Magic plants to cure, kill or express love

This is a summary of the video in English with translation of certain words into German. As I’ve recently published a post in German about fruits, plants and spices  and I thought that from the above video about the garden of the Allerheiligen cloister in Schaffhausen/Switzerland we could learn some interesting things in English about flowers and plants.

I, therefore, summarized the content here below. The garden in question seems to be a favourite spot for tourists to have lunch or from where they can admire the church buildings. The visitors can also see many medicinal plants such as the conflower or echinacea (Sonnenhut) to fight infections.

The foxglove (Fingerhut), and the deadly nightshade (Tollkirsche) for example,are  poisonous plants.  After having eaten only three of the latter ones adults start having an increased heartbeat and nausea.

In the museum next to the cloister you can find out more about these and other plants also magical ones such as the MANDRAKE (Alraunwurzel) which is not an invention from the Harry Potter books. There is even a special story  concerning it which goes as follows:

 In the 16th century three crooks  (Gauner)from the Schaffhausen region sold some beetroots (Rande, Beete) claiming they were mandrakes and were consequently executed for their crime.

Other plants were considered magic, like juniper (Wachholder), because they stopped the pest from coming into the homes. It was also thought to be of help in preventing the plague.  The plant was put under the floor.

Since people believed of witches and evil spirits  to bring illnesses into the homes through the chimney they tried to keep them away by burning a small bag of aromatic herbs like thyme in the fireplace. Pharmacists and doctors wear now white coats but in the past they wore dark ones like the monks and probably those wise women who were burnt at the stake for their medicinal herbs knowledge, They knew in fact herbs which could control fertility. They suffered the most during the witch-hunt inquisition. Unfortunately, the knowledge of of herbs was virtually wiped out with them. Fortunately, some survived and the church just changed the names of the popular plants giving them angels’ names . The cloisters had their own medicinal gardens making a very important contribution to their communities’ health. In the museum you also learn the language to express love in the 19th century. It began in the Middle East harems where writing messages was forbidden so people had a very sophisticated code language with flowers and plants  to express love and desire that was imported into Victorian England and spread from there across Europe.


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