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Herb & Garden Guild

  From the Lochac Herbal and Garden Newsletter.

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Extremely flattened Image of Panorama to give appearance of 1mm bar

Volume 2:-

   All articles were originally published in various Lochac Garden and Herbal newsletters and are copyrighted their respective authors and are reproduced here with their permission.

Volume 2 Issue 4, April 2001
Link to start of Volume 2 Index for the Herb and Garden Guild in an Undulate Leaf Shape

   Volume 2 Issue 4 Quince Marmalade. - Caristiona nic Beathain

To make Marmalade of Quinces
After that your Quinces are sodden, ready to be kept condict as before in the chapter is written, then with some of the liquor wheri thei were sodden (but without anispice) beate them and draw them as ye wolde do a Tarte, then put some over the fyre to seethe softlye, and in the seething strew by little & little of pouder of suger, ye waight of the Quinces or more, as your cast shall tel you, stir it continually,put thereto some pure rosewater, or damask water, let it seeth on height til it be wal standing, which thing ye may know, by taking some of it upon a colde knife and let if keele, if it bee stiffn, then take if off & boxe it while it is warme, and set it in a warme and drye ayre, yf you wyl gyled your Marmalade, do as afore is spoken of a Marchpane.

The Treasureie of Commodiuos Conceits.

To make Quince Marmalade.
4 Quinces

Take the Quinces and peel and core them. Boil them inn water with some rosewater mixed in to taste. When the Quinces are tender put them in a food processor or mash them. Weigh them and add sugar equal to the weight of the quinces. Boil the quinces and water over the stove for about half an hour or until the paste is stiff. (The paste spits A LOT) make sure that the floor and the rest of the stove is covered with newspaper and use gloves when you are stirring to prevent burns.

When the paste is boiled put it into oven trays lined with wax proof paper and let it set. This can be done in the oven if it is cool. (Put the oven on the lowest temperature). When the mixture has set cut it into squares and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.

Quince marmalade tastes great with cheese, on bread or just by itself.

The Treasurie of commodius Conceits, & hidden Secrets. The Huswives Closet, of Healthfull provision. Mete and necessarie for the profitable use of all estetes both men and women: and also pleasant for recreation, With a necessary Table of all things herin conteyned. Gathered out of sundrye Experiments lately practised by men of great knowledge. By L Par. Imprinted at London by Richard Jones. 1573.

   Volume 2 Issue 4 Peppermint Troches. - Caristiona nic Beathain

"Being beaten and made up into trochisches, or little flat cakes, it is reported to be a good amorous medicine..."

Gerard: 195-196.

Also, take the same meal and the juice of arsesmart and make thereof a paste and lay it to thy ears, and it shall kill the worms within them, or if thou make a cake and eat."

An Herbal 1525: 40

"...And some beating it make it into Trchiscks for ye laying up, & so they use it." Dioscoridies: 440.

"They are made thus: At night when you go to bed, take two drams of fine gum tragacanth; put it in a gallipot, and put half a quarter of a pint of distilled water...the next morning you shall find it in such a jelly as the physicians call mucilage. With this you may make a powder into a paste, and that paste into cakes called troches."

Culpeper: 296.

Modern Troches:

Soak 1 tsp of Gum Tragacanth in water (enough to cover it) over night. Stir frequently. In the Morning add 300ml of boiled water plus as much herb as you can mix into the mixture. Add sugar until the mixture is thick and not too runny. Put this in trays and let dry. It may take several days. Cut it up into squares and use as cough lozenges. Peppermint is a good herb to use because of the pleasant taste.

In damp or humid weather you may need to place your troches in an oven on its lowest heat or on top of the oven when you are cooking. This will give the troches a much more crunchy texture but it will help dry them out so that they can be cut up and stored.

Troches have a large amount of herb in them giving them a very leafy texture and flavour. If the herb does not taste pleasant then the Troche will not taste pleasant. For those who like the flavour of Liquorice this would also be a good herb to use. However Liquorice is fifty times sweeter than sugar this will come through in the Troches especially when combined with sugar as well so you may want to check that you like the flavour of the herb first. I would suggest you do this by making a cup of Liquorice tea.

