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Magic And Wicca - Herbal Encyclopedia - C


Herbs & Oils

~ C ~


(Cinnamomum camphora)

This white, intensely scented, crystalline substance is distilled from a tree native to China and Japan. The essential oil is steam-distilled from wood, rootstumps, and branches. For many years true camphor wasn't sold in the U.S. All "camphor blocks" and mothballs were made of synthetic camphor which is extremely poisonous.
Both the leaf and crystallized extract are used for wet lung conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. Camphor is useful in depression, exhaustion, and stomach cramps and to improve circulation. Use about two teaspoons of leaf per cup of water and steep for twenty minutes. Take one-fourth cup four times a day. Alternatively, use one teaspoon of the crystallized extract per two cups of water. Take it in one-teaspoon doses four times a day. The tincture is also available and is used in doses of five to ten drops four times a day. Campohor is incorporated into salves for external use to kill parasites and treat ringworm, scabies, and itch. The oil open the lungs, making breathing easier, and helps with muscular and joint pain, arthritis, and bruises (not for open wounds). The salve functions as a "smelling salt," and the herb has been used internally to revive those in coma or delirium. Camphor can be burned to purify the air or inhaled to open lung passages.
Caution: Do not use this herb if you are pregnant or if you are very weak and debilitated. Only natural plant extracts should be used, as chemical camphor is contaminated with industrial poisons.
Parts Used: Crystallized extract and leaf
Magical Uses: (Solid Form) Camphor is added in small amounts to Lunar and chastity type mixtures, (Eucalyptus or Lavender oil may be substituted). Divination; Prophetic Dreams; Psychic Awareness. Burn in the home to purify the air and to dispel disease.
Aromatherapy Uses: Coughs; Colds; Fevers; Rheumatism; Arthritis.


(Carum carvi)

Caraway is a hardy biennial with finely cut feathery leaves, umbels of small flower heads in midsummer and capsules containing two curved narrow seeds. The seeds are a popular spice, especially in Central Europe. They enhance port, goulash, sauerkraut, cheese, and pickles and are added to cooking cabbage to reduce the smelll. They flavor brads and cakes and are eaten raw or sugar-coated as Caraway comfits after a spicey meal. They sweeten the breath, aid digestion, and relieve flatulence. Chopped leaves are added to soups and salads, and the root is cooked as a vegetable. Essential oil, distillled from the seeds, flavors gin, candy, the liqueur Kümel, and mouthwashes, and scents soaps, and aftershaves. The seeds are antiseptic and a vermifuge. Caraway seeds have been used in cooking since the Stone Age.
The powdered seeds are taken in doses of one-fourth to one teaspoon to promote digestion and relieve gas. Caraway tea also relieves menstrual cramps, as it helps to bring on the menstruation. Caraway increases breast mile. To make the tea, steem three teaspoons of the ground seeds in one-half cup of water for twenty minutes (use a kitchen blender to lightly crush the seed). Take up to one and a half cups a day in one-fourth cupdoses, or simply chew the seeds. One to four drops of the essential oil may be taken as a digestive aid. For colicky babies, soak one ounce of the ground seed in a pint of cold water for about six hours. The dose is from one to three teaspoons of the ifusion, or boil three teasoons of seed in one-half cup of milk for a few minutes, then steep for ten minutes. The powdered seeds are moistened to make a poultice for bruises and earaches.
Parts Used: Seed, leaf, root and essential oil
Magical Uses: Caraway is often added to love potions to keep lovers from being unfaithful. The seeds are placed in poppets and used in spells to fing one's mate. They are said to inspire lust when baked into cakes or breads. Put some in your wedding cake, or use it instead of rice to throw at the bride and groom. Pigeons are very fond of it too!


(Elettario cardamomum)

This perennial bears violet-striped white flowers and aromatic green fruits on erect or trailing racemes. The seed pods are an expensive spice, sold as whole green, bleached, or sun-dried cardamom. The seeds are digestive, stimulant, and antispasmodic, and rhizome is given for fatigue and fever. The essential oil from almost-ripe fruits is used in liqueurs and perfumes. Cardamom seeds are a symbol of hospitality.
Parts Used: Seed
Magical Uses: Deliciously spicy, cardamon essential oil brings a nice jolt of energy to live and sexually oriented formulas. Burn for love spells or use in love sachets. The ground seeds are added to warmed wine for a quick lust potion. They are also baked into apple pies for a wonderful amatory pastry.
Aromatherapy Uses: Nausea; Coughs; Headaches; Aches; as a Digestive and Tonic; Dyspepsia; Mental Fatigue; Nervous Strain; Halitosis; Anorexia; Colic. Key Qualities: Cephalic; Aphrodisiac; Warming; Comforting; Refreshing; Uplifting; Penetrating; Soothing.


(Dianthus caryophyllus)

Also called Pink , Clove Pink or Gilly Flower. This short lived perennial has blue-green grasslike foliage and spicy, fragrant long-lasting flowers in the summer. This "Flower of Divinity" and symbol of betrothal, woven into garlands is the parent of cultivated carnations, although is seldom available in its true for. Fortunately, the petals of any clove-scented Pink, with the bitter white heel removed, can be added to fruit dishes, sandwiches, soups, and sauces, or used to make floral syrup, vinegar, liqueur, or wine. This was Chaucer's "sops in wine" and is still enjoyed as a nerve tonic today. The strong-sweet spicy scent is used in soaps and perfumes. Worn during Elizabethan times to prevent coming to an untimely death on the scaffold.
Parts Used: Flower petals
Magical Uses: Altar offering for the Goddess; Anointing; Protection; Strength; Health and Healing; Energy; Power; Magical Power; Blessing; Consecration. Can be used in all purpose protective spells.


(Nepeta Catoria)

A Druid sacred herb. The root and leaf scent, minty with cat pheromone overtones, intoxicates cats and repels rats and flea beetles. The tender leaves are added to salads and flavor meat. They can also be brewed as tea and were used before China tea was imported. The leaves and flowering tops treat colds, calm upset stomachs, reduce fevers, and soothe headaches and scalp irritations. When smoked, leaves give mild euphoria with no harmful effects.
Parts Used: Leaf
Magical Uses: Chewed by warriors for fierceness in battle. Large dried leaves are powerful markers for magic books. Give it to your cat to create a psychic bond. Used in spells to promote beauty; happiness; love. Use in all Cat Magic Spells.

CASSIA: (Cinnamomum aromaticum var. cassia) This is the highest grade of Cinnamon. See Cinnamon.
Magical Uses: Purification
Aromatherapy Uses: See cinnamon


(Cedrus libani or Cedrus spp.)

A Druid sacred herb. Also known as Cedar, Tree of Life, Arbor Vitae (Thuja occidentalis) or Yellow Cedar (T. occidentalis). Ancient Celts on the mainland used cedar oil to preserve the heads of enemies taken in battle. The wood of the Atlas Cedar subspecies is distilled to produce the essential oil.
Yellow cedar is used by herbalists to trat bloody cough and heart weakness. Simmer two teaspoons per cup for twenty minutes and take it ccold in one-tablespoon doses, three to six times a day. It is used internally and externally as an antifungal (the dry powder is excellent for Athlete's foot).
Parts Used: Twig and leaf
Magical Uses: Cedar smoke purifies the home. Use it in smudge sticks, incense and sweat lodges. The scent is said to enhance psychic powers. I use it in a simmering pot which smells much better than the burning herb, it makes the whole house smell clean and sweet. Use for: Purification; Health and Healing; Luck; Good Fortune; Happiness; Banishing; Releasing; Exorcism; Money and Riches; Justice; Protection; Harmony; Peace.
Aromatherapy Uses: Bronchitis; Catarrh; Acne; Arthritis; as a Diuretic; Sedative; Antiseborrhoeic.


(Chamaemelum nobile or Anthemis nobilis)

Also called Roman chamomile, English chamomile, Perennial Chamomile, Wild Chamomile, and Ground Apple. A Druid Sacred Herb, this aromatic evergreen has feathery, apple-scented leaves and white flowers with conical golden centers. The flowers make a digestive, soothing and sedative tea, which is used for soothing restless children, helps prevent nightmares and insomnia, and suppresses nausea. The flower compounds have shown anti-tumor activity in laboratory tests. In the garden it is a "physician plant" reviving nearby ailing plants. The essential oil is a beautiful blue color turning yellow as it ages.
This herb has an affinity for the solar plexus area of the human body. Colic, upset stomachs, and fevers are benefitted by the tea of the fresh or dried flower. Use two tablespoons per cup, steep for twenty minutes, and take a quarter cup four times a day. Women with menstrual cramps can try adding a few thin slices of fresh ginger root to the tea. Chamomile is an antibacterial. Sores, wonds, itches, and rashes respond to external applications. Use the tea as a wash or add the herb to salves and poultices. The oil is rubbed into swollen joints. Chamomile calms the nerves and brings on sleep. Use it in baths and gargles. Add the tea to a vaporizer to help asthmatic children. The classic tea for cranky, teething babies, it is given in the bottle or through a mother's breast milk.
Parts Used: Flower
Magical Uses: Yellow chamomile brings the power of the sun to love potions, money spells and rites of purification. Use in incense for the God. When sprinkled around the house it removes hexes, curses and spells. It can be burned or added to prosperity bags to increase money. Use for: Love; Luck; Fortune; Justice; Prosperity; Purification; Meditation; Rest.
Aromatherapy Uses: Nerves; Migraine; Acne; Inflammation; Insomnia; Menstrual Problems; Dermatitis; Analgesic; Tension Headache; Stress.



(Prunus serotina)

A Druid sacred tree, chips of the wood or bark were burned at Celtic festivals especially Sabbats. Also known as Black Cherry, Wild Cherry or Chokecherry (P. virginiana). Chokecherry bark tea is used to clear the throats of singers and public speakers, the powdered berries were once used to improve the appetite. If you've never tried chokecherry jelly, you've missed a real treat. CAUTION:The stone is poisonous.
Parts Used: Fruit, bark and wood
Magical Uses: (Wood and Fruit Juice) Creativity; Healing; Long been used to attract Love; Cherry juice is used as a substitute for blood in old recipes.



(Cinnamomum verum or zeylanicum)

A tropical evergreen tree up to 50 feet tall. Cinnamon sticks are quills from the inner bark and the essential oil is distilled by water or steam from the leaves and twigs.

Parts Used: Bark
Magical Uses: (Herb and Oil) Meditation; Defense; Creative Work; Divination; Energy; Power; Protection; Success; Astral Projection; Health and Healing; Love Lust; Money and Riches; Purification.
Aromatherapy Uses: (Oil)Lice; Scabies; Wasp Stings; Poor Circulation; Childbirth (stimulates contractions); Anorexia; Colitis; Diarrhea; Dyspepsia; Intestinal Infection; Sluggish Digestion; Spasm; Flu; Rheumatism; Warts; Coughs; Colds; Viral Infections; Frigidity; Infectious Disease; Stress Related Conditions; Tooth and Gum Care; Nervous Exhaustion. Key Qualities: Warming; Reviving, Tonic; Strengthening; Aphrodisiac; Restorative; Uplifting.


(Pontentilla reptans)

Also called Five Fingered Grass, Creeping cinquefoil, and Five Leaved Grass. The rootstock was cooked as a vegetable by the Celts and Native Americans. Applied to sore areas, the fresh plant relieves pain. A root decoction is used in anti-wrinkle creams. A wash reduces skin redness, freckles, and sunburn.
The powdered root and leaf are used to stop internal hemorrhaging. The powder also makes an astringent for mouth sores and treats diarrhea. Taken with honey, it relieves sore throats, coughs, and fever. Take one-quarter to one-half teaspoon at a time, or twenty to forty drops of the tincture. The leaves can be steeped using two teaspoons per cup of water for twenty minutes, or one ounce of the root can be simmered in one and a half cups of water for twenty minutes. The dose is a quarter cup four times a day.
Parts Used: Root and leaf
Magical Uses Use the infusion in ritual baths and for purification rites. Cinquefoil bestows eloquence and protection to the wearer; bring it to court. Love, powerm wisdom, health, and abundance are symbolized by its five petals. Prick a hole in an egg, drain it and fill it with cinquefoil. Tape the egg shut, and your home and property are protected. Bathe in the infusion every seven days to ward off evil influences. Prosperity, Protection; Defense; Purification; Anointing; Divination Dreams; Energy; Strength; Luck; Fortune; Justice; Healing; Inspiration; Wisdom; Love;. Hang at the door for protection. Add to purificatory bath sachets.



(Syzgium aromaticum)

Cloves are the sun-dried unopened flower buds of a dense evergreen tree, they have a strong spiciness that flavors foods and prevents nausea. The flowers are used to soothe aching eyes. Clove oil, from the distillation of leaves and flower buds, is an antiseptic numbing agent for toothache and indigestion. It is added to cosmetics, perfumes, and cigarettes. There are now Clove-based anesthetics.
Parts Used: Leaf and flower bud
Magical Uses: Use for: Divination; Love; Lust; Banishing; Releasing; Inspiration; Wisdom. Burn for Wealth; Purification; to ward negative thoughts; or to stop others from gossiping about you.
Aromatherapy Uses: Nausea; Flatulence; Asthma; Bronchitis; Arthritis; Rheumatism; Toothache; Diarrhea; Infections; as an Analgesic and Antiseptic; Insect Repellent (Mosquitoes). Key Qualities: Tonic; Stimulating; Revitalizing; Aphrodisiac; Warming; Comforting; Purifying; Active.



(Lycopodium selago or clavatum)

Also called Selago, Foxtail, Lycopod, Vegetable Sulpher, Wolf Claw or Stag's Horn Moss. This toxic, evergreen, mosslike herb has trailing stems, upright branches and developing cones encasing the ripe spores. The spores were once used for gastric and urinary disorders, as an antispasmodic sedative and to coat pills. Blackfoot Indians knew of the spores' blood-stanching, wound-healing and moisture-absorbing properties and inhaled them for nosebleeds and dusted them on cuts. They are still used on wounds and ecxzema. The spores are explosive when set alight, and used to create theatrical lightening and added to fireworks. Magicians once used them to create "lightening flashes" and other pyrotechnics as needed. These effects were originally intended as a form of sympathetic magic -of evocation by emulation - not simply (or deceptively) as stage effects.
The club mosses are found in North America, northern Europe, Asia, and the southern hemisphere. The plants are several inches in height and resemble moss. They creep by means of prostrate stems, which branch upward at intervals, with crowded, linear, simple leaves. Large two valved spore cases product the medicinally active spores.
While the whole plant was used by the ancients as a cathartic, the spores were used as a diuretic in edema, a drastic (a forceful agen of cure) in diarrhea and dysentery, a nervine for rabies and spasms, a mild laxative in cases of gout and scurvy, and a corroborant (strengthening agent) for rheumatism. The dose is ten to sixty grains of the spores.
The spores also make a dusting powder for skin diseases and diaper rash.
CAUTION: Selago can be an active narcotic poison when overused. For this reason it is probably better to use only the spores, which are non-toxic. The whole plant can be used externally, however, as a counterirritant - made into a poultice, it will keep blisters open and kill lice.
Parts Used: Above-ground portions of the herb, and spores.
Magical Uses: Druids respected the plant to sucha degree that it was gathered only under strict ritual guidlelines. One of the Ovates would dress in white, bathe both feet in free-running water and offer a sacrifice of bread and spirits, and then with white robe wrapped around the right hand, using a brass hook, would dig up the plant by the roots. When properly gathered, the herb becomes a charm of power and protection. Wear it, add it to incense, adn use it to commune with the Gods and Goddesses.



(Symphytum officonale)

Also known as Slippery Root, Knitbone or Blackwort. Teas, tinctures and compresses of comfrey roots or leaves speed healing of cuts, rashes, and broken bones.
Parts Used: Root and leaf
Magical Uses Root or leaves for healing. Carry for safe travel. To ensure the safety of your luggage while traveling, tuck a piece of the root into each of your bags.



(Bursera odorata)

Copal is a white, pale yellow or yellowish-orange gum resin. When smoldered on charcoal it produces a rich, delicious, piney-lemony fragrance. Copal is North America's equivalent of Frankincense. While it lacks some of frankincense's bittersweet odor, it is a fine substitute. When frankincense if left smoldering on charcoal for some time it eventually emits a very bitter scent. Copal, however, never varies as it burns. It is native to Mexico and Central America, and has been used as incense in religious and magical ceremonies for untold hundreds of years, beginning, perhaps, with the Mayans or even prior to the days of that fables people.
The finest copal is a pale to dark yellow color with an intense resinous-citrus odor. It is usually sold in chunks and may contain leaf fragments.
Parts Used: Resin
Magical Uses: Burn for protection; cleansing; purification; to promote spirituality; and to purify quartz crystals and other stones before use in magic. May be substituted for Frankincense. A piece of copal may be used as the heart in poppets.



(Coriandrum sativum)

The whole of this annual is pungently aromatic. The seed is a mild sedative, aids digestion, reduces flatulence, and eases migraines. The spicy essential oil, distilled from the seeds, is used in perfumes and incense, flavors medicines and toothpaste, and is added to massage oil for facial neuralgia and cramps.
The seeds are strangthening to the urinary system. The leaf and seed are infused to treat bladder infections. The tea helps with stomach problems such as gas and indigestion. Steep two teaspoons of the dried seed per cup of boiled water fro twenty minuts, and take up to one cup a day. The powdered seed and the oil are used to flavor other herbal prepartations and to ease griping in laxative formulas. Use one-fourth to one-half teaspoon at a time. Coriander is a common ingredient of Indial curries.
Parts Used: Seed and leaf
Magical Uses: Coriander oil works well in love and healing mixtures. The seeds are used for healing, especially easing headaches and are worn for this purpose. Add the powdered seeds to warm wine to make an effective lust potion. Put some in the chalice for a handfasting ritual.
Aromatherapy Uses: Eating Disorders; Colic; Diarrhea; Dyspepsia; Measles; Migraine; Neuralgia; General Infections; Indigestion; Influenza, Fatigue; Rheumatism; Flatulence; Nervousness; as an Analgesic, Stimulant, Aphrodisiac. Key Qualities: Aphrodisiac; Stimulating; Soporific (In excess); Refreshing; Warming; Comforitng; Revitalizing; Strengthening; Purifying; Soothing; Active.



(Cupressus sempervirens)

This tall evergreen tree has gray-brown bark, and tiny, dark green leaves. It bears yellowish male cones and green female cones, which ripen to brown. Cypress Oil, distilled from the leaves, branches, and cones, has a refreshing, camphor-resinous scent.
Parts Used: Leaf, twigs, fruit, bark, wood, resin and essential oil.
Magical Uses: Burn for Happiness; Harmony; Peace; Inspiration; Binding; Wisdom; Releasing; Defense; Longevity. Cypress Oil is used for Blessing; Consecration, and protection. The unique scent stimulates healing and eases the pain of losses of all kind.
Aromatherapy Uses: Skin Care; Perspiration; Wounds; bruises; Hemorrhoids, Varicose Veins; Cellulitis; Muscular Cramps; Edema; Poor Circulation; Rheumatism; Asthma; Bronchitis; Spasmodic Coughing; Dysmenorrhea,; Menopausal Problems; Nervous Tension; Stress-related Conditions; Treats inflamed/bleeding gums; Insect Repellent. Key Qualities: Refreshing; Purifying; Relaxing; Warming; Reviving; Restorative; Comforting; Protective; Soothing.


Cabbage Tree

Botanical: Andira inermis
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Vouacapoua inermis. Bastard Cabbage Tree. Worm Bark. Yellow Cabbage Tree. Jamaica Cabbage Tree.
---Part Used---Bark.
---Habitat---Jamaica and other West Indian Islands. Senegambi.
---Description---A leguminous tree, growing very tall and branching towards the top called Cabbage Tree because it forms a head in growing; it has a smooth grey bark which, cut into long pieces, is the part utilized for medicine. It is thick, fibrous, scaly, and of an ashy brownish color externally, covered with lichens - the inside bark is yellow and contains a bitter sweet mucilage, with an unpleasant smell. In Europe the bark of another species, Avouacouapa retusa, has been utilized. It grows in Surinam, is a more powerful vermifuge than Vouacapoua inermus and does not as a rule produce such injurious after-effects. In the dried state it is without odour, but has a very bitter taste; when powdered it has the color of cinnamon.
---Constituents---Jamaicine-Andirin aglucoside, an inodorous, bitter, acrid resin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Narcotic vermifuge. Cabbage Tree bark used in large doses may cause vomiting, fever and delirium, especially if cold water is drunk just before or after taking it. In the West Indies it is largely employed as a vermifuge to expel worm - ascaris lumbrecoides - but if used incautiously death has been known to occur. The powder purges like jalap.
---Dosages---Usually given in decoction, though the powder, syrup and extract are all used. Dose of powder, 20 to 30 grains. Fluid extract, 1/4 to 1 drachm.
---Antidote---Lime-juice or Castor oil.
---Other Species---Andira retusa, a Brazilian species, has purple flowers, the odour of oranges and a slight aroma. The fruit is said to smell like tonka beans.


Botanical: Theobroma cacao (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Sterculiaceae
Description and History
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Cocoa. Chocolate Tree.
---Part Used---The seeds.
---Habitat---Topical America. Cultivated in Ceylon. Java. etc.
---Description and History---Cacao was named Theobroma by Linnaeus, the word meaning 'food of the gods,' so called from the goodness of its seeds. Mexicans named the pounded seeds 'Chocolate.' The tree is handsome, 12 to 16 feet high; trunk about 5 feet long; wood light and white colored; bark brown; Ieaves lanceolate, bright green, entire; flowers small reddish, almost odourless; fruit yellowy red, smooth; rind fleshcolored; pulp white; when seeds are ripe they rattle in the capsule when shaken; each capsule contains about twenty-five seeds; if separated from the capsule they soon become infertile, but if kept therein they retain their fertility for a long time. The tree bears its leaves, flowers and fruit (like the orange tree) all the year round, but the usual season for gathering the fruit is June and December. In Mexico during the time of the Aztec kings the small seeds were utilized as coins twelve approximating to the value of 1d., the smallest actual coin in use then being worth about 6d. The seeds were necessary for small transactions. The method is still in use in some parts of Mexico. The tree is generally cultivated on large estates under the shade of other trees, such as the banana and develops the pods continuously. When ripe they are cut open and the beans or nuts surrounded by their sweetish acid pulp are allowed to ferment so that they may be more easily separated from the shell. The beans are then usually dried in the sun, though sometimes in a steam drying shed.
---Constituents---The seeds contain about 2 per cent. of theobromine and 40 to 60 per cent of solid fat. The shells contain about 1 per cent of theobromine, together with mucilage, etc.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Cocoa is prepared by grinding the beans into a paste between hot rollers and mixing it with sugar and starch, part of the fat being removed. Chocolate is prepared in much the same way, but the fat is retained. Oil of Theobroma or cacao butter is a yellowish white solid, with an odour resembling that of cocoa, taste bland and agreeable; generally extracted by expression. It is used as an ingredient in cosmetic ointments and in pharmacy for coating pills and preparing suppositories. It has excellent emollient properties and is used to soften and protect chapped hands and lips. Theobromine, the alkaloid contained in the beans, resembles caffeine in its action, but its effect on the central nervous system is less powerful. Its action on muscle, the kidneys and the heart is more pronounced. It is used principally for its diuretic effect due to stimulation of the renal epithelium; it is especially useful when there is an accumulation of fluid in the body resulting from cardiac failure, when it is often given with digitalis to relieve dilatation. It is also employed in high blood pressure as it dilates the blood-vessels. It is best administered in powders or cachets.
---Dosage---Theobromine, 5 to 10 grains.


