Using the petals of MADONNA LILIES, usually macerated in alcohol, was said to leave no scar (Wiltshire). As far back as the 13th century the lily was prescribed by a monk as a sovereign remedy for burns, for "it is a figure of the Madonna, who also cures burns, that is, the vices or burns of the soul" (Haig). It is said that MARIGOLDS should be used for burns. Not only does it cure, and help to relieve the pain, but it will also prevent the formation of scars. And it is even claimed that it will take away existing scars (Leyel. 1937). BROAD-LEAVED DOCK has been used for all sorts of skin complaints for a very long time. The leaves would be used as a poultice to apply to the spot, and in the Hebrides, the roots were boiled with a little butter and applied on a bandage to the burn (Shaw). Or apply a GREAT PLANTAIN leaf (A W Hatfield), or a CABBAGE leaf, fried, according to belief in County Cavan (Maloney).
A Cornish charm for scalds and burns required nine BRAMBLE leaves, moistened in spring water, and these are applied to the affected part. While this is being done, the following charm has to be recited three times:
There came three angels out of the west.
One brought fire, and two brought frost;
Out fire, in frost;
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
HOUSELEEK, being a protector from fire or lightning, would naturally be taken as a cure for burns. As Gerard put it, "they take away the fire of burning and scaldings ...". The leaves would be put on the burn, like a plaster (Jamieson ; O P Brown), or they could be bruised with cream and laid on (Morris). An ointment prepared from the flowers and leaves of ST JOHN'S WORT, mixed with olive oil is good for burns (Toingue. 1965).
Slices of POTATO could be put on the burn, provided it was a small one. A Sussex treatment for a larger one was to scrape the insides out of a potato, mash it, and put that on (Sargent). At least according to Gerard, burns used to be treated with ONIONS: "the juice taketh away the heat of scalding with water or oile as also burning with fire and gunpowder". "Pollypodden", presumably the fern POLYPODY, is used in Ireland for burns. The procedure is to boil the stems with butter. The green juice sets to a jelly, and this is put on the burn (Maloney). Another fern, HARTSTONGUE, was made into ointment in Scotland for a burn cure (Beith). BURN PLANT (Aloe chinensis) juice is excellent for burns, and so is the juice of its Old World relative, MEDITERRANEAN ALOE (Aloe vera). The Maoris would pulp the bark of RIMU (Dacrydium cupressinum) to apply to burns (Leathart).
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