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Monday, June 18, 2012

A What Doctor?

A plague doctor!
Nancy taking photos!
Italian:  medico della peste
Dutch:  pestmeester
German:  Pestarzt

Good morning, All!  Well, StarDragonfly Herb Company opened Friday, June 15, 2012 and now, maybe, just maybe, I can relax a little and life will get back to some semblance of "normal!"   Naaaay, welcome to my crazy life!

We had an awesome store party Friday evening!  The new store was packed with family, friends and potential customers!  We were entertained by Caleb, who came dressed as a "plague" doctor and Karl, as a bee keeper.  I think all present learned a lot about the plague and bees.

Nancy and Karl of Falster Farms provided homemade ice cream....Strawberry Basil and Chocolate Chip Mint and fresh brewed Chicory coffee.

For snacks we had Chocolate Chip Mint cookies and Herb filled Cheese Roll-ups...the herbs all came for the StarDragonfly gardens.

Plague Doctors

"In medieval times the large loss of people due to the bubonic plague in a town created an economic disaster.  Community plague doctors were quite valuable and were given special privileges.  For example, a normally well guarded procedure of autopsies was freely allowed by plague doctors to allow research for a cure of the plague during the Middle Ages.

"A plague doctor was a special medical physician who saw those who had the plague.  They were specifically hired by towns that had many plague victims in times of plague epidemics.  Since the city was playing their salary they treated everyone, the rich
Plague Doctor

and the poor.  They were not normally professionally trained experienced physicians or surgeons, and often were second-rate doctors not able to otherwise run a successful medical business or young physicians trying to establish themselves.

Some plague doctors wore a special costume, although graphic sources show that plague doctors wore a variety of garments.  The protective suit consisted of a heavy fabric overcoat that was waxed, a mask of glassed eye openings and a cone shaped like beak to hold scented substances.

Some of the scented materials were amber, balm-mint leaves, camphor, cloves, laudanum, myrrh, rose petals, and storax.  This was thought to protect the doctor from miasmatic bad air.  A wooden cane pointer was used to help examine the patient without touching.
Tincture of Opium


"Paracelsus (1493-1541) born in Salzburg, Austria, a 16th-century Swiss-German alchemist, discovered that the alkaloids in opium are far more soluble in alcohol that water.  Having experimented with various opium concoctions, Paracelsus came across a specific tincture of opium that was of considerable use in reducing pain.

Paracelsus' laudanum was strikingly different from the standard laudanum of the 17th century and beyond.  His preparation contained opium, crushed pearls, musk, amber and other substances.  One researcher has documented that "Laudanum, as listed in the London Pharmacoepoeia (1618), was a pill made from opium, saffron, ambergris, musk and nutmeg."

A potent narcotic by virtue of its high morphine concentration, laudanum was historically used to treat a variety of ailments, but its principal use was as an analgesic and cough suppressant.  Until the early 20th century, laudanum was sold without a prescription and was a constituent of many patent medicines.  Today, laudanum is strictly regulated and controlled throughout most of the world."  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudanum

Sweetgum Tree pod
American Sweetgum

"Storax is the resinous exudate of the tree Liquidambar orientalis (commonly called oriental sweetgum or Turkish sweetgum), occasionally used in incense or as an aromatic fixative in perfumery."  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storax

Well, Paracelsus would have definitely used the oriental or Turkish sweetgum in his laudanum, I though you just might be interested in knowing that our good ole southern sweetgum tree is in the same family!  And is a East Texas native.

"Sweetgum is chewed in the treatment of sore throats, coughs, asthma, cystitis, dysentery, etc.  Externally it is applied to sores, wounds, piles, ringworm, scabies etc.  The resin is an ingredient of "Friar's Balsam" a commericial preparation based on Styrax benzoin that is used to treat colds and skin problems.  The mildly astringent inner bark is used in the treatment of diarrhea and childhood cholera."  http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net.


StarDragonfly Herb Company
Winnsboro, Texas
Ready to Party!
Gosh, who would have thought that the Sweetgum tree was such a medicinal plant!

Well, enough for today.  Stop by the new store and I will put on a pot of herbal tea!  Hope you have a great week!  Herbally, Susan

Every day is a new beginning.  Treat it that way.  Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be.
Marsha Petrie Sue


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