A to Z Herbarium: Quince
Protection, Love, Happiness
Quince was used in worship to various deities, particularly Venus (Aphrodite for the Greek), who is often depicted with a quince in her right hand. As such, quinces are associated with love and happiness. Bridal couples in Roman times would share quince fruit to ensure happiness. This tradition lasted throughout the Middle Ages.
Carrying quince seeds protects against, evil, harm, and accidents. Pregnant women who eat quince will supposedly cause their child to be ingenious. Giving quince to a loved one will ensure fidelity.
Quince seeds are mucilaginous and act as a demulcent, which soothes parts of the body that have mucus membranes. For the respiratory tract they can act as an expectorant and help loosen phlegm. The mucilaginous nature also acts as an emollient, and can be used in an ointment to treat cuts and burns on the skin, or in a mouthwash to soothe sore throats. The seeds have a mild laxative effect.
The fruit of the quince is astringent which helps promote digestion and can help treat loose stools. Quince juice combined with apple cider vinegar and honey makes a tonic that stimulates the stomach, liver, and intestines.
Quince fruit has a high amount of pectin, which makes it excellent to make jams and jellies. The juice can be boiled down to make a syrup, and the fruit can be dried and ground into a powder. If you want to try your hand at making quince marmelade seventeenth century style, you can find a recipe here.
Cunningham’s Encylopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham, 2016, Llewellyn Publications