Viper’s bugloss – Echium vulgare
This wonderful herb with it’s tall wands of speckled flower-bearing stalks was thought to expel poisons hence the name (echis = viper) and Dioscorides (and many other herbalists down the ages) always said that whosoever consumed viper’s bugloss before they be bitten will not be hurt by any serpent. Wouldn’t try it myself mind, an excellent plant used externally to ease bee or wasp stings, but to be quite honest, your average viper’s venom will just laugh at this herb while it’s creeping into your bloodstream. Trust me on this, nasty poisons are a bit of a specialty of mine!
However, where it really comes into its own is the realm of magic (i.e. the stuff that science hasn’t found an explanation for – yet); it heals a wounded or even broken heart. Let’s hear again from Culpeper – old Nick knew a thing or two and here’s what he had to say on the subject: “The root or seed is thought to be the most effectual to comfort the heart, and expel sadness, or cause less melancholy” and “There is a syrup made hereof, very effectual for the comforting of the heart, and expelling sadness and melancholy”.
In the home:
Rub a bit of the tincture soaked in cotton wool on the skin for bee or wasp stings, or other bitey, hurty things. You know, ants and the like. For those whose hearts are yearning, make a syrup from the seeds or root.