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The Physician's Herbal

Bear's Breech 
Acanthus mollis

A doctor's patients might come from all walks of life; on one day, there might be a professional boxer, his eyes bloated and blackened in contests; on another, a shopkeeper's wife complaining of a stubborn ankle ulcer caused by her varicose veins. He would be prepared to cure them with a range of concoctions made up from herbs bought in the local marketplace. An extract of hyssop in some honeyed wine might work well against bronchitis; leaves of bear's breech soaked in vinegar might ease the pain of an unexpected scald; flower heads of vervain in some ultra-sweet raisin wine might calm a housewife's nerves; and so on. Whatever the disease or injury, wine time and again played its part, either as an antibacterial or an antiseptic.