completely in


you do not want to emerge
glistening from top to toe, use a specialist
oil. Castor oil (sometimes sold as Turkey
Red oil from the Castor Oil plant

water, so

if

Ricinus communis

disperses

and does not

and

and

leaves,

Sandalwood (Santalum

Allow to infuse for three to five


minutes, and then strain and add the

bath.

i5F).

warm

bath

Similar tonics are easy to

make

using

album).

teaspoonful of the

cum

officinale)

every 3-4

(1 lb)

litres

for

It

is,

quantities of various essential oils until

water Allow

you find ones which suit you. The different


fragrances are supposed to affect the
emotions differently, a theory which is
practised by aromatherapists who use

(6-8

pts) of

30 minutes, then strain and add to a


bath.

essential oils in the treatment of a

Left: This chart details the properties of


various herbs which can be infused

added

to the

bath.

the skin's pores, relax muscles

number

of physical and emotional conditions.

and

the action

Bath salts
You can add

and

turn the routine bath into a luxurious ex-

Herbal baths are taken

for many reasons : they stimulate

of

there-

advisable to experiment with small

of dried plant matter to

the flowers or herbs to steep in the liquid

warm

the

Aromatic oils can be used, of course.


Just a drop or two will prove sufficient
since pure plant oils are powerful and
fore,

Allow 450g

Pour into

oil is sufficient for

some may cause headaches.

it

screw on the lid, shake to mix


thoroughly and then store until required.
Shake each time before using - one

Nettle (Urtica dioica), Dandelion (Taraxa-

or Daisies (Bellis perennis

Mix

with your favourite aromatic oil in the


proportion of half a cup of Castor oil to ten
drops of aromatic oil such as Rosemary
Rosmarinus officinalis!, Pine (Pinus spp) or
a jar,

liquid to the

particularly efficient as an

of many natural' facial

dry and crush them with a rolling pin. To


each 560 ml (20 fl oz) of water, add yog
(6 oz) of plant matter, and then heat the
two together to a temperature of 45C

vulgaris)

Relaxing

Catnep (Nepeta

winter, for example,

(1

officinalis)

a real tonic that

is

is

leave a dirty ring around the bath.

lyptus globulus).

If it

Yarrow

when

[Ocimum

Basil

try

Chamomile

basilicum).
tita

are especially effective

oils

in

soothe

a handful of bath salts to

The soda

base

of the

joints, and, additionally, impart a pleasant

perience.

perfume.

neutralizes the acids secreted by the skin

salts

SOAP
perfume clings to the body
and it softens even the hardest
of waters at the same time.
so that the

Right : Summer Savory

afterwards,

value in the home. Apart from

Mix

the following ingredients together

i40g

(5 oz)

&5g

(3

Bicarbonate of Soda

salads, sauces

broad beans,

Applied

powdered Orris root

to

is

of great practical
its

use in

and as a complement

it

to

also has medicinal properties.

a bee sting, the crushed fresh leaf

germanica)

of Summer Savory relieves pain, and it can


also be added to aromatic bath mixtures.

few drops of essential oils such as oil of


oil
of Rosemary or oil of

recipe can be followed very easily:

oz)

[Iris

Xeroli,

Lavender
Once mixed together, pound in a pestle
and mortar, and then store in an airtight
tin. They will keep for about three months
so long as the container

is

firmly sealed.

After-bath cologne
Use this fragrant cologne
rub

as

a friction

after a bath.

\ cup

- Roses (Rosa

fresh flower petals

'Take a pound of fine white Castile Sope,


shave it thin in a pinte of Rose-water,
and let it stand for two to three days, then
pour all the water from it, and put to it
halfe a pinte of fresh water, and so let it
stand for one whole day, then pour out
that, and put half a pint more, and let it
stand a night more, then put to it halfe an
ounce of powder called Sweet Marjoram,
a quarter of an ounce of powder of Winter
Savory (Satureia montana
two or three
drops of Oil of Spike, and the Oyl of
,

sppi, Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus),

Jasmine

(Jasminum

any

or

officinale

other strongly scented species.


\ cup deodorized alcohol*
1 j cups very hot water
3 tablespoons ground citrus peel
tablespoon dried Basil Ocimum basilicum) or Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphyl1

la)
1

(crushed)

tablespoon Mint

{Thymus
*Note: In
excise

Mentha spp or

(crushed

vulgaris)

many

Thyme

make

difficult

to

obtain certain alcohols normally used in


cosmetics. As a substitute use food-grade
isopropyl alcohol which can be obtained
from most chemists.

Soak the flowers in the alcohol lor one


week in a tightly closed jar. On the sixth
day, make an infusion of the citrus peel
and herbs in the hot water, then allow to
stand for 24 hours.
Strain through cheesecloth or muslin;
then drain the petals. Combine the two

ajar or

resulting liquids in

screw top and shake well.

bottle with a

Use a

little

whenever required.

Soap balls
Perfumed or medicated balls of soap were
popular in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries before soapmaking was industrialized. The most
sophisticated kinds were made in Italy
and incorporated exotic perfumes and a
wide range of aromatic powders. Soap
balls were made in most homes, either in
the still-room or pantry, and the traditional recipes can be adapted to modern day
extremely

requirements very

easily.

Use Castile or simple (unperfum* :d


soap as a base. After grating it, add a
variety

of perfumed

powdered

roots.

The

Ambergris and the same of

The almond cake could


macaroon or

it

petals,

and

as

much

Ambergris, work all together in a fair


Mortar, with the Powder of an Almond
cake dryed, and beaten as small as fine
flowre, so roll it round in your hands in
Rose-water.' (Ambergris and Musk can
be substituted by three drops of essence of
oil

leaves

or

following traditional

i5g \\ oz) Plantain [Plantago lanceolata)


leaves

i5g
r

oz) Cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus)

(-j

5g

(2

420ml (15

(Melilotus

flowers

oz) boiling water

fl

Make an

ratafia biscuit.)

Melilot

oz )

officinalis)

of Musk.

be replaced by a

and

countries customs

regulations

Cloves, three grains of Musk,

infusion of the

herbs in the

boiling water. Allow to stand for an hour,

Modern washballs
1

then strain and use

large bar simple soap or Castile soap

cup of Rose-water (Rosa spp)


drops
oil of Lavender (Lavandula
3
i

when

tepid.

few

drops in the eyes will relieve tiredness,


while it can also be used as an eye bath to
soothe soreness and inflamed eyelids.

spica)

Crate the bar of soap into a suitable container, then pour the Rose-water over it.
Allow the soap to stand in the liquid for 15
minutes, and then transfer to an electric
blender or pestle and mortar, adding the
oil of Lavender, one drop at a time.
Once smoothly blended, pour the mix-

Cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus)

(j oz)

5g

or Eyebright (Euphrasia rostkoviana)

420ml

(15

oz) water or rain-water

fl

Infuse the flowers in the water by boiling.

Strain and allow to cool.


liquid

The

add sparkle and

will

resulting

vitality

to

tired, sore eyes.

ture into a basin, then allow to stand for a

Form

by breaking off pieces and rolling them in your


hands. Allow the soap to dry and harden.
To obtain a smooth and attractive finish,
moisten your hands with Rose-water and
roll the balls into shape in the palms of
your hands.

day or

so.

into small balls

BODY POWDERS
The best known of all the body powders
Talcum powder. The word 'talcum'
from the Persian

talk,

and

strictly

powdered Hydrated Magnesium Silicate.


soft greasy powder was first introduced to European toiletry in the sixteenth century.

The term 'talcum powder'

is

A quick and

includes mixtures containing

requires

(ea

(ucumis sativus) over each eye and resting

now

used

mays),

rather

loosely,

precipitated

and often
Corn starch

chalk

(light

Calcium Carbonate) and various other

in a

darkened room for five to ten minutes.


For those with more time, try either of the

substances.

following recipes, noting that they have id


be used fresh and stored no longer than 12
hours. Decomposition takes place aftei

toilet, face,

powdered

period of time and can cause even


greater irritation to the eyes.

best.

this

is

means

This

EYE BATHS
simple remedy for eye strain
placing a slice of Cucumbei

is

It

is

relatively easy to

make

scented, cosmetic

a range of

and talcum

powders, either using a chemical base, a


herbal material or a combination of the two
the latter is often

[05

DOMESTIC AND COSMETIC USES


Frangipani (Plumeria

rubra)

Lavender (Lavandula spica)


Ylang-Ylang [Cananga odorata)

Lime

x europaea or T. x

Tilia

Lemon

vulgaris)

grass (Andropogon spp)

Neroli (Citrus aurantium)

Rose-Geranium

(Pelargonium graveolens)

Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum)

Bay (Laurus

nobilis)

Add

the essential oil to the base drop by


drop and mix thoroughly, using a pestle
and mortar for the best results.
Supplement with powdered aromatic
seeds or herbs to a proportion of two parts
base to one part additional ingredients.
Experiment with different aromas for the
one that suits individual taste.

Foot powder
Foot care

both

important,

is

for

their

health and to relieve general soreness.

This powder

and

the toes
j

will

reduce friction between

so eases walking.

cup Talc

j cup Corn starch (%ea mays)


\ teaspoon Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
extract

Traditionally,

known

powder

cosmetic

as poudre de chipre

was made by

Above

The

oil

be added to a dry pot-pourri

macerating Oakmoss in running water


for two to three days. It was then dried
and reduced to a powder. Oakmoss is
now rarely available, and the most

fragrance or

common

Frangipani

plant

Orris root

(Iris

powder

bases are either

germanica) or

Corn starch

mays).

(Zjea

Chemical base:
30% French chalk;

40%

Orris root;

30% Corn

Rice flour.
(These percentages refer
All the ingredients

an old mixture ;

starch;

10%

(2

to weight.)

must be reduced

to as

powder as possible. Combine these


chemical and herbal bases in any proportion you wish, or use them separately.
fine a

Experimentation will reveal the best type


powder for your skin type.

of

powdered Tonka

oz)

(Dipteryx

beans

Poudre a

la

Mousseline

Lavender

450g

described)

i70g

(6

(1

lb)

50g

50g

powdered Mace

oz)

(2

25g

powdered Cloves (Syzygium

(1

ozj

25g

(1

oz)

powdered Cassia {Cinnamomum


powdered Sandalwood

talum album)
Mil)

powdered Lavender flowers

(2

Gum

powdered

oz)

Benzoin

(1

fl

oz)

Lavender

oil

(San-

teaspoon Myrrh (Commi-

Place the mixture on an

open tray and heat


at

oven

in the

medium

for

about

temperature.

Remove and allow to cool for ten minutes


then grind very finely in a pestle and
mortar or electric grinder. Press the mixand store the
powder; throw away any lumps

in the sieve.

This

is

gently abrasive at

first

(until the

components dissolve in the mouth) as well


as being an effective antibacterial. Use it
with a soft action on the teeth with an
ordinary toothbrush.

CLEANSING THE SKIN

essential oils:

Bergamot (Monarda didyma)

the skin.

450g

(1

lb)

base (chemical or herbal, as

described)

cassia)

and

sea salt

phora molmol).

4 teaspoons Sage leaf


teaspoons rock salt or

Everyone knows the importance of keeping the pores of the skin unclogged and
clean. This often requires more than a
quick wash with soap and water, and
steaming the face is the quickest and
cheapest way to improve the cleanliness of

aromaticum)

25g

lb)

Simple scented powder

oz)

(1

(1

{Myristica

fragrans)

made by mixing

(Salvia officinalis), 3

(Styrax benzoin)

25ml

(Coriandrum sativum)

simple and very effective tooth powder

is

left

base (chemical or herbal, as

(Lavandula spica)

powdered Coriander seed

oz)

Tooth powder

resulting

base (chemical or herbal as

lb)

(1

all the ingredients together thoroughthen keep in a jar with a tight-fitting


lid. Use after drying the feet thoroughly.

ture through a fine sieve

graveolens)

described)

450g

Mix

30 minutes

4 drops Neroli oil (Citrus aurantium)


4 drops Bergamot oil (Monarda didyma)
4 drops Rose-Geranium oil (Pelargonium

450g

food-

aroma

iog (4 oz) powdered Sandalwood (Santalum album)

odorata)

(or

ly,

1.2kg (2$ lb) base (chemical or herbal, as


described)

50g

teaspoon rubbing alcohol


grade isopropyl alcohol)

it is

iiog (4 oz) powdered Vanilla (Vanilla


planifolia) beans

precipitated chalk.

enhance the

sun-tan lotions.

starch;

Herbal base

60%

to revive

to

often used in body powders, perfumes and

30% Corn

of this plant, Bergamot, can

drops

of any

one of the following

Patchouli (Pogostemon patchouli)

Provided your skin

is

fairly

normal

CLEANSERS

Chamomile flowers {Matricaria recutita) or


Lime flowers Tilia x europaea or T. x

try gently pushing out the blackheads


with a tissue and clean fingertips. Steaming should unblock the pores - a blackhead is only a blockage of grease (sebum)
secreted by glands under the surface of the
skin, with a layer of dirt trapped on top.
Excessive pressure may cause local skin
damage, and the formation of spots or

vulgaris) for the best results.

pimples. If this happens, add 50g (2 oz)

Place a towel over your head, lower


your face until it is just above the bowl

Burdock root {Arctium

not too dry or sensitive, with no thread


veins visible - begin by making an infusion
of herbs in a large bowl. Use three tablespoonfuls to two

litres

(3^ pts) of boiling

water. Choose between Sage {Salvia offici{Mentha x piperita),


Peppermint
nalis,

and allow the vapour


skin.

The

to rise to

meet your

towel forms a tent that traps the

vapour, and you should allow the treatment to continue as long as you can bear
the heat; ten minutes is about the right
length of time.
After steaming, the skin will be pink

and glowing. Splash with tepid and then


cold water to close the pores, or use an
astringent lotion dabbed on with cotton
wool or tissues. Stay indoors for an hour or
so after steaming, and do not repeat the

560ml
(20 fl oz) cold water. Bring to the boil and
simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool,
strain and apply to the infected spot.
lappa)

to

MASKS FOR OILY SKIN


Most people have

some

at least

oily areas

of skin on their face, and blackheads and


whiteheads tend to congregate where
there

is

an excess of grease. Steaming

one method
masks and packs,

is

of attack, but there are others

designed to clear

for

this

example, that are


grease away.

Oatmeal {Avena sativa), Almond meal


dulcis) and Corn starch {^jea mays)
are all substances that when mixed with

Above:

Herbal butter-milk cleanser

Lemon

as a cosmetic,

No

water or tepid milk or butter-milk, and


then rubbed over the face, will act as
cleansing agents. Beaten egg white and/or
yoghurt can be used to control grease,

treatment

Primus

for at least three days.

beauty routine should be without a


lotion to cleanse the skin at the end of the
day. This recipe

most

its

action, but

effective.

140ml

(5

Elder

Lime

nigra) or

or T. x vulgaris

Sambucm

flowers

flowers

applied

either

oz) butter-milk

fl

tablespoons

gentle in

is

Tilia

x europaea

{Citrus limon) juice, cider vinegar,

directly

to

the

combined with any one of

face

the

or

agents

described above, together with herbs such


as

Yarrow

{Achillea millefolium),

Chamo-

A woman from Mozambique

wearing a herbal face paint. Though valued

flowers

it

also protects her skin.

{Sambucus

nigra),

Sage

{Salvia

Lady's Mantle {Alchemilla


officinalis)
vulgaris). Yarrow tea - made by infusing
two tablespoons of dried Yarrow in a
glass and a half of boiling water -- is
or

especially

recommended

for clearing ex-

cessively oily skins.

mile flowers

Heat the butter-milk, add the flowers and


boil gently lor approximately hall an
hour. Leave to infuse lor two hours.
Strain before using;: apply to the hue with
cotton wool and remove all traces of dirt,
grease and make-up with gentle movements.

{Matricaria

recutita),

The

Elder

action of a face pack rids the skin of

impurities by drawing

Below

own

to

An

oatmeal face pack

draw

out impurities

is

from

used on

the skin, or

as a binding agent in combination with


other cosmetic herbs.

its

It

them to the surface.


and stimulates the

also tightens the skin

circulation, thus encouraging the skin to

glow. The use of masks on drier skins


should be undertaken with care. Although
they can humidify the skin and restore
natural oils, masks must be blended carefully to fulfil these functions.

Fragrant cleansing lotion


420ml (15

fl

oz)

warm Rose-water

handfuls dried Rose petals

preferably

Rosa gal I a a

5g

Mix

i/iboz
the

Gum

Benzoin

si run benzoin

warm Rose-water

Rose petals

with the dried

an earthenware jar. Leave


to infuse for one to two hours, and then
strain off the liquid. Leave a day or so
before adding the Cum Benzoin. Use to
in

cleanse the skin as

in the

previous recipe.

Blackheads
Blackheads are a problem even on a
unblemished skin. If rubbing

relatively

Tomato
Marrow iC.ucur-

the affected spot with a slice of


{

Ly copersicon

esculenlum) or

bita pepo var. ovifera)

and then rinsing

There are a wide range of herbs and


that can be utilized for making
packs for the face and neck. Milk, yoghurt,
egg white or egg yolk, Oatmeal {Avena
sativa), honey or Fuller's earth are all
spreading or thickening agents, though
fruits

in

tepid water does not work, give the face


a steaming treatment as described, then

simple treatments exist such as


rubbing the skin with fresh Cucumber
{Cucumis sativus) or Strawberry {Fragaria

quite

vesca).

The

usual

method

for using a face

mask

back the hair or protect it in


some way, lie down on a bed or lean back
in a chair and spread the pack over the
face and neck. Avoid the skin around eyes
and lips as these areas are too delicate to
be stimulated in this way. Raise the level
of your feet above your head, then rest for
is

to fasten

10 to 15 minutes. The mask should then be


washed away using tepid water and tissues

or cotton wool.
107

DOMESTIC AND COSMETIC USES


The most renowned gentle
common Cucumber. It

Right

of all

is the

astringent

favourite

fruit.

also

(Fragaria

vesca),

provides a quick remedy for eye strain


slice

and soothing

Peach (Prunus

Water Melon

of Cucumber placed over each eye has a

cooling

Incorporate Strawberry

apple

(Citrullus

(Ananas

Pine-

Cucumber

and

sativa)

persica),

lanatus),

(Cucumis sativus) with or without the white

ejfect.

of an egg and reduce

Astringent

all to a pulp in a
blender or pestle and mortar. The flesh of
the fruit should be as smooth as possible.
Spread over the face and neck, relax for
a few minutes, then wash off.

mask

for oily skin


Blend together equal amounts of Tomato
juice and the pulp of a Lemon. As an
alternative, you can steep the Tomato
juice in the pulp of the cut halves of
the Lemon, and then scrape away the

NOURISHING THE SKIN

combined pulp. The end result is exactly


the same, whichever method you use.

Some skins require


when exposed to

Splash the mixture on your face, paying


particular attention to the greasy areas,

weather. All the recipes that follow are for

then wash off with tepid water after the

sensitive or has a

Egg white and cucumber mask


Egg white is renowned for tightening the
skin and temporarily firming away lines
and lifting sagging skin. It works most

Mix
2
i

Yeast face

as 'orange-peel' skin.

together:

egg whites

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus)


teaspoon Lemon juice [Citrus

limon)

5 teaspoon Peppermint extract


x piperita

teaspoon

50%

rubbing alcohol

(or

isopropyl alcohol)
ice

with

the egg whites, then blend together

all

the other ingredients in an electric

blender. Anything

left

over can be stored

your refrigerator.
Dab the mixture on to your face and
leave for approximately eight minutes. If
there is an excessive tingling effect before
this time, remove the pack with tepid
water and tissues or cotton wool and
splash the skin once more with tepid water
afterwards, or omit the alcohol.
in

MASKS FOR DRY SKIN


It is not advisable to use any drying
treatment on skin that is either naturally
dry or ageing. Egg white is particularly

damaging, since it dries on the face and


becomes a powerful astringent.
Use fatty substances such as egg yolk as
a spreader, and incorporate such agents as
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) or Wheat

germ

Triticum vulgare)

oil,

Almond

(Pru-

nus dulcis) or Linseed (Linum usitatissimum)

Other ingredients such as Apple


Malus spp) juice, Peach (Prunus persica)
or Pear (Pyrus communis) juice, mixed with
ground Almonds (Prunus dulcis) will help
oil.

revitalize the skin


to secrete

100

by stimulating the pores

more natural

oils.

mask

are well

known

for their healing,

tablespoon brewer's yeast


teaspoon Comfrey infusion (Symphytum

(35

fl

teaspoon sugar
\ teaspoon tincture of Benzoin
1

Mix

teaspoon Marigold infusion (Calendula


teaspoon skin

this

oil

oil

thus annuus),

Avocado

oil

can be a favourite

or Sunflower

proprietary

Olea

oil

(Helian-

(Persea americana),

europaea)

or

(Styrax

almonds with the Rose

the

water

or rain-

mixture resembles a fine


paste. Then filter through fine muslin.
Add sugar and a few drops of tincture of
Benzoin (Styrax benzoin) and bottle ready
until the

for use.

Peanut

(Arachis hypogaea) oil

Combine

litre

benzoin)

teaspoon milk or yoghurt

Olive

ground almonds
ozj Rose-water or rain-water

4-Og (1^ oz)

teaspoon honey

officinalis)
1

cubes

Whip

oil

Almonds

officinale)

(Mentha

Almond

skin.

nourishing and soothing effect on the skin


and were used extensively in ancient
Greece for facial and hand creams.

powerfully on. ageing, oily skin with large

known

drying effect of

the

If your skin is
tendency to blemishes,
do not use before seeking medical advice.

on

use

allotted time.

pores

normal

nourishing, especially

Cucumber

honey with a few drops of


very hot water. This will thin the honey
down and make it easier to use. Blend in
the yeast, then add the milk or yoghurt
and the herb infusions. Stir until it
becomes a thick paste.
Pat your face with the oil, and then
spread a layer of the paste. Allow to set for
approximately 15 minutes, then wash off
with tissues and splash with tepid water.
the

This

is

oil

also cooling in effect

and

is

an

excellent protection against sunburn.

You

will

2 ripe
1

need

Cucumbers

litre

(35

fl

(Cucumis sativus)

oz) cold water

(35 fl oz) rain-water


dessertspoons glycerine
\ teaspoon tincture of Benzoin
1

litre

(Styrax

benzoin)

Cut the Cucumbers

into

small

pieces,

For dry

including their rinds. Put them in a pan


with the cold water. Bring to the boil

ing

gradually and simmer

Oatmeal

facial

skins, Oatmeal makes a nourishand somewhat bleaching base when


mixed with a favourite flower water -

Rose-water, Elder flower-water, for example.


Work the ingredients into a paste, then
pat onto the face and neck. Allow to dry
for up to 15 minutes, then wash off with
tepid water or clean off with tissues and
pat with a damp face flannel.

When

a jelly bag.
water,

This

is

a recipe to try in the height of

summer when

there

is

a glut of your

cold,

glycerine

the

20 minutes.

mix with the rainand tincture of

Benzoin. Apply to the skin as required.

Cold cream

of this applied every night before

little

sleep will feed

Fruit sundae special

for

Strain and squeeze through fine muslin or

70g
25g

(2-j
(1

340ml

and

revitalize

your

oz) spermaceti

oz) fresh
(12

fl

beeswax

oz) sweet

Almond

oil

skin.

HAIR CARE
40ml (i
40ml (ij
40ml 1|
1

fl

oz) glycerine

fl

ozj

Rose-water

fl

oz)

Cucumber juice

Melt the spermaceti in a double boiler


with the fresh beeswax and the sweet
Almond oil. Stir continually with a wooden spoon or spatula. Once the ingredients
have melted and amalgamated, add the
glycerine, Rose-water and Cucumber

Anti-wrinkle lotion
Drop 15 to 20 Poppy (Papaver rhoeas)
petals into 280ml (10 fl oz) boiling water
and allow them to infuse for approximately ten minutes. Filter or strain and then
allow the liquid to cool belbre bottling.

Use night and morning;

is

it

especially

kind to dry skin.

Cocoa-butter neck smoother

juice.

the

until

Stir

cream

is

quite

cold.

Note: Cold cream derives its name from


the very fact that it is stirred until it is
cold. It is at the point when it sets that it

becomes ready

cream recipe

50g (2 oz) fresh beeswax


435ml (i-jj fl oz) Almond
glycerine
25ml
fl oz
25ml
fl ozj Rose-water
io drops Rose essence
1

(Theobroma

cacao)
1

tablespoon lanolin

j cup

W heat germ

oil

Triticum vulgare) or

or

mays)

Peanut

\Arachis

hypogaea) oil

4 tablespoons water (optional)

iog (4 oz) spermaceti

tablespoon Cocoa butter

Corn (ea

for use.

Alternative cold

Melt

all

three

oils in

a double boiler until

oil

completely dissolved. (The addition of


water makes the cream easier to spread.)

for

Allow to cool, place in jars and refrigerate.


Shake before use. The mixture may be
cloudy but this in no way impairs the
power of the cream.

any

other

fragrance preferred)

ducts have classified the general public


into three categories: those with dry,

greasy or normal hair. The herbal trichologist, however, claims that all hair is
normal - normal to the individual that is and that dryness and greasiness should
not be treated as an isolated condition,
but as part of a larger problem.
Anyone who feels they have severe
problems with their hair, either with an
excess of oil or hair that

their action.

On

the other hand, a natural

always leaves a certain amount of grease,


dirt, on the hair. By modern
standards, of course, this would not be
considered clean enough.
The first step towards using herbs for
hair health is to get a good shine - nothing
else may be necessary. Make an infusion

Below

then bottle until required.

lating the circulation.

substance, keratin,

Night cream
Use this very rich and nourishing cream
every night
youthful and

to
to

keep your skin looking


help smooth out

contains lanolin which

is

lines,

waxy substance

obtained from wool grease and is used


widely in cosmetics lor its moisturizing
effect on the skin.

beeswax

2 teaspoons

2 teaspoons lanolin

4 teaspoons Almond oil Prunus dul<i\


2 teaspoons distilled water
pinch of borax or 3 drops of tincture
2

Benzoin (Styrax benzoin


capsules
teaspoon Wheal germ
(

oi

of Rosemary (Rosmarinus

through the use of a variety of herbal

recutita

preparations.

favour.

Hair

is

warmed distilled water, then allow


both liquids to cool. Mix them together,
then beat in the Wheat germ oil.
Note: Add infusion of Comfrey Symphytum officinale) or Marigold
Calendula
t

officinalis) to assist cell

regeneration.

It

of a
re-

The majority of proprietary herbal hair


products have a synthetic basis, an attractive perfume, delightful packaging and a
pretty name. However, purely herbal
shampoos, among other things, have been
made in the past, and even today herbalists still base their range of hair cosmetii s
and medicaments on completely natural
substances. Apart from shampoos, you
will find that they stock hair and scalp
conditioners, rinses and dyes. If you make
them yourself, you will derive far more
satisfaction and save money, too.

to

dioica),

Nettle

{Matricaria

or any herbs you particularly


Measure 560ml (20 fl oz) of water

each 25g

( 1

oz) weight of herb. Boil the

water. Place the herbs in a suitable container such as a jug or basin

Although hair

the condition
cells.

The

(right)

is

composed of a dead

health depends upon

of the scalp and underlying


diagram shows a hair in the

top

and frightened'
The bottom diagram shows how a

normal position
itnc hair

its

and pour the

is

(left)

produced from the

follicle.

Shampoos
certain plants which contained soapy sub-

stances called saponins.

and Almond
oil in a double boiler until they have
melted and combined. Dissolve the borax
the beeswax, lanolin

in the

made up

cannot be

a dead substance

Urtica

officinalis),

Chamomile

Pure herbal shampoos of the past relied on


oil

Triticum vulgare)

Warm

Throughout the centuries, man has improved the health and beauty of his hair

protein called keratin.

shampoo

and therefore

juvenated. No amount of wishful thinking


will bring it back to life, though massage
will encourage healthy growth by stimu-

HAIR HEALTH

so dry that the

ends are badly split, should consider their


general health. Greasy hair can be associated with diet, while those with dry hair
should look first to their shampoo: it
could be far too strong. Synthetic shampoos leave the hair unnaturally clean, the
acidic balance of the hair being upset by

Melt the spermaceti, beeswax and Aloil in a double boiler. Pour into a
basin and mix with a wooden spoon or
spatula. Leave to set in the refrigerator.
Pound for 45 minutes in a mortar, or
blend in an electric mixer until it turns into a thick white cream, add the glycerine
and Rose-water. Blend again for two to
three minutes to emulsify the cream. Add
the Rose essence and mix again for one
minute. Refrigerate until it solidifies, and

mond

is

One

of

the best

an attractive
flowering perennial bush called Soapwort
(Saponaria officinalis). This type of shampoo produces very little foam and gives
dry astringent wash. It was last produced
commercially in 1930. Those with greasy
hair will find a decoction of Soapbark
sources of these substances

is

.1

(Quillaja saponaria) very effective.

Manufacturers of commercial hair proIO()

domestic: and cosmetic uses


Left

An

An

Indian lady displays the palms of

lotion can be derived

with Henna. Henna was also used

Pyrus cydonia). Measure 50g


Quince seed and boil in 280ml

dye

to

nails red.

last

rinse for deliciously scented results.

Even

would be white wine, white or

better

cider vinegar.

An

Rosemary

Rosmarinus

can also impart shine

to hair. It

has the advantage of acting as a mild anti-

Steep the spikes

septic.

water

in boiling

lor

is

ill-advised

Chamo-

of

parts

recutita

Rosemary

officinalis;,

Nettle

millefolium

Place 25g
a container

root

was

also used as a

teenth century.

Wheat

Triticum vulgare)

whiten wigs and


in 1748, the year of the Great Famine, a
quarter of a million pounds weight of hair

and

lichens

were used

powder was used

to

to

indulge fashion while

These are usually acidic


taining

Lemon

(Citrus

limon).

Aloysia triphylla).

designed

to

Verbena

rid

officinalis:

the

hair

To

of the

common

Urtica dioica:,

a non-volatile

Below

the hair

called

oil

Herbs were
powders

the

only herb
contains

It

apigemn u Inch

so

essential constituents for

much

in

vogue in

elaborate coiffure probably contained

powdered Orris

root

and Rosemary

leaf.

and then

and

ssels

lustre.

make an

stinging
strain

in-

Nettle

and

cool.

encourage healthy growth.

so

The

stimulant plant Jaborandi Pilocarpus


microphallus from Brazil was once the most

^^^ELj< :

'

popular herbal scalp conditioner and hair


restorer, but it is no longer considered safe
enough to use. If a massage is preferred,
take equal quantities of herbs such as
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare Nettle Urtica
.

Chamomile
and Yarrow 'Achillea

Matricaria

dioica.

recutita

millefolium), or

any

of those previously mentioned, and steep


in

560ml 120

of Sunflower

oz

fl

Place in the sun-

oil.

encourage the release of


Note the results for future

reference.

They

oils.

Lemon
are

all

of residual

made from the juice of all citrus fruits,


though Lemon is the most popular.
Lemon has traditionally been used, along
with vinegar, in a final rinse to remove
scum", so allowing the hair to shine with a

10

is

reallv lightens fair hair.

the scalp to dilate the blood

to

vinegar.

or

Rinses for use after shampooing can be

and

condition the scalp,

the herbs'

the natural acidic balance of the skin.

Add

which

and Henna [Lawsonia

nigra

Chamomile

Elder berries

dry shampoo.

con-

alkaline after shampooing, or to restore

natural lustre.

Sambucus
inermis

recutita.

light if possible to

in reaction,

Verbena
Verbena

Matricaria

eighteenth-century Europe. This lady's

usual way. Use as a final

in the

(Helianthus annuus)

Hair and scalp conditioners

mile

then strain

them

most of the populace starved.

coastlines.

similar kind of preparation can be used as a

Apply

Powdered Orris

pean

boiling water over them. Steep until cool,

mary

sweet-scented hair powder in the eigh-

less

fusion

then out again.

add

oz of the mixed herbs into


and pour 560ml 20 (1 0/. of

purchased in the form of a white powder,


ground from Orris root {Iris germanica),
Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea), RoseQuassia
officinalis)
chips (Picraena exelsa), and each designed
to
remove grease from the hair by
absorption. Brush it into the hair, and

Achillea

light hair

more Chamomile, and for dark hair


Chamomile and more Rosemary.

rinse for general health

or

Horsetail

and Yarrow

For blonde or

Rosmarinus

Urtica dioica

or timed, try a dry shampoo. These can be

(Rosmarinus

include Kelp Fucus vesicuseaweed found on many Euro-

this recipe to

rinses tor

equal

Equisetum arvense

occasion where hair washing

much mucilage as possible is


squeezed through. The liquid will jellify
and set when cold. Apply either hot or
warm, as preferred. You can also adapt
as

dull hair, turn to those stalwarts

officinalis

of illness or an unexpected

making sure

press through muslin,

Chamomile

Salvia

eases

and

Brightening and lightening


For three quick and brightening

In

oz

commercial natural hair cosmetics.


Another pleasant rinse is one made by
Fennel
Foeniculum
vulgare), and Lime flowers
1 da x europaea
or T. x vulgaris
together with some Sam

muslin or cheesecloth. Allow to cool. Mix


the infusion with your usual shampoo and
wash your hair in the normal way.

fl

losus

Matricaria

30 minutes. Strain through

10

30 minutes, then strain and cool. Use as a


rinse as required. Rosemary, incidentally,
is
one of the major herbs added to

gathering

to steep for

of

oz)

(2

of water for 15 minutes. Make up the


quantity of liquid as it evaporates. Strain
that

infusion of

officinalis

boiling water over them. Allow the herbs

based setting
from the Quince

naturally

excellent

her hands which have been delicately painted

a teaspoonful to your

Setting lotions
Vegetable sources can be used to encourage the hair to curl, or at least to hold a
curl in place once it is set. Gum Tragacanth, an exudation from an Asiatic plant.
Astragalus gummifer,
setting

lotions

is

and

used as the basis for


as

certain hair conditioners.

Sodium

Alginate,

weeds, has been used

commercial setting

an

additive

More

derivative
to

of sea-

provide a basis

lotions.

in

recently.

for

4ltm

v
V

m *7i
<M * ^
tI9 ^^
5

fe

4T"

HAIR COLOURS
hair

light

gives

yellow tone.

lighter

Dves containing quick-lime, of a similar


nature to the depilatories, were used by

Roman women

as

bleaches, often with

To make

disastrous results.

Chamomile

make an

infusion from 50g (2 oz)


of the herb to 560ml (20 fl oz) of water.
rinse,

Steep, strain

and use

made

Romans as

a pack

grey hair and, used in this way, will


impart a bluish hue. You can either buy
Elder berries pre-dried, or gather your
for

own between September and November


when they are ripe and before the birds get
to them. Make up an infusion and add a
pinch of

brightness.

And

and alum

salt

so,

Use

additional

for

Henna

to

Lawsonia

brown

spp). For those of you with light

through red, dark brown


Henna is the perfect herb

to black hair

condition

to

highlight and give shine to your hair

Weigh out 25g

(1

Henna

oz) of

type will do - and

make an

history, but

is

what they have, make a strong


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officin- or preferably the oil - and rub into

leaf- any

Excessive

or dryness should be rebeing associated with general

oil

as

health. Dandruff, however, is the flakingoff of the top layer of skin on the scalp. Its
cause can also be linked with diet, climate,
environment and stress: any one of these
factors or several in combination.
Useful remedies include massaging
Olive oil or Sweet Almond oil gently into

the scalp to soften

could

use

an

alternatively you

it;

infusion

of

Chamomile

Marigold (Calendula
mixed and whipped into a
officinalis)
cream (cold cream) for this. This is then
(Matricaria recutita) or

applied to the scalp.


An itchy scalp is a

common complaint.
This is usually associated with stress rather
than with any physical cause. An infusion of

Chamomile

smells delightful

and

is

(Matricaria recutita

weak

sedative, as

well as soothing the scalp

itself.

can also be attributed

lice.

Itching

Vinegar
rinses are often effective in the removal of
nits (the eggs of the louse
that cement
to

themselves to the shaft of the hair. Altern-

an infusion of Poke Root (Phytolacca decandra), Quassia chips


Picraena
exelsa) or Juniper berries
Jumperus communis; can be used to rinse the hair; then
atively,

comb

beards to a youthful blue-black.


is an integral part of the Eastern
culture. Arabic women are given a sack of
Henna on the eve of their wedding with

Herbs tend to have a slow colouring effect,


and none act directly as a bleach. Commercially produced hair dyes and colouring

rinses

are

products and were


teenth century.

first

coal-tar

by-

used in the nine-

A large range of synthetic

organic dyes are


rinses

on

based

now

available,

(Lawsonia spp) was used to render

brown hair auburn and to help mask


greying strands, while acting as a marvellous conditioner at the same time. It is
easily absorbed, the colour being assimilated through the cuticle of the hair into
the cortex.

(Salvia officinalis) has


in

dead

in

Henna,

while a hennaed beard has great religious


significance for Muslims.

The powdered leaf gives a


hair when mixed with

rich red tone

water. It is
applied for two to three hours and has to
be maintained at a regular temperature;
to

cling film or silver

quality of the

foil assist in this.

Henna and

The

the colour

imparts to the hair depends on


and country of origin. Persian

its

it

source

Henna

is

producing a deep rich red;

Below: A branch from the Egyptian Privet


or Henna tree ( Lawsonia inermisj, the
powdered leaf of which provides Henna
which has traditionally been used as a
colouring agent for both hair

and body.

fl

oz)
for

and the
several

months. Use as a final rinse. Powdered


Rhubarb root (Rheum officinale) will add
attractive golden tone to light brown or
fair hair. It should be made into a pack
mixed with hot water and applied to the
hair for 30 minutes; but care must be
taken as it will dry the scalp. Another

remedy which is effective in


masking grey or white hair is to crush
Black Walnut leaves and husks (Juglans
nigra). Soaking in water will result in a
dark brown stain that will add tone to
grey or white hair. Other recipes can
include Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
traditional

petals to brighten blonde hair,


(

Quercus

robur)

for

reddish

Oak

bark

tone and

Alkanet (Anchusa officinalis) for a lighl


pink
lor those who want that colour.
Many other herbs (and spices) have been
tested over the years for their colouring
properties and found to be effective in
varying degrees. These include Woad
(Isatis

tincloriaj,

There
baldness have been sought

their

Berber

Certain

patterns.

embalm

needs to be strong

iog or 4 oz to 560ml or 20
process
repeated weekly
1

Turmeric

lor

intricate

families

been greatly recom-

ticular, has antiseptic qualities that repel

Cures

in

the past to disguise greying

hair, but the infusion


(

colour hair and

herbs and spices to

and Chamomile Matricaria recutita) were popular. Neither penetrate the


hair shaft, however, and such sources are
therefore used as colouring rinses and
shampoos rather than as direct dyes. Sage

mended

to

which they make a thick paste to colour


the hair and decorate their hands and feet

the finest,

The Romans used

tinctoria)

was used

false

available. Before

became commercially

reng,

Henna

Colouring and dyeing

campechianum), Saffron -Crocus

r.

shoots, called

alis)

out the corpses. The procedure


should be repeated after two weeks, and
again two weeks later. Quassia, in parli(

Mummified remains from Egyptian


tombs show that a mixture of Henna and

years.

Henna

sativus)

garded

is the powdered leaf of Egyptian


and has been in use for over 5000

Indigo (Indigo/era

colour their hair, of which Saffron (Crocus

Problem hair

privet

protect

infusion ior a

final rinse.

Henna

infusion from

Henna

as a final rinse.

briefly,

accept that there

a rinse

from Elder berries (Sambucus nigra

These were used by the

to

the scalp four or five times a week.

as a final rinse.

Grey hair can be coloured with

we have
no magic cure for
hair loss which can be for any number of
reasons. For those who require a potion to
and pursued through

favourite

Logwood (Haematoxylum
sativus)

and

Curcuma
no doubt, however, that the
colouring agent is Henna.
longa).

is

DOMESTIC AND COSMETIC USES


Right:

Herbal

oils

modern perfumery

thousands ofyears ago are


the

France.

in

which were prized and used


still

employed by

most exclusive perfume manufacturers.

Ranged

Lavender, Oak-

in this laboratory are

moss, Patchouli and Neroli. There are four


oils from

methods of extracting the

plants

distillation, maceration, absorption

and

enfleurage.

Egyptian Henna gives more orange reChinese is the cheapest, being of

sults;

inferior quality.

Another major virtue of Henna, makit even more versatile, is that it can be
mixed with other organic substances to
coffee, wine. eggs,
modify the colour
lemon juice and onion skins are modern
ing

may

variations. Traditionalists

preler to

experiment by adding Indigo shoots

(for

reng), Walnut husks (darkening), Lucerne (Medicago sativa) (darkening), Catechu (darkening), the extract that is so
rich in tannin

nut (Piper

from Acacia

betle)

catechu, or Betel

PERFUMERY

(reddening!.

