Apparently, THORN-APPLE can be used in the treatment of the disease (Scarborough). Herbalists also prescribe DEADLY NIGHTSHADE as a form of treatment (Schauenberg & Paris).
Paronychia sp > WHITLOW-WORT PARSLEY
(Petroselinum crispum) Old gardeners always planted some parsley, either for use, or as an aid to other cultivation, for it was said that if it were planted all round the onion bed, it would keep the onion fly away (Rohde). It was grown among roses, too, both to improve their scent and to help repel greenfly, and tomatoes and asparagus are helped by its presence, which also encourages bees into the garden, so they say (Boland & Boland). Another tip is that it keeps insects and flies out of a kitchen if it is grown on a window sill (Boland. 1977).
Parsley is a symbol of festivity (Leyel. 1937), though quite why is not very clear. The Greeks used it as a symbol of great strength, and crowned the winners of the Isthmian Games with chaplets made from it (Hemphill). They made wreaths of parsley to put on tombs, for it was said to have sprung from blood, that of the hero Archemorus, the forerunner of death. It was also used in cemeteries dedicated to Persephone (Sanecki). It is still used in modern Greece as an ingredient of funeral food (Edwards). It is strange that such a useful plant should have this association, but it lasted until quite modern times. Cf the proverb 'Welsh parsley is a good physic'. By 'Welsh parsley' was meant the gallows rope (Young). It is, in fact, a very unlucky plan, not to be transplanted. If it were, bad luck would follow, or even death, to yourself or your relations, within the year (Farrer). One correspondent of Notes and queries in 1853 quoted a saying he had collected: "Where parsley's grown in the garden, there'll be a death before the year's out". He must have got it slightly wrong - "grown" must mean "transplanted". Twenty years later, in the same publication, it was confirmed that it was "most unlucky to transplant parsley" (except on Good Friday, though -see below). Ruth Tongue mentioned a Lancashire man who used to pay any passing tramp to plant his parsley for him (Tongue. 1967). This belief was carried to America: the Pennsylvania Germans say that someone in your family will die if you transplant parsley into pots (Dorson), and African-Americans in the southern states think so, too (Puckett), while the Kentucky belief is succinct - "plant parsley, plant sorrow" (Thomas & Thomas). Maryland belief is that you should never take parsley with you if you move house; get it from someone else (Whitney & Bullock). Of course, all this means that you should grow parsley from seed, and never move it about, but conventional sowing of the seed is frowned upon in parts of America. If you have to, blow it from a Bible, or from a gatepost (Whitney & Bullock). Country people still give it away only very reluctantly, though anyone wanting some can safely help themselves; it is bad luck to receive it, too, according to Maryland belief. In Canada, the taboo was extended to forbidding thanking the owner (Baker. 1974). The source of these beliefs (apart from the Greek myth) is probably a medieval idea that you could condemn your enemy to sudden death if you pronounced his name while in the act of pulling up a root of parsley (Palaiseul). It seems, too, that the Greek expression that translates as "to be in need of parsley" meant that a patient was in extremis (Baker. 1972). There is another medieval magical use, for Reginald Scot recorded a recipe for a witch ointment that consisted of aconite, boiled with leaves of poplar and parsley, and mixed into an ointment with soot and fat. The monkshood is the important element. It is a poison, and it is said that a fifteenth of a grain of alkaloid from the root is lethal. Rubbed on, the ointment would produce a tingling sensation, followed by numbness on the part of the body on which it had been applied, and thence to light-headedness and visions. But would parsley have more than a symbolic effect in such a mixture? There is no suspicion of a poisonous quality about it (except to birds, apparently (A W Hatfield) ), and most animals relish it. It has even been claimed that if parsley is thrown into a fishpond, it will heal sick fish, but that is an ancient belief, quoted by Thomas Hill from classical sources.
