Alexanders

(Smyrnium olusatrum) A Mediterranean plant, naturalised now in Britain, chiefly near the sea, probably as a relic of old cultivation as a potherb (Grigson). There have been a number of medicinal uses in past times, notably for dropsy, for which Dioscorides recommended it. A 15th century leechdom also prescribed it, and other herbs, "for all manner of dropsies: take sage and betony, crop and root, even portions, and seed of alexanders, and seed of sow thistle, and make them into a powder, of each equally much; and powder half an ounce of spikenard of Spain, put it thereto, and then put all these together in a cake of white dough and put it in a stewpan full of good ale, and stop it well; and give it the sick to drink all day ..." (W M Dawson). Alexanders also used to be prescribed for bladder problems.

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