Having finished scanning Joe Ruddy's negatives to JPG photographs I had decided to take them back to Jane on Tuesday. I changed my mind though and having to get another loaf set off for Jane's with Joe's photo work in a bag to leave for her together with a DVD disc.
I noticed on my way in, a strange - to me - little plant growing; just a scatter of perhaps 5 or six. I hadn't noticed them last year so when I was getting back to the car I very quickly pulled up one to take back and photograph. It was Vervain, Verbena officionalis,
The tiny flowers only about 4-5mm in size ran up though a spike of buds.
I must keep my eyes open to see if I can later on get pictures of the seed growth.
Leaves had a rather ragged appearance so I took only a couple of shots of them.
The flowers on closer examination were very pretty white centred turning to a rather delicate shade of pinky-red at the petal tips.
Of this plant Culpeper says:---
Government and Virtues]
This is an herb of Venus, and excellent for the womb to strengthen and remedy all the cold griefs of it as Plantain doth the hot. Vervain is hot and dry, opening obstructions, cleansing and healing. It helps the yellow jaundice, the dropsy and the gout; it kills and expels worms in the belly, and causes a good colour in the face and body, strengthens as well as corrects the diseases of the stomach, liver, and spleen; helps the cough, wheezings, and shortness of breath, and all the detects of the reins and bladder, expelling the gravel and stone. It is held to be good against the biting of serpents, and other venomous beasts, against the plague, and both tertian and quartan agues. It consolidates and heals also all wounds, both inward and outward, stays bleedings, and used with some honey, heals all old ulcers and fistulas in the legs or other parts of the body; as also those ulcers that happen in the mouth; or used with hog's grease, it helps the swellings and pains in the secret parts in man or woman, also for the piles or haemorrhoids; applied with some oil of roses and vinegar unto the forehead and temples, it eases the inveterate pains and ache of the head, and is good for those that are frantic. The leaves bruised, or the juice of them mixed with some vinegar, doth wonderfully cleanse the skin, and takes away morphew, freckles, fistulas, and other such like inflammations and deformities of the skin in any parts of the body. The distilled water of the herb when it is in full strength, dropped into the eyes, cleanses them from films, clouds, or mists, that darken the sight, and wonderfully strengthens the optic nerves. The said water is very powerful in all the diseases aforesaid, either inward or outward, whether they be old corroding sores, or green wounds. The dried root, and peeled, is known to be excellently good against all scrophulous and scorbutic habits of body, by being tied to the pit of the stomach, by a piece of white ribband round the neck.
So there you have it . If you suffer from "Wheezings", "Morphew" or are "Frantic" according to Culpeper here is your cure. As he also says that it is a help against the bitings of serpents though I reckon a lot of the cures were in the minds of the patients rather than in fact.