To henna your hair, select your variety,


then weigh out the Henna powder. For a
head of short hair,
70g (6 oz) will be
sufficient. Shoulder length hair or longer
will require 2253 (8 oz). For further
1

The word perfume comes from

the Latin

meaning 'through smoke". This is probably derived from the custom of making
burnt

sacrificial offerings to the

those times, as practised by the

gods

<>!

Romans

conditioner; a glassful of red wine, or

and Egyptians. The latter were especially


generous in using perfumed oils, and the
Greeks followed the tradition, so gaining
an understanding of the many herbs and

ground

plants in

or

benefits

to

colouring,

the

affect

modifying agent should be selected. An


egg will act as a secondary and nourishing

cum)

coffee or Cloves (Syzygium aromati-

will

result

colour; while

variations of

slight

in

Lemon

juice (Citrus limon)

or vinegar will aid the release of the dye, so

increasing

the

colouring

Have

effect.

ready a couple of old towels, a plastic bag,


a saucepan, a pair of rubber gloves and
set aside a couple of hours of your time.
Mix the modifying agent with the
Henna and sufficient water to mix to a
thick

creamy

then

set

paste.

Heat

to boiling point,

aside to cool slightly.

the scalp, rub vegetable

To

protect

into the skin

oil

to act as a protective barrier. Wearing


rubber gloves, apply the Henna. Do this
thoroughly by making numerous partings

from one side

to the other or

to the front or vice versa.

from the back

Wrap

in cling film to seal in the

the hair

Henna and

maintain a warm temperature.


your head in a towel and sit in a
place to 'cook'.

The

Wrap
warm

longer you leave

it,

the stronger the colour, so only increase


the length of time after you have experi-

mented with leaving

it

for, say,

one and a

water runs
shampoo.
Your hair
then
quite clear and
will glow with colour, and it will shine as
never before.
I

12

until the

part of the Medi-

Europe.

The numerous

delights of perfumery
from Europe during the
Middle Ages, though Charlemagne tried
hard to recreate the luxury enjoyed by the
Romans by using sweet-smelling plants

disappeared

and

scenting

streets for the

public

fountains

in

the

peoples pleasure.

and early eleventh


Avicenna brought the art of
making Rose-water from Persia, and the
Crusaders brought back phials of Rosewater from Asia together with many other
In the late tenth

centuries,

strongly scented products.

By the fourteenth century, it was


customary to offer perfumes to guests in
any noble house. They were offered after
meals for freshening the hands and
fingers after eating - without implements
of course. During this period, alcoholic
perfumes were being tried in Europe and
quickly found favour. 'Hungary water'
was particularly

half hours.

Wash thoroughly

own

their

terranean world. As a result, the Romans


spread this knowledge to other parts of

teenth

century,

senteur pour

publiques
festivals.

successful.
les

embaumer

herbes
les

By the
et

plantes

six-

de

eaux des fontaines

were commonplace

in

France

for

There are four methods of extracting


oils
from plants: distillation,
from whole plants
maceration, absorption, and finally, expression of rind
essential

or skin

which is a process known as


which combines maceration

'enfleurage'

and absorption.
Distillation
This is a steam-assisted process, whereby
the plant material is placed in containers
above water vats so that the steam carries
some of the oil away and forms a condensate containing the essential oil.
Because many of the oils in plants are to
a greater or lesser degree water-soluble,
the

distillate

distilled.

is

skimmed

off

and

re-

Plants that cannot be treated by

the steam distillation process are treated

with various substances (mainly alcohols

which, acting as solvents, remove oils,


and break down pigments

dissolve fats

and other

cell

components.

Maceration
This is literally the steeping of flowers and
herbs in water to release the essential oils.

Absorption
This method

involves the plant

absorbed by

fat

oil

being

or grease, traditionally

either tallow or lard.

It is

used for plants

which continue producing oils after being


picked like Jasmine [Jasminum spp and
Tuberose [Polianthes tuberosa) and plants
whose oils would be damaged by steam or
whose odour would be altered by steam.
water or volatile solvents.

The

usual

on both

method

is

to

spread the

fats

sides of a sheet of glass held in a

PERFUMERY
and then

to

spread

fresh flowers over the grease every

morn-

frame called a

"chassis',

represented bv Tobacco

of days. The chassis are


hours
in a darkened room.
stacked
24
the fat or grease
this
period,
Over
absorbs the flower oils and becomes iming for a

number

for

pregnated with their perfume. The resulting scented grease is called a 'pomade'.
The quality of the pomade can be
recognized by the number attached to it.

changed 20 times, the


pomade is known as 'Pomade 20* if
changed 30 times, 'Pomade 30' and so on.
Originally they were used in their greasy

now usual to extract the


pomade by means of
from
the
perfume
form, but

it

is

alcohol, the resulting scents being called


'Extrait 20' or 'Extrait 30'. If the alcohol
is

than evaporated, an

called 'absolue de

residue

oil

left

is

pomade'.

simpler method involves immersing

176F)

45 -80

from

ranging

ature

for several hours.

The

13

resulting

pomade

is

and sometimes

20'

may

'absolue'

plants are

known

an

be produced as already

nique

for

rinds or

a relatively simple tech-

is

extracting the
peel of fruit

oils

from the

and other plant

The matter is subjected to


mechanical pressure and grinding to
release the oil. A more traditional method
involves pressing the whole fruit into a
sponge, which is then wrung out to yield

make

to

Add

at

15 drops

of essential

oil to

and shake the

560ml (20

bottle.

fl

oz) of

The most

water

are Rose-water, Orange-flower water

Lavender water, and

all

and

three of these can

be used to scent the body directly and as


an ingredient for many other cosmetic
products. The more complex perfumes
depend on blending carefully measured
amounts of oil with pure alcohol. Pure
alcohol, however, is not for sale to the

and isopropyl alcohol


(which is itself somewhat scented must be
used in the making of toilet waters.

storing.

25ml

fl

Orange-flower essence

oz)

Citrus sinensis)

4.5I

gall) distilled

water

public,

Mix

the two together

at least a

week.

and allow

to

age for

You can make Rose-water

same way.

in exactly the

Eau de Portugal
420ml

(15

fl

oz)

proof alcohol

45

(isopropyl alcohol)

20ml (f fl oz) essence of Orange


6ml (5 fl oz) essence of Lemon
ml re fl oz essence of Rose
25 ml I fl oz) essence of Bergamot
1

oil

Lavender water
Mix
25ml

(i

oz

fl

oil

of Lavender

Lavandula

all

bottle.

the

ingredients

The mixture

together

and

stores well.

spica)

840ml

30

fl

Ancient 'spice' perfume

ozj isopropyl alcohol

Shake the ingredients together in a large


bottle and leave to settle for about 48
hours. Shake well again. After a further 48
hours the liquid can be put into small
bottles with tight-fitting lids.

This

is

not really a 'perfume' at

was traditionally known

all,

but

it

as such. It has a

splendid spicy scent.


2 cups Rose-water (Rosa spp)
i5g (j oz) bruised Cloves

(Syzygium

aromaticum)

Hungary water
1

tablespoon fresh Mint leaves [Mentha

table-spoon fresh

marinus

10ml

2-3 Bay leaves (Laurus


2 cups wine vinegar

Combine

spp)

Classifying perfume odours


Perfume is classified according to one or
more identifiable odours, and these fall

and leave

store for a week,

(Monarda didyma)

50ml

oil.

Cover well and

versatile

materials.

the

the ingredients together

all

shaking each day. Strain into dark bottles


which should have tightly fitting lids for

'Pomade

as

sold as such; or

explained.

Expression
This method

are the toilet waters.

then filtered off and the immersion repeated up to 20 times. In this case, the

Mix

to soak.

Orange-flower water

The simplest fragrances

home

general

plant matter in molten fats at a temper-

\icofiana tabac-

category.

If the flowers are

Clover [1 njolium pratensei and sweet


grasses. Oriental scents usually combine
woody, mossy and spicy perfumes, with
Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) and Balsam
Myroxylon spp) being considered in this
iini

fl

Rosemary

leaves

Ros-

officinalis

oz, alcohol
fl

grated peel

oz
of

isopropyl alcohol

Rose-water

Orange and Lemon

nobilis)

the Rose-water, Cloves, chop-

ped Bay leaves and vinegar, and boil. As it


reduces, add water to make up the quantity. Strain and place the liquor aside in a
well-sealed jar for several weeks or

more

before using.

into

six categories:
floral scents from
plantssuch as Rose Rosa spp Lily-of-theValley (Convallaria majalis j, Jasmine Jas.

minwn spp;, Gardenia (Gardenia


oide.s);

spicy scents that include

{Myristica fragrans),

mum

zeylanicum

lus);

woody

Cinnamon

jasmin-

Nutmeg
Cinnamo-

Clove Syzygium aromaticum) and Carnation (Dianthiu caryophyltalum album)

Sandalwood Sanand Cedarwood (Cedrus spp


stints like

mossy scents such


(Evernia

from Oakmoss
(now very ran

as those

fmrpuracea)

Herbal scents are considered not so


powerful and pungent, and these are
Right

Women

in

France at the beginning

of this century sorting thousands

oj rose

petals in preparation for the manufacture 0/

perfumes.

13

jut

<***

r>'

4*

"%

,;^

3P"

&fc
-

>
>

mi
6-^ly

:,-;

\Jgr
13/
<:

Cultivation,

collection

and

preservation

of herbs

&C
s2*r

_*

ft

< :-_=,-_-~

Herb gardens were traditionally attached


to monasteries and provided substances
for the treatment of ailments, and flavouring for food, and often the colour and the
scents of monastic life as well. Over the

warm,

centuries herbs have been relegated to


garden plots, then retrieved for their oldworld charm and associations, forgotten
again, and now in the twentieth century

which would form a


of perennial weeds
and with good drainage is an essential
factor of any site selected for herbs, unless
a bog-type herb garden is being planned.
Shaded shrub borders and rock gardens
do not usually make suitable sites, except

they are enjoying a revival of interest. In

decorative value most of them fail to reach


acceptance, bul used in conventional herb

which

been exclusively designed, there is an appeal


redolent of ancient atmospheres in which
an illusion of simple antiquity can be

garden

settings

have

achieved.

Herbs were first used decoratively in


Europe in the sixteenth century, where
the practice began of growing herbs in

tected

air on a site adequately profrom prevailing winds, but not

still

shaded. If the land slopes, a south or


south-west facing slope is preferred, and
without a hedge or wall running across
the base of the slope
frost

pocket.

soil free

range of herbs such as


Thyme, pinks, violets, Sedums and Arnica
that like the sharp drainage of the rock
work. A level site is normally best, or
perhaps a site on two levels with a refor

the limited

taining wall between the two to

example, ferns,
Pellitory and Centranthus.

modate,

for

accom-

Feverfew,

knot gardens. But the progression of horticultural practice the finer achievements

immense

of the art of cultivation, and the


influx cil new decorative plant material

superseded the lowly herbs. Household


economy has continued to know and to
need these plants however unassuming

though main of them appeal

to be.

SELECTION AND PREPARATION


OF SITE
Herbs are undemanding plants, then
stamina is good, and their natural appeal
can be strong. Most are at their best in
1. 1 1 1 :

of the season herb


this which includes Chervil

the height

borders, such as

and Mint, provide an array of both


and decorative plant material

useful

Preparation of site
Time is well spent in first

clearing a pro-

posed site thoroughly of perennial weeds


and even fallowing (backsetting) if time
allows. The crop of eager weeds that
appear following soil disturbance can
then be eradicated before the herb seedlings and young plants are introduced.
Ideally the soil should be fertile, but not

too

rich,

and some form of moisture-

retaining material will probably need to

be added but not food material such as


artificial fertilizer.

Humus can be provided in the form of


compost made from garden and kitchen
waste and forked in to improve the soil in
Thus
both texture and composition.
adequate moisture and warmth are en-

"3

CULTIVATION
Left

The gardens of the

sixteenth century

provide excellent blueprints for the design of a


formal herb garden today. The simple
outline

of the beds

is

important and the

relationship of one bed to the others should be


carefully considered.

sured. Leaf mould, spent hops, peat or


animal bedding straw may also be used to
produce humus - they are all organic in
composition and gradually break down to
encourage a friable (crumbly well-drained soil. Lightly fork or hoe in the material
to the surface of the soil and the frosts will
do the rest. If this kind of soil improvement cannot be achieved or if the soil is
very light or dry and chalky, the gardener
must be content to grow those plants that
will tolerate a dry, baked soil such as
Rosemary, Thyme, Marjoram, Sage.
Broom and pinks.

be removed, the
soil

site levelled

and the top

then replaced.

Paths
As with all workable gardens, the herb
garden is best served by well-constructed
paths which will give a firm, dry access.
Gravel,

concrete,

paving or bricks

all

provide these requirements and the choice

dependent upon the cost and availability of material and labour. If beds are
to be marked out in turf, where the turf
is

will finally

well laid

provide the paths,

it

should be

and established before beds are

cut out.

Levelling

On a site of any considerable size levelling

Marking out the beds

has to be carried out properly, especially

The

where two levels are envisaged, and the


work has to be done before any planting

out on paper, then measured carefully on

starts.

On

a small

site,

the surface level

can be corrected by forking and raking


and there are no difficulties in keeping the
top soil on the surface. Where there is a
marked discrepancy in existing surface
levels, the top soil of the entire area has to
i

if,

outline of beds should

first

be drawn

to the site and marked out with pegs and


cord - and, even at that stage, again
considered before proceeding. Sufficient

space should be allowed between beds so


that

when

there will

plants spread towards the path


still

be enough room for easy

passage with wheelbarrows and

tools.

CLASSIC HERB GARDENS


Left and overleaf: Based on the principles of
classic design, this herb

garden indicates the

immense range of available material. Paving


adds simplicity to the overall design and
affords ease

of maintenance. Repetition of

planting patterns ensures unity and allows


the design to be used within a

The key

small area.

(overleaf) shows which plants

may

be used, taking into account their relative

habits of growth

and

colour.

This plan can

be adapted to meet the requirements

smaller

site,

of a

as shown on page 123.

"7

CULTIVATION
Key to Herb Garden ground plan

Bed
1

Bed

Bergamot

or

Oswego

tea (red)

Lamb's Lettuce or
Salad

Cowslip
Lovage
Salad Burnet
Sorrel

Cotton Lavender
(border)

61

62
Corn
63
64
65
66
67
68
Bed
69

Bed B

Chives (border)

Chamomile
Annual Clary Sage
Lavender
Rose (red. scented)
Violet

Golden (wild) Marjoram


Clove Carnation
Cotton Lavender
(border)

8 Purslane

Bergamot or Oswego
Tea (pink)
Fennel

Cowslip

Rue
Lavender
Parsley (border)

Vines (on the Dergola)

Bed C
16 Woodruff
17 Wild Thyme (border)
18 Bird bath or tub of
plants

Bed D
19 Golden Marjoram

70 Vervain
71 Bush Basil
72 Lavender
73 Violet
74 Rose (red. scented)
75 Wormwood
76 Clove Carnation
77 Oregano or Garden
Marjoram
Left-hand border

78 Bay
79 Violet
80 Foxglove
81 Sweet Woodruff
82 Morello Cherry (on
83 Common Mint or

(border)

French or Pot Marjory

Common

Sage
Cowslip
Tansy
Lady's Mantle

Sweet Cicely
26 Tarragon
27 Juniper
Bed E
28 Pinks (border)
29 Purple Sage
30 Lavender
31

Lady's Mantle

32 Mallow
33 Hyssop
34 Juniper
35 Bush Basil
36 Clove Carnation
Bed F
37 Pinks (border)

84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91

Lilv-of-the-Valley

Morello Cherry (on wall)

Lemon Balm
Periwinkle

Foxglove

(borders)

94
95
96
97

Scented Pelargonium
Lavender
Myrtle

Lemon-scented Verbena
Right-hand border

98 Hop

(in

angle of

pergola)

99
100

Violet

101

Juniper
Apothecary's Rose

102
103
104
105

(pink)

Spearmint
Ivy (behind fountain)
Apple Mint
Foxglove

92 Rosemary
End beds and terrace
93 French Marigold

Wormwood

Narrow-leaved Sage

wall)

Rue

Elder

Chervil

Winter Savory
Borage
Rose (on wall)
Florentine

Iris

Honeysuckle

(in

arbour)

106 Jasmine (mixture of


yellow and white)
Common Thyme
107 Florentine Iris
Common Sage
108 Rose (on wall)
109 Southernwood
Bed G
48 Lemon Thyme (border) 110 Woad
Curry Plant
Pot Mangold

111

Bush

112 Myrtle
113 Fig (on wall)
114 Rue
1 1 5
Tree Germander

Basil

Clove Carnations
Narrow-leaved Sage
Rose (red or pink.
scented)

Service area

Hyssop

116 Marrows and


Courgettes

Pot Marigold

Golden Sage
Lavender
Bed H
58 Woodruff
59 Wild Thyme (border)
60 Sundial or tub of
plants

18

Catmint

Juniper

117
1 18
119
120

Rhubarb
Onions

121

Lettuce

Comfrey
French Sorrel

122 Garlic
123 Espaliered

fruit

(on wall)

SELECTION OF PLANTS

Above:

Hardwick

traditional garden at

Hall, Derbyshire. Height


tripods upon

is

garden

provided by

which honeysuckles or jasmine

SELECTION OF PLANTS
grow mm
is

for

herbs to

indeed for any plant,


a suitable environment. In the w ild state

own

plants seleet their

location

and often

indicate the type and condition of the

soil,

the drainage and the intensity of light.


Observation will thus suggest which
plants can be expected to flourish in. or at
least tolerate, a

given situation. While the

demands of herbs

are lew

often thrive without


results will be far

<

can

the)

attention,

more rewarding

requirements are

basii

,iiid

much

il

tin

some

out

<

On

essfully, as

(anied

subsequent judicious
thinning is always possible. Small plants.
such as Thyme, Pennyroyal, and Chamomile used perhaps as an edging, need to be
planted more losely.
be

can be grown.

The primary requirement

being planted for immediate


effect, closer planting needs to

is

decorative

strong or rich

soils

be produced than on

.1

more growth
poorer

can be
expected to establish themselves more
The table overleaf indicates the
easily.
arly, if plants like the soil type the)

requirements ol a number ol plants, and


man hing a plant to its needs in a
selected position greater success can be
achieved. The ultimate size of a plant
should be (onsidered in proportion to the
b\

size ol the hei

b garden.

onsidered befon

starting to plant.

The type of garden

Number

The second major decision


herb garden that is required.

When

of plants

a sp.ne has

been cleared, and the


Selection ol plants has been made, a
decision has to be taken as to whethet a
short or

long-term

effect

is

required. In

general, ten plants per square metre one


plant per square foot
with the exception
.

ol all

but the tiniest plants, will give inter-

est in

the

first

yeat

and subsequent

and

effei

years.

will

soil; simil-

in

When-

the

se<

the

ond
herb

to

representative
01

collection

drawn

frequently sufficient to buy

each of perennials such as


Rosemary, Mint. Tarragon. Lovage and
Lemon Balm and propagate them to build
up the necessary stock. Many herbs are
stem rooters and soon form clusters of roots
along their runners and stems, so that new
plants can be obtained quite quickly by
separating these from the parent plant. In
this

wav

it

will take

two or three years

establish a reasonable stock of plants

to
foi

an interesting herb garden. There is the


that losses can be replaced, the general plan can be amended,
and should any plant prove not to Incompatible with its position, no great loss

added advantage

the garden

Annuals like marigolds. Dill, Basil.


Borage and Summer Savory need to be
raised from seed each spring. Some will

it

to

be

medicinal,

Once

these

the plan

gained by haphazard planting; l<>i effect


and foi usefulness herbs need to be considered with (are.

It is

plant

Is

an be acquired and
an begin. There is nothing to be

up, the plants

planting

one

to

is

made and

decisions have been

achieved.

is

the sort ol

ol

scented plants.'

way, but often the most


buy plants so that an
immediate air of organization can be
quickest

expensive,

is

be de< orative or utilitarian? Is

culinary

Stocking the garden

The

sustained.

seed themselves, but often

appeal

at

where general
need

to

the-

seedlings

the other end of the garden, so


effect

is

important they w

ill

be transplanted as soon as they

are sufficiently established to be able to

cope wnli

change. Biennials, such as


foxgloves, Verbascum and Angelica do
tin

19

CULTIVATION
not flower until the second season after
sowing, but once established they provide
generations of seedlings.

Market

stalls

and garden centres are the


and there are

best sources of herb plants,


also a

Buy

number

of well-run herb nurseries.

and ensure that they


are free from insect and fungus attack.
They should be well grown and sufficiently
hardened off, if bought during the early
the best plants

well-grown plant

be shortjointed, of good texture and colour and


spring.

will

ought not to be in flower. Buying from


herb nurseries and farms may mean
buying by mail order, but most establishments have their reputations at stake and

SMALL HERB GARDENS

are careful to dispatch clean stock. Doubt-

places.

ful

specimens ought always to be returned.

A stock of plants can also be made up of


from other gardens each plant a reminder of a friendly visit.
This exchange of plants is one of the most
traditional ways of making a plant collecsnippets

and

gifts

tion of individualitv

and

interest.

Moist situations

Box (clipped)

Acorus
Bergamot

Valerian

Sedum

Bistort

Sempervivum

Comfrey

Hyssop (clipped)

Thrift

Meadowsweet

Lavender (dwarf)

Thymes

Mints

Lungwort

Violet

Wall Germander

Veratrum
Watercress
Yellow Flag

(last

walls an d paving

Blessed Thistle

Pennyroyal

Borage

Pinks

Chervil

Chamomile

Sedums

Feverfew

Sempervivum
Soapwort
Thymes
Wall Germander

Coriander
Corn Salad

Alchemilla spp.

Catmint

Hyssop
Lavender (dwarf)
Pellitory

real

Thyme and Lemon

Thyme, Houseleeks, Chamomile, Chives.


Dwarf Lavender and Feverfew are ideal
for

trough or sink gardens. Containers in a

wide range of shapes and sizes are obtainable from garden centres; alternatively,
very attractive herb gardens can be estab-

Larger plants like Lavender. Rosemary, Rue and Sage can easily be included in the scheme for containers, such as
stone jars, any large pot or even an old
bucket, by growing rooted cuttings and

Cumin

Florence Fennel
Marigold
Marjoram, sweet
or knotted
Nasturtium

pruning and cutting back. Many herbs


can be kept in check simply by nipping off
shoots as required for the kitchen. A good

Purslane
Savory. Summer

to leave the

trick

is

Left

By

Poppy

Sunflower

Dill

them when they grow out

of proportion to the scheme or b\ judicious

year )

Anise
in

adequate light,
Small plants like

either replacing

Annuals
Basil

Planting

sometimes, unlikelv
requirements are
and space for their roots.

The only

and birdbaths.

Sweet Cicely

Catmint
Chives
Feverfew

Parsiey

and,

such as wheelbarrows, drinking troughs

Front of the border. or edging plants

Marjoram, golden

confined

in

lished in all sorts of disused containers

Selection of herbs for the garden

Pinks
Santolina (clipped)

The undemanding qualities of manv


herbs make them ideal plants for growing

selecting plants appropriate to a

situation, a greater degree

of success can be

assured. Plants that normally


soils, for

Flax

rooted cuttings in their

grow on

example, will thrive best

garden with sandy or well-drained

Hedges
Box
Hyssop

Biennials (last 2 years)

Lavender
Rosa gallica

Alkanet
Angelica

Caraway

Woad

Alexanders

(common)
officina

lis

Rosemary
Rue

Chalky soils
Calamint
Chicory
Chives
Hound's Tongue
Juniper
Lavender

Lemon Balm
Lily-of-the-Valley

Marjoram
Mignonette
Mullein
Periwinkle
Pinks

Rosemary
Sage
Salad Burnet

Alecost
Alkanet
(evergreen)
Arnica
Artemisias

Bay
Bergamot
Bethlehem Sage
Bistort

Chenopodium
Chives
Coltsfoot

Light soils

Below : Balance of design

Melilot

borders

Mullein

front of larger ones and restricting the

Parsley

numbers of plants.

Perennials (continue year after year)

Santolina

Lavender

Lemon Balm
Liquorice

Lovage
Lungwort
Marjoram, pot

Marjoram (wild)
Mignonette
Mints
Pinks

Rhubarb
Rose
Rosemary
Rue
Sage

Alkanet

Marjoram

Cowslip

Borage

Marjoram, pot

Broom

Melilot

Daphne
Dyer's Madder

Bugle

Mugwort

Elder

Chervil

Elecampane

Chives

Rosemary
Sage

Garlic

Savorys

Hound's Tongue
Hyssop
Lavender
Lemon Balm
Lemon Verbena

Southernwood

Fennel
Gentian

Tarragon

20

English

Mace

soil.

Foxglove

Santolina
Savory. Winter
Sorrel

Sweet Cicely

Tarragon

Helichrysum

Thymes

Thymes

Jasmine

Wormwood

Wormwood

Juniper

Yarrow

is

in

light

in a

one-sided

achieved by keeping small plants in

SMALL HERB GARDENS


and sink the whole pot below the soil
and then as the plants grow both pot

pot.

level,

and plant can be replaced. A variety of


containers can be maintained in this way.

Window-boxes
This method of replenishing pots can also

adopted for window-boxes, though


good effect and considerable success is

be

possible

the

when

soil in

plants are

the box.

grown

directly in

The boxes should be

10 to 12
about 25 to 30 centimetres
inches deep and be filled with a moisture-

retaining potting compost, such as

John

Drainage is provided by a
layer of rough material, such as broken
brick rubble, clinker or gravel, being
Innes Xo.

2.

spread over the entire base of the box.


which is then covered with about two
centimetres an inch of rough peat and
then

with

the

potting

compost.

This

ensures that the roots of the plants have


food, space

and drainage.

Dampen and

firm the compost before planting

and

in

the spring put in rooted cuttings or small

plants

which were cut back

autumn and have

in the

previous

started to break into

growth. Most plants can be connew growth constantly to encourage a bushy growth. The
fresh

fined in size by nipping

plants selected should be the smaller ones

or smaller-growing cultivars
varieties

Lavender
mints.

Chives.

cultivated

thvmes. cuttings of Sage, and


and Rosemary, the smaller

Parsley.
Selfheal,

Tarragon.

Marjoram.

scented-leaved geran-

iums. Dill and Mignonette are

all

well

suited to box cultivation.

Patios and balconies

Above: Low-growing herbs or rooted

patio and roof


any other plants,
depends upon the proper selection of
container and of plant material which
must be suited to the size and position of
the area. A simple effect is always more
successful than an elaborate one. Troughs

Success with herbs


gardening, as with

along

base

the

of

in

patio

screens

are

and the plants benefit from some


shelter, but adequate light must be ensured. Boxes or troughs which are raised

effective

or attached to balustrades or walls with


firm brackets

and hooks are probably the

most successful. Hanging baskets, cither of


the conventional bowl-shaped kind used
for

summer

display or country baskets,

and garden

trays lined with grey or black

plastic

prevent

to

leaking,

can

maki

delightful tiny herb gardens to decorate

balconies and rooi (gardens. The) require


regular attention and occasional replen-

ishment with new


effei

plants to maintain the

B,i\

is

one

oi

the most popular choices

cuttings

of larger ones can be assembled in an


Here Angelica, Chives,

attractive container.

Sage and other culinary herbs have been


tucked into a decorative bowl, which

is

small

enough

to

be carried from one part of the

garden

to

another.

for patios

and balconies and

clipped to a formal shape.

it

It

is

usually

is

best to

purchase these already trained, and with


care they can be expected to last several
years. Cold winds are the chief enemy of
these potted trees and they appreciate
being taken into a porch or light hallway,
or even a conservatory during the winter.
in all
I

but the mildest

districts.

he golden rule for container-grown

plants is to try to keep the compost evenly


clamp, not overwatered - which leads to
sourness - and not parched. As most small

herb gardens are grown for summer effect


and usefulness, watering will be the major
task, for it is during the summer months
that (Ik \ require the most water.
12

CULTIVATION
A

Right :

Herbs

for

troughs and containers

small culinary border can be

contained in a run of j or 4 metres (about

Borage
Catmint

half repeated, where a longer

Coltsfoot

There

10

Chamomile

to 1

5 feet)

is

the design being repeated, or

nothing

to

site is available.

be gained by

making

border deeper, as culinary herbs need

to

the

be

Chives
readily accessible.

Clary

Lemon Balm

In the house

Lily-of-the-Valley

Lungwort

Rooted

Mint (round-leaved kinds)


Pulmonaria

decorative

Rosemary (rooted cuttings)


Sage (rooted cuttings)

vation.

window-boxes

pots

and

Alternatively,

as

for

window-

Fennel
1
2 Rosemary
3 French Tarragon
4 Angelica
5 Sage
6 Golden Marjoram
7 Lemon Balm

8 Sorrel
9 Mint

10 Thyme
Savory
12 Chives
13 Parsley
1

pots.

Basil

Seed can be sown early

Black Horehound

Broom

in

containers

boxes or patio troughs, many plants can


be cut back and once the fresh growth
starts and the plant has recovered, they
can be transferred to indoor cultivation in

Violet

for

grown

provide the best


method of starting plants for indoor culti-

Thymes

Herbs

cuttings

in the

year for

and Clary, while


nasturtiums and marigolds can be sown in
either spring or autumn. Plants of the
Parsley, Cress, Purslane

(seedlings)

Chives
Corn Salad
Catmint (small divisions)

can be purchased from garden


centres and maintained as room plants
provided that they are judiciously pruned
from time to time.
A large bowl decorated with several
small pots of herbs sunk among pebbles, or
covered with peat, makes a most attractive,
aromatic bedside garden for an
right size

Clary

Geranium (scented-leaved)
Hyssop
Lemon Balm
Marjoram
Mignonette
Nasturtium
Parsley

invalid.

Rosemary (rooted cuttings)


Rue (rooted cuttings)
Sage (rooted cuttings)

When grown

in the kitchen, plants

such

are

grown

for culinary use, they are best

treated like the remainder of the kitchen

garden, and planted in rows.


easier to

It is

then

run the hoe along to keep the


bay and to harvest the crop as

weeds at
and when required.

LARGE HERB GARDENS


The name

'herb garden' conjures up a

tranquil plot sheltered from troublesome

winds, bathed in sunlight and fragrant

with delicious scents. All the denizens are


humble plants of ancient cultivation,

which have no need of flamboyant flowers

Savory
Tarragon

Mint, if cut back and potted up to


confine their roots, will provide a long
succession of fresh shoots for the cook.

Violet

Good

some knowledge of

as

light

is

essential

and watering must

never be neglected.

Herbs to plant

in a

garden

for the

blind

Scented and textured leaves


Alecost
Angelica

Bergamot
Chamomile
Feverfew

Lavender

Lemon Balm
Lily-of-the-Valley

Meadowsweet

(for treading)

Rosemary
Rue
Sage
Southernwood
Sweet Cicely
Tansy

Thymes

(for treading)

Wormwood

122

it

is

When

plan-

necessary to have

the plants themselves


requirements and their effect when
fully grown.
A herb garden can be formal or informal, there are no salient requirements, but
one of formal design has an added
atmosphere of authenticity because the
herb gardens of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries were formal plots - usually

kitchens,

Whatever the details of the design,


some form of shelter is needed to enclose
the garden; this can be a hedge of Broom.
Rosemary or roses, or a dry wall, with
Lavender, Hyssop, or Artemisias growing

square.
(for treading)

Geraniums (scented-leaved)
Hyssop

Mignonette
Mints
Pennyroyal

difficult to generalize
in

ning a herb garden


their

about plants
however, because
atmospheric conditions vary so widely
from one kitchen to the next. As the plants
cannot be expected to thrive simply
because they are indoors, the right conditions have to be provided for them.
It is

grown

to advertise their presence.

Small herb borders

square metre (about 10 square

feet)

of

suitable soil can be transformed into a


tiny herb plot, but, again, proportion

is

most important. Small plants grouped


together will flourish provided they are
not in a draughty passage way or in a
shaded corner under dripping trees. A
plot so small would usually be used to
provide fresh culinary herbs and could
well support as much as two clumps of
Chives, two plants of Thyme, two of
Marjoram, one of Winter Savory, a patch
of Mint with its roots confined in an old,
deep biscuit tin to prevent it from becoming invasive, one plant of Tarragon and at
the back a small Sage bush.
Where small herb borders are virtually
part of the vegetable garden and the herbs

along the top. Best of all, but seen all too


infrequently is a walled garden, where
Clematis, honeysuckles. Jasmine
and other sweet-scented plants can scramble up the walls.
The accompanying plans suggest a
roses,

simple treatment

to

achieve formality.

Restraint in planting few kinds of plants


rather than an extensive range will ultimately give the best result. Further, careful thought needs to be given to the central
feature of a formal garden - proportion
obviously being the main consideration for this is what gives each herb garden its
individual character. Choose a container-

KNOT GARDENS
for a cook's

Herbs

choose a tree such as Hamamelis, Sambucus or Prunus for the central feature, or
make an arbour which can be covered in

garden

Alecost
Angelica

Garlic

Basil

Lovage

Bay

Marigold

Bistort

Borage

Marjoram
Mint

Caraway

Nettle

Elizabethan knot gardens


The Oxford English Dictionary

Chervil

Oregano

knot garden as

Chicory
Chives
Coriander
Corn Salad

Parsley

Rosemary
Sage

Cumin

Savory

Jasmine, hops, Ivy and "roses. If authenticity is desired, a knot garden should
form the central attraction.

Lemon Balm

defines

flower bed laid out in an


- the term was first used
in 1494. Designs can be complicated or
relatively simple. They are usually symmetrical, and as they are intended to be
looked down upon, they should be formed
of low-growing plants like thymes, pinks,
violets, chives, savories, marigolds, mar'a

intricate design'

Purslane

Dill

Shallot

Fennel
French Sorrel

Tarragon

Thyme

jorams,

Lungwort and Feverfew. The

design of each bed needs to be outlined

grown Rosemary
to

be brought

or

Bay which

will

need

into a frost-free place in

with Box, Santolina, Feverfew or Dwarf


Lavender planted closely to form a firm

Box

severe weather) or a sundial, birdbath.

line.

fountain, beehive or statuette surrounded

choices because they are both evergreen

Rue -

by Lavender or Rosemary or

as

evergreen they will give an


air of permanence. In a larger garden.
these are

all

Below : This plan, for a


garden,

is

culinary herb

based upon the central part of the

plan for a large herb garden which


on page

ij.

The

is

shown

central feature can be a

sundial or bird bath, for example.

Bed D
1

Thymes

Bed
in

variety

Pot Marjoram

3 Sage
4 Eau de

Cologne Mint
5
6
7
8
9

Bed

Angelica
Chives

Sweet Cicely
Tarragon
Parsley
E

10 Thymes
1 1

12
13
14
15
16
17
18

in

23
24
25
26
27
28
29

designs can be copied, or individual


schemes may be composed, but it is best to
keep designs simple. The design should be
drawn on to squared paper, scaled and
then drawn out on to the ground.
An original design can be executed

simpler central

alternating squares like a chess board. All

paved and each


one of the 'white' squares is filled with
one kind of plant - so there might be
the 'black' squares are

Marjoram

in one,

Mint

in another,

Parsley in a third. Repetition

is

and

attractive

form of garden, but the taller plants


such as Fennel and Angelica ought to be
avoided.
An even simpler central bed can be

in this

made on

the cartwheel design,

where the

rim and spokes of the wheel are picked

Lemon Balm
Lovage
Apple Mint

Poppy
Basil

Bed G
30 Thymes
32
33
34
35
36

Cumin

Parsley

Winter Savory
Apple Mint

and can be clipped.


The site on which the knot garden is to
be made must be level. Traditional

much

formed on the traditional


chequer board design, where a central
paved area is broken up into a series of

Chives

Purple Sage

Basil

favourite

variety of very

features can be

Purslane

Parsley

Fennel

are

Central beds

31

Spearmint

Santolina

then diagonally from the centre. On the


paper doily principle, a pattern can be
made by cutting away pieces.
Once the design has been transferred to
the ground and the outlines of the beds
formed by planting Box or whatever has
been chosen, the 'colouring' can begin,
and the final effect planned. Two or three
years are needed for the knot to become
effective and, apart from clipping and
replacement planting, or attention to
annuals, the upkeep is not arduous.

19 Thymes in variety
20 Golden Marjoram
21 Summer Savory
22 Parsley

variety

Lemon Balm

or

quickly from a square piece of graph


paper, folded first into two, then into four,

in variety

Corn Salad
Pot Marigold

Rosemary
Narrow-leaved

Sage
37 Sorrel
38 Sweet Cicely
39 Bowles' Mint

Bed H
40 Pennyroyal
41

Thrift

123

CULTIVATION
A

/,<?//:

wide variety of design of knot

gardens can be achieved, but the basic


concept must be one of geometric symmetry.

In their Elizabethan heyday the patterns had

names such as

delightful

cink-foil, trefoyle,

crossbow and flower-de-luce, and were


often formed

of intricately twisted designs.

Today simpler patterns

are preferred, but the

use of compact plants

achieve the general

effect

to

cannot be over-emphasized.

must be chosen and

level site

the smaller the area the

simpler the design must be.

Some

spaces can

be filed with shells or coloured pebbles to

provide a permanent foil for a range of


plants,

Crossbow ; 2

fine knot ; 4

New

New

knot ;

Curious

knot for a perfect garden;

j Flower-de-luce ; 6 Trefoyle ; 7 Flower of


Deluce ; 8 Good pattern for a Quarter of herbs.
out in clipped Box or Santolina or per-

GXmm
mmw.

haps even Golden Marjoram and each


space is filled with a different herb. Again,
the taller growing kinds should be avoided as this destroys the design. For the best
results, select plants

of different colours.

Informal herb gardens


not imperative to have a geometricplanned garden and where the right
environment is available an informal herb
garden can be very attractive. Visually
such a garden is more successful if the
L'mbelliferae tribe are excluded because
they become untidy and many of them

It

is

ally

seed themselves very easily.

bank may be transformed


by working on two levels, or a sheltered

An

existing

corner

with a roughly triangular

filled in

is a winding grass
two borders of mixed
planting. 'See page 126. The only essen-

Most

bed.

path

am'

successful

between

tial

feature in the choice of site

not

overhung bv

and drip from the

trees,

is

that

it is

because both shade

trees discnuratjrs rjn

>\\

h.

Growing herbs commercially


Before

starting

commercial

to

gjrow

herbs on any

scale several lactors

need

to

be considered. Apart from enthusiasm,


capital

and

a suitable

site,

thought must

be given to labour, selection of crops, and


the market

plants or

whether

embark upon

and. above

all,

to

market

fresh

large-scale drying,

to the relationship

between

acreage, yield and profit. Undoubtedly,

markets are the most important single


crop has

factor, for the destination of the

be assured, and the choice of crops is in


turn dependent upon the market demand.
to

bunches of herbs going to market


is the whole harvest destined
a distillery? Are herbs to be disposed of

Are

fresh

regularly, or
for

fresh or dried, retail or wholesale?

long will
124

it

How

take to establish a paying crop

COMMERCIAL CULTIVATION

of fresh material should yield 450 grams


lb of the dried herb, and the harvest

Some experience of
herb growing is necessary because the
bulk of the harvest could easily be lost - a

of fresh material will vary with crop,

good case

Three and a half kilograms eight


1

lbs

and

season

situation.

Prevailing

soil,

local

ditions vary widely.

growing several different

for

Above:

reconstruction

of a renaissance-

style knot garden at Villandry, France.

Clipped Box forms some oj


outlines others.

the

shapes and

Such patterns are the basis oj

sorts of plant.

modern knot gardens and are often symbolic.

PROPAGATION AND GARDEN


MAINTENANCE

typical

There are several ways

plant.

conditions differ, but reasonable averages


to

expect are up to 500 kilograms per half


(half a ton per acre) of say,

hectare

Angelica or Caraway Seed and three to


four tonnes per half hectare or acre of
fresh Mint. Lavender bushes in their
prime would probably yield a tonne of

should be clean
plants.

all

known

cuttings, layers or divisions

plants.

visor\

used

con-

method of producing new

is

ensure health of the

Starting with seed

Many

Whichever method of propagation


it

to

as vegetative propagation, or b\

Advice should be sought from appropriate government departments and adprevailing local

a supply

namely from

seed, the sexual

as

which

stock and to select only


and not deformed parts of the
Knives, pots, boxes and compost

pest-free

of plants can be maintained or increased,

flower-heads.

services

in

and

is

essential to use onl\ diseasc-lree

herbs can be grown from seed.