"All the sortes of Myntes in the Garden doe bothe comforte the stomache, and helpe digestion."

Thomas Hyll 1568

Peppermint is used for calming digestive upsets, for vomiting during pregnancy and managing fevers.


"Mint is marvelous wholesome for the stomach."


Culpeper's Complete Herbal 1653 Wordsworth reference UK. 1995
Gunther, RT. Ed The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides 512AD, Englished by John Goodyer 1655. Hafner
Publishing Co. USA .1959
Healy,JF. Ed Pliny the Elder: Natural History, a Selection. 77AD. Penguin Books. UK. 1991
Hoffman, D. The New Holistic Healer. Elemnet Inc. USA. 1991
Healing and Society in Medieval England: A Middle English Translation of the Pharmaceutical Writings of Gilbertus Anglicus. Ed. Getz, F.M. Univrsity of Wisonsin Press. USA
Askham, A. A Litle Herball.(1561?) Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, Ltd. Amsterdam. 1977
A Newe Herball of Macer, Translated out of Laten in to Englysshe, . imprynted by Robert Wyer at the sign of Syant John Evangelyst, beside Charynge Crosse
Mills,S. The A-Z of Modern Herbal . Thorsons Publishers Ltd. UK. 1989
Throop, P. Hildegard von Bingen's Physica Healing Arts Press, Vermon USA. 1998

Volume 2 Issue 5, July 2001
Link to start of Volume 2 Index for the Herb and Garden Guild in an Undulate Leaf Shape

   Volume 2 Issue 5 The Kitchen Garden. - Sigurd Trygvarsson


Ever since people began growing plants for food they have found it convenient to grow their favorite herbs and vegetables close together. A kitchen garden is simply this a garden, often near the kitchen, where herbs and vegetables are grown.

Then as now a lot of vegetables were grown as field crops mainly those such as; Peas and onions, which can be stored for later use. A monastery or manor house may grow these in their fields while a town dweller would probably buy them in, this would save precious garden space for herbs and vegetables that need to be used fresh. It would seem likely from sources such as Le Menagier de Paris and the plan of St. Gall Monastery that small quantities of field crops were also grown in the kitchen garden.


To find out what were grown in the vegetable gardens of our period we can turn to several sources

Cookery books, for example "Take a thousand eggs or more"

Period writings on the subject. eg. the chapter on gardening in "Le Menagier de Pars" [This book is a series of discourses on managing a 14thC household written by their author to his 15 year old wife]

Plans of monasteries such as the St. Gall plan, this plan includes the design of a kitchen garden [9thC]

Other sources are also available, the ones mentioned above are available as modem translations or in books on the subject.

Onions Allium cepa
Garlic Allium sativum
Leek Allium porrum
Shallots Allium ascalonium
Celery Apium gravaeolens
Parsley Petrosolenium crispum
Coriander Coriandrum sativum
Chervil Anthriscus cerefoloium
Dill Anethum graveolens
Lettuce Latuca sativa
Poppy Papaver somniferum
Savoury Satureja hortensis
Radishes Raphanus sativus
Parsnip Peucedanum sativum
Carrots Daucus carota
Coleworts Brassica sp
Beet Beta vulgaris
Black cumin



This list does not contain all the plants mentioned in this text, only some of those that may have been found in contemporary kitchen gardens are listed.
Parsely Petroselenium crispum
Sage Sativa officinalis
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis
Rosemary Rosmarius officinalis
Thyme Thymus vulgaris
Garlic Allium sativum
Borage Borago officinalis
Cabbage Brassica oleracea
Leeks Allium porrum
Mallow Althea sp
Savoury Satureja hortensis
Sorrel Rumex acetosa
Tansy Tanceatum vulgare [CAUTION TOXIC)
Violets Viola odorata


Kitchen gardens within the SCA time period came in many different sizes, but most would have consisted of rows of rectangular beds usually raised above the path.

