Friday, June 24, 2016

Honeysuckle flowers

At last my honeysuckle flowers have bloomed; late it's true they should have been open a fortnight or so back.

The rather severe cutback they had last summer seems to have caused that. However they are in good bloom and the lack of Bumblebees and Hover flies gives those that do venture a better feed.

The Wild Woodbine, to give it the old country name; is I think the only flower to have celebrated its existence by having a cigarette named after it.

WD & HO Wills of Bedminster Bristol having named one of their cheaper brand (at ten for sixpence) with a picture of it twining itself on the packet.

Always showing two colours, where are your cigarettes now Wild Woodbine?

Culpeper the eminent herbalist had this to say in a rather acrimonious statement.

[Government and virtues.]

Doctor Tradition, that grand introducer of errors, that hater of truth, lover of folly, and the mortal foe to Dr. Reason, hath taught the common people to use the leaves or flowers of this plant in mouth-water, and by long continuance of time, hath so grounded it in the brains of the vulgar, that you cannot beat it out with a beetle. All mouth-waters ought to be cooling find drying, but Honey Suckles are cleansing, consuming and digesting, and therefore fit for inflammations; thus Dr. Reason. Again if you please, we will leave Dr. Reason a while, and come to Dr. Experience, a learned gentleman, and his brother. Take a leaf and chew it in your mouth, and you will quickly find it likelier to cause a sore mouth and throat than to cure it. Well then, if it be not good for this, what is it good for? It is good for something, for God and nature made nothing in vain. It is an herb of Mercury, and appropriated to the lungs; neither is it Crab claims dominion over it; neither is it a foe to the Lion; if the lungs be afflicted by Jupiter, this is your cure. It is fitting a conserve made of the flowers of it were kept in every gentlewoman's house; I know no better cure for an asthma than this: besides, it takes away the evil of the spleen, provokes urine, procures speedy delivery or women in travail, helps cramps, convulsions, and palsies, and whatsoever griefs come of cold or stopping; if you please to make use of it as an ointment, it will clear your skin of morphew, freckles, and sun-burnings, or whatsoever else discolours it, and then the maids will love it. Authors say, The flowers are of more effect than the leaves, and that is true; but they say the seeds are least effectual of all. But Dr. Reason told me, That there was a vital spirit in every seed to beget its like; and Dr. Experience told me, That there was a greater heat in the seed than there was in any other part of the plant: and withal, That heat was the mother of action, and then judge if old Dr Tradition (who may well be honoured for his age, but not for his goodness) hath not so poisoned the world with errors before I was born, that it was never well in its wits since, and there is a great fear it will die mad.

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