Stinking Iris

(Iris foetidissima) The leaves, being rubbed, are "of a stinking smell very lothsome" (Gerard), although the same smell accounts for the name Roast Beef Plant, surely not all that loathsome. The root is a painkiller, and a migraine remedy (Conway). One Somerset remedy is for cramp, requiring the patient to take an infusion of the dried root (Tongue. 1965). Another cure involving this plant comes from Warwickshire, and was for, of all diseases, St Vitus's Dance. Again, the part used was the root, boiled in ale (porter, to be specific), strained off, and the liquor drunk (F G Savage). Earlier recommendations were for scrofula (the King's Evil) (Gerard), while Langham had a recipe for freckles - "seethe the root of stinking segs in cowes milke, and use it". It even featured as an ingredient in a poison cure (Dawson).

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