See (Night-Blooming) Cereus.


Botanical: Melaleuca leucadendron (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Myrtaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Cajeput. White Tea Tree. Swamp Tea Tree. White Wood.
---Part Used---The oil.
---Habitat---East Indies, Tropical Australia. Imported from Macassar, Batavia, Singapore, Queensland and N.S. Wales.
---Description---The tree has a long flexible trunk with irregular ascending branches, covered with a pale thick, lamellated bark it is soft and spongy and from time to time throws off its outer layer in flakes; leaves entire, linear, lanceolate, ash color, alternate on short foot-stalks; flowers sessile, white, on a long spike. The leaves have a very aromatic odour and the oil is distilled from the fresh leaves and twigs, and is volatile and stimulating with an aroma like camphor, rosemary, or cardamom seeds; taste bitter, aromatic and camphoraceous. Traces of copper have been found in it, hence the greenish tint; it should be stored in dark or amber-colored bottles in a cool place. Cajuput oil is obtained from Melaleuca leucadendron, Roxburgh, and the minor Smith, but several other species of Melaleuca leucadendron are utilized such as M. hypericifolia, M. veridifolia, M. lalifolia, and others. The Australian species M. Decussata and M. Erucifolia are also used. The oil is fluid, clear, inflammable, burns without residue, highly volatile. The trace of copper found may be due to the vessels in which the oil is prepared, but it is doubtless sometimes added in commerce to produce the normal green tinge when other species have been used which do not impart it naturally.
---Constituents---The principal constituent of oil is cineol, which should average 45 to 55 per cent. Solid terpineol is also present and several aldehydes such as valeric, butyric and benzoic.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Antispasmodic, diaphoretic, stimulant, antiseptic, anthelmintic. Highly stimulant, producing a sensation of warmth when taken internally, increasing the fullness and rapidity of the pulse and sometimes producing profuse perspiration. Used as a stimulating expectorant in chronic laryngitis and bronchitis, as an antiseptic in cystisis and as an anthelmintic for round worms, also used in chronic rheumatism. Applied externally, it is stimulant and mildly counter-irritant and is usually applied diluted with 2 parts of olive oil or turpentine ointment. Used externally for psoriasis and other skin affections.
---Adulterants---The oils of Rosemary and Turpentine, impregnated with Camphor and colored, are said to be used. Spirit of Cajeput, B.P., 5 to 20 minims. Oil U S P., 3 to 10 minims. Oil, B.P., 1/2 to 3 minims.

Calabar Bean

Botanical: Physostigma venenosum (EALF.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparation of Dosages
Poisons and Antidotes
---Synonyms---Ordeal Bean. Chop Nut.
---Part Used---The seeds.
---Habitat---West Africa, Old Calabar. Has been introduced into India and Brazil.
---Description---The plant came into notice in 1846 and was planted in the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens, where it grew into a strong perennial creeper. It is a great twining climber, pinnately trifoliate leaves, pendulous racemes of purplish bean-like flowers; seeds are two or three together in dark brown pods about 6 inches long and kidney-shaped thick, about 1 inch long, rounded ends, roughish but a little polished, and have a long scar on the edge where adherent to the placenta. The seeds ripen at all seasons, but are best and most abundant during the rainy season in Africa, June till September. The natives of Africa employ the bean as an ordeal owing to its very poisonous qualities. They call it esere, and it is given to an accused person to eat. If the prisoner vomits within half an hour he is accounted innocent, but if he succumbs he is found guilty. A draught of the pounded seeds infused in water is said to have been fatal to a man within an hour.
---Constituents---The chief constituent is the alkaloid physostigmine (eserine), with which are calabarines, eseridine, and eseramine. Eseridine is not employed medicinally.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Chiefly used for diseases of the eye; it causes rapid contraction of the pupil and disturbed vision.Also used as a stimulant to the unstriped muscles of the intestines in chronic constipation. Its action on the circulation is to slow the pulse and raise blood-pressure; it depresses the central nervous system, causingmuscular weakness; it has been employed internally for its depressant action in epilepsy, cholera, etc., and given hypodermically in acute tetanus. Physostigmine Salicylas is preferred for the preparation of eyedrops.
---Preparation of Doses---Extract of Calabar Bean, B.P.: dose, 1/4 to 1 grain. Extract of Physostigma, U.S.P.: dose, 1/8 grain. Tincture of Calabar Bean, B.P.C.: dose, 5 to 15 minims. Tincture of Physostigma, U.S.P.: dose, 15 minims. Physostigmine Eyedrops, B.P.C. Physostigmine eye ointment, B.P.C. Fluid extract, 1 to 3 drops.
---Poisons and Antidotes---In case of poisoning by the beans the stomach should be evacuated and atropine injected until the pulse quickens. With poisoning by physostigmine the stomach should be washed out with 0.2 per cent of potassium permanganate and atropine and strychnine administered hypodermically.


Botanical: Calamintha officinalis (MOENCH)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Mill Mountain. Mountain Balm. Basil Thyme. Mountain Mint.
---Part Used---Herb.
---Description---Calamint belongs to a genus closely related to both the Thymes and to Catnep and Ground Ivy.
It is an erect, bushy plant with square stems, rarely more than a foot high, bearing pairs of opposite leaves, which, like the stems, are downy with soft hairs. The flowers bloom in July and August, and are somewhat inconspicuous, drooping gracefully before expansion: the corollas are of a light purple color.
The plant grows by waysides and in hedges, and is not uncommon, especially in dry places. It may be cultivated as a hardy perennial, propagated by seeds sown outdoors in April, by cuttings of side shoots in cold frames in spring, or by division of roots in October and April.
---Constituents---It contains a camphoraceous, volatile, stimulating oil in commonwith the other mints. This is distilled by water, but its virtues are better extracted by rectified spirit.
---Medicinal Actions and Uses---Diaphoretic, expectorant, aromatic. The whole herb has a sweet, aromatic odour and an infusion of the dried leaves, collected about July, when in their best condition and dried in the same way as Catmint tops, makes a pleasant cordial tea, which was formerly much taken for weaknesses of the stomach and flatulent colic. It is useful in hysterical complaints, and a conserve made of the young fresh tops has been used, for this purpose.
Culpepper says that it 'is very efficacious in all afflictions of the brain,' that it 'relieves convulsions and cramps, shortness of breath or choleric pains in the stomach or bowels,' and that 'it cures the yellow jaundice.' He also recommends it, taken with salt and honey, for killing worms:
'It relieves those who have the leprosy, taken inwardly, drinking whey after it, or the green herb outwardly applied, and that it taketh away black and blue marks in the face, and maketh black scars become well colored, if the green herb (not the dry) be boiled in wine and laid to the place or the place washed therewith.'
He also considers it 'helpful to them that have a tertian ague,' and beneficial in all disorders of the gall and spleen.
Gerard says, 'the seede cureth the infirmities of the hart, taketh away sorrowfulnesse which commeth of melancholie, and maketh a man merrie and glad.'
The LESSER CALAMINT (Calamintha nepeta) is a variety of the herb possessing almost superior virtues, with a stronger odour, resembling that of Pennyroyal, and a moderately pungent taste somewhat like Spearmint, but warmer. It is scarcely distinct from C. officinalis, and by some botanists is considered a sub-species. The leaves are more strongly toothed, and it bears its flowers on longer stalks. Both this and the Common Calamint seem to have been used indifferently in the old practice of medicine under the name of Calamint.
The name of the genus, Calamintha, is derived from the Greek Kalos (excellent because of the ancient belief in its power to drive away serpents and the dreaded basilisk - the fabled king of the serpents, whose very glance was fatal.

Calamus Aromaticus

See Sedge.


Botanical: Cinchona calisaya (WEDD.)
Family: N.O. Rubiaceae
Medicinal Action and Used
---Synonyms---Jesuit's Powder. Yellow Cinchona.
---Part Used---Bark.
---Habitat---Tropical valleys of the Andes. Bolivia and Southern Peru.
---Description---Cinchona is an important genus and comprises a large number of evergreen trees and shrubs, flowers white and pinkish arranged in panicles, very fragrant. Not all the species yield cinchona or Peruvian bark. The most important is called Calisaya or yellow bark. Its great value as a tonic and febrifuge depends on an alkaloid, quina (Quinine). This substance chiefly exists in the cellular tissue outside the liber in combination with kinic and tannic acids. Calisaya yields the largest amount of this alkaloid of any of the species - often 70 to 80 per cent of the total alkaloids contained in the bark which is not collected from trees growing wild, but from those cultivated in plantations. The bark for commerce is classified under two headings: the druggist's bark, and the manufacturer's at a low price. The great bulk of the trade is in Amsterdam, and the bark sold there mainly comes from Java. That sold in London from India, Ceylon and South America. Mature Calisaya bark has a scaly appearance, which denotes maturity and high quality. It is very bitter, astringent and odourless.
---Constituents---The bark should yield between 5 and 6 per cent of total alkaloids, of which not less than half should consist of quinine and cinchonidin. Other constituents are cinchonine, quinidine, hydrocinchonidine, quinamine, homokinchonidine, hydroquinine; quinic and cinchotannic acids, a bitter amorphous glucocide, starch and calcium-oxalate.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---See PERUVIAN BARK.
---Preparations and Dosages---Decoction of Cinchona, B.P., 1/2 to 2 fluid ounces. Elixir of Cinchona or Elixir of Calisaya, B.P.C., 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Tincture of Cinchona, B.P.C., 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Cinchona wine, B.P.C., 1/2 to 1 fluid ounce.


Botanical: Calotropis procera (R. BR.) and gigantea
Family: N.O. Asclepiadaceae
---Synonyms---Mudar Yercum.
---Parts Used---Bark, root-bark.
---Habitat---Native of Hindustan, but widely naturalized in the East and West Indies and Ceylon.
---Description---The dried root freed from its outer cork layer and called Mudar. It occurs in commerce in short quilled pieces about 1/5 to 1/10 of an inch thick and not over 1 1/2 inch wide. Deeply furrowed and reticulated, color greyish buff, easily separated from periderm. Fracture short and mealy, taste bitter, nauseous, acrid; it has a peculiar smell and is mucilaginous; official in India and the Colonial addendum for the preparation of a tincture.
---Constituents---A yellow bitter resin; a black acid resin; Madaralbum, a crystalline colorless substance; Madarfluavil, an ambercolored viscid substance; and caoutchouc, and a peculiar principle which gelatinizes on being heated, called Mudarine. Lewin found a neutral principle, Calatropin, a very active poison of the digitalis type. In India the author's husband experimented with it for paper-making, the inner bark yielding a fibre stronger than Russian hemp. The acrid juice hardens into a substance like gutta-percha. It has long been used in India for abortive and suicidal purposes. Mudar root-bark is very largely used there as a treatment for elephantiasis and leprosy, and is efficacious in cases of chronic eczema, also for diarrhoea and dysentery.
---Preparations---Tincture of Calatropis, 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Powder, 3 to 12 grains.
---Antidotes---As an antidote to poisoning atropine may be administered. In severe cases the stomach pump may be used and chloral or chloroform administered. Amyl nitrite may also be useful.


Botanical: Jateorhiza calumba (MIERS)
Family: N.O. Menispermaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Cocculus Palmatus. Colombo.
---Part Used---The dried root sliced transversely.
---Habitat---Forests of Eastern Africa. Indigenous to Mozambique, where it is abundant in the forests.
---Description---A dioecious climbing plant with a perennial root, consisting of several tuberous portions, flowers small and inconspicuous, the root is dug in dry weather, in March, but only the fusiform offsets are used; the old root is rejected and the brightest, least worm-eaten and well-shaped pieces are preferred. The root and powder, if kept any length of time, are liable to be attacked by worms; the color of the freshly prepared powder is greenish, later on it turns brown and when moistened very dark; it quickly absorbs moisture from the air and is apt to decompose, so only a small quantity should be prepared at a time. Odour aromatic, taste very bitter, rind more so than the central pith, which is somewhat mucilaginous. It is rarely adulterated since the price has been lowered.
---Constituents---Columbamine, Jateorhizine and Palmatine, three yellow crystalline alkaloids closely allied to berberine; also a colorless crystalline principle, Columbine, and an abundance of starch and mucilage.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A bitter tonic without astringency, does not produce nausea, headache, sickness or feverishness as other remedies of the same class. It is best given as a cold infusion; it is a most valuable agent for weakness of the digestive organs. In pulmonary consumption it is useful, as it never debilitates or purges the bowels. The natives of Mozambique use it for dysentery It allays the sickness of pregnancy and gastric irritation. In Africa and the East Indies it is cultivated for dyeing purposes.
---Preparations---Calumba is generally combined with other tonics. For flatulence, 1/2 oz. of Calumba, 1/2 oz. of ginger 1 drachm of senna, added to 1 pint of boiling water, is taken three times daily in wineglassful doses.
Calumba can be safely combined with salts of iron and alkalies, as it does not contain tannic or gallic acid. The powdered root, 10 to 15 grains. The solid extract, 2 grains. The powdered extract, 2 grains. The fluid extract, 10 to 30 minims. The infusion, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. The tincture, B.P. and U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. The concentrated solution, B.P. 1/2 to 1 drachm.

See Tea.

See Rampion.


Botanical: Cinnamonum camphora (T. NEES and EBERM.)
Family: N.O. Lauraceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
Steadman Shorter's Medical Dictionary, 1942, Poisons & Antidotes: Camphor
---Synonyms---Laurel Camphor. Gum Camphor.
---Part Used---Gum.
---Habitat---China, Japan, and adjacent parts of East Asia. Formosa official in the U.S.P. Dryobalanops aromatica is indigenous to Borneo and Sumatra.
---Description---Camphor is a white crystalline substance, obtained from the tree Cinnamonum camphora, but the name has been given to various concrete odorous volatile products, found in different aromatic plants. The commercial Camphor comes only from C. camphora and Dryobalanops camphora (fam. Dipterocarpacaea). The first gives our official Camphor, the latter the Borneo Camphor, which is much valued in the East, but unknown in Europe and America. C. camphora is an evergreen tree looking not unlike our linden; it grows to a great size, is manybranched, flowers white, small and clustered, fruit a red berry much like cinnamon. While the tree grows in China, etc., it can be cultivated successfully in sub-tropical countries, such as India and Ceylon, and it will thrive in Egypt, Formosa, Madagascar, Canary Islands and southern parts of Europe, California, Florida, and also in Argentina. It grows so slowly that the return financially is a long investment. Some growers think that Camphor cannot be taken from the trees till they are fifty years old. In Japan and Formosa the drug comes from the root, trunk and branches of the tree by sublimation, but there is less injury done to the tree in the American plantations, as it is taken there from the leaves and twigs of the oldest trees. A Camphor oil exudes in the process of extracting Camphor, which is valued by the Chinese, used for medicinal purposes. Two substances are found in commerce under the name of oil of Camphor: one is the produce of C. cinnamonum, and is known as Formosa or Japanese oil of Camphor; the other as East Indian oil of Camphor, from the D. aromatica but this oil is not found in European or American trade. It is less volatile than the other, and has a distinctive odour; it is highly prized by the Chinese, who use it for embalming purposes and to scent soap. The Chinese attribute many virtues to it. It is mentioned by Marco Polo in the thirteenth century and Camoens in 1571, who called it the 'balsam of disease.' During the last few years large quantities have come into the American and European markets as Japanese oil; it varies in quality and color from a thin watery oil to a thick black one. It is imported in tin cans and varies greatly in the amount of Camphor it contains, some cans having had all the solid principle extracted before importation. The odour is peculiar, like sassafras and distinctly camphoraceous; this oil is said to be used in Japan for burning, making varnish and for Chinese inks, as a diluent for artists' colors; it has a capacity for dissolving resins that oil of Turps has not. The properties in the oil are much the same as in Camphor, but it is more stimulant and very useful in complaints of stomach and bowels, in spasmodic cholera and flatulent colic. It is also used as a rubefacient and sedative liniment, and if diluted with Olive oil or soap is excellent for local rheumatism, sprains, bruises, and neuralgia dose, 2 or 3 minims. There is an erroneous idea that Camphor acts as a preventive to infectious diseases. It is very acrid and in large doses very poisonous, and should be used cautiously in certain heart cases. It is a well-known preventive of moths and other insects, such as worms in wood; natural history cabinets are often made of it, the wood of the tree being occasionally imported to make cabinets for entomologists. The Dryobalanops oil of Camphor is said to be found in trees too young to produce Camphor, and is said to be the first stage of the development of Camphor, as it is found in the cavities of the trunk, which later on become filled with Camphor. Its chief constituent is an oil called Borneene. The D. aromatica tree, found in Sumatra and Borneo, grows to an enormous height, often over 100 feet, and trunk 6 or 7 feet in diameter. The Camphor of the older trees exists in concrete masses, in longitudinal cavities, in the heart of the tree, 1 1/2 feet long at certain distances apart. The only way of finding out if Camphor has formed in the tree is by incision. This Camphor is chiefly used for funeral rites, and any that is exported is bought by the Chinese at a high price, as they use it for embalming, it being less volatile than ordinary Camphor. Another Camphor called N'gai, obtained from the Blumea Balcamferi (Compositae), differs chemically from the Borneo species, being levogyrate, and is converted by boiling nitric acid, to a substance considered identical with stearoptene of Chrysanthemum parthenium. This plant grows freely in the author's garden, and is known in Great Britain as Double-flowered Bush Fever-Few.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Camphor has a strong, penetrating, fragrant odour, a bitter, pungent taste, and is slightly cold to the touch like menthol leaves; locally it is an irritant, numbs the peripheral sensory nerves, and is slightly antiseptic; it is not readily absorbed by the mucous membrane, but is easily absorbed by the subcutaneous tissue- it combines in the body with glucuronic acid, and in this condition is voided by the urine. Experiments on frogs show a depressant action to the spinal column, no motor disturbance, but a slow increasing paralysis; in mankind it causes convulsions, from the effect it has on the motor tract of the brain; it stimulates the intellectual centres and prevents narcotic drugs taking effect, but in cases of nervous excitement it has a soothing and quieting result. Authorities vary as to its effect on blood pressure; some think it raises it, others take an opposite view; but it has been proved valuable as an excitant in cases of heart failure, whether due to diseases or as a result of infectious fevers, such as typhoid and pneumonia, not only in the latter case as a stimulant to circulation, but as preventing the growth of pneumococci. Camphor is used in medicine internally for its calming influence in hysteria, nervousness and neuralgia, and for serious diarrhoea, and externally as a counter-irritant in rheumatisms, sprains bronchitis, and in inflammatory conditions, and sometimes in conjunction with menthol and phenol for heart failure; it is often given hypodermically, 3 to 5 grains dissolved in 20 to 30 minims of sterile Olive oil - the effect will last about two hours. In nervous diseases it may be given in substance or in capsules or in spirit; dose 2 to 5 grains. Its great value is in colds, chills, and in all inflammatory complaints; it relieves irritation of the sexual organs.
---Preparations and Dosages---Spirit of Camphor, B.P., 5 to 20 drops. Tincture of Camphor Comp., B.P. (Paregoric), 1/2 to 1 drachm. Camphor water, B.P., 1 to 2 OZ. Liniment of Aconite, B.P. Liniment of Belladonna, B.P. Liniment of Camphor Comp., B.P. Liniment of Opium, B.P. Liniment of Soap, B.P. Liniment of Mustard, B.P. Liniment of Turpentine, B.P. Liniment of Turpentine and Acetic Acid, B.P. Spirit of Camphor, B.P., 5 to 20 drops. Tincture of Camphor Comp., B.P.

See Corncockle.

Canadian Hemp
See Hemp, Canadian.

See Centaury, Chilian.

Candytuft, Bitter

Botanical: Iberis amara
Family: N.O. Cruciferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Parts Used---Leaves, stem, root, seeds.
---Habitat---Found in various parts of Europe and in English and Scotch cornfields, specially in limestone districts.

---Description---This plant is an erect, rather stiff, very bitter annual, 6 to 12 inches high; flowers milky white, forming a terminal flat corymb; leaves oblong, lanceolate, acute, toothed; pod nearly orbicular, the long style projecting from notch at top; it flowers with the corns.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A tincture made from the ripe seeds is much used in homoeopathy, but the plant is more generally used by American herbalists. All parts of the plant are used, leaves, stem, root and seeds, more particularly the latter. It has always been used for gout, rheumatism and kindred ailments, and is now usually combined with other plants for the same diseases in their acute form, and as a simple to allay excited action of the heart, especially when it is enlarged. For asthma, bronchitis and dropsy it is considered very useful.
---Dosage---1 to 3 grains of the powdered seeds. In overdoses or too large ones it is said to produce giddiness, nausea and diarrhoea.

See (White) Cinnamon.

See Cayenne.


