Archiver > FOLKLORE > 1999-05 > 0925683598

From: Kath <>
Subject: [FOLKLORE-L] cont'd Celtic Herbs
Date: Sun, 02 May 1999 15:19:58 -0700

Euphrasia Officinalis
Irish Gaelic:
Roisn'in Radhairc
Scottish Gaelic:
Other Names:
Casse-lunettes, Augen Trost, Adhil

Medicinal Uses:
Widely used for all manner of eye ailments, as well as those
affecting the lining of the nose and throat. Also used for
hayfever, colds, coughs, sore throats, bronchial cough,
scrofula, catarrh, and weak memory. Thought to improve
brain function.
The flower's center resembles the human eye.

Tested Properties:
Astringent, Mucilaginous.

Digitalis Purpurea
Irish Gaelic:
Me'aracan Dearg
Other Names:
Thimble Flower, Finger Flower, Gants de Notre Dame,
Foxesglew, Fox Music, Flop-a-dock, Flop-top, Cow Flop,
Flabby Dock, Throttle-wort. Known in Ireland as the Great
Herb, Lunsmore, and Fairy Cap, Goblin's Gloves (in Wales),
Dead Men's Bells (in Scotland)

Medicinal Uses:
Used externally for scrofulous swellings, and internally for
The plant entire is used to dispel fleas.

Used recreationally to obtain a kind of intoxicated high,
thus possibly used in ritual/divination. No animal will
touch the plant.

Tested Properties:
Bitter. The plant contains digitalin, a dangerous, active
principle which acts on the kidneys and heart.

Three varieities of garlic grow wild in the British Isles
and Ireland: Ramsons Allium ursinium, Crow Garlic Allium
vineale, and purple striped garlic Allium oleraceum.

Other Names:
For Ramsons; Buck Rams, Buck Rampe, Bear's Garlic, Star

Medicinal Uses:
Garlic was believed to cure the bite of any venomous snake
or reptile. Worked admirably well as a digestive aid. The
odour was useful in reviving hysterical sufferers. Used
against spasmodic affections of the chest, asthma, irritable
spines, indolent scrofulous tumours, gout, red and irritated
skin, plagues, tubercular consumption, erosive skin disease,
lupus, abscesses, sores, rheumatism, nervous headache, and

Used to drive away venomous creatures. A morsel when chewed
by an athelete will ensure victory; it was also thought to
be spurring to men in battle. If garlic was planted at the
full moon it was said to come out like an onion, with only
one clove instead of many.

Other Uses:
When Crow Garlic was fed to birds it so stupefied them that
they could be caught by hand.

Tested Properties:
Stimulating, antispasmodic, expectorant and diuretic.


Cratoegus Oxyacantha
Other Names:
Whitethorn, Hazels, Gazels, Halves, Quickset,
Bread-and-Cheese Tree, Albespyne, L'Epine Noble. The buds
are called Ladies' Meat; the blossoms are known as May
Flowers. The fruit are known as haws.

Medicinal Uses:
An infusion is made from flowers and fruit both that acts on
the kidneys. Also used for sore throat.

It was considered unlucky to bring Hawthorn into the house;
the tree was considered too sacred even to touch. The
flowers are fertilized by carrion insects, and it is said
that those with keen smell can detect the odour of the grave
on the blossoms. The shadows of the moon were thought to
represent a man laden with a bundle of hawthorn thorns in
punishment for theft. If three thorn trees are fouind
growing closely together it's considered wise to make a wide
berth of them. This was a tree often beloved of the Sidhe
(although the location of a tree was important to the sidhe
folk; it had to be growing within a rath or fairy ring, in a
rocky field of rough grass, or by a large boulder or
spring); anyone who harmed, or even disturbed a tree beloved
of the Sidhe risked their wrath (which often came in the
form of illness).

Tested Properties:



Medicinal Uses:
The nut milk was considered more nutritious than ordinary
foods and was given to the weak and young.

The wood was used in sacred fires at Beltaine and in water
divination. The nuts of the tree are associated with the
wisdom of the Otherworld. This was a tree often beloved of
the Sidhe (although the location of a tree was important to
the Sidhe folk; it had to be growing within a rath or fairy
ring, in a rocky field of rough grass, or by a large boulder
or spring); anyone who harmed, or even disturbed a tree
beloved of the Sidhe risked their wrath (which often came in
the form of illness).