Some produce

their

own seeds quite easilv.

while others need to have special climatic

125

CULTIVATION
and some

conditions,

with

readily

progeny

their

not

is

will

hybridize so
that

relatives

necessarily

good.

the

The

annuals and biennials, or plants cultivated as such, have to be raised from seed,
and the time of sowing depends upon the
hardiness or frost-sensitivity of each kind
of plant. Once the ground has warmed up
in spring, seed-sowing can generally begin

An

can be made
where greenhouse or frame protection is
available, and seeds can be sown in pots,
boxes or flats, pricked off, hardened off
and later planted out. This earlier sowing
out-of-doors.

earlier start

does not bring forward the harvest appreciably,

but the method can prove con-

venient in a late spring for such plants as

where the ground has not been


prepared for seed sowing or if it is one in
which a good tilth the texture of cultivated surface soil) cannot be achieved.
Notable exceptions to spring sowing are
Basil, or

Cowslip, Chervil,

Woad, and Angelica.

These seeds need to be sown as soon as


ripe to produce a crop of fresh young
leaves in late spring. Obviously where
winter conditions are unfavourable to

5m

seedlings, as in mid-continental gardens,

cannot be followed. Selfhowever, will sometimes


germinate quite quickly with the melting
snow. General rules for seed sowing include covering the seed lightly with soil,
and sowing thinly cither in rows or
broadcast scattered
In either instance.
the resultant seedlings will need to be
thinned out to allow adequate growing
this

practice

sown

seeds,

space.

Parsley

seed

is

notoriously

slow

to

germinate, but watering the seed drill


with boiling water immediately before

sowing seems

to

encourage germination.

Vegetative propagation
Perennial plants with good clump-forming or shrubby habit can be propagated
by cuttings or division or both.
made of hard or soft wood,
according to the type of plant, or can be
stem cuttings, root cuttings or leaf cuttings. In each case an entirely new plant is
formed and each new plant will resemble
the parent plant in every way. Broadly
speaking, cuttings of such evergreens as
Lavender, Rosemary, Santolina and Rue
can be taken in spring and struck in a
frame, or. if made with a heel of old wood,
in open ground in July. (This requires
tearing the cutting away, bringing with it
a small slip of old wood from the base.
Cuttings are always best made from
non-flowering shoots with the base leaves
removed. Trim the stem cleanly below a
node ^the point at which a leaf stalk joins

either

Cuttings can be

126

Plan for a decorative herb garden

Number

Key
1

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

Eucalyptus gunnii
Lavender. Mitcham
Foxglove

of Plants

Catmint
Chives

6-1 2

13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

21

Brooms

12

Rosemary

Alchemilla

Bergamot

Lavender. Dwarf Munstead


Mint, Bowles'

Rosa gallica officinalis


10 Artemisias
11 Eau de Cologne Mint
12 Golden Thyme

Number

Key

of Plants

Golden Marjoram
Costmary
Pinks

Marigold
Papaver somniferum
Foxglove

12
8
6

25
18
8

12
2

15
24

The chart on pages 1 32-1 39 gives


information on each plant

further

PROPAGATION
Left: Plan for an informal decorative herb
garden for early to midsummer. The planting

scheme for the border can be repeated if a


greater length is required. Unity of design

is

achieved by repetition, rather than by


introducing a number of new ideas.

Right : The simplest way


perennial plant

is to

to

increase any

divide the whole

crown

autumn. Thus two or more

in spring or

pieces, complete with roots, are obtained

(see far right)

from

one plant.

Each piece

can be set out separately and will eventually

form a new

plant.

the stem), dip the tip of the cutting into

rooting

powder and plant firmly

in

cutting compost or a sharp


sandy compost. Where space is limited
and pots not available, the base of several
cuttings can be packed around with
dampened sphagnum moss and firmly
folded into a polythene strip, rolled up and
held firmly in place by a rubber band
or string until the roots have formed.
Increasing stock by cuttings is the only
way to perpetuate a specially good form

proprietary

of a plant or a variegation of leaf or

some

other desirable characteristic of growth.


It

is

by cuttings that the non-flowering

forms of those plants

like

Box, Santolina

and Bay which are clipped, resulting

in a

certain lack of flowering, can be increased.

The

clippings

themselves usually

make

adequate cuttings.

perfectly

Perennials like Mint and Tansy which

form good root-stocks can be divided or


even torn apart. Each runner with a shoot
on it forms an 'Irishman's cutting' and
behaves as a rooted cutting.

Division
Division of clumps

is

little

more demand-

and is best carried out when the plant


is
dormant. Divisions can be made of
perennials, and plants that have become
thin in the centre of the clump, or too
large and bulky. The whole crown of the
plant is lifted from the soil, and divided by
two forks plunged amid the growth back to
back and pulled apart to break up the
clump
each of the resultant pieces
will
eventually bear roots and some
growth buds. Replant the pieces in fresh
ing

ground, ensuring that the depth of planting

is

at least as

crown was
planting

is

deep

lifted

for

was before the


division. Firm re-

as

it

vital.

Layers are used as a method of propagation for such plants as Sage in the herb
garden, when an old and bare branch is

pegged down roots will form at a point in


COntad with the soil. This shoot can
be severed and forms an entirely new

plant with the same characteristics as the

parent plant.

Some

plants layer naturally,

Strawberry and the Raspberry.


(The Raspberry is said to form 'tip roots'
and the Strawberry layers are called
like the

runners.)

ing to the habitat available

and

their idio-

syncrasies catered for. Basil, for

example,

likes to be watered at midday, not in the


evening as most plants prefer; Parsley,
apart from demanding great patience
from the gardener, prefers a humid soil to
a dry one otherwise it w ill soon run away to
seed, and Marjoram likes to be left alone
during its long seedling stage. Some
perennials dislike winter dampness and
low temperatures. It is not the freezing
temperatures themselves that are responsible for winter damage, but the
fluctuations in temperature and the early
morning sunshine on frozen plants. A
mulch of dry peat, leaf mould, sawdust or
r

Management
The
to

of the herb garden

general rules of garden upkeep apply

herb gardens although

many

herbs are

and remarkably
tolerant. Weeds need to be kept down, of
course, and old flowering shoots and dead
constitution

of strong

or diseased material removed.

The

latter

must be burned and not incorporated into


the compost heap as many disease spores
survive, or even flourish, in the warmth
generated by decaying materials.
Herbs do not require a rich soil, so
there is no need to apply fertilizers.
Generally known as
the plants a

fillip

Artemisia

and generally encourage

Bay
Box
Geranium

'artificials',

The

essential oils of

herbs represent their ultimate value, and


is
known about the shortterm effect of chemical fertilizers on the
composition of the plants themselves.
Herbs, in any case, often produce larger
quantities of oil when grown in poor soils.
Garden compost, a so-called organic

insufficient

added

to the soil

and forked

into

the surface is far more suitable to herbs


and will generally improve the quality
and texture of the soil. Herb lawns such as
non-flowering Chamomile and prostrate

Pennyroyal benefit, however, from a

summer

Cuttings

these give

a spurt of growth.

material,

Propagation requ rements of


selected herbs

late-

(scented-leaved)

Rosemary
Rue
Sage
Santolina
Savory, Winter

Hyssop

Thyme

Lavender
Mint

Verbena.

Lemon

Divisions

Alchemilla

Bergamot
Catmint
Chives

Lungwort
Marjoram
Mint

Elecampane

Periwinkle
Sweet Cicely

Iris

Tarragon

Lemon Balm

Thyme

Lovage

application of fine peat.

Many minor

problems in the management of herb gardens can be eliminated by

Seed
Angelica

Lemon Balm

Basil

Borage

Marigold
Marjoram, sweet

individual requirements such as watering,

Caraway

Parsley

protection from wind, and companion-

Chervil

Parsley.

Clary

Purslane
Savory, Summer

growing plants compatible with prevailing conditions and noting the plants'

few plants like to grow in solitary


confinement. Many theories have been

ship

promulgated for plant associations, but


recent experiments have shown that some
have little or no scientific justification.
Plants respond best when selected accord-

Corn Salad

Hamburg

Dill

Sorrel

Fennel

Verbascum

Foxglove
White Horehound

Woad

[27

CULTIVATION
a polythene cover will protect

any

sus-

ceptible plants in cold weather.

Pests and diseases


Garden pests, such as greenfly and blackexample, are particularly troublesome on Valerian and Nasturtium and
may be cleared by spraying with a
pyrethrum or quassia decoction or with
soap solution. These sprays, particularly
quassia, can also be used against caterfly for

and leaf-hopper.

pillars

Diseases need to be considered a

more

little

carefully, for their long-term effect

is always more serious. Rusts affect mints


and violets and the most effective treatment once the disease has got a hold is to

wood shavings among the


autumn and set light to them.

Various leaf spots attack Parsley, pinks,


Lavender, Peony and Raspberry. The
affected part should be cut away and
burned, or if it is summer the plants can be
sprayed at three-weekly intervals with

Bordeaux mixture.

rietary fungicides are available in spray

form
but
to

to

for

immediate use and are

many growers

anything that
use them.

effective,

of herbs, being opposed

is

not natural, prefer not

Aphids

or greenfly

and

blackfly

feed on a wide variety of plant by sucking


the sap

and

thus causing deformity to the

whole plant. These

insects thrive in

warm

weather. (See the table on page 103 J or

how

information on

to

soil,

preferably a

right

There

is

each selects a single type of host plant. This

shows

the effect

of rose

euchronatumj

rust

the rust

violets will be either

(Thragmidium
which attacks

Puccinia

Puccinia aegra, while that


will be Puccinia menthae.

violi or

selecting mint

and

land

habitats

flourished.

plants, especially those of limited toler-

trouble.

ance

environmental

factors, have been


number.
The opening up of the landscape in this
way and the building of motorways,
however, has created new habitats, sometimes relatively temporary ones, where the
more ubiquitous plants have colonized.
Herbicides, known and used since the
to

restricted in

a good crop of leaves is assured.


Lavender, especially, tends to become
leggy after a few years so a supply of rooted
cuttings should always be ready to fill in
the gaps left when old plants are removed.
When Sage has become straggly and bare
of growth at the base of the bush, soil can

that

of the plant.

mound around the base


The bare growth should be

buried and the

tips

of

growth

left

truding. These will soon form roots

pro-

and

can be severed to be used as fresh plants,


eventually replacing the mother plant.

control insect attack.)

a range oj rusts and

World War

of mechanized

revolution

the

one, the fungus can be discouraged. Soil treatment with a weak


formalin solution (one part formalin to 50
parts water used at the rate of 2.25 litres to
930 square centimetres or half a gallon to
a square foot) will usually clear up the
lime-free

COLLECTING FROM THE WILD


Below

II

in which
useful plants
Hedges have been removed in
England on a vast scale to allow for a
longer, and therefore more economical,
field run, taking with them the shelter,
shade, drainage and microclimates of
field verges and hedge bottoms. Many

the mint beds to fresh

be built up into a

Below

transport and industry. Since

troyed innumerable hedgerow and wood-

Renovation

burned off and the

the last 130 years with the development of

by moving

Short-lived plants are best replaced so

affected shoots are

North America has under-

Occasionally a root rot such as black


root rot can attack mints, but

plants in

The

gone

parts of

drastic changes, particularly during

chemical agricultural practice has des-

scatter straw or

spring growth should be rust-free. Prop-

many

now

from
once was. Perhaps
only 150 years ago the \greenman' roamed
the countryside gathering herbs to sell,
upon which country people depended for
It

is

not

as easy to collect herbs

their wild state as

it

any and every ailment. The endemic flora


of Europe generally, as well as that ol

years of this century,

early

employed mainly

for

have been

weed control

since

about 1946 when synthetic plant regulator factors such as MCPA and 2.4-D
were introduced. The results appear to
show that whereas monocarpic annual
species of plants which die after flowersuch as annual grasses and sedges,
ing
have been severely reduced in number.
the perennials remain and the dicotyledonous annuals have even increased in
distribution. This is perhaps most notice.

Tat Hen

able in Chenopodium album

and

Goosefoot

Stellaria

media

or

Stitch-

wort). In short, susceptible species have

reduced

been

immune

and the distribution of

species has.

if

anything, notice-

ably increased.
The devastation of any habitat affects
plants directly, but the insect
bird

life it

life

and

the

supports are affected indirectly.

Food chains are then radically altered,


bringing about a change in balance of the
entire habitat. Pollution of sites in con-

widespread devastation, especially

trast to

water pollution, tends to affect animal

more

easily

than plant

effluents, detergents

example, take their

life

but sewage

life,

and sheep dips, for


toll more slowly on

aquatic plant life. Industrial effluents,


including highly toxic by-products, are
habitually disposed of into rivers,

fre-

quently changing not only the chemical


content of the water, but the temperature
of the whole watercourse.
Excessive water pollution problems

many

exist in

now

far

parts of the world and are


beyond redemption. The water of

some of the Swiss

128

lakes will hardly support

The Great Lakes

life at

all.

where

nitrates drained from

of America,
farmland are

POLLUTION
Right: At Cranborne Manor. Dorset, a
small collection of thymes has been made and
on the old fashioned chequerboard

set out

design.

Each space

thyme. This

with a different

is filled

herb garden provides a

little

riverside retreat complete in itself,

simplest form

and

is the

of herb plot.

overabundant, have the same problem.


Some plants have their own solutions to
adverse conditions. The perennials often
resort to vegetative survival, and others

have built up a tolerance. At

first

perhaps

only a tiny percentage ol seedlings was


able to survive, but over several generations a resistant strain

built up.

is

Other plants, however,


pilv where toxic amounts
metals

present

are

live

quite hap-

of.

say. salt or

the

in

mine workings, where ore

is

Old

soil.

sometimes

exposed, support a number of colonized


plants. The plantains and grasses colonize

newly disturbed subsoils in this way most


noticeably. For centuries man has carved
his way over the surface of the earth and
nature has always obliterated his traces if
left unchecked. But the present level ol

destruction

now

exceeds man's early


vital role of

far

activities

and ignores the

plants in

the great circle of

life.

Their

photosynthetic powers are life-giving processes and not infrequently when surface
plants have been removed, inland lak<

made

are

It

landscape.

to 'replace' the

was man, therefore,

excursions

in

his

countryside

the

into

early

which

began from the industrial towns of the

declining

nineteenth century

particularly in west-

prohibits the uprooting of any wild plant.

who

started the wholesale

be uprooted or collected only


by the owner of the land or anyone acting
with his permission. This is of immense

ern Europe

ravaging of plant

life.

Collection of prim-

and cowslips

roses, bluebells

initially pro-

Plants

plant

species

importance

subsequently

roads

needed

for

larger, to the clearing of the

Violet,

Valerian,

grew ever
road verges
themselves, therefore continuing the deas

nudation. The verges were originally


cleared by scythe, which took only enough
for

good hay and encouraged the regener-

ation of the grass.

The

scythe has now

been replaced by expensive sprays which


not only clear the verges but destroy plant

Man in his disregard of nature has


brought about a very serious state of

life.

affairs, not

only

in

plant

life

but in

many

but

may

vided relaxation, but this led to the clearing of tracks to make roadways which
led,

Britain,

in

random

no longer can
of any plant
such as Comfrey,

its

roots

made

Bistort.

Rampion

or

Collecting leaves, seeds or flowers from

makes

several

demands on

the

herb collector. Apart from the general


rules for harvesting, the plant

must

first

be identified correctly, and then only


harvested from localities in which it is
relatively abundant. Cleanliness is difficult to ensure
grit may be removed by
washing, though this defeats the objective

when

natural resources.

of trying to harvest

Conservation, restoration and reconstruction of natural sites, however, have


begun. The iq68 Clean Air Act has been

dry. But toxic sprays, atmospheric pollu-

responsible for reducing the

smoke haze

England which reduced the

rate of photo-

synthesis in plants.

The Conservation of

Wild Creatures and Wild Plants A(


1975

riot

only

in

provides

protection

oi

for

tion

from

heat.

artificial

Both the gathering and


are

frequently

made

simply by the
humidity.

prevailing

lower

drying

processes

easier

to herbalists, for

collection be

Dandelion.
the wild

dried out-of-doors without any form of

the plants are

by traffic and aeroplanes, and drift


chemical crop dressings are all

potential dangers.

Wild plant collecting is easier in most


Europe than in England simply

parts of

because of -the greater distribution of


plants.
The plants can VCT) often be

HARVESTING AND DRYING


The

exercised in cultivation can


be forfeited by incorrect harvesting
or inadequate drying. When the part of
the plant used is the root, harvesting is
carried out at the end of the growing

care

easily

season,

the

mature and

autumn, when the root


is

storing as

much

is

food as

possible. Seeds, too, are harvested

when

end of the season. Knowing the


moment to harvest the leaves - or in some
instances the entire herb itself
is an
ability that comes only with experience.
The general rule is to take leaves from the
plant just before the flowers are fully open
ripe at the

this

is

the time

when

the active principles

of the plant are of the best quality.

timing can be

critical

The

and care must be

exercised to take only the part of the plant

required and not so much of it as to impair


the metabolism of the whole plant. Take
only from clean and representative plants

[29

CULTIVATION
Left

Herbs may be dried by hanging them

in loose bundles

Storing
Label each

along a line in a shaded,

five days.

Material

when it snaps
thumb and finger.

between the

easily

dry

is

Fresh material should not be introduced


into the chamber before the drying process
is complete.

Drying in bulk
The same rules apply where herbs
grown

in

where an equable temperature of 32' to


34C (90 to 95Fj can be maintained
together with some form of ventilation to

and gather on a dry day when the dew has

Keep one kind

of plant material

separate from another and label

amounts

pick

mediately, for

it.

Lastly,

that can be handled imif they

are

left for

an hour or

two, they will deteriorate with the result-

ant

loss in

value.

Domestic drying
Few households can

keep the air circulating. The objective


should be to remove the moisture-laden
air while maintaining the temperature so
that the herbs can be dried evenly and
quickly. As the moisture from the atmosphere may be reabsorbed if the temperature falls (or if fresh material is added
.

frames. These allow the air to

and can

easily

be stacked if
battens are

drawn

large quantities of plant material, racks

against direct sunlight and a continual

can be constructed, so that the trays can


be stacked.
The dried material obtained will be
about one-eighth of the weight of the
harvested herb.

temperature of 25C to 34C (75 to


95F) can be achieved, perhaps by using
an electric convector heater. Attics under
a warm roof, airing cupboards, warming
drawers of domestic cookers, or even a
warm conservatory or garden shed (if it
can be shaded) all provide conditions
suitable for drying herbs. Ideally, spread

provided

with

legs

or

if

there are

Rubbing down
Once
down

and windows left open is ideal.


Small amounts can be dealt with
satisfactorily by picking the leaves from
the stalks, and crushing the leaves with a

is to dry
change the condition of
the leaves rather than the chemical content. The temperature in the drying
chamber should be 32 to 34C (90 to

them

briskly to

95F) before the plant material is introduced, and this needs to be maintained for
the first 24 hours of drying. Subsequently
the temperature may be reduced to 25 to
8oF) to complete the
process, which should take from three to
2 7C

130

(75

to

size

compare it with its various relatives.


There are large herbaria at the Natural
History Museum, London, and at the
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England,
and at the Linnean Society, London,
which houses the herbarium assembled by
Linnaeus. His widow sold it to Dr (later
Sir) James E. Smith, a founder of the
Linnean Society of London. The collec-

trying to do

it

There

is

no point

out-of-doors, for if there

in

be

lost.

kitchen or out-house with

rolling-pin or in a coffee-mill.

should be discarded.
riddle

the

at

London,

is

The Kew Herbarium was


founded by Sir William Hooker and
considerably enlarged by the work of his

Joseph Hooker, and is rich in


A large herbarium at Le
Jardin des Plantes in Paris is based upon
the collections of Antoine Laurent de
Jussieu, his son Adrieu and of Auguste de
St Hilaire. There are other important
collections in Europe in Vienna, Leiden,
Uppsala, Copenhagen and Florence. In
the United States of America the chief
son,

Sir

colonial flora.

is

fine

Harvard University,
at the New York

at

personal herbarium

Plant specimens can be assembled as a


satisfying

hobby, or

an extension

as

to

one's interest in herbs. Essential equip-

stalks

ment includes: a notebook and pencil, a


hand lens which magnifies up to 10 times,
an Ordnance Survey Map and either an

sieve or

old-fashioned vasculum or a series ol large

The

mesh

are

is

the slightest breeze most of the material


will

tion

collections

the door

is

museums of any
have extensive classified collections.
There is an obvious advantage in being
able to consult a specimen at any time of
the year, and perhaps at the same time to
dens and natural history

formed by Asa Gray, and


Botanic Garden.

frequently.

plants

herbarium or hortus siccus is a collection


of plants dried and preserved for use in
plant identification. Most botanic gar-

process should be carried out in a

well-ventilated place.

The moisture content of most


more than 70 per cent. The aim

bags are

the dry herbs are cool the rubbing

and leaves in a single layer in


flat boxes or lids, or on trays or sheets of
wrapping paper or newspaper, and during
the first day or two turn over the material
the shoots

Plastic

light.

collections.

in

circulate

the curtains can be

the

to

obviously unsuitable.

wooden

be brought

room

if

exposed

Natural History Museum,


based upon eighteenth- and
nineteenth-century collections, including
those of Sir Hans Sloane and Sir Joseph
Banks, and also houses several modern

to

wedged between them. Where

ideal

herb and store separ-

should be placed high up.


Plant material for drying in bulk is best
handled on trays constructed of plastic
mesh, nylon net or hessian stretched over

any new material that has

provide a special
room suitable for drying herbs, but a spare
is

in

THE HERBARIUM
are

bulk for drying, but the provision


of suitable drying conditions is more
difficult. Enough space has to be provided
to deal with the amount of material likely
to be ready to handle at any one time.
Some form of wooden shed can be used

gone.

sort of

an

airtight container so that


moisture cannot be reabsorbed. Wooden
boxes or screw-top jars of darkened glass
provide the best containers, because the
essential oils in herbs will deteriorate if

ately

draught-free place.

useful for the final refinements,

plastic

bags

especially for culinary herbs.

portable

Treat only one kind of material at a


time and wash the utensils each time
before dealing with another plant, or else
the aroma and flavour will be adulterated
and your effort wasted.

number

with

flower

wire fasteners,

press

to

give

the

addition to the place

a
a

The map

of

of tie-on labels.

considerable importance for


practice

or

together with

grid

it is

is

accepted

reference in

name when recording


made on

the locality for a plant. Notes are

DRYING HERBS

Above:

hortus siccus

or collection

pressed plants mounted onto paper

of

known

is

as a herbarium. Pressed specimens of various

mounted together for

trefoils are

comparison (left)

Space

is

included for

information on name, date found and


location.

the labels as to location, variation in plant

after insertion,

open up the press and

re-

modern herbarium

sheet

right)

Arrangement of the herbarium

arrange the more tractable material such

The

no confusion will arise by


the time the specimen reaches the flower
press. A portable, or even temporary,

as the petals.

plant press used out-of-doors ensures that

for

the plants are pressed absolutely fresh.

the process

paper or card folders, and when a


has been collected they
should be kept in a cupboard or metal
cabinet where dust can be excluded and
room temperature maintained. Some

features

and any other point of

special

interest, so that

The time
paper

will

herbs take to dry varies.

need

to

The

be changed especially

succulent specimens, and sometimes

be purchased from

may be hurried by keeping the


an airing cupboard or even in
the sunshine. The paper may have to be
changed at intervals of 6 to 12 hours, and

equipment

the pressure increased relative to the dry-

presses in

plant press

Special
firms

presses can

supplying

naturalists'

and from some department

home-made

stores,

but

presses are equally effective

and can be made to any size. Sheets of


absorbent drying paper are piled together
with

wooden boards

or metal sheets at the

top and bottom. These can be strapped or

clamped together

to

hold the papers and

plants firmly in position during the drying


process.

brushed

The

material to be pressed

and

is first

examined,
identified and then arranged on a sheet of
paper in such a way as to display its form
as clearly as possible. Leaves and flowers
need to be carefully flattened - a small
paintbrush is useful for this. Take a second
sheet of paper and hold down one edge
firmly on top of the sheet with the plant.
Slowly roll the top sheet down, taking care
clean

closely

not to disturb the specimens.

few hours

ness of the specimen.

when
feel

the specimen

cold

when

sheets are usually assembled loosely

in large

is

Drying is complete
crisp and does not

held to the cheek.

It

should

number

large

of classification
authoritative
system
should be followed, such as the Bentham
and Hooker which is still standard in
many herbaria. Scatter moth balls with
the collection to

ward

off insect attack.

Overleaf: The following table will enable you

then be mounted on sheets of good cartridge paper, about 43 cm by 28 cm (17 in


by 11 in), with all the relevant inform-

to select the

ation added.

It is good practice to write


on a label which is stuck to the lower
right-hand corner of the paper. Essential
information includes: name, date, place
(and grid reference) of collection and
some note about the habitat.
Mounting the specimens can be done in
one of several ways, either by gluing them
directly to the paper, or by stitching steins
and leaf margins to the paper, or by placing several gummed strips over stems, leaf

Abbreviations

this

Sp

spring

ESp

early spring

ES

summer
summer
late summer
mid-late summer
second summer
end of summer
autumn

and leaves to hold the plant


permanent position.

stalks

in

to the

herbs you wish

conditions ofyour

LS

M-LS
ss

EndS

to

grow according

site.

early

winter

LW

late winter

AT

anytime
>:!'

CULTIVATION
SELECTING AND GROWING YOUR

OWN HERBS

HERB

TYPE

SOIL

HEIGHTxSPREAD

POSITION

Achillea millefolium

perennial

well drained, tolerates

30-65x30 cm

tolerant of

most

(12-26x12

very damp, rich

50-1 40 x 90

cm

bogs, ponds, rich moist

(20-56x36

ins)

soils in full

(Yarrow)

Acorus calamus
(Sweet Flag, Rush.
Calamus)

perennial, aquatic

Ajuga reptans

perennial

damp, loamy

or dry

10-30x30 cm
(4-12x12

(Bugle)

Alchemilla vulgaris
(Lady's Mantle)

perennial

Allium cepa aggregatum


(Tree Onion. Top
Onion)

bulbous, perennial

Allium sativum

bulbous, perennial

ordinary, well-drained

30-45 x 15 cm
(12-18x6 ins) (grow

fertile,

well-drained

bulbous, perennial

ground cover
full

sun

full

sun

rows)

rows)

15-30x 15 cm

and loamy

rich

tolerant of most; useful

30-60 x10 cm
(1 2-24 x4 ins) (grow
in

Allium schoenoprasum
(Chives)

sun or shade

15-30x15 cm
(6 12x 6 ins)

(Garlic)

sun

ins)

almost any except


waterlogged

in

most

ins)

(6-1

2x6

ins)

useful for edging

(forms

clumps)

Anethum graveolens

annual

(Dill)

most acidic

soils,

but

20-90x60 cm

not too light

(8-36x24

full

sun

ins)

Angelica archangelica

biennial treated as

not too

(Angelica)

short lived perennial

acid

150-240x90 cm
(5-8x3 ft)

back of border where


is cool and moist

Anthriscus cerefolium

annual, sometimes

moist, light, well-

40x30 cm

prefers

(Chervil)

biennial

drained soils with

(16

rich, slightly

x12

it

some shade.

Mid-border plant

ins)

added compost
Artemisia absinthium

perennial

(Wormwood)

Artemisia

perennial

deeply dug clays

65-110x40 cm
(26-44x16 ins)

most

120x50 cm

most

soils: prefers

soils

(48x20

dracunculoides
(Russian Tarragon)
Artemisia dracunculus
(French Tarragon)

perennial

Artemisia vulgaris

warm,

rich

60-90x40 cm

and

officinalis

sun

full

sun

(24-36x16

perennial

most moist

90-1 80 x 40-50 cm
(3-6 ft x 16-20 ins)

back of border or
mid-border plant

perennial

dry.

90x30 cm

full

sun or some shade.

sun; seen to best

soils

sandy

(36x12

(Pleurisy Root.

Borago

full

ins)

well-drained

(Mugwort)

Asclepias tuberosa

back of border or can


be used as screen

annual

(Borage)

ins)

ins)

well-drained poor, dry

60 x 40 cm

full

soils

(24x16

effect

ins)

when

planted on

low wall
Calamintha

officinalis

perennial

chalky

soils,

30-35x50 cm

dryish

(12-14x20

(Calamint)

ins)

dry. not too

shaded

(forms

clumps)

Carum

carvi

(Caraway)

132

biennial

most well-drained

soils

65x25-30 cm
(26x10-12

ins)

full-sun.

mid-border

ACH-CAR

PROPAGATION
Sp

division

division of rhizome

Sp.

FLOWER

good

pink or white

light.

Tolerates

drought

Sp

seed

EXTRA DETAILS

only flowers

grown

in

when

greenish-yellow

water

FOLIAGE

HARVEST

grey-green, feathery,
aromatic

leaves before
flowering
S

sword-like, plentiful,
stout, smelling of

rhizome

ESp.

tangerine

whpn
division

Sp.

space 30 cm (1 2 ins)
and allow to run
together for ground

Sp

seed

apart,

rnishprl

blue; rarely pink or

deep green

white

reddish-purple

to

whole herb

whole herb

cover

Sp
ES under glass

division

spreads

seed

needs control

bulbils

Sp. S.

not shaded

Sp.

seen

cylindrical,

LS

whitish-pink

Sp-MS

drills

seedlings should not be


disturbed in first year

rose purple

do not

yellow

plant close to

blue-green

flattish. spiky,

when

Sp

seed, in

pale green, fluted

Sp.

bulbs
seed

ES

yellow

rarely

bulbs, broken into

cloves

fairly rapidly,

Sp

leaves

LS

LS

bulbs

bruised

grassy,

MS

odorous

bulbils

in

clumps

soft spikes, aromatic

Fennel. Protect from

AT

leaves

AT

leaves

seed

LS

wind
seed as soon as ripe

grows

Sp

shade, produces softer

leaves

stems Mature plants


cannot be transplanted

seed

seed,

sown at
AT

week

intervals

better in light

maintain a succession
of

young

plants

yellowish

M-LS

soft, fern-like,

aromatic

root

white

fern-like, dark green,

Do

Sp

stems

Sp. S

LS

aromatic

leaves before
flowering
AT

feathery, silvery-green,

shoots

not transplant
division

Sp.

stem cuttings
seed
A
division

Sp.

LSp-ES

seed

division

support

in

back

in

LS and cut

greenish-yellow

Give mulch
cold sites

cover

in

really

sunny sheltered

Sp. S

aromatic

greenish-white

pale green, willowy

leaves

AT

greenish-white

glossy, dark green,

leaves

AT

position

Sp

cuttings with

heat

ES

sunny sheltered
up
every 2-3 years Cut
back and mulch in
really

some

position; Divide

Sp

aromatic

division

Sp.

cuttings

seed

Sp.

dry

MS

cuttings

division

Sp

seed

dislikes

shade

brownish-yellow

Sp

division

seed

in drills

soil

bright

only a small seedling


may be transplanted
Readily self-sown

orange

blue, pink or white

dark green above,


silvery beneath,
feathery, aromatic

whole herb

narrow, alternate on

leaves

short stems

rootstock

rough, green, aromatic

flowers and leaves

AT

pale green, light and

flowers and leaves

AT

AT

MS
blue, fragrant

ES

fragrant

Sp. S.

prefers cool site

not transplant

Do

white

SS

soft green, feathery,

seedheads

aromatic

leaves

AT

rootstock of

st

year

'33

CULTIVATION
HERB

TYPE

SOIL

HEIGHTxSPREAD

POSITION

Chamaemelum nobile
(Roman Chamomile)

perennial

well-drained

15-35x10-15 cm
(6-14x4-6 ins)

full

Chenopodium album

annual

50x300 cm

most positions

(Fat

dryish, rich soils

(20 ins x 10

Hen)

Cichonum intybus

perennial

most

(3-6

Cimicifuga racemosa
(Black Cohosh)

perennial

Convallaria majalis
(Lily-of-the-Valley)

perennial

most

fertile,

ft

sunny position

x 22 ins)

90-270x90 cm
(3-9x3 ft)

loamy

rich,

ft)

90-180x55 cm

soils

(Chicory)

well-

drained soils

some shade

sun. or

Useful as lawn

woodland

rich

25 x 10

cm

front of border or

(10x4

ins) (spreads

among bushes

slowly)

Conandrum sativum

annual

fertile, light to

average

Crocus sativus
(Saffron Crocus)

bulbous, perennial

Cuminum cyminum

annual

and well-

light, rich

cm

30

well-drained

light,

30 x

purpurea

perennial, evergreen

biennial

well-drained,
calcareous

fertile,

well-drained

(Foxglove)

Foeniculum vulgare

perennial

perennial

well-drained

light,

(Alehoof)

Helianthus annuus
(Sunflower)

Hyssopus

officinalis

annual

perennial, semi-

(Hyssop)

evergreen

Inula helenium

perennial

(Elecampane)

Juniperus communis

perennial, coniferous

most

cm

light

full

sun

likes

120x40-50 cm
(48x16-20 ms)

full

plant,

sun

sun. but tolerates

shade
sun. sheltered from

c~

full

ins)

wind

10x30 cm

will tolerate

(4x12

hedge

ins) (spreads)

shade of

(3-10x3ft)

back of border, allow


much space, full sun

60x20 cm

sunny

(24x8 ms)

results

90-1 80 x 90 cm

needs sun; plant at


back of sunny border

soil,

and moist

(3-6x3

dry.

calcareous

up

up

well-drained

sheltered,

good edging

ins)

to

to

ft)

780x780 cm

(26x26
perennial, evergreen

sun

(8x8

rich

ft)

often less

1200x1200 cm

(40 x 40

(Bay)

full

20x20 cm

any

preferably

sheltered,

ms)

90-300x90 cm

soils

(Juniper)

Laurus nobilis

height

40-120x60-90
(16-48x24-36

fairly rich

(Fennel)

Glechoma hederacea

in

ins)

(12x6

Dianthus caryophyllus
(Clove Pink)

protected situation,

sunshine needed,
mid-border plant

ins)

30-45 cm
(12-18

drained

(Cumin)

Digitalis

60

(24x12

(Coriander)

ft)

often less

situation for best

banks in sunny
good drainage

sheltered spot, free

from wind and

good container
Lavandula angustifolia

perennial, evergreen

(Lavender)

Ledum groenlandicum

perennial, evergreen

(Lovage)

'34

90x60 cm

poor

soils

(36x24

wet.

rich,

sandy or

perennial

fertile, acidic,

prepared

well-

ins)

ins)

frost,

plant

not too exposed,

(bushy)

up to 90 x 90 cm

(36x36

peaty

(Labrador Tea)

Levi stic um officinalis

chalky, well-drained,

spot,

(forms

prefers

full

sun

some sun

or shade on
bogs or swampland,

mat)

not too dry.

90-210x90 cm
(3-7x3 ft)

Some shade

or full

sun

CHA-LEV
PROPAGATION
division

Sp.

cuttings

FLOWER

best when a patch of


plants are grown

white daisy

together.

Sp

seed

EXTRA DETAILS

Keep

FOLIAGE

HARVEST

pale green fern-grass

whole herb

very soft mid-green

shoots

jagged, green

root
leaves

S-LS

soil

moist around young


plants

mealy-white

Sp

seed

Sp.

division

seed

Sp

seed

Sp

SS

clear blue

yellowish-white

division

Sp.

division

25 wide

leaflets

Sp

A
S

rootstock

A
takes time to establish

can be grown

itself,

in

white, sweetly-scented

mid-green, upright

whole flowers,
ES

fern-like, green, smells

seeds

unpleasant just before


seeds ripen

leaves

grass-like

stigmas

thread-like, slightly

seeds

ES

plant

pots

may require support.


Do not transplant

seed (slow to
germinate, but
usually high
germination)

corm

seed

Sp

pinkish-mauve,
sometimes white

M-LS

End S

AT

Sp
divide every 3 years

water well

in

drought

mauve

pinkish-white

End S

fragrant

pipings or layering

pink, white and


combined arrangement

grey, clean, spiky in

flowers

leaves

ES

shape

of these colours, very

M-LS

fragrant

protect 1 st year
seedlings from frost

Sp. S

seed

division

seed

Sp

give

enough space, and

sow

in

Sp.

division

Sp.

SS

magenta

mid-green, wrinkled,
soft

yellow

succession

ground cover, allow


space, but it may need

bluish

thread-like, strongly

leaves

aromatic

seed

green, marbled with

ES

silver, slightly

S
S
S

leaves

aromatic

control

may need support

Sp

seed

Sp
ES

division

cuttings

seed

or

Sp

Replace every 4-5

Sp

division

seed

cut back

bright yellow

MS

bluish-mauve, pink or
white
ES-LS

End S

green, roughish

seed

dark green, bushy,


aromatic

flowers and shoot

when

years
Sp.

replace every 3 years

bright yellow

MS

large,

mid-green

Sp.

leaves before
flowering
Sp
roots

cuttings

tips,

available

greenish-yellow

useful as container

very difficult

LS

cuttings

creamy-yellow

ES

dark green

berries

when

smooth dark green

leaves

AT

grey, aromatic

leaves
flowers

short oblong

leaves

AT

strong green, deeply


cut. aromatic

leaves

prickly,

ripe

plant out-of-doors,

withstands clipping

AT

stem cuttings
seed
Sp

Sp

seeds
layering

division

Sp.

.ion

Sp.

seed

Sp. S

regular pruning

mauve, fragrant

suit evergreen borders.


but requires shade

cream

disappears below

yellowish

ground
spot to

W. mark the
ensure no other
in

Sp

MS

MS

MS

roots

seed

LS

plants are too close

35

CULTIVATION
HERB

TYPE

SOIL

Melissa officinalis

perennial

warm, not too

dry,

poor

perennial

very moist or aquatic

(Water Mint)

Mentha

citrata

POSITION

60-90x40-60 cm

full

(24-36x16-24

(Lemon Balm)

Mentha aquatica

HEIGHTxSPREAD

biennial

15-90x1 5-20 cm

will tolerate

(636 x 68

suitable as a

ins) (spreads)

35-45x15-20 cm
(14-18x6-8 ins)

moist and rich

(Eau de Cologne Mint)

sun or some shade

ins)

shade,

bog plant

full

sun or some shade

full

sun or some shade

(spreads)

Mentha

x piperita

perennial

(Peppermint)

Mentha pulegium

perennial

moist, for

good

results

50-60x20 cm

add moisture-retaining

(20-24x8

material to

(spreads)

all

soils

ins)

0-30 x 20 cm
(4-12x8 ins)

fertile

(Pennyroyal)

can tolerate shade

(spreads)

Monarda didyma

perennial

moist,

and very

fertile

Add manure

(Bergamot)

70x30 cm

good

(28 x

some shade

2 ins) (forms

light,

but tolerates

clumps)
Myrrhis odorata

perennial

(Sweet Cicely)

Myrtus communis

perennial, evergreen

90 x 15

cm

moist

(36 x 6

ins)

well-drained

300

well-drained,

fertile

and

150 cm

(10x5

(Myrtle)

Nasturtium officinale

perennial, aquatic

(Watercress)

very damp, rich


in

Nepeta catana

perennial

soil,

or

shallow water

fertile,

well-drained

(Catmint. Catnep)

(bushy)

ft)

060 cm

(4-24

in

length

slight

shade

needs

shelter, dislikes

wet

full

soil

sun or some shade

ins)

50 x 40 cm
(20x 16 ins)

mid-border plant
tolerant of

most

situations

Ocimum

basilicum

annual

light,

well-drained

45x15 cm
(18x6

(Basil)

Origanum majorana
(Sweet Marjoram)

perennial, usually

medium

grown

alkaline

(10x4-6

Origanum onites

perennial

dry. light

50x20 cm

as annual

rich,

dryish and

25 x 10-15

cm

with good

rich, fertile

grown

tilth

(12-20x8

Portu/aca oleracea
(Purslane)

annual

light

25 x 20 cm

as annual

(10x8

ins)

ins)

perennial

light,

calcareous

(Salad Burnet)
perennial

Reseda lutea

perennial treated as

(Mignonette)

annual, evergreen

Rosmarinus
(Rosemary)

perennial, evergreen

136

sunny position

most

soils

moderately
calcareous

rich,

light, well-drained
calcareous

good edging plant,


grow in rows

sunny spot
(forms

mat)

officinalis

sun

requires

30-50x20 cm

biennial, usually

(Parsley)

officinalis

full

ins)

Petrose/inum crispum

Pulmonaria
(Lungwort)

sun

(20x8 ms)

(Pot Marjoram)

Potenum sanguisorba

full

ins)

in herb
border or kitchen
garden

30 x 25 cm

needs damp, grassy

(12x10

surroundings

ins)

20x20 cm

front of border, tolerant

(8x8

of

ins)

shade and shrubs

90x20 cm

mid-border

(3x8

prefers

ins)

60-120x180 cm
(2-4x6 ft)

full

plant,

some shade

sun.

good

for

hedges; prostrate form


provides useful ground
cover

MEL-ROS
PROPAGATION
stem cuttings
Sp.

division

seed

Sp. S

EXTRA DETAILS

FLOWER

spreads, needs tidying

creamy-white

needs confining,
otherwise spreads and

mauve

MS

FOLIAGE

HARVEST

light green, wrinkled,


very fragrant

leaves

ES.

division of runners

during growing season

is

division of runners
during growing season

MS

shining green, aromatic

leaves and shoots


S.

invasive

MS

lilac-mauve

needs confining,
otherwise spreads

roundish, green to

leaves and shoots

brown- purple- bronze

S.

in

dry situations,

aromatic
division of runners

needs confining.

during growing season

otherwise spreads and


is

division of runners

during growing season

MS

lilac

dark bronze-purple
ranging to black in dry
situations, aromatic

invasive

may need
may need

MS

mauve

confining
protection

in

Sp.

divide regularly as

centre tends to
bare.

seed

LS.

