Friday 19 June 2015

The Medieval Medicine Chest.

This was the title of a most amazing course I attended at the Weald and Downland last weekend. Run by Cathy Flower-Bond she was a splendid lady and a source of incredible information. I really enjoyed the combination of learning and hands on experience the day offered. Obviously for reasons of copyright I don't want to replicate the content here but I'm sure she wouldn't mind if I shared some of the fascinating asides she threw in as the conversation meandered onto other loosely related topics during the day. Here she is wearing the clothes she makes herself showing the fashions of the early and later Medieval period.

These were taken of the garden and herb borders at Pendean House in the museum.

Nettles- surely one of the most amazing plants used throughout history yet largely ignored by us today or seen as a weed. I myself have tried it in tea, soup, pesto and made string from it. I know it's favoured by butterflies and can be used to make paper, beer and that it was used to dye the uniforms in WWI [WWII green came from hops] but it can also be used to make a silk like fabric. It holds its shape when folded so was used to make the Medieval headwear the ladies wore. It gives a yellow dye if used earlier in the season.

And to leave you with a few random morsels. The Tudors cleaned their teeth with dried ground up mice eek eek! Onions were left on the window sill at night to repel the devil. Red was believed to be medicinally beneficial hence Elizabeth I was wrapped in a red blanket when she had small pox. Chamomile lawns originated as a means of masking the smell of the urine of people tiddling on the grass and pigsties often had a toilet in them as it was found the swine would eat human faeces worms and all. They had an immunity to the worms which was passed on to the humans once they were slaughtered and eaten.
There you go- never know what you're going to read next on this 'ere old blog of mine!


PS It was my Christmas present from my parents.


  1. Now I think that chamomile smells a bit like wee anyway. Looks like it was a great course! x

  2. It was a brilliant course thanks LG!

  3. That's the sort of course I'm interested in myself. Glad you liked it.



 Bowlderise- verb meaning to omit or change parts of text [usually in literature] considered vulgar. Yes it's a new-to-me word alert and...