Tag Archives: Benjamin Franklin

“The garden is the poor man’s apothecary.” ~German Proverb–Beth Trissel


herb garden“A man may esteem himself happy when that which is his food is also his medicine.” -Henry David Thoreau. 

“All that man needs for health and healing has been provided by God in nature, the challenge of science is to find it.” ~ Paracelsus (Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim) (1493-1541)

“What can kill , can cure.”

“Yesterday I had peas and pot herbs, today pot herbs and peas; tomorrow I shall eat peas with my pot herbs and the day after pot herbs with my peas.” ~Benedictine Monk, 1053.

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates (460-377 B.C.)

herbal arrangementGarlic is as good as ten mothers.”
~Traditional European Saying

“Eat leeks in oile and ramsines in May,

And all the year after physicians may play.” (Ramsines were old-fashioned broad-leafed leeks.)

“The leaves and floures of Borrage put into wine  make men and women glad and merry, driving away all sadnesse, dulnesse, and melancholy, as Dioscorides and Pliny affirme.  Syrrup made of the floures of Borrage comforteth the heart, purgeth melancholy, and quieteth the phrenticke or lunaticke person.”
~John Gerard, The Herball, or General Historie of Plantes. 1597

herb garden with parsley“The revival interest in herbal medicine is a worldwide phenomenon.”
~Mark Blumenthal, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council

“Oh, the powers of nature! She knows what we need, and the doctors know nothing.” ~Benvenuto Cellini

“Botany and medicine came down the ages hand in hand until the seventeenth century; then both arts became scientific, their ways parted, and no new herbals were compiled.  The botanical books ignored the medicinal properties of plants and the medical books contained no plant lore.” ~Hilda Leyel   

“Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men.” ~Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard’s Almanac

“Time is an herb that cures all Diseases.”
~Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790,  Poor Richard’s Almanac 

“Eat an apple going to bed , make the doctor beg his bread.”

“What is Paradise? But a Garden, an Orchard of Trees and Herbs, full of pleasure, and nothing there but delights.” ~William Lawson, 1618.

“With the growing recognition of the value of herbs, it is surely time to examine the professional therapeutic use of these herbs. There are profound changes happening in the American culture and herbal medicine, ‘green medicine,’ is playing an ever-increasing role in people’s experience of this transformation.”   
~David Hoffman, past President of the American Herbalist Guild

“The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven.
I can scarcely expect bread.” ~Thomas Jefferson

“I borage, give courage.”

“He would live for aye, must eat sage in May.”

“Gardening with herbs, which is becoming increasingly popular, is indulged in by those who like subtlety in their plants in preference to brilliance.”~Helen Morgenthau Fox 

“Herbs…Perfume the Air Most Delightfully.” ~Frances Bacon


English country garden and gate with flowers“My gardens sweet, enclosed with walles strong, embarked with benches to sytt and take my rest. The Knotts so enknotted, it cannot be exprest. With arbours and alys so pleasant and so dulce, the pestylant ayers with flavours to repulse.”

~Thomas Cavendish, 1532.

“Good morrow, good Yarrow, good morrow to thee. Send me this night my true love to see, The clothes that he’ll wear, the colour of his hair. And if he’ll wed me.” ~Danaher, 1756

lavenderfield-300x199“Lavender is for lovers true, Which evermore be faine; Desiring always for to have Some pleasure for their paine: And when that they obtained have The love that they require, Then have they all their perfect joie, And quenched is the fire.” ~Lavender and Turner (Herbal, 1545)

“There’s rosemary and rue. These keep
Seeming and savor all the winter long.
Grace and remembrance be to you.”
William Shakespeare

Thyme Creeping RedI know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight.
Midsummer Night’s Dream

When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
Love’s Labours Lost

lavender 3“ladies fair, I bring to you
lavender with spikes of blue;
sweeter plant was never found
growing on our English ground.”

~Caryl Battersby

“And lavender, whose spikes of azure bloom
shall be, ere-while, in arid bundles bound
to lurk admist the labours of her loom,
and crown her kerchiefs witl mickle rare perfume.”

