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Blackwell's Herbal - Garden Cucumber and White Lily, Plates 4 and 11

Virtual books: images only - Garden Cucumber and White Lily, Plates 4 and 11
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Cucumber seed was used for 'the stone, strangury [painful urination], heat of urine, burning fevers, and plurisies'. Dioscorides, who wrote the first herbal in the first century AD, claims that 'the fruit clears decayed spirits'. He also recommends the leaves, 'boiled with wine and mixed with honey as a cure for the bite of a dog'.

Blackwell lists among the uses of the white lily: dissolving hard tumours and swellings; and breaking abscesses. The medicinal substance is an oil made from the flowers and roots. Blackwell notes that one herbalist, Matthiolus, recommends 'the oil, made of the flowers, as good for all pains of the joints and contracted nerves'.

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