Category Archives: Health

King of the weeds Dandelion


Taraxacum Officinale (Family: Asteraceae)

This is well known to have many long and deep gashed Leaves lying on the ground, round about the head of the roots; the ends of each gash or Jag, on both sides looking downwards towards the roots, the middle rib being white which being broken yields abundance of bitter milk, but the root much more: from among the leaves which always abide green, arise many slender, weak, naked foot-stalks, every one of them bearing at the top one large yellow flower, TaraxacumOfficinale1consisting of many rows of yellow leaves, broad at the points and nicked in with a deep spot of yellow in the middle, which growing ripe, the green husk wherein the flower stood turns it self down to the stalk, and the head of down becomes as round as a ball, with long seed underneath, bearing a part of the down TaraxacumOfficinale4on the head of every one, which together is blown away with the wind, or may be at once blown away with one’s mouth. The root growth downwards exceeding deep, which being broken off within the ground, will yet shoot forth again; and will hardly be destroyed where it hath once taken deep root in the ground.


It grows frequent in all meadows and pasture- grounds.


It flowers in one place or other almost all the year long.

 Government and virtues.

It is under the dominion of Jupiter. It is an opening and cleansing quality, and therefore very effectual for the obstructions of the liver, gall, and spleen, and the diseases that arise from them, as the jaundice, and hypocondriac; it opens passages of TaraxacumOfficinale5the urine both in young and old; powerfully cleanses iposthumes, and inward ulcers in the urinary passages, and by its drying, and temperate quality doth afterwards heal them; for which purpose the decoction of the roots or leaves in white wine, or the leaves chopped as pot-herbs with a few TaraxacumOfficinale6Alisanders and boiled in their broth, are very effectual. And whoever is drawing towards a consumption or an evil disposition of the whole body, called Cachexia, by the use hereof for some time together, shall find a wonderful help. It helps also to procure rest and sleep to bodies distempered by the heat of ague fits, or other wise: The distilled water is effectual to drink in pestilential fevers, and to wash the sores.

You see here what virtues this common herb hath, and that is the reason the French and Dutch so often eat them in the Spring; and now if you look a little farther, you may see plainly without a pair of not so selfish as ours are, but more communicative of the Culpepervirtues of plants to people.

 Nicholas Culpeper


Dialog between Glaucon and Socrates

Plato wrote a dialogue between two characters, Socrates and Glaucon, in which they discuss the future of their cities. Socrates says the cities should village1be simple, and the citizens should subsist on barley
and wheat, with “relishes” of salt, olives, cheese and “country fare of boiled onions and cabbage,” with desserts of “figs, peas, beans,” roasted myrtle-berries and beechnuts, and wine in moderation. Socrates says, “And thus, passing their days in tranquility and sound health, they will, in all probability, live to an advanced age …. ”
But Glaucon replies that such a diet would only be appropriate for “a community of swine,” and that citysthe citizens should live “in a civilized manner.” He continues, “They ought to recline on couches … and have the usual dishes and dessert of a modem dinner.” In other words, the citizens should have the “luxury” of eating meat. Socrates replies, “if you wish us also to contemplate a city that is suffering from inflammation …. We shall also need great quantities of all kinds of cattle for those who may wish to eat them, shall we not?”
Glaucon says, “Of course we shall.” Socrates then says, “Then shall we not experience the need of doc2medical men also to a much greater extent
under this than under the former regime?” Glaucon can’t deny it. “Yes, indeed,” he says. Socrates goes on to say that this luxurious city will be short of land because of the extra acreage required to raise animals for food. This shortage will lead the citizens to take land from others, which could precipitate violence and war, thus a need for justice.
Furthermore, Soclawyer1rates writes, “when dissoluteness and diseases abound in a city, are not law courts and surgeries opened in abundance, and do not Law and Physic begin to hold their heads high, when numbers even of well-gavelborn persons devote themselves with eagerness to these professions?”
In other words, in this luxurious city of sickness and disease, lawyers and doctors will become the norm.
Plato, in this passage, made it perfectly clear: we shall eat animals only at our own peril. Though it is indeed remarkable that one of the greatest intellectuals in the history of the Western world condemned meat eating almost 2,500 years ago.

