1855 Midwife's Herb Garden Plan
This garden plan was distributed as a hand out at a Parks & Rec office in an unknown state and an unknown county. Just thought some of you might be interested. I've also included some notes about the various herbs.
Angelica (A. archangelica syn A. officinalis)
Bee Balm Monarda didyma, (red) (purple) Monarda fistulosa, (pink)
Borage (Borago officinalis) aka Bee bread, Bee Clover, Borrage, Burrage, Cool Tankard, False Bugloss, LLanwenlys (Welsh), Star flower, Talewort
- Fresh leaves have been used in salads to increase milk flow in nursing mothers.
Bouncing Bet (Saponaria officinalis) aka Soapwort
- Bouncing bet leaves contain a natural soap, and a lather can be raised from crushed leaves.
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Calendulas (Calendula officinalis) a.k.a. Garden Marigold, Holigold, Mary bud, Marigold, Marygold, Pot Marigold
- In the bath 5 to 10 drops of the oil has been added for anxiety or depression.
- Astringent, antiseptic, alterative, antibactertial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, aperient, healing and soothing, gynecological action, emmenogogue, cholagogue, diaphoretic, vulnerary (works quickly to granulate the exposed flesh), estrogenic; stimulates uterus, liver and gall bladder; stimulates growth of new skins cells, closes wounds; stimulates immune system; retards tumor growth; soothes the central nervous system. Has been used over the centuries in combination as a supporting healing agent to treat just about every malady known to man.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) aka Cat's Fancy, Cat's Wort, Catmint, Catnep, Catrup, Field Balm, Herb Catta, Nep
- Has been used in infusion form for anemia, to improve circulation, colds, flu, catarrh, bronchitis, feverish illnesses, indigestion, flatulence, insomnia, measles, neuraligia, nightmare, scurvy, tuberculosis, chicken pox, hives, headaches (also a compress of the infusion on the forehead), hyperactivity, palpitations, colic, nervous dyspepsia, nervousness, drug and nicotine withdrawal, fatigue, hemorrhoids, hiccups, infertility, insanity, pain, restlessness, shock, skin problems, external sores, stress, vomiting, roseola, amenorrhea (also for difficult periods; for delayed or spotty periods, 1 tbsp of the juice of the leaf jas been taken 2 or 3 times daily), diarrhea (due to the presence of tannins), worms and head congestion before a flu.
- Has been used in stress formulas for its sedative effect.
- Nicholas Culpeper, a 17th century herbalist, noted that barren women sat over the fumes of catnip tea in an effort to rectify their inability to breed.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita syn Matricaria chamomilla) (Anthemis nobilis syn Chamaemaelum nobile)
- For the herbalist there are only two varieties of consequence: German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile. Both are used interchangeably in herbalism, although some herbalists will prefer one over the other which is strictly a matter of prejudice or perhaps supply wherein the source of one type is superior to the source of the other in alleviating symptoms. Of the Roman Chamomile, there is a large number of herbalists who prefer the Double Flowering (C.n. 'Flore Pleno') variety which is sterile, but contains less irritating components. The distilled oil of these Chamomiles is blue, the German being deeper and darker in color.
- Currently used for: Lack of appetite, bronchitis, colds, coughs, as a deodorant, digestive aid, digestive tract inflammations and spasms, for sore throats, fever, liver and gallbladder problems, skin inflammations, wounds and burns, a tendency to infections, PMS, tension, anxiety or nervous disposition as a calmative.
- Has a long history of use for female problems such as painful menstrual periods, menopausal symptoms and depression, leukorrhea (douche), lack of periods, female conditions involving tension, spasm or pain associated with the reproductive system, also associated headaches and migraines. Infusion has been added to bath water for migraine and mastitis. Infusion or ointment has been used for sore and/or cracked nipples. Has been combined with Ginger for menstrual cramps and other types of painful spasms. (NOTE: With migraine, releasing the tension in the back and neck with heat and/or - preferably both - massage will usually ease the pain to some degree. I find a shoulder massage, where I store my stress, nearly removes the pain of tension headaches entirely without the use of anything else.)
- For hemorrhoids and wounds a salve has also been employed.