Unless you wish to create an exact replica you can use any type of garden bed or even pots to create a kitchen garden.


Go to your spice rack and write down all of the dried herbs that you have.

List all of the fresh herbs and green vegetables that you regularly buy

List all of the herbs and vegetables. that you would like to grow

Combine all of these lists; this should give you a fair idea of what you want/need to plant in your kitchen garden.

Find a spot close to your kitchen [outside] to put the garden, if the garden is too far away from the kitchen the herbs tend not to be used, especially in wet weather

[Somewhere with an external light is also good its terrible to find that you've picked tansy instead of parsley in the dark, its even worse not to!]

If there are no garden beds in this area and no way to create one, pots are a great option.

To prepare a garden bed

Choose a sunny area if possible, remove any grass or weeds from the soil

Add well-rotted cow manure or compost, it is also possible to buy good quality soil from many nurseries.

If the soil is heavy or clayey the bed may need to rise above the surrounding soil, this was a common practice in period, use timber, bricks or any other material to keep the soil in place.


For a potted garden simply use a good potting mix and plant your plants. There are too many different ways to set up the garden to mention here.


MINT I always have at least one type of mint in the garden, it likes damp spots, grows well in the shade and can be used in every thing from meatballs, drinks and sauces. [Best on its own or in a pot it is very invasive]

CHIVES One of the most used herbs in my garden, plant a lot near the kitchen door and they will find their way into most dishes, they grow best in sunlight, the flowers are beautiful,

PARSLEY The more of this the better, like chives this will find its way into most dishes. I prefer the broad leaf variety although the curly parsley makes a pretty garnish.

SAVORY This aptly named herb is good in stews bean dishes and as a stuffing herb, there are 2 main varieties summer savory, an annual, and winter savory, a perennial, both like the sun.

SORREL This is a perennial leafy plant with slightly acidic tasting leaves it dies back in winter returning in spring. It is good in soups salads and used as a general green vegetable [it does contain oxalic acid so it should be eaten with some moderation]

SILVERBEET This is a plant that if picked leaf by leaf can last quite a while it likes to be well fertilized and in a sunny position great either cooked or in salads.

OTHER MUST HAVE PLANTS Basil, Rosemary, Sage, Alpine Strawberries and Peppermint

Renfrow.C. Take a thousand eggs or more Two 15thC cookery books. 1990
Landsberg S The Medieval Garden British Museum press, Thames and Hudson Italy.

   Volume 2 Issue 5 To make a Lip Cream for sore lips. - Caristiona nic Beathain

Wax and oil based creams were and still are a very popular way to make an ointment that can be stored. Today we often make creams that are then scented with essential oils, or use essential oils to make medicinal creams. Essential oils and the distillation of oils were only starting to become possible during the Renaissance. Before then plants were soaked in oil for a number of days, weeks, or sometimes even months so that the oil would be infused with the qualities of the plant.
The below recipe is one that was used for chapped and sore lips. It was used with an oil that had been infused, so I have given the oil recipe as well so that it can be tried with a period oil rather than by using a rose essential oil.

To make oyle of Roses. Take Oyle eighteen ounces, the washed buddes of Roses the white endes of them cut away three ounces, lay the Roses abread in the shadow foure and twenty howres, the put them in a Glasse to the Oyle, and stop the glasse close; and set it in the Sunne at least forty dayes.

The Widowes Treasure.

The maner how to washe the Oyle
Take and put it into a Bason of fair water, and beate it well with your hande that the drosse may fall downe, then take of that parte which remaineth above on the Water with a Soone, and put the same Oyle into another bason of faire water and wash it as you did before so purifie it three or foure times.

The Widowes Treasure.

