Plants and Herbs

Complete Herbal header image

Bay leaves are a necessary ingredient in so many recipes, and having a bay tree in your garden or hanging a sprig of bay leaves over your door as a way of warding off ghosts and witches is part of common folklore. However, to Culpeper, the bay tree, it’s leaves berries and roots not only ward off evils, but also have many medicinal uses as well. Here is what he says.

Complete Herbal header image

Basil is a much-loved and very often-used herb these days, but clearly Culpeper and his antecedents thought it a herb that was only to be used with caution, if at all.

Drawing of plants from The Complete Herbal

Have you ever wondered why in the UK cabbage was traditionally ‘boiled to death’—as one of the contributors to School Dinner Memories says, they were put on at 9 a.m. to be ready to eat at 1 p.m.—well perhaps Nicholas Culpeper is partly to blame. On the other hand he recommends cabbages and coleworts for use in curing all sorts of ailments and conditions. ‘Colewort’ is the original name for the vegetable from which cabbages and other brassicas were developed and therefore includes varieties of kale and the American ‘collard greens’.