MAGIC AND MEDICINE

Folk­lore has sprung up around robin’s pin­cush­ions.

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild Month -

The ‘robin’ part of the name may re­fer to col­oration – in Sus­sex, these galls are some­times called ‘robin red­breast’s pin­cush­ions’. Or it may be the wood­land sprite Robin Good­fel­low (Puck).

His­tor­i­cally, the galls – also known as briar balls, briar bosses and tou­sles – were said to have heal­ing prop­er­ties. A gall hung around the neck was be­lieved to cure whoop­ing cough and toothache, or if kept in your pocket, rheuma­tism, while a gall un­der a pil­low cured in­som­nia.

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