Renaissance Herb Spotlight: Basil

Basil – Ocymum basidium (from Gerard’s Herball, 1597)

basil  gerards herball

Gerard claimed that basil juice, “drunke in wine of Chios or strong Sacke,” cures headaches. Mixed with barley meal, rose oil, and vinegar, basil juice was also used as an anti-inflammatory and as an antidote for snakebites. According to Gerard, “the seed drunke is a remedy for melancholy people; for those that are short-winded, and them that can hardly make water.”


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