hist-brewing: Re: hist-brewing-digest V1 #426

Cindy Renfrow renfrow at skylands.net
Fri Oct 22 07:01:10 PDT 1999

>Oh, and Cindy-- I don't think any of those ingredients are seriously toxic
>unless consumed in quantity. The usual effects of such "poisonous plants" is
>gastric distress, and in the quantities used the effect was probably

Hello!  Unfortunately, some of them can prove fatal even in small doses.
Also, what causes minor gastric distress to one person might kill another,
depending on the sensitivity of the individual, etc.

Plus, older recipes seldom give us exact measurements. They say things like
"take as much as you like" or "take a handful of..." -- well, who's
handful? Even Digby felt compelled to state "The handfuls of Herbs, are
natural large handfuls (as much as you can take up in your hand) not
Apothecaries handfuls, which are much less" (Digby, # 38).

In addition to a lack of exact measurement, the herbs themselves vary in
potency depending on growing conditions,age, etc., so that one batch of
herbs may be significantly stronger in effect than another.

>Plus, if this is something they were drinking every day, they
>were sure to build up resistance to the toxins.

Actually, the toxic effect of some of these herbs is cumulative.

>Now what's this with yarrow?
>I use dried yarrow on occasion... is there something I should know?

You're a boy, dear, don't be concerned too much about yarrow. It is an


I think so, but many people (including some doctors) don't agree with me.
Also, there's the category of women who are trying to get pregnant &
failing -- how many of them are drinking herbal teas with ingredients that
are causing uterine contractions?

> Oh, I love your website.



Cindy Renfrow
cindy at thousandeggs.com
Author & Publisher of "Take a Thousand Eggs or More, A Collection of 15th
Century Recipes" and "A Sip Through Time, A Collection of Old Brewing
http://www.thousandeggs.com -- please come visit my new web site!

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