To make the Oil.
The above recipe probably refers to red roses (the white endes of them cut away), however any colour roses can be used. They need to be washed and dried you may like to remove the bases of the petals, though this is not strictly necessary.
Once you have done that place the rose petals in a jar of oil, when the petals are fresh I tend to use about three good-sized handfuls to a 1-liter jar of oil. Dried roses are stronger so just 1-1 1/2 handfuls should be enough for a 1-liter jar.
This is then set in the sun for about a month.
Make sure that the oil is not in a place where it can become so hot that the oil will turn rancid. You may also like to strain out the petals and replace them with some more half way through the month. This is when using red or darkly coloured roses can be useful, as you can see when it is time to change the petal, by the lack of colour in the petals still in the oil.

After you have made your rose oil it does need to be cleaned. It can be strained through linen and then used, or if you want to increase the quality and increase the length of time you can keep your ointment for, you may like to clean the oil a bit more. This can be one by using the recipe above.

Put the oil in a bowl of water (after it has been strained) stir it and then carefully remove the oil. Removing the oil can be done with a spoon, or an easier way to do it is to carefully soak the oil up with cotton wool and then gently ring the oil into another container. When you have a large amount of oil it is easy to remove it with a spoon, once you get closer to the water you may like to use the cotton wool. This oil can then be used to make your lip ointment.

To make the lip ointment I have made this ointment a little more oily then most other creams, this is because it feels nice on lips and protects them better.

To heal lippes that are chapt with winde or colde. New waxe, Masticke, and Frankensence, with oyle of Roses, al this made in an ointment, and therewith anoint the chappes, and they wil heale presently.

The Widowes Treasure.

15 ml Water
30ml of Rose Oil
10 gm of bees wax.
Mastic, 1 pinch.
Franckinsence, 1 pinch.

Grind the Mastic and Frankincense together in a mortar and pestle until you have a fine powder.
Heat the Oil and the Wax together until the wax has melted. (Do this on a double boiler). At the same time heat the water until small bubbles start to rise to the surface, but not until the water is boiling.
Add the Mastic and Frankincense to the wax and oil mixture.
Then take the wax and oil mixture and the water off the heat, add the water to the wax and oil mixture and start mixing (an electric beater can be really useful here).
Mix until the mixture has totally cooled and remains together. If it separates you can put a small pinch of Lux flakes in the mixture and reheat the mixture and then start beating all over again until the mixture has cooled, this will stop it from separating.

White, E. The Widowes treasure, plentifully furnished with sundry precious and approoved secretes in Physicke, and Chirugery for the health and pleasure of mankinde. Printed at London by Edwarde Alde for Edward White, 1588.

Link to start of Volume 2 Index for the Herb and Garden Guild in an Undulate Leaf Shape

Volume 2 Issue 6, November 2001

   A Brief History of Medicine in the Middle Ages The Hippocratic Oath. - Caristiona nic Beathain

"I swear by the Apollo the healer, by Aesculapius, by Health and all the powers of healing, and call to witness all the gods and goddesses that I may keep this Oath and Promise to the best of my ability and judgement.

I will pay the same respect to my master in the Science as to my parents and share my life with him and pay all my debts to him. I will regard his sons as my brothers and teach them the Science, if they desire to learn it, without fee or contract. I will hand on precepts, lectures and all other learning to my sons, to those of my master and to those pupils duly apprenticed and sworn, and to none other.

I will use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgement; I will abstain from harming or wronging any man by it.

I will not give a fatal draught to anyone if I am asked, nor will I suggest any such thing. Neither will I give a woman means to procure an abortion.

I will be chaste and religious in my life and in my practise.

I will not cut, even for the stone, but I will leave such procedures to the practitioners of that craft.

Whenever I go into a house, I will go to help the sick and never with the intention of doing harm or injury. I will not abuse my position to indulge in sexual contacts with the bodies of women or of men, whether they be freemen or slaves.

Whatever I see or hear, professionally or privately, which ought not to be divulged, I will keep secret and tell no one.

If, therefore, I observe this Oath and do not violate it, may I prosper both in my life and my profession, earning good repute among all men for all time. If I transgress and forswear this Oath, may my lot be otherwise."1.

