This section is from the book "Meals Medicinal", by W. T. Fernie. Also available from Amazon: Meals Medicinal: With "Herbal Simples" Curative Foods From the Cook in Place of Drugs From the Chemist.
Yellow Saffron (from the stigmata of the Crocus vernalis) is much used by the cottagers of Cornwall and Devon in making their bread, and cakes; also by the professed cook for its rich colour, and its cordial properties. When concocted with sugar into a syrup, it pleases the eye by its splendid hue, and gently exhilarates the system at large, one or two teaspoonfuls being given for a dose, with a wineglassful of water (hot,or cold). This syrup will serve to energize the organs within the abdomen of both males and females;. likewise to recruit a feeble heart, and an exhausted brain. Ray tells that "Saffron has long enjoyed the reputation, of comforting the heart, and raising the spirits, going thus far towards the relief of those who are melancholy through grave mental burdens." In our rural districts there is a popular custom of giving Saffron tea for measles, on the doctrine, probably, of colour analogy; to which notion may likewise be referred the practice of adding Saffron to the drinking water of canary birds when they are moulting.
In that one dish of bouillabaisse".
Likewise Chamomile tea is an excellent revivifying drink for aged persons, an hour or more before dinner. Francatelli directs to "put about thirty dried Chamomile flowers into a jug, and to pour over them a pint of boiling water, covering up the infusion; when it has stood for a quarter of an hour, pour it off from the flowers into another jug, and sweeten with sugar, or honey".
The true Chamomile is an aromatic garden herb of prostrate growth, and with a single flower on each stem, whilst signifying by its name Earth-apple. Its flowers grow with a convex yellow disc, exhaling a powerful odour, and having a clean, bitter taste, with the possession of an essential oil in only a small quantity. This medicament can scarcely be considered a food, but nevertheless it is a valuable kitchen adjunct; a teacupful of the infusion, sweetened with a dessertspoonful of moist sugar, and with a little grated ginger added, serves admirably as an appetizing tonic before a principal meal.