Cut back

requires acidic

Sp

root cuttings

red

grow
in

ES

creamy-white

soil,

deeply dug. Very easily


self-sown

white

often needs wall

MS-End

protection and shelter

layering

MS

from winds

division

clean water to

deep green, sometimes

leaves and shoots

variegated, creeping,

S.

dark green, strongly

leaves and flowers as

fragrant

required

grow

in

root

leaves

Sp. S

light green, smallish

leaves

berries

dark green, shiny,

white, very small

dark green, soft and


fern-like

cuttings of

plentiful,

non-flowering shoots

flavour

Sp. S.

cuttings, with heat

aromatic

severe winters
division

leaves and shoots


S.

AT

whole shoot

pungent

division

Sp.

blue spires

Sp.

seed

under glass ESp


ES

outside

Sp.

seed

Sp

seed

Sp.

warmest spot

available

green, triangular,

pink

soft,

mid-green,

fragrant

cultivated

cream

soft,

shoots before
flowering
Sp

leaves

AT

pungent
tender and not widely

ES
seed
stem cuttings
division

green-grey.
aromatic

seed

purplish or whitish

long period for


germination, assist by

creamy-white

SS

leaves before
flowering
S

soft green, fragrant

leaves before
flowering
S

crisp, curled, bright

leaves

leaves

leaves

AT

green, fragrant

pre-soakmg seed
seed

Sp

ought

to

be thinned

yellow

light green,

with

seed

Sp

division
after

seed

immediately

Sp.

smooth

sheen

green

reddish-green

pretty, dark

appreciates some shade


and moisture

pink and blue

Sp. ES

rough, silvery marks on


dark green

leaves

does not transplant

spires of reddish-yellow

mid-green

whole

successfully

rosette

best

flowering

sown

in drills

in

basal

Sp. S

plant

which

withers before flowers


arrive

cuttings
layering

S
S

withstands clipping

pale mauve-blue

may

ES. often

suffer in cold,

exposed, windy

Sp.

highly aromatic,
grey-green, narrow

leaves as required

sites

'37

CULTIVATION
HERB

TYPE

SOIL

Ruta graveolens
(Rue)

perennial, semi-

most

evergreen

soils not

damp

HEIGHTxSPREAD

POSITION

50-70

full

x 60 cm
(20-28x24 ins)

sun; will tolerate

some shade

(bushy)
Salvia officinalis

perennial, evergreen

90x90 cm

dryish

rich,

(Purple Sage)

Salvia sclarea

(36 x 36

biennial or perennial

and well-drained

light

(Clary)

Sanguinaria canadensis
(Blood Root)

perennial

Santolina

perennial, evergreen

loamy

rich,

light,

well-drained

chamaec yparissus

allow space, prefers

(bushy)

ins)

full

sun

90x30 cm

will tolerate a little

(36 x

shade

2 ins)

20x30 cm

cool, moist

(8x12

woodland,
under shrubs

ins)

40-60 x 40-60 cm
(16-24x16-24 ins)

good edging

30-90x30 cm

mid-border or grassy
bank, spreading

likes

plant,

sunshine

(Cotton Lavender)

Saponaria officinalis
(Soapwort.

perennial

dampish

fertile,

(12-36x12

ins)

Bouncing Bet)
Satureia

montana

perennial

light,

perennial

ordinary

15-40x15-40 cm
(6-16x6-16 ins)

well-drained

(Winter Savory)

Stachys

officinalis

(Wood Betony)

Symphytum

officinale

perennial

perennial

full

(6-36 x 10

shade

moist, fertile

50-90x30 cm

tolerant of shade, likes

(20-36x12

dampish situations

some

loam

or sand, moist

light,

well-drained

Thymus citriodorus
(Lemon Thyme)

perennial

light,

well-drained,

slightly acid

ins)

full

some

sun or semi-shade

ins)

25x20 cm
(10x8

(Wall Germander)

ins)

120x90 cm
(48x36

perennial

sun. tolerates

15-90x25 cm

soil, likes

(Tansy)

Teucnum chamaedrys

sun. front of border

humus

(Common Comfrey)
Tanacetum vulgare

full

needs good drainage,


base of wall or in
paving

ins)

at

10-20x25-30 cm
(4_8x10-12 ins)

full

sun; carpet-forming,

needs paving or front


of border position

Thymus serpyllum
(Wild Thyme)

Tussilago farfara

perennial

perennial

light,

most

well-drained

soils

(Coltsfoot)

5-10x20-40 cm
(2-4x8-16 ins)

full

(creeps)

of border position

20x10 cm
(8x4 ins)

dry banks, under shrubs

sun; carpet-forming,

needs paving or front

where

it

can become

naturalized

Valeriana officinalis
(Valerian)

perennial

Valerianella locusta

annual

rich

and moist

(54x12-16

rich

(Corn Salad)

Verbascum thapsus

biennial

dryish, fertile, chalky

perennial, evergreen

well-drained

(Periwinkle)

shaded borders

ins)

10-20x15-25 cm
(4_8x6-10 ins)

90-180x25 cm
(3-6 ftx10

(Mullein)

Vmca major

135x30-40 cm

edge

of herb

bed or

kitchen garden

full

sun. back of border

ins)

5-40 x 90 cm
(616 x 36 ins)
1

good

for planting

on

banks

(spreads)
Viola odorata

(Sweet

138

Violet)

perennial

well-drained, previously
enriched, moist soil

10-20x5 cm
(4-8x2 ins)

some shade, moist


banks

RUT-VIO
PROPAGATION
LS

cuttings

seed

Sp

layering

FLOWER

needs pruning back


every 2nd year

yellow

does not

S
S

cuttings

EXTRA DETAILS

like

windy

mauve-purple

sites

FOLIAGE

HARVEST

grey-green, small,
aromatic

leaves

grey (some forms


variegated or purple),

flowers and bracts

pungent
Sp,

division

seed

mauve-blue, rather
S

division

keep moist

after

when young

white or pinkish

Sp

stem cuttings
layering

division

cut back in Sp.


Withstands clipping

yellow

S
seed (slow)

lift

division

Sp

division

Sp.

and divide plants

Sp

each

bushy

AT

leaves

leaves and shoots

pale green, soft

roots

M LS

white or pink

small, dark, aromatic,

leaves

Sp. S.

leaves

leaves

LS-S

leaves

Sp. S

enduring subshrub

every 3 years. Cut back

layering

soft green, aromatic

rose-pink

Sp

division

root cuttings

division

Sp.

Sp.

Sp.

trim in

stem cuttings

cuttings

division

Sp.

remove flowers
promote leaves

to

rampant spreader,
needs chopping back,
confining and
sometimes supporting

division

large,

rough and

stiff.

pale green

yellow buttons

dark green, fern-like

pungent

blue-mauve

Sp

LS-S

blue and pink

dark green, shiny,

(decorative plant)

bushy growth

trim

back each year

pinkish-mauve

minute, dark green,


aromatic

leaves and shoots

grey-green, minute,
aromatic

leaves and shoots

dark green, felt-like,


grey underneath

flowers
leaves

green, shiny

rootstock

pale green, smooth,

leaves as required

S.

layers

cuttings

division

Sp.

trim

back each year

pink

layers

division

invasive,

root cuttings

seed

rhizome

lobed

coral-like, grey

pink or white,
sometimes with red

Sp

stem cuttings

seed

solitary leaf stem,

growth

marks

seed

leaves

leaf

flowering

seed

dark green, broad

variable

Sp

Sp.

Sp.

division of rootstock

needs to be

yellow - appearing

confined

before leaves

divide and replant

pinkish-white

LW. ESp

LS

ESp
Sp

every 4 years

A
seed

Sp.

sow

in drills,

make

successive sowings

mauve
used

seed

Sp.

lighten

heavy

soils

Do

allow to flower

not

if

for salads

strong yellow

roughly spoon-shaped,
rosette

SS

growth

felt-like,

silver-white

before sowing
cuttings

division

Sp.

can be invasive, keep

runners
ESp
seed (slow)
Sp
division

it

leaves

stem

mauve-blue

ES

shines, dark green

within bounds

violet

Sp

dark to mid-green

S,

(decorative plant)
leaves

Sp-S

flower

Sp

after

flowering

139

'

*****A\'
'/-

*r-

*>
ff-

*'

'

>-"'*
..

jf'jjf

Reference section
I
yV

te-*4
'.V

The

-1

of 420 of the most important herbs,


each illustrated with a photograph or
drawing and with its characteristics and
constituents described in full. The enormous variety and extent of the powers of
plants is amply demonstrated in these
entries. The practical information included gives ideas on how to cultivate
those herbs that interest you, together
with a concise indication of their uses,
whether culinary, medicinal or otherwise.
Once again, however, we must stress that
the medicinal use of plants requires expert
knowledge. In this respect, the book is a
reference work rather than a guide to
practical application. Under no circumstances should readers use the information
iu these pages for home treatment without
first

taking expert advice.

The

cultivation section states whether

is found in the wild state (as


most are), or whether it is found wild only
as an escape from cultivation, and also
gives details of commercial and horticultural cultivation where applicable. Re-

the species

'*

J=

lists

the parts of the plant,

commonly

together with their uses, most

employed.

In

necessary to

list

some

cases,

it

has been

different parts of the plant

for different uses, as the effects of different

parts of plants can vary widely

to the

extent of being contradictory.

The naming of herbs

often causes prob-

We

have used the Latin botanical


names of the plants (the most accurate
system), followed by the preferred common name in bold type with some of the
alternatives. The Latin names have particular significance, and it is as well to
lems.

know how

they are

made

up.

The

follow-

example is of a relatively complex


name, as the herb is a hybrid, although
ing

the principles apply to

Mentha x
LABIATAE

all

other species:

piperita var. citrata (Ehr.) Briq.

Bergamot Mint Eau

de Cologne Mint/

Orange Mint
In this example, Mentha indicates the
genus and piperita the species; (Ehr.)
stands for Ehrhart which is the name of
the botanist

who

first classified

the species

and

and, in addition, those closely related

accepted reclassification - thus without


brackets. Originally this plant was classified by Linnaeus simply as Mentlm piperita,
but it was then reclassified by Ehrhart as
Mentha x piperita var. citrata; the x indicates

varieties

species that are cultivated as medicinal or

economic plants

for the

same purpose

as

the species in question are also mentioned.

Left:

A mass

the wild.
the

of different herbs

growing

in

Many

of the herbs described on


following pages
over 420 species -

can be collected easily and put


>

which arc of greater


horticultural importance have been noted,
lated

V7

-J

Each entry

following pages include a detailed

list

oj different uses,

to

a variety

which include culinary,

medicinal and cosmetic.

the

Briq. (the abbreviation of Briquet)

name

that the plant

is

a cross between Mentha

spicata

and Mentha

means

that this

is

is

of the person responsible for the

is

aquatica,

and the

'var.'

a variety of mint which

not sufficiently distinct to be classified as

a separate species. Labiatae indicates the

family to which the plant belongs.

'

1'

ABI-ADI
Abies alba Mill,

pinaceae

Silver Fir
This conifer was once the source of 'Strassburg
Turpentine', first described in detail by Belon
in

De

in the

now

Arboribus coniferis (1553).

London Pharmacopoeia
and the

rarely collected,

It

was retained

until

leaves,

788. It

is

buds and

fresh resin are only used in folk medicine.


Description Coniferous evergreen tree to 50

trunk straight, branches brownish and pubescent;

leaves simple,

needle-like,

glossy

and

dark green above, rounded at apex; to 3 cm


long. Monoecious, the male cones small;
female to 16 cm long, erect, becoming reddishbrown, with deciduous scales. Appearing late
spring to early summer.

Native to central and southern


Europe; mountainous regions from 400-2000
m altitude. Introduced elsewhere.

Distribution

Cultivation

especially

and

Employed

Wild.

horticulturally,

the cultivars Columnaris,

Compacta

Pendula. Dislikes polluted air.

Constituents Oleo-resin

comprising turpentine;
provitamin A.

essential oil; a sugar, abietite;

Uses

(leaves,

occasionally)

fresh

ant; carminative.

of bronchitis,
flatulent colic.

resin,

oil

of turpentine

Antiseptic; diuretic; expector-

Employed

cystitis,

The

in the

treatment

leucorrhoea, ulcers and

oil is

an

irritant

and can be

applied externally, diluted, as a rubefacient in


neuralgia.
externally,

1677. It was included in the London


Pharmacopoeia of 72
Description Moderate sized tree, 9-12 m high;
until

Contra-indications

The

and may

should only be used


cause skin reactions.
oil

trunk short, not straight, 1.5-2 m


thorny branches; light

in girth;

straggling

feathery

rough, dark grey-brown bark; pale

foliage;

yellow flowers.
Distribution

Indigenous

ma; common
plains of

to eastern India,

Burma, forests of tropical


Not cultivated; trees

Cultivation

Bur-

of Ceylon,

in hotter, drier parts

east Africa.
felled

and

processed.
Constituents Astringent action

due

Not cultivated;

trees incised

and

collected early winter.

mainly of calcium, magnesium and potassium salts of arabic acid


(arabin). Forms a mucilage in water.
Uses (dried gummy exudation from stems and
branches; Soothing for inflamed tissue. Used
in mouth lozenges, cough mixtures, emulsions.
Highly nutritious taken as gruel. Adhesive.
Constituents Consists

L acanthaceae

Acanthus mollis

red, catechol.

Bear's Breech Brank Ursine


The specific name, Acanthus from the Greek
akanthos, ake meaning thorn, anthos meaning
flowers) occurs frequently in Greek and Roman

and strained extract of heartwood


dark brown solid mass

Powerful astringent, useful


tions of throat,
as

Used

gargle.

inflamed condiused diluted


treat diarrhoea and
for

gums and mouth;


to

and boils. Wood for posts,


heating and charcoal. Catechu and bark for
tanning and dyeing.

externally for ulcers

Acacia Senegal

L) Willd. leguminosae

Gum Arabic Acacia Gum/Gummi


When

the Egyptians brought

Gulf of Aden

acaciae

gum from

in the seventeenth

century

the
B.C.,

they called it Kami and used it mainly for


painting and as an adhesive for lapis lazuli or
coloured glass. Theophrastus mentioned Kami,
in the fourth

142

Cultivation

gum

Indigenous to east and west Africa.


Arabia and India.

in

catechu-

to

chips, forming very

leguminosae
Catechu Black Cutch/Kutch
This herb was known as Cacho or Kat and was
an important export from India to China,
Arabia and Persia in the sixteenth century. It
was introduced to Europe in the seventeenth
century from Japan. The dark brown extract
was not recognized as a vegetable substance

Common

tannic acid. Also contains quercetin, catechu


Uses (boiled

Acacia catechu (L) Willd.

flowers yellowish, fragrant; corolla white.


Distribution

Gummi

century

B.C.,

and Celsus

called

it

century B.C.
Arabian physicians at the medieval school of
Salerno used it and it was liable for customs
duty at Pisa and Paris. It reached London by
via Venice. Gum Arabic is still used
1 52
pharmaceutically.
acanthinum

in

the

first

Description

Low

tree,

3-6

high,

bending grey

branches, grey bark leaves pale green, smooth


;

ABI-ADI
writings referring to different prickly plants.

periods. Stimulates gastric secretion.

The

Fresh herb in salads.

beautiful leaves stimulated designs for the

of columns

decoration

classical

in

Greek

oblong
dark green and
leaves

undulating margins,
30-60 cm long; stems straight to 150 cm
high; white or lilac pink flowers on spikes,

with

glossy,

summer.
Distribution

Native of southern Europe.

Now

widely distributed.
ordinary soil prefers deep
sun or partial shade. Propa-

Cultivation Tolerates

loam, either

full

gate by division in spring or


cuttings, or seed, in spring.
as

house plant

Uses

autumn;

May

root

be cultivated

in large pot in full light.

Crushed leaves once used

for

burns and

scalds.

Hops

in

for greasy skin.

was an ancient herb of the East


mentioned in the Bible in the book
of Exodus. It was probably introduced into
Russia by the Mongolians in the eleventh
century, and into Poland by the thirteenth. At
the end of the sixteenth century it was widely
distributed by the Viennese botanist Clausius.
Description Hardy, vigorous, aromatic perennial; much branched rhizome, 3 cm thick,
bearing sword-shaped leaves with wavy margin,
m high and 15 mm wide. Small flowers
Acorus calamus

Ching' sticks.
Contra-indications Large doses produce headaches and vertigo.
Snuff; tobacco substitute.

'I

Aconitum napellus L ranunculaceae


Aconite Monkshood/Blue Rocket/Wolfsbane
This lethal herb was widely employed as an
arrow poison by the ancient Chinese and its
generic name comes from the Greek akontion
meaning a dart. Napellus means 'little turnip'
- a reference to the shape of its tuberous root.
Aconitum napellus was an important herb among
the thirteenth-century Welsh physicians of
Myddvai but was not introduced into medicine

and

L compositae

Yarrow
Weed
From

Milfoil/ Wound wort/Carpenter's

ancient times

this

herb has been associ-

wounds and the


stemming of blood-flow, hence the generic
name; Achilles, for example, was supposed to
ated

with

have cured
A.

healing of

the

his

millefolium

warriors with

its

traditionally

has

Hardy herbaceous perennial;

Description

leaves.

had a wide

medical use.

Aromatic perennial, far-creeping


stoloniferous herb; erect furrowed stem, 8-60

also

AW<

'''/

essen-

biennial as roots produced one year,

tially

flower the next; stem erect reaching 150 cm;


leaves dark green, glossy, 3-8 cm wide, divided
flowers
2

cm

(summer and autumni

violet

blue,

high, helmet shaped, in terminal clusters.

Indigenous to Alps and Pyrenees;


mountainous districts of northern hemisphere.

Distribution

Prefers moist soils in shade.

Root division
daughter roots are stored
then planted mid-winter
Cultivation

Description

is

generally until the eighteenth century.


Achillea millefolium

Sedge/Myrtle

Flag

Cosmetic cleanser

Hardy perennial;

L araceae
Calamus Sweet Flag/Sweet

Acorus calamus

substitute

brewing.

architecture.
Description

Can

cm high; white or pinkish flowers early


summer to autumn and slightly hairy bipinnate leaves, 2-10 cm long, divided into fine

sown

leaflets.

Constituents

in

garden

in

autumn;

in a

warm

in moist

selected

place and

loam. Seeds

spring flower in 2-3 years. Attractive


decoration; blue, white and violet

cultivars include Blue Spectre, Sparks Variety.

Sedative and toxic action due to

Widespread in temperate zones;


native to Europe; on all but poorest soils.
Cultivation
Increase by division spring or
autumn. Grows in any soil in sunny position.
Distribution

Constituents

and
Uses

Volatile

oil

Distribution

parts,

and urinary

including flowers)

antiseptic.

Combines with

Only

Elderflowers and Peppermint for colds and

Of use

flowers in water.

Constituents Bitter,

hypertension and coronary


thrombosis, dysentery and diarrhoea. Fresh
influenza.

long.

to central Asia, eastern

zones, in

Diaphoretic; antipyretic; hypotensive; diuretic

Indigenous

Europe; now native in northern temperate


marshy regions.
Cultivation Needs
moist soil and frequent
watering, best by water margins. Divide
clumps early spring or autumn, cover well.

containing azulene;

a glycoalkaloid, achilleine.

(dried aerial

summer), on inflorescence 4~8cm

(early

in

aromatic, volatile

oil; bitter

principle, acorin.

Uses (dried rhizome) Carminative; vermifuge;


spasmolytic; diaphoretic. Stimulates salivary

leaf alleviates toothache. Regulates menstrual

and

gastric glands. Slight sedative action

on

central nervous system. Best used in flatulent

dyspepsia.
Beer flavouring and liqueur. Candied rhizomes
used as sweetmeats. Young leaf buds in salads.

colic,

Insecticide; powder repels white ants.


Perfume additive similar to orris root. Toothpowder, hair-powders and dry shampoos.

Snuff.
Contra-indications

Oil

of acorus

has reputed

carcinogenic properties.

alkaloid, aconitine.

Also contains picraconi-

Adiantum capillus-veneris L polypodiaceae


Maidenhair Fern Venus Hair
The generic name Adiantum is from the Greek

tine and aconine.

word

Uses (dried root tubers, whole plant fresh or

repels water

dried

wet environment. The specific and

Sedative; pain

killer; antipyretic.

used for feverish conditions,


ally for neuralgia

and

now

only extern-

"

S.

To

names

POISON-

be used only by medical personnel.

unwetted, since the foliage

and the

plant's natural habitat

refer to the hair of the

fine, shiny,

sciatica.

Contra-indications All parts intensely


(

Once

adiantos or

pudenda

is

common
after the

black petioles. This was once the

most important herbal ingredient of a popular


cough syrup called Capillaire which remained

'43

ADO-AGA
divided into 3 leaflets.
Distribution Native to Europe, naturalized in
eastern North America: often near habitation.

hedgerows.

Wild;

Cultivation

vigorous

too

for

garden

cultivation, although A. podagraria variegatum

used for edging.


dried herb, fresh root and leaf Diuretic:
sedative. Traditionally taken as a drink for
gout and sciatic pains. Boiled root and leaf in
is

Uses

hot poultice applied to joints.

Young

leaves

fresh

cooked

spring

in

as

vegetable: taste similar to spinach. Used in


salads.

L hippocastanaceae

Aesculus hippocastanum

Horse Chestnut
was the

Aesculus

but

the

classical

of the

origins

uncertain:

name

of an oak tree

common name

was used extensively

it

are

in the East

and horse fodder: alternatively the


may have differentiated it
the edible Sweet Chestnut, Castanea

as cattle

prefix

from

'horse'

sativa.

Deciduous

Description

tree

up

to

very resinous buds, bark smooth


in use until the

Some

nineteenth century.

10-40 cm tall;
petioles thin, delicate, black and shiny. Leaves
ovate to narrowly triangular, finely pinnate,
pinnules fan-shaped and toothed: sori reddishbrown on the underside of leaf tips.
Distribution Native to Great Britain, central
and south Europe. Now world-wide in temperate and tropical regions. Especially near
the sea, in caves, wells, on damp walls; cliffs,
on chalky soils; but also to 1300 m altitude.
Description

Cultivation

loam and

Perennial

fern

Wild. Cultivated as a pot plant in


leaf mould mix: requires moisl

atmosphere. Propagate by division.


Constituents Mucilage; tannins; gallic

white or double flowered varieties are

cultivated.

cymarin.
Valuable heart tonic, not
cumulative and less toxic than Digitali-.
Dilates coronary arteries. Not widely used due
to irregular absorption. Vermifuge.
Constituents Glycosides, including

Uses

dried herb

Contra-indications

POISONOUS

Aegopodium podagraria

The name

Weak expectorant: bechic: weak emmenagogue: weak diuretic.


Principally employed in chest complaints
such as respiratory catarrh, and coughs. Once
used in the treatment of both pleurisy and
asthma but with little effect in the latter.

herb

Description Perennial

in

suits rockeries.

144

in

and the

ancient times, from

Distribution

Native

Cultivation

Grows

Constituents

in

many soils:

often self-sown.

arin: tannins.
i'ses
fresh seed without seed-coat, branch
bark Tonic; narcotic: antipyretic. Bark employed traditionally in intermittent fevers.

Combined

of constituents

action

strengthens

and

arteries

thrombosis.

Seed

extract

rhoids. Fruit

mash

for cattle

Contra-indications

wide.

soils in full

Balkan peninsula: now

Saponin: aescine: flavones; coum-

Seed

veins,

of seeds
preventing

relieves haemorand sheep fodder.

POISONOLS. To

be

used by medical personnel only.


Aethusa cynapium

moist

to

widely cultivated.

solitary,

L umbelliferae

Fool's Parsley Lesser Hemlock

sun or

sunnv position. A. vernalis


A. annua cannot be transplanted.

shade: flowers best

very

umbels of white flowers summer


2-7 cm
wide; leaves 10-20 cm long with stalks, sub-

garden.

Grows

seed.

weed with creeping root20-40 cm bearing

Central and south-east Europe.


Occasionally wild in temperate zones: can be
in the

green, containing

stock; hollow stem reaching

Distribution

Cultivation

on erect conical

spiny,

vegetable.

blood the herb sprang. It is still retained in


several European pharmacopoeias. There are
two varieties, A. vernalis with yellow flowers
and A. annua with red flowers.
Description Perennial herb. 10-30 cm high;
sparingly branched, leaves numerous and

grown

brown

yellowish,

fruit

Greek aigos meaning goat; podos meaning


and podagra the Latin for gout. In the
Middle Ages it was cultivated as a pot herb or

L ranunculaceae

cm

or

foot

False Hellebore Pheasant's Eye/Spring


Adonis Ox-eye
The name is derived from the legend of Adonis,
who was killed by a wild boar and from whose

terminal, rich yellow. 3-6

pink

inflorescence:

L umbelliferae

suggests both the leaf shape

the

essential oil.

early spring

white,

Herb Gerard
acid:

fresh, or dried, leafy fronds occasionally

divided: flowers

and becomes scaly: leaves subdivided into 5-7


leaflets, 8-20 cm long: flowers early summer

Ground Elder Goutweed/Bishops-weed/

minute quantities of an

much

high:

sonnel only.

specific use of this

Adonis vernalis

in

small amounts: to be used by medical per-

sugars; various bitter principles: capillarine:

i'ses

even

35

when young

Known

in

to

Dog

Poison

sixteenth-century apothecaries as

apium rusticum.

this

is

a highly poisonous herb.

ADO-AGA
as

indeed the

common names

when

required

suggest.

Care

orthodox western medicine, the use of Buchu


was learned from the native Hottentots by the
colonists of the Cape of Good Hope. It was
first introduced
to Europe in 1821. Until

is

collecting edible plants from

the wild. Fool's Parsley, for example, can easily


be taken for an edible Parsley.

Annual, flimsy looking, rarely more


high, thin, hairless, hollow stem
leaves triangular, segments ovate, pinnatifid:
umbels of white flowers (summer 2-6 cm
wide with 3 or 4 long pendulous bracteoles.
Distribution Native to Europe; common, widely
distributed; weed of cultivated ground.
Cultivation Wild plant.
Constituents Toxic principle an alkaloid, cyno-

recent legislation most of the leaf production

Description

than 30

cm

was used
States.

is

still

used by herbalists and


Originally classified as

African tribesmen.
Barosma betulina Bergius Bartl. & H.L. Wendl.
Description A small shrub 1 1.5 m high bearing
smooth rod-shaped branches with leathery,
|

glossy,

long, 5

pale yellowish-green

mm

cm

wide.

leaves

Young

cm

1-2

twigs and

toothed margins of leaves have conspicuous

pine.

Uses

United

as a cordial flavouring in the

Buchu

Stomachic; sedative. Once


gastro-intestinal complaints of chil-

dried herb

used for

dren, convulsions,

summer

Contra-indications

Very

amounts

pain,

cause

glands.

confusion

oil

flowers.

Cape province of South Africa:


mountain-sides and hillsides on dry soil.

Distribution

diarrhoea.

POISONOUS.

White

Wild plant; cultivated on hillsides.


comprising up to 40
diosphenol; limonene and menthone.
Uses dried leaf) Urinary antiseptic; of use in
cystitis and urethritis. A weak diuretic.
Used to flavour brandy Buchu brandvV
Used as a blackcurrant flavouring.
Black South Africans use the leaves mixed
with oil as a body perfume.

Small

Cultivation

of vision,

Constituents Volatile oil

vomiting.

L agavaceae
Century Plant Agave/American Aloe
Agave americana

rtfV

from the Greek for admirable, after the


appearance; the common name refers
to the mistaken belief that it flowers only after
a hundred years' growth. In many tropical
countries the Agave provides one of the
cheapest and most effective cattle fences availAgave

mm

pulp and brown seeds, 2


wide.
Cultivation Wild: cultivated particularly

in

Ghana.
pungent resin.
Hot and pepper)
pepper substitute.

Constituents Essential oil;


(

ft!

seeds

Stimulant.

condiment: used

as

Traditionally used in veterinary medicine.

able.

Agathosma

betulina fBerg.

Pillans.

rutaceae

Bucco/Short Buchu/Round Buchu


the tew indigenous plants ol southern
Africa to lincl a place in both traditional and

Aframomum

melegueta Rose,

monocotyledon, eventuflowering after 10 years or more, after

Description Succulent
al lv

Buchu
One ol

is

plant's

which

although frequently leaving


Leaves are very thick,
5-20 cm wide,
long, grey, smooth, and
spiny-edged. Flowers to 3 cm long, pale
it

dies,

suckers at the base.


1

12m

zingiberaceae

Grains of Paradise Melegueta Pepper/


Guinea Grains

The name

Melegueta is derived from the am ienl


African empire ol Mellc which extended ovei
the Upper Niger region. It was originally
transported from the African west coast across

the deseit

to

porta on

the

Tripoli

coast.

It

served as a spice

in

and was one of

the ingredients ol the spiced

medieval European cuisine

Known as grana parmh n


was imported from distant lands, it
was sold at Lyons in 1245. At the same time the
Welsh physicians ol Myddvai called it grawn
wine,

hippocras.

because

it

Paris'.

Herbaceous reed-like plant,


2.5
high, long leaves producing delicate waxlike, pale purple flowers, succeeded by pearDescription

rn

shaped

scatlet fruit, 6

tO

cm

long, enclosing

AGR-ALL
m

yellowish on horizontal branches of a 6-12


tall stalk.

Constituents Tannin; volatile oil;


combination is anti-inflammatory,

resin.

The

antibiotic,

from the Indonesian for tree of heaven, a name


first given to another species. The alternative

Distribution

astringent.

common names

ally

Uses (dried flowering plant) Mild astringent;

misnomers,

possibly diuretic. Used for acute sore throats,


chronic catarrh, children's diarrhoea, cystitis,

varnish (or copal) material.

Native to tropical America, especiMexico. Introduced and established in


southern Europe, India, central and south
Africa,

and elsewhere.

Cultivation

On

arid

soils.

Wild. Cultivated as an ornamental

or hedge plant in tropical countries; propagate

agave

gum

saponoside; cutin; hecogenin, a sapogenin


sugar, agavose.
Uses (fresh or dried leaf, juice, root,

emmenagogue;

Purgative;

diuretic;

gum)

insecti-

cide; counter-irritant.

Wide

folk-medical use in tropical countries,

brown indehiscent winged

wounds. The

yields a yellow dye.

vomiting.
Description

is

fermented

to yield the

Mexican

alcoholic drink, pulque.

Powdered leaf employed as snuff; root used in


washing clothes.
Used for fencing in tropical countries.
In veterinary medicine it is only used as a
purgative.

Agrimonia eupatoria
specific

name

Perennial grass; long jointed,


diabranching, yellowish rhizome 1-3
meter; erect glabrous stems; bright greenishwide; small purplish
grey leaves up to 15
flowers in spikes appearing mid-summer to

fruit called samara.


Chinese native. Naturalized in
eastern North America.
Cultivation Wild. Introduced horticulturally to

Distribution

urban areas as a shade-tree due to its rapid


growth, and resistance to pollution and
disease. Easily grown from seed.
Constituents

Fixed

oil

volatile oil

gum

oleo-

mm

mm

autumn.
Widely distributed
Europe; naturalized in United

early

Distribution

native
States

of

and

Steeples/Sticklewort

of this herb refers to Mith-

who

radates Eupator, ancient king of Persia,

was renowned

and

Description

L rosaceae

Agrimony Church
The

gramineae

Grass
troublesome weed to
gardeners, Couch Grass has played a long and
important role as a medicinal herb, and was
promoted by Dioscorides and Pliny. European
country people still drink it as a tisane and it is
one of the plants eaten by sick dogs to induce

well-known

particularly for external application to burns

juice

'varnish' tree are

and contusions.

The

and

Couch Grass Twitch Grass/Witch

whole plant

as a lotion for

Agropyron repens (L) Beauv.

and oxalates;

phloionolic acid; oxalic acid

'copal'

the tree does not provide a

Rapidly growing deciduous tree


reaching 10-20 m; leaves 30 cm-i m long,
subdivided into 11 14 oblong, lanceolate or
ovate, gland-bearing leaflets 7.5-1 1.5 cm
long. Flowers small, greenish in terminal
panicles 10-20 cm long followed by reddish-

and externally

from seed or suckers.


Constituents (leaf) acrid volatile oil

as

as a herbalist.

'Agrimony'

is

corruption of the Greek word argemon, a white


speck on the cornea of the eye. This herb was

once famous for the healing of wounds, and it


was an ingredient of eau de arquebusade, used to
treat wounds, from the fifteenth-century word
for musket or arquebus. Still used in European
folk

medicine.

downy, red30-60 cm high; compound pinnate leaves, up to 20 cm long. Flowers (summerautumn) yellow, 5-8 mm wide and numerous.
Distribution Throughout Asia, Europe, North
America; common on roadsides, waste-ground,
Description Perennial herb; erect

dish stems,

hedgebanks.
Cultivation Wild, but easily propagated by root
division in autumn. Tolerates varying conditions.

troublesome

in eastern states.

Australia and S. America.

Northern Asia,

Weed

of arable and

^jfr^yj;

Wild

plant.

'.
Constituents

resembles

Triticin
inulin)

(a

carbohydrate which

sugar;

inositol;

salts

of

potassium; mucilage; acid malates; a volatile


oil with antibiotic properties.
Uses (dried rhizome) Diuretic; urinary antiseptic. Useful in cystitis. Underground parts

once used

'..V
146

and

glycosides.

Uses

wasteland.
Cultivation

resin; sugars; oxalic acid; possibly alkaloids

as cattle food.

(fresh

root

and stem bark)

hoea.

unpleasant causing nausea,


is
vomiting and debility, and is therefore no
longer employed.

Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Seingle

Ajuga reptans

Bugle

ornamental. The medicinal value of the bark


in France in 1859. Ailanthus is

dried

The remedy

simaroubaceae
Tree-of-Heaven Copal Tree/Varnish Tree
Introduced to England in 1751 from Nanking
in China, and then in 1800 to the United
States where it rapidly became a popular
was discovered

or

Emetic; cathartic; antihelmintic; astringent.


Formerly used in the treatment of dysentery
and diarrhoea, asthma, epilepsy, palpitations
and as a douche in gonorrhoea and leucorr-

L labiatae

Common

Weed
One of

the

or Creeping Bugle/Bugle

common names

of Bugle

is

the

Carpenter's Herb, which reflects its original


importance as a plant used to stop bleeding.
Known to apothecaries as 'bugula' the herb is
rarely used today, but it possesses other

AGR-ALL
properties which as yet have not been fully

considered more effective although

researched.

been proven.
with

Perennial

Description

leafy

or

stolons

runners; basal spatulate leaves form rosette;


stem square, hairy on two sides and bearing

6-12 small blue flowers

in early to late

summer.

Occasionally white or pink flowered mutants.


European native; introduced
Distribution

Common on damp ground in loamy

elsewhere.
rich

soil,

in

nutrients.

Mixed

woodland,

meadows.
Wild plant; horticultural
and variegata.

Cultivation

purpurea

Constituents

Tannins;

unknown

varieties

digitalis-like

cm

high;

diameter divided into 5-7


silky beneath, glabrous
above; small yellow-green flowers in clusters
on branched, erect, thin stems. Flowering
from mid-summer until early autumn.
white

leaflets

Prolonged use

in

and excessive

menstruation.

Used

in veterinary

medicine

for

diarrhoea.

and

Mountain ranges of Europe and

Distribution

styptic.

mountain pastures of northern Europe.


Cultivation Wild plant.
Constituents Similar to Alchemilla vulgaris

(Lady's

tinctoria Tausch. boraginaceae


Alkanet Dyer's Bugloss/Spanish Bugloss

Alkanna

Although several colouring plants are now


called Alkanets, Alkanna tinctoria probably was
the first to be used. Its name is derived from the
Spanish alcanna which came from the Arabic
al-henna, the well-known Henna dye. Alkanet
means the 'little alcanna'. It was exported

Mantle but

Uses (dried leaves) As for Lady's

considered more effective.

(dried whole herb)

Astringent; bitter;

Formerly used to stop haemorrhages; for coughs, and ulcers. Thought to


aromatic.

possess heart tonic qualities.

10-12

Mantle).

substances.
Uses

cm

leaves 3-7

and

plant) Astringent

relieves discomfort of menopause

Perennial herb

Description

has not

this

rosaceae
Lady's Mantle Lion's Foot
This is an example of a herb which acquired
Alchemilla vulgaris agg.

r\

\M.

#-*sT#
1

4i

Alchemilla alpina L rosaceae


Alpine Lady's Mantle

The

historical

associations of Alpine

Mantle are similar


vulgaris.

reputation

to

those

far

greater

than

therapeutic

its

action would have suggested. Although un-

Lady's

of Alchemilla

Traditionally the alpine species was

known by

ancienl classical writers

it

became

important northern European magical


plant on the discovery that ovcrnighl dew
collected in the funnel-shaped folds of its
partly closed nine-lobed leaves. To alchemically minded sixteenth century scientists dew
was strongly magical, and so in turn was Lad\ 's
Mantle. Hieronymus Bock emphasized this In
an

ascribing the

name

Alchemilla or

the

'little

magical one' to the herb.


Description Perennial herb, 10 50 cm hii^h.
branched stems bearing lew round or rcniform
leaves 3-8 cm in diameter, with 7 it lobes;

mm

flowers not prominent, 3 5


in diameter,
greenish-yellow, in terminal panicles; tippet
flowers small

spring

early
closely

the

and without petals. Appearing


to mid-autumn.
At least
{

related species are aggregated iindei

name

Northern Europe and mountainous


areas of central and southern Europe. Prefers
deep loamy moist soil in meadows, pastures,
open grassy woodland, paths. Calcifugous.
Cultivation Wild plant.
Distribution

Tannins.

Unknown

anti-inflam-

mators substances. Action anti-diarrhoeal.


Uses

(dried

leaves,

rarely

Pentaglottis

Description

dried

flowering

and

sempervirens,

Alkanet, Anchusa

Thick root up

reaching 30

narrow

the

Common

cm

long with

officinalis.

to 10

purplish root bark, bearing

cm

high;

numerous

stalks

leaves are long

somewhat

alternate,

hairy,

and

many

around root crown. Attractive


funnel-shaped, purple-blue, sometimes white

clustering

or yellow, flowers; appearing late


early

summer

to

autumn.

Distribution Central

and southern Europe-. At

roadsides, dry sandy


Cultivation

soil.

Calcifugous.

Wild plant.

Constituents

Possibly an alkaloid poisonous to

mammals.
Uses (root, root bark) Not used medicinally.

Used variously

Alchemilla vulgaris).

Constituents

from Spain, Germany and France for centuries as a dye for pharmaceutical and cosmetic
use. It was also used by victuallers. It is now
often replaced by the Evergreen Alkanet,

colour

is

as a colouring agent.

red

released in oils and waxes but not in

water.
Alliaria petiolata (Bieb.)
(,ki<

11

Cavara & Grande

ERAS

Garlic Mustard Hedge Garlic/Jac k-by-thchedge


A common European herb which has nevei

'47

ALL-ALO
Shallot, formerly A. ascalonicum L, with this

Allium sativum

and numerous cultivars of A. cepa now


exist, including some bred to crop within a
limited range of day-length and temperatures.
The unusual top Onions, (Egyptian or Tree
Onions) were recorded by Dalechamp in
1587, and are usually grown as herb garden

Garlic

species

When
late

present

they

are

greenish-

summer.

Probably native to central Asia or


Now world-wide.

Distribution

Cultivation Cultivated plant, or wild very rarely.

Numerous

which are now submajor characteristics into

cultivars exist

divided according to
3 groups: the Cepa group, the Proliferum
group, the Aggregatum group. The first group

of the crushed plant.


Description Garlic-smelling biennial or peren-

reaching 30-100 cm; stem erect, simple.


Leaves thin, pale green, petiolate, coarsely
nial

cordate above, reniform beneath.