Before the Roman conquest medicine in Britain was based upon religion. The druidic priest healers of their time used many of the herbs that grew in abundance in local areas. Druidic healing was centred around the worship of springs and wells, and of trees. The trees represented the masculine aspect of their religion and the pools the feminine.2. In sixth century Wales a school was founded to teach some of the knowledge that the druidic healers had acquired. This was the Myddfai School. Myddfai medicine focused on diet and the comfort of the patient, also on the quality of the water used in any herbal preparations.3.

As Christianity gradually expanded throughout Europe and Britain changes in medical practice developed. The principle medical practitioners of this time were wise women and members of the monasteries. Medicine encompassed religious prayer and magic incantations.4.Members of the monasteries looked after all members of the community including the sick and the poor. As the monasteries became renowned for their care of people, their physicians started to get names for themselves as healers. As there reputations increased the monasteries were asked to take in lay people and to teach them the skills of medicine.5.As the monasteries gained renown for their healing ability, the larger religious centers were sent specific healers.

In 570 AD the pope sent the healers Theodore and Hadrian to Canterbury to help with the care of the sick and poor. On the way to Canterbury they travelled through Gaul collecting medical texts and techniques. Once in England they were instrumental in introducing some of the methods of Greek medicine.6. The Greek writers most influential at this time in medicine included Aristotle, Hippocrates, Galen, Dioscorides and Pliny.7.

Hippocrates believed in four basic elements; earth, water, air and fire. These four elements derive their properties from four primary qualities; hot, cold, wet and dry. He also believed in maintaining health through exercise, hygiene and healthy food. However, Galen built on the basic idea of the elements and turned them into a rigorous system which defined health and disease and classified all form of disease.

Galen defined "Health" as a state in accordance with nature, which enables the body to function. He also defined "Disease" as an unnatural state of the body which impairs function.8. The elements form the basic states of the body, these being blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. These humours are balanced in a healthy body, whereas an imbalance causes illness or disease.9. As well as the basic elements throughout the body, each organ is dominated by different humours according to its function.10. This understanding of the body was the basis of medical understanding from ancient Greece, up to and during the whole of the Middle Ages and much of the Renaissance.

Prescription of medicines at this time was also dominated by the humours. Herbs were classified according to the intensity of their hot, dry, warm and cold qualities. The intensities were categorised according to their degree of effect. For example,
Giving imperceptible effect,
Giving perceptible effect,
Giving a strong effect,
Giving a destructive effect.11.

According to this system, a herb that is Hot in the First degree and Dry in the Third degree, was useful for a slightly cold condition, with a strong wet element to the disease. This was further influenced by the constitution of the client. Depending on the clients own predominance of a particular quality and their age or general strength, a herb may be cold in the first degree to one person and yet effect another as if the herb was cold in the third degree.12.

One of the mainstays of the Galenic system of medicine was the belief that the physician must preserve what is according to nature and eliminate anything that is not.13. For this reason he believed that if nature was winning the battle and a person was getting well without intervention then the person must be left alone. If, however the person was not getting better then the physicians job was to cure. This cure was effected by eliminating the excessive humours from the body. This resulted in the uses of purges and emetics that became more and more popular as stronger ones were found. The other major way to eliminate excessive humours was by blood-letting. Galen believed that blood-letting was useful in dissipating the inflammation process and thus gradually removing disease.14.

Avicenna was the next person to add substantially to medical thought. Arab medicine at first placed an emphasis on diet and hygiene, much like the early Hippocratic style of medicine. However with the entrance of Avicenna into the medical field this was all about to change. Avicenna claimed that knowledge of astrology was essential to medicine and treatment. He believed that plants were subject to astrological influences and therein lay their power to heal the sick.15.Avicenna further built on the idea of the humours. He believed that disease was an imbalance of temperaments, a bodily malformation or a dissolution on bodily order, and therefore an obstruction. He also believed that disease may arise from bad diet, air or motion, or too much rest, sleep or passion.16. Within Avicenna's system of medicine, diagnosis was carried out through urine or pulse monitoring. Therapies then included emetics, cathartics, enemas and sedatives, also bleeding, blistering and cauterisation. With the strong codification of medicine used by both Galen and Avicenna the science of medicine was unable to progress. If one part of the system was removed it was expected that a cure could not be performed, thus any failure to heal was taken as an incorrect usage of medical knowledge. Thus any changes in medical thought were actively discouraged.17.