How did Plato predict the future so accurately? He knew that consuming animal foods would not lead to true health and prosperity. Instead, the false sense of rich luxury granted by being able to eat animals would only lead to a culture of sickness, disease, land disputes, lawyers and doctors. This is a pretty good description of some of the challenges faced by modern America!

Comfrey forbidden but miraculously good

Symphytum officinale. (Family: Boraginaceae)


The common great comfrey hath divers very large hairy green leaves, lying on the ground, so hairy or prickly, that if they touch any tender part of the hands, face, or body, it will cause it to itch: the stalks that riseth up from among them, being two or three feet high, hollowed and cornered; as also very hairy, having many such like leaves as grow below, but less and less up to the top. At the joints of the stalks it is divided into many branches, with some leaves thereon; and at the ends stand many flowers in order one above another, which are somewhat long and hollow, like the comfrey5finger of a glove, of a pale whitish colour, after which come small black seed. The roots are great and long, spreading great thick branches under ground, black on the outside and whitish within, short and easy to break, and full of a glutinous or clammy juice, of little or no taste.

There is another sort in all things like this, save only it is somewhat less, and beareth flowers of a pale purple colour.


They grow by ditches and water sides, and in divers fields that are moist, for therein they chiefly delight to grow: the first generally through all the land, and the other not quite so common.


They flower in June and July, and give their seed in August.

Government and virtues.

This is an herb of Saturn, and I suppose under the sign Capricorn, cold, dry, and earthy in quality. What was spoken of clown’s wound wort may be said of this; the great comfrey helpeth those that spit blood, or make a bloody urine: the root boiled in water or wine, and the decoction drunk, helpeth all inward hurts, bruises, and wounds, and the ulcers of the lungs, causing the phlegm that oppresseth comfrey2them to be easily spit forth; it stayeth the defluxions of rheum from the head upon the lungs, the fluxes of blood or humours by the belly, women’s immoderate courses, as well the reds as the whites; and the running of the reins, happening by what cause soever. A syrup made thereof is very effectual for all those inward griefs and hurts; and the distilled water for the same purpose also, and for outward wounds and sores in the fleshy or sinewy part of the body wheresoever; as also to take away the fits of agues, and to allay the sharpness of humours. A decoction of the leaves hereof is available to all the purposes, though not so effectual as of the roots. The root, being outwardly applied, helpeth fresh wounds or cuts immediately, being bruised and laid thereunto; and is especial good for ruptures and broken bones; yea, it is said to be so powerful to consolidate and knit together, that, if they are boiled with dissevered pieces of flesh in a pot, it will join them together again. It is good to be applied to women’s breasts that grow sore by the abundance of milk coming into them; as also to repress the over much bleeding of comfrey6the hemorrhoids, to cool the inflammation of the parts thereabout, and to give ease of pains. The roots of comfrey taken fresh, beaten small, and spread upon leather, and laid upon any place troubled with the gout, do presently give ease of the pains; and applied in the same manner, give ease to pained joints, and profit very much for running and moist ulcers, gangrenes, mortifications, and the like, for which it hath by often experience been found helpful.

CulpeperNicholas Culpeper

Lavender the fragrance of home

lavender3 Lavandula angustifolia. (Family: Lamiaceae)

Being an inhabitant almost in every garden, it is so well known, that it needs no description.


It flowers about the end of June, and beginning of July.

lavender4Government and virtues.

Mercury owns the herb; and it carries his effects very potently. Lavender is of a special good use for all the griefs and pains of the head and brain that proceed of a cold cause, as the apoplexy, falling-sickness, the dropsy, or sluggish malady, cramps, convulsions, palsies, and often faintings. It strengthens the stomach, and frees the liver and spleen from obstructions, provokes women’s courses, and expels the dead child and after-birth. The flowers of Lavender steeped in wine, helps them to make water that are stopped, or are troubled with the wind or cholic, if the place be bathed therewith. A decoction made with the flowers of Lavender, Hore-hound, Fennel and Asparagus root, and a little Cinnamon, is very profitably used to help the falling-sickness, and the giddiness or turning of the brain: to gargle the mouth with the decoction thereof is good against the tooth-ache. Two spoonfuls of the distilled water of the flowers lavender2taken, helps them that have lost their voice, as also the tremblings and passions of the heart, and faintings and swooning, not only being drank, but applied to the temples, or nostrils to be smelled unto; but it is not safe to use it where the body is replete with blood and humours, because of the hot and subtile spirits wherewith it is possessed. The chymical oil drawn from Lavender, usually called Oil of Spike, is of so fierce and piercing a quality, that it is cautiously to be used, some few drops being sufficient, to be given with other things, either for inward or outward griefs.

