Thursday, 30 June 2005
Veronica officinalis: heath/common speedwell
Among Welsh peasantry great virtues are attributed to the speedwell. Formerly employed in … diseases of the skin and in the treatment of wounds. Modern herbalists still consider (it) is a simple and effective remedy in skin diseases. (Modern Herbal Mrs. Grieve, ed. Mrs Leyel)
Genus veronica may have been dedicated to the saint of that name who is said to have wiped Christ’s face on his way to the cross. But others say from 2 Greek words meaning I bring victory. This is an allusion to the plant’s supposed ability to cure a long list of ailments, from coughs to tuberculosis to wounds and leprosy. Name ‘speedwell’ may also refer to curative powers. Also name could be rooted in Irish version speed-you-well, sprays of plants pinned to clothing of traveller to protect from accidents.
The little speedwell plant was known for centuries as something any traveller would tuck in his socks - and leaves in his boots, before a journey, as it was known to ease tired feet. Another name for it is Traveller's Joy. But speedwell doesn't do much for bunions and the aches of walking .. what it has got is stamens which look like a pair of boots and stockings on walking legs ... (seem more like pixie boots or a ballerinas legs to me.. ) ... the Doctrine of Signatures, and our belief did the rest.