Thymol plant: Common Thyme

Thymus Vulgaris or Thyme, is a plant and a herb native to southern Europe. Although commonly used as a flavouring herb for recipes, Thyme also has medicinal values. The Thymol contained inside this plant makes it a strong disinfectant. It is also recommended as a stimulant and a antipasmodic.

It was traditionally advised that you should sleep with this herb if you are epileptic or if you are experiencing melancholy. 

Medievals used Thyme to symbolise courage. 

It also holds the popular belief that drinking the tea of the leaf will prevent nightmares.

Thymol Plant: Scarlet Bee balm

Also known as Monarda Didyma, Bergamot, Scarlet Monards, Oswega Tea or Crimson Beebalm, is a herb in the Lamiaceae family. It is Native to North America. The name “bee balm” refers to the use of the plant to soothe and heal bee stings.


Beebalm has a long history of medical use. It is a natural source of the antiseptic Thymol and a primary ingredient in mouthwash formulas.

It was also used by Native Americans to treat excessive flatulence, infectious wounds and drank as a tea to treat mouth and throat infections.

Anthurium (Flamingo Flower)

Anthurium is a flowering plant in the Arum (Araceae) family.

It’s names ‘Flamingo flower’ & 'boy flower’ refer to its structure. It is also sometimes referred to as a 'dumbcane’

This plant is native to tropical parts of South America and was first discovered in Columbia in 1876. 

It is now commonly grown as a houseplant as it likes warm and shady conditions for growth. 

The plant has rich evergreen leaves and bright red, soft pink or orange flowers. All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Anthuriums have been used as a torturing devices to prevent people from talking as its toxins swell the tongue.

If the plant’s stem is broken, milky sap will ooze out. This sap contains the toxin calcium oxalate. When these crystals come in contact with your skin it will cause severe  itching and burning. The sap also contains proteolytic enzymes which can cause fatal reactions to some people. 

Ingestion is rare because of the discomfort you get from chewing. General and localised symptoms include blistering, dysphagia and hoarseness. 

Solanum Pseudocapsicum (Jerusalem Cherry)

Solanum Pseudocapsicum; a nightshade species with poisonous fruit commonly known as Jerusalem Cherry or Winter Cherry.

They are grown as decorative houseplants, however, the plant has become a weed in some parts of New Zealand and Australia.

It is originally native to Peru and Ecuador, however they can survive frosts and cold winters.

A Winter Cherry plant can last up to 10 years, producing fruit in its 2nd or 3rd year and every year thereafter. 

The fruits this plant produces look very similar to Cherry tomatoes. They are also similar in taste and texture so are easily confused.

The whole plant is somewhat poisonous but the toxin in the Jerusalem Cherry is primarily Solanocapsine. Ingestion of this can cause severe gastric problems and vomiting.

Ingestion has only been known to be extremely fatal for young children.

Alfalfa; A plant that heals...

Alfalfa, a perennial flowering plant in the pea family, also known as Medicago Sativa, has been used in herbal medicine for over 1,500 years.

Its Italian name ‘erba medica’ means medical herb and, it has been cultivated by humans from as far back as the 4th century with its primary purpose in medicine.

The leaves are used to lower cholesterol and for kidney and urinary tract ailments.

The plant is high in protein, calcium and vitamins.

In traditional Chinese medicine the young leaves were used to treat digestion disorders and it was also believed to be good for people who suffered from arthritis and water retention.

Poisonous Weeds - Agrostemma githago (The Common Corncockle)

Corncockle or Agrostemma githago is a dainty pink or purple flowering plant orginially from the European wheat fields.

It was a very common weed in the 19th Century growing continuously side by side to the Wheat. It is probable that up to the 20th Century most wheat was contaminated with the pitted seeds of a Corncockle.

It is now more commonly an alien species to many countries; its sporadic growth due to imports of wheat worldwide. 

In the UK, intensive and mechanical farming has now made the growth of the weed with crops uncommon. The changes in harvesting seasons and techniques for farming, including herbicides, make Corncockle’s less familiar nowadays. 