- Calms, relaxes, refreshes. Inhalation of the vaporized oil used to relieve anxiety and depression associated with menopause, general depression, irritability, insomnia, hysteria, and hypersensitivity.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) aka Barbe-de-Capuchin, Blue Dandelion, Blue Sailors, Endive, Garden Chicory, Succory, Turnsole, Wild Chicory, Wild Endive, Wild Succory, Witloof Chicory
- To make a Chicory 'essence' or flower remedy, pick flowers early in the day and allow to soak in fresh water in the sun. Later in the day, strain and store this essence. A few drops in liquid have been used for 'crying jags' or for those are are overly possessive or critical of others, or just plain overbearing and controlling; also for those with 'martyr' syndrome.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum syn Allium sibiricum) aka Ail civitte (Fr), Cives, Petite poureau (Fr), Seithes, Sieves
- Rarely used medicinally today, but probably helpful to a lesser degree as garlic and onions.
- Mildly antibiotic, appetite stimulant, vermifuge; leaves mildly laxative.
- Has been used as part of the diet (leaves chewed slowly or minced and sprinkled on food) to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and to prevent miscarriage as well as for anemia, bleeding, internal mucous, tuberculosis, urinary problems, general debility. Leaves have also been juiced in combination with fruits and vegetables.
Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris) and (Aquilegia canadensis) aka Bells, Cluckies, European Crowfoot, Garden Columbine, Meeting Houses, Rock Lily
- In some Native American cultures the seeds were used as a love perfume and a love medicine to attract the girl of your dreams
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) aka Assear, Beinwurz (Ger), Blackwort, Boneset, Bruisewort, Consolida, Consoude (Fr), Consound, Gum Plant, Healing Herb, Knitback, Knitbone, Nipbone, Okopnik (Russ), Salsify, Schwarzwurz (Ger), Slippery Root, Wallwort, Yalluc (Saxon)
Re: 1855 Midwife's Herb Garden Plan
Costmary (Chrysanthemum balsamita syn Tanacetum balsamita syn Balsamita major) a.k.a. Alecost, Alehoof, Balsam Herb, Bible leaf, Mint Geranium, Sweet Mary
- No longer used medicinally.
- Was listed in the BP as useful to treat dysentary and digestive problems but was also used to treat gout, headache, amenorrhea, colds, flu, fevers, flatulence, and also used as a diuretic. The infused oil was used to treat gout, sciatica, and joint pain.
- Cooling and pleasant in the bath.
- Infusion added to rinsing water to perfume household linens: Infuse 4 oz. of fresh leaves or 2 Tbsp dry in 2½ C. water just off the boil for 2 hours; strain and add to rinse water when laundering linens.
- The leaves have been combined with Lavender to fragrance the linen closet.
- Costmary obtained the name 'Bible Leaf' in Puritan places of worship where the sermons were unendurably long. A leaf was placed between the pages of the Bible; when fatigued it was taken up and sniffed or else nibbled in an effort to keep one awake. It still makes a fragrant and fun bookmark and has the added benefit of repelling insects, especially the small ones that like to feed on paper.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) aka Black elder, Bore tree, Bountry, Common Elder, Elderberry, Ellanwood, Ellhorn, European elder, Pipe tree, Sweet elder
- Excellent bath herb.The flower water was historically known as Aqua Sambuci.
- Bitter, pungent; FLOWERS are expectorant, diaphoretic (in hot infusion), circulatory stimulant, expectorant, decongestant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, relaxant, emollient; affects blood, circulation, lungs, bowels, liver, skin. BERRIES are laxative, diaphoretic, diuretic; BARK (rarely used today) is liver stimulant, purgative, emetic (large doses), diuretic, topically emollient; LEAVES are antiseptic.
- An infusion of the seeds or leaves has been used for cramps.
- Promotes lactation in nursing mothers.
Globe Amaranth (Amaranthus spp)
- Natives of the Americas dried the flowers for tea and used them for contraception and excessive menses.
- Coarse hairy weeds with a large number of species being useful. Today there are many cultivated varieties for the gardens. Believed to have been grown as long as 8000 years in Central and South America. Cultivated in the high altitudes of the Himalayas, the hill regions of India, Nepal, Pakistan, China and Tibet. A staple food of the Aztecs and used in ritual. Now cultivated in the United States and other countries.
- The name is from the Greek and means "unwithering". In ancient Greece it was sacred to the Ephesian goddess Artemis. It was a symbol of immortality and was used to decorate the images of gods and tombs.
- Native Americans used the seeds of many species for meal and flour.
Greek Oregano (Origanum heracleoticum and O. vulgare hirtum)
- Has been used internally for colds, flu, stomach upsets and painful menstruation.
- The essential oil is used in aromatherapy for the same conditions listed above.
