Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A-Z Challenge 2013: T is for Teasel (or Teazel)

Teasels were something I was very familiar with as a child; they were just another plant that was part of the surrounding countryside. They are tall and prickly, and in Europe are an important winter food source for birds.  However, in the US, they are not as welcome.

Teasels have been linked with medicinal purposes, acting as:
  • Cure of Lyme disease
  • Antibiotic
  • Improved circulation
  • Cure for warts

However, whether or not you believe in these (!), teasels had another use in the textile industry.  The teasel head was used as a comb for cleaning, aligning, and raising the nap on wool.  (The 'teased' the fibres!)

Although metal cards largely replaced them, nowadays there are still individuals who infinitely prefer to use teasels in their work, claiming they are more gentle than a metal comb.

"Production in the 17th and 18th centuries was localized, notably in the Cheddar area of Somerset, parts of Gloucestershire, and Essex." (The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History, David Hey)

4 comments:

  1. I would like to grow some teasels. I believe.

    ReplyDelete
  2. They are indeed lovely - but very prickly!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's amazing how wonderful nature actually is!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree - also wonderful are the people who think to use things like teasels in this way...

    ReplyDelete

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A-Z Challenge 2014