Wood Sage

(Teucrium scorodonia) Inhaling an infusion of Wood Sage (if Wood Sage was actually meant) was a Yorkshire remedy for quinsy (Hartley & Ingilby), and it is still used for the complaint in homeopathic medicine. People in the Dursley district of Gloucestershire used to pick the leaves in spring, and dry them, for a tea against rheumatism (Grigson. 1955). The tops, according to Hill. 1754 "drank for a continuance, is excellent against rheumatic pains". It is used in Ireland for colic (Moloney), and also for colds and even consumption (O Súilleabháin). New Forest gypsies combined Wood Sage and Ground Ivy in a tea for treating colds (Boase), and that tea was taken there to cure swellings, and also for biliousness (Hampshire FWI).

The older herbalists used it for several more illnesses - "for him that cannot hold his water", for example (W M Dawson), and from the previous century, there was a remedy "Ad purgandum pectus", with rue and wood sage together (Henslow). Wesley recommended it for something he called "palsy of the mouth", while Gerard prescribed it "against burstings, dry beatings, and wounds", etc, and it has even been used to cure St Vitus' Dance (Vickery. 1995). Wood Sage is, or was, called Gulseck-girse in Orkney (Leask), implying that it was used for jaundice there, for the complaint used to be known as gulsa in the far north.

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