Pellitoryofspain

(Anacyclus pyrethrum) A medicinal plant, a favourite in the East, and long exported from North Africa and southern Spain to India via Egypt. It was a popular remedy for ague once, but is hardly ever used now (Lloyd). Its chief use in Europe was for toothache relief (Fluckiger & Hanbury). One example from the 15th century in which the plant plays a distinctly subordinate role runs: "for aching of the hollowtooth. Take raven's dung (!) and put it in the hollow teeth and colour it with the juice of pellitory of Spain that the sick recognise it not nor know what it be; and then put it in the tooth and it shall break the tooth and take away the aching, and as some men say, it will make the tooth fall out" (Dawson. 1934). Another from the same collection runs: "For toothache, a fine medicine: take long pepper, pellitory of Spain, nutgalls, lichen, and seethe them in vinegar from a quart to a pint: and put therein a pot of treacle of a pennyworth, and then take dregs of ale in a vial. And then take [it] once a week, and refresh thy gums therewith". There are more recipes in other sources (see Lupton, for example). It was still being prescribed in the middle of the 18th century by Hill: "the root ... is good against the tooth-ache. It is also good to be out into the mouth in palsies ...". Another ailment catered for in the 15th century collection already quoted is migraine, for which sufferers were advised to "take pellitory of Spain, and stone-scar [lichen] and hold long between thy teeth on the sore side.".

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