Flowers small white, 6
diameter, in a false
umbel; appearing mid-spring to mid-summer.

crenate,

mm

Distribution

European

native. In

open waste-

land, moist woodland, on well-drained nutri-

ent-rich

soil.

Cultivation

Wild

Constituents

grine,

in

oil;

heteroside,

water yields the aglycone,

and

cuts or

in small quantities as a salad herb, boiled, or in

seed can be taken as a

condiment.

L liliaceae

Onion
The Onion

has been in cultivation for so long


country of origin is uncertain and it is
now rarely, if ever, found wild.
The plant is recorded in the works of the
Chaldeans, Egyptians and Greeks, and as
that

its

early as a.d. 79 Pliny described in detail


and the varieties to be used.

its

cultivation

Columella in a.d. 42 introduced the word


from which the common name is
derived. Modern classification groups the
unionem

148

juice)

Antibiotic;

the stem.
Description Perennial or biennial; sub-globular

bulbs consisting of 8-20 cloves

partial bulbs
pink-white skin. Several
erect, long pointed leaves 1-2.5 cm w ide,

surrounded by
flat,

to

15

cm

silky

long arising from base or crown.

Unbranched stem

spathe

7.5- 10

of

rose-white

greenish

or

flowers,

warm climates.

Prefers rich, light, well-drained

soils.

Cultivation

This plant has been grown from

the Mediterranean to Central Asia for centuries. Several varieties exist including small
cloved and giant forms, and white, pink, or

mauve skinned

Flavour varies from

forms.

sweet to nutty, mild

to strong.

cloves in spring or preferably

dry
4

soil, in

cm

autumn

a sunny position, 15

cm

Essential

oil,

disulphide and

B2

allyl

comprising mainly
propyl disulphide;

C; antibacterial subI and II:

vitamins A,
also

in rich,

apart and

deep.

Constituents
allyl

Plant individual

stances comprising allicin, allicetoin


colds,

often

mm

antispasmodic; hypoglycaemic.
Useful in the treatment of coughs,

and

long,

displaced by sterile pinkish bulbils 4


long.
Distribution Asian native; introduced in all

diuretic; expectorant; hypotensive; stomachic;

cm

pointed, bearing apical, small, dense umbels

Bi,

an enzyme

alliinase.

expectorant; weak anthelmintic; weak fungi-

of use externally to relieve pain from

Allium cepa

fresh

is

level.

neuralgia, and rheumatism. Leaf may be used

The crushed

bulb,

The common name

duces the blood pressure and the blood-sugar

vulnerary; stimulant; rube-

dilute poultice, applied to ulcers

sauces.

(fresh

soldiers.

derived from the Anglo-Saxon leac meaning a


pot-herb and gar, a lance, after the shape of

sini-

abrasions, cleans and aids healing; undiluted,


is

Uses

Roman

were

allyl

facient; expectorant; diuretic.

it

garlic cloves daily to sustain their strength as

Uses (fresh bulb) Antibacterial: hypotensive;

Uses (fresh, or dried flowering plant occasion-

has been cultivated in the East for cen-

turies

Re-

isothiocyanate.
ally) Antiseptic;

culinary

the Shallot, usually sterile but producing a


crop of bulbs at the base and grown from these
in early spring or late autumn. All onions prefer a very rich, deep soil.
Constituents Similar to those of garlic
also
containing glucokinins; pectin; flavonoid glycosides; vitamins A, B,, B 2 B 5 C, E; nicotinamide.

bronchitis, laryngitis

plant.

Essential

which

common

Onion and its


members have single bulbs and are usually
propagated from seed sown in spring or
autumn or from sets sown in summer. The
second group contains the Tree Onion and its
members produce swollen bulbils in the inflorescence, and are propagated from these
bulbils in late spring or late autumn, or by
division every 3 years. The last group contains
contains the

as A. officinalis Bieb., the generic name


derived from allium or garlic after the smell

flavour of the cloves develops best

and was widely employed medicinally


by the Egyptians and Romans. The slaves that
constructed the pyramid of Cheops were given

south-west India.

known

warm

most of the

is

It

appearing

is

in

The

is one of
used dailv
climates of the

flavourings and

120 cm, characteristically with 4-6 aromatic,

bulbils.

Also

cooking

world.

of the onion family,

Description Variable biennial or perennial to

white, small, numerous, in rounded umbels,

medically.

in

member
common

in sunny countries, and may be rank when


grown in northern Europe.

and hollow scape.


Flowers sometimes absent or replaced by

much importance

the most

novelties.

cylindrical, hollow leaves

been of

Garlic, a

L liliaceae

gastro-enteritis.

Used externally as a local stimulant, on cuts,


treat acne, and to promote hair growth.
An important vegetable and flavouring.

cide.
to

sion

Employed
and

in the

treatment of hyperten-

arteriosclerosis; as a carminative

an expectorant

in

and

bronchial catarrh. Provides

protection against the

common cold, amoeboid

ALL-ALO
dvsentery, typhoid and other infectious diseases. Garlic also increases the flow of bile and

was once used as an inhalation


treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.
Wide culinary use; both fresh and cooked,
the fresh juice

in the

when

the flavour varies.

vinegars and

Employed

in butters,

aroma

Parsley reduces the

salt.

on the breath.
Contra-indications

May

be slightly irritant to the

skin.

Allium schoenoprasum

L liliaceae

Chives
Chives is the only member of the onion group
found wild in both Europe and North America,
and although used for centuries was not
cultivated until the Middle Ages. It cannot be
dried with any success but may be quickfrozen and stored.

with blood led to the tradition that

larity

Perennial in clumps; small bulbs

Description

Alders was unlucky.

felling

The

tree

is

an

dark

inhabitant of wet environments and coinci-

diameter,
green leaves, 20-30 cm long, 2-3
bearing in the summer an inflorescence of pink

was as a support under


bridges or buildings. Venice is largely constructed on Alder posts.

produce

grass-like

cylindrical

hollow

mm

purple flowers in a compact spherical


capitulum.
Distribution Native to cool parts of Europe:
introduced and naturalized in North America.
Tolerates a wide range of conditions from dry.
rocky places to stream banks, damp grassland
or

and wood edges.


Cultivation Wild but cultivated commcrcialK

dentally

main

its

use

Medium

Description

sized tree or large shrub,

reaching 25 m; leaves stalked, obovate, 5-10


long, downy veins underneath, sticky when
unfolding: small flowers appear before leaves

cm

in early spring;

female catkins referred to as

in autumn.
North Africa, Europe, parts of
Asia. Introduced and locally naturalized else-

'berries'

almost spherical, formed

Distribution

where.

Prefers

moist,

swampy

sites

beside

Wild plant; cultivated commercially


and the Caribbean. Grown as a house

Cultivation

in Africa

plant.

Barbaloin and isobarbaloin, formaloin; 'amorphous' aloin;


aloe-emodin resin volatile oil. Action on large
intestine largely due to purgative effect of
Constituents

ing

'crystalline'

aloins

and aloe-emodin.

Uses (the brownish crystalline solid, resulting

from drying the liquid which exudes from cut


L sed normally in combination with carminatives to prevent griping.

leaf blades! Purgative.

Fresh juice used

burns.

to heal

Contra-indications Excessive use induces

haemor-

rhoids.

streams.
Cultivation

Wild plant.

Bark,

Uses

Aloysia triphylla Britt.

Tonic, astringent. Bark

leaves

decoctions once used as gargle and for external


inflammations. Formally used in bitters.
I

sed as a wool dye, the bark produces reds

blacks,

young shoots yellow,

the

fresh

and

wood

pink and the catkins green.

Once

A. perryi

Baker A.ferox Miller

LILIACEAE

Aloes Curacao/Socotrine/Cape

One

ol

history.

the

most important crude drugs of

Aloe vera

is

still

extensively used in

modern medicine. Known


and horticulturally in northern Europe and
America. Variable in form depending on
environment. A large leaved type exists.

ander the Greal

Chinese chives A. tuberosum

Socotra

flavoured and has

flat solid

is

larger,

<

OS user-

leaves. Propagate

to

the Greeks at

as early as the fourth century B.C., a


legend claims that Aristotle requested Alexleast

and

to

onquer the inhabitants of


produced Aloes

the island which

install

Greeks.

the

In

tenth

century,

lis sowing seed in mid-spring, or by division ol


clumps in spring or autumn. An excellent

however, Moslem travellers reported that


Socotra was still the only place cultivating

decorative edging plant

Aloes.

Constituents

Very

for

similar

herb gardens.
to

garlic

Allium

Uses

fresh or quick-frozen leaf)

Used only

lor

culinary purposes, (hopped in sauces, soups.


salads

and

Curacao or Barbados Aloes were


London druggists in 1693, and Cape

offered by

Aloes were exported

sativum).

as a garnish.

Description

Several

he

derives

from

an

old

Germanic word meaning reddish-yellow. sm< e


the trunks change from white to reddishvellow alter felling.

lili-

flesh)

margin and
producing woody branching

betulaceae
Common Alder Owler

common name

of succulent

leaf blades, usually prickly at the

Alnus glulinosa (L) Gaertn


or

species

1780.

aceous plants forming clusters of very


tip; stemless or

Alder English

first in

supposed colour simi-

stems; from 45 cm- 15


tall, bearing erect
spikes of yellow, orange or red flowers. Appears
most of the year.
Distribution Natives of dry,

and

This South American plant was introduced to


Europe by the Spaniards and was once used to
give a lemon scent to fingerbowls at banquets.
The former botanical name Lippia citriodora

HBK

and the common name reflect the


lemon scent of the plant's leaves.
Lemon Verbena's modern generic name,
Aloysia comes from the name Louisa, after
Maria Louisa, wife of King Charles IV of
Spain. Although half-hardy this herb makes a
good indoor plant, as well as providing attractive and aromatic stems and foliage for flower
strong

extensively used by tanners.

Aloe vera

verbenaceae

Lemon Verbena

Tannins.

Constituents

sunny areas of south

east Africa; naturalized in north Africa,

Spain, Indonesia and the Caribbean islands

arrangement.
Description Aromatic shrub to 3 m, but rarely
more than 1.2 1.5 m in cooler northern
temperate zones. Branches striate and scabrous, bearing whorls of 3-4 leaves which are
entire, 5

7.5

cm

long, short-petioled, glabrous,

lanceolate and dotted on the underside with


oil-bearing

glands.

Flowers

mm

lavender, small (6
or terminal panicles.

white

or

pale

long) in axillary spikes

Native to Chile and Argentina;


widely distributed in tropical zones.
Cultivation Wild.
Cultivated horticulturally
and as a greenhouse plant in temperate zones.
Half-hardy in cool temperate countries and
Distribution

requires

frost

and

against a south

wind

facing

protection;

wall

on

light,

plant
well-

drained soil; protect with straw and cut back


at the end of the growing season.
Propagate from woody cuttings in early summer or from seed sown under glass in early
spring.

l'i

ALP- AN E
recorded by Ibn Khurdadbah in 869 who
listed it with Musk, silk and Camphor as an
article of trade from the Far East. It was
commonly used in the Middle Ages as a
culinary spice with Cloves, Nutmeg and
Ginger. The plant from which the root came
was not described until 1870, when it was
named after Prosper Alpinus the sixteenthcentury 'teacher of drugs' at Padua University.
Description Perennial rhizomatous herb of flaglike form; stems reaching 1.5 m, covered with
long narrow lanceolate leaves; bearing racemes
of orchid-shaped flowers, white and veined

rhizome 3-9 cm long, 2 cm thick;


pleasantly aromatic when dried.
Distribution South China, tropical south-east
red;

comprising mainly

Uses

(fresh

dried

or

leaf)

Antispasmodic;

stomachic; aromatic.

As a

tea

it

is

Also galangol; galangin; kaempferide.

Of use in

flatulent dyspepsia.

Once used

for seasickness. Snuff for catarrh.


Culinary spice. Vinegar and cordial manufacture; brewing. Popular in east European,
Russian and Indian cuisine.

nausea, indigestion, flatulence, palpitations,

Althaea

Marshmallow
used

be

flavouring in cakes,

sparingly
fruit

as

dishes

a lemon
and sweet

officinalis

Sweet Weed/Schloss Tea/

Althea

The name

is

well

known

as a confectionery

the

was a soothing paste

containing the powdered root. The plant has a


long medicinal and culinary history; the

The

Romans

dried leaf

is

employed

in

pot-pourris and

perfumery.
Contra-indications Prolonged use or large internal dosage may cause gastric irritation.
oil

used

is

in

Alpinia officinarum

Galangal

Hance zingiberaceae

East India Root/Galans;a

was introduced into European


medicine by the writings of the Arabic
physicians Rhazes and Avicenna; it was first

This

150

root

level to

Constituents

30%

keep cool.
mucilage comprising glucosan
and xylan; responsible for demulcent action.
Also sucrose; lecithin; phytosterol; asparagin.

Externally as poultice for leg

gastric ulcers.
ulcers.

Powdered

ingredients in

and then

fried

pill

root used to bind active


manufacture. Roots boiled

with butter, or young tops eaten

in spring salad.

Althaea rosea (L) Cav.

and

considered

in the

it

a delicious vegetable,

ninth century the

Emperor Charle-

magne promoted its cultivation in Europe.


Today it is widely used both in folk and modern
medicine.
Description

1-

1.

with

25

m
3 -5

petioles;

Erect

hardy

perennial

reaching

high; stem and leaves hairy, latter


lobes

or

5-petalled

undivided
white

or

and

pink

Malvaceae
or Garden Hollyhock

well-known and widely distributed


it first reached Europe
from China in the sixteenth century, after
which it was used both as a medicinal herb and
a pot-herb. Turner gave it the name Holyoke
in 1548 indicating the blessed mallow, and
a

decorative garden plant

scented sachets.

The

light soil if

below root

Now

L Malvaceae

original pate de guimauve

foodstuffs, or in drinks.

autumn.
compost introduced

or division of root-stocks in spring or

Succeeds on

Hollyhock Common

of benefit in the treatment of

vertigo.

Leaf may

autumn.

Uses (dried root, 2 years old; le-aves, flowers)

Similar to Ginger.
oil,

until early

Moist places throughout Europe


from Norway to Spain; temperate parts of
western and northern Asia; Asia Minor,
Australia, and eastern North America. Prefers
saline areas, salt marshes and damp land near
to sea or estuaries. Often wild.
Cultivation Wild and commercially cultivated.
Propagation by seed sown spring or summer,
Distribution

Demulcent; emollient. Relieves inflammations


of mouth and pharynx, and gastritis and

Uses (dried rhizome) Carminative, stimulant.


Essential

clustered in leaf axils,

summer

Wild; grown commercially.


Constituents Essential oil and resin, both stimulant.

Constituents

in diameter,

in late

Asia, Iran.
Cultivation

citral.

3-4 cm
appear

short

flowers,

Lyte

in

1578 called

it

the 'beyondsea rose'.

Description Tall biennial

producing

in

second

year spire-like, hairy, flowering stem up to 3


tall;
iarge, rough, long-stalked 5-7 lobed
leaves, in the axils of which are

formed flowers,
up to 10 cm in diameter on short peduncles.
Colour from pale pink or yellow to purpleblack. Flowering mid-summer to late autumn.
Distribution
Cultivation

Native of China.

One

Now

widespread.

of the oldest cultivated plants;

ALP- AN E
from seed. Tolerates most soils.
Mucilage; volatile oil; tannin and
anthocyanin pigment.
Uses (dried double purple flowers) Antiinflammatory, emollient, mildly purgative.
Used as tisane for chest complaints or as a
mouthwash. Colours wine.
easily raised

Anacardium

Constituents

Cashew Nut

L anacardiaceae

occidentale

Although only the nut or kernel

known

tropical

this

tree

and products, and

variety of uses

widely-

is

provides

wide

is

of some

in Africa

and

Spreading attractive evergreen

tree

importance

in native

medicine

the Americas.
Description

Amaranthus hypochondriacus

L amaranthaceae
Amaranth Love-lies-bleeding/ Red
Cockscomb
This herb is one of a number of Amaranthus

reaching 12 m, bearing alternate oval leaves


10-20 cm long, 3-10 cm wide, and scented
panicles 20 cm long of yellow-pink flowers each

which have been taken into


horticultural cultivation. Most were native to
tropical countries where they are predomin-

receptacle

species or varieties

antly coarse looking plants usually used as


pot-herbs.

The name

amaranton

meaning

Greek

derives from the


'not

since

fading'

the

crimson flowers do not fade with the death of


the plant, and thus the plant came to symbolize

The

immortality.

bright red colour led to the

cm

across.

Flowers followed by fleshy edible


(cashew-apple)

enclosing

partly

kidney shaped nut.


Distribution Native to tropical American zones

and

naturalized

cultivated

in

tropical

countries.
Cultivation

Commercially

in groves

and occurs

infrequently in the wild.


Constituents Protein: niacin;

magnesium;

iron;

anacardic acid: cardol.


stems up to 30 cm long, thinner
branched ascending stems bearing opposite
leaves, ovoid and spotted black on the under-

square

with purple centre,


appearing in leaf axil from
early summer to early autumn. There are two
varieties of Anagallis arvensis, one red and
one blue.
Distribution Widely distributed in temperate
zone, especially Europe. Found in loamy soil
side; scarlet flowers, often

single, long-stalked,

with

high

content;

nutrient

vegetable and

cornfields; rare on wasteland.

Saponin.

Constituents
fully

Use

Active

principles

not

understood.

(leaf,

whole herb,

Once

diaphoretic.

phobia,

fresh or dried). Diuretic,

used

depression

in

hydro-

epilepsy,

following

liver

disease,

dropsy, and rheumatic conditions. Leaves once

used

in salads.

Cosmetic herb

'pimpernel

as

water' for freckles.


Contra-indications

POISONOUS;

there

is

evi-

dence the plant causes anaemia. Leaves can


belief that the plant stopped

all

kinds of bleed-

part of the seventeenth-century school ol

ing

thought known as the Doctrine of Signatures.


annual to 2 m; i<< t.
upper parts branched; leaves dull green,
spotted with purple, 3 15 cm long, 15
to
I.75 cm wide, on thin petioles; the small
Description Tall glabrous

<

mm

greenish or usually crimson flowers, borne on


erect terminal clusters, to 20 cm long, appeal

summer.

in late

Uses

nut,

Nut or kernel
content Tree bark once

tree bark, fruit)

malarial fevers and fresh shell


removes warts and corns. Juice from fruit
made into wine and spirit. Milky secretion
from incised tree makes indelible marking ink.
Non-drying lubricant oil from nut. Ammonium
salts of resin form hair dye.
Contra-mdications Oil from fresh shell strongly

used

in certain

juice

vesicant,

Native of tropics and American


central states. Prefers waste-grounds,
ultivated fields.

oil.

nutritive, high protein

ausing skin

blisters.

Distribution

Wild or grown horticulturally from

Cultivation

seed

sown

Constituents

in ipring.

Mucilage; sugars.

Uses (dried flowering herbi Astringent.


in

diarrhoea. Externally as wash

as gargle for

swelling,

Young

lor

Oftue
ulcers;

ulcerated mouth; to reduce

and

also as

leaves of

douche

lor

Amaranthus

tissue

leucorrhoea.

species widely

used as a vegetable.

The

related A. retrofiexus (L) oner used as

alternative

Content.

made

It

soap,

to

was

due

to

high

an

saponin

also used as a vegetable; seeds

into flour.

Anagallis arvensis

L primulaceae

Scarlet Pimpernel Pool Mans


Weatherglass
This is an interesting herb which merits
modern research. It was held in high esteem
from the time of the earliest Greeks until the
nineteenth century and is now rarely used,
even in folk medicine. Evidence suggests that
it
is of benefit in melancholia and diseases of
the brain; its Latin name derives from the
Greek 'to delight", a term given to the herb by
common name is
Dioscorides;
another
'laughter bringer'.

and

close

Description

if

The

flowers are sensitive,

rain threatens.

Annual herb; prostrate creeping

cause dermatitis.

L ranunculaceae

Anemone alpina

Alpine

Anemone

Previously classified botanically as Pulsatilla

Schrank. and Anemone acutipetala Hort.,


herb formerly enjoyed only local European

alpina
this

folk-medical

use,

either classical or

and

is

not

mentioned

in

modern works.

Description Perennial on thick rhizome; stems


reaching 10-40 cm, soft-hairy. Leaves large,

long-petioled, ternate then 2

pinnate. Flowers
with 6 sepals, solitary, 5 7.5 cm wide, white
tinged with violet; appearing mid-spring to
early

summer.

Native to the mountains of Europe.


Introduced elsewhere.

Distribution

Cultivation

Wild.

Hegi, which
is

The

subspecies sulphurea (L)

characterized by yellow flowers,


lound in alpine collections. Propagate by
is

division or root cuttings in

autumn

spring; or from seed as soon as


Constituents

it

is

or early

ripe.

Protoanemonine; anemomne.

Uses (whole, dried flowering plant) Irritant;

anodyne.
Formerly used in the treatment of toothache
alterative;

AXE-APH
petioles reaching 30

cm

kidney-shaped 3-lobed

leaves, green above, reddish-purple beneath.

cm in diameter, born
on hairy scapes reaching 40 cm; from
mid-winter to early autumn.
Distribution North temperate zone; mainly in
moist deciduous woodland, preferably calcareous, with loamy soil.
Cultivation Wild plant. Propagate by division
soon after flowering; in sheltered position on
ordinary soil with good drainage; or from seed
gathered and sown in mid-spring. In shade.
Seed dispersed by ants.
Constituents Mucilage; tannin; sugar. Action
Light blue flowers, 4

singly

Fresh

Constituents

ranunculin. This

plant

contains

glycoside,

converted via protoaneanemonine on drying. Action due


is

monine to
anemonine.

to

Sedative; analgesic;

Uses (dried aerial parts

nervine;

some

Used

spasmolytic.

headaches,

for

skin eruptions, earache, painful condi-

tion of reproductive organs.

Employed homeo-

and

also for menstrual

pathically for measles


pain.

POISONOUS

Contra-indications

when

fresh.

Dried herb should only be administered by


medical personnel. Overdosage causes violent
gastroenteritis

and convulsions.

uncertain. Fresh leaf contains the poisonous

protoanemonine.
Uses

Anethum graveolens

Demulcent:

dried leaves and flowers

pectoral; tonic. Tisane used for liver congestion,

kidney, gall-bladder and digestive dis-

Of use as syrup

orders.

Distilled

for

coughs or bronchitis.

water once used

Contra-indications

in large doses.

pain, but

due

to

its

toxicity

it

Contra-indications

POISONOUS;

not be taken

name
Easter.

Anemone hepatica

L ranunculaceae

Liverwort
This delicate looking herb possesses individual
flowers which last for little more than one week
but which in that time have the ability to
double in length. Its name comes from the
heparatos

meaning

liver: in folk

used for treating the


Description Small perennial;
is still

root-stock:

almost

medicine

is

much branched
produces

still
is

respected

grown widely

its

beat".
it

in

as a

and has been

in

it

is

and

a constituent of gripe water

still

common name

is

is

The

derived from an old Indo-

shaped

to

with spindle-

tall,

root, bearing usually

one

stalk: leaves

specitn

Gerard

flowers at
traditional

decorative

plant.

Erect,

Description

5-40 cm

soft,

hairy

perennial

herb

high, with bi- or tri-pinnate leaves

appearing as rosette after solitary flower


formed: flowers hairy, dark blue-violet, 6
petals, 3 -5 cm long, from late spring to mid-

summer.

liver.

evergreen;

It

medicine, and

Kidneywort American

Greek

'to

called the herb Pasque Flower as

internally.

it

meaning

Pulsatilla

Seed

in the Bible

use as a medicinal herb from the earliest times;

belliferous plant,

Legend maintains- that anemones only open


when a wind is blowing, and the Greek word
anemos means 'wind'. Certainly this very
attractive hairy plant waves about in the
slightest breeze, a fact reflected in

has fallen into disuse.

mentioned

is

European word meaning 'to blossom".


Description Aromatic annual; typically um-

Anemone Pulsatilla L ranunculaceae


Pasque Flower Windflower

and rheumatic

Dill

L umbelliferae

Dill

often included in children's medicines.

for freckles.

POISONOUS

Weed

Dill Dill

on

Wild on dry, sunny, calcareous


throughout Europe. Introduced elsewhere. Prefers well-drained chalky oil. in dry.
Distribution

slopes

warm

situations.

Cultivation

Wild

plant. Cultivated by division

of rhizomes after flowering or seed sown in

shallow tray in spring. Other horticultural


varieties are alba

and

rubra.

feathery,

leaflets

of

consisting

linear;

numerous

terminal
yellow

umbels

flowers

in

mid-summer.
Distribution

W ild
r

Asia.

countries.

Origin southern Europe or western


in cornfields of mediterranean
Now widespread garden herb.

Tolerates most
Cultivation

soils.

From

seed sown in spring; easily

cultivated.
Constituents Oil of Dill comprising,

d-carvone:

d-limonene: some phellandrine.


Uses

(dried ripe fruit,

fresh

or dried leaf

Carminative: stomachic: slightly stimulant.


Excellent as Dill water for digestive problems
in children, especially flatulence.

Pickled cucumbers, flavouring for soup,


sauces,

cakes,

pastries.

Dill

vinegar.

fish,

Most

important in Scandinavian and central European cuisine.


Perfumes soap.

1^2

AXE APH
Angelica archangelica

L umbelliferae

Angelica European

Now

best

known

or

Garden Angelica

as a decorative confectionery

the candied green stems, Angelica


an important ingredient of liqueurs and
aperitifs. It does not appear to have been used
until the fifteenth century, soon after which it
acquired a reputation as a plant which gave

made from

is

also

protection against evil and the plague.

European
Christianized names hints

origins

north

planfs

tion with early

at

The

and

its

deep associa-

its

Nordic magic.

Description Biennial or perennial: if latter last-

up

ing

to

4 years; from 1-2.5 m m gli, stem


cm thick, bearing few triangular

hollow, to 6

deeply dentate leaves to 90

cm

long.

Large

numerous greenish-white
flowers, mid-summer to early autumn.
Distribution Native to northern Europe or Asia.
Introduced and cultivated elsewhere. Common garden herb; prefers damp meadows,

spherical umbels of

river banks, waste-grounds.


Cultivation

Seed rapidly

loses viability;

sow

as

mid-autumn in deep moist soil.


soon
Transplant following autumn to m apart, or
as ripe in

transplant offshoots from 2 year old plants to

name Antennaria comes from

botanical

was not important even

species

cine, but

the

pappus resembles antennae. This

fact that the

much

use

is

made

in folk

medi-

of it in dried flower

arrangements. Various related species, however, have been used more than the species
dwica
for example, an American relative.
(naphalium polycephalum
classified as

dwica previous!}

Gnaphalium dioicum was a favourite

remedy

Indian

A.

for

mouth

and the

ulcers,

Chinese herbalists use G. multueps

Wall,

to

treat coughs.

20 mi high, on single unbranched erect or


5
decumbent stem. Spatulate basal leaves in
.1

rosette to 8.5

cm

and tomentose

long, white

beneath, green and glabrous above. Linearlanceolate stern leaves. Flowers

",

dense terminal involucre, which

nun long
is

woolly

apart.

Volatile oil and derivatives ol


coumarin which stimulate digestive se< retions,
control peristalsis and increase appetite. Also
bitter principles; sugar; valeric and angelic
Constituents

dried rhizome

and

roots, seeds, fresh leal

Aromatic; stimulant

sterns

carminative.

islands;

to

pasture,

light

25OO
dry

altitude,

Cultivation
Constitui

an in 11 essential
:

The combined

oil

Once

Wide

bronchitis and bilious conditions.

and

portant constituent

confectionery
ol

use.

Im-

liqueurs such as Bene-

soils.

resin

a bittei

action promotes the

Stimulates appetite; of benefit in bronchitis,


anorexia nervosa, bronchia] catarrh.
culinary

on

How ol bile-.
/
a dried flowering plant Astringent; chole(in
weak diuretic
1

in

used

irr

mixtures

lor

the

treatment ol
Mav be used

diarrhoea, and as a throat gargle.

Antennaria dwica (L) Gaertn.

compositae

Cat's Foot

Cudweed

In-

down)

this plant

I. lie

Everlasting

leaves

being

and woolly involui re led


as Cotton Weed;

known

Anthriscus cerefolium (L] Hoffm.


mbei.liferae
Chervil Garden Chervil
Although this is an important culinai v herb in
is not widely grown or used outside
France
that country. It is however one ol the best
herbs lor growing in boxes, and will supplv
fresh leal throughout the winter if it is sown
\

it

to
its

to

Middle

East,

Russia, the Caucasus. Cultivated in

temperate climates.
degree of moisture.

Prefers

Cultivation Easily cultivated

light

south

warm and
soil

with

from seed, lightly

permanent site, early to


mid-spring or autumn. Rapid germination
and soon runs to seed. May be sown in boxes
lor

soil

at

w inter supplv
Volatile

Constituents

oil;

stimulates the meta-

bolism.
fresh leaf before flowering

us

poultice

applied

to

Stomachic.

painful

Mainl) used lor culinary purposes;


plement most dishes.

will

joints.

com-

Aphanes arvensis agg. rosaceae


Parsley Piert Breakstone Parsley

common name

is derived
both from a
resemblance to Parsley and from
the old French perce-pierrc signifying a plant
which grows through stonv ground. The
Flemish botanist De L'Obel suggested in 1570
that although the herb was not widely used by
was commonly employed by the
herbalists,
poor to 'break' stones in the kidney or bladder.
Todav it is one of the most highly respected

The

superficial

it

plants used in the treatment of kidnev Stones.

branched stem up to
wedge shaped;
insignificant flowers 1.5-2 mm in diameter
borne in axillary clusters; appearing from late
s|)i int; until late autumn.
Description

20

di( line.

Contra-indicatiom Large doses lust stimulate


and then paralyze the central nervous system.

Native

Distribution

Wild plain.

fits

mm

Warm

woodland and

thickets; prefers poor, porous, sand) dry

principle.

,k ids

and

Aleutian
semi-dry

herb

produced mid-summer.

in

White male flowers and pink female


appear early sum ma to early autumn.
I>
Native to central and western
tribution
Europe, United States and the North Pacific

greenhouse.
sweet-smelling

reaching 70 cm high, with pale green delicate


leaves, deeply segmented. Stem slightly hairy;
in diameter, in flat umbels,
flowers white, 2

.11

base

warm

Annual

pressed into

Description Stoloniferous. dioecious perennial.

60

regularly in a
Description

cm

Annual;

tall;

Distribution

parts of

leaves,

thin

3-5

lobes,

Native British herb,

Europe on bare

soil

in

common

in

dry places.

cornfields, wasteland, walls, gravel pits. CalciIllgOUS.

'53

API-ARC
L ranunculaceae
Columbine European Crowfoot

winter. Strong smelling.

Aquilegia vulgaris

Southern European native. Wild in


marshy and salty soils in Africa, Europe, South
and North America.
Cultivation Wild plant.

Columbine is from the Latin columba meaning


dove. In the Middle Ages it was referred to as
aquilinae and ackeley after the Latin aqmla

Constituents Volatile oils; apiol.

meaning eagle - both terms

Distribution

Uses

dried

or

(fresh

plant,

appetizer; carminative. Strong diuretic


juice used.

Once recommended

in

referring to the

Tonic;

seeds)

if fresh

treatment

of rheumatism, excess weight, loss of appetite.

Decoction of seed beneficial in nervousness.


Dried leaf may replace celery for soups, sauces,
and stocks, although it has a stronger taste than
Celery.

Apocynum cannabinum

Canadian

L apocynaceae

Hemp Hemp

Dogbane/Black

Indian Hemp
This was one of many North American plants
introduced to settlers by native Indians. No
longer used in medicine.
Description Perennial to 2 m high, stems erect,
branched only at top, bearing ovoid leaves

Cultivation

Constituents

Wild plant.

An

flower shape.

The

astringent principle.

Uses (dried leaf

and

flowers) Diuretic;

demul-

the

Considered most effective when freshly


collected and dried in the treatment of kidney
stones, bladder stones or painful urination.

in the

cent.

was provided by

somewhat

this

day

from

leaves sessile. Leaflets 3-lobed, crenate. Flow-

celery flavour

ers

palates,

few to many, nodding on long peduncles,

violet-blue or white, 5
early summer.

was a

Romans. The Celery we eat


today was developed initially by Italian
gardeners on the plain of the Po.
Description Biennial with bulbous fleshy root,
producing branched angular stem 30 cm - m
high in second year. Leaves opposite, 10-15 cm
long, dark green, dentate with fan-shaped
leaflets; small grey-white flowers in sparse
compound umbels from late summer to earlyfavourite of the

Distribution

Native

to

cm

diameter; appearing

Europe. Naturalized in

eastern North America, and introduced else-

where. In mixed woodland, mountain forest on


rich calcareous soils to 2000 m altitude.
Cultivation Wild. Frequently grown as a garden
ornamental, especially the double-flowered
cultivars Alba Plena and Flore Pleno. Propagate

by seed or by division
Constituents

lipid;

with

hairy lower surface,

to

7.5

cm

long;

flowers small, whitish-green in terminal clus-

followed by thin double pods 10-15

ters,

long. Flowers late

summer. Root up

to 2

cm

long.

North America, near streams, open


ground, forest borders, in gravel or sandy soil.
Cultivation Wild plant.
Constituents Apocynamarin, a cynotoxin: symarin; apocynin and derivatives; phytosterols.
Distribution

Action of a

heart

stimulant,

dilates

Uses

an uncharacterized alkaloid.
(Root, flowers and leaves) Antiseptic;

astringent; weakly sedative.

No longer employed internally; once used in


homeopathy to treat nervous conditions. Only
the root may be used, externally, for the
treatment of ulcers.
Contra-indications POISONOUS. Seeds may be
fatal to children. Most parts have a similarly
poisonous effect as Monkshood (Aconitum
napellus L).

Medical use only.

renal

L leguminosae

Arachis hypogaea

rhizome, roots, bark) Diuretic;


powerful emetic; laxative. Used in folk medi-

Peanut Ground-nut

(dried

worms and
fever. Powerful heart stimulant. The fibrous
bark employed as substitute for hemp in
cine in North

America

to

treat

manufacture of nets and twine.


Contra-indications

tion

needed

POISONOUS;

in usage.

in spring.

Cyanogenic glycoside: vitamin C;

arteries.

Uses

54

741, but
fell

Stout perennial with pubescent


stems branched at the top; 60-80 cm tall.
Basal leaves long-petioled, biternate, upper

wild herb, which although

bitter to present

Description

graveolens L umbelliferae
Celery Wild Celery/Smallage
all

of

nineteenth century A. vulgaris

official use.

Apium

Until the seventeenth century

herb's antiscorbutic effect was recorded in

Wurttemberg Pharmacopoeia

Although the Peanut is now one of the best


known and universally grown edible nuts, it
was not until 1840 that Jaubert, a French
colonist of

Cape Verde, suggested

greatest cau-

its

importa-

an oil seed. The first to


mention the plant was Fernandez de Oviedo y
Valdes who lived in Haiti from 151 3 to 1525
tion into Marseilles as

API-ARC
and reported
the mani - a

mon names

that Indians widely cultivated

name

for Arachis

still

such

Gypsy's Rhubarb, Pig's

as

Rhubarb and Snake's Rhubarb

used in South

refer to this.

America and Cuba.


Description Annual herbaceous legume, 25 50

widely employed in folk medicine for skin


problems, and cultivated commercially in

cm

Japan

tall;

pairs

Still

stems slightly. hairy; leaves consist of 2

of leaflets,

oval.

cm

long.

Yellow

for use as a vegetable.

Description Biennial or short-lived perennial to


2

m;

cm

thick hairy stems. Vertical roots

Large leaves, ovate and petiolate


with undulate margins. Small tubular flowers
1

long.

red to purple, consisting of disc florets only, in

cm

spherical capitula of 3-5

diameter. Fruit

surrounded by hooked bracts (burr). Appearing late summer to mid-autumn.


Distribution European native. North America.
Prefers weedy sites and roadsides, on loamy,
nitrogen-rich

soil.

Wild plant; cultivated commercially


from seed in Japan.
Cultivation

Inulin;

Constituents
oil; resin;

bitter

principle;

Uses (root, fresh or dried - from


plants;

volatile

several antibiotic substances.

fruits,

the

rarely

Diuretic.

Of

Increases resistance to infection.

year

first

leaves)

use in

various skin diseases, especially psoriasis and

eczema.
Stalks, before flowering,

may

be eaten as salad

or boiled as vegetable.

same way
and eaten.

Stalks are candied in the

flowers possess long calyx tube; after flowering

the latter possessing strong antibiotic activity

the stem bearing the ovary elongates, bends

against the

towards the ground and forces the young pod


beneath the soil. Pod oblong, 2.5 cm long,
containing 14 irregularly ovoid seeds.
Distribution South American native. Widely
cultivated, especially Africa, India, China,
and America.

Uses (bark, root, leaves, fruit! Antiseptic; anti-

Mycobacterium

inflammatory; astringent; diuretic.


May be used to treat diarrhoea and biliousness, and possibly of use in arteriosclerosis. A
decoction provides an excellent antiseptic
wash, gargle or poultice. Formerly employed

mown

in certain

flower has

drinks or preserves such as marmalade.

of the glycerides of 4 fatty acids.


Uses (seed, oil expressed from seeds) Nutritive

bark was once used

in leather

wood provides good

quality charcoal, and

the seed

Unknown

is

substitute

in the

wild state;

an important foodstuff. Used as a


for

olive

oil.

Employed

in

kidney and liver complaints. The


weak diaphoretic properties.

Fruit can be used with discretion in alcoholic

suitable for turning

tanning.

The
The
is

and marquetry.

Arctium lappa

ERICACEAE

Bearberry Uva-ursi/Mountain box


This herb's common name comes from

L compositae

recent

research

shrub;

to

Trailing
15

cm

green,

leathery,

Small

flowers,

Known

from which chara< teristica the name is derived.


It also resembles Rhubarb, and several com-

diameter.

and early Arabian


physicians, but never widely employed; it
deserves modern investigation, however.
Arbutus is an ancient name, while unedo is from
to

Dioscorides

the Latin phrase unum edo or

has

shown

that

it

possesses

effective antiseptic properties.

Greater Burdock Beggar's Buttons/Lappa


herb with dock-shaped leaves, and fruiting
heads covered with hooked spines or burrs,

the

Greek arkton staphyle signifying 'bear's grapes'.


It was used in the thirteenth century by the
Welsh physicians of Myddvai, described in
detail by Clusius in
1601, and officially
recognized to be of medical importance in 763
bv
several German physicians working in
Berlin. Although use of the herb declined,

L Ericaceae
Strawberry Tree Cane Apples

Arbutus unedo

as angelica.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L) Spreng.

Description

the

manufacture of soap.

root cooked

bacteria.

on a large scale commercially and horticulturally in tropical and subtropical countries.


Constituents Peanut or arachide oil, consisting

(Cultivation

Chopped

or

creeping

evergreen

high, forming mats of dark

ovoid leaves 1-2


white or pink in

cm

long.

terminal

12, followed by red fruit of 5 mm


Appearing early spring to mid-

clusters of 3

summer.

eat only one,

supposed unpleasantness of the fruit.


Description Erect evergreen shrub or tree 3 10
m tall. Young bark reddish. Leaves alternate,
petiolate, serrate, oblong to obovate, shiny
above, 5 10 cm long. Flowers creamy-whin or
pinkish, urceolate, in nodding panicles 5 cm
long, appearing late autumn to mid-winter,
followed by scarlet, warty berry.
Distribution Native to south Europe, eastern
France and Ireland. Introduced elsewhere. In
damp situations often in woodland.
Cultivation Wild, locally abundant. Crown
hortirulturally in warm regions on welldrained soils; requires wind protection. Propagate by seeds and cuttings of half-ripened
wood in autumn under glass; also by layering.
(Constituents Tannins; arbutoside; ethyl gallate,
after the

55

ARE-ARN
Cool regions of northern hemis-

Distribution

phere. In coniferous woodland, moors, alpine

mats, on porous acid humus-rich


Cultivation

Wild

Uses

soils.

Arbutin and methylarbutin. which


produce antiseptic substances related to phenAlso flavonoids: tannins: gallic and egallic

fruit

ripe

or

taenicide.

unripe

dried leaves

fically

Diuretic: antiseptic. Speci-

used in kidney and bladder infections.


for bronchitis and urinary in-

medicine.

Chewed

nut.

with a

little

Contra-indications

Used for leather tanning. Ash coloured dye.


Grouse feed.
Added to smoking mixtures.

use restricted to veterinary.

Contra-mdications Prolonged use results in con-

Birthwort Birchwort
The fact that the herb was

Areca catechu

L arecaceae
Betel

Areca

is

also

constituent

Nut
known as

of the

the

combination

lime and a Piper BetU

continence.

and

made from

as a masticatorv in

lips

Areca Nut

human

in

urinary tract disorders, and for the expulsion


of tapeworms. Use now restricted to veterinary

Once used

stipation.