There are many other parsley superstitions, a good many of them connected with conception and childbirth, summed up in the saying "Sow parsley, sow babies" (Waring). If a young woman sows parsley seed, she will have a baby, so it used to be said in Lincolnshire (Rudkin) among other areas. In some parts of Wiltshire it was thought safest if only the mistress of the house, i.e., a married woman, should sow it (Wiltshire), though in Guernsey folklore it is the man who should wear parsley under the arm, though both should drink large quantities of parsley tea (Garis). There is negative confirmation from Essex - if parsley will not grow in your garden you will never have children (Chisendale-Marsh). The Pennsylvania Germans had a similar belief, though not quite so pointed. If you sow parsley and it comes up it means an addition to the family; if it does not sprout, you can expect a death (Fogel). The parsley bed, as well as the gooseberry bush, were once "the euphemistic breeding grounds of babies" (Gordon. 1977), or at least girl babies will be found there (Baker. 1977). Obviously, then, there was a connection with conception, but Cambridgeshire girls would eat it three times a day to get an abortion (Baker. 1980). It is actually quite a widespread belief that eating lots of parsley acts as an abortifacient (Waring). French mothers used an application of parsley to stop their milk (Loux). Some ambivalence is shown in the Cotswolds, where some consider it a fertility plant, and some sterilising, or at least contraceptive (Briggs. 1974). Perhaps the reason lies in the well-known idea that where parsley thrives, the missus is master, put into rhyme as:
Where the mistress is the master
That happens to be from Gwent (Wherry), but similar sayings are very widespread. The sight of it must have had an inhibiting effect on men, and so mothers with daughters did not like to see parsley flourishing, as it was apt to condemn the girls to spinsterhood (Rohde). The belief undoubtedly accounts for the Berkshire saying, "never pick parsley when you are in love; it will kill the love". On the other hand, parsley wine is an aphrodisiac, or so they used to say in Gloucestershire (Baker. 1977).
Thomas Hill interpreted various classical sources as postulating a male and female parsley, the latter with "crispeder" leaves, the male with blacker leaves and shorter roots. Eating parsley would have deleterious effects on the like sex ("... the Female eaten, doth procure the woman barren, as the Male the men"). So it would be wise for pregnant women not to eat parsley, advice given also to epileptics of both sexes. Perhaps this is the basis of parsley's power of predicting the sex of an unborn child, a belief at least as old as Galen, who advised putting a piece of parsley on a woman's head, without her knowledge. If after that the first person she spoke to was a male, it meant she would have a son (T R Forbes). To make sure the coming child would be a boy, Fenmen used to keep an eye on the parsley in the garden, and see that it did not grow too thick or too tall. If it did, it showed the wife was "master" of the house, and would bear a girl (Porter. 1969).
Observation of parsley's germination time has given a number of superstitions. Its seed is one of the longest to live in the ground before starting to come up. Further, the devil is implicated - it goes to the devil nine times before it comes up (Northcote) (or some say seven (Clair) ). So it takes an honest man to grow parsley (or only a wicked one, depending on the point of view). It only comes up partially because the devil takes his tithe of it (M E S Wright); in fact, they say in Wiltshire that you must sow four times the amount you need (Wiltshire). To offset this you can pour boiling water over freshly sown seed to deter the devil (Baker. 1974), or better still, sow it on Good Friday, when plants are temporarily free of the devil's power (Baker. 1980), or do it at the very least on a holy day, which Somerset people say (Tongue. 1965), giving themselves a little leeway. In Ireland, naturally, they say it should be sown on St Patrick's Day, which in most years would not be far removed from Good Friday. It may even be safe to move parsley on Good Friday (Baker. 1974), and parsley sown then bears a heavier crop than that sown on any other day; or some say in Sussex it will come up curly (Simpson), or double, in Suffolk (Bardswell). Better still, according to Wiltshire wisdom, when there is a rising moon on Good Friday (Wiltshire). All this is explained in Somerset by saying that it had to be sown on a holy day or the fairies would get it (Tongue. 1965), while in Essex people reckoned there were extra benefits that would accrue if you sowed it on Good Friday - it would ensure luck and happiness in the coming year (Rohde).