The system of medicine that Galen and Avicenna both created over time was used by both the lay person and the professional physician in the Middle Ages. Lay medicine was often performed according to predetermined tables. Seven or eight pieces of parchment were folded in half and then into three sections per half. Each strip was then devoted to a particular aspect of diagnosis and treatment. One on section would be the date that the illness began, another sections would have the positions of the sun and the moon, also a calendar of the eclipses of the sun and the moon and the rules for phlebotomy and urine analysis. The next sections would put a lot of this theory into useable tables, such as the positions of the planet governing the part of the body that was effected. The last sections included venesection, showing the vein that needed to be cut for effective blood letting, and the twenty-four different kinds of urine and their significance.18.

Professional physicians learnt medicine at a number of different schools and universities through out Europe. The oldest and most respected of these was the school of Salerno. Salernum was founded in the ninth century. It taught both male and female students, which was very unusual for its time.19. Salerno reached its peak of popularity during the twelfth century. At this time the faculty consisted of ten professors or magistri, plus the students. Students studied for seven years and were required to be at least 21 years old before they could practice medicine. They were also required to pass an exam based on the work on Galen or Avicenna and Hippocrates and Aristotle. Once all of this was done they received the title of MA or physician. If they wanted to become a professor or a surgeon further years of study were required.20. On entry to the school candidates were also required to swear to be true and obedient to the Society of Physicians and to refuse all fees from the poor, and to have no gains with the apothecaries. The apothecaries were the dispensers of some medicaments and also practised some medicine. Throughout the life of the school of Salerno these requirements were modified and changed to keep up with the requirements of the times.21. As Salerno's size and influence increased the physicians started to translate many of the Arabic medical texts as well as the ever popular Greek texts. Salerno's popularity attracted students from all over Europe to learn at the school and thus spread both texts and medical knowledge over a wider area then ever before. Salerno was still in existence up until the eighteenth century, however it then closed down because of its outdated facilities.22.

Medical education was beginning to spread to other areas of Europe as well as Italy. Montpellier in the south of France had a fully developed medical faculty by 1137. Other schools gained popularity, but most of these centred around one "master" and when he died the schools tended to die with them. Oxford did not develop a medical program until 1350. Almost all of the schools at the time relied upon a knowledge of the classics before anyone was allowed to study medicine. This meant that to earn a Masters degree in medicine, enabling someone to practice, students had to study for at least six years.23. Further study in anatomy was required for a physician to become a surgeon. Much of this study was done in different universities that specialised in surgery. However physicians held the key positions in all of the European universities at this time and a surgeon could not practice without the permission of the College of Physicians.24. British surgeons were usually not trained in this way, they were instead taught mainly through an apprenticeship. Surgeons also gained experience in treating wounds on the battlefield. Additionally, charms and astrology were still used to influence the recovery of patients.25

In 1348 the Black Death reached Europe. Europe's population was reduced by a third from this epidemic. The medical profession had no way to deal with the situation. Purging, bleeding, hygiene, diet, burning of aromatic herbs and consuming special herbs were all tried so as to prevent people from catching the disease. Once a person had the disease, the same treatments were again applied along with poultices, the lancing of buboes and the use of ground gems as a medicine for the rich. However, nothing worked. In the end it was decided that the plague was a visitation of fate and therefore unstoppable with modern medicine.26.

