A Page from the Herbal of Mistress Agnes – Lavender’s Blue – or indeed Purple


Mistress Agnes hath been harvesting her lavender, a most useful plant. Autumn is coming and ’tis time to sweep out the earthen floor of her kitchen, remove the soiled straw that hath been held within her threshold and re-lay fresh. With winds freshening and temperatures dropping she will be bringing the chickens in to the kitchen at night. Not being one to toilet train chickens (any advice on this matter will be gratefully received), the straw therefore doth be a touch noisome. Strewing lavender upon the straw wilt improve the aroma. She will also lay lavender in her coffer where her spare linen be stored and hang sprigs in the cottage to dispel the flies. Lavender can be added to the sallets or used to flavour the pottage, tarts or cheese.

Lavender be most effective for those that doth be troubled with the snoring. A drop of lavender oil (we do call it Oil of Spike) on the bolster at night wilt aid the sleeping and relieve the snoring. If the good master persists in disturbing your rest ladies, then observe the shape of the flowers, they be just right for inserting into the master’s nostrils. It makes an excellent herb for the Tuzzy Muzzy, to hold to your nose to prevent inhalation of the miasmas and thus protecting one from the pestilence that abounds. ’Tis also efficacious for the palsy or falling sickness and stills the palpitations. Oil of lavender wilt sooth burns or sores and applied to the temples doth ease the megrims.

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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