CulpeperNicholas Culpeper

St. John’s Wort you know for what?

st-johns-wort4 Hypericum perforatum.  (Symphytum officinale)


Common St. John’s Wort shoots forth brownish, upright, hard, round stalks, two feet high, spreading many branches from the sides up to the tops of them, with two small leaves set one against another at every place, which are of a deep green colour, somewhat like the leaves of the lesser Centaury, but narrow, and full of small holes in every leaf, which cannot be so well perceived, as when they are held up to the light; at the tops of the stalks and branches stand yellow flowers of five leaves a-piece, with many yellow threads in the middle, which being bruised do yield a reddish juice like blood; after which come small round heads, wherein is contained small blackish seed smelling like rosin. The root is hard and woody, with divers strings and fibres at it, of a brownish colour, which abides in the ground many years, shooting anew every Spring.


This grows in woods and copses, as well those that are shady, as open to the sun.


They flower about Midsummer and July, and their seed is ripe in the latter end of July or August.

Government and virtues.

It is under the celestial sign Leo, and the dominion of the Sun. It may be, if you meet a Papist, he will tell you, especially if he be a lawyer, that St. John made it over to him by a letter of attorney. It is a st-johns-wort3singular wound herb; boiled in wine and drank, it heals inward hurts or bruises; made into an ointment, it open obstructions, dissolves swellings, and closes up the lips of wounds. The decoction of the herb and flowers, especially of the seed, being drank in wine, with the juice of knot-grass, helps all manner of vomiting and spitting of blood, is good for those that are bitten or stung by any venomous creature, and for those that cannot make water. Two drams of the seed of St. John’s Wort made into powder, and drank in a little broth, doth gently expel choler or congealed blood in the stomach. The decoction of the leaves and seeds drank somewhat warm before the fits of agues, whether they be tertains or quartans, alters the fits, and, by often using, doth take them quite away. The seed is much commended, being drank for forty days together, to help the sciatica, the falling sickness, and the palsy.

CulpeperNicholas Culpeper

Balm, herb you know better

balm3Melissa officinalis. (Family: Lamiaceae)

This herb is so well known to be an inhabitant almost in every garden, that I shall not need to write any description thereof, although its virtues, which are many, may not be omitted.

Government and virtues.

It is an herb of Jupiter, and under Cancer, and strengthens nature much in all its actions. Let a syrup made with the juice of it and sugar (as you shall be taught at the latter end of this book) he kept in every gentlewoman’s house to relieve the weak stomachs and Sick bodies of their poor sickly neighbours; as also the herb kept dry in the house, that so with other convenient simples, you may make it into an balm2electuary with honey, according as the disease is you shall be taught at the latter end of my hook. The Arabian physicians have extolled the virtues thereof to the skies: although the Greeks thought it not worth mentioning. Seraphio says, it causes the mind and heart to become merry, and revives the heart, faintings and swoonings, especially of such who are overtaken in sleep, and drives away all troublesome cares and thoughts out of the mind, arising from melancholy or black choler; which Avicen also confirms. It is very good to help digestion, and open obstructions of the brain, and hath so much purging quality in it (saith Avicen) as to expel those melancholy vapours from the spirits balm1and blood which are in the heart and arteries, although it cannot do so in other parts of the body. Dioscorides says, That the leaves steeped in wine and the wine drank, and the ‘leaves externally applied, is a remedy against the stings of a scorpion, and the bitings of mad dogs; and commends the decoction thereof for women to bathe or sit in to procure their courses; it is good to wash aching teeth therewith, and profitable for those that have the bloody-flux. The leaves also, with a little nitre taken in drink, are good against the surfeit of mushrooms, helps the griping pains of the belly; and being made into a electuary, it is good for them that cannot fetch their breath: Used with stilt, it takes away wens, kernels, or hard swellings in the flesh or throat; it cleanses foul sores, and eases pains of the gout. It is good for the liver and spleen. A tansy or candle made with eggs, and juice thereof while it it is young, putting to it some sugar and rosewater, is good for a woman in child-bed, when the after-birth is not toroughly voided, and for their faintings upon or in their sore travail. The herb bruised and boiled in a little wine and oil, and laid warm on a boil, will ripen it, and break it.