Botanical: Carum Carvi (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonym---Caraway Seed.
---Part Used---Fruit.
---Habitat---The plant is distributed throughout the northern and central parts of Europe and Asia, though where it occurs in this country it is only considered a naturalized species, having apparently escaped from cultivation.
Caraway is another member of the group of aromatic, umbelliferous plants characterized by carminative properties, like Anise, Cumin, Dill and Fennel. It is grown, however, less for the medicinal properties of the fruits, or so-called 'seeds,' than for their use as a flavouring in cookery, confectionery and liqueurs .
---Description---It is a biennial, with smooth, furrowed stems growing 1 1/2 to 2 feet high, hearing finely cut leaves, and umbels of white flowers which blossom in June. The fruitswhich are popularly and incorrectly called seeds - and which correspond in general character to those of the other plants of this large family, are laterally compressed, somewhat horny and translucent, slightly curved, and marked with five distinct, pale ridges. They evolve a pleasant, aromatic odour when bruised, and have an agreeable taste.
The leaves possess similar properties and afford an oil identical with that of the fruit. The tender leaves in spring have been boiled in soup, to give it an aromatic flavour.
---History---The roots are thick and tapering, like a parsnip, though much smaller and are edible. Parkinson declared them, when young, to be superior in flavour to Parsnips. Mixed with milk and made into bread, they are said to have formed the 'Chara' of Julius Ceasar, eaten by the soldiers of Valerius.
Caraway was well known in classic days, and it is believed that its use originated with the ancient Arabs, who called the 'seeds' Karawya, a name they still bear in the East, and clearly the origin of our word Caraway and the Latin name Carvi, although Pliny would have us believe that the name Carvi was derived from Caria, in Asia Minor, where according to him the plant was originally found. In old Spanish the name occurs as Alcaravea.
Caraway is frequently mentioned by the old writers. Dioscorides advised the oil to be taken by pale-faced girls. In the Middle Ages and in Shakespeare's times it was very popular.
'The seed,' says Parkinson, 'is much used to be put among baked fruit, or into bread, cakes, etc., to give them a rellish. It is also made into comfites and taken for cold or wind in the body, which also are served to the table with fruit.'
In Henry IV, Squire Shallow invites Falstaff to 'a pippin and a dish of caraways.' The custom of serving roast apples with a little saucerful of Caraway is still kept up at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at some of the old-fashioned London Livery Dinners, just as in Shakespeare's days - and in Scotland to this day a saucerful is put down at tea to dip the buttered side of bread into and called 'salt water jelly.'
The scattering of the seed over cakes has long been practised, and Caraway-seed cake was formerly a standing institution at the feasts given by farmers to their labourers at the end of the wheat-sowing. The little Caraway comfits consist of the seeds encrusted with white sugar. In Germany, the peasants flavour their cheese, cabbage, soups, and household bread with Caraway, and in Norway and Sweden, polenta-like, black, Caraway bread is largely eaten in country districts.
The oil extracted from the fruits is used as an ingredient of alcoholic liquors: both the Russians and the Germans make from Caraway a liqueur, 'Kummel,' and Caraway enters into the composition of l'huile de Venus and other cordials.
A curious superstition was held in olden times about the Caraway. It was deemed to confer the gift of retention, preventing the theft of any object which contained it, and holding the thief in custody within the invaded house. In like manner it was thought to keep lovers from proving fickle (forming an ingredient of love potions), and also to prevent fowls and pigeons from straying. It is an undoubted fact that tame pigeons, who are particularly fond of the seeds, will never stray if they are given a piece of baked Caraway dough in their cote.
---Cultivation---Preparation for Market---Caraway does best when the seeds are sown inthe autumn, as soon as ripe, though they may be sown in March. Sow in drills, 1 foot apart, the plants when strong enough, being thinned out to about 8 inches in the rows. The ground will require an occasional hoeing to keep it clean and assist the growth of the plants. From an autumn-sown crop, seeds will be produced in the following summer, ripening about August.
When the fruit ripens, the plant is cut and the Caraways are separated by threshing. They can be dried either on trays in the sun, or by very gentle heat over a stove, shaking occasionally.
There are several varieties, the English, the Dutch and the German (obtained from plants extensively cultivated in Moravia and Prussia), and other varieties imported from Norway, Finland, Russia and the Morocco ports.
---Habitat---One marked peculiarity about Caraway is that it is indigenous to all parts of Europe, Siberia, Turkey in Asia, Persia, India and North Africa, and yet it is cultivated only in a few comparatively restricted areas. It grows wild in many parts of Canada and the United States, but is nowhere grown there as a field or garden crop. Its cultivation is restricted to relatively small areas in England, Holland, Germany, Finland, Russia, Norway and Morocco, where it constitutes one of the chief agricultural industries within its narrow confines. It has so far received comparatively little attention in England, where it is grown only in Essex, Kent and Suffolk, upon old grassland broken up for the purpose. Holland cultivates the main crop, producing and exporting far larger quantities than any other country. It is cultivated most extensively there in the provinces of Groningen and North Holland, in which more than half the acreage is found. In the whole country about 20,000 acres are devoted to this crop, each acre yielding about 1,000 lb., whereas while Caraway is grown commercially throughout Germany, Austria, France and parts of Spain, the character and amounts produced are very variable, and the yield per acre varies only from 400 to 700 lb., and these countries do not produce much more than they require for home consumption. Morocco produces a grade of Caraway that comes regularly into the English and American markets, but is somewhat inferior in quality. Dutch Caraway is preferred among consumers in the United States, and the bulk used there comes from Holland.
During the last year or two there has been a scarcity of Caraway, owing partly to the fact that the extensive area of land in Holland usually employed for the cultivation of the plant was devastated by floods towards the close of 1915. Much Dill seed is now being sold in its place. Quite lately, a small grower reported that she had netted L. 5 (pounds sterling) from growing Caraway on a corner of what otherwise would have been waste ground.
---Constituents---The seeds contain from 4 to 7 per cent of volatile oil, according to the variety of Caraway fruit from which obtained that distilled from home-grown fruits being considered the best. Caraway grown in more northerly latitudes is richer in essential oil than that grown in southern regions, and if grown in full sun a greater percentage and a richer oil is obtained.
The oil is distilled chiefly from Dutch, Norwegian and Russian fruits. The Dutch are small and dark brown in color. English fruits, of which only a small quantity is produced, are of a brighter tint.
The chief constituent of the oil is a hydrocarbon termed Carvene, also found in oils of Dill and Cumin, and an oxygenated oil Carvol, a mobile liquid (isomeric with the menthol of Spearmint).
From 6 lb. of the unbruised seeds, 4 oz. of the pure essential oil can be expressed.
The exhausted seed, after the distillation of the oil, contains a high percentage of protein and fat, and is used as a cattle food.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Both fruit and oil possess aromatic, stimulant and carminative properties. Caraway was widely employed at one time as a carminative cordial, and was recommended in dyspepsia and symptoms attending hysteria and other disorders. It possesses some tonic property and forms a pleasant stomachic. Its former extensive employment in medicine has much decreased in recent years, and the oil and fruit are now principally employed as adjuncts to other medicines as corrective or flavouring agents, combined with purgatives. For flatulent indigestion, however, from 1 to 4 drops of the essential oil of Caraway given on a lump of sugar, or in a teaspoonful of water, will be found efficacious. Distilled Caraway water is considered a useful remedy in the flatulent colic of infants, and is an excellent vehicle for children's medicine. When sweetened, its flavour is agreeable.
One ounce of the bruised seeds infused for 6 hours in a pint of cold water makes a good Caraway julep for infants, from 1 to 3 teaspoonsful being given for a dose.
The bruised seeds, pounded with the crumb of a hot new loaf and a little spirit to moisten, was an old-fashioned remedy for bad earache. The powder of the seeds, made into a poultice, will also take away bruises.


Botanical: Elettaria Cardamomum (MATON)
Family: N.O. Zingiberaceae (Scitamineae)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Amomum Cardamomum. Alpinia Cardamomum. Matonia Cardamomum. Cardamomum minus. Amomum repens. Cardamomi Semina. Cardamom Seeds. Malabar Cardamums. Ebil. Kakelah seghar. Capalaga. Gujatatti elachi. Ilachi. Ailum.
---Part Used---The dried, ripe seeds.
---Habitat---Southern India.
---Description---The large perennial herb. yielding Cardamom seeds is known in its own country as 'Elattari' or 'Ilachi,' while 'Cardamomum' was the name by which some Indian spice was known in classical times.
It has a large, fleshy rhizome, and the alternate, lanceolate leaves are blades from 1 to 2 1/2 feet long, smooth and dark green above, pale, glaucous green and finely silky beneath. The flowering stems spread horizontally near the ground, from a few inches to 2 feet long, and bear small, loose racemes, the small flowers being usually yellowish, with a violet lip. The fruits are from 2/5 to 4/5 of an inch long, ovoid or oblong, bluntly triangular in section, shortly beaked at the apex, pale yellowish grey in color, plump, and nearly smooth. They are three-celled, and contain in each cell two rows of small seeds of a dark, reddish-brown color. These should be kept in their pericarps and only separated when required for use. Though only the seeds are official, the retention of the pericarp is an obstacle to adulteration, while it contains some oil and forms a good surface for grinding the seeds. The value is estimated by the plumpness and heaviness of the fruits and the soundness and ripeness of the seeds. Unripe seeds are paler and less plump. The unbroken fruits are gathered before they are quite ripe, as the seeds of fruits which have partially opened are less aromatic, and such fruits are less valued. The seeds have a powerful, aromatic odour, and an agreeable, pungent, aromatic taste, but the pericarps are odourless and tasteless.
There is some confusion as to the different kinds, both botanically and commercially, different writers distinguishing them in varied ways.
The official Cardamums in the United States are stated to be only those produced in India, chiefly in Malabar and Mysore, but in Britain the seeds corresponding most closely to the official description are recognized, in spite of their names, as being imported from Ceylon.
The Cardamom is a native of Southern India, and grows abundantly in forests 2,500 to 5,000 feet above sea-level in North Canara Coorgi and Wynaad, where it is also largely cultivated. It flowers in April and May and the fruit-gathering lasts in dry weather for three months, starting in October. The methods of cultivating and preparing vary in different districts.
In the Bombay Presidency the fruits are washed by women with water from special wells and pounded soap nut (a kind of acacia). They are dried on house-roofs, the stalks clipped, and sometimes a starchy paste is sprinkled over them, in addition to the bleaching.
Bombay ships about 250,000 lb. annually to the London market. They were formerly known by their shapes as shorts, short-longs, and long-longs, but the last are now rarely seen. One hundred parts of the fruit yield on an average 74 parts of seeds and 26 of pericarp. The powdered seeds may be distinguished from the powdered fruit by the absence of the tissues of the pericarp.
The seeds are about 1/5 of an inch long, angular, wrinkled, and whitish inside. They should be powdered only when wanted for use, as they lose their aromatic properties.
In Great Britain and the United States Cardamums are employed to a small extent as an ingredient of curry powder, and in Russia, Sweden, Norway, and parts of Germany are largely used for flavouring cakes and in the preparation of liqueurs, etc. In Egypt they are ground and put in coffee, and in the East Indies are used both as a condiment and for chewing with betel. Their use was known to the ancients. (There are constant references to Cardamom Seeds in The Arabian Nights.) In France and America the oil is used in perfumery.
---Constituents---The seeds contain volatile oil, fixed oil, salt of potassium, a coloring principle, starch, nitrogenous mucilage, ligneous fibre, an acrid resin, and ash. The volatile oil contains terpenes, terpineol and cineol. Good 'shorts' yield about 4-6 per cent. It is colorless when fresh, but becomes thicker, more yellow, and less aromatic. It is very soluble in alcohol and readily soluble in four volumes of 70 per cent. alcohol, forming a clear solution.
Its specific gravity is 0.924 to 0.927 at 25 degrees C. (77 degrees F.). It is not used medicinally, but solely for pharmaceutical purposes, being employed as a flavouring in the compound spirit and compound elixir of Cardamums, and in other elixirs and mixtures. It is largely adulterated, owing to the high price of the seeds and the small percentage of volatile oil found in them.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Carminative, stimulant, aromatic, but rarely used alone; chiefly useful as an adjuvant or corrective.
The seeds are helpful in indigestion and flatulence, giving a grateful but not fiery warmth. When chewed singly in the mouth the flavour is not unpleasant, and they are said to be good for colic and disorders of the head.
In flavouring they are combined with oils of Orange, Cinnamon, Cloves, and Caraway.
The substitution of glycerine for honey in the 1880 United States' formula for compound tincture increased its stability.
---Dosages---15 to 30 grains of the powdered seeds. Of tincture, 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Of compound tincture, B.P., 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Fluid extract, 5 to 30 drops.
---Adulterations---Various unofficial Cardamums are included, the product of otherspecies. Orange seeds and unroasted grains of coffee are also admixed. The oil is said to be no longer distilled from Eiettaria cardamomum. It is often factitious, and composed of oils of Cajuput, Nutmeg, etc.
---Other Species---
MADRAS CARDAMUMS, exported from Madras and Pondicherry.
ALEPPY CARDAMUMS, exported from Aleppy and Calicut, are also recognized in Britain, the former being paler and 'short-longs' and the latter 'shorts.'
CEYLON WILD CARDAMOMS are the fruits of E. cardamomum var. major, imported from Ceylon, and sometimes called Long Wild Natives. They are cultivated in Kandy, and sometimes called in the East, Grains of Paradise, but they are not the product known by that name in Europe and America.
ROUND or SIAM CARDAMUMS are probably those referred to by Dioscorides, and called Amomi uva by Pliny. They are the fruits of A. cardamomum and A. globosum, growing in Java, Siam, and China, etc., and are nearly the size of a cherry. In their natural clusters they are the amomum racemosum or amome en grappe of the French, and in Southern Europe are sometimes used in the same way as the official kinds.
BENGAL CARDAMOMS, from A. subulatum, are sometimes called Winged Bengal Cardamums, Morung elachi, or Buro elachi. They are oblong or oval, and about an inch long.
NEPAL CARDAMUMS, of unknown origin, are like the Bengal species, but usually stalked, and have a long, tubular calyx.
WINGED JAVA CARDAMOMS, from A. maximum, growing in the Malay islands, are about an inch long, and when soaked in water show from 4 to 13 ragged wings on each side. They are feebly aromatic, and are usually sent abroad from the London markets.
KORARIMA CARDAMOMS, from A. kararima, have recently become known.
MADAGASCAR CARDAMUMS, of A. angustifolium, have pointed, ovate flattened capsules. The flavour of the seeds resembles the official variety.
BASTARD CARDAMUMS, from A. Xanthioides looks like the real kind, but is greenish in color, and tastes like crude camphor.
Cardamomum Siberiense (Star Aniseed), Annis de Siberie of the seventeenth century and badiane of the French, is from Illicium verum, the fruit of which is chiefly used in preparing a volatile oil resembling the official oil of Anise.

See Artichoke, Cardoon


Botanical: Jacaranda procera (SPRENG.)
Family: N.O. Bignoniacea
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Carob Tree. Carobinha. Bignonia Caroba. Jacaranda Caroba. Caaroba.
---Part Used---The leaves.
---Habitat---South America.
---Description---The genus Jacaranda includes several species which are used medicinally in South America, and especially in Brazil. The trees are small, and the leaves thick, tough, and lanceolate, about 2 1/2 inches long, odourless, and slightly bitter in taste.
---Constituents---There has been found in the leaves Caroba balsam, caroborelinic acid carobic acid, steocarobic acid, carobon, and crystalline substance, carobin.
---Medicinal Actions and Uses---The value of the Jacaranda active principles has been proved in syphilis and venereal diseases, being widely used by the aborigines of Brazil and other South American countries. The leaves have also been tried in epilepsy for their soothing influence.
---Dosage---From 15 to 60 grains.
---Other Species---
CAROB-TREE, or Ceratonia siliqua, is a small tree of the Mediterranean coasts. (One species of Jacarande tree grows in Palermo, and the exquisite blue flowers when in bloom about the middle of June are an arresting sight, much more suggestive of 'Love in the Mist' than the plant which actually bears that name. - EDITOR.) Beyond its name it has no connexion with Caroba. It furnishes the St. John's Bread which probably corresponds to the husks of the Prodigal Son parable, and the seed which is said to have been the original jewellers' carat weight.
The Spaniards call it Algaroba, and the Arabs Kharoub, hence Carob or Caroub Pods, Beans, or Sugar-pods. It is also called Locust Pods. These pods are much used in the south of Europe for feeding domestic animals and, in times of scarcity, as human food. Being saccharine, they are more heatgiving than nourishing. The seeds or beans were used as fodder for British cavalry horses during the Spanish campaign of 1811-12.
South American varieties are Prosopis dulcis and P. siliquastrum of the Leguminosae family.


Botanical: Daucus carota (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Parts Used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
Chemical Constituents
Medicinal and General Uses
---Synonyms---Philtron (Old Greek). Bird's Neat.
---Part Used---Whole herb.
---Habitat---A native wild plant common everywhere in the British Islands.
Both the Carrot and Parsnip are striking examples of the effect of cultivation on wild plants. The roots of the wild variety are small and woody, while those of the cultivated kind are fleshy and succulent and grow to a considerable size.
---History---The Carrot was well known to the ancients, and is mentioned by Greek and Latin writers under various names, being, however, not always distinguished from the Parsnip and Skirret, closely allied to it. The Greeks - Professor Henslow tells us - had three words: Sisaron, first occurring in the writings of Epicharmus, a comic poet (500 B.C.); Staphylinos, used by Hippocrates (430 B.C.) and Elaphoboscum, used by Dioscorides (first century A.D.), whose description of the plant applies accurately to the modern Carrot. Pliny says:
'There is one kind of wild pastinaca which grows spontaneously; by the Greeks it is known as staphylinos. Another kind is grown either from the root transplanted or else from seed, the ground being dug to a very considerable depth for the purpose. It begins to be fit for eating at the end of the year, but it is still better at the end of two; even then, however, it preserves its strong pungent flavour, which it is found impossible to get rid of.'
In speaking of the medical virtue of the first species (which is evidently the Carrot, the second variety presumably the Parsnip), he adds, 'the cultivated has the same as the wild kind, though the latter is more powerful, especially when growing in stony places.'
The name Carota for the garden Carrot is found first in the writings of Athenaeus (A.D. 200), and in a book on cookery by Apicius Czclius (A.D. 230). It was Galen (second century A.D.) who added the name Daucus to distinguish the Carrot from the Parsnip, calling it D. pastinaca, and Daucus came to be the official name in the sixteenth century, and was adopted by Linnaeus in the eighteenth century.
From the time of Dioscorides and Pliny to the present day, the Carrot has been in constant use by all nations. It was long cultivated on the Continent before it became known in this country, where it was first generally cultivated in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, being introduced by the Flemings, who took refuge here from the persecutions of Philip II of Spain, and who, finding the soil about Sandwich peculiarly favourable for it, grew it there largely. As vegetables were at that time rather scarce in England, the Carrot was warmly welcomed and became a general favourite, its cultivation spreading over the country. It is mentioned appreciatively by Shakespeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor. In the reign of James I, it became the fashion for ladies to use its feathery leaves in their head-dresses. A very charming, fern-like decoration may be obtained if the thick end of a large carrot be cut off and placed in a saucer of water in a warm place, when the young and delicate leaves soon begin to sprout and form a pretty tuft of verdant green, well worth the slight trouble entailed.
Its root is small and spindle-shaped whitish, slender and hard, with a strong aromatic smell and an acrid, disagreeable taste, very different to the reddish, thick, fleshy, cultivated form, with its pleasant odour and peculiar, sweet, mucilaginous flavour. It penetrates some distance into the ground, having only a few lateral rootlets.
---Description---The stems are erect and branched, generally about 2, feet high, tough and furrowed. Both stems and leaves are more or less clothed with stout, coarse hairs. The leaves are very finely divided, the lowest leaves considerably larger than the upper; their arrangement on the stem is alternate, and all the leaves embrace the stem with the sheathing base, which is so characteristic of this group of plants, the Umbelliferae, to which the Carrot belongs. The blossoms are densely clustered together in terminal umbels, or flattened heads, in which the flower-bearing stalks of the head all arise from one point in rays, like the ribs of an umbrella, each ray again dividing in the case of the Carrot, to form a secondary umbel, or umbellule of white flowers, the outer ones of which are irregular and larger than the others. The wild Carrot is in bloom from June to August, but often continues flowering much longer. The flowers themselves are very small, but from their whiteness and number, they form a conspicuous head, nearly flat while in bloom, or slightly convex, but as the seeds ripen, the umbels contract, the outer rays, which are to begin with 1 to 2 inches long, lengthening and curving inwards, so that the head forms a hollow cup hence one of the old popular names for the plant: Bird's Nest. The fruit is slightly flattened, with numerous bristles arranged in five rows. The ring of finely-divided and leaf-like bracts at the point where the umbel springs is a noticeable feature.
The Carrot is well distinguished from other plants of the same order by having the central flower of the umbel, or sometimes a tiny umbellule, of a bright red or deep purple color, though there is a variety, D. maritimus, frequent on many parts of the sea coast in the south of England, which differs in having somewhat fleshy leaves and in being destitute of the central purple flower. In this case, all the flowers of the head have often a somewhat pinkish tinge. There was a curious superstition that this small purple flower of the Carrot was of benefit in epilepsy.
---Parts Used Medicinally---The whole herb, collected in July; the seeds and root. The whole herb is the part now more generally in use.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Diuretic, Stimulant, Deobstruent. An infusion of the whole herb is considered an active and valuable remedy in the treatment of dropsy, chronic kidney diseases and affections of the bladder. The infusion of tea, made from one ounce of the herb in a pint of boiling water, is taken in wineglassful doses. Carrot tea, taken night and morning, and brewed in this manner from the whole plant, is considered excellent for lithic acid or gouty disposition. A strong decoction is very useful in gravel and stone, and is good against flatulence. A fluid extract is also prepared, the dose being from 1/2 to 1 drachm.
The seeds are carminative, stimulant and very useful in flatulence, windy colic, hiccough, dysentery, chronic coughs, etc. The dose of the seeds, bruised, is from one-third to one teaspoonful, repeated as necessary. They were at one time considered a valuable remedy for calculus complaints. They are excellent in obstructions of the viscera, in jaundice (for which they were formerly considered a specific), and in the beginnings of dropsies, and are also of service as an emmenagogue. They have a slight aromatic smell and a warm, pungent taste. They communicate an agreeable flavour to malt liquor, if infused in it while in the vat, and render it a useful drink in scorbutic disorders.
Old writers tell us that a poultice made of the roots has been found to mitigate the pain of cancerous ulcers, and that the leaves, applied with honey, cleanse running sores and ulcers. An infusion of the root was also used as an aperient.
---Cultivation---The root of the Carrot consists of Bark and Wood: the bark of theGarden Carrot is the outer red layer, dark and pulpy and sweet to the taste; the wood forms the yellow core, gradually becoming hard, stringy and fibrous. The aim of cultivation, therefore, is to obtain a fleshy root, with the smallest part of wood. This depends on soil and the quality and kind of the seed.
For its successful cultivation, Carrot needs a light, warm soil, which has been well manured in the previous season. The most suitable soil is a light one inclining to sand, a somewhat sandy loam or dry, peaty land being the best, but even heavy ground, properly prepared, may be made to produce good Carrots. Formerly the cultivation of the Carrot was almost entirely confined to the light lands of Norfolk and Suffolk.
The ground should be well prepared some months in advance; heavy ground should be lightened by the addition of wood ash, road scrapings, old potting soil and similar materials. It is essential that the soil be in such a state as to allow the roots to penetrate to their full length without interruption. Previous to sowing the seed, the soil should be lightly forked over, and, if possible, be given a dressing of leaf soil or well decayed vegetable matter, but no fresh manure must be dug into the top spit of ground intended for Carrots and Parsnips, as it may cause the roots to become forked. The crops will, however, benefit by about an ounce of superphosphate to the square yard, raked in before sowing, or by a light dressing of soot.
Sowing of the main crop should be done in calm weather about the middle of March or early in April. The seeds frequently adhere to one another by means of the forked hairs which surround them. These hairs can be removed by rubbing through the hands or a fine chaff sieve. The seeds should then be mixed with about twice the bulk of dry earth, sand or sifted ashes (about one bushel of seeds to 4 or 5 lb. of sand). When the ground is thoroughly prepared and has been firmly trodden, draw flat-bottomed drills from north to south, 1/2 inch deep and 3 inches wide. Distribute the seed along the row evenly and thinly and cover lightly. Carrots can hardly be covered too lightly, 1 inch of fine soil is quite enough, and for ordinary use they may be sown in drills one foot apart, but if extra large roots are desired, more room must be given between the rows. As soon as the young plants are large enough to handle they may be thinned to 6 inches or 8 inches apart. The thinning may be at first to a distance of 3 inches, and then a final thinning later, the second thinnings being used as young Carrots for culinary purposes. Frequent dustings of soot will greatly benefit the crop. Light hoeings between the rows to keep the crop free from weeds is all that is necessary during the period of growth. Partial shade from other crops is often found beneficial.
Scarlet Immediate is the best sort for general purposes.
Main-crop Carrots are generally taken up about the last week in October, or early in November, by three-pronged forks, and stored in sand in a dry place, where they can be kept till the following March or April Some of the roots dug in the autumn can be replanted in February, about 2 feet apart, with the crown or head a few inches below the surface. Leaves and flowers will spring from them, and the seeds produced will ripen in the autumn.
By making successional sowings, good crops of small roots will be always available. In gardens, Carrots are grown in succession of crops from the latter part of February to the beginning of August. For early Carrots sow on a warm border in February: such a sowing, if made as soon as the state of ground allows, will assure early Carrots just when fresh and quickly-grown vegetables are most highly prized. They will be off in time to leave the ground ready for other crops.
After a good dressing of soot has been given, Carrots may be sown again, and even then it leaves the room vacant for winter greens or cabbage for use next spring. Sowing as late as July is generally successful in most districts. Main crops are often sown too early, especially on cold soils. Carrots are liable to attacks of grubs and insects, the upper part of the root being also attacked by the grub of a kind of fly, the best remedy being late sowing, to avoid the period at which these insects are evolved from the egg. Dusting with ashes and a little soot or lime wards off both birds and slugs from the young tender growths.
Carrots are a valuable product for the farmer in feeding his cattle, and for this purpose are raised in large quantities. The produce of an acre of Carrots in Suffolk is on an average 350 bushels per acre, but sometimes much more. In the Channel Islands and Brittany, much larger crops of Carrots and Parsnips are obtained than are yielded in England, the soil being deeply trenched by a spade or specially-constructed plough. Far more Carrots are grown in France, Germany and Belgium for fodder than here. Horses are remarkably fond of Carrots, and when mixed with oats, Carrots form a very good food for them; with a small quantity of oats or other corn, a horse may be supported on from 20 to 30 lb. of Carrots daily. In Suffolk, Carrots were formerly given as a specific for preserving and restoring the wind of horses, but they are not considered good for cattle if fed too long on them. They may also with advantage be given both to pigs and poultry, and rabbits are especially fond of them. The kinds grown for farm purposes are generally larger than those in the kitchen garden and are known as Red Carrots, the more delicate Orange Carrot being the variety used in cooking. Some farmers sow the seeds on the top of the drills, which is said to be an improvement over the gardener, who makes his Carrot-bed on the flat in the ordinary way. This ridge system gives good results the Carrots being clean and well-shaped and free from grubs. The farmers reckon about 2 lb. of seed for an acre for drills, and 5 or 6 lb. if sown broadcast. For ordinary garden purposes, one ounce of seed is reckoned to be sufficient for about 600 feet sown in drills.
---Chemical Constituents---The juice of the Carrot when expressed contains crystallizable and uncrystallizable sugar, a little starch, extractine gluten, albumen, volatile oil (on which the medicinal properties of the root depend and which is fragrant, aromatic and stimulating), vegetable jelly or pectin, saline matter, malic acid and a peculiar crystallizable, ruby-red neutral principle, without odour or taste, called Carotin.
Carrots contain no less than 89 per cent of water; their most distinguishing dietical substance is sugar, of which they contain about 4.5 per cent.
Owing to the large percentage of carbohydrate material contained by Carrots, rabbits fed for some days on Carrots alone, are found to have an increased amount of glycogen stored in the liver, carbohydrate being converted into glycogen in the body.
Sir Humphry Davy ascertained the nutritive matter of Carrots to amount to 98 parts in 1,000, of which 95 are sugar, and three are starch. Weight for weight, they stand third in nourishing value on the list of roots and tubers, potatoes and parsnips taking first and second places. Carrots containing less water and more nourlshing material than green vegetables, have higher nutritive qualities than turnips, swedes, cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower, onions and leeks. Moreover, the fair proportion of sugar contained in their composition adds to their nourishing value.
In the interesting collection of the Food Collection at Bethnal Green Museum, prepared by Dr. Lankester, we learn that the maximum amount of work produceable by a pound of Carrots is that it will enable a man to raise 64 tons one foot high, so that it would appear to be a very efficient forceproducer. From 1 lb. of Carrots we can obtain 1 OZ. and 11 grains of sugar, while out of the 16 oz. fourteen are water. When we consider that in an average man of 11 stone or 154 lb. weight, about 111 of these are water, we see what a large supply is needful to repair waste and wear and tear.
---Medicinal and General Uses---The chief virtues of the Carrot lie in the strong antiseptic qualities they possess, which prevent all putrescent changes within the body.
Carrots were formerly of some medicinal repute as a laxative, vermifuge, poultice, etc., and the seeds have been employed as a substitute for caraways.
At Vichy, where derangements of the liver are specially treated, Carrots in one form or the other are served at every meal whether in soup or as vegetables, and considerable efficacy of cure is attributed to them.
In country districts, raw Carrots are still sometimes given to children for expelling worms, and the boiled roots, mashed to a pulp, are sometimes used as a cataplasm for application to ulcers and cancerous sores.
Carrot sugar, got from the inspissated juice of the roots, may be used at table, and is good for the coughs of consumptive children.
A good British wine may be brewed from the root of the Carrot, and a very tolerable bread prepared from the roots, dried and powdered. The pectic acid contained can be extracted from the root and solidifies into a wholesome, appetizing jelly.
In Germany, a substitute and adulteration for coffee has been made of Carrots chopped into small pieces, partially carbonized by roasting and then ground.
In France and Germany a spirit is distilled from the Carrot, which yields more spirit than the potato. The refuse after making the spirit is good for feeding pigs.
Attempts have also been made to extract sugar from Carrots, but the resulting thick syrup refuses to crystallize, and in competition with either cane sugar or that obtained from the beetroot, it has not proved commercially successful.
Carrots are also used in winter and spring in the dairy, to give color and flavour to butter, and a dye similar to woad has been obtained from the leaves.