~William Shenstone The School Mistress 1742

“Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men.”
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard’s Almanac

herb garden with chair“Those herbs which perfume the air most delightfully, not passed by as the rest, but, being trodden upon and crushed, are three; that is, burnet, wild thyme and watermints.  Therefore, you are to set whole alleys of them, to have the pleasure when you walk or tread.”
-  Frances Bacon

“How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers?”
-  Andrew Marvel

Herbal Lore and the Wonder of Age-Old Plants–Beth Trissel


“Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men.”
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard’s Almanac
Simple wayside flowers, even weeds, have a far greater heritage than most people realize. We modern folk cannot begin to grasp the enormous part that herbs, any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring food, creating medicine, or scents, played in every aspect of life in times past; the not so distant past. There were no Walmarts or drugstores to run to for health and beauty aids, no cures to be had at every corner. Well, maybe every corner if you were in the town market with vendors hawking their wares. I shudder to think what they put into some of that stuff. And physicians favored purges and blood-letting. Happy days, but back to the wonders of herbs. Remedies for everything from colds to the bubonic plague were brewed, made into tinctures, salves, the early form of pills…whatever means thought best for conveying the desired concoction into or onto the body.
A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve, (not all that modern) first published in 1931 and my favorite herbal, allots six pages to dandelions alone. The yellow flowers of this much maligned weed, so loved by children, supply rich nectar for the bees and wine for man. The tender spring leaves are vitamin rich and eaten fresh, or dried for digestive drinks and herbal beer. The roots are roasted for dandelion coffee, said to be indistinguishable from real coffee, though I suspect I would detect the difference. The entire plant is esteemed as a tonic, especially good for the liver and kidneys. This just scratches the surface of the wonders of dandelion, the root of which I’ve noted included in my super antioxidant green tea blend from Yogi, as is burdock, a marvel in its own right. Burdock leaves and seeds are infused to treat many skin disorders, including eczema, and are taken as a remedy for nervous hysteria. An interesting combination and certainly useful.
Lovesick? Pansies, also known as heartsease, were highly valued for their potency in love-charms and played an important part in Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance…and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.” ~ William Shakespeare
***Royalty free images

“Herbs…Perfume the Air Most Delightfully”~


“My gardens sweet, enclosed with walles strong, embarked with benches to sytt and take my rest. The Knotts so enknotted, it cannot be exprest. With arbours and alys so pleasant and so dulce, the pestylant ayers with flavours to repulse.”

~Thomas Cavendish, 1532.

“Good morrow, good Yarrow, good morrow to thee. Send me this night my true love to see, The clothes that he’ll wear, the colour of his hair. And if he’ll wed me.” ~Danaher, 1756

“Lavender is for lovers true, Which evermore be faine; Desiring always for to have Some pleasure for their paine: And when that they obtained have The love that they require, Then have they all their perfect joie, And quenched is the fire.” ~Lavender and Turner (Herbal, 1545)

“There’s rosemary and rue. These keep
Seeming and savor all the winter long.
Grace and remembrance be to you.”
- William Shakespeare

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
Love’s Labours Lost

“ladies fair, I bring to you
lavender with spikes of blue;
sweeter plant was never found
growing on our English ground.”

~Caryl Battersby

“And lavender, whose spikes of azure bloom
shall be, ere-while, in arid bundles bound
to lurk admist the labours of her loom,
and crown her kerchiefs witl mickle rare perfume.” ~William Shenstone The School Mistress 1742

“Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men.”
- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard’s Almanac

“Those herbs which perfume the air most delightfully, not passed by as the rest, but, being trodden upon and crushed, are three; that is, burnet, wild thyme and watermints.  Therefore, you are to set whole alleys of them, to have the pleasure when you walk or tread.”
-  Frances Bacon

“How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers?”
-  Andrew Marvel

*Royalty free images

Who Are All These Enemies of the King?


“Passion Governs and She Never Governs Wisely”~

That quote by Benjamin Franklin gives a powerful feel for the turbulent atmosphere that swept the country during the American Revolution.  I spent years researching and writing historical romance novel, ENEMY OF THE KING, an exciting journey back to the drama and romance of that time period, with a focus on the Southern face of the war. Think Carolina backcountry and Francis Marion, ‘the Swamp Fox.’
Blurb: 1780, South Carolina: While Loyalist Meriwether Steele recovers from illness in the stately home of her beloved guardian, Jeremiah Jordan, she senses the haunting presence of his late wife.  When she learns that Jeremiah is a Patriot spy and shoots Captain Vaughan, the British officer sent to arrest him, she is caught up on a wild ride into Carolina back country, pursued both by the impassioned captain and the vindictive ghost. Will she remain loyal to her king and Tory twin brother or risk a traitor’s death fighting for Jeremiah? If Captain Vaughan snatches her away, he won’t give her a choice.”~

ENEMY OF THE KING currently has 13 Five Star reviews at Amazon, and nothing less.  I don’t have any control over what readers leave there so this strikes me as significant, but it also means not enough people are reading it.  Every story has its critics.  Come out, come out, wherever you are.  But first, you have to read the book.  If you’d like to take the challenge and see if ENEMY OF THE KING lives up to its reputation, I welcome your thoughts.  Leave it a review.

