The Nine Herbs Charm is an Old English charm recorded in the 10th century "Lacnunga manuscript."
The title "Lacnunga," is an Old English word meaning 'remedies', the word itself is not in the manuscript. The title was given to the collection by its first editor, Oswald Cockayne, in the nineteenth century, and has since stuck.
The " loathsome foe roving through the land" may be a reference to disease or specifically the plague.
Nine Herbs Charm
Translated from old Saxon
Remember, Mugwort, what you made known, What you arranged at the Great proclamation. You were called Una, the oldest of herbs, you have power against three and against thirty, you have power against poison and against infection, you have power against the loathsome foe roving through the land.
And you, Plantain, mother of herbs, Open from the east, mighty inside.
over you chariots creaked, over you queens rode, over you brides cried out, over you bulls snorted. You withstood all of them, you dashed against them. May you likewise withstand poison and infection
and the loathsome foe roving through the land.
Remember, Chamomile, what you made known, what you accomplished at Alorford, that never a man should lose his life from infection after Chamomile was prepared for his food. This is the herb that is called 'Wergulu'. A seal sent it across the sea-right, a vexation to poison, a help to others. it stands against pain, it dashes against poison, it has power against three and against thirty, against the hand of a fiend and against mighty devices, against the spell of mean creatures.
And sing the same charm into the mouth of the man and into both his ears, and on the wound, before you (he) apply the salve.
Walking the Hedge: http://walkingthehedge.net/wildgeekhang/