---Carrot Jam---

Wash and grate some carrots; boil until reduced to a thick pulp. To 1 Ib. of this pulp add 9 oz. sugar, the juice and grated rind of 2 lemons, and 3 oz. margarine. Boil the mixture well for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The result is a useful and inexpensive jam, which can be made for 6d. to 8d. a lb. (according to the price of the lemons), if all materials have to be bought, and for considerably less by those who have home-grown carrots available.
---Preserved Young Carrots---
Turn the carrots in their own shape, and as you do so, them turn into hot water; when all are ready, put them in a stewpan with water enough to cover them; add fresh butter in the proportion of an ounce to the pound of carrots, and salt to season; boil the carrots in this till half done, and then arrange them neatly in tin boxes; fill up with their own liquor, solder down, boil for hour, and put them away in the cool.

Carrot, Wild

Botanical: Daucus carota (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Birds' Nest and Bees' Nest.
---Parts Used---Whole herb, seeds, root.
---Habitat---Britain, near the sea in greatest abundance, and in waste places throughout Europe, Russian Asia, America, and is even found in India.
---Habitat---Probably originally a native of the sea-coasts of Southern Europe degenerated into its present wild state, but of very ancient cultivation. The name 'Carrot' is Celtic, and means 'red of color,' and Daucus from the Greek dais to burn, signifying its pungent and stimulating qualities.
The Carrot was in ancient times much valued for its medicinal properties; the Wild Carrot, which is found so plentifully in Britain, both in cultivated lands and by waysides, thriving more especially by the sea, is superior, medicinally, to the cultivated kind.
---Description---Its root is small and spindle shaped, whitish, slender and hard, witha strong aromatic smell and an acrid, disagreeable taste, very different to the reddish, thick, fleshy, cultivated form, with its pleasant odour and peculiar, sweet, mucilaginous flavour. It penetrates some distance into the ground, having only a few lateral rootlets.
The stems are erect and branched, generally about 2 feet high, tough and furrowed. Both stems and leaves are more or less clothed with stout coarse hairs. The leaves are very finely divided, the lowest leaves considerably larger than the upper; their arrangement on the stem is alternate, and all the leaves embrace the stem with the sheathing base, which is so characteristic of this group of plants, the Umbelliferae, to which the Carrot belongs. The blossoms are densely clustered together in terminal umbels, or flattened heads, in which the flower-bearing stalks of the head all arise from one point in rays, like the ribs of an umbrella, each ray again dividing in the case of the Carrot, in like manner to form a secondary umbel, or umbellule of white flowers, the outer ones of which are irregular and larger than the others. The Wild Carrot is in bloom from June to August, but often continues flowering much longer. The flowers themselves are very small, but from their whiteness and number, they form a conspicuous head nearly flat while in bloom, or slightly convex, but as the seeds ripen, the umbels contract, the outer rays, which are to begin with 1 to 2 inches long, lengthening and curving inwards, so that the head forms a hollow cup hence one of the old popular names for the plant - Birds' Nest. The fruit is slightly flattened, with numerous bristles arranged in five rows. The ring of finely-divided and leaf-like bracts at the point where the umbel springs is a noticeable feature.
The Carrot is well distinguished from other plants of the same order by having the central flower of the umbel, or sometimes a tiny umbellule, of a bright red or deep purple color, though there is a variety, Daucus maritimus, frequent in many parts of the seacoast in the south of England, which differs in having somewhat fleshy leaves and no central purple flower. In this case, all the flowers of the head have usually a somewhat pinkish tinge. There was a curious superstition that this small purple flower of the Carrot was of benefit for mitigating epilepsy.
---Constituents---The medicinal properties of the seeds are owing to a volatile oil which is colorless or slightly tinged with yellow; this is procured by distilling with water. They also yield their virtues by infusion to water at 212 degrees F.; boiling dissipates them. No thorough analysis has been made.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Diuretic, stimulant deobstruent. An infusion of the whole herb is considered an active and valuable remedy in the treatment of dropsy, chronic kidney diseases and affections of the bladder. The infusion, made from 1 OZ. of the herb in a pint of boiling water, is taken in wineglassful doses. Carrot tea, taken night and morning, and brewed in this manner from the whole front, is considered excellent for a gouty disposition. A strong decoction is very useful in gravel and stone, and is good against flatulence. A fluid extract is also prepared, the dose being from 1/2 to 1 drachm.
The seeds are carminative, stimulant and very useful in flatulence, windy colic, hiccough, dysentery, chronic coughs, etc. The dose of the seeds, bruised, is from one-third to one teaspoonful, repeated as necessary. They were at one time considered a valuable remedy for calculus complaints. They are excellent in obstructions of the viscera, in jaundice (for which they were formerly considered a specific), and in the beginnings of dropsies, and are also of service as an emmenagogue. They have a slight aromatic smell and a warm, pungent taste. They communicate an agreeable flavour to malt liquor, if infused in it while working in the vat, and render it a useful drink in scorbutic disorders.
Old writers tell us that a poultice made of the roots has been found to mitigate the pain of cancerous ulcers, and that the leaves, applied with honey, cleanse running sores and ulcers. An infusion of the root was also used as an aperient.

Cascara, Amarga

Botanical: Picramnia antidesma (S. W.)
Family: N.O. Simarubacaea
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Mountain Damson Bark. Simaruba Honduras Bark.
---Parts Used---Bark, root-bark.
---Habitat---Jamaica and South Guiana.
---Description---A native of the West Indies and yields the drug known as Simaruba bark. The tree grows to a considerable height and thickness and has alternate spreading branches; the bark on the old trees is black and furrowed, on the younger trees smooth grey, in places spotted with big patches of yellow, the wood is hard, white and without any special taste; it has numerous leaves alternately on the branches, each leaf has several pinnae, nearly elliptical, upper side smooth deep green, under side whitish, short foot-stalks, flowers male and female on different trees, color yellow in long panicles. The bark is rough scaly and poor; inside when fresh is a good yellow color, but when dry paler; it has very little smell and taste and though very bitter is not disagreeable. Macerated in water or rectified spirits it gives a yellow tincture; makes a better and stronger infusion in cold water than in boiling water; the decoction is transparent yellow when hot, but when cooled, is turbid and brownish red in color. The bark was brought from Guiana in 1713 as a remedy for dysentery. In France in 1718 to 1825 an epidemic flux was cured by the bark and this established its medicinal use in Europe.
---Constituents---A bitter tonic credited with specific alternative properties. It belongs to an undetermined species of picrammia and contains a bitter sweet amorphous alkaloid.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Purgative, tonic, diaphoretic. A very valuable bitter tonic, useful in diarrhoea, dysentery, and in some forms of indigestion; in large doses it is said to act as an emetic. It restores tone to the intestines, allays spasmodic motions, promotes a healthy secretion. Big doses cause vomiting and nausea - should not be used in dysentery attended with fever. In dysentery with weak indigestion it is often preferred to chamonilee.
---Dosage---The infusion taken in wineglassful doses every four to six hours.
---Other Species---
Simaruba versicolor, a Brazilian species,has similar properties; the fruits and barks are also used as anthelmintics, and an infusion of the bark is used for snake-bite. The plant is so bitter that insects will not attack it - on which account the powdered bark has been used to kill vermin.
S. alauca, a native of Cuba, gives a glutinous juice which has been found useful in some forms of skin disease.

Cascara Sagrada
See Buckthorn, Californian.


Botanical: Croton Eleuteria (J. BENN.)
Family: N.O. Euphorbiaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Sweetwood Bark. Sweet Bark. Bahama Cascarilla. Elutheria. Clutia Eleuteria. Cascarillae Cortex. Cortex Thuris. Aromatic Quinquina. False Quinquina.
---Part Used---The dried bark.
---Habitat---The Bahama Islands.
---History---The name Croton comes from a Greek word meaning 'a tick,' and Eleuteria from the name of one of the Bahama Islands, Eleuthera, near Providence Island.
---Description---It is a small tree rarely reaching 20 feet in height, with scanty, alternate, ovate-lanceolate leaves, averaging 2 inches long, closely-scaled below, giving a metallic silver-bronze appearance, with scattered, white scales above. The flowers are small, with white petals, and very fragrant, appearing in March and April. The scented bark is fissured, and pale yellowish brown. It is imported from Nassau, in New Providence.
The quills of dried bark average 2 inches in length, and 3/8 inch in thickness. They are often furrowed in both directions, so that they appear to be chequered. The outer, thin, corky layer is white, often covered with a fine lichen ( Verrucaria albissima). The second layer is brownish, and sometimes shows through. The bark is hard and compact, breaking with a short, resinous fracture. The taste is nauseating, warm and bitter, and the odour agreeable and aromatic, especially when burned, resembling weak musk, so that it is used in fumigating pastilles, and sometimes mixed with tobacco, though in the latter case some regard it as being liable to cause giddiness and symptoms of intoxication.
The leaves can be infused for a digestive tea, and the bark yields a good, black dye.
---Constituents---There have been found in the bark albumen, tannin, cascar illin (a bitter, crystallizable principle, soluble in alcohol, ether, and hot water), red coloring matter, fatty matter with a sickly odour, volatile oil, gum, wax, resin, starch, pectic acid potassium chloride, a salt of calcium, and lignin.
The oil contains an alcohol, two sesquiterpenes, a free acid consisting of liquid cascarillic acid and a mixture of solid palmitic and stearic acids, eugenol, a terpene (differing from pinene), cymene, and possibly some l-limonene. Betaine has also been found.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---An aromatic, bitter tonic, with possibly narcotic properties. It is used in dyspepsia, intermittent and low fevers, diarrhoea and dysentery. It is a stimulant to mucous membranes, and in chronic bronchitis is used as an expectorant; while it is valuable in atonia dyspepsia, flatulence, chronic diarrhcea, nocturnal pollutions, debility and convalescence. Added to cinchona, it will arrest vomiting caused by that drug.
---Dosages---Of Cascarilla powdered Bark, 20 to 30 grains. Of Infusum Cascarillae (B.P. 1 OZ. to 1/2 pint), 1 to 2 fluid ounces. Of Tinctura Cascarillae, 1/2 to 2 fluid drachms. Of fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Tincture, B.P. 1/2 to 1 drachm.
---Other Species---
Cascarilla is also the name of Quina morada, the bark of Pogonopus febrifugus, used in the Argentine Republic as a substitute for cinchona bark. An alkaloid, Moradeine, and a blue fluorescent substance, Moradin, have been separated from it.
Croton Cascarilla, the Wild Rosemary of the West Indies, was at first thought to be the source of the Cascarilla of commerce.
C. Pseudo-China, or Copalchi Bark, of Mexico, also known as Copalche Bark or C. niveus, resembles C. Eleuteria so closely that it can be mistaken for it. It is used in the same way. A second variety, more bitter, may be a product of C. suberosus.
It has also been mistaken for a variety of cinchona.
C. micans is thought to have similar properties.
White, red, and black Cascarillas are also found in commerce, differing in form and properties, but these are other names for varieties of quinquina.

Cashew Nut

Botanical: Anacardium occidentale (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Anacardiaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonym---Cassavium pomiferum.
---Part Used---Nut.
---Habitat---Jamaica, West Indies, and other parts of tropical America.
---Description---A medium-sized tree, beautiful, and not unlike in appearance the walnut tree, with oval blunt alternate leaves and scented rose-colored panicles of bloom - the tree produces a fleshy receptacle, commonly called an apple, at the end of which the kidney-shaped nut is borne; the end of it which is attached to the apple, is much bigger than the other. The outer shell is ashy color, very smooth, the kernel is covered with an inner shell, and between the two shells is found a thick inflammable caustic oil, which will raise blisters on the skin and be dangerously painful if the nuts are cracked with the teeth.
---Constituents---Two peculiar principles have been found: Anacardic Acid and a yellow oleaginous liquid Cardol.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The oil must be used with great caution, but has been successfully applied to corns, warts, ringworms, cancerous ulcers and even elephantiasis, and has been used in beauty culture to remove the skin of the face in order to grow a new one. The nuts are eaten either fresh or roasted, and contain a milky juice which is used in puddings. The older nuts are roasted and salted and the dried and broken kernels are sometimes imported to mix with old Madeira as they greatly improve its flavour. In roasting great care must be taken not to let the fumes cover the face or hands etc., as they cause acute inflammation an external poisoning. Ground and mixed with cocoa the nuts make a good chocolate. The fruit is a reddy yellow and has a pleasant sub-acid stringent taste, the expressed juice of the fruit makes a good wine, and if distilled, a spirit much better than arrack or rum. The fruit itself is edible, and its juice has been found of service in uterine complaints and dropsy. It is a powerful diuretic. The black juice of the nut and the milky juice from the tree after incision are made into an indelible marking-ink- the stems of the flowers also give a milky juice which when dried is hard and black and is used as a varnish. A gum is also found in the plant having the same qualities as gumarabic; it is imported from South America under the name of Cadjii gum, and used by South American bookbinders, who wash their books with it to keep away moths and ants. The caustic oil found in the layers of the fruit is sometimes rubbed into the floors of houses in India to keep white ants away.
---Other Species---
The Oriental Anacardium or Cashew Nut (Semecarpus anacardium), a native of India, has similar qualities to the West Indian Cashew, and is said to contain an alkaloid called Chuchunine.
Ammonium anarcadate. This is the Ammonium compound of beta and delta resinous acids of A. occidentale (Cashew Nut), and is used as a hair-dye, but cannot be used with acids, acid salts, or acetate of lead.

See Mandioca.

Cassia (Cinnamon)

Botanical: Cinnamomum cassia (BLUME)
Family: N.O. Lauraceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Poisons and Antidotes
Other Species, Sustitutes and Adulterations
---Synonyms---Bastard Cinnamon. Chinese Cinnamon. Cassia lignea. Cassia Bark. Cassia aromaticum. Canton Cassia.
---Part Used---The dried bark.
---Habitat---Indigenous to China. Cochin-China and Annam. Also cultivated in Sumatra, Ceylon, Japan, Java, Mexico and South America.
---Description---As its name of Bastard Cinnamon implies, the product of this tree is usually regarded as a substitute for that of the Cinnarmomum zeylanicum of Ceylon, which it closely resembles. The cultivated trees are kept as coppices, and numerous shoots, which are not allowed to rise higher than 10 feet, spring from the roots. Their appearance when the flame-colored leaves and delicate blossoms first appear is very beautiful. The fruit is about the size of a small olive. The leaves are evergreen, ovaloblong blades from 5 to 9 inches long. The trees are at their greatest perfection at the age of ten to twelve years, but they continue to spread and send up new shoots. The bark may be easily distinguished from that of cinnamon, as it is thicker, coarser, darker, and duller, the flavour being more pungent, less sweet and delicate, and slightly bitter. The stronger flavour causes it to be preferred to cinnamon by German and Roman chocolate makers. The fracture is short, and the quills are single, while pieces of the corky layer are often left adhering. The best and most pungent bark is cut from the young shoots when the leaves are red, or from trees which grow in rocky situations. The bark should separate easily from the wood, and be covered inside with a mucilaginous juice though the flavour of the spice is spoiled if this is not carefully removed. The wood without the bark is odourless and is used as fuel. When clean, the bark is a little thicker than parchment, and curls up while drying in the sun. It is imported in bundles of about 12 inches long, tied together with strips of bamboo and weighing about a pound. It is the kind almost universally kept in American shops.
The dried, unripe fruits, or Chinese Cassia Buds, have the odour and taste of the bark, and are rather like small cloves in appearance. They have been known in Europe as a spice since the Middle Ages, being then probably used in preparing a spiced wine called Hippocras. Now they are employed in confectionery and in making Pot-Pourri. The importation of the buds into the U.S.A. in 1916 was 197,156 lb., and of Cassia and Cassia leaves 7,487,156 lb.
---Constituents---Cassia bark yields from 1 to 2 per cent of volatile oil, somewhat resembling that of cinnamon. It should be kept from the light in well-stoppered, ambercolored bottles. It is cheaper and more abundant than the Ceylon variety, and is the only official oil of Cinnamon in the United States Pharmacopoeia and German Pharmacopoeia. It is imported from Canton and Singapore. Its value depends on the percentage of cinnamic aldehyde which it contains. It is heavier, less liquid, and congeals more quickly than the Ceylon oil.
There are also found in it cinnamyl acetate, cinnamic acid, phenylpropyl acetate and orthocumaric aldehyde, tannic acid and starch.
Ceylon cinnamon, if tested with one or two drops of tincture of iodine to a fluid ounce of a decoction of the powder, is but little affected, while with Cassia a deep blueblack color is produced. The cheaper kinds of Cassia can be distinguished by the greater quantity of mucilage, which can be extracted by cold water.
Eighty pounds of the freshly-prepared bark yield about 2.5 oz. of the lighter of the two oils produced, and 5 5 of the heavier.
An oil was formerly obtained by distilling the leaves after maceration in sea water, and this was imported into Great Britain.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Stomachic, carminative, mildly astringent, said to be emmenagogue and capable of decreasing the secretion of milk. The tincture is useful in uterine haemorrhage and menorrhagia, the doses of 1 drachm being given every 5, 10 or 20 minutes as required. It is chiefly used to assist and flavour other drugs, being helpful in diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, and to relieve flatulence.
The oil is a powerful germicide, but being very irritant is rarely used in medicine for this purpose. It is a strong local stimulant, sometimes prescribed in gastro-dynia, flatulent colic, and gastric debility.
---Dosages---Of oil, 1 to 3 minims. Of powder, 10 to 20 grains.
---Poisons and Antidotes---It was found that 6 drachms of the oil would kill a moderately sized dog in five hours, and 2 drachms in forty hours, inflammation of the gastro-intestinal mucous membrane being observed.
---Other Species, Substitutes and Adulterations---The powder cinnamon is often adulterated with sugar, ground walnut shells, galanga rhizome, etc.
The oil sometimes contains resin, petroleum, or oil of Cloves. Saigon cinnamon was recognized by the United States Pharmacopoeia in 1890. It comes from French Cochin-China, its botanical origin being uncertain. It is also known as Annam Cinnamon, China Cinnamon, and God's Cinnamon.
C. inners gives the Wild Cinnamon of Japan. It is also found in Southern India, where the buds are more mature, and are employed medicinally by the Indians in dysentery, diarrhcea and coughs. The bark is used as a condiment.
C. lignea includes several inferior varieties from the Malabar Coast.
C. Sintok comes from Java and Sumatra.
C. obtusifolium, from East Bengal, Assam, Burmah, etc., is perhaps not distinct from C. Zeylanicum.
C. Culilawan and C. rubrum come from the Moluccas, Amboyna, and have a flavour of cloves.
C. Loureirii grows in Cochin-China and Japan.
C. pauciflorum is found from Silhet and Khasya.
C. Burmanni is said to yield Massoi Bark, which is also a product of Massora aromatica.
The bark of C. Tamala as well as the above species gives the inferior Cassia Vera.
C. inserta is slightly known.
C. nitidum has aromatic leaves, which, when dried, are said to have been the 'folia Malabathri.'
Martinique and Cayenne contribute three varieties, from trees introduced from Ceylon and Sumatra. Other kinds are known as Black Cinnamon, Isle of France Cinnamon, and Santa Fé Cinnamon.
Oil of Cassia is now recognized in the United States Pharmacopceia under the name of oil of Cinnamon.