ENEMY OF THE KING received a five cup review from Coffee Time Romance, earned Five Books and won book of the week at Long and Short Reviews, received a super review and a You Gotta Read rating from You Gotta Read, came in third at the 2009 Publisher’s Weekly BHB Reader’s Choice Best Books, and made the Best Romance Novel list at Buzzle.

1780 South Carolina, spies and intrigue, a vindictive ghost, the battle of Kings Mountain, Patriots and Tories, pounding adventure, pulsing romance…ENEMY OF THE KING

“An amazing and vibrant look into the American Revolutionary War…this sexy historical book is a must read!” ~Danielle Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More

“What Can Kill, Can Cure.”~


Intermingled with the lovely, poetic quotes are the simple Old herbal sayings. I enjoy both and hope you will take pleasure in this sampling.

What can kill , can cure.

The intense perfumes of the wild herbs as we trod them underfoot made us feel almost drunk.  ~Jacqueline du Pre

More in the garden grows , than the witch knows.

Sell your coat and buy betony.

Thine eyes are springs in whose serene And silent waters heaven is seen. Their lashes are the herbs that look On their young figures in the brook. ~William C. Bryant

No ear hath heard no tongue can tell, The vitue of the pimpernel

Treoil , vervain , st. John’s wort dill
Hinder Witches of all their will .

“The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden aromatic herbs, with fields of lavender, and with the brightest roses blushing in tufts all over the meadows…” ~William Cullen Bryant

“Here’s flowers for you; Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun, And with him rises weeping…”~William Shakespeare, 1611.

Where Rosemary grows , the missus is master .


Be silent as the sacred oak!~

Sow fennel , Sow sorrow .

And because the Breath of Flowers is farre Sweeter in the Aire (where it comes and Gose, like the Warbling of Musick) than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for delight, than to know what be the Flowers and the Plants that doe best perfume the Aire. ~ Francis Bacon, 1625.

Only the wicked grow parsley.

Plant your sage and rue together,
The sage will grow in any weather .

Snakes will not go  Where geraniums grow.

My gardens sweet, enclosed with walles strong, embarked with benches to sytt and take my rest. The Knotts so enknotted, it cannot be exprest. With arbours and alys so pleasant and so dulce, the pestylant ayers with flavours to repulse. ~Thomas Cavendish, 1532.

Where the yarrow grows , there is one who knows .

If ye would herbal magic make
Be sure the spell in rhyme be spake

Woe to the lad  without a rowan tree-god.

When daisies pied and violets blue, and lady-smocks all silver white. And Cuckoo-buds of yellow hue, do paint the meadows with delight. ~William Shakespeare, 1595.

Rowan tree and red-thread
Put the witches to their speed

Eat an apple going to bed , make the doctor beg his bread .

The fair maid who , the first of May
Goes to the fields at break of day
And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree ,
Will ever after handsome be .

What is Paradise? But a Garden, an Orchard of Trees and Herbs, full of pleasure, and nothing there but delights. ~William Lawson, 1618.

Flowers out of season , sorrow without reason .

He would live for aye , must eat sage in May .

One to rot , one to grow
One for the pigeon and one for the crow .

Women with child that eat quinces will bear wise children. ~Dodoens, 1578.

St. John’s wort and cyclamen in your bed-chambers keep ,
From evil spells and witcheries , To guard you in your sleep .

I borage , give courage .

“Good morrow, good Yarrow, good morrow to thee. Send me this night my true love to see, The clothes that he’ll wear, the colour of his hair. And if he’ll wed me…” ~Danaher, 1756.

No mistletoe , no luck .

Faerie-Folks , Are in old oaks .

