Witch's Book of Simples, The
An Introduction to the Simple Arte of Domestic Folk Medicine
Keep it Simple
A Simple is a philtre derived from a single herb and was an important element among the natural resources of the parish-pump witch, wise-women and cunning-folk. Simples are common kitchen ‘stuff’ that have been handed down through generations of country people in the form of family cures for everyday ailments. Or as William Fernie wrote in his Herbal Simples (1897) The art of Simpling is as old with us as our British hills. It aims at curing common ailments with simple remedies culled from the soil, or got from home resources near at hand.
These were no fancy recipes with magical formulae, and, often given as a tisane, the woman of the household was able to use the remedies to treat common ailments suffered by her family. And, this elementary form of domestic plant medicine can be as simple as a cup of chamomile tea made from flowers picked fresh from our own garden to aid sleep. This was the most elementary way to use medicinal plants since no fancy recipes or scientific acumen was needed. But this element of traditional witchcraft has long been in the shadows …
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“Since the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, and of viral pandemics, more and more people have been turning to the natural world for answers, and in particular to herbs. In her new book, Melusine Draco shows how using a single herb in a “Simple” can be used to treat a variety of ailments, including the ubiquitous virus. She takes you through each step of the process from preparing to grow herbs, to planting and caring for them, through harvesting and using them. Each recipe contains a single herb along with other ingredients that can be used to treat whatever ails you. This is the most basic form of herbal medicine and has its roots back into prehistory. It is the art of the healer in its most simple way, traditionally practiced by the village midwives, traditional witches, the cunning folk, the pellars, and of course, the apothecaries. The Witch’s Book of Simples book is a fantastic resource, full of a wealth of herbal knowledge garnered over hundreds of years. This book is highly recommended to anyone starting out on their journey into herbs. ~ Tish Romanov, The Old Apothecary