CulpeperNicholas Culpeper

Bitter-Sweet, for help well being

Bittersweet_Nightshade2Solanum dulcamara. (Family Solanaceae)

CONSIDERING divers shires in this nation give divers names to one and the same herb, and that the common name which it bears in one county, is not known in another; I shall take the pains to set down all the names that I know of each herb: pardon me for setting that name first, which is most common to myself. Besides Amara Dulcis, some call it Mortal, others Bitter-sweet; some Woody Night~shade, and others Felon-wort.


It grows up with woody stalks even to a man’s height, and sometimes higher. The leaves fall off at the approach of winter, and spring out of the same stalk at spring-time: the branch is compassed about with a whitish bark, and has a pith in the middle of it: the main branch branches itself into many small ones with claspers, laying hold on what is next to them, as vines dc: it bears many leaves, they grow in no order at all, at least in no regular order: the leaves are longish, though somewhat broad, and pointed at the ends: many of them have two little leaves growing at the end of their foot stalk; some have but one, and some none. The leaves are of a pale green colour; the flowers are of a purple colour, or of a perfect blue, like to violets, and they stand many of them together in knots: the berries are green at first, but when they are ripe they are very red; if you taste them, you shall find them just as the crabs which we in Sussex call Bitter-sweet, viz. sweet at first and bitter afterwards.


They grow commonly almost throughout England, especially in moist and shady places.

Time] The leaves shoot out about the latter end of March, if the temperature of the air be ordinary ; it flowers in July, and the seeds are ripe soon after, usually in the next month.

Govermneut and virtues.

It is under the planet Mercury, and a notable herb of his also, if it be rightly gathered under his influence. It is excellently good to remove witchcraft both in men and beasts, as also all sudden diseases whatsoever. Being tied round about the neck, is one of the most admirable remedies for the vertigo or dizziness in the head; and that is the reason (as Tragus saith) the people in Germany commonly hang it about their cattle’s necks when they fear any such evil hath betided them: Country people commonly take the berries of it, and having bruised them, apply them to felons, and thereby soon rid their fingers of such troublesome guests.

Bittersweet_Nightshade_192We have now showed you the external use of the herb; we shall speak a word or two of  the internal, and so conclude. Take notice, it is a Mercurial herb, and therefore of very subtile parts, as indeed all Mercurial plants are ; therefore take a pound of the wood and leaves together, bruise the wood (which you may easily do, for it is not so hard as oak) then put it in a pot, and put to it three pints or white wine, put on the pot-lid and shut it close; and let infuse hot over a gentle fire twelve hours, then strain it out, so have you a

most excellent drink to open obstructions of the liver and spleen, to help difficulty of breath, bruises and falls, and congealed blood in any part of the body, it help the yellow jaundice, the dropsy, and black jaundice, and to Cleanse women newly brought to bed. You may drink a quarter of a pint of the infusion every morning. It purges the body very gently, and not churlishly as some hold. And when you find good by this, remelnber me.

‘They that think the use of these medicines is too brief, it is only for the cheapness of the book; let them read those books of mine, of the last edition, viz. Reverius, Vesliugus, , Riolanus, Johnson, Sennertus, and Phsysic the Poor.

CulpeperNicholas Culpeper

All-Heal, and you are FIT FIT

all-heal-Prunella-vulgaris Prunella vulgaris (Family: Lamiaceae) 

It is called All-heal, Hercules’s All-heal, and Hercules’s Wound-wort, because it is supposed that Hercules learned the herb and its virtues from Chiron, when he learned physic of him. Some call it Panay, and others Opopane-wort. all-heal-Prunella-vulgaris2


Its root is long, thick, and exceeding full of juice, of a hot and biting; taste, the leaves are great and large, and vinged almost like ash-tree leaves, but that they are something hairy, each leaf consisting of five or six pair of such wings set one against the other upon foot-stalks, broad below, but narrow towards the end ; one of the leaves is a little deeper at the bottom than the other, of a fair yellowish fresh green colour: they are of a bitterish taste, being chewed in the mouth; from among these rises up a stalk, green in colour, round in form, great and strong in magnitude, five or six feet in altitude, with many joints, and some leaves thereat ; towards the top come forth umbels of small yellow flowers, tiller which are passed away, you may find whitish, yellow, short, flat seeds, bitter also in taste.


