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August 6 2009 at 10:25 AM
Zoe Brooks 
from IP address

Can anyone help me identify a herb much loved by my Lincolnshire granny? She called it smorage(smoridge, smorrage, smorige) and used it for healing wounds. It grew in the ditches and dykes and had roundish leaves. It was used whole - the underside of the leaf was placed on a bad wound to draw the poison and then the upper was placed on the wound to knit and heal. My great great grandad was badly burnt and smorage was used with the result that he hardly had any scarring. My granny used to take it with her to plant in every garden she had, but she forgot to do so for her last home, so I never saw it.

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Debs Cook

Re: Smorage?

August 24 2009, 11:57 AM 

Hi Zoe happy.gif

I've had a look through some (although not all) of my old herb books and I haven't been able to find any references to smorage, the only herb I can think of that sounds remotely like it is smallage (Apium graveolens) which is the wild form of celery, though that doesn't have the healing attributes that you say the herb your granny used has.

Plantain (Plantago major) does though and is about the right shape (round to oval) and I know that it has wonderful healing properties for the skin. It can help promote healing in wounds, soften the skin and even to speed up cell regeneration! I can't find any folk names that are anything like the ones you mention for Plantain though.

In Gabrielle Hatfields book "Encyclopedia of Folk Medicine: Old World and New World Traditions" ISBN: 8182900174 she says about Plantain "... in Scotland and Ireland, there has been a belief that the upper side of the leaf is for healing whereas the lower side draws out poison." so maybe Plantian in Lincolnshire has a different folk name?

It may be an idea to contact your local paper or local Women's Institute as someone local may have the answer. Given the above and the fact that Plantain would be found growing in the places you describe I think this could be your mystery plant. Do let us know if you find out for certain what it is?


Anne Crossland


September 15 2014, 1:38 PM 

Hi Zoe
I've just found your message from 2009 on googling smorage. I was brought up in Lincolnshire and for years we always referred to this herb as 'grandma's leaves' and only recently discovered from my father that it was known as smorage. According to dad many people in Lincolnshire had it growing in their gardens for medicinal purposes. I am living testament to the power of smorage as the leaves were always applied when we had splinters as children in the '50's - and they always worked. However, my father and his brother now aged 93 and 91 also have stories of miraculous healing such as yours when applied the other way. I don't think it is the same as plantain, as we also had those leaves too, unless my family misnamed them. You are the only other person I've know with experience of this plant, but like you, have none to use and I'm sure my children raised in Berkshire think I'm telling fairytales!

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