(Prunus persica) Peach originated from China, and was held in great esteem there. Peach blossom was at one time the popular emblem of a bride, and a sprig of blossom was put over the front door to keep evil spirits away (Waring). Dreaming of peaches was a very favourable omen, a superstition that has found its way into European dream books. It is a sign of contentment, health and pleasure (Gordon. 1985). Peach wood had a special quality in China, for it was said that it has the ability to repel evil spirits (so has willow wood) - they are both symbols of immortality, peach being the Taoist emblem (Tun Li-Ch'en). The Chia, a spirit writing instrument akin to the western planchette, was usually made of one of these two woods, to prevent the instrument being used by the wrong sort of ghost (L B Paton).

In some places, the dropping of the leaves of the peach tree is a bad sign (apart from being a bad sign for the tree, that is), for it was said to forecast a murrain (Dyer. 1889). Pennsylvania Dutch settlers horsewhipped their peach trees before breakfast on Good Friday, in order to encourage them to bear more fruit (M Baker. 1974), just the treatment that walnuts have always received in Britain.

Peach leaves were once recommended for children with worms (Black). "The leaves of the Peach Tree ... being applied plaisterwise unto the navel of young children, they kill the worms, and drive them forth. The same leaves boiled in milke do kill the worms in children very speedily" (Gerard), who also said that the leaves "being dried and cast upon green wounds cure them", something that seems to have been known on the Greek islands, too, for people on Chios recommend the leaves, chopped small, for wounds and bruises (Argenti & Rose). In the southern states of America, they reckon that peach leaves bound round the head will stop a headache (Puckett), and as a poultice they were reckoned to cure rheumatism and neuralgia (Thomas & Thomas). It was even claimed there that a strong tea made from the leaves would cure dandruff and falling hair (H M Hyatt).

One recipe from Alabama sounds very doubtful. It was for morning sickness, and involved cracking a peach stone and extracting the kernel, which had to be beaten and made into a tea to give to the patient (R B Browne). The seeds are used in Chinese medicine, too. They are given for coughs, and as a demulcent for sore throats (R Hyatt), while they are quoted as being described as a "blood invigorator", and are also given for constipation (Geng Junying). Of course, the drug is toxic in large doses. The rest of the medicinal uses are simply charms, or transference superstitions. A Sicilian one for the cure of scrofula was to chew the bark, either on Ascension Eve or St John's Eve. If it dried up and withered, it was a sign that it had taken the disease to itself (Sebillot). Fernie quotes the same belief, except that the disease was goitre, and the peach was eaten. A peach sprout was used in Maryland, put either over the door or on the sill. Passing under or over it would cure the ague (Whitney & Bullock), and there is a charm from Indiana for a chill: the patient had to tie a string to a young peach, walk away, and not look back (Brewster) - this sounds like an incomplete example of a transference charm. In Marseilles, they used to get rid of a fever by sleeping with the back against a peach tree for two or three hours; the peach would gradually go yellow, lose its leaves and die (Sebillot). The same idea is inherent in an Italian way of dealing with warts - the leaves had to be applied to them, and then buried, so that they and the wart would perish at the same time (Fernie). Exactly the same thing is reported from America, or you could cut as many notches in a young peach tree as you had warts. In seven days the wart would go. Some say that three notches have to fill up before the wart will be gone (Thomas & Thomas).

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Constipation Prescription

Constipation Prescription

Did you ever think feeling angry and irritable could be a symptom of constipation? A horrible fullness and pressing sharp pains against the bladders can’t help but affect your mood. Sometimes you just want everyone to leave you alone and sleep to escape the pain. It is virtually impossible to be constipated and keep a sunny disposition. Follow the steps in this guide to alleviate constipation and lead a happier healthy life.

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