The Pennsylvania Germans say that the way to make parsley grow is to piss in the hole in which you are going to plant it (Fogel). In any case, and this is from the Cotswolds, it will always grow better if sown with curses, and better for a bad man than a good one (Briggs. 1974), an obvious reference to the devil's influence. There seems no end to sowing advice where parsley is concerned. From America, more particularly from Maryland, comes the advice that parsley seed should never be hand sown, but rather blown from a Bible or a gatepost onto the seed bed. In Texas it is scattered on the kitchen floor and tossed casually on to the garden with the dust. That, they say, is the only way to make it grow (Baker. 1977). A gardening adage from Normandy tells that to sow parsley in the shade is to run the risk of reaping hemlock (W B Johnson), and an interesting ecological superstition is the Fenland belief that it should be sown in drills running due north and south; they get the right direction by sowing at night and using the Pole Star (Porter. 1969). Having got it to grow, it becomes a valuable commodity, if we are to believe the dictum never to take a house with an established garden in which parsley is not growing, or you will never see the year out (Boland. 1977).
Other odd beliefs concerning the herb include one from 16th century France that even touching parsley, let alone eating too much of it, would be harmful to the sight (Sebillot), and another French superstition is that it would shatter any glass with which it came into contact. In Poitou it was said that a woman only had to touch a spray for this power to be transmitted to her (Sebillot) (temporarily, presumably).
Eating parsley seed helps to avoid drunkenness, so it is claimed (Page. 1978; Camp), and another piece of country wisdom tells that eating parsley will take away any garlic smell and taste (Browne). That is probably true, for parsley has been described as a "good natural deodorant" (Page. 1978). There is, or was, a limited medicinal demand for parsley seed, and a few acres were raised in Suffolk each year for the distillation of an essential oil, with apiol as its main constituent. It is the apiol that is used for kidney complaints (Clair), either in the form of this oil, or as parsley tablets that herbalists sell. The seed is also useful in the treatment of malaria (Hatfield), and they also "., open, provoke urine, dissolve the stone, break and wast away winde, are good for such as have the dropsie, draw down the menses, bring away the birth, and after birth ."(Gerard) (Berkshire wise women used to prescribe plenty of parsley to recuperate quickly after childbirth). But Gerard's recommendation of parsley seed to "draw down the menses" is still apparently current (Opie & Tatem). In fact, herbalists issue a warning that large doses must be avoided by pregnant women (Fluck), and it was certainly taken as an abortifacient in the Fen country (Porter. 1958).
Parsley-root tea is still prescribed for kidney complaints (Rohde, and in America, Hyatt). It is reckoned in Russian folk medicine to be a powerful diuretic (Kourennoff), while gypsies certainly recognised its value. They used the leaves for treating kidney and liver trouble, and for dropsy and jaundice (Vesey-Fitzgerald). Parsley tea used to be a rheumatism remedy (Rohde). Even chewing the leaves is still thought of as a means of warding off rheumatism (Camp). Actually, parsley for rheumatism is a very ancient medicine; there is a leechdom in the Anglo-Saxon version of Apuleius "for sore of sinews." (Cockayne). Chapped hands were cured in the Fens by rubbing on a salve made from finely-chopped parsley mixed with the fat of a roasted hen (Porter. 1969). It seems, too, that parsley was used for snakebite in the past (Cockayne). Indeed, it once enjoyed the reputation of being able to destroy poison, probably, as one suggestion has it (C P Johnson), because it can overcome strong smells. The crushed leaves make an antiseptic dressing for insect bites, scratches and bruises, or boils (V G Hatfield). It was even recommended for baldness as far back as Pliny's time (Bazin), repeated a long time afterwards as "powder your head with powdered parsley seed three nights every year, and the hair will never fall off" (Leyel. 1926). Actually, it really does make a good lotion for getting rid of dandruff, and would help to stave off baldness (Hatfield).
Parsley had its veterinary uses, too, for country people used to feed it in large amounts to sheep to cure foot rot (Drury. 1985), and a way of quieting a vicious horse, according to old Irish horse-dealers, was to give it as much parsley as it could be persuaded to eat (Logan).
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The first trimester is very important for the mother and the baby. For most women it is common to find out about their pregnancy after they have missed their menstrual cycle. Since, not all women note their menstrual cycle and dates of intercourse, it may cause slight confusion about the exact date of conception. That is why most women find out that they are pregnant only after one month of pregnancy.