Pulmonaria officinalis; Our Lady’s Milk Drops, Mary Spilt the Milk, Jerusalem Cowslip, soldiers and sailors, Joseph and Mary, spotted dog
(Note: Pulmonaria comes from the Latin ‘pulmo’, meaning lung, and officinalis means it was officially prescribed as medicine.)
Historically Used to Treat: Used to treat various lung problems: coughs, wheezes, asthma, shortness of breath. It was used (along with Wormwood) to attempt to cure the 1348-50 Black Plague. Also used in topical ointments for wounds, boils, and ulcers, and in reproductive health.
We now know that the leaves contain silicic acid, which helps restore elasticity to the lungs
Other Uses: Was boiled in beer and used to treat respiratory problems in horses; often included as a seasoning herb in medieval stews
In folklore: Lungwort was said to reveal if a person were a witch, and was used to protect against witchcraft.
Flowers change colors from blue to pink. Attractive to bees, and may repel slugs and snails from gardens.
Culpeper's The Complete Herbal (1653) - On Lungwort
[Descript] This is a kind of moss, that grows on sundry sorts of trees, especially oaks and beeches, with broad, greyish, tough leaves diversly folded, crumpled, and gashed in on the edges, and some spotted also with many small spots on the upper-side. It was never seen to bear any stalk or flower at any time.
[Government and virtues] Jupiter seems to own this herb. It is of great use to physicians to help the diseases of the lungs, and for coughs, wheezings, and shortness of breath, which it cures both in man and beast. It is very profitable to put into lotions that are taken to stay the moist humours that flow to ulcers, and hinder their healing, as also to wash all other ulcers in the privy parts of a man or woman. It is an excellent remedy boiled in beer for broken-winded horses.