The next form of plague to hit Europe was that of syphilis. It was introduced to Northern Europe by the army of the French King Charles VII, who bought it back from Naples. It caused ulcerous sores, racking pains through the body, and heart and brain damage. This eventually lead to paralysis, dementia and death. Originally the treatment was isolation from friends and family, warmth, exercise, a bland diet and frequent bleeding and purging, with external ointments being used for the ulcers. None of them worked.27. The treatment of choice was that of mercury.28. At first neat mercury was used, this caused little or no side effects. However as it was used in ointments the mercury was broken down by the friction used when mixing the ointments causing the mercury salts to become available to the body through the skin. this caused damage to the mucous membranes and teeth. As this treatment for syphilis became more widely known quacks started to use huge amounts of mercury including "corrosive sublimate" a mixture of mercury heated with vitriol and salt. This substance caused agonising cramps and bloody diarrhoea, also suppression of urine, ulcers, and the deterioration of mucous membranes. The most popular treatment consisted of covering all the body, except for the head and heart region, with mercury mixed in grease. The person was then covered in blankets until a full body sweat was induced. The idea was to get the person to salivate. The treatment was used for ten days and it was expected that the person produce a number of pints of saliva every day, to purge the body of the disease. Some of the side effects of this treatment included teeth and gums that became so sensitive that they blackened and fell out. Sores formed on the mouth and jaws causing disfiguration, also tremors and paralysis.29.

Many products were tried in the attempt to deal with syphilis. Guaiacum wood, brought back from the West Indies was boiled and given as a decoction. In the Caribbean it was used as part of a complete treatment including heat, rest, exercise and a specific diet. In Europe people did not generally have the time to follow the treatment as rigorously as the natives of the West Indies so the treatment was unsuccessful and soon fell out of favour.30. Other herbs also came into favour and just as quickly went out again.

During the time of Henry VIII English medicine had divided into three main groups; physicians, surgeons and apothecaries. These three groups were constantly trying to intrude into each others areas of expertise. As a result of this the College of Physicians tried to get their profession regulated. Henry passed a number of successive acts enabling the apothecaries to supply all medicines and to treat twelve common ailments including; syphilis, renal stones, apoplexy, paralysis, liver disease, cystitis, skin diseases, sciatica, eye diseases, hernia, rheumatism and catarrh. Surgeons were given four executed prisoners annually to perform dissections on and the physicians were able to treat any disease.31. After the passing of the laws regulating the three main medical areas it was found that the poor were no longer getting adequate treatment. The physicians were only treating paying customers and the apothecaries were no longer able to offer their cheaper services. Thus in 1542 Henry VIII passed what came to be know as the 'Quacks Charter'. Non-physicians became allowed to treat an illness pertaining to the surface of the body with plasters, poultices and ointments. They were also to give any service needed to those in need. This Charter made it possible for laymen to treat more people than a physician, who were not allowed to treat conditions requiring surgery. Many alterative therapists still practice under this charter today.32.

Finally, during the Renaissance, came a shift in the perception of medicine. Paracelsus started to redefine the systems of medicine. He believed that the elements were formed from atoms that then formed elementary material. These elementary materials were sulphur, mercury and salt; which were then used to generate the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. Disease resulted when a persons elements broke down into their elementary materials. Because everything could be reduced to one of the elementary materials or atoms, it seemed logical that minerals and plants would also have these materials. It followed that an illness could be cured by getting the appropriate elementary material from minerals and plants.33. Paracelsus followed a philosophy of 'like cures like' believing that if a product could cause a disease in great quantity it could also cure it when used in much smaller quantities. He also believed in the 'Doctrine of Signature', in which a plant useful for a particular disease would show itself in the look of the plant. This doctrine maintained that a plant would look like the disease or the organ that it was able to cure. He also claimed that it was fraudulent of physicians to cause people to spend so much money on foreign substances for medicine when the herbs in their back yards would often do just as well.34.

Paracelsus is important more because he created the impetus for renewed research into medicine rather than accepting beliefs in how the body worked. With his revolutionary ideas the ancient Greeks finally started to lose their hold on medical theory and for the first time physicians started to look at what they actually saw in the body and not what they were told they must see.35.