Astringent

Once used

Dentifrice, using the charcoal

acids.

Uses

one of which resembles pilocarpine:

stimulant:

plant.

Constituents

ol.

alkaloids,

also areca red.

leaf.

Stains

teeth red.

Toxic

in large doses:

medical

L aristolochiaceae

Anstolochia clematitis

at

one time con-

Nut since it is a
chewing mixture

Betel

"betel"

is a widespread habit in the East. The


mixture consists of Areca. a little lime and
leaves of the Betel plant Piper betle
As earlv
as 140 b.c. Chinese conquerors of the Malayan
archipelago returned with samples of the
Areca palm and nuts, which became known as
pin-lang after the Malay word, pinang. for
them. Asians chew small pieces of the nut to
sweeten the breath, strengthen gums and

which

rhomas Johnson Serpentarv was introduced


European medical usage via the London

into

Pharmacopoeia of 1650. and as late as 1741


rTrov was praising its effectiveness as a
remedy for rattlesnake and rabid dog bites. A
century after this it was only being used as a
diaphoretic, and then often in combination
with Cinchona bark. It is now seldom used

improve digestion.
Elegant palm: straight smooth
trunk 12-30 m high. 50 cm circumference.
Description

Numerous feathery leaflets 30-60 cm long,


upper confluent and glabrous. Flowers on
branching spadix. male above and numerous:
female usually solitary and below. Fruit ovoid
5 cm long, orange or scarlet, in bunches of up

even

sidered important in childbirth

Maritime Malaysian native; cultivated in India. Ceylon. Malaya. Burma. East


Africa. Introduced into American tropics as an

by

its

common and

derived from the Greek

and

locheia

is

emphasized

Latin names. Aristolochia

meaning

aristos

meaning

is

best

childbirth. William Tur-

gave the herb

ornamental. Prefers coastal sites.


Cultivation Collected from wild, and cultivated

ner, the father of English botany,

in coastal areas.

herb has not been subjected to modern investigation and is rarely employed.
Description Perennial on long rhizome: stem
erect or slightly twining to 50 cm high: heartshaped dark green leaves with long petioles.
Flowers axillary. 3 cm long, yellowish-green
appearing from early summer to mid-autumn.
Distribution
Europe and temperate North
America. Japan. In thickets, vineyards, weedy
edges of fields, in warmer situations on

Constituents

Tannin:

gallic acid: oil:

gum:

four

its

common name in

calcareous

soil.

Cultivation

Wild

the sixteenth century.

The

plant.

which

is

similar to

colchicine.
Uses

dried root-stock, entire fresh flowering

Diaphoretic: emmenagogue: oxytocic:


Once used in rheumatism and gout.
Juice from stems once used to induce childbirth.
plant

stimulant.

L aristolochiaceae
Virginia Snakeroot Birthwort Serpentarv
The earliest belief concerning this herb was
that it would give protection from poisoning.
Specimens from Virginia were growing in
London in 1632. and were described by
Aristolochia serpentana

=,6

25-40 cm high, with


branched stems bearing heart-

shaped

pointed

leaves

7.5

cm

long:

roots

brown flowers arising


singly on short stalk coming from the stem base.
Distribution East Central and southern United
fibrous. Dull purple to

States: in shady woods.


Cultivation

Wild plant.

Constituent^ Essential oil: resin: aristolochine.

Stimulating tonic:
dried root-stock
Uses
diaphoretic: anodyne: nervine: once used for
treating snake bites.

Used

in early stages of in-

Small doses stimulate appetite.


Contra-indications Large doses act as irritant,
and cause vomiting and vertigo. Respiratory
fectious diseases.

paralysis

may

also occur.

Armeria maritima

Mill.

\\ illd.

PLUMBAGINACEAE

Constituents Aristolochine.

medicine.

erect, slightly

to 100.

Distribution

in folk

!> inption Perennial herb

Thrift Sea Pink


Sea Pink now belongs to the genus Armeria
which consists of at least 100 closely relau d
species and many more subspecies and varieties
which are often exceedingly difficult to differentiate. This genus was formerly called Statice
A. maritima was known as Statice armeria L and
is closely related to the Sea Lavender genus
known
as
now
Statice
but
called
also once
Limonium.
The American Sea Lavender
Limonium vulgare Mill, has similar antiseptic
properties, but like Thrift

it is

now

very rarely

used for medicinal purposes.


Thrift has most widely been used as an edging

ARE-ARN
Arnica montana

L compositae

Arnica Mountain Tobacco


When grown at high latitudes such

in

as

Arctic Asia or America, a form of this herb

produced which

is

leaves; although this

Vahl

is

characterized by narrow

was once renamed by

as Arnica angustifolia,

it is

really a variant

form of Arnica montana. The herb was known


by Matthiolus and other botanists, and was
widely used in sixteenth-century German folk
medicine. Largely as the result of exaggerated
claims by a Viennese physician, it enjoyed
short-lived popularity among the medical
profession in the late eighteenth century.

Aromatic perennial with creeping


rhizome, producing a basal rosette of 4-8
downy leaves 4-7 cm long in the first year.
Flowering stem usually unbranched, hairy,
30-60 cm high, with only 1-2 pairs of opposite
leaves.
Flowers golden-yellow, daisy-like,
appearing mid-summer to early autumn.
Distribution Central and northern regions of the
northern hemisphere. Prefers sandy acid soils,
Description

humus, in a sunny position.


Root division in spring; or seed
sown in spring in cold frame and transplanted
in early summer. Seed may be slow to germinate, occasionally as long as 2 years. Wild
rich in

resemble, and armoracia. the

to

Roman name

Radish which cannot be identified

for a wild

with certainty as Horseradish. Gerard gave the

herb

present

its

was known

common name,

but before him

English as Red Cole or Redcol.


plant appears to have been

plant in formal gardens, and from the six-

it

teenth to the eighteenth centuries few species

Certainly

were

more popular in Scandinavia and Germanv


and otherwise did not find much use in
western Kurope until the middle of the

as

popular

purpose.

for this

Description Grass-like perennial

woody

on branched

forming basal rosette of


narrow (3 mm) linear, -nerved (occasionally
3-nerved), acute or obtuse, fleshy and glanduroot-stock

2-15 cm

lar leaves,

Flowers stalked,
white),

downy

rose-pink

mm

corolla

globular heads,

long, ciliate at the edges.

occasionally

for

diameter,

in

dense

cm diameter, on leafless,
20-55 cm tall. Appearing

.5-3

scape
mid-spring to mid-autumn. Variable in form.
Distribution Native to Europe, Asia and North

America; on dry sandy somewhat acidic soils


lills and
in sandy turf, coastal salt-marshes.
mountain pastures to 1400 m altitude.
Cultivation Wild; frequently found growing in
dense evergreen masses. Propagate from seed
sown in spring on light, dry, well-drained soil,
in full sun or partial shade; or by division ot
<

the

seventeenth
moutarde

irritation.

May

Rarely used, even

in folk

medicine.

be employed hortic ulturally as an ex-

cellent, low,

evergreen edging plant for formal

arrangements.
rusticana

Gaertn, VI

<

v el

Scherb.

Horseradish
Linnaeus gave Horseradish the botanical name,
Cocklearia armoracia, aftei cochleare, an obsolete
name for a spoon which its leaves were thought

in-

troduced and cultivated elsewhere; tolerates


most dampish soils.

Wild

Cultivation

and

ally

plant. Cultivated

hortic ulturally.

division in spring OT

Constituents Polyacetylenic
oil;

tile

flavones;

unknown
s\

in vola-

phulin;

inulin;

substances acting on the circulatory

stem which

and

compounds

arnicin;

later

initially

raise

it.

lower the blood pressure,


Also substances which

increase biliary secretion.


w

dried

Stimulant;

flower- heads,

diuretic;

dried

rubefacient.

rhizome)
is
an

It

and kidneys, and


hence only of use externally - in bruising,
sprains and dislocations. Homeopathic doses
are effective in epilepsy, seasickness and
possibly as hair growth stimulants. Used as a
gargle for treating inflammations of the throat.
Contra-indications POISONOUS: can be toxic
if taken internally. Repeated external use mayirritant to the digestive tract

cause skin irritation.

commerci-

Propagate by root

autumn, planting at -,<-< in


and thin

intervals, or sou seed in early Spring


I,

in

Grows

watei

vigorously.

Fresh

which

is

by the

root

contains a glycoside.

decomposed in the presence


enzyme myrosin, producing

ally] isothioc

oil

antibiotic substanc

yanate; vitamin

Stimulant; rubefacient

Uses (fresh rool

C.

es.
:

weak

diuretic.

taken

he

M.i\

intern. dlv

as

svitip

,1

bronchitis, bronchial catarrh, coughs,

she eel

Most

on boils or
rheumatism.

root
in

widely

used

especially in sauces
fish,

lor

and

lot

to

Applied externally

stimulate' digestive organs.


.is

CRUCIFERAE

mid-autumn.
European native;

to

South-east

Distribution

poultice

Armor acia

leaves,

Appears mid-summer

mustard

an antiseptic

high on stout.

oi

as

basal

plant, but protected in parts of Europe.

1.5

m high bearing lusters <>l white flowers and.


beneath, ste-m leaves with short petioles

Uses (dried flowering plant; Antibiotic; anti-

cause dermatitis or local

as

cm long and 5 cm
30-100 cm long,
coarse-, lanceolate with dentate margins and
long petioles. Erect flowering racemes 50 cmlarge

thick:

obesic Once used it) the treatment of obesity,


certain nervous disorders, and urinary in-

may

it

it

tapering, lleshv taproot to 60

sinigrin,

it

and druggists knew

Description Perennial to

action due to plumbagone.

Cannot be employed

century.

de\ allemands,

Constituents

poultice as

The French called

Raf)hanu\ rusticanus.

clumps, replanting every 2 years, 25 em apart.


Constituents A napthaquinone, plumbagone;
mineral salts comprising mainly iodine, bromine, and fluorine; mucilage. Antibiotic

fections.

in

Cultivation

as

rubefacient

culinary

purposes.

and vinegars; complements

poultry, and beef.

Contra-indications

May

be

vesicant

to

some

skins; large- internal doses pie>diiec


tion ot

inflammathe gastrointestinal mucosae.

'":

ART-ASA
Artemisia abrotanum

Southernwood

L compositae

Lad's Love/Old

L compositae
Tarragon Russian Tarragon

Artemisia dracunculoides

Man

In common with other members of the


Artemisia family this is a strong-smelling herb
which has the ability to repel insects. For this

reason

it

was

called garde robe

Unlike French Tarragon the flavour of this


variety improves as the plant ages, although
never

by the French

achieving

dracunculus.

dracunculus

the

delicacy

of Artemisia

The Latin name is derived from


meaning 'little dragon' after a

herbalist's description of the coiled serpent-like


root.

Artemisia was the Greek

who was regarded


Artemisia

as

name

for

Diana

the discoverer of the

group of herbs. Russian Tarragon

is

also called Artemisia redowskii.


Description Perennial

.5

high with erect,

branched stems bearing smooth, pale green


entire leaves 3-6 cm long, and clusters of
greyish-white woolly flowers in late summer.
Distribution Asia and Siberia. Introduced elsewhere.

and cultivated as garden


sown under glass in mid-spring or
in the open in early summer. Root division in
spring or autumn; cuttings in spring. Hardy
during winter and tolerates any soil.
Cultivation

Wild,

plant. Seed

Constituents

Essential

oil

identical

to

Anise,

largely lost during drying.

Uses (dried or fresh herb) Fresh herb promote^


appetite.

who

used it to protect clothes from attack by


moths. It was also considered effective against
infection and employed in nosegays by court-

and herb wines. Both absinthe and vermouth


obtain their names from the plant, the latter

room and jail officials. The name Southernwood is derived from the Old English suthernewudu meaning a woody plant from the south,

of the

since

is

it

a native of southern Europe. At one

time herbalists considered the herb an aphrodisiac,

which

led to the

common name

Lad's

Love.
Description Perennial

subshrub

to

90

cm

high

with branched feathery grey-green leaves 6 cm


long, finely divided and somewhat downy.

Flowers very small, inconspicuous, yellowishwhite, in loose panicles, appearing late


to early

summer

autumn.

Southern European native; introduced and widespread in temperate zones as


garden plant. Naturalized in North America.
Cultivation Easily propagated from young,
green cuttings in summer, or heeled cuttings
from old wood in autumn. Prefers full sun and
light to medium soil with added compost.
Needs hard clipping in mid-spring to prevent
Distribution

straggling growth.

May

Constituents Essential oil,

in

German Wermut which was also the


name Wormwood. The
herb contains several substances which may

origin of the English

adversely affect the body

high
hairy stems bearing highly aromatic
bipinnate and tripinnate leaves covered in
;

down. Flower-heads 3-4

mm

diameter, with

grey-green bracts and numerous minute yellow


florets, appearing late summer to late autumn.

Europe, North America.


Widely introduced garden plant. Found

Distribution Central

Asia.

on waste-ground, especially near the

warm

sea, in

regions.

Cultivation Wild plant. Propagated by seed


sown outside in late spring, thinned to 30-60

cm

apart. Often slow to germinate. Cuttings

taken in summer; root division in spring or

autumn.

slight shade.

powder mixed with treacle to treat worms


Used in aromatic baths and

taken in excess

this reason it produces some of the strongest,


and most dangerous, alcoholic drinks.
Description Perennial undershrub 0.75-1 m

mainly absinthol.

children.

if

(including the hallucinogen, santonin) and for

not flower.

Uses (dried whole plant) Stimulant; emmenagogue; antiseptic; antihelmintic. Once used
as a

being an eighteenth-century French variation

Prefers

medium

soil

in

full

sun or

Bitter principle and volatile oil


which stimulate secretions and promote appetite;
also a glucoside; resins and starch:
antihelmintic action due to santonin.
Constituents

poultices for skin conditions.

Uses (whole flowering plant, leaves) Anthel-

Leaves discourage moths.

mintic;

Stems yield yellow dye. Foliage used

in floral

decorations.

L compositae
Absinthe/Green Ginger
Several species of absinthium are mentioned by
Dioscorides, and many of them were employed
for the removal of intestinal worms. Although
one of the most bitter herbs known, it has for
centuries been a major ingredient of aperitifs
Artemisia absinthium

Wormwood

158

antipyretic;

antiseptic;

stomachic.

Used to aid digestion, stimulate digestion or


for abdominal colic. The tincture was formerly
used in nervous diseases. Used in liniments.
Used in vermouth, in absinthe, as a tea, and
for stuffing geese. Some countries ban its use

Similar uses to French Tarragon

in wine.

L compositae
Tarragon French Tarragon
An essential component of French

Contra-indications Habitual use causes convul-

plants

sions,

causes

restlessness

vertigo,

delirium.

and vomiting. Overdose


cramps, intoxication, and

Artemisia

dracunculus) but of inferior flavour.

Artemisia dracunculus

cuisine,

French Tarragon are


difficult to obtain and almost as difficult to
maintain. Even under ideal circumstances the
of the

'true'

delicate flavour of this varietv tends to revert

ART-ASA
coarser flavour of Russian Tarragon.

to the

Similarly unless

it is

dried carefully an inferior

product results. The common name is derived


from the Arabic tarkhun, via the Spanish
taragoncia.

cm

Perennial 90

Description

high with slim,

branched stems, bearing smooth, dark


shiny entire leaves 3-5 cm long, and clusters ol

erect,

greyish-green or white woolly flowers, appearing

mid-summer

Distribution

where

as

to late

summer.

Southern Europe. Introduced elsegarden plant or for commercial

cultivation.
Cultivation Cultivated commercially in Europe
and the United States. Cannot be propagated
from seed. Divide roots in spring or autumn or

Renew

take cuttings in spring.

every 3 years

from young cuttings. Protect in warm situation


during winter, especially when young. Prefers
a richer soil than Russian Tarragon, and may

Can be grown

require the addition of peat.

indoors as a pot herb. Will not tolerate wet

soil.

Constituents Essential oil.

No modern medicinal

Uses (dried or fresh herb

use - formerly used in toothache.

promotes appetite.
Widely used as flavouring

The herb

leaflets. Flowers brownish-yellow to


numerous, small, arranged on panicles
and appearing late summer to mid-autumn.
Distribution
Asia. Europe. Naturalized in
North America. Common on various soils,

toothed

red,

especially
for salads,

steak,

if

they are nitrogen-rich. In waste-

hedgerows and near rivers and streams.


Cultivation Wild and cultivated. Seed sown in
spring. Root division spring and autumn.
Grows quickly and needs restricting in gardens.
A variegated form also exists.

white

Constituents Volatile oil; resin; tannin; a bitter

spring to early summer, followed by scarlet

lands,

principle, absinthin,

which stimulates diges-

flowering shoots,

(dried

emmenagogue. Used

Diuretic;

leaves,
as

roots)

an aid

in

irregular menstruation, lor lack of appetite,

and weak
of

digestion. Chinese

employ

the cones

the leaves imoxasi for rheumatism, in the

therapeutic method

Used

as a

tea.

known

as

moxibustion.

culinary herb for stuffing

duck or other fatty fish or meat.


Repels flies and moths. Leaves may be used

geese,

for

flavouring and the clarifica-

tion of beer.

Contra-indications

Large prolonged dosage

in-

jures the nervous system.

butter, vinegars,

and

is

best

known

for

its

use

with chicken.

Used

in

some perfumes and

liqueurs.

late

and western Europe, north


Found in porous

Africa, introduced elsewhere.

loamy

soils,

in

warm damp

sites,

hedgerows,

woods.

Wild plant.

Cultivation

an unstable skin and


which is largely broken down
on drying; starch; gums; saponin; sugar.
Aroine,

Constituents

mucosa

irritant,

(fresh

dried

or

strong

Diuretic;

dried

leaves,

purgative;

tubers)

no longer em-

ployed internally. Bruised fresh plant applied

Formerly used

preserves, pickles, shellfish, lobster, herb

Flowers appear

fruits.

Uses
in

tobaccos.

fish,

(spathe).

Distribution Central

tion.

Uses

bract

in
rheumatic
pain.
Used
homeopathically for sore throats.
Well-baked tubers are edible, nutritious and

externally

harmless.

Root starch, after roasting or boiling, and then


drying and powdering, produces an arrowroot
substitute used for starching.

Arum maculatum L araceae


Cuckoopint Lords and Ladies/Arum
Because of the obvious sexual symbolism of the

Contra-indications All

erect spadix of this attractive plant, almost

POISONOUS.

all

European common names have some sexual


connotation. Even Dioscorides suggested that
the herb was an aphrodisiac. It may have been
for this reason that large quantities of the

parts of fresh plant are

its

Artemisia vulgaris

L compositae

Mugwort
An

Felon Herb/St John's Herb


ancient magical plant, deeply respected

throughout Europe, China and Asia, and once


known as the Mother of Herbs (Mater Herbarum). It was one of the nine herbs employed to

demons and venoms

repel
times.

Although used

especially beer, the

in

pre-Christian

to flavour drinks,

common name

is

and

derived

from the Old Saxon muggia wort meaning


'midge plant' after its ability to repel inset ts.
Description l,ie<t sparsely

pubescent perennial;
grooved with reddish-purple colouring,
angular, reaching 1.75 in. Leaves 2.5 5 cm
long, dark green above, whitish and downy on

strips

the

underside;

pinnate

or

bipinnate

with

tubers were processed and sold as a foodstuff


in

the eighteenth

The herb was

and nineteenth

centuries.

and root
was employed to starch
ruffs in the sixteenth century, even though the
practice often caused blisters on the hands of
also called Starchwort,

starch obtained from

those

who

used

it

it.

Description Perennial plant arising

from ovoid
tuber 3 cm diameter; arrow-shaped leaves to
25 cm long, plain dark green or with dark
brown-purplish spots. Flowers occur at base of
purplish club-shaped spadix which is enclosed
in characteristic 15-cm long leafy greenish-

Asarum canadense

L aristolochiaceae

Wild Ginger Canadian Snakeroot


As the name suggests the root-stock may be
used as a substitute

Ginger. American
herb was an effective

for root

colonists

found

stimulant

when taken

the

as a tea,

and American

Indians believed a decoction of the root-stock


to

be an effective contraceptive.

Description Stemless ginger-smelling perennial,

with round, fleshy root and branched, hairy,


root stalks each bearing 2 kidney-shaped
leaves, dark green above, pale green beneath,
to 20 cm wide. Flowers single, bell-shaped.
dull brownish-purple, appearing close to the

ground

summer.
Canada

in

Distribution

and

northern

United

59

ASA-AVE
1

yV

.J A
-

'

Aspalathus linearis (Burm.

appears early summer to early autumn.


Distribution Europe, Siberia, Caucasus; in
woods and shady sites. Introduced elsewhere
in temperate zones as a garden plant.
Cultivation Wild plant. May be propagated by

leguminosae

J!

';

autumn;

root division in

careous

K
f^

surface or leaf mould. Single purplish flower

*-

fekL

BP^^Mw

and

^P>

States, Russia,

moist shaded
Cultivation

leaves) Emetic; purgastimulant in small doses.

Produces copious mucus flow if taken as snuff.


Once an ingredient of tobacconists' 'head-

Far East. In rich woodland on

as

an important medicinal herb,

employed

sites.

Wild plant.

Constituents Volatile oil

L asclepiadaceae
Pleurisy Root Butterfly Milk Weed
Once officially recognized and included in the
United States Pharmacopoeia and long used

Asclepias tuberosa

''

resin a bitter principle

in

is

still

European and American

folk

it

medicine. Appalachian Indians made a tea


from the leaves to induce vomiting during

asarin; sugars; alkaloid.

certain religious ceremonies. Several species of

Stimulant; tonic; diuretic;


diaphoretic; carminative. Tea used in flatu-

Asclepias

Uses (root-stock)

lence

and indigestion. Thought

to exert direct

influence on the uterus.

May

be used as a substitute

for root

Ginger.

Oil used in perfumery.

Dried root used


Contra-indications

headaches.

Large doses cause nausea.

Numerous

in dry,

was called
medicine by
Dioscorides. Herbalists of the Middle Ages
it

name

another herb which


was probably a true cyclamen. Sixteenthcentury apothecaries joined the names and
described the Hazelwort as Asarabacca. Most

members

warm

climates

tea.

Commercial exploitation

now gaining

in

of the tea,

which

is

popularity in Europe, began in

the early twentieth century after successful


experiments to improve seed germination and
cropping techniques.
Description

Shrub or shrublet, decumbent or

m. Branches bearing thin (0.4-1

erect to 2

wide), glabrous leaves,


short,

leafy

shoots in

1.5-6

cm

long,

the leaf axils.

mm
and

Small.

bright yellow flowers, often with violet tinge:

followed by

1.5

cm

long pod.

as

m;

fleshy

cm

long and darker green abo\

<

erect, beautiful

North American native; common


sandy or gravelly soils on roadsides.
Cultivation Wild plant
propagate by division
Distribution

nut-shaped Rowers

asaron

given by Dioscorides

in

fermentation process necessary to obtain the

orange-yellow flowers in terminal umbels appearing mid-summer


to mid-autumn, followed by long, narrow seed

An inconspicuous herb with

bacc/iaris, a

and shoots which develops,

leaves

white root-stock supporting few stout hairy


stems, bearing hairy alternate, lanceolate

pods.

incorrectly called the plant

grown

are

Description Attractive perennial to

Asarum europaeum L aristolochiaceae


Asarabacca Hazelwort/Wild Nard

and cyclamen-shaped leaves,


and introduced into

1772.

colour

attractive garden plants.

leaves 5 -15

as snuff to relieve

Thunberg when he visited the Cape in


The common name derives from the red

together with a distinctive aroma, during the

Uses (dried root

'ST

Rooibosch was traditionally used by South


Bushmen and Hottentots and its
popularity was noted by the botanist Carl

African

of the

clearin' snuff.

Rooibosch Red Bush Tea

loid; sugars; resin.

tive; sternutatory;

R. Dahlgr.

Constituents Volatile oil; bitter principle; alka-

tiM

prefers moist, cal-

humus and shaded.

rich in

soil,

fil.j

to

of the family Aristolochiaceae are

climbing woody plants from South America.


Description Herbaceous perennial bearing 2
kidney-shaped, leathery, long-stalked leaves
on short pubescent stems. Inflorescence arises
from thick root-stock and flowers on soil

of root-stock in spring.
Constituents Glycosides, including asclepiadin;

resins; volatile oil.

Uses

dried

root-stock

Diaphoretic;

anti-

spasmodic; carminative; expectorant. Specially of use in infections of the respiratory tract

such as pleurisy. Powdered roots used as a


poultice on open sores.

Young

seed pods and root-stock

may

be boiled

and eaten.
Contra-indications

Very large doses cause

rhoea and vomiting.


vomiting.

Wfe

Fresh

leaf tea

diar-

causes

South African native; especially in


Cape, on well-drained, sandy but

Distribution

western

moisture-retaining, non-acidic
Cultivation

soils.

Wild. Cultivated commercially

South Africa from seed sown 10


late

winter

or

early

spring

seedlings transplanted in

mid

in

mm

deep

in

in

seed-beds:

or late

summer

10-20 cm tall. Later trimmed to


promote branching. Plantations replaced every

when

6 or 7 years.
Constituents

Vitamin C; tannin (1-3%); min-

eral salts; quercitin:

unknown

substances.

fermented young leaves


branches) Anti-spasmodic: tonic.
Uses

(dried

and

Of benefit in vomiting, diarrhoea, and other


mild gastric complaints. Clinically untested
but traditionally is considered of use in certain
allergic disorders - especially milk allergy.
160

ASA-AVE
as a hot or cold beverage:
also used as a culinary herb, and as a flavouring

Mostly employed

and the
Tea

This attractive low-growing herb which is


frequently found carpeting beech woods makes
useful ground cover in shady places or beneath

baking.

in

Asperula odorata L rubiaceae


Woodruff Sweet WoodrufT/Waldmeister

Asparagus officinalis L liliaceae


Asparagus Garden Asparagus/Sparrow

first definite report of its use is found in


Grand Herbier (1504) printed in Paris.
The herb was known by various names during
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries including Strygium, Strychnon, Solanum somnijerum.

the

Grass

Known

Sperage or Sparrow Grass in the


the Garden Asparagus
(Asparagus officinalis subsp. officinalis) has been
cultivated as a delicacy for over 2000 years. It
became an 'official" medicinal herb due to its
as

century,

sixteenth

and

laxative
herbalists

it

and some

properties,

diuretic

claimed

also increased the libido.

Europe Asparagus grows


The name is from
Greek word meaning 'to sprout".

In parts of eastern

wild and
the

is

eaten by cattle.

Description Perennial with short root-stock 5

cm

producing in spring the young fleshy


shoots which are eaten as a vegetable. If they
are left, they mature into many branched
stems 1-3 m high which bear insignificant
leaves in the axils of which are clusters of
cm
needle-like modified branches cladodes
long. Small bell-shaped whitish-green flowers
appear in cladodc axils early summer to midlong,

h was

roses in formal beds,

widely used

fragrant herb in earlier times as

as a

develops,

it

branched stem 50 200 cm

from

Strong scent
it

many

which

quadrangular
1

-n

cm

smooth,

high. Leaves in

oi i>. dark green, lam eolate, 3 cm long,


rough-edged small white funnel-shaped flowers appear on long stalks earl) summer to midsummer. Plant has a Strong characterise

whorls

smell.

Introduced elsewhere; cultivated in United


Prefers porous loam) soil, rich in

States

mixed woodland.
Wild plant: ma) he propagated
seed sown in late miiiiiiii'i to earl)

orange berries

wide

<>n

iaIK

Produc-

scale.

tion of the vegetable requires 3-year-old plants.

7.5

<

years. Seed

]j

last

deep.

in

loam

1
iii

sown

position.

rich

subspecies

found wild.

also

141

phoretii

laxative,

bordei

in

tannin.

used

oumaiiii

foi

for

biliary obstructions.

fresh

due
foi

item
to

Diuretic; dia-

high fibre content

treatment

goul and rheumatism.


ulinar) use as a vegetable.

oi

tonic.

Sonne

ol

anticoagulant drugs. Tea relieves

stoinai h pains.

dropsy,

ized

In

fla\

oui ing.

perfumery and pot-pourris, and

linen.

for

si

cnting

Repels insects.

Contra-indications

dizziness

with

smooth.

leafy,

tall

Native

ally

Europe, Asia; natural-

to

soils.

Wild

plant.

Widespread commercial

ultivation from seed or by root division.

Hyoscyamine; atropine;

Constituents

other alkaloids inainlv

sv

traces of

Action

root-stork.

in

autonomic nervous

to these affecting the

stem.
root-stock and leal

Uses

Reduces

Employed

secretions.

Narcotic mydriatic
;

and sudorific gland

salivar)

treatment of biliar)

in

Formerly used in nervous


diarrhoea and enuresis. Used iii heart anyth-

and

intestinal colic.

as

Externall)

liniment

gout

in

or

rheumatic inllainmation.

a delii ions tea

ied in cei tain w ines as a

to dilate the pupils.

Perennial

and introduced elsewhere. Found especiin woods and wasteland on calcareous

mia.

Flowers and leaves make

who

black berries.

sedative.

a dried herb Carminative; diuretic;

Once

Herba
used

plant

on thick creeping root-stock. Leaves dull green, unequal


sized pairs to 20 cm long, bearing solitary bellshaped purplish-brown drooping Mowers 3 cm
diameter in the axils. Appearing midin
summer to earl) autumn, followed by shin)

due

s.

Coumarinic ((impounds which


coumarin as tin plant dies down: also

Contra-indications

All

ONOUS;

to

supei

only

pans extremel)
be

POIS-

under medical

used

ision.

Large quantities can produce

and symptoms of poisoning.

Atropa belladonna

young

Once recommended
1

foi

root division after flowering. Ideal

resin;

ai id

root,

\\ ide

deep

Oil

Volatile oil; glucoside;

\tituentt

lannii

is

[ate spring,

in

seeds per hole

open

A. officinale subsp. prostratui

Con

undei planting

commen

Wild plant; cultivated

and horticultural!)

sand)

hei h

Coasts and sand) areas; woods and

hedges; Great Britain to Central Asia.


Cultivation

Bids

01

diametei

iii

Distribution

water of it

Description

tituents

01

a distilled

Cultivation

autumn,

the

called

first

donna after the practice of ladies

Cultivation

release

red

who

Venetians

nutrients, especially in

from ripe

oi

nightshade".

Distribution

Alma

North

Europe,

Asia.

Distribution

fruit

apothebeing translated as 'deadly


Matthiolus stated it was the
it

Description Perennial with creeping root-stock

.1

slender stems arise.

summer. Bears

mortale. the latter - the


for

billa

dried.

for this reason

name

ol new mown hay:


was one of the main strewing
herbs tor home and church floors. The Latin
name asperula refers to the roughness of the
w heel or ruff-like leaves.

when

and Solatium
caries'

I.

soi

aw eab

hi, saliva L gramineae


Oats Croats
One ol the do/en members
I,

ol

the grass family

Deadly Nightshade Dwale

which together provide the staple

Although a plant with such powerful sedative


and poisonous properties was undoubted!)

ol

widel) used for sinister purposes,

it

cannot he

identified with certainty in classical writings,

the

Latin

world's

name

Description

population.

most

diet for

Avena

the

is

old

lor the plant.

Annual

tufted erect grass,

high, with broad leaves

nun

cm

t.25

wide,

i6i

BAL-BRY
word meaning

'to reject' since

normally

is

it

rejected by cattle. Although the plant

is

of some

now grown

medicinal value, it is
gardens only because it

is

in herb
regarded as one of

Whorls of

flowering.

to late

typical

labiate

Appearing mid-

axils.

and bark

leather. Fruit

of the eastern hemisphere.

Wild

by

root

division in mid-spring or sow seed in late spring,


later thinning to

40

cm

herb sedative: antiemetic; especially used to counteract vomiting


during pregnancy.

hairs.

derived from A. fatua, A. sterilii or .1. barbaja.


which originate from southern Europe and

Widespread commercial cultivaoften found "lowing wild, having escaped

Cultivation

from cultivation.
Constituents Starch; protein; gluten: albumen;
salts;
/

r&s

gum

L berberidaceae
Barberry European Barberry Sowberry
A useful shrub cultivated in medieval times

Berberis vulgaris

near monasteries

east Asia.

tion;

flowering

dried

oil;

tocopherol.

(dehusked seed, starchy seed endosperm

Nutritive;

antidepressant;

use in depressive stales

and

thymoleptic.
in

general debility

highly nutritious.

was used

It

dyeing, and as a medicine, and

its

in

delicious

berries were used lor jam. jelly

sweets.

Now

relegated

to

and candied
hedgerows, it is

becoming scarce. Barberry is a host plant of the


wheat rust and long before plant diseases were
understood

()l

and churches.

farmers

accused

the

plant

ol

'blighting' wheal.
/),

to 2.5

tall,

L labiatae

Betula pendula Roth,

betulaceae

Silver Birch

able time: Birch bark

is

to

poor, the tree has

man

for a consider-

have been found in


Mesolithic excavations and North American
Indians still use the bark for domestic purposes. The tree has also long been considered
magical and reputedly has the ability to repel
enchantment and evil. Its employment as a
form of whip or 'birch' predates the Roman
lictors

rolls

who used Betula species in the fascis they


Now widely grown horticulturally as

carried.

an attractive garden

tree.

Deciduous tree to 20 m high: white


bark, smooth and peeling in horizontal strips.
Pendulous slender branches bearing resinous,
rough and scaly glands. Leaves bright green

Description

to

cm

long, irregularly serrate, heart-shaped

triangular.

Flowers consist of male and

female catkins.

greyish beneath with 3 sharp spines at the base.

northern Europe, the mountainous parts of


southern Europe and Asia Minor. Also found
in Canada and the northern United States.

Black Horehound Stinking Horehound

Flowers small, yellow,

This generally unattractive herb is distinguished only by its strong and objectionable
odour, which caused Turner in 154H to
describe it as the 'stynkyng horehound'.
Dioscorides gave the plant the name ballote
which is probably derived from the Greek

late spring

oblong

to

in

(lusters

appearing

mid-summer, and followed by

scarlet to purple fruit.

Distribution

naturalized

Native from Europe


in

Distribution

to East

Asia:

eastern North America. Prefers

olerates

Cultivation

Common

all soil

Wild

types
plant.

throughout central and

and

situations.

Grown

Constituents Volatile oil: a

horticulturally.

saponin: a flavonoid

deciduous woodland on chalk) soils.


Once common in hedgerows but becoming
scarcer due to infection by black rust fungus

antiseptic action, thus used in urinary tract

disease.

infections.

light

Cultivation

[62

for use in curries.

bearing rod-shaped branches tinged yellowishcm long in (lusters.


red. Leaves obovate 2.5
|

Ballota nigra

and
and eaten with

for wool, linen

into jelly

mutton, candied and pickled

Ered deciduous shrub

w ription

made

Although birch timber


nevertheless been of use

apart.

Constituents Flavonoids.

Uses

dye

as a yellow

soil.

Propagate

plant.

liver diseases.

used in the manufacture of tooth-picks

Distribution Natives of

Cultivation

a eultigen possibly

and other

gall-stones

much

nitrogen-rich, moist, rather loose

is

Wood

autumn.

temperate Europe and


Found on
wasteland, hedgerows and on walls; prefers

lemma without

atropur-

var.

Constituents Alkaloids comprising berberine,


oxyacanthine and chelidonic acid. Fruit rich
in vitamin C.
Uses root bark, stem bark, ripe fruit Cholagogue; specifically used in the treatment of

purple flowers borne in

Distribution Avena saliva

include

varieties

Strong smelling perennial with


angular branched hairy stems, 40-100 cm
high, bearing heart-shaped leaves, crenulated,
2-5 cm long, opposite and often turning black

summer

spreading;

Horticultural
purea.

after

early

the traditional herbs.


Description

5-30 cm long, flat and scabrous. Short ligules.


Terminal panicle 1525 cm long, open and

autumn; seed sown in late


autumn; or cuttings taken in
autumn and planted in sandy soil.

of suckers in early

spring or early

Wild plant. Propagated by layering

resin.

Uses

dried young leaves

rheumatism.

Formerly

Diuretic, with mild

used

for

gout

and

BAL-BRY
made from the bark. The tree
made into birch wine and vinegar.
Birch wood seldom used commercially as
timber; but employed for broom handles.

narrow or lobed with

beer can be

sap

bright

small,

is

serrate margins. Flowers

yellow,

twig-like

in

racemes,

appearing mid-summer to early autumn. Seed


dark reddish-brown in colour, in smooth pods.

Whole of Europe except far north


northern Africa, Asia Minor, China, western
India, North and South America.
Cultivation Wild plant; formerly cultivated
commercially on a wide scale - this now
restricted to southern Italy, Sicily, Ethiopia.
Seed sown in drills in spring preferably on rich

Bark once used as candles and the oil extracted


from it was used to cure leather, and also in
medicated soaps for skin conditions.

Distribution

L compositae
Bur-Marigold Water Agrimony
The herb is unrelated botanically to the
common Agrimony and it scarcely deserves the
name marigold with its inconspicuous brownBidens tripartita

soil.

Glycoside

Constituents

(comprising

sinigrin)

yellow flowers. Flies and insects are repelled

and an enzyme (myrosin) which react

when

presence of water

the herb

burned.
Description Erect annual 15-60

cm

high, with

smooth or downy branched stems; leaves 5-15


cm long, opposite, dark green, mostly with 3 or
sometimes 5 leaflets. Flowers brownish-yellow,
inconspicuous, somewhat drooping. Late summer to mid-autumn.
Distribution European native. Common on
soil.

Wild

Cultivation

sown

plant.

Propagate from seed

in spring.

dried flowering herb

Uses

alternate, rough leaves, hairy on both surfaces.


3-1 cm long and up to 2.5 cm wide, usually
without petioles. Bright blue, drooping starshaped flowers 2 cm wide appear from early
summer to mid-autumn on sparsely flowered
racemes.
Distribution Native to mediterranean region;
naturalized and introduced elsewhere; found
1

Constituents Volatile oil.

Astringent: dia-

to

Mainly used as a rubefacient poultice for


rheumatism, local pain and chilblains. Added
to hot water as a foot bath. Used as an ingredient of the condiment Flour of Mustard.

banks, in ditches, near ponds. Prefers

river

muddy

in the

form allyl isothiocyanate


(or essential oil of mustard) which is responsible for the smell, taste and inflammatory
action of mustard. Also contains proteins;
mucilage; and non-volatile oil.
Uses (seed, leaves) Stimulant; irritant; emetic.

is

Young

leaves occasionally used in salads.

Contra-indications

May

Should

sparingly

used

be

tender

blister

skins.

when taken

in-

ternally.

garden escape.
Wild plant and prolifically selfThrives on ordinary well-drained

especially as
Cultivation

seeding.

Sow seed in shallow


summer.

in full sun.

soil

drills in

late spring or late

Mucilage;

Constituents

tannin;

volatile

oil:

various mineral acids. Active principles not


fully

understood,

and

diuretic

they

but

act

as

mild

sudorific.

dried flowering plant, fresh leaves) Mild

Uses

diuretic; once used

for

kidney and bladder

inflammations. Used externally as a poultice


on inflammations.
Taken as a tisane for

rheumatism
Said

and

for

respiratory

infections.

stimulate the flow of milk in nursing

to

mothers.

Candied flowers used for cake decoration.


Fresh leaves and flowers added to salads, and
phoretic; antihaemorrhagic. Formerly used in
a variety
CX(

ol

pt for

A weak

now

condition*, but

rarely

antihaemorrhagic purposes.
dye is obtained from

yellow

used

the

officinalis

iptions of

i<

to bees,

its

bright blue star-shaped flowers are

alwa\s covered with the msec is.


Description Annual 01 lometimei biennial herb,
with ere* hair) stems to 60 m, bearing ovate,
1

Roots

lips.