Castor Oil Plant

Botanical: Ricinus communis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Euphorbiaceae
Preparation for Market
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Palma Christi. Castor Oil Bush.
---Part Used---Seeds.
---Habitat---By cultivation it has been distributed through not only all tropical and subtropical regions, but also in many of the temperate countries of the globe.
The valuable purgative known as Castor Oil is the fixed oil obtained from the seeds of the Castor Oil plant. Besides being used medicinally, the oil is also employed for lubricating purposes, burning and for leather dressing. The Chinese are said to have some mode of depriving it of its medicinal properties so as to render it suitable for culinary purposes.
The Castor Oil plant is a native of India, where it bears several ancient Sanskrit names, the most ancient and most usual being Eranda, which has passed into several other Indian languages.
It is very variable in habit and appearance, the known varieties being very numerous, and having mostly been described as species. In the tropical latitudes most favourable to its growth, it becomes a tree 30 to 40 feet high; in the Azores and the warmer Mediterranean countries - Algeria, Egypt, Greece and the Riviera - it is of more slender growth, attaining an average height of only 10 to 15 feet, and farther north in France, and in this country, where it is cultivated as an ornamental plant on account of its large and beautiful foliage, it is merely a shrubby branched annual herb, rarely more than 4 to 5 feet high, with thick, hollow, herbaceous stems, which are cylindrical, smooth and shiny, with a purplish bloom in the upper part.
---Description---The handsome leaves are placed alternately on the stem, on long, curved, purplish foot-stalks, with drooping blades, generally 6 to 8 inches across, sometimes still larger, palmately cut for threefourths of their depth into seven to eleven lance-shaped, pointed, coarsely toothed segments. When fully expanded, they are of a blue-green color, paler beneath and smooth; when young, they are red and shining.
The flowers are male and female on the same plant, and are produced on a clustered, oblong, terminal spike. The male flowers are placed on the under portion of the spike; they have no corolla, only a green calyx, deeply cut into three to five segments, enclosing numerous, much branched, yellow stamens. The female flowers occupy the upper part of the spike and have likewise no corolla. The three narrow segments of the calyx are, however, of a reddish color, and the ovary in their centre is crowned by deeply-divided, carmine-red threads (styles). The fruit is a blunt, greenish, deeply-grooved capsule less than an inch long, covered with soft, yielding prickles in each of which a seed is developed. The seeds of the different cultivated varieties differ much in size and in external markings but average seeds are of an oval, laterally compressed form. The smaller, annual varieties yield small seeds- the tree forms, large seeds. They have a shining, marble-grey and brown, thick, leathery outer coat, within which is a thin, dark-colored, brittle coat. A large, distinct, leafy embryo lies in the middle of a dense, oily tissue (endosperm). The seeds contain a toxic substance which make them actively poisonous, so much so that three large seeds have been known to kill an adult.
The following letter, taken from The Chemist and Druggist (February 19, 1921), corroborates the statement as to the 'toxic substance' in this plant:
SIR, - On looking through my C. & D. I noticed your illustration of three ancient gentlemen "conferring at the Home Office as to whether Castor Oil should be put on the list of dangerous drugs," etc. Let me say that I think it very well might be, and I shall tell you why. In 1874, when I was in Squire's, Oxford Street, an assistant there was reading for his Minor examination, and as I had just come from Dr. Muter's school I used to bring up sometimes from the stockroom below samples of leaves, roots, seeds, etc., and show them to this assistant to see if he could tell what they were. One day I brought up some Castor Oil seeds, and asked if he knew what they were. He did not know, so I told him they were Castor Oil seeds . He said " I think it would be a good idea to make an emulsion of these and take it instead of the oil." I told him to shell them first, as there was a poisonous principle under the shell. He did so. I do not think he used more than six of the seeds, and when he had made the emulsion, which looked very nice, he drank it all. Within ten minutes he disappeared out of the shop unexpectedly, and an hour or two afterwards someone went up to his bedroom and found him Iying there unconscious. It was not then known what was wrong with him; but three West-End doctors near at hand were called in, and thinking he had taken some irritant poison they treated him with opiate injections, etc., as he had been severely purged and vomiting. I had gone off duty that afternoon at five o'clock, and when I came back at eleven there was considerable commotion among the assistants. They told me what had happened, and I was able to tell them exactly what the assistant had done, as until then they did not know. He lay for nearly a fortnight before he was able to resume work, and during that time he scarcely took any food, but one of the assistants made him jellies with gelatin and the juice of lemons and oranges, as well as other light articles of diet. I guess it - the emulsion - had acted very much in the same way as a few drops of croton oil would have done had it been made into an emulsion - as an irritant poison. I therefore think some caution is needed in dealing with Castor Oil seeds, if not particularly with the oil itself. On old-fashioned Castor Oil bottles the labels stated that it was "cold-drawn" oil. This, no doubt, would be because if heat were used in expressing the oil some of the poisonous principle would be dissolved by it. The coarser varieties of Gstor Oil, I think, are all more active than the fine oils, and this may likely be due to some of the poisonous element being expressed by the greater pressure used in making the cruder oil. Perhaps this note may serve as a caution to someone else who might be tempted to try an emulsion of Castor Oil seeds.
Yours truly,
In the South of England the plant ripens its seeds in favourable situations, and it has been known to come to maturity as far north as Christiania in Norway.
---History---It was known to Herodotus, who calls it Kiki, and states that it furnishes an oil much used by the wiccans, in whose ancient tombs seeds of Ricinus are met with. At the period when Herodotus wrote (the fourth century B.C.), it would appear to have been already introduced into Greece, where it is cultivated to the present day under the same ancient name. The Kikajon of the Book of Jonah, rendered by the translators of the English Bible, 'gourd,' is believed to be the same plant. Kiki is also mentioned by Strabo as a production of Egypt, the oil from which is used for burning in lamps and for unguents. Theophrastus and Dioscorides, in the first century, describe the plant, Dioscorides giving an account of the process for extracting the oil and saying that it is not fit for food, but is used externally in medicine, and stating that the seeds are extremely purgative. Pliny, about the same time, also speaks of it as a drastic purgative.
We read of it being employed medicinally in Europe during the early Middle Ages: it is recorded that it was cultivated by Albertus Magnus, Bishop of Ratisbon, in the middle of the thirteenth century, but later it fell into disuse, though Gerard (1597) was familiar with it under the name of Ricinus or Kik: the oil, he says, is called Oleum cicinum and used externally in skin diseases. As a garden plant, it was well known in this country in the time of Turner (1551). In the eighteenth century, its cultivation in Europe as a medicinal plant had, however, practically ceased, and the small supplies of the seeds and oil required for European medicine were obtained from Jamaica. The name 'Castor' was indeed originally applied about this period to the plant in Jamaica, where it seems to have been called 'Agnus Castus,' though it bears no resemblance to the South European plant properly so called. The botanical name is from the Latin Ricinus (a dog-tick), from the form and markings of the seed.
---Cultivation---The various varieties of Ricinus, which are perennial in their nativecountries, are generally annuals in England, though sometimes they may be preserved through the winter.
Plants are readily grown from seed, which should be sown on a hot bed early in March. When the plants come up, each should be planted in a separate small pot, filled with light soil and plunged into a fresh hot bed. The young plants are kept under glass till early in June, when they are hardened and put out.
Ricinus (Bronze King) and R. Africanus are two good garden varieties for this country, which if given good soil and kept well supplied with water, grow to a large size and make a fine effect in the garden.
---Preparation for Market---The seeds are collected when ripe: as the capsules dry, theyopen and discharge the seeds.
The oil is obtained from the seeds by two principal methods - expression and decoction. The latter process is largely used in India, where the oil on account of its cheapness and abundance, is extensively employed for illuminating, as well as for other domestic andmedicinal purposes.
The oil exported from Calcutta to Europe is prepared by shelling and crushing the seed between rollers. The crushed mass is then placed in hempen cloths and pressed in a screw or hydraulic press. The oil which exudes is mixed with water and heated till the water boils and the mucilaginous matter in the oil separates as a scum. It is next strained, then bleached in the sunlight and stored for exportation.
In France, the oil is obtained by macerating the bruised seeds in alcohol, but the process is expensive and the product inferior.
There are two modes of extracting the oil by expression: (1) without heat, when it is termed 'cold drawn Castor Oil,' this process being largely carried out in Italy, Marseilles, Belgium, Hull and London; (2) with heat, the process generally adopted in America.
Italian Castor Oil, which is of an excellent quality, is pressed from seeds grown chiefly in the neighbourhood of Verona and Legnago. Two varieties of Ricinus are cultivated in these localities, the black-seeded wiccan and the red-seeded American, the latter yields the larger percentage, but the oil is not so pale in color. All the Castor Oil pressed in Italy, however, is not pressed from Italian seed, but some seeds are imported from India into Italy - as also into this country.
In the north of Italy, the fresh seeds are alone used, and after they have been crushed and the seed coats very carefully removed with a winnowing machine and by hand, the blanched seeds are put into small hempen bags, which are arranged in superposed layers in a powerful hydraulic press, with a sheet of iron heated to 90 degrees F. between each layer, so as to enable the oil to flow readily, they are finally submitted to pressure in a room, which in the winter is heated to a temperature of about 70 degrees. The oil which first flows is of the finest quality, but an inferior oil is subsequently obtained by pressing the mass at a somewhat higher temperature. The peeled seeds yield about 40 per cent. of oil. After expression, the oil is usually bleached by exposure to sunlight or by chemical means.
In America, where the oil is obtained by expression with heat, the manufacture is conducted on an extensive scale in California. There the seeds are submitted to a dry heat in a furnace for an hour or so, by which they are softened and prepared to part easily with their oil. They are then pressed in a large powerful screwpress, and the oily matter which flows out is mixed with an equal proportion of water, and boiled to purify it from mucilaginous and albuminous matter. After boiling about an hour, it is allowed to cool, the water is drawn off and the oil is transferred to zinc tanks or clarifiers capable of holding from 60 to 100 gallons. In these it stands about eight hours, bleaching in the sun, after which it is ready for storing. By this method, 100 lb. of good seeds yield about five gallons of pure oil.
Of these three varieties of extraction, the Italian or cold drawn is considered the best the East Indian, the poorest, as the mode of purifying by heating with water is considered very imperfect. The former owes its freedom from acridity and unpleasant taste partly to the removal of the seed coats before pressing, and partly to the low temperature used during the manufacture.
---Constituents---The seeds contain 50 per cent of the fixed oil, which is a viscid fluid, almost colorless when pure, possessing only a slight odour and mild, yet highly nauseous and disagreeable taste. Its specific gravity is high for an oil, being 0.96, a little less than that of water, and it dissolves freely in alcohol, ether and glacial acetic acid. It contains Palmitic and several other fatty acids, among which there is one - Ricinoleic acid - peculiar to itself. This occurs in combination with glycerine, constituting the greater part of the bulk of the oil. The oil is decomposed by the fat-splitting ferments of the intestinal canal liberating this irritant Ricinoleic acid, to which the purgative action is considered in all probablity to be due.
Both the seeds themselves and the cake left after the expression of the oil are violently purgative, a property which is due to the presence of the highly toxic albumin Ricin. The seeds are never employed in this country on account of their violent action. Ricin exhibits its highest toxicity when injected into the blood. It is of interest to note that the work upon which is based the whole science of Serum therapeutics was carried out by Ehrlich with Ricin. He found that by injecting gradually increasing doses, immunity was established, a condition which he attributed to the formation of an antibody and termed Antiricin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Castor Oil is regarded as one of the most valuable laxatives in medicine. It is of special service in temporary constipation and wherever a mild action is essential, and is extremely useful for children and the aged. It is used in cases of colic and acute diarrhoea due to slow digestion, but must not be employed in cases of chronic constipation, which it only aggravates whilst relieving the symptoms. It acts in about five hours, affecting the entire length of the bowel, but not increasing the flow of bile, except in very large doses. The mode of its action is unknown. The oil will purge when rubbed into the skin, or injected. It is also used for expelling worms, after other special remedies have been administered.
The only serious objections to the use of Castor Oil are its flavour and the sickness often produced by it. The nauseous taste may be disguised by administering it covered by Lemon oil, Sassafras oil and other essential oils, or floating on Peppermint or Cinnamon water, or coffee, or shaken up with glycerine, or given in fresh or warmed milk, the dose varying from 1 to 4 teaspoonsful. Probably the best way, however, is to administer it in capsules. Small repeated doses may be given in the intestinal colic of children.
It may also be made into an emulsion with the yolk of an egg or mucilage; or with orange-wine or gin.
Castor Oil forms a clean, light-colored soap, which dries and hardens well and is free from smell. It has been recommended for medicinal use. The inferior qualities of the oil are frequently employed in India for soap-making.
Externally, the oil has been recommended for various cutaneous complaints, such as ringworm, itch, etc. The fresh leaves are used by nursing mothers in the Canary Islands as an external application, to increase the flow of milk.
The oil varies much in activity - the East Indian is the more active, but the Italian has the least taste.
Castor Oil is an excellent solvent of pure alkaloids and such solutions of Atropine, Cocaine, etc., as are used in ophthalmic surgery. It is also dropped into the eye to remove the after-irritation caused by the removal of foreign bodies.
'Castor Oil is finding increasing uses in the industrial world. It figures largely in the manufacture of the artificial leather used in upholstery; it furnishes a coloring for butter, and from it is produced the so-called 'Turkey-red' oil used in the dyeing of cotton textures. It is an essential component in some artificial rubbers, in various descriptions of celluloid, and in the making of certain waterproof preparations, and one of the largest uses is in the manufacture of transparent soaps. It also furnishes sebacic acid which is employed in the manufacture of candles, and caprylic acid, which enters into the composition of varnishes, especially suitable for the polishing of high-class furniture and carriage bodies. One of its minor uses is in the manufacture of fly-papers.' - 'West India Committee Circular.' (Quoted in The Chemist and Druggist.)
'THE CLEANING OF PICTURES. Lecturing in London, on November 15, on the preservation and restoration of pictures, Professor A. P. Lawrie, while not prepared to give a final opinion as to the safest methods of cleaning, suggested that where alcohol was used Castor Oil should be laid on the surface with a soft brush; and then a mixture of Castor Oil and alcohol dabbed on with a soft brush, and removed by diluting with turpentine and sopping up with a large dry brush. Where alcohol was not a sufficiently powerful solvent, copaiba balsam emulsified with ammonia might be used, a preparation of copaiba balsam thinned with a little turpentine being laid on first.' (Chemist and Druggist, November 25, 1922.)
Combined with citron ointment, it is used as a topical application in common leprosy.

Catechu, Pale
Botanical: Uncaria Gambier (ROXB.)

Catechu Pallidum

Family: N.O. Rubiaceae
---Synonyms---Terra Japonica. Gambier.
---Habitat---Singapore and other places of the Eastern Archipelago.

Catechu, Black

Botanical: Catechu nigrum, Acacia catechu (WILLD.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Habitat---Burma, India.
Pale Catechu is an extract made from the leaves and young shoots of Uncaria Gambier (Roxb.), a member of the order Rubiaceae, not an Acacia. It occurs in commerce in dark or pale-brown cubes with a dull, powdery fracture, or sometimes in lozenge form.
Black Catechu occurs in black, shining pieces or cakes.
Both substances are sold under the name of Catechu.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Both the dark and the pale Catechu are employed in medicine, the former is more astringent, the latter, being sweeter, is less disagreeable.
It depends almost entirely for its virtues upon the tannic acid it contains and is hence employed as an astringent to overcome relaxation of mucous membranes in general.
An infusion can be employed to stop nosebleeding, and is also employed as an injection for uterine haemorrhage, leucorrhoea and gonorrhoea.
Externally, it is applied in the form of powder, to boils, ulcers and cutaneous eruptions, and also used for the same purposes mixed with other ingredients, in an ointment.
A small piece, held in the mouth and allowed slowly to dissolve, is an excellent remedy in relaxation of the uvula and simple pharyngitis.
In powder, applied to spongy gums, it often proves of use and has been recommended as a dentifrice with powdered charcoal, myrrh, etc.
The pharmaceutical preparations are: Powdered Catechu, dose 5 to 15 grains; Compound Powder of Catechu, B.P., dose 10 to 40 grains; Tincture of Catechu, B.P., dose 1/2 to 1 drachm; Comp. Tincture, U.S.P., dose 1 drachm. Catechu Lozenges are also official preparations in both the British and United States Pharmacopoeias.
Like Acacia arabica, the wood-extract of this species has, however, a larger field in the tanning industry than in medicine. The Pale Catechu (Gambier Catechu) is largely used in the arts, for dyeing purposes, yielding a color known as 'Cutch Brown.'
Cutch is subject to the most extensive adulteration, though this exists chiefly in the tanning grades. The chief adulterants are Than (an extract obtained by boiling the bark of Buceras oliverii), dried blood, ashes, sand, clay and starch, and their detection is provided for in the official tests.


Botanical: Nepeta cataria (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Part used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Parts Used---Leaves, herb.
---Habitat---Catmint or Catnep, a wild English plant belonging to the large family Labiatae, of which the Mints and Deadnettles are also members, is generally distributed throughout the central and the southern counties of England, in hedgerows, borders of fields, and on dry banks and waste ground, especially in chalky and gravelly soil. It is less common in the north, very local in Scotland and rare in Ireland, but of frequent occurrence in the whole of Europe and temperate Asia, and also common in North Arnerica, where originally. however. it was an introduced species.
---Description---The root is perennial and sends up square, erect and branched stems, 2 to 3 feet high, which are very leafy and covered with a mealy down. The heartshaped, toothed leaves are also covered with a soft, close down, especially on the under sides, which are quite white with it, so that the whole plant has a hoary, greyish appearance, as though it had had dust blown over it.
The flowers grow on short footstalks in dense whorls, which towards the summit of the stem are so close as almost to form a spike. They are in bloom from July to September. The individual flowers are small, the corollas two-lipped, the upper lip straight, of a whitish or pale pink color, dotted with red spots, the anthers a deep red color. The calyx tube has fifteen ribs, a distinguishing feature of the genus Nepeta, to which this species belongs.
---History---The plant has an aromatic, characteristic odour, which bears a certain resemblance to that of both Mint and Pennyroyal. It is owing to this scent that it has a strange fascination for cats, who will destroy any plant of it that may happen to be bruised. There is an old saying about this plant:
'If you set it, the cats will eat it,
If you sow it, the cats don't know it.'
And it seems to be a fact that plants transplanted are always destroyed by cats unless protected, but they never meddle with the plants raised from seed, being only attracted to it when it is in a withering state, or when the peculiar scent of the plant is excited by being bruised in gathering or transplanting.
In France the leaves and young shoots are used for seasoning, and it is regularly grown amongst kitchen herbs for the purpose. Both there and in this country, it has an old reputation for its value as a medicinal herb. Miss Bardswell, in The Herb Garden, writes of Catmint:
'Before the use of tea from China, our English peasantry were in the habit of brewing Catmint Tea, which they said was quite as pleasant and a good deal more wholesome. Ellen Montgomery in The Wide, Wide World made Catmint Tea for Miss Fortune when she was ill. It is stimulating. The root when chewed is said to make the most gentle person fierce and quarrelsome, and there is a legend of a certain hangman who could never screw up his courage to the point of hanging anybody till he had partaken of it. Rats dislike the plant particularly, and will not approach it even when driven by hunger.'
This dislike of rats for Catmint might well be utilized by growing it round other valuable crops as a protective screen.
Closely allied to the Catmint is the Ground Ivy (Nepeta glechoma, Benth.), named Glechoma hederacea by Linnaeus.
---Cultivation---Catmint is easily grown in any garden soil, and does not require moisture in the same way as the other Mints. It may be increased by dividing the plants in spring, or by sowing seeds at the same period. Sow in rows, about 20 inches apart, thinning out the seedlings to about the same distance apart as the plants attain a considerable size. They require no attention, and will last for several years if the ground is kept free from weeds. The germinating power of the seeds lasts five years.
Catmint forms a pretty border plant, especially in conjunction with Hyssop, the soft blues blending pleasingly, and it is also a suitable plant for the rock garden.
---Part Used Medicinally---The flowering tops are the part utilized in medicine and are harvested when the plant is in full bloom in August.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Carminative, tonic, diaphoretic, refrigerant and slightly emmenagogue, specially antispasmodic, and mildly stimulating.
Producing free perspiration, it is very useful in colds. Catnep Tea is a valuable drink in every case of fever, because of its action in inducing sleep and producing perspiration without increasing the heat of the system. It is good in restlessness, colic, insanity and nervousness, and is used as a mild nervine for children, one of its chief uses being, indeed, in the treatment of children's ailments. The infusion of 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water may be taken by adults in doses of 2 tablespoonsful, by children in 2 or 3 teaspoonsful frequently, to relieve pain and flatulence. An injection of Catnep Tea is also used for colicky pains.
The herb should always be infused, boiling will spoil it. Its qualities are somewhat volatile, hence when made it should be covered up.
The tea may be drunk freely, but if taken in very large doses when warm, it frequently acts as an emetic.
It has proved efficacious in nervous headaches and as an emmenagogue, though for the latter purpose, it is preferable to use Catnep, not as a warm tea, but to express the juice of the green herb and take it in tablespoonful doses, three times a day.
An injection of the tea also relieves headache and hysteria, by its immediate action upon the sacral plexus. The young tops, made into a conserve, have been found serviceable for nightmare.
Catnep may be combined with other agents of a more decidedly diaphoretic nature. Equal parts of warm Catnep tea and Saffron are excellent in scarlet-fever and small-pox, as well as colds and hysterics. It will relieve painful swellings when applied in the form of a poultice or fomentation.
Old writers recommended a decoction of the herb, sweetened with honey for relieving a cough, and Culpepper tells us also that 'the juice drunk in wine is good for bruises,' and that 'the green leaves bruised and made into an ointment is effectual for piles,' and that 'the head washed with a decoction taketh away scabs, scurf, etc.'

See Catmint.


Botanical: Antennaria dioca (GAEERTN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Life Everlasting. Mountain Everlasting. Gnaphalium dioicum (Linn.). Cudweed.
---Part Used---Whole herb.
---Habitat---Europe, Asia, America to the Arctic regions, abundant in Great Britain, often to the coast level.
---Description---This plant derives its name from the antennae of a butterfly which the pappus hairs of the Staminate florets resemble.
It is the only British species, a small perennial with tufted or creeping leafly stalks and almost simple flowering stems, from 2 to 5 inches high. Lower leaves obovate or oblong, upper ones linear, white underneath or on both sides. Flowers early summer white and pinky, dioecious. In the males, inner bracts of the involucre have broad white petal-like tips, the females inner bracts narrow and white at tips, florets filiform with long protruding pappus to the achenes. Taste astringent odour pleasant and strongest in the female heads, male plant has white membraneous scales and the female rosecolored. Gerard alludes to it as 'Live for ever,' and says:
'When the flower hath long flourished and is waxen old, then comes there in the middest of the floure a certain brown yellow thrumme, such as is in the middest of the daisie, which floure being gathered when it is young may be kept in such manner (I meane in such freshness and well-liking) by the space of a whole year after in your chest or elsewhere, wherefore our English women have called it "Live Long," or "Live-for ever," which name doth aptly answer thiseffects.'
Another variety of Cudweed was called 'Herbe Impious' or 'Wicked Cudweed,' a variety
'like unto the small Cudweed, but much larger and for the most part those floures which appeare first are the lowest and basest; and they are over topt by other floures, which come on younger branches, and grow higher as children seeking to overgrow or overtop their parents (as many wicked children do) for which cause it hath been called "Herbe Impious." '
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Discutient and used for its astringent properties, as a cure for quinsy, and mumps, said to be efficacious for bites of poisonous reptiles, and for looseness of bowels.
---Constituents---Resin, volabile oil tanin and a bitter principle.
---Doses---For a mouthwash: 1 OZ. Cudweed, 1 OZ. Raspberry Leaves, 1 OZ. Tincture of Myrrh. As an infusion: 1 OZ. herb to pint boiling water is given internally in wineglassful doses and applied externally, as a gargle and as a fomentation. Fluid extract: Dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm.

