Gather ye sundew….

AndelJo here. I'm in deadline dementia for the book on the left, so I've pulled an oddity from my files.

 From an 18th century book. "ROSSOLIS — an agreeable spiritous liquor composed of burnt brandy, sugar, cinnamon, and milk water; and sometimes perfumed with a little musk: it is so called as being at first prepared wholly of the juice of the plant ros-solis, or drosera."

That is, sundew.

My first question is, where does anyone get that much sundew juice? I know the plant and at times have had a small one in the kitchen to catch fruit flies. It does a great job. But enough to make a drink?

An on line search suggests it's not that uncommon in Britain. Drosera anglica is also known as the Great sundew or the English sundew. 
SundewHowever, it is as small as I thought.

I searched a little more and found that "sundew juice" is a little misleading. The liquid was apparently obtained by steeping sundew in something like brandy.Nearly anything steeped in brandy, especially with sugar added, is likely to perk a person up, don't you think?

Ih does appear to be mainly medicinal, with claims that it will cure coughs and aid sleep. Other sources suggest that it's an aphrodisiac, and one that it will remove warts. That's a bit alarming in a drink, don't you think?"

Wikipedia says: "Sundews were used as medicinal herbs as early as the 12th century, when an Italian doctor from the School of Salerno, Matthaeus Platearius, described the plant as an herbal remedy for coughs under the name herba sole. It has been used commonly in cough preparations in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Sundew tea was especially recommended by herbalists for dry coughs, bronchitis, whooping cough, asthma and "bronchial cramps". A modern study has shown that Drosera exhibits antitussive properties.

Culbreth's 1927 Materia Medica listed D. rotundifolia, D. anglica and D.linearis as being used as stimulants and expectorants, and "of doubtful efficacy" for treating bronchitis, whooping cough, and tuberculosis. Sundews have also been used as an aphrodisiac and to strengthen the heart, as well as to treat sunburn, toothache, and prevent freckles. They are still used today in some 200-300 registered medications, usually in combination with other herbal ingredients. Today, Drosera is usually used to treat ailments such as asthma, coughs, lung infections, and stomach ulcers"

So it's not as crazy as it first sounds, is it?

Do you know any seemingly odd medicinal ingredients, past or present? I'll pass this one on. The white sap that leaks from snapped off dandelion stems will get rid of warts.No guarantees, but I've found it works.

AscansmHere's a little bit from A Scandalous Countess, where Georgia is trying to learn some country skills.

"I
confess, I’m enjoying this taste of country living, but it’s an idle venture.
After breakfast, set me a country task."

"A
task?" Then Lizzie smiled in a very mischievous way. "I have just the
thing. I'm told that one of the pigs in the home farm has the evil sleep and
needs the cure."

"The
evil sleep?” Georgia exclaimed. ‘I
don't believe you."

"Tut-tut,
your education in country lore is sorely lacking. Come along."

As they went outside Georgia said, “Very
well, tell me the symptoms  and cure of
the evil sleep.”

“The
pig sleeps too much, especially in the middle of the day."

"That
could describe Father when he’s rusticating.”

“Georgie!
I don’t suppose your father neglects his food so he’s in danger of starving to
death.”

“Quite
the opposite. Where are we going? The home farm is that way.”

"To
the orchard."

“We tempt
the pig’s appetite with green apples?”

“No,
we gather the chief ingredient of the cure.”

Stonecrop“I
hope it’s not snails"

They
approached the orchard, but didn't go in through the gate. Instead Lizzie
walked along the wall. "Stone crop!" she said triumphantly. "We
must pick the flowers. Only the yellow flowers, note. We'll need at least half
a basket full."

"These
are very small flowers." Georgia complained.

"Then
pick faster. The pig may be gasping its last."

 

So, any odd plant cures in your family lore?

Do you remember any from novels?

Do any of them contain snail?  I have found that many in old medicine books do!

Jo