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LADY CLIFFORD'S MEDICINAL RECIPES

 

Before you start reading the article below, have a quick look at this website:

 http://www.ugbrooke.co.uk/

 

This website shows the very house that the 18th century Lady Clifford presided over and these recipes are taken from her private recipe book, probably passed on to her by her mother.  Ugbrooke  was  a  far more remote property then  than it is today - no modern roads surrounded it , no paramedics or emergency doctors made house calls in fully-equipped ambulances, there was no chemist's shop for medicines - instead, there was just one titled lady working personally at a task she clearly enjoyed in a small room in this great house, picking up recipes as she went on her social round, passing on knowledge, hints and tips to her daughters and friends, building up between them  all a bridge of confidence in the potions and pills she devised for her children and household.

 

Above all, see what she owed to the newly-formed East  India Company who kept her supplied with rare and hitherto unknown spices from eastern countries. There were probably upwards of a hundred people working in the house and on the estate in the 18th century and it was down to Lady Clifford to see that as many of them as possible stayed in good health so they could continue working.

 

And finally, please do not be tempted to try out any of the following recipes at home!

 

1.  A WATER TO TREAT CONSUMPTION  (Tuberculosis)
 

Burn a peck of snails in a clear charcoal fire till they cease hissing then wipe in a coarse cloth and pound in a mortar. Steep for one night in 4 gallons of strong ale with 2 handfuls each of Rosemary flowers and tops, and Angelica and Celandine stripped and shredded. Add one good handful of Barbary bark, 8 ounces of hartshorn and 2 ounces of cloves. Next morning add 1½ gallons of sack and distill in a  limbeck*

An alembic was a primitive still used by alchemists in the Middle agesAn alembic or "limbeck" from a medieval manuscript.

 

2. TREATMENT FOR A HEADACHE
Mix 2 spoonfuls of Rosemary, Camomile juice, woman's milk and wine vinegar over a chafing dish, then steep it in a piece of dried Rose Cake. When this has absorbed the liquor and is thoroughly hot, strew on 2 grated nutmegs then break the Rose cake in two and bind one half to each temple and so let the party lie down to rest.

 

3. A CURE FOR GIDINESS
Peacock  

Dry and powder some peacock dung and take as much as will lie on a sixpence for 3 following mornings, fasting for 1 hour afterwards. May be taken in any warm thing.

 

4. TO MAKE PILLS FOR CONSTIPATION

Mingle well in a mortar ¼ ounce of finely beaten saffron, ½ ounce of myrrh, 1½ ounces of cloves, add as many Gillyflowers (wallflowers) or syrup of violets as will being it to a paste and put into a pot to dry out. Take them just as you are going to bed, for 3 nights together, the first night one pill, the second, 2 and the third night, three. The second night the pills must be must be something bigger than the first and the next night you must reduce the size of your pills. Have a care you do not take too big a one at first until you see how they will do with you.

 

5. WIND WATER
One spoonful each of wormwood, spearmint and cardamom, ½ red sage, 1 ounce each of caraway seeds, sweet fennel seed and aniseed. Shred the herbs and break the seeds and steep in 3 quarts of sack for 2 days and nights then distil all, putting a little lump of sugar into your receiver. The first glass will be the strongest, to be taken in extremity, the other when a little troubled.

Herbs are better dried where there is no wind or sun before infusing.

 

  6. FOR STINKING BREATH
Boil flowers of Rosemary in white wine and wash your face with it. If you drink of it, it will make your breath sweet.

 

7. A POULTICE FOR A BRUISE
Boil white wine and put in as much wheat bran as will make it thick, and continue boiling 'till it be thick as a hasty pudding. Apply as hot as bearable twice daily, for as long as necessary.

 

8. LADY COURTENAY'S CURE FOR A FISTULA

Pound together a handful each of sage and rue with 400 woodlice. Put into 4 gallons of small ale and drink after 24 hours.

 

                                                         The common woodlouse

Common woodlouse

 

 
 
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