See (Blue) Cohosh.


Botanical: Capsicum minimum (ROXB.)
Family: N.O. Solanaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---African Pepper. Chillies. Bird Pepper.
---Part Used---Fruit, ripe and dried.
---Habitat---Zanzibar - but now grown in most tropical and sub-tropical countries.
---Description---Cayenne or Capsicum derives its name from the Greek, 'to bite,' in allusion to the hot pungent properties of the fruits and seeds. Cayenne pepper was introduced into Britain from India in 1548, and Gerard mentioned it as being cultivated in his time. The plant was described by Linnaeus under the name of C. frutescens proper. This species appeared in Miller's Garden Dictionary in 1771. It is a shrubby perennial plant 2 to 6 feet high. Branches angular, usually enlarged and slightly purple at the nodes; petioles medium; peduncles slender, often in pairs, and longer than the fruit; calyx cup-shaped, clasping base of fruit which is red, ovate, and long; seeds small and flat, from ten to twenty-nine. The cuticle of the pericarp is uniformly striated and in this particular is distinct from other species. Taste very pungent and smell characteristic. It is difficult to determine the source of true powdered Capsicum, as the color is affected by light, so that it should always be kept in dark receptacles. African pepper is generally light brownish-yellow color and very pungent; its pungency appears to depend on a principle called Capsicin. Cayenne is sometimes adulterated with oxide of red lead, which may be detected by digesting in dilute nitric acid. Other adulterants are colored sawdust which can be found by the aid of the microscope. The British Pharmacopceia requires that capsicum should yield not more than 6 per cent of ash, and this test detects the presence of most adulterants.
---Constituents---Capsaicin, a red coloring matter, oleic, palmitic and stearic acids.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A powerful local stimulant, with no narcotic effect largely used in hot climates as a condiment, and most useful in atony of the intestines and stomach. It should not be used in ordinary gastric catarrh. For persons addicted to drink it seems to be useful possibly by reducing the dilated blood-vessels and thus relieving chronic congestion. It is often added to tonics and is said to be unequalled for warding off diseases. Herbalists use it largely in pill form and powdered. Externally it is a strong rubefacient and acts gently with no danger of vesication; is applied as a cataplasm or as a liniment; it can be mixed with 10 to 20 per cent of cotton-seed oil. The powder or the tincture is beneficial for relaxed uvula. A preparation in use in the West Indies called Mandram, for weak digestion and loss of appetite, is made of thinly sliced and unskinned cucumbers, shallots, chives, or onions, lemon or lime juice, Madeira, and a few pods of bird pepper well mashed up in the liquids. It can be used as a chutney.
---Doses---For a gargle: 1/2 drachm of powder to 1 pint of boiling water, or 1/2 fluid ounce of the tincture to 8 fluid ounces of rose water. If the throat is very sensitive it can be given in pill form - generally made with 1 to 10 grains powder. The infusion is made with 2 drachms to 1/2 pint boiling water taken in 1/2 fluid ounce doses. The tincture is used as a paint for chilblains.
See PAPRIKA (listed as a synonym of Pepper, Hungarian).

Cedar, Yellow

Botanical: Thuja occidentalis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Coniferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Tree of Life. Arbor Vitae. American Arbor Vitae. Cedrus Lycea. Western Arbor Vitae. False White Cedar. Hackmatack. Thuia du Canada. Lebensbaum.
---Part Used---The recently-dried, leafy young twigs.
---Habitat---North America, from Pennsylvania northward.
---Description---The tallest of this species of Conifer rarely grows above 30 feet high. These trees have regular, graceful conical forms that make them valuable as highhedge trees, and they also take easily any other shape to which they may be clipped. The leaves are of two kinds on different branchlets, one awl-shaped and the other short and obtuse. Both have a small, flattened gland, containing a thin, fragrant turpentine. They are persistent, and overlap in four rows. The flowers are very small and terminal, and the cones nodding first ovoid and then spreading, with blunt scales arranged in three rows.
The name Thuja is a latinized form of a Greek word meaning 'to fumigate,' or thuo ('to sacrifice'), for the fragrant wood was burnt by the ancients with sacrifices. The tree was described as 'arbor vita ' by Clusius, who saw it in the royal garden of Fontainebleau after its importation from Canada. It was introduced into Britain about 1566.
In America the wood is much used for fencing and palings, as a light roofing timber, and, as it is both durable and pliable, for the ribs and bottom of bark boats, and also for limekilns, bowls, boxes, cups, and small articles of furniture.
The fresh branches are much used in Canada for besoms, which have a pleasing scent. The odour is pungent and balsamic and the taste bitter, resembling camphor and terebinth.
The trees grow well on the western coast hills of Britain, and the wood is soft, finely grained, and light in texture.
---Constituents---The bitter principle, Pinipicrin, and the tannic acid, said to beidentical with Pinitannic acid, occur also in Pinus sylvestris. Thuja also contains volatile oil, sugar, gelatinous matter, wax, resin, and Thujin. The last is a citron-yellow, crystallizable coloring principle, soluble in alcohol. It has an astringent taste, is inflammable, and can be split up into glucose, Thujigenin and Thujetin (probably identical with Quercitin).
The leaves and twigs are said to yield also a camphor-like essential oil, sp. gr. 0.925, boiling point 190-206 degrees C., easily soluble in alcohol and containing pinene, fenchone, thujone, and perhaps carvone.
A yellow-green volatile oil can be distilled from the leaves and used as a vermifuge.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Aromatic, astringent, diuretic. The twigs may produce abortion, like those of savin, by reflex action on the uterus from severe gastrointestinal irritation. Both fenchone and thujone stimulate the heart muscle. The decoction has been used in intermittent fevers, rheumatism, dropsy, coughs, scurvy, and as an emmenagogue. The leaves, made into an ointment with fat, are a helpful local application in rheumatism. An injection of the tincture into venereal warts is said to cause them to disappear. For violent pains the Canadians have used the cones, powdered, with four-fifths of Polypody, made into a poultice with lukewarm water or milk and applied to the body, with a cloth over the skin to prevent scorching.
---Dosage---Of fluid extract, 1/4 drachm, three to six times a day, as stimulating expectorant and diuretic. The infusion of 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water is taken cold in tablespoonful doses.
---Poisons---The oil, resembling camphor, may produce convulsions in warmblooded and paralysis in cold-blooded animals. Sixteen drops of the oil, taken by a girl of fifteen, caused unconsciousness, followed by spasms and convulsions, with subsequent stomachic irritation. It causes great flatulence and distension of the stomach.
---Other Species---
CHINESE ARBOR VITAE (Thuja orientalis or Biota orientalis), a native of China and Japan has the same properties. The young branches yield a yellow dye and the wood withstands conditions of humidity well.
T. articulata, of Northern Africa, yields the resin known as Sandarac, formerly used as a drug, and for ointments and plasters. At present it is used as varnish and incense, and the powder, or Pounce, is used to prevent ink spreading on paper after letters have been scratched out. It is occasionally adulterated with mastic, rosin, etc. A false sandarac consists largely of colophony.
Sandarac is said to be used in India for haemorrhoids and diarrhoea and the tincture for friction in cases of low spirits.
The Australian sandarac, from C. robusta, is very similar.
WHITE CEDAR is a common name of Cupressus thujoides.
RED CEDAR OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, the Giant Arbor Vitae, is next to the Douglas Fir in importance in British Columbia, where it attains its greatest height of 100 feet. It is the best wood to use for shingles.
RED CEDAR, or Juniperus virginiana, resembles savin, but is less energetic. Externally it is an irritant, and an ointment prepared from the fresh leaves is used as a substitute for savin cerate in discharge from blisters. The volatile oil has been used for abortion and has caused death, preceded by burning in the stomach, vomiting, convulsions, coma, and gastro-intestinal inflammation. It is used in perfumery, and is a principal constituent of extract of white rose.
Small excrescences called cedar apples are sometimes found on the branches, and used as an anthelmintic. Dosage: from 10 to 20 grains three times a day.
To obtain Cedrene camphor the oil must be cooled until coagulated and the crystalline portion separated by expression.
HAITIAN CEDAR yields an oil resembling that of J. virginiana, but having a higher specific gravity.
HACKMATOCK is also the name of Larix americana.
CEDAR OF LEBANON (Cedrus libani) and its two varieties.
INDIAN CEDAR or DEODAR (C. deodara) and AFRICAN CEDAR (C. Atlantica), or satinwood, yield an oil which, when distilled, is called Libanol. The oil of the last resembles oil of santal, and is good for phthisis, bronchitis, blennorrhagia, and also for eruptions on the skin, in the form of 25 per cent ointment with vaseline. Dosage: capsules up to 45 grains per day.
Cedrela odorata of the West Indies yields a volatile oil that is said to be a powerful insecticide. The wood is used for making cigar boxes. Another cedar of the same family of Cedrelaceae or Meliaceae is AUSTRALIAN RED CEDAR (C. tooma) or Red Cedar of Queensland, yielding Cedar Gum, containing 68 per cent arabin, and 6 per cent metarabin, but no resin.
NEW ZEALAND CEDAR (Libocedrus bidwillii) and also CALIFORNIAN WHITE CEDAR (L. decurrens) possess some of the same properties.
PRICKLY CEDAR (J. oxycedrus) (syn. Large, Brown-fruited Juniper), of the Mediterranean coasts, yields Oil of Cade by destructive distillation of the wood. It has been used from remote ages for the skin diseases of animals, and more recently in medicine for psoriasis and chronic eczema. It is a good parasiticide in psora and favus.
It is also made into ointments and soaps, and a glycerite is prepared.
On the very rare occasions of its internal use, its action resembles oil of tar. Dosage: 1 to 3 minims.
J. phoenicia is used in Europe to adulterate savin.


Botanical: Simaba Cedron (PLANCH.)
Family: N.O. Simarubaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonym---Cedron seeds.
---Part Used---Seeds.
---Habitat---Columbia and Central America.
---Description---A small tree, a native of New Grenada, remarkable for the properties of its seed. It has large pinnated leaves with over twenty narrow elliptical leaflets and large panicles of flowers, 3 to 4 feet long; the fruit is about the size of a swan's egg, and contains only one fruit, four of the cells being barren. The Cedron of commerce is not unlike a large blanched almond - it is often yellowish, hard and compact, but can be easily cut, it is intensely bitter, not unlike quassia in taste and has no odour. The Cedron of commerce is obtained from the seed. Cedron has always been used in Central America as a remedy for snake-bite, and first came into notice in Britain in 1699.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---It has been found of considerable value in New Grenada as a febrifuge in intermittent fever, and is also recommended as an antiperiodic. There is almost a superstitious belief in its efficacy in eradicating poison, and the natives always carry some of the seeds on their person. For snake-bites, a small quantity is scraped off, mixed with water and applied to the wound, and then about 2 grains are put into brandy or into water and taken internally. Every part of the plant, including the seed, is intensely bitter.
---Constituents---A crystalline substance called Cedrin was separated by Lowry, but this has been disputed.
---Dosages---Of the crude drug, 5 to 15 grains. Of powdered seeds, 1 to 10 grains.
The infusion, which is taken in tablespoonful doses, is made with 1 OZ. of the herb to 1 pint of boiling water. Hyperdermically, Cedrin has been given, 1/15 of a grain.
The powdered bark is used to kill vermin.
---Other Species---The Simaruba versicolor has similar properties.

Celandine, Greater

Botanical: Chelidonium majus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Papaveraceae
Part Used
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Common Celandine. Garden Celandine.
---Part Used---Herb.
---Habitat---Found by old walls, on waste ground and in hedges, nearly always in the neighbourhood of human habitations.
---Description---At first glance, the four petals arranged in the form of a cross make it appear a member of the order Cruciferce, but it is not related to these plants, belonging to the same family as the Poppies (Papaveraceae) and has, like these flowers, a dense mass of stamens in the centre of its blossoms.
The Celandine is a herbaceous perennial. The root is thick and fleshy. The stem, which is slender, round and slightly hairy, grows from 1 1/2 to 3 feet high and is much branched; at the points where the branches are given off, it is swollen and jointed and breaks very easily.
The whole plant abounds in a bright, orange-colored juice, which is emitted freely wherever the stems or leaves are broken. This juice stains the hands strongly and has a persistent and nauseous taste and a strong, disagreeable smell. It is acrid and a powerful irritant.
The yellowish-green leaves, which are much paler, almost greyish below, are very thin in texture, drooping immediately on gathering. They are graceful in form and slightly hairy, 6 to 12 inches long, 2 to 3 inches wide, deeply divided as far as the central rib, so as to form usually two pairs of leaflets, placed opposite to one another, with a large terminal leaflet. The margins (i.e. edges) of the leaflets are cut into by rounded teeth.
The flowers drop very quickly when picked. They are arranged at the ends of the stems in loose umbels. They blossom throughout the summer, being succeeded by narrow, long pods, containing blackish seeds.
---History---This plant is undoubtedly the true Celandine, having nothing in common with the Lesser Celandine except the color of its flowers. It was a drug plant in the Middle Ages and is mentioned by Pliny, to whom we owe the tradition that it is called Chelidonium from the Greek chelidon (a swallow), because it comes into flower when the swallows arrive and fades at their departure. (The English name Celandine is merely a corruption of the Greek word.) Its acrid juice has been employed successfully in removing films from the cornea of the eye, a property which Pliny tells us was discovered by swallows, this being a double reason why the plant should be named after these birds.
Gerard says:
'the juice of the herbe is good to sharpen the sight, for it cleanseth and consumeth away slimie things that cleave about the ball of the eye and hinder the sight and especially being boiled with honey in a brasen vessell, as Dioscorides teacheth.'
It is one of the twenty-four herbs mentioned in Mercer's Herbal.
In the fourteenth century, a drink made with Celandine was supposed to be good for the blood. Clusius, the celebrated Dutch botanist, considered that the juice, dropped into small green wounds, effected rapid cure, and when dropped into the eye would take away specks and stop incipient suffusions. The old alchemists held that it was good to 'superstifle the jaundice,' because of its intense yellow color.
---Part Used---The whole herb, collected in the wild state, from May to July, when in flower, and dried. Likewise, the fresh juice.
---Constituents---The alkaloids Chelidonine and Chelerythrin, the latter narcotic and poisonous, also the two nearly allied alkaloids, Homochelidonine A, and Homocheli donine B. In addition, Protopine and Sanguinarine, and a body named Chelidoxanthin, a neutral bitter principle.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Alterative, diuretic, purgative. It is used in jaundice, eczema, scrofulous diseases, etc., the infusion of 1 OZ. of the dried herb to a pint of boiling water being taken in wineglassful doses. The infusion is a cordial and greatly promotes perspiration. The addition of a few aniseeds in making a decoction of the herb in wine has been held to increase its efficacy in removing obstructions of the liver and gall.
A fluid extract is also prepared, the dose being 1/2 to 1 drachm. Eight to 10 drops of the tincture made from the whole herb, or of the fresh juice, given as a dose three times a day in sweetened water, is considered excellent for overcoming torpid conditions of the liver. In the treatment of the worst forms of scurvy it has been given with benefit.
The orange-colored, acrid juice is commonly used fresh to cure warts, ringworm and corns, but should not be allowed to come into contact with any other part of the skin.
In milk, it is employed as an eye-lotion, to remove the white, opaque spots on the cornea. Mixed with sulphur, it was formerly used to cure the itch.
An ointment made of the roots and lard boiled together, also of the leaves and flowers, has been used with advantage for piles.
Celandine is a very popular medicine in Russia, where it is said to have proved effective in cases of cancer.
It is still used in Suffolk as a fomentation for toothache.

Celandine, Lesser

Botanical: Ranunculus ficaria (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae
Part Used
Medicinal Aciton and Uses
---Synonyms---Small Celandine. Figwort. Smallwort. Pilewort.
---Part Used---Herb.
---Habitat---The Lesser Celandine, one of the very earliest of spring flowers, its cheery, starlike blossoms lighting up our hedges even before winter is quite spent, is distributed throughout Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, in these islands, growing up the hillsides in Wales to a height of 2,400 feet. It grows in moist corners of fields and places near watersides, but is found also on drier ground, if shady, being one of the few plants that thrive beneath the shade of trees, where its glossy foliage frequently forms a dense carpet.
Wordsworth, whose favourite flower this was (in recognition of which the blossoms are carved on his tomb), fancifully suggests that the painter who first tried to picture the rising sun, must have taken the idea of the spreading pointed rays from the Celandine's 'glittering countenance.' The burnishing of the golden petals gives a brilliant effect to the flowers, which burst into bloom about the middle of February, a few days only after their bright, shining leaves. The leaves are on long stalks, arising from a short, prostrate stem, and are very variable, the first being heart-shaped, the later ones bluntly cut into, somewhat like the ivy. They often have dark markings.
The blossoms shut up before rain, and even in fine weather do not open before nine o'clock, and by 5 p.m. have already closed for the night. The Celtic name of the plant, Grian (i.e. the sun), refers to this habit. The petals are green on the underside, and directly the flowers close they become inconspicuous.
Throughout March and April, this cheerful little plant is in full bloom, but as the spring passes into summer, the flowers pale somewhat, and the whole plant looks rather sickly, the warmth of the lengthening days withdrawing from it the needed moisture. By the end of May, no flowers are to be seen, and all the plant above ground withers and dies, the virtue being stored up in the fibres of the root, which swell into the form of tubers. If the plant is dug up, late in the summer or autumn, these tubers are seen hanging in a bunch, a dozen or more together, looking like figs, hence the plant's specific Latin name ficaria, from ficus (a fig). By these tubers, the plant is increased, as they break off readily, each tuber, like a potato, producing a new plant. To eradicate this plant from any ground, it is necessary to remove the roots bodily, for if the plants are dug into the soil, they work their way up to the surface again, the stems branching as they grow upward from the tubers, and at every branch producing fresh tubers.
The early awakening of the plant is due to these fully-stored tubers, which lie quiescent all the summer and autumn, but all necessary materials being at hand, leaves and flowers are quickly pushed upwards directly the depth of the winter has passed.
Although the Lesser Celandine has been placed by some botanists in a distinct genus, when it is called Ficaria verna, it is more generally assigned to the Buttercup or Crowfoot genus, Ranunculus. The name of this genus, first employed by Pliny, alludes to the damp and marshy localities preferred by the plants of the family, Rana, being the Latin for a frog, whose native haunts are those of the majority of this group of plants. The Lesser Celandine is distinguished from the Buttercup by having nine or ten, even sometimes a dozen narrow petals, instead of five, and only three sepals (the outer, generally green leaves of the flower), which fall off on opening, instead of the usual five, which remain after the flower has expanded, in the other species of Ranunculus. The flowers rise singly from the root, on long, slender, leafless stalks and are about 1 inch in diameter. There are a number of stamens. The fruits are not unlike those of the Buttercups being dry and distinct, set together in a globular head, somewhat like a grain of corn and whitish in color, but comparatively few fertile seeds are produced.
The flowers would originally appear to have been designed with the object of attracting insects for their fertilization, the bright colored, burnished petals having honey sacs at their base, but the flowers can face colder days than the insects can, for whom the honey has been provided, blooming when few of the insects have emerged, with the result that comparatively few become fertilized in this country and not many seeds are produced. The plant, therefore, has recourse to another method of reproduction, independent of all external aid. At the point where the upper leaves join the stem are to be seen little objects like minute round tumours, which grow about the size of a grain of wheat. In the early summer, when the leaves and stems are dying down, these grains become loose and drop to the ground. Each is capable of producing a new plant. A heavy rain will sometimes wash them from the plants in every direction. Kerner, in his Natural History of Plants, tells us that:
'a sudden downpour of rain in a region abundantly overgrown with Lesser Celandine is sufficient to float away numbers of the tubers, and heap them up on the borders of irrigation channels when the rain disperses. In such places the quantity of tubers which have floated together is often so large that one can hardly gather them in one's hands. In this way arose the idea that the tubers had fallen from heaven with the rain and the myth of a rain of potatoes.'
This fact probably accounts, also, for the 'rains of wheat' sometimes vouched for by country people in various parts. These bulbils (i.e. Iittle bulbs) are only produced on those plants whose fruits have failed to set.
The root of the Lesser Celandine is perennial.
Seedlings do not flower in their first year, but collect and store up material to start their accustomed course at the end of the ensuing winter.
The whole plant is glabrous.
It is called the Lesser Celandine to distinguish it from the Greater Celandine, to which it has neither relationship nor similarity, except in the color of its flowers, though the older herbalists applied the name to both plants indiscriminately. The confusion of names existed in Gerard's time, for he published a list of all the plants in cultivation in his garden on Holborn Hill - to wards the close of the sixteenth century and introduced in it, under the same name, both this and the Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus) which certainly is in bloom when the swallows arrive, and continues to flower the whole summer, and so would have more right to the name Celandine than this species, which blossoms long before they come, and dies down months before they leave our shores.
A figure of the Lesser Celandine - under the name of Erdöpffel - appears in an old German Herbal of 1533, Rhodion's Kreutterbuch, evidence that this plant was well known to the herbalists of the Middle Ages.
It is also called 'Small-wort.'
The old English name of Pilewort is due to the fact that it has long been considered a cure for piles, one of the reasons assigned for this resting on the strange doctrine of signatures. We are told by an old writer: 'If you dig up the root of it you will perceive the perfect image of the disease commonly called the piles.' Gerard writes of it:
'It presently, as Galen and Dioscorides affirm (though this perhaps refers to the Greater Celandine) exulcerateth or blistereth the skin: it maketh rough and corrupt nails to fall away. The juice of the roots mixed with honie and drawn up into the nosthrils purgeth the head of foul and filthy humours. The later age use the roots and graines for the piles . . . there be also who think that if the berbe be but carried about one that hath the piles, the pain forthwith ceaseth.'
Culpepper, writing fifty years later, tells us:
'It is certain by good experience that the decoction of the leaves and roots doth wonderfully help piles and haemorrhoids; also kernels by the ears and throat called the King's Evil, or any other hard wens or tumours.'
He had such faith in the virtues of this little plant that he further tells us, with more definite belief than Gerard: 'The very herb borne about one's body next the skin helps in such diseases though it never touch the place grieved.'
The young leaves, the substance of which is soft and mucilaginous, have sometimes been boiled and eaten as a vegetable in Sweden, but have not the reputation of being very palatable, either thus treated or raw as a salad.
Linnaeus advised farmers to eradicate the plant from their land on account of it being disliked by cattle (though wood-pigeons eat it with avidity), also for its injurious effect on other herbs in the meadow, but there seems little ground for this assumption, as although the tissues of most plants in this order contain acrid juices to a high degree, the acrimony of the Lesser Celandine is of a very mild character. A dressing of coal or wood ash is said to effectually destroy the whole plant.
---Part Used---The whole herb is collected in the wild state, while in flower in March and April, and dried.
---Constituents---Nothing is known definitely concerning the constituents of Pilewort the fresh plant, however, probably contains traces of an acrid principle resembling or identical with Anemonin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Astringent This herb is an old remedy for piles, for which it has recently been re-introduced into the British Pharmacopoeia, and is considered almost a specific.
Internally, the infusion of 1 OZ. in a pint of boiling water is taken in wineglassful doses, and will in most cases be sufficient to effect a cure.
It is also used externally as an ointment, made from the bruised herb with fresh lard, applied locally night and morning, or in the form of poultices, fomentations, or in suppositories.
A most excellent ointment has been recommended for external abscesses, etc., made from Pilewort, Elder-buds, House-leek, and leaves of the Broad Plantain, prepared in the early spring, when the Pilewort is in flower.
The roots are highly valued as a medicine in Cochin-China.

