Apothecary 1: Arum Maculatum, or; Lords and Ladies

In this series of posts, I hope to provide a beginners introduction to plants, herbs, resins etc, where they are likely to be found, and their application. All these items are taken directly from my own personal book of shadows. 

The Lords and Ladies stand around 6" high. There is no real visible flower to the plant, as it is covered and surrounded by a hood like spathe. Later on in the year, the spathe and flowers give way to a small, glossy red berry. 

Though the berries look appetising, their juice is highly poisonous, with a single drop being enough to cause burning in the mouth and throat. An entire berry, if ingested causes an intense burning in the mouth and throat as before, which is followed by weakness, projectile vomiting and diarrhoea. This eventually leads to convulsions and death.  

The root however, if boiled for several hours can be used as both a treatment for ringworm. Failing to boil it for a sufficiently long amount of time will cause the skin to blister. In EXTREMELY dilute quantities, it can be used as a remedy for a sore throat.

Lords and ladies historically were thought to be an aphrodisiac, and the root was sometimes used to starch tudor era ruffs, despite the blistering it caused. A well baked stem of the plant is highly nutritious and harmless, though you had better make sure it really is well baked.  

Note: it’s is not advisable in any circumstance to try to make any sort of remedy or herbal infusion from the Lords and Ladies plant. The plant is a dangerous toxin, and potentially fatal. I do not recommend using this plant for any form of herbalism, save for incense, and/or ritual work. I take no responsibility what so ever for harmful side effects that may occur- YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.