The Latest

As you may know I receive royalties from a nothing I wrote a while ago. Believe it or not some kind of Great Britain Pound user just royaltied me 91p. To celebrate this occasion and that most merry of islands-- and to tempt my new English reader into tempting at least 9.989 more Great Britain Pound users into buying my book, on account of the publisher won't send me anything less than ten 's, $'s, or 's at a time-- here is the latest update on a flower called by John Gerard, "Clownes Wound-Wort." This is what we know so far of the plant, enumerated in Gerard's 1599 herbal, Gerard's Herball:

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Chap. 158. Of Clownes Wound-Wort, or All-Heale.

The Description.

Lownes all-heale, or the Husbandsmans Wound-wort, hath
long slender square stalkes of the height of two cubits: at the
top of the stalkes grow the floures spike fashion, of a purple colour
mixed with some few spots of white, in form like to little hoods.

The Place.

It groweth in moist medowes by the side of ditches, and likewise
in fertile fields that are somewhat moist, almost every where; espe-
cially in Kent about South-fleet, neer to Gravesend, and likewise in
the medowes by Lambeth neere London.

The Time.

It floureth in August, and bringeth his seed to perfection in the
end of September.

The Names.

That which hath been said in the description shall suffice touching
the names, as well in Latine as English.

The Vertues.

The leaves thereof stamped with Axungia or hogs grease, and
applied unto greene wounds in manner of a pultesse, heale them in
short time, and in such absolute manner, that it is hard for any that
have not had the experience thereof to beleeve: for being in Kent
about a Patient, it chanced that a poore man in mowing of Peason did
cut his leg with a sithe, wherein hee made a wound to the bones, and
withall very large and wide, and also with great effusion of bloud;
the poore man crept unto this herb, which he bruised with his hands,
and tied a great quantitie of it unto the wound with a piece of his
shirt, which presently stanched the bleeding, and ceased the paine,
insomuch as the poore man presently went to his daies work
againe, and so did from day to day, without resting one day untill he
was perfectly whole; which was accomplished in a few daies, by this
herbe stamped with a little hogs grease, and so laid upon it in manner
of a pultesse, which did as it were glew or sodder the lips of the wound
together, and heale it according to the first intention, as wee terme it,
that is, without drawing or bringing the wound to suppuration or
matter; which was fully performed in seven daies, that would have
required forty daies with balsam it selfe. I saw the wound and offered
to heale the same for charity; which he refused, saying that I could
not heale it so well as himselfe: a clownish answer I confesse, without
any thankes for my good will: whereupon I have named it Clownes
Wound-wort, as aforesaid. Since which time my selfe have cured
many grievous wounds, and some mortall, with the same herbe; one
for example done upon a Gentleman of Grayes Inne in Holborne,
Mr. Edmund Cartwright, who was thrust into the lungs, the wound
entering in at the lower part of the Thorax, or the brest-blade, even
through that cartilaginous substance called Mucronata Cartilago in-
somuch that from day to day the frothing and puffing of the lungs
did spew forth of the wound such excrements as it was possessed of,
besides the Gentleman was most dangerously vexed with a double
quotidian fever; whom by Gods permission I perfectly cured in very
short time, and with this Clownes experiment, and some of my fore-
knowne helpes, which were as followeth.

First I framed a slight unguent hereof thus: I tooke foure hand-
fulls of the herbe stamped, and put them into a pan, whereunto I
added foure ounces of Barrowes grease, halfe a pinte of oyle Olive,
wax three ounces, which I boyled unto the consumption of the juyce
(which is knowne when the stuffe doth not bubble at all) then did I
straine it, putting it to the fire againe, adding thereto two ounces of
Turpentine, the which I suffered to boile a little, reserving the same
for my use.

The which I warmed in a sawcer, dipping therein small soft tents,
which I put into the wound, defending the parts adjoyning with a
plaister of Calcitheos, relented with oyle of roses: which manner of
dressing and preserving I used even untill the wound was perfectly
whole: notwithstanding once in a day I gave him two spoonfulls of
this decoction following.

I tooke a quart of good Claret wine, wherein I boyled an handfull
of the leaves of Solidago Saracenica, or Saracens consound, and foure
ounces of honey, whereof I gave him in the morning two Spoonefulls
to drinke in a small draught of wine tempered with a little sugar.

In like manner I cured a Shoo-makers servant in Holborne, who
intended to destroy himself for causes knowne to many now
living: but I deemed it better to cover the fault, than to put the same
in print, which might move such a gracelesse fellow to attempt the
like: his attempt was thus; First, he gave himself a most mortall
wound in the throat, in such sort, that when I gave him a drinke it
came forth at the wound, which likewise did blow out the candle:
another deep and grievous wound in the brest with the said dagger,
and also two others in Abdomine: the which mortall wounds, by Gods
permission, and the vertues of this herbe, I perfectly cured within
twenty daies, for the which the name of God be praised.

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