Haring given you a description of the herb from bottom to top, give me leave to tell you, that there are other herbs called by this name; but because they are strangers in England, I give only the description or this, which is easily to be had in the gardens of divers places.



Although Gerrard saith, that they flower from the beginning of May to the end of  December, experience teaches them that keep it in their gardens, that it flowers not till the latter en of the Summer, and sheds its seed presently after.

Government and virtues.

latter en of the Summer, and sheds its seed presently after. It is under the dominion of Mars, hot, biting, and choleric; and remedies what evils Mars inflicts the body of man with, by sympathy, as vipers’ flesh attracts poison, and the load stone iron. It kills the and helps all joint-aches. lt helps all cold griefs of the head, the vertigo, falling-sickness, the lethargy, the wind cholic, obstructions of the liver and spleen, stone in the kidneys and bladder. It provokes the terms, expels the dead birth: it is excellent good for the griefs of the sinews, itch, stone, and tooth-ache, the biting of mad dogs and venomous beasts, and purges choler very gently.worms, helps the gout, cramp, and convulsions, provokes urine,  and helps all joint-aches. It helps all cold griefs of the head, the vertigo, falling-sickness, the lethargy, the wind cholic, obstructions of the liver and spleen, stone in the kidneys and bladder. It provokes the terms, expels the dead birth: it is excellent good for the griefs of the sinews, itch, stone, and tooth-ache, the biting of mad dogs and venomous beasts, and purges choler very gently.

CulpeperNicholas Culpeper

Cold, and flu? Agrimony is for it prove.


Agrimonia eupatoria  (Family: Rosaceae)


This has divers long leaves? (some greater, some smaller) set upon a stalk, all of them dented about the edges, above, and grayish underneath, and a little hairy withal. Among which arises up usually but one strong, round, hairy, brown stalk, two or three feet high, with smaller leaves set here and there upon it. At the top Agrimony 01 Agrimony seedsthereof grow many small yellow flowers, one above another, in after which come rough heads of seed, hanging downwards, which will cleave to and stick upon garments, or any thing that shall rub against them. The knot is black, long, and somewhat woody, abiding many .years, and shooting afresh every Spring ; which , though small, hath a reasonable good scent.


It grows upon banks, near the sides of hedges.


It flowers in July and August, the seed being ripe shortly alter.

AgrimonyGovernment and virtues.

It is an herb under Jupiter, and the sign Cancer; and strengthens those parts under the planet and sign, and removes diseases in them by sympathy, and those under Saturn, Mercury by antipathy, if they happen in any part of the body governed by Jupiter, or under the signs Cancer, Sagilarius or Pisces, and therefore must needs be good for the gout, either used outwardly in oil or ointment, or inwardly in an electuary, or syrup, or concerted juice: for which see the latter and of this book.

It is of a cleansing and cutting faculty without any manifest heat, moderately drying and binding. It opens and cleanses the liver, helps the jaundice, and is very beneficial to the bowels, healing all inward wounds, bruises, hurts, and other distempers. The decoction of the herb made with wine, and drank, is good against the biting and stinging of serpents, and helps them that make foul, troubled or bloody water.

This herb also helps the cholic, cleanses the breast, and rids away the cough. A draught of the decoction taken warm before the fit, first removes, and in time rids away the tertain or quartan agues. The leaves and seeds taken in wine, strays the bloody flux; outwardly applied, being stamped with old swines’ grease, it helps old sores, cancers, and inveterate ulcers, and draws forth thorns and splinters of wood, nails, or any other such things gotten in the flesh. It helps to strengthen the members that be out at joint: and being bruised and applied, or the juice dropped in it, helps foul and imposthumed ears.

The distiller] water of the herb is good to all the said purposes, either inward or outward, but a great deal weaker.

It is a most admirable remedy for such whose livers are annoyed either by heat or cold. The liver is tlie former of blood, and blood the nourisher of the body, and Agrimony a strengthener of the liver.

I cannot stand to give you a reason in every herb why it cures such diseases; but if you please to pursue my judgment in the herb Wormwood, you shall find them there, and it will be well worth your while to consider it in every herb, you shall find them true throughout the hook.

CulpeperNicholas Culpeper