Green Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus) a.k.a Lavender Cotton
Hens and Chickens (Sempervivum tectorum)
Hollyhock (Alcea Rosea)
Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
- Traditionally used for problems of the respiratory system, disorders of the stomach, and for hepatitis.
- Was used as a tea, cough syrup and as a snuff to treat yellowness of the eye whites (no doubt related to liver disfunction as in the case of hepatitis).
- Has often been combined with fenugreek, licorice and thyme as a bronchial tea to loosen heavy mucous.
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
- Used in the herbal bath to stimulate.
Hops (Humulus lupulus)
- Has also been used to expel worms, stimulate milk flow, for leprosy, dysentary, skin ulcers, and frostbite.
- The female flowers (strobiles) are often sewn into a small fabric squares or other shapes to be used as a sleep pillow. Use either dried hops alone or combined with other herbs such as lemon verbena, lavender, or mint.
Hypericum (Hypericum perforatum) aka St. Johnswort
- Primary herb for occasional depression, but not used for chronic depression.
- Extract shows promise as antiviral against AIDS. Effective against staph infections.
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
- Crushed leaves have been applied directly for bruises.
- A warm infusion has been taken by the mouthful for colds, fevers, coughs, sore throats, and chest colds (used as a cough syrup).
Ladies Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris syn. A. mollis)
- Has been used for female complaints.
Ladies Bedstraw (Galium verum)
- In Chinese medicine this plant is regarded as alterative, laxative, aphrodisiac, astringent, calmative, catarrh, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, hemostatic, pectoral, purgative, antispasmodic, sudorfic, and tonic.
- Used as a cheese rennet; contains an enzyme that curdles milk (use whole plant or just leaves and stems); flowering tops made into a summer drink.
Re: 1855 Midwife's Herb Garden Plan
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia syn L. vera)
- Antibacterial properties.
- Has been used in the treatment of stress related symptoms.
- Has been used for pain and stiffness (embrocation of oil); headache and giddiness (infusion of fresh lavender as cold compress on forehead and temples).
- Added to bath water for fragrance and to stimulate (also foot bath).
- Calming, antiseptic, healing, soothing, appeasing, energy balance. Used in diffuser, sauna, massage, bath, facials, mask, and body wrap.
Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus)
- Essential oil shows promise for eliminating ringworm. A cream preparation using 2.5% oil shown to be most effective. Used in many fine culinary dishes where a mild flavor of lemon is desired.
Lesser Cat's Foot (Antennaria neglecta) or Plantain Leaved, aka Indian Tobacco, Ladies Tobacco, Life Everlasting, Love's Test, Poor Robin, Rattlesnake Plantain, Scinjachu, Spring Cudweed, Squirrel ear, White Plantain
- Meskwaki tribe members took the tea of the leaves daily for 2 weeks after childbirth
Licorice Plant (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
- Expectorant (expelling phlegm); antispasmodic; anodyne; demulcent; anti-inflammatory; mild cough suppressant; mildly laxative; antiviral properties.
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) a.k.a Indian tobacco
Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)
- Demulcent and expectorant.
- Considered an immune system stimulant.
- Has been used for coughs, inflammations, sore throats, irritations of the mouth and mucous membranes, external and internal ulcers, muscular stiffness, asthma, diarrhea, and cystitis.
- As a poultice for a healing balm for cuts, swellings and light burns.
Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) aka Beifuss (Ger)
- Nerve tonic, emmenagogue, appetite enhancer, diuretic, sweat inducer, stimulate digestion and bile flow, uterine stimulant, abortifacient.
- Has been used for irregular menses, bronchitis, sciatica, colic, palsy, colds, epilepsy, fevers, diabetes, enteritis, and intestinal worms.
- Has been used in therapeutic bath to relieve aches and pains in muscles and joints. (1 oz. each of mugwort, burdock root, comfrey leaf, and sage infused in 1 quart of water and added to bath.)
Mullien Weed (Verbascum thapsus)
- Tea of the flowers helps to relieve pain and induce sleep.
- Tea or fomentation has been used externally for skin conditions and wounds.
- Anodyne, antifungal. Flowers are antiseptic.
Nastartiums (Tropaeolum majus)
- The tea is said to help bring relief from chest congestion.
- Flowers used in the herbal bath and are astringent.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare var. vulgare)
- Used in the herbal bath for aching muscles and joints.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
- Has been used post-childbirth to involute the uterus and also to increase milk flow in nursing mothers.
