There is nothing more pleasant than watering a collection of herbs in pots on a warm summer's day.
The refreshing aromas rising from their leaves are a heartening restorative, but over many centuries past they were the only source of relief available for a medical condition. ‘The Complete Herbal' by Nicholas Culpeper, 1649, was published in English rather than latin, opening up the herbal tradition to a greater public. For Angelica, that herb so called because of its angelic virtues, he recommends two or three spoonfuls of distilled root “… to easeth all pains and torments cometh of cold and wind”, or as our modern James Wong has in his book, ‘Grow your own Drugs' “… to soothe windy tummies”!
Rosemary, the herb of remembrance, “... helps a weak memory and quickens the senses”, says Culpeper, whereas Wong adds it in sprigs to a summery wine. The oil from the leaves make a refreshing rinse for the hair or temples. Culpeper says of Thyme “… an infusion of the leaves removes headaches” and “… a certain remedy for that troublesome complaint, the nightmare”. We now know that the herb Feverfew is a scientifically proven remedy for migraines (add a few leaves to salad or sandwiches). Thyme is very much a staple for dishes in our kitchen and it can also be used in a salve to ease muscles and rheumatism as well.
Time, in the end, was not so kind to the herbalist apothecary, Nicholas Culpeper of Spitalfields - his bride-to-be was killed in a thunderstorm and, in those tumultuous times, he only survived to his thirty-seventh year. So, here's a toast with Rosemary wine, for all his efforts to help the poor and suffering, through the science of herbs.