“There’s fennel for you, and columbines; there’s rue for you; and here’s some for me; we may call it herb of grace o’Sundays.”
William Shakespeare, ‘Hamlet’

“Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men.”
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard’s Almanac

Colonial American Romance Novel Enemy of the King


“I cannot but lament . . . the impending Calamities Britain and her Colonies are about to suffer, from great Imprudencies on both Sides — Passion governs, and she never governs wisely — Anxiety begins to disturb my Rest . . . Benjamin Franklin — Feb. 5, 1775

ENEMY OF THE KING

The year is 1780, one of the bloodiest of the American Revolution. The entire Southern garrison has been captured and Lord Cornwallis is marching his forces deep into South Carolina. ‘Bloody Ban’ Lieutenant Major Banestre Tarleton and his infamous Legion are sweeping through the countryside. Revenge is the order of the day on both sides and rugged bands of militia are all that stand between crown forces and utter defeat.

1780, South Carolina: While Loyalist Meriwether Steele recovers from illness in the stately home of her beloved guardian, Jeremiah Jordan, she senses the haunting presence of his late wife. When she learns that Jeremiah is a Patriot spy and shoots Captain Vaughan, the British officer sent to arrest him, she is caught up on a wild ride into Carolina back country, pursued both by the impassioned captain and the vindictive ghost. Will she remain loyal to her king and Tory twin brother or risk a traitor’s death fighting for Jeremiah? If Captain Vaughan snatches her away, he won’t give her a choice.

Excerpt from Enemy of the King:

Chapter 1

August 1780, Low Country, South Carolina

Dreadful screeching, like the cries of an enraged cat, tore through the muggy night and into Meriwether’s chamber.

She sat bolt upright in bed. “Demented owl,” she muttered and pushed back the short lengths of hair clinging to her forehead. Her shift was also damp from tossing. An indefinable restlessness drove her as a ship before the wind.

The clock downstairs struck two.

Meriwether stiffened at the echo of hooves on the cobblestones in the yard beneath her window. What business could anyone possibly have to conduct at this unearthly hour?

Perhaps it was a courier, and perhaps he’d come before. Images of phantom horses from past nights cantered through her mind. She had thought them dreams sprung from fever, but she was much better now and wide awake.

The sound of hooves stopped and the horse snorted.

She parted the muslin curtain around her canopied bed and slid her feet to the carpet. A great golden moon bathed the room in a pearly sheen.  She crept to the partly open glass—gasping as the screech owl flew at her from the live oak outside the window. Round yellow eyes stared into hers for a split second before the bird veered off into the darkness.

Meriwether breathed in sharply. The sweetness of jasmine wafted from the trellised vine as she peered down through moss-draped branches. The milky light streamed over two men standing in the yard, their heads bent in conversation.

One man in a dark coat and black tricorn held the reins of a bay horse. Neither he nor his mount was familiar, but she knew the other gentleman well.  Several inches taller than the stranger, he was simply dressed in a white shirt tucked into breeches that molded to his long legs and met his riding boots. Shadows hid his face and the chestnut hair pulled back at his neck, but there was no mistaking Jeremiah Jordan, master of Pleasant Grove and Meriwether’s guardian these past few months. Elegance cloaked him like a mantle.

Her heart quickened at the sight of Jeremiah, rarer and rarer these days. What wouldn’t she give to have him all to herself for even one single hour?

That seemed as impossible as an end to this confounded war.

Chest fluttering, she knelt at the window to better overhear their low voices. “Men are gathering,” floated up to her from the stranger.

Her stomach knotted in tight twists. Was this nocturnal visit prearranged? Worse—had Jeremiah joined the Patriots? Her Loyalist sympathies recoiled at the awful possibility.  He’d never voiced any open fervor for the rebel cause. The neighbors thought him still too distraught over his wife Rachel’s death to take an active role in the war, but doubts gnawed at Meriwether. She had seen the flash of anger in Jeremiah’s blue eyes whenever British Lieutenant Major Tarleton’s name was mentioned. Perhaps it was just the effect Bloody Ban had on any decent person, but Meriwether suspected far more lay beneath Jeremiah’s outward reserve than he’d ever revealed.

Lacy white clouds feathered the moon as she leaned out the window for a better look at the two men. Jeremiah glanced around the yard then passed what looked like a leather pouch into the stranger’s hand. She glimpsed a flap in the center and a shoulder strap like the pouch that couriers used.

