snuffs (Genders. 1972). But there is one old usage that is still current, that of using the dried flowers in shampoos for fair hair (it is the double variety (C nobile pl ) that is commercially grown). Or camomile water can be made at home. Simply steep the dried flowers in boiling water and strain off when cool (Hawke). On the Greek island of Chios, camomile is used to dye the hair a light chestnut colour, almost gold (Argenti & Rose).

It is, though, in the field of medicine that camomile was, and is, used so much, a use that goes back to the beginning of records (Lloyd). The Egyptians held it sacred, and the Romans believed it cured snakebite. One of the medical maxims from the Book of Iago ab Dewi was "if a snake should crawl into a man's mouth, the patient was to take camomile powder in wine" (Berdoe).

Camomile tea is a virtual panacea, used for a remarkable number of often unrelated ailments. It is a great standby for an upset stomach (Hawke), or as a laxative (V G Hatfield. 1994). Gypsies in Britain use it for flatulence (Vesey-Fitzgerald), and it is very popular in France (Clair), but even more so in Italy (Thomson. 1976). On Chios, it is drunk "for the good of the stomach", which is more or less what Gerard said : it is good "against coldnesse in the stomack, soure Belchings, voideth winde, and mightily bringeth downe the monethly courses", this last being interesting in view of the German belief that camomile tea is good for women in labour (Thonger). It is listed as a bitter stomachic and tonic (Fluckiger & Hanbury), and as such is recorded in Hampshire as good for "clearing the blood" (Hampshire FWI), by which a spring tonic is probably meant. And it is also recommended for neuralgia and migraine (Schauenberg & Paris), as well as for a simpler kind of headache (Newman & Wilson), and for insomnia as well (Brownlow), even for a cold. It can, too, be used as a lotion for external use, to treat ulcers, wounds, etc.,

Even the dew shaken from the flowers was used (in Wales) for consumption (Trevelyan), and the real juice from the plant had its uses, too, for sore eyes, to take one example. It had to be gathered before dawn, and the gatherer had to say why he was taking it; "let him next take the ooze, and smear the eyes therewith" (Cockayne). The root is another part used as a toothache cure in Ireland. The instructions are simple -just put a piece on the aching tooth (Vickery. 1995). Ointments made from the plant were quite widely used, too. An example from Skye shows that camomile and fresh butter made into an ointment was used for, of all things, a stitch! (Martin). There is a 14th century example of the ointment being used for cramp (Henslow).

Camomile poultices, made with flowers or leaves, were often used, also. The flowers were used in

Orkney, particularly to prevent a boil coming to a head, in other words to allay inflammation and swelling (Leask). That poultice was used in Scotland for gumboils (Gibson. 1959). "Warty eruptions" were dealt with by using bunches of camomile, according to an old leechdom (Cockayne), and the flowers were used in an old treatment for deafness, the recipe telling the patient to "take camomile and seethe it in a pot, and put it in the ear that is deaf, and wash the ear; and so do for four days or five, and he shall be whole" (Dawson. 1934). Something similar used to be the custom in Wiltshire domestic medicine for earache. People made a flannel bag, and filled it with camomile heads. This was warmed by the fire and held against the ear (Wiltshire). One of the most engaging of all these prescriptions was the way Wiltshire mothers were advised to deal with fractious children - the flowers, picked when the sun was on them, dried in the sun and kept in a close stoppered jar for use when needed. A draught containing ten heads, over which a pint of barley water was poured, and sweetened by a large tablespoonful of honey, was the dose given, hot at night, cold during the day (Wiltshire).

Campanula glomerata > CLUSTERED BELL-FLOWER

Campanula medium > CANTERBURY BELL

Campanula rapunculus > RAMPION BELL-FLOWER

Campanula rotundifolia > HAREBELL

Campanula trachelium > NETTLE-LEAVED BELL-FLOWER

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