Sunday, May 17, 2015

Privet Lingustrum vilgare

Today we rarely think anything about  Privet except as hedges or border use. Probably popular because it is an evergreen and makes a good barrier when thickset. There is no doubt that Hawthorn or Blackthorn make a more redoubtable hedge but their bleak appearance in winter offsets the advantage of the formidable thorns that back up the greenery in the spring and summer. Yet when we examine Privet flowers as macro images we can find a certain beauty in them.

The dark green of the leaf shows the flower to advantage. Maybe because the flowers are rather more scattered that the thorny plants we don't notice them so much.


Culpeper remarks that even in his day it was going out of use as a medicinal plant. Although it seems that in earlier times it had many uses as a herbal treatment.
In his  Complete Herbal his remarks are relatively short.

Government and virtues
The Moon is lady of this. It is little used in physic with us in these times, more than in lotions, to wash sores and sore mouths, and to cool inflammations, and dry up fluxes. Yet Matthiolus saith, it serves all the uses for which Cypress, or the East Privet, is appointed by Dioscorides and Galen. He further saith, That the oil that is made of the flowers of Privet infused therein, and set in the Sun, is singularly good for the inflammations of wounds, and for the headache, coming of a hot cause. There is a sweet water also distilled from the flowers, that is good for all those diseases that need cooling and drying, and therefore helps all fluxes of the belly or stomach, bloody-fluxes, and women's courses, being either drank or applied; as all those that void blood at the mouth, or any other place, and for distillations of rheum in the eyes, especially if it be used with them.

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