Monday, September 16, 2013

Saxon herbs

an article about saxon herbal medicine, linked for later reading

What is interesting is that although this book was written during the mid Anglo-Saxon period when Christianity was well established, it is clear that many beliefs from the earlier pagan religions were still held as well as the new faith. This is shown by these examples of illness caused by dark-elves whom the Saxons believed attacked people during the night or by relations with the devil.
For elf sickness, a leechdom…one must sing over the plants before one takes them and one must place them under an altar.
Make  a salve for the elvish race and nightgoers and the people with whom the devil has intercourse.
Some interesting methods of treatment
For palsy, if the mouth be crooked or deficient, take coriander, crush it into a woman’s milk and put it in the healthy ear. Here they seem to be talking about what we today call Bell’s Palsy which causes paralysis and dropping of the side of the face. Not sure what putting milk in the other ear would do.

The Tolkien professor has a course on Fantasy literature, starting with the Middle Age stories of people being kidnapped by elves, and points out that if a person

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