1. Ed. Lloyd, G. E. R. Hippocratic Writings. Penguin Classics. London, Great Britain. 1983:67.
2. Maple, E. Magic Medicine and Quackery. Robert Hale. London 1968: 35.
3. Griggs, B. Green Pharmacy: a history of herbal medicine. Mackays of Chatham Ltd. Great Britain. 1987:19-23.
4. opcit, Maple, E. 37.
5. opcit Griggs, B. 20.
6. Talbot, G. H. Medicine in Medieval England. Olbourne London.1967:11.
7. Brain, P. Galen on Bloodletting: a study of the origins, development, and validity of his opinions, with a translation of three other works. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK. 1986:4.
8. opcit, Talbot:11.
9. opcit. Lloyd:chap 3-4.
10. Ottosson, P. Scholastic Mecicine and Philosophy. Napoli Bibliopolis.1984:131-134.
11. ibid:135.
12. ibid:136.
13. opcit. Galen:5.
14. ibid:13.
15. opcit. Griggs:25.
16. Goodman, L. Avicenna. Routledge, London. 1992 :33.
17. ibid:36.
18. opcit, Talbot:125-126.
19. Ordronaux J. Code of health of the School of Salernum. JB Lippincott and Co. Philadelphia.
20. 1870:17.
21. ibid: 16-21.
22. ibid:21.
23. ibid:16.
24. opcit. Griggs:27.
25. opcit, Talbot. 118.
26. ibid:120-123.
27. opcit. Griggs:30
28. ibid:30-33.
29. opcit Maple:76.
30. opcit Griggs:33-38.
31. Lane, S. A course of Lectures on Syphilis. The Lancet. Vol. 1. December 18, 1841-42:393.
32. opcit Maple:65.
33. ibid:65-66.
34. Pagel, W. Paracelsus; an introduction to Philosophical Medicine in the era of the Renaissance.
Karger, Sydney 1982:129-131.
35. ibid:133-149.
36. opcit Griggs:47-51.

Brain, P. Galen on Bloodletting: a study of the origins, development, and validity of his opinions, with a translation of three other works. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK.
Lane, S. A course of Lectures on Syphilis. The Lancet. Vol. 1. December 18, 1841-42
Griggs, B. Green Pharmacy: a history of herbal medicine. Mackays of Chatham Ltd. Great Britain. 1987
Maple, E. Magic Medicine and Quackery. Robert Hale. London 1968
Ordronaux J. Code of health of the School of Salernum. JB Lippincott and Co. Philadelphia. 1870
Ottosson, P. Scholastic Mecicine and Philosophy. Napoli Bibliopolis.1984
Pagel, W. Paracelsus; an introduction to Philosophical Medicine in the era of the Renaissance.
Karger, Sydney 1982
Talbot, G. H. Medicine in Medieval England. Olbourne London.1967
Ed. Lloyd, G. E. R. Hippocratic Writings. Penguin Classics. London, Great Britain. 1983

   Volume 2 Issue 6 Making a Gourd Watering Pot. - Sigurd Trygvarsson

This type of watering device may be quite ancient ,it is at least traceable to the 15th C, many examples of similar pots made of pottery have also been unearthed.

Select a gourd that has a top shaped like a handle ,hold it by this handle, approximately where your thumb sits mark out a circle the size of a 5cent piece. Using a very sharp knife or a drill cut out this hole, once this is done use a stick or a piece of wire to clean out the inside of the gourd, it may help to shake the gourd until the seeds rattle before hand [this will help to loosen up the seeds in the pith]. CAUTION IN MAY BE NECESSARY TO WEAR A FACE MASK WHILE DOING THIS AS DUST FROM THE PITH IS VERY FINE.]

The next step is to make the holes in the base of the gourd, a drill or sharp knife can be used for this. About 10 holes should be sufficient. Flush out the gourd with water to remove any left over pith.

To finish off the gourd it may be possible to wax the inside, scraping the outside can also bring out some of the patterns on the gourd; waxing the outside may also help to prevent the gourds skin from becoming water logged .

To fill the watering pot submerge the whole gourd so that water flows in through all the holes ,then place your thumb over the hole. To use the pot simply take your thumb off the hole.

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Last Updated: April 12th 2014. First published: Nov 4th 2005.
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