Water Betony

(Scrophularia auriculata) This is a stinking herb, "sympathetically clapped on to stinking sores and ulcers", as Grigson put it. The leaves could be applied to cuts, and are used in the Fen country to treat chapped hands and feet, sore heels, and the like (Marshall). One important usage relies heavily on the very name of the genus: Scrophularia, which means the swelling of the neck glands we know as scrofula, once known in England as the King's Evil, for the touch of the anointed monarch was taken as the only cure for the condition. Rose-noble is a name given to this and its close relative, Figwort. It was the name of an old English gold coin, with a figure of a rose on it. It must surely have had the king's head on it, for the name occurs in connection with the King's Evil. There is an Irish remedy for scrofula with a concoction of burdock roots, common dock, bogbean and rose-noble, boiled in water, of which the patient was required to drink three times a day (Wilde. 1890). Another Irish usage, from County Tipperary, was for the leaves to be boiled in water to make a "tonic drink" (Barbour).

Gerard reported that "if the face be washed with juyce thereof, it taketh away the rednesse and deformity of it". Culpeper also reported it, and capped the description by informing his readers that "it is an excellent remedy for sick hogs".

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