Medicinal Herbs: Heartsease

Such a lovely name and such a lovely plant. It is the wild (uncultivated) pansy otherwise known as Cuddle Me, Loving Idol or Kiss-her-in-the-buttery. When I was alive I used to like being kissed somewhere else, but then I had to spoon in the orchard, we didn't have a buttery in my house. To be honest I'm not even sure what a buttery is, but those were some of the many traditional country names for this useful medicinal plant. In olden times it was used in love potions and Shakespeare used it for a love charm in Midsummer Night's Dream, with special relevance as Midummer is now only days away. An infusion of Heartsease was also used medicinally in olden times to treat asthma, epilepsy and diseases of the heart. Gerard used it for inflammation of the lungs and chest and says it is "goode against scabs and itchiness of the whole body and healeth ulcers". It was formerly in the official US Pharmacopea where it was recommended externally to treat eczema and other skin complaints, and internally for bronchitis. Heartsease is still used by herbalists today to treat skin complaints partially through a gentle blood-cleansing action. An infusion (tea) of heartsease leaves and flowers makes a useful wash for itchy skin, or drinking the tea can help in the treatment of cystitis, difficulty passing urine and rheumatism due to its diuretic action.

HeartseaseMedicinal herbs