“The usual place,” reached her straining ears.

Jeremiah lifted his head and stared up at Meriwether’s chamber. She sprang to her feet stumbling back. What would he say if he knew she spied on him?

Her thoughts flew like quail flushed from cover. Were his frequent absences from home truly plantation business or far more dangerous errands?

With Charles Town fallen to the British and the entire Southern Garrison captured, South Carolina was rapidly becoming a crown stronghold. If Jeremiah were mixed up in this rebellion, he courted disaster.

Remaining in her chamber wouldn’t answer any questions. If she slipped down the back stairs and edged closer to the yard, she might learn more. Eavesdropping on the man who’d graciously taken her in after her father’s death smacked of disloyalty, but how else was she to discover the truth?

She hesitated only for an instant. She wasn’t Captain Steele’s daughter for nothing. Mettle accompanied the name.

Arms outstretched, she felt her way in the darkness around the clothes press and washstand and then opened the door and tiptoed from her room out into the hall. The eerie sensation of unseen eyes sent prickles down her spine as she stole along the dim corridor. Perhaps it was the portraits of Jeremiah’s ancestors watching from the walls or perhaps even someone else, someone gone, yet not gone. She’d had this uncanny feeling before. It made her want to run outside, away from this disturbing presence.

Meriwether sped past the room where Jeremiah’s elderly aunt, Miss Anna, slept—stubbing her bare foot on the low table crouched in the blackness like a jungle cat. “Ouch!” she cried softly and rubbed her throbbing toe, expecting footfalls on the steps.

No one came. Miss Anna could slumber through howling wolves. One clumsy young woman would not disturb her. Wishing she’d worn her shoes, Meriwether limped to the landing. Moonlight pouring through the recessed window at the top of the stairs lit the glassy gaze of the eight point buck mounted above her.

She froze, her eyes riveted on the deer’s head. A snake—perhaps venomous—wound around the antlers. Meriwether was no coward, but she’d rather face a Legion dragoon with a bayonet than this serpent. It must have slithered in through the open window.

Strangling a cry, she bolted past the writhing mass and down the steps. Never mind that the boards creaked beneath her feet. She hit the ground floor at a run and flung open the door. She flew outside, nearly forgetting why she’d come in her haste. Breathing hard, she halted in the archway.

Calm yourself, she admonished, and quietly closed the door behind her.

Flattened against it, she ran her eyes over the yard. Both men were conspicuous only by their absence. Not surprising. She’d unwittingly given them warning. They might have ducked into the stable or carriage house, or melted away into the night, spiriting the horse with them.

Locusts droned and crickets chirped as she poised in the entryway. Horses nickered from the pasture. Nothing more.

What now? She couldn’t go back inside with that snake dangling there and had nowhere else to go except the kitchen, a short distance from the manor house. Keith Daws, Jeremiah’s right hand man, and his family slept inside its stone walls. Jeremiah and Keith Daws had been friends ever since she remembered, rare between an Englishman and a Negro.

Meriwether didn’t want to risk waking any of the Daws. Keith’s oldest son, York, was a light sleeper and would be more than a little curious to discover her wandering shoeless in her nightdress. Better to remain as she was than to try and find her way to the front of the house in the dark.

She sank down in the doorway, knees drawn up, feet tucked under the linen hem. No serpent was sliding across her bare toes. It was childish, perhaps, but couldn’t be helped. She buried her head in her arms. What a farce she’d made of spying.

“Ah, Papa,” she whispered, imagining his hearty chuckle and badly wishing he were still alive. He’d been her compass. She couldn’t find her way without him and her twin brother, Bobby, off fighting for the crown.

“Are you staying the night out here, Miss Steele?”

Meriwether jerked up her head, her heart in her throat. Jeremiah stood at the base of the brick steps that led up to her perch. “Mister Jordan! You move like a ghost.”

“You rather resemble one in that shift, dear heart.”

Moonbeams silvered his well-muscled figure in the full-sleeved shirt and thigh hugging breeches. She drank in every glorious inch. The magical light hinted at his penetrating eyes and aristocratic, almost haughty nose softened by his sensuous mouth. It could be a hard mouth when he was angry, which wasn’t often and never with her; at least, not yet.

*****

For more on my work please visit www.bethtrissel.com

Enemy of the King is available in digital download and print from many online booksellers including: The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes&Noble