In Chapter One of Denny Bradbury’s “Borvo II”, Borvo, Seofon – Borvo’s good friend and a travelling storyteller – and Cedric, the freed slave and companion to Borvo encounter on their journey through Wales five vagabonds at night who are seeking their prey. The ensuing fight leaves Cedric with multiple knife wounds, one of which on his arm is deep, plus a dislocated shoulder which Borvo wrenches back into its socket whilst Cedric is still unconscious.
Borvo then sets about helping to ease Cedric’s other wounds by applying a salve of agrimony – a low growing plant that thrives in hedges, fields and by ditches that as well as being a particularly good herb for the digestive system and urinary tract is also particularly useful for inflamed, weepy conditions of the body. Cedric’s deeper cut is bound with moss as bogmoss acts like a sponge and can soak up as much as 20 times its own weight in water and is therefore often been used to dress wounds. Being naturally sterile, the use of moss to dress a wound aids the healing process.
Comfrey leaves are then used to help prevent too much loss of blood as the chemicals in the comfrey plant have a healing effect that reduces inflammation when applied to the skin. The plant contains the small organic molecule allantoin which is thought to stimulate cell growth and repair.
To help Seofen’s cut on his head, Borvo applies a moss poultice without any other treatment as this would draw the dirt from the wound and help it to seal.
Some of the mediations and herbs used centuries ago are no longer so popular but certain herbs and plants are still used today by modern herbalists, thousands of years later.
A few to mention are honey, which is an excellent antiseptic that is still used to treat wounds by the British Military today; Willow, a concoction of which was used to treat toothache, with willow bark forming the basis of modern aspirin; Mint, still used today to treat gastric ailments and is often found as an aid to digestion and Pomegrante which was used to treat infestations of parasite worms and whose high tannin content has actually been found to paralyse worms.