Counterpoisons

When a plant is called "holy" or "blessed", i.e., bears the specific name benedictus, it means it has power of counteracting poisons, or so it was supposed (herba benedicta, AVENS, that is, is best known for this property). HOLY THISTLE (Carduus benedicta) is an another example. Langham could say "the leafe, juice, seede, in water, healeth all kindes of poyson...". Everybody knew it as a heal-all. Langham, indeed, had four pages of recipes under this head, for practically every malady, including the plague. WHITE HOREHOUND is a counter-poison, too, or rather it was thought to be one. There are a number of authorities, though, who were sure of it, the Lacnunga for one - in case a man drink poison: take seed of marrubium; mix with wine. Give to drink (Grattan & Singer), and there were recipes in the 14th century, too (see Henslow).

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