History Cookbook: Plague Drink
The finished potion
Field Scabious Leaves
Wild Briar (Dog Rose)
Wild Briar (Dog Rose) Leaves
Leaves ready to be ground to release juices
Leaves after grinding
Leaves placed in basin with grape juice
Grape juice and leaves mixed together
Material over a glass ready to strain mixture
The finished mixture next to some grape juice
This recipe has been included to show how medieval people used herbs and plants for food and health reasons. It is NOT intended for consumption as it would be very bitter in taste.
NB You should NEVER try picking wild flowers or cooking with them unless you are with an adult who is knowlegable about plants. Many species look similar and some lookalikes are very POISONOUS or can cause skin irritation.
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: none
Number of servings: 6 spoonsful
Serving suggestions: This is something that is best only drunk if you are desperately ill with plague and have no other medication available!!
Plague was a constant fear in medieval times and, in the 14th century, killed over a third of the population of England. People had no knowledge of bacteria and tried all kinds of strange remedies. Here is one for a plague drink. Unfortunately many such drinks tasted disgusting and did little to fight such a virulent illness (although some ingredients, such as Dog Rose, are still used in remedies today).
In some recipes the grape juice was substituted for wine or ale or even the sick person's urine - not very, pleasant at all!!
- feverfew (to drive away fever, headaches)
- scabious (to cure scabs and itching)
- mugwort (to protect from plague)
- wild briar Dog Rose (to protect the lungs and gently purge the body through its mild laxative effect)
- mallow (to ease aches and pains)
- yarrow (to purge and heal wounds and drive away sickness and evil)
- sage (to prevent joint pains)
- grape juice
- Pestle & mortar
- Wooden spoon
- Take a few of the leaves of each of plant
- Crush the leaves together with a pestle and mortar until the juices start to be released
- Place in a container, pour over the grape juice and stir
- Strain the mixture through a suitable weave cloth
- Give to the plague victim to drink.
If you tried this recipe and liked it, tell us about it
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