The following old-time recipes connected with this herb occur in A Plain Plantain (R. G. Alexander):

---For a Sore Throat---

'Take a pinte of whitewine, A good handful of Sallendine, and boile them well together; put to it A piece of the best Roach Allome, sweeten it with English honey, and use it.'
---A Marvellous Precious Water---
'Take Gallingall (Galingale), Cloves, Cubibs, Ginger, Mellilote, Cardamonia, Maces, Nutmegs, one dram- of the juice of Salendine, 8 drams; mingle all these made in powder with the said juice and a pint of Aquavitae, and 3 pints of Whitewine; putt itt into A Stillitory of Glass; and the next day still it with An easy fire.
'This water is of an excellent Virtue Agst A Consumption or any other Disease that proceeds from Rheume Choller or Fleagnie.'
All the species of Ranunculus, except the Water Crowfoot, are acrid, and before the introduction of Cantharides (Spanish Fly), many, especially R. sceleratus, were used as vesicatories. They are said to act with less pain and without any action on the urinary passages, but their action is supposed to be uncertain, and they are accused of frequently leaving ill-conditioned ulcers. Since the introduction of Cantharides, their employment has therefore fallen into disuse. Formerly it was not at all uncommon for beggars to produce sores about their bodies by the medium of various species of Ranunculus, for the sake of getting alms, afterwards curing these sores by applying fresh Mullein leaves to heal them.
Pliny tells us that:
'they raise blisters like those caused by fire, hence the plant is used for the removal of leprous spots. They form an ingredient in all caustic preparations.'

Celery (Wild)

Botanical: Apium graveolens (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Smallage. Wild Celery.
---Parts Used---Ripe seeds, herb and root.
---Habitat---Levant, South Europe, and cultivated in Great Britain, etc.
---Description---Odour characteristic and agreeable. Taste, aromatic, warm, and slightly pungent.
---Constituents---Celery seed contains two oils - one heavy, the other lighter; it also contains apiol, but not so much as is found in parsley.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Carminative stimulant, diuretic, tonic, nervine, useful in hysteria, promoting restfulness and sleep, and diffusing through the system a mild sustaining influence. Good combined with Scutellaria for nervous cases with loss of tone. On this account it is recommended to eat the cultivated fresh root as well as taking the oil or fluid extract. Is said to be very good for rheumatism, when it is often combined with Coca, Damiana, etc. Dose: fluid extract, 3 to 7 drops every four hours.


Botanical: Erythraea centaurium (PERS.)
Family: N.O. Gentianaceae
Part Used
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Centaury Gentian. Century. Red Centaury. Filwort. Centory. Christ's Ladder. Feverwort.
---Parts Used---Herb and leaves.
---Habitat---The plant is a native of Europe and North Africa. Though common in this country in dry pastures and on chalky cliffs, it cannot be easily reared in a garden, and for its medicinal use is, therefore, collected in the wild state.
---Description---The Red Centaury (Erythraea centaurium, Pers.) is an annual, with a yellowish, fibrous, woody root, the stem stiff, square and erect, 3 to 12 inches in height, often branching considerably at the summit. The leaves are of a pale green color, smooth and shiny, their margins undivided. The lowest leaves are broader than the others, oblong or wedge-shaped, narrowed at the base, blunt at the end and form a spreading tuft at the base of the plant, while the stalkless stem-leaves are pointed and lance-shaped, growing in pairs opposite to one another at somewhat distant intervals on the stalk, which is crowned by flat tufts (corymbs) of rose-colored, star-like flowers, with five-cleft corollas. The stamens are five in number: the anthers have a curious way of twisting themselves round after they have shed their pollen, this being one of the distinctive points between the plants of this genus and those of the genus Gentiana, with which it has much in common, having by some earlier botanists been assigned to that genus, under the name of Gentiana centaurium, or Centaury Gentian. The flowers open only in fine weather and not after mid-day: Gerard chronicles their love of light, saying that they 'in the day-time and after the sun is up, do open themselves and towards evening do shut up again.' A variety is sometimes found with white corollas.
Centaury varies a great deal according to) its situation, and some botanists enumerate several distinct species, namely: E. pulchella (Dwarf Centaury), a minute plant, 2 to 8 inches high, with an exceedingly slender stem and a few stalked flowers (often only one); this is found on the sandy seashore, especially in the West of England, and has been picked at Newquay, Cornwall; E. littoralis (Dwarf Tufted Centaury), a stunted plant, with broad leaves, and flowers crowded into a kind of head; this occurs on turfy sea-cliffs, and E. latifolia (Broadleaved Centaury), which has even broader leaves than the last, and bears its flowers in forked tufts, the main stem being divided into three branches. There are other minute differences, for which the student may consult more scientific works.
Besides the English species, others from the south of Europe, the Azores, etc., with yellow or pink flowers, are occasionally grown in gardens.
---History---The name of the genus to which it is at present assigned, Erythraea, is derived from the Greek erythros (red), from the color of the flowers. The genus was formerly called Chironia, from the Centaur Chiron, who was famous in Greek mythology for his skill in medicinal herbs, and is supposed to have cured himself with it from a wound he had accidentally received from an arrow poisoned with the blood of the hydra. The English name Centaury has the same origin. The ancients named the plant Fel Terrae, or Gall of the Earth from its extreme bitterness. The old Engiish name of Felwort is equivalent in meaning to this, and is applied to all the plants of the Gentian family. It is also thought to be the 'Graveolentia Centaurea' of Virgil, to which Lucretius gives the more significant epithet of tristia, in reference to this same intense bitterness. As this bitterness had a healing and tonic effect attributed to it, we sometimes find the Centaury called Febrifuga and Feverwort. It is known popularly also as Christ's Ladder, and the name Centaury has become corrupted in Worcestershire to 'Centre of the Sun.'
We find a reference to it in Le Petit Albert. Fifteen magical herbs of the Ancients are given:
'The eleventh hearbe is named of the Chaldees, Isiphon . . . of Englishmen, Centory . . . this herbe hath a marvellous virtue, for if it be joined with the blood of a female lapwing, or black plover, and put with oile in a lamp, all that compass it about shall believe themselves to be witches, so that one shall believe of another that his head is in heaven and his feete on earth; and if the aforesaid thynge be put in the fire when the starres shine it shall appeare yt the sterres runne one agaynste another and fyghte.' (English translation, 1619.)
Also in a translation of an old mediaeval Latin poem of the tenth century, by Macer, there is mention of Centaury (with other herbs) as being powerful against 'wykked sperytis.'
Of all the bitter appetizing wild herbs which serve as excellent simple tonics, the Centaury is the most efficacious, sharing the antiseptic virtues of the Field Gentian and the Buckbean.
---Part Used---The whole herb, collected in July, when just breaking into flower and dried. The plant has a slight odour, which disappears when dried.
The Field Gentian is dried in the same manner.
---Constituents---Centaury contains a bitter principle, Erythro-centaurin, which is colorless, crystalline, non-nitrogenous, reddened by sunlight; a bitter glucoside, Erytaurin; Valeric acid, wax, etc.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Aromatic bitter, stomachic and tonic. It acts on the liver and kidneys, purifies the blood, and is an excellent tonic.
The dried herb is given in infusion or powder, or made into an extract. It is used extensively in dyspepsia, for languid digestion with heartburn after food, in an infusion of 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of water. When run down and suffering from want of appetite, a wineglassful of this infusion Centaury Tea - taken three or four times daily, half an hour before meals, is found of great benefit. The same infusion may also be taken for muscular rheumatism.
Culpepper tells us that:
'the herbe is so safe that you cannot fail in the using of it, only give it inwardly for inward diseases, use it outwardly for outward diseases. 'Tis very wholesome, but not very toothsome.'
He says:
'it helps those that have the dropsy, or the green-sickness, being much used by the Italians in powder for that purpose. It kills worms ... as is found by experience.... A dram of the powder taken in wine, is a wonderful good help against the biting and poison of an adder. The juice of the herb with a little honey put to it, is good to clear the eyes from dimness, mists and clouds that offend or hinder sight. It is singularly good both for green and fresh wounds, as also for old ulcers and sores, to close up the one and cleanse the other, and perfectly to cure them both, although they are hollow or fistulous; the green herb, especially, being bruised and laid thereto. The decoction thereof dropped into the ears, cleanses them from worms . . . and takes away all freckles, spots, and marks in the skin, being washed with it.'
The Saxon herbalists prescribed it largely for snake-bites and other poisons, and it was long celebrated for the cure of intermittent fevers, hence its name of Feverwort.
The herb formed the basis of the once famous Portland Powder, which was said to be a specific for gout.
Centaury is given with Barberry Bark for jaundice. It has also been much employed as a vermifuge, and a decoction of the plant is said to destroy body vermin.
The green herb, bruised, is reputed to be good as an application to wounds and sores.

Centaury, Chilian

Botanical: Erythraea chilensis
Family: N.O. Gentianaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Part Used---The herb.
---Description---A small, herbaceous plant, with branched stems and pink or yellow flowers, widely used in Chile as a mild tonic.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Stimulant bitter, tonic. Useful in dyspepsia and indigestion. An infusion may be made of 1 oz. to 1 pint of boiling water.
---Dosage---Of infusion - a wineglassful. Of fluid extract - 1/2 to 1 drachm.
---Other Species---
Erythraea acaulis, a native of Southern Algeria, has roots that yield a yellow dye.
Sabatia angularis, or American Centaury, is a simple bitter used as a tonic and antiperiodic, in doses of 1 drachm of fluid extract or decoction of the whole plant. It has been found to contain a small proportion of Erythrocentaurin. The root of S. Elliottii is used in a similar manner in the south-eastern United States, and the whole plant of S. campestris in the south-western. S. Elliottii is known as the Quinine Flower, its properties resembling quinine.

Cereus, Night Blooming

Botanical: Cereus grandiflorus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Cactaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Dosages and Preparations
Other Species
---Synonyms---Vanilla Cactus. Sweet-scented Cactus. Large-flowered Cactus.
---Parts Used---The flowers, young and tender stems.
---Habitat---Tropical America, Mexico, West Indies, and Naples.
---Description---A fleshy, creeping, rooting shrub, stems cylindrical, with five or six not very prominent angles, branching armed with clusters of small spines, in radiated forms. Flowers, terminal and lateral from the clusters of spines, very large 8 to 12 inches in diameter, expanding in the evening and only lasting for about six hours, exhaling a delicious vanilla-like perfume. Petals are white, spreading, shorter than the sepals, which are linear, lanceolate, outside brown, inside yellow. Fruit ovate, covered with scaly tubercles, fleshy and of a lovely orange-red color, seeds very small and acid. The flower only lasts in bloom about six hours and does not revive- when withered, the ovary enlarges, becomes pulpy and forms an acid juicy fruit, something like a gooseberry. The plant was brought to the notice of the medical profession by Dr. Scheile but it aroused little interest till a homoeopathic doctor of Naples, R. Rubini, used it as a specific in heart disease. The flowers and young stems should be collected in July and a tincture made from them whilst fresh. The plant contains a milky acrid juice.
---Constituents---No special analysis seems yet to have been made; the chief constituents are resins, the presence of the alleged alkaloid cactine not having been confirmed.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Diuretic Sedative, Cardiac. Cereus has been used as a cardiac stimulant and as a partial substitute for digitalis. In large doses it produces gastric irritation, slight delirium, hallucinations and general mental confusion. It is said to greatly increase the renal secretion. It does not appear to weaken the nervous system. It has a decided action on the heart and frequently gives prompt relief in functional or organic disease. It has been found of some service in haemoptysis, dropsy and incipient apoplexy.
---Dosages and Preparations---Liquid extract of Cereus, B.P.C.: dose, 1 to 10 minims. Tincture of Cereus, B.P.C.: dose, 2 to 30 minims.
---Other Species---
Cactus bomplandi, a cardiac stimulant notnow used. Cereus caespitosus. An alkaloid separated from this variety, called Pectenine, produces tetanus convulsions in animals. C. pilocereus gives an alkaloid which produces central paralysis with great cardiac depression in frogs and death by cardiac arrest in warm-blooded animals.
C. flagelliformis and C. divaricatus are said to have anthelmintic properties.
Opuntias decumana and other species are often substituted for C. grandiflorus, but are of little use. C. giganteus, the Suwarron or Saguaro of the Mexicans, is the largest, and most striking species of the genus. The fruits are 2 to 3 inches long, oval and green, having a broad scar at the top caused by the flowers falling away when the fruits are ripe. They burst into three or four pieces, which curve back to resemble a flower. Inside they contain small black seeds embedded in a crimson pulp, which the Pimos and Papagos Indians make into an excellent preserve. They also eat the ripe fruit as a food and gather it by means of a forked stick tied to the end of a long pole.
Opuntia vulgaris (Prickly Pear), of the Cactus tribe, is cultivated in the south of Europe, and much esteemed by the Spaniards, who consume large quantities. In homoeopathy a tincture is made from the flowers and wood for spleen troubles and diarrhoea.
O. cochinellifera, the Cochineal Insect Cactus, is a native of Mexico, but cultivated in the West Indies and other places. There are two kinds of O. grana - finagrana and sylvestre. The substance which envelops the insect is pulverulent in the first species and flocculent in the second. It has not yet been decided whether they are different species of COCCUS or whether the difference is in the plant.


Botanical: N.O. Compositae
Chamomile, Common
Chamomile, German
Chamomile, Stinking
---Habitat---There are a number of species of Chamomile spread over Europe, North Africa and the temperate region of Asia, but in Great Britain we have four growing wild: the sweet-scented, true Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis); the Fcetid Chamomile or Stinking Mayweed (A. cotula), which has what Gerard calls 'a naughty smell'; the Corn Chamomile (A. arvensis), which flowers rather earlier and is noticeable because its ray florets are empty and wholly for show and possess no sort of ovary or style, and fourthly, the Yellow Chamomile, with yellow instead of white rays, which is found sometimes on ballast heaps, but is not a true native.

Chamomile, Common

Botanical: Anthemis nobilis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Parts Used Medicinally
Cultivation and Preparation for Market
Chemical Constituents
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Manzanilla (Spanish). Maythen (Saxon).
---Parts Used---Flowers and herb.
Chamomile is one of the oldest favourites amongst garden herbs and its reputation as a medicinal plant shows little signs of abatement. The wiccans reverenced it for its virtues, and from their belief in its power to cure ague, dedicated it to their gods. No plant was better known to the country folk of old, it having been grown for centuries in English gardens for its use as a common domestic medicine to such an extent that the old herbals agree that 'it is but lost time and labour to describe it.'
---Description---The true or Common Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) is a low-growing plant, creeping or trailing, its tufts of leaves and flowers a foot high. The root is perennial, jointed and fibrous, the stems, hairy and freely branching, are covered with leaves which are divided into thread-like segments, the fineness of which gives the whole plant a feathery appearance. The blooms appear in the later days of summer, from the end of July to September, and are borne solitary on long, erect stalks, drooping when in bud. With their outer fringe of white ray-florets and yellow centres, they are remarkably like the daisy. There are some eighteen white rays arranged round a conical centre, botanically known as the receptacle, on which the yellow, tubular florets are placed- the centre of the daisy is, however, considerably flatter than that of the Chamomile.
All the Chamomiles have a tiny, chaffy scale between each two florets, which is very minute and has to be carefully looked for but which all the same is a vital characteristic of the genus Anthemis. The distinction between A. nobilis and other species of Anthemis is the shape of these scales, which in A. nobilis are short and blunt.
The fruit is small and dry, and as it forms, the hill of the receptacle gets more and more conical.
The whole plant is downy and greyishgreen in color. It prefers dry commons and sandy soil, and is found wild in Cornwall, Surrey, and many other parts of England.
Small flies are the chief insect-visitors to the flowers.
---History---The fresh plant is strongly and agreeably aromatic, with a distinct scent of apples - a characteristic noted by the Greeks, on account of which they named it 'ground-apple' - kamai (on the ground) and melon (an apple) - the origin of the name Chamomile. The Spaniards call it 'Manzanilla,' which signifies 'a little apple,' and give the same name to one of their lightest sherries, flavoured with this plant.
When walked on, its strong, fragrant scent will often reveal its presence before it is seen. For this reason it was employed as one of the aromatic strewing herbs in the Middle Ages, and used often to be purposely planted in green walks in gardens. Indeed walking over the plant seems specially beneficial to it.
'Like a camomile bed -
The more it is trodden
The more it will spread,'
The aromatic fragrance gives no hint of its bitterness of taste.
The Chamomile used in olden days to be looked upon as the 'Plant's Physician,' and it has been stated that nothing contributes so much to the health of a garden as a number of Chamomile herbs dispersed about it, and that if another plant is drooping and sickly, in nine cases out of ten, it will recover if you place a herb of Chamomile near it.
---Parts Used Medicinally---The whole plant is odoriferous and of value, but the quality is chiefly centred in the flower-heads or capitula, the part employed medicinally, the herb itself being used in the manufacture of herb beers.
Both single and double flowers are used in medicine. It is considered that the curative properties of the single, wild Chamomile are the more powerful, as the chief medical virtue of the plant lies in the central disk of yellow florets, and in the cultivated double form the white florets of the ray are multiplied, while the yellow centre diminishes. The powerful alkali contained to so much greater extent in the single flowers is, however, liable to destroy the coating of the stomach and bowels, and it is doubtless for this reason that the British Pharmacopceia directs that the 'official' dried Chamomile flowers shall be those of the double, cultivated variety.
The double-flowered form was already well known in the sixteenth century. It was introduced into Germany from Spain about the close of the Middle Ages.
Chamomile was largely cultivated before the war in Belgium, France and Saxony and also in England, chiefly in the famous herbgrowing district of Mitcham. English flowerheads are considered the most valuable for distillation of the oil, and during the war the price of English and foreign Chamomile reached an exorbitant figure.
The 'Scotch Chamomile' of commerce is the Single or Wild Chamomile, the yellow tubular florets in the centre of the head being surrounded by a variable number of white, ligulate or strap-shaped ray florets. The 'English Chamomile' is the double form, with all or nearly all the florets white and ligulate. In both forms the disk or receptacle is solid and conical, densely covered with chaffy scales, and both varieties, but especially the single, have a strong aromatic odour and a very bitter taste.
---Cultivation and Preparation for Market---Chamomile requires a sunny situation. The single variety, being the wild type, flourishes in a rather dry, sandy soil, the conditions of its natural habits on wild, open common-land, but the double-flowered Chamomile needs a richer soil and gives the heaviest crop of blooms in moist, stiffish black loam.
Propagation may be effected by seed, sown thinly in May in the open and transplanting when the seedlings are large enough to permanent quarters, but this is not to be recommended, as it gives a large proportion of single-flowered plants, which, as stated above, do not now rank for pharmaceutical purposes as high as the double-flowered variety, though formerly they were considered more valuable.
The usual manner of increasing stock to ensure the double-flowers is from 'sets,' or runners of the old plants. Each plant normally produces from twelve to fourteen sets, but may sometimes give as many as from twenty-five to fifty. The old plants are divided up into their sets in March and a new plantation formed in well-manured soil, in rows 2 1/2 feet apart, with a distance of 18 inches between the plants. Tread the small plants in firmly, it will not hurt them, but make them root better. Keep them clean during the summer by hand-weeding, as hoeing is apt to destroy such little plants. They will require no further attention till the flowers are expanded and the somewhat tedious process of picking commences.
In autumn, the sets may be more readily rooted by placing a ring of good light soil about 2 or 3 inches from the centre of the old plant and pressing it down slightly.
---Chemical Constituents---The active principles are a volatile oil, of a pale bluecolor (becoming yellow by keeping), a little Anthemic acid (the bitter principle), tannic acid and a glucoside.
The volatile oil is yielded by distillation, but is lost in the preparation of the extract. Boiling also dissipates the oil.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Tonic, achic, anodyne and antispasmodic. The official preparations are a decoction, an infusion, the extract and the oil.
The infusion, made from 1 OZ. of the flowers to 1 pint of boiling water and taken in doses of a tablespoonful to a wineglass, known popularly as Chamomile Tea, is an old-fashioned but extremely efficacious remedy for hysterical and nervous affections in women and is used also as an emmenagogue. It has a wonderfully soothing, sedative and absolutely harmless effect. It is considered a preventive and the sole certain remedy for nightmare. It will cut short an attack of delirium tremens in the early stage. It has sometimes been employed in intermittent fevers.
Chamomile Tea should in all cases be prepared in a covered vessel, in order to prevent the escape of steam, as the medicinal value of the flowers is to a considerable extent impaired by any evaporation, and the infusion should be allowed to stand on the flowers for 10 minutes at least before straining off.
Combined with ginger and alkalies, the cold infusion (made with 1/2 oz. of flowers to 1 pint of water) proves an excellent stomachic in cases of ordinary indigestion, such as flatulent colic, heartburn, loss of appetite, sluggish state of the intestinal canal, and also in gout and periodic headache, and is an appetizing tonic, especially for aged persons, taken an hour or more before a principal meal. A strong, warm infusion is a useful emetic. A concentrated infusion, made eight times as strong as the ordinary infusion, is made from the powdered flowers with oil of chamomile and alcohol and given as a stomachic in doses of 1/2 to 2 drachms, three times daily.
Chamomile flowers are recommended as a tonic in dropsical complaints for their diuretic and tonic properties, and are also combined with diaphoretics and other stimulants with advantage.
An official tincture is employed to correct summer diarrhoea in children. Chamomile is used with purgatives to prevent griping, carminative pills being made from the essential essence of the flowers. The extract, in doses of 10 to 15 grains, combined with myrrh and preparations of iron, also affords a powerful and convenient tonic in the form of a pill. The fluid extract of flowers is taken in doses of from 1/2 to 1 drachm; the oil, B.P. dose, 1/2 to 3 drops.
Apart from their employment internally, Chamomile flowers are also extensively used by themselves, or combined with an equal quantity of crushed poppy-heads, as a poultice and fomentation for external swelling, inflammatory pain or congested neuralgia, and will relieve where other remedies have failed, proving invaluable for reducing swellings of the face caused through abscesses. Bags may be loosely stuffed withflowers and steeped well in boiling water before being applied as a fomentation. The antiseptic powers of Chamomile are stated to be 120 times stronger than sea-water. A decoction of Chamomile flowers and poppyheads is used hot as fomentation to abscesses - 10 parts of Chamomile flowers to 5 of poppy capsules, to 100 of distilled water.
The whole herb is used chiefly for making herb beers, but also for a lotion, for external application in toothache, earache, neuralgia, etc. One ounce of the dried herb is infused in 1 pint of boiling water and allowed to cool. The herb has also been employed in hot fomentations in cases of local and intestinal inflammation.
Culpepper gives a long list of complaints for which Chamomile is 'profitable,' from agues and sprains to jaundice and dropsy, stating that 'the flowers boiled in Iye are good to wash the head,' and tells us that bathing with a decoction of Chamomile removes weariness and eases pain to whatever part of the body it is employed. Parkinson, in his Earthly Paradise (1656), writes:
'Camomil is put to divers and sundry users, both for pleasure and profit, both for the sick and the sound, in bathing to comfort and strengthen the sound and to ease pains in the diseased.'
Turner says:
'It hath floures wonderfully shynynge yellow and resemblynge the appell of an eye . . . the herbe may be called in English, golden floure. It will restore a man to hys color shortly yf a man after the longe use of the bathe drynke of it after he is come forthe oute of the bathe. This herbe is scarce in Germany but in England it is so plenteous that it groweth not only in gardynes but also VIII mile above London, it groweth in the wylde felde, in Rychmonde grene, in Brantfurde grene.... Thys herbe was consecrated by the wyse men of Egypt unto the Sonne and was rekened to be the only remedy of all agues.'
The dried flowers of A. nobilis are used for blond dyeing, and a variety of Chamomile known as Lemon Chamomile yields a very fine essential oil.
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Chamomile, German

Botanical: Matricaria chamomilla (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonym---Wild Chamomile.
---Part Used---Flowers.
The German Chamomile, sometimes called the Wild Chamomile, has flower-heads about 3/4 inch broad, with about fifteen white, strap shaped, reflexed ray florets and numeroustubular yellow, perfect florets. It is frequent in cornfields and so remarkably like the Corn Chamomile (Anthemis arvensis) that it is often difficult to distinguish it from that plant, but it is not ranked among the true Chamomiles by botanists because it does not possess the little chaffy scales or bracts between its florets; also the conical receptacle, or disk, on which the florets are arranged is hollow, not solid, like that of the Corn Chamomile. It may also be distinguished from A. cotula and Matricaria inodora, the Mayweeds, by the lapping-over scales of its involucre surrounding the base of the flower-head not being chaffy at the margin, as in those species. It has a strong smell, somewhat like that of the official Common Chamomile (A. nobilis), but less aromatic, whereas the Corn Chamomile which it so closely resembles is scentless.
---Constituents---The flowers of the German Chamomile, though aromatic, have a very bitter taste. They contain a volatile oil, a bitter extractive and little tannic acid.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Carminative, sedative and tonic. The infusion of 1/2 oz. of the dried flowers to 1 pint of boiling water may be given freely in teaspoonful doses to children, for whose ailments it is an excellent remedy. It acts as a nerve sedative and also as a tonic upon the gastro-intestinal canal. It proves useful during dentition in cases of earache, neuralgic pain, stomach disorders and infantile convulsions. The flowers may also be used externally as a fomentation.
---Preparations---Fluid extract: dose, 1/4 to 1 drachm.
Top of document.
Top of Chamomile, German

Chamomile Stinking

Botanical: Anthemis cotula (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Mayweed. Maruta Cotula. Dog Chamomile. Maruta Foetida. Dog-Fennel.
---Part Used---Whole herb.
Stinking Chamomile or Stinking Mayweed (Anthemis cotula), an annual, common in waste places, resembles the true Chamomile, having large solitary flowers on erect stems, with conical, solid receptacles, but the white florets have no membraneous scales at their base. It is distinguished from the other Chamomiles and closely allied genera by its foetid odour, which Gerard calls 'a naughty smell.' This disagreeable smell, and the resemblance to fennel of its much-cut leaves gains it its other name of 'Dog's Fennel.' The whole plant, not only the flowers, has this intense odour and is penetrated by an acrid juice that often will blister the hand which gathers it. Writers on toxicology have classed this plant amongst the vegetable poisons.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Tonic, antispasmodic, emmenagogue and emetic.
The whole herb is used (for drying, see FEVERFEW). Like true Chamomile, a strong decoction will produce vomiting and sweating. In America it is used in country districts as a sudorific in colds and chronic rheumatism. The infusion made from 1 OZ. of the dried herb in a pint of boiling water and taken warm in wineglassful doses has been used with success in sick headache and in convalescence from fevers. It was formerly used in scrofula and hysteria and externally in fomentations. A weaker infusion taken to a moderate extent acts as an emetie.

