Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Pliny the Younger mentions the herb in his writings where he says it is used in a decoction to treat irritations of the eye. According to Pliny, fumitory will cause the eyes to water profusely when applied which may be the origin of this use.
Old wives held that the plant grew not from seeds but from the "vapors of the earth," which may or may not be the origin of the plant's alternative name. The flowers and leaves were used in ointments to sooth skin irritations and rashes. A tea of fumitory was given to aid indigestion an cure constipation.
As an incense, the traditional use for fumitory was to drive out evil. The herb was used during exorcisms and added to the pyres upon which agents of the Devil would be immolated. In modern Wicca practice, the herb is still burned to avert the Evil Eye. Scott Cunningham also recommends the herb to increase prosperity; sprinkle dried fumitory around your home and rub it into your shoes once a week to bring quick cash.
Root workers use fumitory for money-drawing as well. The dried herb is added to Fast Luck incense to increase traffic to a business and to Money-Drawing incense to help with home finances. It can be burned alone for either purpose as well or brewed into a tea which is then sprinkled around home or business. Fumitory was also recommended to salesmen of old; placed in the shoes, it was thought to increase sales.
Finally, the seeds produced by the smokey-colored flowers were once added to a sweet syrup such as honey and given to colicky babies to help them sleep. Mothers of such infants were advised to take a spoonful as well to help them through the "sloth", as postpartum depression was once known. Bonne chance ~
Header: The Fat Woman by Aubrey Beardsley c 1894 via Old Paint