Tested Properties:
Nutritive, Mucilaginous.
Horse Radish
Cochlearia Armoracia
Other Names:
Mountain Radish, Great Raifort, Red Cole

Medicinal Uses:
A powerful stimulant. Used against facial neuralgia,
rheumatic or palsied limbs, indigestion, hoarseness,
sciatica, joint-ache, hard swellings of the spleen and
liver, whooping cough, and acne.
Employed to induce vomiting and sweating, and to stimulate
the entire nervous system.

Metals turn black when touched by the root. The juices have
been used to remove natural markings and pigmentation of the

Other Uses:
Probably introduced and not native; the plant can be found
growing most commonly near the sea. Widespread culinary use
as a condiment and 'spice'. It is a country habit to
re-plant the horseradish after having taken a scraping or
two from the root (and using the plant again and again in
this manner until little was left). Used in a cosmetic;
also used to remove freckles.

Tested Properties:
Expectorant, diuretic and emetic. Contains a large quantity
of sulphur. Bitter, Mucilaginous, Nutritive, Aromatic.


Hedera Helix
Other Names:
Winter-grunt, Winter-green, Kissos

Medicinal Uses:
Employed for corns, plagues, spasms, rheumatism, lice and
vermin, disorders of the spleen, whooping cough, neuralgic
toothache, sore and smarting eyes, severe headache and

The plant is conspicuously green even during the coldest
months of winter, and the flowers have no scent, both of
these are seen as Otherworldly properties. The later custom
among the common folk of decorating houses and churches at
Christmastide with ivy was discouraged as being 'Pagan'.
Ivy was especially used for the protection of flocks;
wreaths or magic hoops of ivy (with rowan and woodbine) were
woven to stand under or around milk containers. The bruised
plant destroys lice and vermin.

Other Uses:
The gum was employed as one of the first fillings for
teeth. Ivy has always been associated with alcohol, perhaps
because of its ability to cure hangover coupled with the
fact that it was employed in the making of ale.

Tested Properties:
Contains balsamic resin and aromatic gum. Mildly aperient.
Astringent, Aromatic, Bitter.



Allium Porrum
Other Names:

Medicinal Uses:
Considered effective against kidney ailments, calcification,
chilblains, chapped hands, and sore eyes.

It's commonly believed that leeks promote fruitfulness.

Other Uses:
Obviously, the leek is a very popular food of widespread
Larks are attracted to the plant. Among Welsh farmers a
neighbourly custom exists whereby several will gather and
plow the field of a poor proprietor, each bringing a few
leeks for a broth. Symbolic of Wales.

Tested Properties:
Stimulating and expectorant. Nutritive. Contains sulphur.

Lesser Century

Irish Gaelic:
Dr'eimire Mhuire
Other Names:
Gall of the Earth, Christ's Ladder, Felwort, Tausendgulden
Kraut, the Herb of a Thousand Florins, a Hundred Golden
Sovereigns, Center of the Sun

Medicinal Uses:
Effective when taken internally for rheumatsm, asthma,
respiratory problems, languid digestion, heartburn, and poor

Some discussion is made of the fact that it grows wild in
great abundance, and in a great many types of soils and
conditions, but cannot be reared in a garden - thus the herb
is believed to be under the care of magical folk/elements.

Tested Properties:

There are many varieties of lichens, those of the greatest
medicinal value are Irish Moss Chondrus crispus,
Oister-green Lichen marinum, and Iceland Moss.
Scottish Gaelic:
Dubh Cosac

Other Names:
For Irish Moss; Carrageen

Medicinal Uses:
Considered good for the heart. Employed against pulmonary
consumption with bleeding from the lungs, gout, chronic sore
throat, dysentery, diabetes, atrophy, and weakness of the

Other Uses:
All of these types of lichens are used in cooking. Irish
Moss is often cooked as blancmange or made into pudding,
sweetened with lemon rind, sugar and ratafia. Iceland Moss
is made into cakes, bread, broth, and jelly.

Tested Properties:
Mucilaginous, Nutritive, Bitter. Iodine-rich.


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