A Page from the Herbal of Mistress Agnes – the Wonders of the Elecampane

elacampagneOf course, as regular readers will know, Mistress Agnes hath no need of a herbal as her literary skills be of the most basic, nay non-existent, kind. She hath been extolling the many and varied uses of the Elecampane, being the time of year to be gathering its roots. Said roots can make a sauce or sweetmeat, or can be chewed to stop the mumblepins becoming loose. The plant is also used as a remedy for chest complaints. Much better for an excess of phlegm than Master Christopher’s methods (which doth involve drilling a hole in your head). Many other ailments are said to be aided by the Elecampane: dropsy, gout and scabies to name but a few.

A wild sunflower of beauty and purpose, ’tis a plant of many names. Some do call it Horse-heal, as it is wonderous for skin diseases of horses such as parasitic worms. Ofttimes it is known as Scabwort for it efficacy for sheep-scab.

Another name is Dyavosyl or Devil’s Strength as ’tis a plant with magical qualities. If you be in Wales you may know it as Marchalan but some will name it Elfwort. Pierce the root of the Elecampane and you will protect yourself from the magic of the elves. It doth however encourage the fairies, so you do win some and lose some it seems. It is burnt to aid the soothsayers as it does help to see the future. Add Mistletoe and Verbena for a love-potion – Mistress Abigail may be interested in that one.

There are folk that name it the Privy Plant. The leaves be rough on the top but wonderous soft on the underside and it comes in all sizes, just right for use as toilet paper – do take care to use the right side! When the Elecampane be dormant in the winter, never fear. In our time Royalists be writing rude pamphlets about Parliamentarians, Parliamentarians be writing about Royalists and we can read none of them. What better then than to use said pamphlets as bumf (a.k.a. bum fodder)?

Please note that Mistress Agnes is an historian, not a qualified medical herbalist. You would be well advised not to try her cures at home! She does offer talks on the herbal cures of her time. Come and meet the Swords and Spindles team.

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