Hildegard's Healing Plants: From Her Medieval Classic Physica

Hildegard's Healing Plants: From Her Medieval Classic Physica

by Hildegard Von Bingen
     
 

Medieval saint, mystic, healer, and visionary-Hildegard von Bingen has made a comeback. She is now popular in natural healing circles, in medieval and women's studies, and among those interested in investing the everyday with the spiritual.

Hildegard's Healing Plants is a gift version and new translation of the 'Plant' section of Physica, Hildegard's classic work

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Overview

Medieval saint, mystic, healer, and visionary-Hildegard von Bingen has made a comeback. She is now popular in natural healing circles, in medieval and women's studies, and among those interested in investing the everyday with the spiritual.

Hildegard's Healing Plants is a gift version and new translation of the 'Plant' section of Physica, Hildegard's classic work on health and healing. Hildegard comments on 230 plants and grains-most of which are still grown in home gardens and sold at local health food stores. In one of many entries on women's health, Hildegard writes, 'Also if a pregnant woman labors much in childbirth, let someone cook pleasant herbs, such as fennel and assurum, in water with fear and great moderation, squeeze out the water, and place them while they are warm around her thighs and back, tied gently with a piece of cloth, so that her pain and her closed womb is opened more pleasantly and easily.'

Whether read for the sheer enjoyment of Hildegard's earthy, intelligent voice ("Let a man who has an overabundance of lust in his loins cook wild lettuce in water and pour it over himself in a sauna") or for her encyclopedic and often still relevant understanding of natural health, Hildegard's Healing Plants is a treasure for gardeners, natural healing enthusiasts, and Hildegard fans everywhere.

Hildegard's Healing Plants includes 230 plants and grains-most of which are still grown in home gardens and sold at local health food stores.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A fun, historical read about many of the medicinal plants that are so popular today. —Herbs for Health, Editor's Pick

"Holds great relevance for today's students of natural healing and plant lore. . . . An interesting and worthwhile addition to the herbal shelf." —NAPRA Review

Library Journal
An excellent book for students of folklore, especially from medieval times, when Von Bingen wrote. She will be considered for canonization this year by the Catholic Church, which may bring more interest in her writings.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807021095
Publisher:
Beacon Press
Publication date:
06/28/2001
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
642,808
Product dimensions:
5.51(w) x 8.48(h) x 0.55(d)

Read an Excerpt




Chapter One


HILDECARD VON BINGEN

I. Wheat


Wheat [triticum] is warm and full of kernels so that there is nothing lacking in it. And when good flour is made from wheat, then the bread made from the same flour is good for both the healthy and the sick; it provides for good flesh and good blood in humans. But whoever separates the chaff, which is like grist, from the marrow and makes flour from it and then in turn makes bread, that bread is weaker and more lacking than if the bread had been made from good flour. For the chaff that has been separated from the marrow wastes so much of the wheat's strength, and it produces more weakness in humans and thus lowers them down more than does bread made from good wheat flour. However, whoever bakes with wheat without the whole grains and without it being ground with a millstone bakes as if it were with another food. Such wheat can hardly be digested. This provides neither good flesh nor good blood in people but rather much weakness. As a result, this person is not strong and has every infirmity, although a healthy person will be able to overcome having eaten this. But nevertheless, if a person has an empty mind and is thus worn down into madness from this and is therefore restrained, let the person take whole grains of wheat and cook them in water; then remove the whole grains washed in the water, place the warm grains around the head and tie a piece of cloth around the head. And that person's mind will thus be replenished by that juice and will receive strength and sanity. Do this continuously until the person is returned to his or her right mind. Also, whoever suffers back pain of pain in the loin, cook the grains of wheat in water and then place the cooked grains on that place where there is pain, and the warmth of the wheat will rid the strength of that person from the disease.

    If, however, a dog bites a person, let them make a paste of the same flour prepared with egg white and put it on the dog bite for three days and as many nights so that it may draw out the poison. The bite of a dog is more poisonous than that of other animals because of its breadth. Afterward, remove the paste and crush yarrow with egg white and put it on the same bite for two of three days. Afterward, remove it and then heal it with salves just as some other wound would be treated.


II. Rye


Rye [siligo] is warm, but nevertheless colder than wheat. And it has many strengths. However, bread made from it is good for healthy people and makes them strong. And for those who have fat bodies, it is good for them since it makes their bodies diminish while nevertheless making them strong. But or those who have a cold stomach and who have many infirmities from this, it is more contrary since it does not have the strength to overcome their weakness for digestion. It therefore produces more illness in them because they are not able to digest it with strength.

    However, let a person who has lumps in the body, of whatever origin they may be, having baked rye bread in a fire or having taken it warm from the oven and broken off a piece, place it on the lumps. The warmth of its strengths consumes those lumps and makes them disappear. And let the person continue to do this until they disappear. And if a person has a scab on his of her head, let them reduce the crust of wheat bread into crumbs. And let the person sprinkle the crumbs there because it will remove this malady. After three days, let the person rub olive oil on the same place because it is warm and heals it. Let the person continue to do this until it is healed. And if crabs, tiny slimy larvae, eat the flesh, let a warm


Excerpted from HILDEGARD'S Healing Plants by Saint Hildegard. Copyright © 2001 by Beacon Press. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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