<

Brassica nigra (L)


Bla< k

Koch cruciferae
Mustard

word

lie plant, howe\ ei, does not lend itself Well


is often
mechanical harvesting as
2 3 m

it

height,

As

and readily sheds

result

has

it

its

almost

when

seed

completely

lliiissiia

juncea

which

is

burning must' since the French


ground the seed with grape must.

cucurbitaceae

less

lo
01

originally

varying

shapes,

generally

to

grow luxuriantly:

root-stock

is

Mandrake

similar

in

since the enor-

appearance

to the

legendary Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum)


and was once used as a substitute lot it. Bryony
toots carved into human form were often used
as

shop signs

In

English

herbalists

the

in

eighteenth century.
Description

Climbing perennial arising from

large while tuberous root 75


thick.

of

meaning

mous

been

much

bruein -

another name, tin wild vine, emphasizes the


vigorous growth of the annual stems which
rapidly covet hedgerow shrubs. The herb is
also called English

Description Much branched annual


3 m high.
smooth above and slightly hairy below grass-

leases

acq.

lo

ripe.

pungent. The word 'mustard' is thought


derive from the Latin
mustum ardens,

green

in

Brown

replaced with the shorter Juncea or

Mustard

Bryonia dioica

White or Red Bryony/ English Mandrake


The common name is derived from the Greek

the historical dest

Borage
refer to the herb's abilities to bring happiness
and comfort and drive away melancholia.
Even Pliny (ailed the plant euphrosinum because
it
made men joyful and merry. Certainly it
was widely used in a variety of alcohol
dtmks, and it is still a vital ingredient <l
summer wine ii|>s. As Boi aye is very attractive
all

me

Hie powerful flavoui of old- fashioned Mustard


was due largely lo its content of Black Mustard.

L boraginaceae

Borage Bun age


Almost

flavour wine.

Mustard

flowers.

Borago

fresh flowers used lo dec orate

Long

stein.

cm

I>ran< liing

long, 7.5

neai

the

cm

base

leaching 4 m tall, and supported by coiled


tendrils. Leaves palmate, 5-lobed and rough.
Male plants beat pale green flowers on long

163

BUX CAP
Box woods were widespread in Europe but the
for the wood - which is twice as hard
as oak - led to extensive felling. Close clipped
Box hedges make excellent edgings to formal

demand

herb gardens.

Slow growing evergreen

Description

tree

or

bark greyish, leaves dark


green above and shiny, pale beneath, oblong
1-3 cm long. Flowers minute, yellow-green in
axillary clusters appearing mid-spring to early
shrub, 2-7

tall;

sandy

soil

taken

autumn.
Mediterranean native; widely distributed in Europe and Western Asia; introduced elsewhere. Prefers a well-drained and
chalky or loamy soil.
Cultivation Wild plant.
early

Distribution

parabuxine,

buxine,

parabuxonidine oil; tannin.


Uses (leaves, woodi Not used medicinally; but
formerly used for syphilis and as a sedative
A volatile oil from the wood was once used in
the treatment of epilepsy, piles and toothache.
Perfume once made from the bark. Leaves and
sawdust were formerly used to dye hair
auburn. Box wood is as durable as brass and is
therefore used in instrument manufacture.
Leaves once used as a substitute for Hops.

Resin

Constituenti

comprising

bryonin; tannin; volatile

and
Uses

oil;

or

employed
rarely used

to

dried

allay

due

to

its

root

coughs

glycoside

other glycosides

alkaloids. Purgative action


fresh

the

due

to resin.

Irritant;
in

once

pleurisy,

now

violent purgative action.

Berries of use as a dye.


Contra-indications All parts

POISONOUS.

Contra-indications

died

from

Jord. labiatae

Calamintha

ascenden.1

Calamint Mountain Balm

Mountain Mint

An am

ient medicinal herb which once had


such a good reputation as a heart tonic that it

was named after the Greek lor excellence


kalos. Although an 'official' herb of the Middle
Ages it now has no place in either orthodox or
medicine.
Hairv

Buxus sempervirens L buxaceae

arising

Box Box Tree

high;

164

have

Common

Description

Although once used for medicinal purposes the


slow growing and somewhat peculiarly smelling Box Tree is now mainly sought after for its
timber which is used in the manufacture of
chess pieces and turned boxes. At one time

Animals

eating the leaves.

folk

perennial;

stems

from creeping root-stock,


leaves

(dried

may

leaves

herb

flowering

An

infusion

is

Diaphoretic;

a useful tonic.

The

be used as a poultice for bruises.

peppermint flavoured tisane can be made


from the leaves.

in spring.

Alkaloids
:

to

Constituents Volatile oils.

or limestone.

Constituents

appear early summer

late spring.

Uses

in

berries; both plants

summer

Distribution

expectorant.

Wild plant. Cultivated from cuttings

long. Typically labiate flowers,

to early autumn.
European native; prefers dry
woodland and waste places on chalky soil.
Cultivation Wild plant. Propagated by cuttings
of side-shoots taken in spring; seed sown in
early spring: root division late autumn and

ing late

Native to Europe, North Africa,


western Asia. Cultivated widely: prefers chalk
Cultivation

female plants bear greenish flowers in


umbels of 2-5 on short stalks and single red

cm

pale purple, in dense whorls of 10-20, appear-

summer.
Distribution

stalks;

ovate, 2-3

stalked,

toothed

to

and

square,

30 cm
broadly

officinalis L compositae
Marigold Carden Marigold

Calendula

This well-known garden plant is probably one


of the most useful of all herbs. It has valuable
medicinal properties, yields a yellow dye, and

can be used
purposes.

as a culinary

It

herb and

for

cosmetic

has been used in the Mediter-

ranean region since the ancient Greeks, and it


was known to Indian and Arabic cultures
before the Greeks. The botanical name comes
from the Latin calendulae or calends meaning
'throughout the months', which was intended
to emphasize the very long flowering period of
the Marigold.
Description Annual; biennial rarely; branching, angular stem to 50 cm; leaves oblong or
lanceolate, hairy on both surfaces, 5-15 cm
flower-heads large, yellow or orange,
tubular florets absent
double-flowered
appearing mid-summer to late autumn.
long:

Mediterranean native; distributed


throughout the world as a garden plant.
Cultivation Not found wild. Tolerates any soil in
full sun, although prefers loam. Seed sown
mid-spring, but once established is generally
Distribution

self-sown.
Constituents Volatile oil; a

yellow resin; calen-

all of which
and promote wound healing.

dulin saponins; a bitter principle;


;

aid bile secretion


I

es

entire flower-heads, individual florets,

rarely the entire flowering plant

Cholagogue:

BUX-CAP
styptic; anti-inflammatory:

vulnerary; anti-

emmenagogue.

septic; possibly

ulcers,

and some inflammatory

treatment of kidney and urinary


diarrhoea. Frequently included in cleansing mixtures such as acne
remedies. May possess a weak sedative action.
Can be used as a tea substitute.

skin

Used externally for treatment of leg


and in conjunctivitis as an eye lotion.
Petals are substitutes for Saffron, and may be
added to salads and omelettes or used to colour
cheese and butter.
Young leaves added to salads.
lesions.

Cannabis
Recorded in the fifth century B.C. in the
Chinese herbal Rh-ya but now subject to
considerable nedical and legal reappraisal.
Hemp has long been of economic importance
to man. John Gerard described it in the sixteenth century as the Indian Dreamer. C.
sativa L is considered now to be synonymous

and cosmetic preparations, and

as a hair rinse.

Yellow dye obtained by boiling flowers.


Calluna vulgaris (Li Hull Ericaceae

Heather Ling

A common

herb long used

European

in

L cannabaceae

Cannabis sativa

Hemp

Petals are also used as tea.


in skin

in the

infections,

tract

ulcers,

Used

glaucoma, spasmodic cough, neuralgia,

thma and migraine.


Stem fibre provides 'hemp' for rope, sail-cloth
etc. Seed is a bird-feed, and source of a drying

Of use

Specifically of use in inflamed lymphatic nodes,

duodenal

Uses (fresh flowering tops) Antiseptic; diuretic;


astringent.

with C. indica L. although the herb

folk

is

variable

in constituents and appearance dependupon region and method oi cultivation.

ly

tall.

Leaves grey-green,

latei

reddish, verj

mm

appearing

late

summer

Native

to late

autumn.

Europe, Asia Minor.


eastern North America, On

Distribution

to

Introduced to
acidic sandy soils. 01 peal bogs. In woodland,
dry hillsides, mountainous distrit is. to 2500 m
altitude.

lanceolate, toot lied.

panicles

flowers in

sessile leafy spikes 2

Distribution

introduced

small, sessile, overlapping in 4 tows. Ffowei


long, pink in terminal one-tided rat emes,

">

countries.

Native

in

j-

cm

40

23
c

<

long. Male-

and western Asia

in altitude

tropical

can

be

.11

cultivated

Last

man) countries il

In

only with a government

pei mit.

Bush.

pickled in wine vinegar, have been used as a

condiment for at least 2000 years, and have


been known as either capparis or

always

Dioscorides suggested a medical use


them, but the) have never widel) been used
for anything except culinary purposes. The
best known substitute lor capers is pickled,
gi

in nasturtium seeds.

Description Straggling spiny

shrub

leaves tough, roundish e oval 2

spines

in

high;

cm

long,

the base.

at

White or pink single flowers 2 .5 cm long with


4 petals, and numerous purple stamens hanging below them, appearing from early

Wild and cultivated commercially,


in temperate regions lor oil) seed anil fibre
Soviet Union and central Europe, for example- and in tropical regions lor the- drug
Cultivation

\inea. India.

Physical

illegal.

is

Capparis spinosa L capparaceae


Caper Caper Bush
The unopened flower buds of the Caper

with short petiole and

long. Variable.

to central

5000

female

long;

man) temperate and

to

To

7. 5

tops

personality. Medical use only.

lor

Coarse strong-smelling dioceious


m (all. Leaves long-petioled
thin, alternate, palmate; 3 11 leaflets, narrow-

flowering

as a narcotic (marijuana).

and psychological effects, ranging from


change in blood pressure and impotence to
hallucination, vary enormously depending on

(capparis.

cm

Dried

oil".

smoked

Contra-indicatwns Possession

ing

Description

whose generic name is from the


Greek meaning to sweep, alter the use "I n^
branches in brooms.
Description Evergreen subshrub from
5 cm

illegally

both

annual, go

medicine

'hemp-seed

oil,

as-

autumn and

to earl)

Distribution

Ah

ie

Mediterranean region and North

a to the

Cultivation

climates

Ma\

be

summer

lasting onl) 24 hours.

Sahara.

Wild plant; cultivated

when
grown

the
in

bush

is

often

greenhouses

in

in

warmer

spineless

temperate

zones.

tivars exist lor

cannabinone, comprising
various compounds; pharmacological action
probably due to isomers <>l tetrahydrocanna-

in summer most successfully rooted


with the help of mist propagation (requiring
very high humidity).

stone

binol.

Constituents

Constituents

Cultivation Wild.

soils.

under

Numerous

horticultural cul-

rock-garden use. Dislikes limePropagate by young wood cuttings

glass.

Uses

and fumarit acids; arbutin;


tannins; an oil, ericinol; a resin, ericoline;
llavouoid glycosides, quercitrin and myricitConstituents Citrii

rin;

carotene.

The combined

dominant!) antiba<

terial.

action

pr<

fibre,

flowering
(

resin,

seed, oil, female

lops

(lie

and male dried

latter

erebral sedative; narcotit

onl\

analgesii

rarel)
;

anti-

spasmodic.
Mielie mal US4 and attitude to the drug varies
according to country. ( lonsidered e>l benefit in

Cuttings

Caprit acid, which develops on


pn kling the buds, and which is responsible for

th<

Uses

I1.11

actei

istii

unopened

flavoui

llowei

buds

Numerous

culin-

ary uses caper sauce, tartare sauce, vinaigrette,


buitet, in Liptauei cheese, and as a garnish
:

wilh hois d'oeuvres.

fish,

meat and salads.

(i
,

CAP-CAS
Capsella bursa-pastoris (L)

Medic, cruciferae

Cultivation Wild in parts of South America and


southern India; cultivated elsewhere.
Constituents
Capsicin; capsicain; alkaloids;
vitamin C; palmitic acid.

Shepherd's Purse Shovelweed


In almost all European languages the common
names of this herb allude to the strange shape
of the

fruit,

which are very similar

from
the

belts.

The Latin name

to the purses

Uses

commonly hung

or pouches which were once

also simply

means

fruit

antiseptic;

Stimulant:

rubefacient.

and

spas-

Used

in

improve both the


peripheral circulation and digestion. Occas-

flatulence,

case of the shepherd".

'little

ground

(dried

molytic;

colic

to

Shepherd's Purse can be found growing in


Greenland at sites where it was introduced by

Norsemen iooo
places

years ago.

It

was, and in some

extensively eaten as a spring

still,

is

vegetable.

3g

ji^

1*1

..

'

Ai

pungency, and the plants are grown commerand subtropical countries.

cially in all tropical

Some

varieties grow in the cooler parts of


Europe and America. Chili is dried and ground
to form Cayenne Pepper; it is also blended
with several varieties of Capsicums, herbs and
spices to make Chili powder.
Although the origin of the cultivated varieties
is

uncertain, experts believe

all

come from one

original species. For this reason the botanical


classification

of

muddled, and

C.

these

plants

annuum

somewha'

is

often described as

is

C.Jrutt Kens.

Herbaceous annual or biennial:

Description

30 90 cm high; leaves 2.5 12 cm long,


acuminate, often narrowing towards the petiole: white flowers, solitary, 5
cm wide,

mm

or

Annual,

Description

or

generally

biennial;

smooth or slightly hairy stem, branched, to


50 cm; arising from basal rosette of dentate or
variable leaves. Upper leaves entire and
narrow. White flowers 2.5-4 mm diameter, in
loose racemes appearing throughout the year,
and followed by triangular shaped fruit called

much

varied

in

larger.

Fruit from

30

1.5

cm

long,

colour (yellow, brown, purple, often

bright red
Distribution

in

shape and degree of

Grown

in

tropical

all

fleshiness.

and sub-

Distribution

Europe and America.


Not found in wild state, but closely
related
to
the
Bird
Pepper
(Capsicum
microcarpum (D.C.). Seed sown under glass in
early spring; later transplanted. Best sown in
pots or under glass in cool climates to ensure

common weed

ripening of

siliculae.

Widespread in temperate zones;


on gravelly, sandy or loamy
soils, especially those which are nitrogen-rich.
Cultivation Wild plant.
Constituents Choline; acetylcholine: and other
amines
acting as vasoconstrictors and
haemostatics.
Uses

(dried

plant;

fresh

Anti-haemorrhagic; the herb acts

plant)

as a vaso-

and is therefore of use in certain


haemorrhages especially profuse menstruation.

during

to

assist

childbirth.

cabbage

in

many

Capsicum annuum

Chili

contraction of the uterus

Spring

leaves

eaten

as

countries.

L solanaceae

Peppers Capsicum/Sweet Peppers

All species of Capsicum are of American origin

and were unknown before 1494 when Chanca,


the physician to the fleet of

second voyage

to

the

Columbus

West

Indies,

described their use by the natives.

in his

briefly

Today

there

are scores of varieties in cultivation, ranging in

shape,

166

size,

colour,

flavour,

and degree of

as a liniment in neuralgia or

Weak

infusion of benefit as throat

gargle.

Large doses are an extreme

Contra-indications

Cultivation

irritant to the gastro-intestinal system.

fruit.

Capsicin; capsaicin: alkaloids:


vitamin C; palmitic acid.
Uses (fresh or dried fruit) Spasmolytic: nutriConstituents

tive

and stimulant. Aids digestion; of

use in

Mainly employed

as

condiment and

Cardamine pratensis

Lady's

Smock

L cruciferae

Cuckoo-flower/Bittercress

Lady's Smock is one of the first wild flowers to


appear in spring, and is characteristic of moist
meadows in Europe and America. It is rich in
vitamins and minerals and was formerly cultivated and used as a common salad herb, often
being found on market stalls. It has, unfortunately, now fallen into disuse. Cardamine is an
ancient Greek

name

for Cress,

and

refers to

its

national

supposed heart-benefitting properties.


Description Slender erect perennial on short
root-stock, to 25-50 cm. Leaves pinnately subdivided, consisting of 3-7 segments, oblong or
cm long. Basal leaves broader and
rounded,
form a rosette. Pale lilac or white flowers, 4
attractive petals cm long, in terminal racemes
appearing spring to early summer, and followed by 2.5 cm long fruit pod. Double flowers

came from Cayenne

occasionally occur.

vegetable.

constrictor

Thought

employed

rheumatism.

tropical countries;

diarrhoea.
flowering

ionally

Capsicum frutescens L solanaceae


Tabasco Pepper Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne was classified as C. minimum by


Roxburgh, but is generally known as C.
frutescens.
It
is
the species which is used
medicinally, and it is still included in many
pharmacopoeias. Traditionally it
in French Guiana.
Description Perennial shrub to 2 m; trunk
becoming woody, 7.5 cm diameter. Leaves
various, usually elliptical, 2

cm

long; flowers

mm

cm wide.
white in groups of 2 or 3, 5
Fruit small and oblong.
Distribution Tropical and subtropical countries.
1

Distribution

Native

in

temperate

zones

of

northern Europe and America: prefers loamy


soil saturated with water, beside streams, in
damp meadows and moist woodland.
Cultivation

Wild plant; once cultivated. May


when ripe, on damp

be raised from seed sown,

CAP-CAS
loamy

mustard
Uses

Known

soil.

Constituents

Vitamins, especially C: minerals:

oil.

fresh leaves, flowering tops

nutritive. Infusion

may

Stomachic:

be taken

promote

to

the appetite, or in indigestion.

Eaten raw

added

cooked as vegetable;
Flavour similar to Watercress.

in salads, or

to soups.

France as Barometre because it


approach of rain.
Description Stemless or short-stemmed perennial to 5 cm on taproot. Bearing oblong 30 cmlong pinnate leaves, divided into numerous
spiny segments. Flower-head large (to 12.5
cm) solitary, creamy-white, composed entirely
of disc florets: appearing late summer to midin

closes at the

autumn.
Distribution

Native to south and central Europe.


meadowland, on poor, dry,

heathland.

In

stony calcareous

soils

in

warm

positions to

Commercially and
on a wide scale.
especially in Germany and Holland. Tolerates
most soils: sow late summer for seed harvesting
the following summer.
Constituents Volatile oils, which prevent flatulence and promote secretion of gastric juices.
Uses (ripe fruit, young fresh leaf, fresh roots)
Carminative: aromatic. Of much benefit in
horticulturally

Constituents Essential oil: resin: tannins: inulin:

and

antibiotic substances, carlinoxide

carlin-

dried root

Cholagogue: diuretic;

Young

The decoction may

added

in

in

stomachic tonic.

be used to clean

as flavouring.

to salads: root boiled as

vegetable.

such as Kiimmel.

to flavour liqueurs

Cassia angustifolia Vahl.

and urine retention:


complaints such as acne and eczema;

benefit in dropsy

liver disorders, or as a

leaves

anti-

bacterial: vulnerary: stomachic.

skin

lack of appetite, diar-

indigestion,

flatulent

Used

ene.

some

plant.

cultivated

Seed has wide culinary use

Wild plant.

Cultivation

Uses

waste-grounds.

Wild

Cultivation

rhoea. Safe to use with children.

2800 m.

Of

Europe: very widely distributed and naturalized. Prefers

wounds

or

an antiseptic gargle. Used in veterinary


medicine to stimulate appetite of cattle.
Contra-indicatwns Purgative and emetic in large
as

doses.

leguminosae

Senna Tinnevelly Senna


Senna

well-known

is

for

of constipation,

cases

its

effectiveness in

and the herb

is

still

by inclusion in most
national pharmacopoeias. It was first brought
into medical usage by Arabian physicians of
the ninth century when the best sort was considered to come from Mecca. Another species.
recognized

officially

Cassia acuti folia, provides the slightly inferior

mbelliferae
Caraway (ai aw a \ Seed
Both the common and Latin names of this herb
Stem directly from the ancient Arabic word for
its seed karau iya, w Inch are known to have been
used b\ man as medicine and as
flavouring
since the earl) Egyptians. ( araw av cultivation
is mentioned in the Bible, and the seed has been

Carum

carvi

.1

Found
sites -

Carlina acaulis
(

L COM POSITAE

years,

trline Thistle Du.nl Thistle

Carina
Charles

possibh,

is

kimj

army from
more certainh
his

derived

who

acaulis

means

it

die remains of food at Mesolithic

has thus been widely used for 5000

and

1-

-nil extensively

use as a flavouring

from

the

traditional!)

the plague with

among

name

protected

this

'stemless'.

plain

/>

and

Typical

cription

as a

<

cultivated for

arminative.

umbelliferous

biennial:

lowed by erect slender brani bed


00 (in bearing lew pinnate leaves
stem jo
and umbels oi numerous minute whin- (lowers.
Appearing mid 10 late summer, linn when
-1

\i-.n

lol

ripe

late

summer

to late ainiinin

',

shrub or undershrub

to

cm

with pale erect angled branches. Leaves


subdivided into 4 8 leaflets, oval-lanceolate,
smooth. 2.5 6 cm long, 7 8
wide; flowers
75

mm

on erect racemes, small, yellow, numerous.


Followed 1>\ fruit, 13 17
broad.
D iiihution Native to Arabia and Somaliland:
introduced in southern India, especially Ma-

mm

M\ sore and

dura.

Tinnevelly.

Cultivation Wild plant. Cultivated


in

rosette ofbipinnate or tripinnate feather) leaves


in in

'Alexandrian senna".
Description Perennial

India,

and

commercial!)
Arabia and

to a lesser extent in

Somaliland.
<

onstituents

ally rhein,

netin

Anthraquinone

derivatives, especi-

aloe-emodin, kaempferin, isorham-

also beta-sitosterol

kaempferol myric)
:

nun

long, oblong, strongl) ribbed.


Distribution

Native

to

mid-East, Asia, Central

,(,7

CAS-CEP
Purgative action due to
anthraquinone substances acting on lower
bowel wall and nerves Auerbach's plexus) in
alcohol and resin.

the wall.
(dried

Uses

fruit,

dried

Cathartic.

leaflets)

Widely used alone or more commonly

com-

in

bination with aromatics to treat constipation.

May

be taken as a tea with

Ginger or

slices of

Coriander Seed.
Contra-indications

constipation or

Not

be

to

used

spastic

in

Large doses of the

colitis.

leaf

Caulophyllum thalictroides CL) Michx.


BERBERIDACEAE
Blue Cohosh Papoose Root
Eighty years ago this herb was included in the
United States Pharmacopoeia and was considered worthy of detailed study and use in
obstetric
and gynaecological conditions.
American Indian women drank an infusion of
the root for two weeks prior to childbirth,
which was usually comparatively painless. The
herb is also called Blue or Yellow Ginseng. Its

now

cause nausea, griping pain and red coloration

use

of the urine.

Description Erect perennial to

fagaceae
Sweet Chestnut Spanish or Eurasian

pinnate:

was

the

classical

name

restricted to herbal medicine.

m on contorted
branched root-stock; stem terminated in large
sessile tripinnate leaf. Other leaves 2 or 3

Castanea sativa Mill,

Chestnut
Kastanea

is

this

for

which produces the largest and


best nuts only when grown in a mediterranean
climate. These nuts, once known as kastana, arc
now called marones and traditionally make the
attractive tree

leaflets being oval, usually 23 lobed,


2.5-10 cm long. Flowers 6-petalled, yellowishgreen (occasionally purplish appearing late
spring to mid-summer on peduncle arising

best stuffing for turkey.

common

Tree to 30 m; thick dark brown


corrugated bark with spiral fissures: large buds

the

Description

4-5
10

mm

25
above,

long, coarsely serrated, dark green

light green and


Flowers (catkins) 12 20
late

spe< ies such

wide, ovoid; leaves oblong-lanceolate

cm

glabrous

cm

beneath.

Distribution

cm

3 nuts, 2.5

Native

bun

for

food.

Best

Tannin;

Asia,

south

Leaves

m.

propagated

thickets

gum:

and roadsides.
Wild plant.

Cultivation

Constituents

Active principles unknown.

root
bark
cholagogue; diaphoretic.

b\

Emetic;

dried

Uses

diuretic:

Used formerly in biliary obstruction, to promote menstruation and to treat skin cancer.

fresh leaf was once


whooping-cough, and
formerly employed as an

Attractive orange fruits used in flower arrange-

Uses (nuts) Nutritive.

was

to

ovate to ovate-lanceolate,

resin:

taken as a decoction

bark

long,

albumin;

alkaloids.

the

rarely used

numerous, greenon terminal racemes 10 cm long, followed


cm diameter.
by orange-yellow seed capsules,
Distribution Canada and United States from
Quebec to New Mexico. Prefers dense moist

grafting.
Constituents

Twining shrub

cm

12.5

Now

medicine.

ish,

Europe and North Africa. Introduced into


America and Europe. Tolerates most soils.
prefers deep sandy loam.
Cultivation Wild plant; widely grown and
hundreds of varieties now exist, some of which
are cultivated

as trellis or wall covers.


in folk

serrated. Flowers ver\ small,

wide.

western

to

grow

")

related

orbiculatus are useful plants to

.is (..

even

l)i scription

long, appearing

spring to early summer, followed by a

enclosing

plant found growing beside roads in

American Appalachians. This and

The

ments.

in

L compositae
Cornflower Bluebottle Bachelor's Button
Once common in cornfields but in parts
Europe now becoming much rarer because
Centaurea cyanus

antipyretic.

Nuts boiled, roasted, ground into flour, and


used in pates, tarts, bread and soups.
Good quality timber obtained from the tree.

of
of

methods; the Cornflower gained its name by the translation of the


apothecaries' term for the drug "flosfrumenti'.
Before the sixteenth century it was called Blue
Bothem or Bluebottle. Both this and another
growing in the mounspecies C. montana L
tainous areas of Europe, are considered
excellent eyewashes for tired eyes. Tradition
maintains they are most effective for blue evePlantago
while a completely different plant
major (the Greater Plantain
is believed to be

changing agricultural

from base

upper

of

leal.

Fruit

cm

diameter,

blue-black.
Distribution

United States and Canada; especi-

woodland and mountain glades.


Wild plant.
Constituents Saponin; green-yellow colouring
ally in moist

Cultivation

matter; resins; starch;

salts:

stances acting on voluntary

unknown

sub-

and involuntary

muscle - especially the uterus.


Uses dried rhizome and root Oxytocic. Once
used to facilitate childbirth and treat chronic
rheumatism. Also used in fevers but only weak
diaphoretic action has been shown.
|

Powder is irritant, especially


to mucous membranes. May cause pain to
fingers and toes.
Contra-indications

Celas'rus scandens

brown eyes.
Annual herb on

best for

20-90 cm high;

leaves grey,

linear-lanceolate, usually

7.5-15

cm

wiry stem

downy,

alternate,

than 5

mm w ide.

less

long. Bract fringes silvery. Flowers

capitulae 2.5-4 cm wide,


bright blue (occasionally white, pink or pur-

on large
ple).

solitary

Only

summer

Bittersweet

Distribution

of the spindle-tree family and a

erect

Description

False Bittersweet American or Climbing

A member
if)M

L celastraceae

disc florets present.

to early

Appearing mid-

autumn.

Native to south and east Europe,


naturalized in parts of North America. Intro-

CAS-CEP
ingredient of vermouth.

stems

erect,

cm

cm

high:

to

form

Basal rosette of elliptic leaves

inflorescence.

mm

8-20

wide; stem leaves


shorter, linear, oval, glabrous with 5 veins.
cm long, borne on
Flowers sessile, pale red,
1-5

long,

Unknown.

Constituents

annual 2-50
glabrous, branching

Description Biennial or

Uses (fresh leaves

and

No medical

root-stock)

use.

Used

cooked

in salads (bitter),

as a vegetable.

Root-stock used in soups.


Attractive garden plant.

corymbs of 6 10 flowers. Appearing late


to mid-autumn.
native;
Distribution
Central
European
distributed from western Europe to western

Cephaelis ipecacuanha (Brot.) A. Rich.

apical

summer

introduced

Siberia:

elsewhere.

dry

Prefers

woodland and roadsides.


Wild plant. Cultivated commercially on a small scale in North Africa and
central Europe. Seed sown in spring or autumn.
Constituents Glycosidic bitter principles and
related compounds which stimulate gastric
and salivary secretions.
slopes,

Cultivation

Constituents Sterols:

cyanin: cyanin chloride:

dried (lower-head

Uses

astringent.

Diuretic: tonic: mild

may

decoction

be used as an

in eye inflammation and fatigue. A


blue ink was formerly made horn the (lower

eyewash
juice.

Flowers used

in

pot-pourris.

Centaurium erythraea Rafn.

Centaury Lessa
(

ientui

!hiron

who

suffering an arrow

named

after the

wound. The plant

called Gentian since

it

is

also

has similar properties

Hue Gentian Gentiana hum and is used


(or the same purposes. It was considered I
luck\ plant b\ some ol the Celtic peoples nl
Europe. Centaur) v\as widel) grown in the
M
Ages, and it is si ill used toda) as an
to the

<

<

Important constituent of gastric herbal


in bitter herb liqueurs.

Centranthus ruber

drug's effectiveness

current inclusion in

is

in

court

emphasized by

its

national pharmaco-

all

poeias except the Chinese.

Small straggling shrub on creeping

Description

fibrous roots initially

smooth becoming en-

teas;

DC

valerianaceae

Red-spurred Valerian Fox's

Brush
The Red-spurred Valerian has none of the
medicinal properties of the closely related
Both
Valeriana officinalis
'official' Valerian
l.'Miii
and Linnaeus classified the herb
botanically as Valeriana ruber, and Gerard
(ailed it Red Valerian or Red Clow Basil.
.

centaui
treated himself with the herb after
is

The

who

his success to the

used

in:

leases

mate

entire,

sessile,

Centaur)

688 sold the secret of


of Louis XIV.
1

effect.

Description Perennial

Centaur)

Common
(

QENTIANACEAE

Common

01

a Parisian physician called Helvetius

Aromatic: bitter;
stomachic. Stimulates appetite and bile secretion: of benefit in weak digestion. Widely used
as a tonic. Has an insignificant antipyretic

Red Valerian

fragasin.

Ipecacuanha - known as poaya in its native


and long used there for medical purposes - did not reach Europe until 1672 and
was not botanically identified until 1800. Its
use for dysentery was proven and promoted by
Brazil

dried flowering plant

Uses

duced elsewhere. Found especially on wastegrounds on porous nutrient-rich soil.


Cultivation Wild plant
becoming rare or less
common Widely cultivated horticultural!}
from seed sown in spring on sunny site.

RL'BIACEAE

Ipecacuanha

on wood) based stems to

lam

to

eol.ile

occasional!)

IO

toothed

Cttl

long,

al

base

nun wide, red or pink, the corolla is


tubular and spurred al the base. Appears hue
Flowers

spring.
Distribution

old walls,
Cultivation
use.

Europe

cliffs,

<

sites.

Wild plant: limited horticultural

white variety,

Propagated

south-west Asia: prefers

to

halk)

In

root

C. rubei var. albus, exists.

division

in

spring

or

autumn.

banded

and annulated

larged

Stem con-

tinuous with root-stock, smooth, green, angu-

30 (in, bearing few opposite, ovate, entire


Flowers white in heads on terminal
solitary peduncles, appearing late winter to
earl) spring, bears clusters of dark purple
lar to

leaves.

berries.
Distribution

elsewhere.

Indigenous

to

brazil; introduced

Grows in clumps in moist and shady

forests.

Cultivation

Wild plant; cultivated in Brazil,


Burma.
Alkaloids comprising mainly eme-

India (Bengal), Malaysia,


Constituents
1
1

ne and

<

ephaelinc. together with psychotrine,

melliN l-psv< hotline


glyi oside;

and

ipecac nan hi 11

emelaiiiiiie.
;

Also a

Starch, ipecacuanhic

acid.

diied ioot

Emetic; powerful expectorchronic bronchitis.


Prevents cyst formation in amoebic dysenterj
Useful in acute dysentery and as a diaphoretic.
1

ant.

sed

in

acute and

i6g

CER CHI
Dangerous in large doses as it
whole gastro-intestinal tract,
causing serious vomiting and diarrhoea. Powder irritates skin and mucous membranes
causing violent sneezing and coughing. To be
used by medical personnel only.
Contra-indications

the

irritates

cactaceae
Night Flowering Cereus
Cereus grandiflorus Mill,

Although many cacti provide food and drink,


comparatively few are proven effective medicinally. One exception is the Night Flowering
Cereus which is characterized by its exceed-

and beautiful scented

ingly large

commonly grown

flowers.

The

house plant.
Description Perennial succulent shrub; stem 5
or 6 ribbed, simple or rarely branched, 1-4 cm
diameter, dark green, prickly. Flowers white.
plant

is

as a

terminal or lateral, very large 20-30

diameter.
hours,

They bloom

and

in the

cm

evening,

die. Fruit ovate, scaly,

last

in

orange-red.

Distribution
West Indian native; tropical
America, Mexico.
Cultivation Wild plant: grown horticultural!)
as a house plant in sharp, sandy soil.
Constituents

stances.

Resins; alkaloids;

The method

unknown

of action

is

not

sub-

dry, sandy

fully

Cultivation

Commercially grown in central


Europe. To ensure double flower-heads, prop-

understood.
I

ses

fresh

or

dried

flowers,

young stems

agate vegetatively by root-stock division in


early spring.
fruits rare, apical,
1

cm

rounded,

rust

coloured

to

diameter.

Abundant

Distribution

high northern

in

tudes, especially coniferous forests,

lati-

mountain-

ous parts of central Europe. North America.


Also in Antarctica.
Cultivation

Wild plant.
mucilage, comprising lichenin

Constituents 70",,

and

which

isolichenin.

acts as a

demulcent:

L Ach. parmeliaceae

Moss

This is not a moss but a lichen and it has long


been used as a foodstuff in the cold northern
countries where

entire

plant
Demulcent; mild
weak antituberculous agent.

dried

it

flourishes.

It is still

employed

and

acid.

Spasmolytic;

flower-heads

dried

Uses

Excellent in

Whole herb used


Used

in

beer manufacture.

Centra-indications

vomiting and vertigo.

be ground and

made

into flour lor baking

Chamaemelum

nobile (L) All.

compositae
or Double

Chamomile Roman, Common

to lighten hair.

Excessive

This is one of the best known of all herbs and


has been in continuous use from the time of the
Egyptians who dedicated it to their Gods
until today when it is widely available prepacked in tea bags. Its name derives from the
Greek chamaimelon meaning 'apple on the
ground' since all parts of the herb are strongly

cultivated and

purgative properties.
Description Lichen, consisting of erect dichotomously branched, curling thallus 312 cm

of yellow-white ligulate

high; upper surface olive-brown or grey, paler


lower surface with depressed white spots:

Distribution Indigenous to southern Europe:


introduced and widespread elsewhere: prefers

Description Aromatic perennial to 30 cm with


creeping root-stock, low growing, hairy stems,
branched and supporting leaflets divided into

almost entirely
15

mm-3 cm

wide, born singly on long erect stems.

mid-summer

to

produces

found on waste-ground near to habitation


is yet another herb once

indicates that this

florets,

dosage

Chelidonium majus L papaveraceae


Greater Celandine
The fact that Greater Celandine is commonly

Chamomile

many segments. Flowers consist

men-

vomiting and nausea.


flatulent dyspepsia taken as tisane.

dyspepsia,

May

apple-scented.

170

spacings. Succeeds
even in part shade.
comprising azulene.

tiglic acids, anthemal.


anthemenc. Action antiseptic: anti-inflammatory: anti-spasmodic. Improves appetite.
Also inositol, and a bitter glvcoside, anthemic

esters of angelic

Stimulates appetite. Specifically of benefit in


debilitating diseases associated with vomiting.

medicine largely because of its nutritive


properties, although Linnaeus recommended
its general
use in medicine for pulmonary
diseases. It was once called 'muscuscatharticus"
which suggests wrongly that it possesses
in folk

oil.

tren-

cm

soil

struation,

bread or boiled in milk. Edible jelly made by


boiling soaked plant to remove bitterness.

Iceland

Volatile

Constituents

15

secretions.
Uses

Cetraria islandica

2.5 sq.m., planted at


on any free-draining

clone

100 plantlets cover

sedative; carminative. Relieves painful

bitter

tonic; nutritive;

cases of dropsy.

The non-flowering

eague' ideal for lawns;

organic acids, including fumaroprotocetraric acid, which stimulate gastric

also

Cardiac stimulant: increasing the force of


myocardial contractions. Used in cardiac
arrhythmias and heart failure. Once used in

sun.

soil in lull

From

mid-autumn.

now

forgotten.

It

is still

used

in

medicine however, chiefly for liver


problems, but no longer for its traditional
ability to improve poor sight. Dioscorides
called the herb chelidonion from khelidon - a
swallow since it was supposed to flower when
swallows were migrating.
Description Perennial 30-90 cm high; stem
branched, slightly hairy, leaves pinnateK finely
hairy or glabrous, with 5-7 ovate or oblong
leaflets crenated or toothed, blue-green underherbal

neath: flowers yellow, 4-petalled. 2-2.5 cm


diameter, appearing early to mid-summer.

Followed by erect thin green capsules 3-5

cm

long.
Distribution

Native

to

Europe, naturalized in

eastern North America, introduced elsewhere.

CER-CHI
laxative; anthelmintic.

Used

tinal disorders as a tonic.

Of benefit in anorexia,

constipation

indigestion,

Once used

as

an ointment

in

general intes-

and

of piles.

calcium, vitamins

iron,

in

and C.

B,

cholecystitis.

to relieve irritation

Rich

Constituents

(fresh

Uses

common

young

medicinal

Xo

Nutritive.

seed)

leaf,

use,

although mildly laxa-

tive.

Seed can be ground and used as flour.


Leaf eaten as cooked green vegetable or raw.
It is more nutritious than spinach or cabbage.
Produces a red to golden-red dye.
Can be used as animal fodder.
Chenopodium ambrosioides var. anthelmintium

CHENOPODIACEAE

American Wormseed Mexican Tea


to Mexico this herb has
become thoroughly naturalized as far north as

Although indigenous

New England, and


Europe
cluded
but

in

1732.

in the

it
was introduced into
Mexican Tea was once in-

United States Pharmacopoeia.

now restricted to American

is

folk

medicine.

Strong smelling annual reaching


.25 m, branching profusely from ground level

Description
1

leaves alternate, oblong-lanceolate.

long:

flowers

leafless spikes

Found on waste-ground, wood

edges, paths

and walls primarily near habitation.


Wild plant. Propagate by

Cultivation

Fat
root

di\ ision in spring.

Constituent Acrid

orange coloured latex con-

taining several alkaloids, especially chclidon-

and

ine

chelerythrin;

chelidoxanthin;

principle,

bitter

malic and chelidonie

citric,

Hen White

attractive plants,

bladder

and

bladder.

Hen and

from
dried

flowering

Cholagogue;

narcotic;

or

Irrsli

latex)

plant,

fresh

purgative:

included

Description

cholecystitis. Fresh juice

formcrU

POISONOl v

side-effects include sleepiness, skin irritation.

respiratory

tract

irritation

causing

violent

coughing and dyspnoea. Urine stained bright


yellow.

May

auSC

<

iili

<is

often

seed from

fatty

L scrophui.ariaci w

to late

Distribution America, especially tropical central


America; widelv naturalized. On drv waste

sacrificed in

Denmark

111

kin<;

were eaten
nineteenth
(.'.

album was

ol

Tollmund

meal

too

B.c

Annual to
m consisting ol short,
reddish, branched stem, bearing bluish1

green lanceolate toothed variablc-si/ed leaves,


and mealy white inflorescence. Flowers small,
greenish-white,

in

clusters,

appearing mid-

mid-autumn.
Distribution European native; found
genous weedy places, often one ol

summer

to

plants to appeal cm disturbed


Chelone glabra

Good

the closely related

in the ritualistic last

Man.

and

summer

main of which

Century, and the

of biliary duct and gall bladder, such as gall

used externally on warts


tra-indications Large doses

Pigweed

or

Chenopodium bonus-henricus
neolithic times until the

antimitotic. Principally used in inflammations

stones

late

edible plants, for example-, spinach and beet.

Henry

gall

appearing

cm

12.5

arranged on

1500 species of rather unare important

includes

species

Fat

as

Common

small,

autumn.

Goosefoot family
from the Greek khenopodwn meaning goose
foot which is the shape of the leaves of sonic

smooth

such

Goosefoot

The Chenopodiaceae

acids; saponin. Acts as an antispasmodic on

muscle,

L chenopodiaceae

Chenopodium album

greenish,

Cultivation

in

nitro-

the

first

soil.

Wild plant.

Turtle-head Balmony

swamp

This beautiful

flowers
he, id

plant possesses odourless

whose shape resembles

chelom

is

that ol a turtle's

(.reek lor tortoise

It

has long

been a favourite toni< in North American folk


medicine, hut has not been scientifically

examined.
Description

Perennial

to

.-,

m: stem

erect

smooth, square, bearing opposite, sessile 01


shortly
petiolatc dark green slum
leaves,
( m long, narrow
and pointed, somewhat
7
serrate. Mowers white or rose-linked. 2.-, cm
i

-,

long, in terminal oi axillary spikes

law

lumma

to

Appearing

mid-autumn.

and previously cultivated land.


alum Wild plant.

places
Cultii

Constituents Volatile
I

fruit,

entire

chenopodium
flowering

oil.

plant

Anthel-

roundworm and hookboth humans and animals.

mintic, especially lor

worm, and used in


Tea from leaf reported to stimulate milk How
and to relieve pain .liter childbirth. Main use
as the- source of chenopodium oil lor incoi poration into

anthelmintic preparations.

