Ploughmans Spikenard

(Inula conyza) A handful of Ploughman's Spikenard burnt each day during summer will keep house-flies out of the house (Hewett). The root has a spicy scent, and used to be hung up in cottages to scent the musty air, and was until recent times burnt on ale-house fires to counteract the often unpleasant atmosphere (Genders. 1971). Or it could be used as a strewing herb. Turner claimed that "either strewed upon the ground, or in a perfume with the smoke of it [Coniza] driveth away serpents and gnats amd kills fleas"(quoted by Fletcher). This practice of burning it to release the aromatic perfume accounts for the name Spikenard (the true Spikenard is Nardostachys jatamansi, well known for its scented roots). The common name of our plant really means poor man's spikenard). Gerard claimed that "the smell thereof provoketh sleep".

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