Corncockle’s can grow up to 1 metre tall and are covered in tiny hairs. In the summer months the plant produces beautiful pink or purple flowers with delicate black lines on the petals. They can grow in various places such as fields, roadsides, railway lines and waste places.


However they have also been used in folk medicine to treat parasites dispute their toxic attributes.

Symptoms of ingestion include severe stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, weakness and slow breathing.  

Thymol plant: Wild bergamot

Also known as Monarda Fitstulosa, this wild flower is a member of the mint family, Native to most of North America.

It has white/lilac summer-blooming flowers and is used as a honey plant, a medicinal plant and a pretty garden ornament.

Wild bergamots were traditionally used to treat colds and usually made in to a soothing tisane. Even today many families still use this wild flower in a sweetened honey tea during cold and flu season. This herb is also considered to be a natural diaphoretic (causes sweating). Bergamot is also added to soaps because of their naturally antiseptic and cleaning properties. 


Thymol plant: Origanum Compactum

This plant is a strong disinfectant with medicinal properties that help stimulate the immune system. It is used, when mixed, as a general tonic. The essential oils are also used as an incenticide against mosquitos.

Traditional uses include using it to treat bronchial and lung infections, for bacteria and malaria and to help cure cystitis.

 There however is a precaution given when using the oil. You should not apply too much to a large area of your skin and it should always be diluted as the oil is a dermocaustic. 

He takes me by the chin, an almost tender gesture. Slowly he tilts my head back, exposing my throat. Then he seizes the neck of my bodice and tears it in two, with one rough downward pull from neck to waist.
—  The Poison Diaries
Poisonous Weeds - Rumex obtusifolius (Broadleaf Dock)

A Broadleaf Dock is a perennial weed native to Europe, however now can be found in America too. It is most commonly known for its treatment against nettle stings. It can be easily recognised by its large, red stemmed leaves.

The “milk” of a Dock leaf contains tannins & oxalic acid which is an astringent (shrinks and constricts body tissue). It is commonly believed that vigorously rubbing a Dock leaf on a nettle rash will cure the sting. Conveniently Docks are often found growing nearby to nettles. 

Broadleaf docks are considered poisonous. It is listed as an “injurious weed” under the UK Weeds Act 1959 as it causes sickness in livestock. The “milk” from the plant can also cause dermatitis. 

It is a difficult weed to eradicate as they have deep roots reaching up to 5 feet below soil. The seeds of a Dock are easily dispersed too, travelling by wind & water. The seeds toothed wing structures allow them to cling to animals & machinery. 

Thymol plant: Ajwain

Also known as Trachyspermum ammi, Ajowan or Ajamin. This is a plant 

native to India.

It is traditionally used as a digestion aid, however it is also

known to help with other ailments, such as, flu, asthma, coughs, colds, 

colic, diarrhea, cholera, indigestion, edema and rhematism. It is a natural

diuretic, diaphoretic, expectant and antiseptic. 

Many people soak the seeds of a Ajwain in lemon juice over night and eat

them in the morning to rid their blood of eosinophilla. Chewing the seeds

also prevents bad breath. 

The fine spray from where it hits the unforgiving rocks flies up and pricks my skin like needles of ice.
—  The Poison Diaries
They lead me to the bank, until I am close enough to see the river below. The water is fast and steely grey. The fine spray from where it hits the unforgiving rocks flies up and pricks my skin like needles of ice.
—  The Poison Diaries
Thymol plant: Cretan Dittany

Also known as Hop Majoram, Diktamo, Dictamnus Creteus, Winter sweet and Eronda, this herb plant is native to the rocky mountains of Crete.

The Greek name for this plant roughly translates as “love” or “eros” (God of love, desire and fertility). In ancient times the plant was thought to be an aphrodisiac given to newly weds to ignite their passion.

It has been used on the island of crete as a local remedy for years to treat many different things, such as, an aid for stomach ailments, for menstrual cramps, for digestion disorders, for sore throats, coughs, colds and even in child birth…