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
- The tea has been used strictly for medicinal purposes. It should NOT be taken by pregnant women (abortifacient).
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
- Menthol in mint has antispetic properties. Also carminative, antispasmodic, locally antiseptic and mildly anesthetic.
- Has been used for painful periods. A few chamomile flowers have been added to mint tea to settle upset stomach and relieve cramps and pain.
- Narcotic. Used for pain control.
Red Raspberries (Rubus idaeus) a.k.a Garden Raspberry, Wild Raspberry
- Tea combined with cream has been used to relieve nausea and vomiting; said to help with morning sickness.
- Has been used in the last few months of pregnancy to tone and strengthen the pelvic muscle (with professional guidance).
Rose (Rosa canina, R. eglanteria, R. gallica officinale, R. rugosa)
- To refresh, the cold rosehip tea can be diluted and served with fresh peppermint, lemon and ice.
- Rose vinegar used for headaches.
- Rosehip tea with a pinch of cloves and cinnamon and a slice of lemon is considered stimulating and restorative.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and (Rosmarinus prostratus)
- Has some antibacterial properties; contains antioxidants; contains natural camphor.
- An effective muscle relaxant which acts through the sympathetic nervous system (good after a day of outdoor activity).
- Has been used for lack of energy, depression, and as a brain stimulant (reputed aid to memory).
- Has been used as a general tonic and stimulant.
Rue (Ruta graveolens)
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
- Antiseptic, antibacterial, astringent, anti-inflammatory.
- Acts directly through the tissue of the brain and eye to support memory and thinking.
- Estrogenic substances can help alleviate certain female disorders.
- Has been used for problems associated with the female genitals.
- Has been used to settle stomach, reduce sweating, and to diminish milk flow when mother is weaning baby
- Oil used for massage, bath, facial, mask, compress, lotion, and body wraps. Used as a nervous tonic aroma, for low energy, neurasthenia, and vertigo.
Scented Gernanium (Pelargonium spp)
- Has been used as a headache remedy.
- Uplifting: used for anxiety, nervous tension and depression.
Silver King Artesmia (Artemisia annua) aka Sweet Annie
- Anti-malarial use against quinine resistant strains.
- Also used for colds, dysentery, diarrhea, indigestion, flatulence, fevers connected with sunstroke and tuberculosis.
Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) aka Lad's Love
- Infusion of the leaves considered tonic and a mild sedative.
- Contains a disinfecting oil.
- In the herbal bath it is used for fragrance and said to be soothing.
- An infusion of the leaves used for a hair rinse.
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
- Astringent, diuretic, laxative.
- Part of the Essiac formula for cancer treatment.
- Juice is used for removing stains on hands. A strong infusion will remove stains from linen, wicker and silver. (WARNING! will also eat the bottom out of the pot!)
Spearmint (M. spicata)
Same uses as peppermint, but a different flavor which is well-known. In the language of herbs is it "refreshment".
Speedwell (Veronica spicata)
- Has been used mainly as an expectorant and for respiratory problems.
- JUICE = Taken 2 tsp in water or milk 3 times a day as a mild physical stimulant.
Summery Savory (Satureja hortensis)
- Mild antiseptic and astringent. Source of potassium.
- Has been used for occasional diarrhea, minor stomach upsets and mild sore throats.
- Stimulating in the herbal bath.
Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum syn O. bullatum)
- CONTRAINDICATED: NOT when pregnant. NOT when nursing. NOT for prolonged use. NOT for infants or toddlers.
- Warm, aromatic, restorative, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, stimulates the adrenal cortex, digestive aid, stomachic, galactagogue, prevents vomiting, tonic, carminative, febrifuge, expectorant, soothes itching, possible slight sedative action.. Used as a tea, infusion, decoction, gargle, inhalant and the essential oil in a carrier oil for massage.
- 5 to 10 drops of the essential oil has been added to bath water for nervous exhaustion, mental fatigue, melancholy or general uneasiness. Also the essential oil has been diluted in almond oil to use as a massage oil for nervous weakness. Has been combined with leaves of lemon balm and rose petals as an infusion for mild depression.
- Hot tea has been taken to promote onset of delayed menses (1 tbsp fresh herb to 1 cup boiling water, steeped 10 minutes, then strained).
- Has been combined with motherwort (or several cups basil tea alone), an infusion being prepared and drunk immediately after childbirth to prevent retension of the placenta. It was also taken as a tea several days before labor began to assist with childbirth.
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