Outlander Inspired 18th c. Scottish Plaster For Swellings
Outlander Inspired Apothecary Collection from LBCC
Early 18th century Scottish Receipt For Swellings
- A Plaster For Swellings -
From An Early 18th Century Rural Scottish Herbal Recipe Book Held In A Private Collection In Glasgow
We Think Claire would approve of this recipe! "A Plaster For Swellings"
If someone would have let her peruse their family book of recipes, she would have recognized the benefits of this one!!
When we were asked to come up with products that would or could have been used in the time period of the popular novel, and movie Outlander, we wanted to really give you something unique and true to history and something that could have been made in that region because the recipe already exists. We give you our "Outlander Inspired Apothecary Collection"
This recipe came from a rural Scottish private manuscript dating to the early 18th century. You can read a bit more about it below, but this recipe caught my attention and I had been wanting to get a plaster in the shop for a long time- so this is a great opportunity. Plasters are ancient. "One of the oldest medical manuscripts known to man is a clay tablet that dates back to 2200 BC. This tablet describes, one of the oldest plasters - the “three healing gestures”—washing the wounds, making the plasters, and bandaging the wounds."
Today, a plaster would be known as a "wound dressing" or as a poultice. Historically plasters were mixtures of substances including mud, clay, plants, honey, beer, and herbs. Plasters were applied to wounds to provide protection and to absorb seepage. One of the most common ingredients used in plasters was oil and honey. Our plaster has both Castor Oil and Organic Honey. They provided protection from infection and bacteria and also would have prevented the bandage from sticking to the wound.
So what does this original Scottish recipe do?
A. It is a plaster/ salve / ointment / poultice used to take down any type of swelling. It would also work well on open wounds much like our Hastings Ointment under a bandage. You can also rub a little on the swollen area if you don't want to apply the mixture to a bandage or wrap. Follow the link at the bottom of the description to learn how to properly apply a plaster and learn a bit about the history. But don't worry- it can be easily adapted as a salve or ointment and rubbed into the skin to help with things as well.
Ingredients as used historically:
Castor Oil: The recipe didn't specify which oil to use- so we decided on Castor which probably wasn't easily available there, but Claire would have had access to it. It was used medicinally for constipation in the 18th century. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil make it useful in reducing acne and bacteria. The Ricinoleic acid can help inhibit growth in the bacteria growth. Texture: Castor oil is also rich in other fatty acids. These can enhance smoothness and softness when applied to skin.
Organic Chickweed: is moist and sweet, salty, and softening, cooling, restoring and nourishing. Added to creams it was known historically to help reduce swelling, resolve lumps, clear heat, reduce inflammation and itchiness, soften boils and draw out pus, promotes tissue repair and detoxification.
Organic Chamomile: is a great anti-inflammatory herb. Many times folk remedies talk about using chamomile tea for swollen eyes and such. This is an ancient herb that has been used for centuries.
Organic Goats Rue: Culpepper suggested goat's rue as a soak for tired feet and for cheese making. historically it was also used to aid in treating the plague. It was believed to have been used as a diuretic and tonic in typhoid conditions and also as a nervous system stimulant.
Organic Wormwood: Has historically been used as a anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and it is also used as a flavoring agent. Wormwood has been used for centuries as a poultice for tendon inflammation, and when used properly it has many benefits.
Organic Beeswax - Yum Yum Anti-Bacterial and Anti Microbial
Organic Honey- For centuries honey has been used as an effective remedy for wounds, burns, and ulcers. In recent years there has been renewed interest in the medicinal properties of honey. Claire would have known this!
Organic Spearmint: Some people used spearmint to help alleviate symptoms of nausea, indigestion, gas, headache, toothache, cramps, and sore throat. It is also applied topically, to the skin, to help reduce swelling due to nerve or muscle pain.
Vinegar: Has been used in folk remedies to treat inflammation, sunburns, and sprains. Both white or apple cider vinegar historically have said to help reduce inflammation and swelling. Historically, they say- vinegars work three times as fast as ice does when treating some injuries. An old wives tale talks about diluting the vinegar with water or wine and applying it to the skin for pain and swelling and it will help speed up the healing process. We haven't really tried just plain vinegar but, if you try it let us know. In any case- Claire would have used this to help ease the pains.
Rye Meal: Historically the seed was made into a poultice and applied to tumors.
As always test a patch first, even though most of our ingredients at LBCC Historical Apothecary are always organic, some can still be allergic.
About the original source and our research:
I love searching for rare recipes. So many of them have been lost throughout the centuries. I am so happy to be able to have the opportunity to reproduce this one. It's important historically because not only is it a very very old recipe from the early 18th century in Scotland- but it is one of the examples of how families kept their own recipes and passed them from generation to generation to be recopied and added to ( usually by the women in the family). Books like this are RARE and usually in private collections. Trying to read them is another puzzle because they are all written in code. The plants usually have common "slang" names which were popular during a specific time, town, or region maybe even nicknames specific to that family. So when I obtained this recipe. It wasn't an easy read.. It was written in code and I had to do a lot of research to figure out what plants they were referring to. Also this recipe did not have exact measurements ( as was very common). So the first recipe "Hastings Ointment" took me a year to translate, but now that I understand the writings, I can get through these recipes a lot quicker.