Contra-indications

POISONOUS.

Large doses

cause vertigo, deafness, paralysis, incontinence,


sweating, jaundice, and death.

North America from Newfoundca.iv Found cm low wet


land to Florida and
ground, stream margins, wet forests au<\

Chionanthus virginicus L oleaci u


Fringe Tree Snowdrop Tree/( )ld Man's

lhi< k'

Heard

tribution

Cultii iitum

Constituents
I

Wild plant.

No

dried

\ll

analysis available.

flowering

plan)

lelei

Cholagogue;

the
to

flower,

common names
its

I01

ol

this bcaulllul

spectacular appearance

which reason

it

when

c<

in

has of course been

7'

CHO-CIM
Description

Hardy aromatic perennial


5-15 cm long,

leaves ovate

to

m;

finely serrate, often

with pair of small lobes at the base; greyishcm broad, yellow, button-like,

green. Flowers

appearing

late

summer

to early

autumn.

Asian native; naturalized


North America, Europe. Tolerates any soil;

Distribution W'estern
in

sunny position.
Wild plant; once widely cultivated
as a garden plant. Propagate by root division
spring or autumn, or by seed sown in spring.
It cannot be raised from seed in cool climates.
prefers

Cultivation

If

grown

in the

shade

will not flower.

it

Constituents Volatile oil.

Uses fresh and dried leaf Stomachic. Rarely


used medicinally; an ointment once used as a
salve in burns and stings.
1

Wide culinary uses; including


flavouring home-made beer,

spring salad,
soups,

cakes,

poultry.

Formerlv a cosmetic water was made from the


widely cultivated.

From

a distance the flower-

ing tree appears to be covered with snow,

leaf.

and

name chionant/iu.s is from the Greek meaning


snow flower. The Fringe Tree belongs to the

Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium (Trevir

the

same family

as the olive,

lilac,

jasmine and

dried

Deciduous shrub or tree to H m;


leaves smooth or downy, oblong or oval,
7.5-20 cm long, opposite. Flowers delicate,
fringe-like, numerous, white, 2.5 cm long, on
long stems, in panicles 10-20 cm long, Appearing late spring to mid-summer and followed l>\

Formerly used

ovoid drupes (berries).

Native to North America from


Pennsylvania to Florida and Texas. Found in
woods and thickets, on rich moist soils.

Wild plant; cultivated

as

ornamen-

tal tree.

Saponins;

Constituents

phyllyrin;

lignan

glycoside.
Uses

Antipyretic;
stimulant.

bark,

root

fresh

bark

trunk

cholagoguc; hepatic
infusion once used as a general

diuretic;

An

tonic after debilitating disease, especially of

hepatic origin.

Of

tions, cuts, ulcers

benefit in skin inflammaand bruises when applied as

Chondrus crispus (L) Stackh. gigartinaceae

Carrageen

Irish Moss
Moss is unimportant medically and is not
mentioned at all in classical writings. It was
briefly promoted in 1831 by Dr Todhunter in
Ireland, but it attracted little attention and is
now largely of use in the food and cosmetic
Irish

industries.

seaweed, yellow-green
purplish-brown when fresh, white to yellow
and translucent after drying. Thallus (fronds)
10-30 cm long, arising from subcylindrical
stem, becoming flattened, curled and someDescription Cartilaginous
to

times bifid. Fruiting bodies (cystocarps) small,


oval,

appearing on the branches of the

Distribution Coasts of north Atlantic

thallus.

Ocean on

mainly rocky shores.


Cultivation Wild plant; collected in Ireland,
Brittany and Massachusetts.
Constituents Mainly mucilage; proteins; iodine.
W hen Irish moss is boiled, the soluble subr

172

Once

gelatin

substitute in

jell)

used for dressing cotton, stuffing matfining beer,

colour thickener

feeding cattle, and as a

cinerariifolium

is

is

the

source

of the

best-

natural insecticide, pyrethrum, which

renowned

for

its

possession of an extremely

rapid paralyzing effect and toxicity to a wide

range of insects. It is non-toxic to mammals,


however. For this reason it is used as a spray to
kill

the vectors of certain insect-transmitted

diseases in aircraft. Recent

work has shown


weak antibiotic

that the flower-heads possess

in (loth printing.

although the herb is not used


medicinalK
Description Herbaceous perennial 30-75 cm
tall with slender, hairy stems; leaves 15-30 cm
long, petiolate, oblong or oval, subdivided into
linear segments. Flowers solitary on long
slender peduncles, white, appearing early
activity,

L compositae
Alecost Costmarv Bible-leaf Mace
The most obvious characteristic of this

Chrysanthemum balsamita

herb
is

is its

known

Herb. The

in several

common

aroma by
Greek word kostos;
to

ancient

pleasant balsam-like scent from which

this

languages

as the

Balsam

English names also

their incorporation

refei

of the

was an old Asian herb


used in perfumery which had a similar odour
to C. balsamita. Alecost is famous as the preeminent Middle Ages agent for flavouring and
preparing

a poultice.

as a

C.

known

coughs.

.1

it

(dried

to treat

nutritive.

manufacture; as an emulsif) ing agent for codliver and other oils; in the [bod industry as
suspending and gelling agent.
tresses,

Distribution

Cultivation

mosth

I'sed

Demulcent;

plant

Uses

fleshy, purple,

Pyrethrum Flower Dalmatian Pyrethrum

stances extracted are called carrageenin.

forsythia.
Description

Vis.

compositae

ale.

kostos

summer

to early

Distribution

autumn.

Indigenous

to parts

of Yugoslavia

CHO-CIM
and adjacent

coastal islands: prefers littoral

zones but also found inland including

dried

Uses

moun-

leaf,

dried flowering plant) Bitter;

20 cm, remove

side-shoots

all

and

leaves

and

stack in dry sand in the dark. For coffee sub-

aperient; tonic.

tainous areas.

An

Wild plant. Cultivated commercially in Japan, Kenya, South Africa, parts of


central Europe. Propagation by seed sown in
autumn, thinning out in the following mid-

general tonic and to promote menstruation.

Brunswick or Witloof. White and pink horticul-

Once used

tural races also exist.

grease.

spring.

Employed

Cultivation

Constituents

and

chrysanthine and chrysanthene;

all

and

II,

Small

(dried

pyrethrin

II

No

and powdered flower-heads

as a

moth

the

'cuts"

lead to allergic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis

Chrysanthemum parthenium

L Bernh.

COMPOSITAE
Feverfew Featherfew
There is evidence that Feverfew was used as a
general purpose tonic in previous ages, its
common name being derived from the Latin
Jebrifugia meaning a substance which dri\es
out fevers. The old herbalists' term 'febrifuge'
- from the same stem - has now been replaced
with the medical description, antipyretic, but
strangely the herb is rarely employed in folk
medicine to treat fevers. It is an attractive,
robust and vigorously growing garden plant.
Description Perennial, sometimes biennial, to
90 cm; much branched with yellow-green,

repellent.

Uses (fresh

*S|r

to the

like the

%
V'^
%

mid-spring.

soil.

Double-downed

variet)

W^^&S*

mid-autumn.
Distribution South-east European native; introduced elsewhere. Prefers dry sites on an)
l>\

lactones!

salts; lipids;

bitter

principles

chiefly

lactucine

employed

root)

as

little

an aid

Diuretic;

weak

tonic:

use;

formerly

in jaundice,

and may

medical

protect the liver from the effects of excessive


coffee drinking. Increases glandular secretions
slightly.

Root roasted and ground

as a coffee substitute

or additive; can be boiled or baked, or used as

Forced leaves used as a winter salad


you ig leaves added to summer salads.
Leaves produce a blue dye.
Contra-indications Excessive and continued use
may impair function of the retina.
flour.

Linnaeus described

*J JtffLCx. A^J

to

root

earl)

mineral

and P;

Black Cohosh Black Snakeroot/Bugbanc

Wild plant, propagated


cuttings and seed sown in

leaf,

Of

laxative.

well-drained

Constituents Inulin; sugar;

Cimicifuga racemosa (L) Nutt.

nut

mid-summer

of the varieties Magdeburg and

RAM NCLLACEAE

s( ented pinnate leaves, tin3 leaflets


exceeding 7.5 cm long. Man) Bowers,
2 cm wide consisting of yellow disc florets,
white ra) florets, in tight clusters, appear

strongl)

stitute, use roots

vitamins B, C,
(sesquiterpenoid

Arabians - used the


blanched leaves as a salad, a custom continued
to this day on a commercial scale in Belgium
and horticulturally throughout Europe. Sometimes the blanched winter salad leaves are
known as Endive, which is derived from the
Arabic word hendibeh: the specific botanical
name comes from the same source. Dickens in
his Household Words described the extensive
cultivation of 'chiccorv' in England for the
root which was ground and roasted to be used

and asthma.

to

grown

horticulturally.
<

food

to

L compositae

who -

Egvptians,

cockroach, domestic fly and other pests.


Contra-indications Prolonged human contact

division,

added

Chicory Succory Wild Succory


The use of Chicory can be traced back

medicinal action; used only as a non-toxic

Cultivation

mild sedative.

as a

quantities

Cichorium intybus

also

possess

insecticide for control of the bedbug, mosquito,

may

of benefit in indigestion, as a

and lactupicrine.

insecticidal properties.
L'ses

is

comprising the keto-

Pyrethrins,

esters cinerin

infusion

onstituenti Volatile oils.

.is

,1

St

>*

In

Deep rooted
m; stem bristly or

.11 11

-in. ill

cm

30-100
creamy-white
flowers with numerous long stamens, on a
terminal raceme; appears early summer to
leaflets,

jr.j

cm

long,

early

long. Inflorescence

consisting of foetid,

autumn.

Indigenous to Canada and the


United States, especially Massachusetts, Ohio, Indiana and Georgia. Prefers rich
open woodland and cleared hillsides.
Distribution

eastern

offer substitute.

perennial

Description
1.5

this herb in his Materia


Medica of the eighteenth century as Actaea
racemis longissimus, but it was first called
Christophoriana canadensis racemosa by Plukenet
in 1696. It is an American herb, introduced
into medical practice in America in 1828 by
Garden, and used briefly in Europe from i860.
Now only employed by Anglo-American
herbalists of the Physiomcdical school.
Description Graceful perennial 1-2.5 m h'gh on
thick, gnarled, blackish root-stock bearing
smooth, furrowed stem with alternate leaves
subdivided into 2-, 3- or 5-ovate, toothed

Ins.

hair)

reaching

bearing

rigid

fpper parts practit ally leafless with

bract-like

lowei

leaves;

leaves

entire,

broadly oblong or lanceolate, partly clasping


and bristl) beneath, flowers in large capitula
ol 4 cm diameter, azure blue and ((insisting
only ofra) Hotels. Appearing from late nimmei

to

mid-autumn. Flower-heads lose b\ inidd.i\


European native; introduced else(

Distribution

where; naturalized
roadsides,
(

.in oils

,1

held

ncl

in

edges,

On

the United States.

on

nitrogenous.

al-

alluvial toilt

Wild plant; widely cultivated hortiand commercially. Seed sown 111


well-manured soil from lai" spring to midsummer, thinned to 15 20 Cm apart in midsummer to late summer. Forced blanched
salad heads best obtained from the variety
M itloof: lift the root in late autumn, shorten to
Cultivation

cultural!)

'73

CIN-CIT
Wild

Cultivation
Constituents

presence of small pits (scrobiculi

plant.

Resins and salicylic acid, both act-

ing as anti-rheumatic agents; isoferulic acid;


phvtosterols; alkaloids; tannic acid; 3 uniden(A resinoid impure

fied crystalline alcohols.

mixture, cimicifugin,

produced by adding

is

tive.

Anti-rheumatic;

root-stock)

(dried

Uses

mild expectorant

emmenagogue

uterine cramps.

Large

doses

in

mountainous
and

irritate

m.
Wild plant; mostly cultivated com-

Cultivation

Particularly effective in acute stage of

Contra-indications

Grows only

Africa.

cultivated from 1500-2500

seda-

rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, and chorea.


Apparently most successfully used in females,
and acts specifically on the uterus, easing
nerve

and may cause abortion.

centres,

East

regions, most valuable species being found

tincture of cimicifuga to water.

bitter

at the vein

on underside of leaf.
Distribution South American natives, occurring
exclusively on the western side of the subcontinent. Also Java, Ceylon, Burma, India,

axils

mercially in Java.
Constituents 20 alkaloids including quinine,
cinchonine, cinchonidine. and quinidine: a

cinchona red: starch: wax: fat:


cinchotannic acid; quinic, quinoic and oxalic
glycoside;

acids.
I

dried

bark

stem

Antipyretic;

bitter

tonic: stomachic.
officinalis L rubiaceae
Cinchona Quinine Tree/Peruvian Bark
The Spanish conquerors learned of the

More

Cinchona

pyretic properties of

anti-

Cinchona Bark from

employed

tin

common

material themselves, considering

Powdered

it

extremely

was introduced into Spain in 1639,


and promoted throughout Europe bv the
Jesuits who gave the powder to those suffering
from fever. Medical opinion varied as to its
safety, but by 1677 it was introduced into the
London Pharmacopoeia. About 12 species oi
Cinchona are now used as sources of the bark,
which is mainly employed lor the isolation oi
quinine, once used as an antimalarial agent.
Description The Cinchonas ate evergreen trees
from 6-25 m tall; reduced to shrubs at the
It

limits of their habitat.

irritant to the

Leaves extremely vari-

pure

its

form. Useful astringent throat gargle. Tincture

inhabitants of Peru in the sixteenth century


it is not certain, however, that they used the
powerful.

more

slowlv absorbed and

gastro-intestinal tract than quinine in

quinine

for

preventative treatment of the

cold: orthodox medicine


for the relief

bark

emplovs

still

of muscle cramps.

used

astringent

in

tooth-

Used internally

powders.

Ma\

be used as a red dye

May

teria.

lor fabrics.

cause

vomiting; prolonged usage can cause cinchonism, symptoms


of which include deafness and blindru
Contra-indications

rarely

for sedation in hys-

Commonly employed

externally as a

counter-irritant in inflamed rheumatic joints,


fibrositis.

and neuralgia. Small doses stimulate


combination with

respiration. Often used in

other substances.

Cinnamomum camphora
LAURACEAE

Nees

et

Eberm.

(Contra-indications

Camphor Tree Laurel Camphor


The Camphor Tree was mentioned
Chinese

sixteenth-centurj

Large internal doses toxic

to

children, causing respiratory failure.

herbal

in

the

kang-muh and earlier b\ Marco Polo

Pun-tsao-

the end

.it

Cinnamomum cassia Blume lauraceae


Cassia Bark Tree Chinese Cinnamon
Cassia and Cinnamon are confused in

earlv

of the thirteenth century.

The camphor product was certainly known

^Cj>

before this and was regarded as one of the most

yfy.

and valuable perfumes; it is. however, not


certain whether this camphor was derived

rare

from

(..

camphora or from Dryobalanops aromatica,

Sumatran tree. In 1563 Garcia de Orta


w rote that Sumatran Camphor was so superior
and costly that none found its way to Europe.
Certainly Camphor was known in European

medicine by the twelfth century since the


German abbess Hildegarde used it
as
ganphora.

Dense topped evergreen tree reachand occasionally even taller: trunk

Description

ing 12 m,

enlarged at base. Leaves camphor scented,


alternate, acuminate, smooth and shiny above,

cm long. Yellow flowers


appearing early summer.
Indigenous to China and Japan:

whitish beneath. 5-12


in axillary panicles

Distribution

introduced elsewhere. Flourishing in tropical


and subtropical countries up to an altitude of
750 m.
Cultivation

Wild plant: introduced horticultur-

allv.

able but often bright green, obovate or lanceolate

from 7.5-50

cm

long, finely veined with

crimson, traversed by prominent midrib, and

borne

on

brown

Flowers

Constituents

very

terpineol.

landrene.

on panicles. The useful species are differentiated from others by presence of curly hairs
bordering the corolla, by its mode of capsule

Uses

dehiscence

74

from

below

upwards

and

bv

distillation of

Camphor, white

oil

24-40-

of

Cam-

phor, both comprising safrole, acetaldehyde.

fragrant, small, deep rose-crimson, clustered

petiole.

Obtained bv

year-old wood.

eugenol,

(Camphor;

oil

cineole,

of

d-pinene,

Camphor

phel-

Weakly

antiseptic; stimulant: carminative: mild ex-

writings, and it is probable that the terms were


sometimes used to describe different grades of

same

The

spice

pectorant; mild analgesic: rubefacient; para-

the

siticide.

called kwei in the earliest Chinese herbal bv

or closely related plants.

is

CIN-CIT
Shen-nung

2700

B.C.

It

reached Europe

times via Arabian and Phoenician

traders,

and

is

frequently

inferior substitute for

used

still

as

an

India. Jamaica,
Cultivation

cultivated

also cultivated

in

com-

prises largely

dried

Uses

cinnamaldehyde.
bark) Aromatic:

carminative:

astringent: stimulant.

Used

as a

nausea

in

powder

and
Cinnamon,

or infusion in flatulence

a similar

manner

to

sometimes replaces. May be used


alone or in combination to treat diarrhoea.

which

it

antiseptic:

bark:

volatile

as

used

in

Limited use

in

spice:

cordials.

oil

perfumery.
amara L Link
RL'TACEAE
Bitter Orange Seville Orange Bigarade
Known to the early Greeks, this was probablv
also the first orange grown in Europe in about
the twelfth century. The Sweet Orange was
Citrus aurantium var.

until the mid-fifteenth century.

The

the

total

cription

io

tall,

in conserves,

and

for flavouring.

Burm. rutaceae

limun.

of the Lemon was


with Arabian knowledge and
plants, and probably started in the thirteenth
century in Spain or Sicily. Numerous varieties

European

carried

now

cultivation

out

exist.

Small glabrous tree 3-6

Description

stout

stiff

thorns;

leaves

pale

high,

green,

5-10 cm long, on
narrow margins.
Flowers 8-16 mm long, white inside and pink
outside, clustered in the axils. Sour fruit 7.512.5 cm long, light yellow, oblong to ovoid
oblong

short

elliptic-ovate,

to

petioles

terminating

with

very

in a nipple.

Native to Asia; wild


Cultivated commercially especially
terranean countries.
Distribution

is

to

in
in

India.

Medi-

Wild plant: extensive horticultural


and commercial cultivation.
Cultivation

Constituents

Citric

acid:

pectin;

hesperidin;

B and C: citral; citronellol;


d-limonene; phellandrene; sesquiterpene.
vitamins

European

I 'ses

exceeded, and for yean large


quantities had to be burned.
Dt

Orange-

is

The Lemon is a household fruit today, but it


was unknown in ancient Greece and Rome.
The wild Lemon is probably a native of
northern India, and is known in Hindustani as
hmu or ninbu, which passed into the Arabic

with

with such success that

used in India as a

used to flavour medicines.


Employed in perfumery.

Citrus Union

until 1275, when il


which ii was indigenous
was documented by an Arab writer. Ka/wini.
The Portuguese occupied Ceylon in
5 [6
mainly to obtain supplies of Cinnamon, and
the Dutch began its cultivation there in 1770

demand was

flower water

Lemon

an intestinal stimulant and astringent


treat vomiting and nausea.

Cinnamomum zeylanicum \ees lauraceae


Cinnamon Tree Ceylon Cinnamon
Cinnamon was considered by the ancients as
one of the most important aromatic spices
available and is mentioned in the Old Testament in the same context as Myrrh. Olibanum.
gold and silver. It is doubtful, however,
whether the species C. leylardctan was known
not mentioned as a product of Ceylon

is

Aromatic:

oil

as

known

vaseline

in

oil

Used

not

before the thirteenth century, since the spirt

Neroli

preventive against leeches. Leaves and flowers

Used
dried

Widely employed
flavouring and in

com-

Aperitif:

antispasmodic; sedative; cholagogue; tonic;


vermifuge.

astringent: stimulant: carminative.

to

Constituents Volatile oil: resin: tannin: lignin:

Uses (flowers, leaves, fruit, fruit rind

in infusion act as sedative stomachics.

whose action is carmalso tannin and mucil-

age.

mercially.

bassorin: colouring matter. Oil of Cassia

and

inative

Uses

of China:

and

Seychelles,

Wild plant: cultivated commercially

Constituents Volatile oil.

summer.
Native

southern
Ceylon,

in coppices.

mm

China and Burma.


Cultivation Wild plant:

the

Brazil,

in
in

other tropical countries. In forests to 1000 m.

Cinnamon.

m.
white aromatic bark and angular branches:
leaves oblong-lanceolate 7.5-10 cm long, on
long petiole. Flowers small on
slender 6-8
slender panicles. 712 cm long, appearing
Distribution

and Malaya; cultivated

India

Description Attractive evergreen tree to 7

early

Native of Ceylon, wild

Distribution

in

classical

far

A.

fresh

stimulant

Medium-sized evergreen tree 6.5


with thi< k. smooth and pale bark:

fruit,

tonic;

scorbutic;
;

dried peel, juice,


refrigerant:

o\\)

Anti-

carminative;

aromatic.

Fresh juice employed as a household remedy

<>i
rarely alternate, hard,
long and 4 7.5 cm wide, ovate Of
ovate-lanceolate, shiny above and palei beneath. Numerous yellowish-white flowers, dis-

leaves
7

20

opposite

cm

agreeable odour,

in silky loose

than leaves on long

pedum

panic

Irs

longei

les

Bittei

Orange

is

usuall) onl)

lood and perfume industi


Description

employed

in the

Glabrous evergreen

tree

to

m;

brain bes spiny. I.<a\ es alternate, ovate-oblong


to 8 cm long, sinuate or crcnalc. petiole broad-

Flowers fragrant, white or pink.


-mule or few; followed by 7.5 cm
diametei globose orange to reddish fruit.
Asian native. Introduced and
Distribution
naturalized in south Europe, Florida, United
States and else w here.

winged.

axillary,

Cultivation

Used
1

.11

Wild and cultivated commercially.


lor the Sweet Orange. l.asiK

as slot k

led

from seed.

Constituents

volatile

oil.

flowers
fruil

Oil

and

ol

neroli. a

rind

complex

Volatile

oil

vitamin C;
comprising limonene to 90%
Havonoids; bittei compounds including naringine.

75

CLA-COL
for the

common

cold;

as a carminative,

Lemon

oil

and the peel

was once used


employed

is still

Cultivation

Wild; cultivated commercially by

inoculation of rye plant heads with

artificial

as a bitter.

the fungal spores.

The

Constituents

widest use is for culinary purposes as a


flavouring agent and as an antioxidant.

Used

for

cosmetic purposes as astringent, skin

tonic, in scents.

Claviceps purpurea (Fried.)

Tulasne

number

of alkaloids; carbohydrates; lipids;

quaternary ammonium bases; sterols; dyes;


amino-acids and amines. Six isomeric pairs of
alkaloids have been isolated, including ergocistine, ergotamine, ergocryptine, ergocornine,

Most are deriva-

ASCOMYCETES

ergosine and ergometrine.

Ergot Ergot of Rye


Ergot is best known as the cause of a serious
and spectacular human disease characterized
by symptoms of hallucination and madness. It
is now known as ergotism and arose in epidemic

tives of lysergic acid or iso-lysergic acid

proportions throughout Europe from at least

century and lasted until


called by a variety of
disease
was
8
6.
The
1
names the most common being Ignis sancti
Antonii or St Anthony's Fire, and was eventuas early as the sixth
1

be caused by eating flour or


bread containing a high proportion of the
Ergot fungus.
It was found to be of obstetric value in the
1550s by Lonitzer of Frankfurt and is retained
to this day in many pharmacopoeias, including
ally discovered to

the British, French

and German.

Ergot is the dried sclerotium, or


resting stage, of a fungus which develops in the
ovary of the rye plant [Secale cereale (L)), and
other grasses belonging to the genera AgropyDescription

largely

is

due

action

to these alkaloids.

haemostatic; circulatory stimulant; emmenagogue.


Most effectively employed as a preventative
against post-partum haemorrhage and as a
stimulant to arrest bleeding in menorrhagia
and metrorrhagia. Also used in neurology.
Uses

Large doses may induce


pregnant women. Increases blood
pressure. To be used by medical personnel only.

abortion

in

Cnicus benedictus

L compositae

brittle.

Internally

whitish-pinkish
in the

to

The

galactagogue.

Carduus sanctus or carduus benedictus


Blessed

Thistle

is

still

the Sacred

cultivated

as

medicinal herb in certain European countries


and has long enjoyed a reputation as an effective remedial plant. At one time considered a

and

Mixed with wine

Young leaves
heads eaten

to

used

make an

to

it

in the

aperitif.

be eaten in salads, flower-

manner

of Artichokes,

and

root boiled as a pot herb.


Contra-indications

Large doses strongly emetic.

L palmae
Coconut Palm

Cocos nucifera

A well-known

tree of

enormous economic and

nutritional importance in
tries.

many

Many parts of the palm

the fruit or coconut

tropical coun-

are exploited, but

most useful: for this


have been bred
which produce 100 to 200 coconuts each year.
The generic name Cocos is from the Portuguese

reason cultivated

is

varieties

monkey ^
means nut-bearing.
Palm tree to 25 m trunk usually
one side and regularly ringed with

monkey,

as the nut looks like a

Description

curving

to

Leaves in a terminal crown, very


on a yellowish petiole which is
deeply embedded in loose fibre surrounding
the trunk: deeply pinnate and pendulous.
Flowers followed bv ovoid nuts 20 cm long,
usuallv in bunches of 10 to 20.
Distribution Native to Malaysia and Polynesia;
widely distributed throughout tropical zones.
leaf scars.

long

In coastal situations or occasionally inland.

Wild. Widely cultivated commerci-

ally.

white

autumn.

comprising

Constituents

Oil,

trimyristin,

trilaurin,

triolein,

tries in

capric and caproic acids.

fields.

Uses

cure-all

its

use

now

is

generally restricted to

inclusion in herbal tonics. Cnicus

is the Latin
Safflower which was once the name

name

for

given

to the thistle family.

Description

70

cm

on each

cm

Thistle-like

branched annual

to

leaves lanceolate, dentate, with spines


tooth, dark green, white-veined,

5-15

long. Flowers partially concealed within

spiny bracts, yellow 3-4 cm wide, and appearing mid-summer to early autumn.

Mediterranean native; naturalized


United States; introduced elsewhere. Tolerates most soils.
Cultivation Wild plant; cultivated commercially. Easily raised from seed sown in spring or
autumn, preferably on well-manured soil.
Distribution

in

.76

infusion

said to act as a

is

flowering tops were once

tripalmitin;

edges of rye

principle,

used to treat worms.

Cultivation

producing counareas or years of high humidity and


at

weak

as

stimulates the appetite

Distribution In all the cereal

then often

bitter

(ace; nucifera

with a faint odour. Appears

Used

diaphoretic.

for

Blessed Thistle

rum, Alopecurus, Anthoxanthum, Avena,


Brachypodium, Calamagrostis, Dactylis, Hordeum and Triticum.
The sclerotium externally is dark violet to
black, usually
3 cm long and
5 mm broad,
fusiform, often tapering towards both ends,
1

oil;

aids digestion.

dried fungus) Uterine stimulant,

Contra-indications

or

which

Uses (dried flowering plant) Tonic; emetic:

Extremely complex, containing a

on the uterus

Volatile

Constituents

cnicin,

oil,

also

the

the

glycerides,

tristearin

and

glycerides of caprylic.

kernels, seed, leaves, sap

Nutritive:

CLA-COL
The seed is sometimes used as an
anthelmintic in tropical countries. Fractionated coconut oil (containing medium chain
anthelmintic.

triglycerides

is

used

in

certain

for

diets

forms exist; grown indoors as a house plant.


Constituents Caffeine
(12%), acting as a
stimulant upon the central nervous system;
volatile oils; colouring matter; tannin: traces

conditions such as cystic fibrosis and steator-

of theobromine and

rhoea where patients are unable to absorb


normal fats completelv.
The oil is used as an ointment base, and in

Uses freshly roasted

massage creams and certain medicated shamAlso

poos.

used

in

sea-water

and

soaps,

isomer, theophylline.

culinary use of the kernel as a food and

long,

Distribution

estuary

Wild plant: cultivated in West


and the West Indies.
Constituents Caffeine (1.5%), combined with
kolatin in the fresh state, and unbound when

Taken

Africa, Java, Brazil

as a general tonic stimulant, especially

useful in narcotic poisoning.

ployed as a flavouring agent

in

Decoction empharmaceutical

dried; also theobromine; kola red; fat; sugar;

Very wide use

as a beverage, for colouring

and

and
and

starch.

and the apical bud or 'cabbage' of the

confectionery manufacture.

pressive.

Contra-indications Excessive intake may cause


insomnia, muscle tremor, restlessness, palpitations and tachycardia.

ted

eaten as a delicacy.

employed

in

The fermented

palm wine and

sap

is

manufac-

spirit

ture.

Leaves are extensively used in basket, mat and


rope manufacture; the husk fibre from the nut
is similarly used in coconut matting and rope.
Coffea arabica

Coffee

L rubiaceae

Common

or

Arabian Coffee

The Coffee plant forms wild forests in parts of


the Sudan and Abyssinia and for centuries the
berry has been eaten raw by natives as a
stimulant.

The

habit of drinking Coffee probably origin-

ated with the Abyssinians, from

whom

the use

north-west African coast,

sites in forests.

Cultivation

flavouring

is

to

Leone and the Cameroons.


Introduced elsewhere. Prefers coastal and

flavouring, particularly in Indonesian cuisine;


tree

Native

especially Sierra

diuretic.

preparations.

formerly in margarine.

Wide

its

ground kernel Stimulant

4-5 cm
and consisting of cotyledons 2-5 cm long.

long, containing red or white seeds

purposes,

liqueur

in

Uses

Stimulant: anti-de-

(dried cotyledons)

employed in debilitated, exhausand depressive conditions; in melancholia,


anorexia and migraine.
Particularly

flavouring

for

drinks,

soft

Cola acuminata fBeauv.) Schott et Endl.

creams and wines. Used

STERCL'UACEAE
Cola Nut Kola Goora Nut
The Cola Nuts commercially available consist
of the cotyledons, fleshy and white before
drying, obtained from the 5 to 15 seeds of the
large fruit of the Cola tree.
Fresh Nuts are seldom found outside Africa.
where they are consumed raw before meals to
promote digestion. They are also considered to
improve the flavour of food.

cola-type beverages.

red dye

is

in the

cordials,

ice

manufacture of

obtained from the Cola Nut.

Colchicum autumnale

Autumn Crocus

Colchicum/ Meadow

liliaceae

Saffron

The Autumn Crocus


plant known since the

early Greeks

not introduced

medical practice until

quite

recently.

into

Most

a rare

is

of

the

example of a
which was
ancient

and

medieval writers, except the Arabic physicians,


considered Colchicum too poisonous to use,
although it did appear briefly in the London
Pharmacopoeia from 16 18 to 1639.
Its modern use derives from the research of
Wedel
718) and Storck (1763) on the treatment of gout, for which purpose it is retained
to this day in many countries.
1

Description

Perennial;

solitary

pale

purple

on 20-cm long white 'stalk'


which is actually an elongated corolla tube,
appearing in the autumn from a corm 15 cm
flower, 6 petals

of Coffee spread into Arabia.

Rauwolf, the botanist, mentioned Coffee

for

1573 when travelling in the


Levant, and Prospei Alpinus described it more

the

fully in
in

time

first

591

Venice

at

in

European

!offee

drinking began

the beginning of the seventeenth

century, and was fashionable

in

England In

1652 and France In 1669.


It is thought that all the Coffee now exported
from Brazil and the West Indies stems from the
propagation of a single plant introduced to
the Celebes in 1822.

Evergreen

Description

shrub

high,

with a single main trunk, later developing others bom this; leaves dark green and
initi. ilK

glossy, thin, opposite, 7


2 cm long; 2.5
wide, abrupt 1) a< uminate with a point

inn

long.
b\

White

nun

star-like flowers, fragrant, followed

2-seeded deep red berr)

beans

15

mm

long.
Distribution

Native

to

tropical

Africa;

earl)

introduc tion to Arabia. Introdui ed to tropic al


countries, espe< ially abundant in the America
Prefers jungle conditions

and

partial shade.

Wild and extensively cultivated


commercial!) in plantations, often under
Cultivation

artificial

shading.

Horticultural

variegated

Cola Nuts,
the

Congo

dc

sc

ribed as colla were lust seen

b) Fathei Carli in 1667.

The

in

dried

product does not contain the same properties


as the fresh Nut, and most ol it is used in soli
drinks.

It

is

still

used

in

lolk

medicine

as a

stimulant.
Dest ription

leathery,

Evergreen tree to 15
acute-,

long; yellow
panicles,

entire,

flowers

ol

m high;

obovate,
15

calyx tube green.

mm

10

leaves

20

diameter,

Fruit

to

-,

cm
in

cm

below

ground; 6 stamens,

lane eolate leaves

30

cm

long

3
first

styles;

appear

fleshy,
in

the

following spring, and enclose the seed-filled

brown capsular fruit by mid-summer.


Distribution European native; prefers deep clay
and nutrient rich loam in damp meadows and
leu woodland
Wild plant; cultivated from seed

Cultivation

Collected

in late

Constituent

summei.

Several

toxic

en

from coims.
largeh

alkaloids,

'77

COM-CRO
colchicine

to

gum;

starch;

which
sugar;

its

action

fat;

tannin.

is

due; also

corms, seeds) Anti-rheumatic.


Used to relieve the pain and inflammation of
acute gout and rheumatism.
Contra-indications All parts highly POISONOUS, causing diarrhoea and sometimes death.
Only to be used by medical personnel.
(dried

Uses

and mouthwash in inflammations of


mouth and pharynx. Tincture is applied to

a gargle

Constituents Several alkaloids, chiefly confine,

the

to

ulcers.

body

Stimulates natural resistance of the

in septicaemia.

in

the earliest times as a constituent of

perfumes, unguents and incense, the modern


name is directly derived from the old Hebrew

and Arabic word mur, meaning

The

knew

ancient Greeks

liquid form called stacte

found, but

is

thought

to

which

is

no longer

be a natural exudation

Myrrh tree or a closely related species.


Myrrh was highly prized in the Middle Ages
and is still used as a mouthwash and in folk
of the

medicine.

drine; paraconine;

antispasmodic.

constituent of some tooth-powders.

Used

medicine

veterinary

in

wound

for

treatment.

Once used
epilepsy,

in incense,

and when burned

repels

all

parts of this

of conium; conic acid.

oil

Anodyne;

sedative;

in neurological conditions

mania and chorea, and

such as

in ancient

times externally to treat breast tumours. Never

mosquitos.

employed today, not even in folk medicine.


Although cooking is said to destroy the toxic

Conium maculatum L umbelliferae


Poison Hemlock Mother Die

constituents, this herb should never be eaten.

Hemlock
Hemlock
principal,

bitter.

Myrrh and

of

toxicity of

attributed; also methylconiine; cony-

Uses (unripe seed, fruit

Myrrh Gum Myrrh/Myrrha


Used from

is

dyspepsia.

Employed
Commiphora molmol Engler burseraceae

Small doses effective

which the intense

plant

is

if

best

known

historically

the

and

especially the

POISONOUS.

seed, are intensely

not the only, ingredient of the

Athenian State poison used


execution

Contra-indications All parts,

as

among

for,

method of
Thermanes,

as a

others,

Phocion and Socrates. Dioscorides introduced


it as a medicine mostly for the external treatment of herpes and erysipelas, and both Pliny
and Avicenna considered it effective in the
treatment of tumours. The old Roman name

Convallaria majalis

liliaceae

Lily-of-the- Valley

flower which

is

May

Lily

frequently found in country

gardens and which was shown as early as the


sixteenth century to possess strong therapeutic
action. It was known as lilium convallium to
sixteenth-century apothecaries. Like the Foxglove, with which it shares similar heartherb did not previously
enjoy wide medicinal use. Today, however, it is
assisting properties, the

an important drug

in

some national pharma-

copoeias.
Description Perennial fragrant plant

10-20 cm

high producing annually a pair of oblong-oval


petiolate leaves 10-20

cm

long, 37.5

deeply ribbed longitudinally:

cm

wide.

510 bell-shaped

mm

wide, borne on leafless


white flowers 10
peduncle, appearing early summer, and fol-

lowed by round, red berries containing 2-6


seeds.

Native to Europe, East Asia, North


America; introduced elsewhere. Prefers damp,
calcareous, porous soil in woods, in some alpine
Distribution

locations, often forming dense areas of growth.


Cultivation

Wild: introduced horticulturally.

cultivated races bearing larger flowers. Propa-

gated by root division in the autumn: prefers


some shade may spread rapidly.

Low

Description

2.75

stunted bush or small tree to

high; trunk thick and bearing numer-

ous irregular, knotted branches and smaller


stout clustered branchlets, the latter spreading
at

right angles

Few

spine.

and terminating

leaves,

1 1.5

cm

in

a sharp

long, at ends of

for the herb was cicula, a term found in tenthcentury Anglo-Saxon works.

The poisonous nature

of the

warmer

colder climates than

cm long,
minute, the terminal
obovate-oval, narrowed at the base, entire,

however, always be treated


poisonous plant.

glabrous.

Description

Gum discharged through


after

wounding.

Distribution
soil in

'

si's

On

basaltic

Wild plant.

Constituents

Arabia; Somaliland.

very hot areas.

Cultivation

35%

the bark naturally or

Oleo-gum-resin, comprising 25-

resin. 2.5

6.5%

volatile oil, 50-60,,

gum.

dried oleo-gum-resin/ Carminative: an-

tiseptic;

mildly

expectorant;

diuretic;

dia-

Erect

biennial

as a

It must,
dangerously

herb,

smelling of

ones.

mice, arising from a forked root, and reaching


1.5 m; much branched, stems speckled and
purple towards the base. Foliage dark and
finely cut, 2-4 pinnate, glabrous; umbels of
small white flowers appearing mid-summer to

mid-autumn.
Distribution European native; extensively distributed in temperate zones. Found in weedy
places

especially

phoretic.

streams or

Astringent to mucous membranes, and used as

Cultivation

178

varies

Hemlock growing in London was harmless,


and others maintain that it is less poisonous in

short wart-like branchlets; trifoliate, the lateral


leaflets

plant

considerably. Carpenter in 1850 claimed that

field

in

moist,

warm

edges in loamy

Wild plant.

soil.

sites

by

COM-CRO
Cardioactive glycosides cardeno-

Constituents

similar to foxglove glycoside, especially

lides

convallatoxine.

convallo-

convalloside,

also

and convallotoxoside;

toxole

saponoside,

juices. Bruised seed

Cardiac tonic: emetic:

flowers)

Root can be cooked and eaten

diuretic.

The

Regulates heart action in a similar manner to


the Foxglove and is considered to be safer and

used of

Seldom

effective.

as

applied externally as a

is

poultice to relieve painful joints in rheumatism.

convallamarine.
Uses (dried

Mostly used to prevent griping caused by other


medication, such as Senna or Rhubarb. Chewing the seed stimulates secretion of gastric

used

outside

eastern

all

as a vegetable.

seed

is

action

coronary arteries.
an adaptogenic agent.
flow in

It

improves blood
appears to act as

Of

employed

myocardial weakness, arteriosclerosis, paroxysmal tachycardia, and angina pectoris. Pro-

European countries.

condiment,

Flowers provide a perfume base.


Dried ground roots were formerly an ingredient

confectionery

May

Combined

stituents.

specific

is

world.

The

Constituents

probably the most widely


flavouring herbs throughout the

leaf

fresh

Wild plant. Often planted as hedge.


Flavone glycosides; catechins; saponins; vitamin C; several unidentified conCultivation

in baking, as a spice or

and

liqueur manufacture,

in

in

be added to pot-pourris.

Uses (fresh or dried fruits)

Hypotensive.

use in hypertension associated with

longed treatment is necessary.


Liqueur once manufactured from the berries.
Timber formerly used for small boxes.

of snuff.
Contra-indications

POISONOUS. To be used

by

Crataegus monogyna J acq.

The
Coriandrum sativum

L umbelliferae

Coriander
Cultivated for over 3000 years Coriander

is

mentioned in all the medieval medical texts,


by the Greeks, in the scriptures, by early
Sanskrit authors -

and even

in the

rosaceae

Crithmum maritimum

Hawthorn May/Whitethorn

medical personnel only.

who

called

it

kustumburu -

Egyptian Ebers papyrus.

Its

botanical

name

Samphire

of Hawthorn, Crataegus,

comes from the Greek meaning strength which


describes the strength of the wood, while the
plant's common names in several European
lan