Chaste Tree

Botanical: Agnus castus
Family: N.O. Verbenaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Part Used---The ripe berries.
---Habitat---Shores of the Mediterranean.
---Description---A deciduous shrub of free spreading habit, young shoots covered with a fine grey down; leaves opposite, composed of five to seven radiating leaflets borne on a main stalk 1 to 2 1/2 inches long, leaflets linear, lance-shaped, toothed, dark green above, grey beneath with a very close felt; stalks of leaflets 1/4 inch or less long- flowers fragrant, produced in September or October, in whorls on slender racemes 3 to 6 inches long, sometimes branched; the berries somewhat like peppercorns, dark purple, halfcovered by their sage-green calyces, yellowish within, hard, having an aromatic odour; taste warm, peculiar. The seeds were once held in repute for securing chastity, and the Athenian matrons in the sacred rites of Ceres used to string their couches with the leaves.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The fresh ripe berries are pounded to a pulp and used in the form of a tincture for the relief of paralysis, pains in the limbs, weakness, etc.
---Other Species---Vitex trifolia, the three-leaved Chaste Tree, has similar properties.


Botanical: Taraktogenos kurzii (KING)
Family: N.O. Bixaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Chaulmugra. Chaulmogra.
---Part Used---The oil from the seeds.
---Description---Seeds are ovoid, irregular and angular, 1 to 1 1/4 inches long, 1 inch wide, skin smooth, grey, brittle; kernel oily and dark brown. A fatty oil is obtained by expression, known officially as Gynocardia oil in Britain, as Oleum Chaulmoograe in the U.S.A.
---Constituents---The oil contains chaulmoogric acid and palmitic acid, and the fatty oil has been found to yield glycerol, a very small quantity of phytosterol and a mixture of fatty acids.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Employed internally and externally in the treatment of skin diseases, scrofula, rheumatism, eczema, also in leprosy, as a counterirritant for bruises, sprains, etc., and sometimes applied to open wounds and sores. Also used in veterinary practice. Dose of oil, 5 or 10 to 60 minims. Gynocardia Ointment, I.C.A.
---Other Species---The seeds of Gynocardia odorata have been erroneously given as the source of the oil.
Some of the commercial oil on the market probably comes from the allied species Hydnocarpus.


Botanical: Eugenia cheken (MOL.)
Family: N.O. Myrtaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Arryan. Myrtus Chekan.
---Part Used---Leaves.
---Description---The flowers grow in the axils of the leathery leaves, white with a fourparted calyx, four petals and numerous stamens; the berry is crowned by the calyx, one or two-celled, containing one or two seeds. The leaves nearly sessile, oval, 1 inch long, smooth, slightly wrinkled, aromatic, astringent, and bitter.
---Constituents---Volatile oil, tannin and four principles, viz. Chekenon, Chekenin, Chekenetin, and Cheken bitter, an amorphous, soluble bitter substance. The virtues of the leaves appear to be in the volatile oil they contain and in their tannin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Most useful in the chronic bronchitis of elderly people and in chronic catarrh of the respiratory organs. Dose: Fluid extract, 1 to 2. fluid drachms.


Family: N.O. Chenopodiaceae
---Synonyms---Goosefoots. Wormseeds. Spinach. Glassworts. Sea Beets.
The Chenopodiaceae, or Goosefoot order, is a large family of homely and more or less succulent herbs-common weeds in most temperate climates, usually growing on the seashore and on salt marshes and on waste or cultivated ground.
The tribe derives its distinctive name from the Greek words, chen (a goose) and pous (a foot), in allusion to the supposed resemblance borne by the leaves of most of its members to the webbed feet of the goose. The leaves are entire, lobed or toothed, often more or less triangular in shape.
The minute flowers - which are wind fertilized - are without petals, bisexual and borne in dense axillary or terminal clusters or spikes. The small fruit is membraneous and one-seeded, often enclosed by the persistent calyx, which frequently is inflated.
Most of these plants contain large quantities of iron in the form of digestible organic compounds and many of the species provide soda in abundance.
Ten species of Chenopodium occur in Britain, one of which, C. Bonus-Henricus, has been much cultivated as a pot-herb, under the name of English Mercury and All Good. The Garden Orache and the Arrach, the Sea Beet and the Glassworts are other native plants belonging to this large family, which has about 600 members.
The seeds of C. Quinoa (Linn.), of the Andean region of South America, there constitute the staple and principal food of millions of the native inhabitants.
Quinoa is a perennial, indigenous to the high tableland of the Cordilleras, where, at the conquest by the Spaniards, it was the only farinaceous grain used as food. The plant is from 4 to 6 feet high and has many angular branches, dull glaucous leaves, of a triangular outline on long, narrow stalks, and flowers forming large, compact, branched heads and succeeded by minute, strong, flat seeds, of a black, white or red color.
The Quinoa has been introduced into Europe, but though large crops have been grown in France, the grain has an unpleasant acrid taste and will hardly be used as human food when anything better can be got, though the leaves make a pleasant vegetable, like spinach.
But in Peru, Chile and Bolivia, Quinoa is largely cultivated for its nutritious seeds, which are produced in great abundance and are made into soup and bread, and when fermented with millet, make a kind of beer. They are called 'Little Rice.'
The seeds are prepared by boiling in water, like rice or oatmeal, a kind of gruel being the result, which is seasoned with Chile pepper and other condiments; or the grains are slightly roasted, like coffee, boiled in water and strained, the brown-colored broth thus prepared being seasoned as in the first process. This second preparation is called Carapulque, and is said to be a favourite dish with the ladies of Lima, but, as already stated, in whatever way prepared, Quinoa is unpalatable to strangers, though it is probably a nutritious article of food, due to the amount of albumen it contains.
Two varieties are cultivated, one producing very pale seeds, called the White or Sweet variety, which is that used as food, and a dark-red fruited one, called the Red Quinoa. Both kinds contain an amaroid (or bitter substance), in specially large amounts in the bitter variety, which is reputed anthelmintic and emetic. By repeated washings, the substance is removed and the seeds can then be used as a food, like the 'sweet' variety.
A sweetened decoction of the fruit is used medicinally, as an application to sores and bruises, and cataplasms are also made from it.
The grain is said to be excellent for poultry and the plant itself to form good green food for cattle.

Cherry Laurel

Botanical: Prunus laurocerasus (LINN,)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Part Used---The leaves.
---Habitat---Asia Minor; cultivated in Europe.
---Description---A small evergreen tree rising 15 to 20 feet, with long, spreading branches which, like the trunk, are covered with a smooth blackish bark. Leaves oval, oblong, petiolate, from 5 to 7 inches in length, acute, finely toothed, firm, coriaceous, smooth, beautifully green and shiny, with oblique nerves and yellowish glands at the base. Flowers small, white, strongly odorous, disposed in simple axillary racemes. Fruit an oval drupe, similar in shape and structure to a blackcherry, the odour of hydrocyanic acid may be detected in almost all parts of the tree and especially in the leaves when bruised.
---Constituents---Prulaurasin (laurocerasin) is the chief constituent of the leaves. This has been obtained in long, slender, acicular, bitter crystals, closely resembling amygdalin, but not identical with it. The leaves yield an average of 0.1 per cent of hydrocyanic acid, young leaves yielding more than the
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Sedative, narcotic. The leaves possess qualities similar to those of hydrocyanic acid, and the water distilled from them is used for the same purpose as that medicine. Of value in coughs, whooping-cough, asthma, and in dyspepsia and indigestion.
---Dosage---Cherry Laurel Water, B.P., 1/2 to 2 fluid drachms.

Cherry Stalks

Botanical: Prunus avium and Other Species (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Part Used---Fruit stalks.
---Habitat---Britain, Clermond Ferrand in France, and other parts of the Continent.
---Description---The fruit stalks of all species are used, their distinctive characteristics are stalks 1 3/4 inch long, very thin and enlarged at one end.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Astringent, tonic. Used in bronchial complaints anaemia, and for looseness of bowels, in the form of an infusion or decoction. 1/2 oz. of the stalks to a pint of water.

Cherry, Wild

Botanical: Prunus serotina (EHRL.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Virginian Prune. Black Cherry.
---Parts Used---Bark of root, trunk and branches.
---Habitat---North America generally, especially in Northern and Central States.
---Description---This tree grows from 50 to 80 feet high, and 2 to 4 feet in diameter. The bark is black and rough and separates naturally from the trunk. Wood polishes well, as it is fine-grained and compact, hence it is much used by cabinet-makers. Leaves deciduous, 3 to 5 inches long, about 2 inches wide, on petioles which have two pairs of reddish glands, they are obovate, acuminate, with incurved short teeth, thickish and smooth and glossy on upper surface; flowers bloom in May, and are white, in erect long terminal racemes, with occasional solitary flowers in the axils of the leaves. Fruit about the size of a pea, purply-black, globular drupe, edible with bitterish taste, is ripe in August and September. The tree is most abundant and grows to its full size in the south-western States. The root-bark is of most value, but that of the trunk and branches is also utilized. This bark must be freshly collected each season as its properties deteriorate greatly if kept longer than a year. It has a short friable fracture and in commerce it is found in varying lengths and widths 1 to 8 inches, slightly curved, outer bark removed, a reddish-fawn color. These fragments easily powder. It has the odour of almonds, which almost disappears on drying, but is renewed by maceration. Its taste is aromatic, prussic, and bitter. It imparts its virtues to water or alcohol, boiling impairs its medicinal properties.
---Constituents---Starch, resin, tannin, gallic acid, fatty matter, lignin, red coloring matter, salts of calcium, potassium, and iron, also a volatile oil associated with hydrocyanic acid by distillation of water from the bark
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Astringent tonic, pectoral, sedative. It has been used in the treatment of bronchitis of various types. Is valuable in catarrh, consumption nervous cough, whooping-cough, and dyspepsia.
---Dosages---Syrup, B.P. and U.S.P., 1 to 4 drachms. Tincture, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Infusion, U.S.P., 2 oz. Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Prunin, 1 to 3 grains.
---Adulterant---A spurious cherry bark has been noted which may be distinguished by the fact that no hydrocyanic acid is found when macerated with water.

Cherry, Winter

Botanical: Physalis alkekengi (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Solonacea
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Alkekengi officinale. Coqueret. Judenkirsche. Schlutte. Cape Gooseberry. Strawberry Tomato.
---Parts Used---The fruits and the leaves.
---Habitat---Europe. China and Cochin-China. An escape in the United States.
---Description---The name of Physalis is derived from the Greek phusa (a bladder), for the five-cleft calyx greatly increases in size after the corolla falls off, thus enclosing the fruit in a large, leafy bladder. The plant bears smooth, dark-green leaves and yellowish-white flowers. The fruit is a round, red berry, about the size of a cherry, containing numerous flat seeds, kidney-shaped. It will grow freely in any garden, but sufficient is found growing wild for medicinal purposes.
The leaves and capsules are the most bitter parts of the plant. The epicarp and calyx include a yellow coloring matter which has been used for butter.
The berries are very juicy, with a rather acrid and bitter flavour. In Germany, Spain and Switzerland they are eaten freely, as are other edible fruits. By drying they shrink, and fade to a brownish-red.
---Constituents---Physalin, a yellowish, bitter principle, has been isolated by extracting an infusion of the plant with chloroform. Lithal is sold as an extract of the berries to which lithium salt has been added. The fruit contains citric acid.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The berries are aperient and diuretic, are employed in gravel, suppression of urine, etc., and are highly recommended in fevers and in gout. Ray stated that a gouty patient had prevented returns of the disorder by taking eight berries at each change of the moon. Dioscorides claimed that they would cure epilepsy. The country people often use them both for their beasts and for themselves, and especially for the after-effects of scarlet fever.
The leaves and stems are used for the malaise that follows malaria, and for weak or anaemic persons they are slightly tonic. A strong dose causes heaviness and constipation, but sometimes they have cured colic followed by diarrhoea.
While not so prompt in its action as sulphate of quinine, the powder is a valuablefebrifuge.
The leaves, boiled in water, are good for soothing poultices and fomentations.
---Dosage---From 6 to 12 berries, or 1/2 an oz. of the expressed juice.
---Other Species---
P. viscosa (Ground Cherry or Yellow Henbane) can be used in a similar manner.
P. somnifera is a narcotic. The leaves are used in India, steeped in warm castoroil, as an application to carbuncles and other inflammatory swellings. The seeds are used to coagulate milk. Kunth states that the leaves have been found with wiccan mummies.
The plant sold in pots as Winter Cherry is Solanum pseudo-capsicum.

Chestnut, Horse

Botanical: Æsculus hippocastanum
Family: N.O. Sapindaceae
Part Used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonym---Hippocastanum vulgare (Gaertn.).
---Parts Used---Bark and fruit.
The Horse Chestnut, Æsculus hippocastanum, which has also been known as Hippocastanum vulgare (Gaertn.), is an entirely different tree from the Sweet Chestnut, to which it is not even distantly related, and is of much more recent importation to English soil. It is a native of northern and central parts of Asia, from which it was introduced into England about the middle of the sixteenth century.
The name Æsculus (from esca, food) was applied originally to a species of oak, which according to Pliny, was highly prized for its acorns, but how it came to be transferred to the Horse Chestnut is very uncertain; perhaps, as Loudon suggests, it was given ironically, because its nuts bear a great resemblance, externally, to those of the Sweet Chestnut, but are unfit for food. Hippocastanum (the specific name of the common sort) is a translation of the common name, which was given - Evelyn tells us - 'from its curing horses brokenwinded and other cattle of coughs.' Some writers think that the prefix 'horse' is a corruption of the Welsh gwres, meaning hot, fierce, or pungent, e.g. 'Horse-chestnut' = the bitter chestnut, in opposition to the mild, sweet one.
The tree is chiefly grown for ornamental purposes, in towns and private gardens and in parks, and forms fine avenues, which in the spring, when the trees are in full bloom, present a beautiful sight.
---Description---The trunk of the tree is very erect and columnar, and grows very rapidly to a great height, with widely spreading branches. The bark is smooth and greyishgreen in color: it has been used with some success in dyeing yellow. The wood, being soft and spongy, is of very little use for timber.
It is often used for packing-cases.
The sturdy, many-ribbed boughs and thick buds of the Horse Chestnut make it a conspicuous tree even in winter. The buds are protected with a sticky substance: defended by fourteen scales and gummed together, thus no frost or damp can harm the leaf and flower tucked safely away within each terminal bud, which develops with startling rapidity with the approach of the first warm days after the winter. The bud will sometimes develop the season's shoot in the course of three or four weeks. The unfolding of the bud is very rapid when the sun melts the resin that binds it so firmly together.
The large leaves are divided into five or seven leaflets, spreading like fingers from the palm of the hand and have their margins finely toothed. All over the small branches may be found the curious marks in the shape of minute horse-shoes, from which, perhaps, the tree gets its name. They are really the leaf scars. Wherever a bygone leaf has been, can be traced on the bark a perfect facsimile of a horse-shoe, even to the seven nail markings, which are perfectly distinct. And among the twigs may be found some with an odd resemblance to a horse's foot and fetlock.
The flowers are mostly white, with a reddish tinge, or marking, and grow in dense, erect spikes. There is also a dull red variety, and a less common yellow variety, which is a native of the southern United States, but is seldom seen here.
The fruit is a brown nut, with a very shining, polished skin, showing a dull, rough, pale-brown scar where it has been attached to the inside of the seed-vessel, a large green husk, protected with short spines, which splits into three valves when it falls to the ground and frees the nut.
---Cultivation---The Horse Chestnut is generally raised from the nuts, which are collected in the autumn and sown in the early spring. The nuts should be preserved in sand during the winter, as they may become mouldy and rot. If steeped in water, they will germinate more quickly. They will grow 3 foot the first summer and require little care, being never injured by the cold of this climate. They thrive in most soils and situations, but do best in a good, sandy loam.
---Part Used Medicinally---The bark and the fruit, from both of which a fluid extract is made. The bark is stripped in the spring and dried in the sun, or by slight artificial heat, and when dry, occurs in commerce in flattened pieces, 4 to 5 inches long and about 1 to 1 1/2 inch broad-about 1 to 1 1/4 inch thick, greyish-brown externally, showing corky elongated warts, and on the inner surface pinkish-brown, finely striated longitudinally. The bark is odourless, but has a bitter astringent taste.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The bark has tonic, narcotic and febrifuge properties and is used in intermittent fevers, given in an infusion of 1 OZ. to the pint, in tablespoonful doses, three or four times daily. As an external application to ulcers, this infusion has also been used with success.
The fruits have been employed in the treatment of rheumatism and neuralgia, and also in rectal complaints and for haemorrhoids.
---Preparations---Fluid extract, fruit, 5 to 20 drops. Fluid extract, bark, 1/2 to 2 drachms.
Horse Chestnuts as Fodder
In Eastern countries considerable use is made of Horse Chestnuts for feeding horses and cattle, and cattle are said to eat them with relish, though pigs will not touch them. The method of utilizing them is to first soak them in lime-water, which deprives them of the well-known bitter flavour inherent in the nuts, and then to grind them to a meal and mix them with the ordinary provender.
---Constituents---Analysis has shown that the nuts contain 3.04 per cent. water; 2.66 per cent. ash; 10.99 crude protein; oil, 5.34 per cent.; and 73 97 per cent. carbohydrates. Experiments conducted at Wye College proved that the most satisfactory way to prepare the Horse Chestnuts as food for animals was to soak partly crushed nuts in cold water overnight, then boil them for half an hour or so and strain off the water. The nuts were then dried, partially husked and reduced to a meal, which, though slightly bitter, had a pleasant taste and appearance. The meal was fed to a calf, a sheep and two pigs. The calf received up to 5 lb. of the meal per day and made good increase in live weight, and the sheep suffered no ill effects, but the pig refused to eat the food containing the meal. It is concluded that Horse Chestnuts are not poisonous to any of the farm animals experimented with, within the limits of what they can be induced to eat, and that they form a highly nutritious food. Chestnut meal is a fairly concentrated food, and contains about 14 per cent of starch, it being calculated that 1 Ib. of Horse Chestnut meal would be equivalent to 1 Ib. 1 OZ. of feeding barley, 1 lb. 4 OZ. of oats, 1 lb. 8 oz. of bran, and 3 lb. 5 OZ. of good meadow hay.
Experiments made during the Great War proved that for every ton of Horse Chestnuts which are harvested, half a ton of grain can be saved for human consumption, and thus the Horse Chestnuts, though totally unfit for human food, can be utilized indirectly to increase the national food supply.
The genus Pavia is so closely allied as to be now generally grouped with the Æsculus. The Red Buckeye (Æ. pavia) is a handsome small tree with dense and large foliage, together with bright red flowers in large loose clusters in early summer. Sometimes it rises from 15 to 20 feet high, but some of its varieties are only low-spreading or trailing shrubs. The Yellow Buckeye (Æ. flava) is common and sometimes 40 feet high. It has somewhat the habit of the Red Horse Chestnut (Æ. rubicunda), but has smoother leaves. The DWARF HORSE CHESTNUT (Æ. parviflora) is a handsome shrub, 6 to 10 feet high, flowering in later summer. Its foliage is much like that of other Æsculi, and its small, white, fragrant flowers are in long, erect plume-flowers.

Chestnut, Sweet

Botanical: Castanea vesca (GÆRTN.)
Family: N.O. Cupuliferae
Part Used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Fagus Castanea. Sardian Nut. Jupiter's Nut. Husked Nut. Spanish Chestnut.
---Parts Used---Leaves and fruit.
The Sweet Chestnut (Castanea vesca or Fagus castanea) has been with some reason described as the most magnificent tree which reaches perfection in Europe.
It grows so freely in this country that it has been by some authorities considered a true native, its claim resting chiefly upon the use of what was for centuries supposed to be Chestnut timber in very ancient buildings, such as the roof of Westminster Hall and the Parliament House of Edinburgh. It is now, however, recognized that the wood of Chestnut loses all virtue of durability when over fifty years old, and though the tree is of very quick growth, the beams in question could not have been grown in fifty years, so it has been proved that they are of Durmast Oak, which closely resembles Chestnut both in grain and color.
It is now generally accepted that the Chestnut is really a native of sunnier skies than ours, but was probably introduced into England by the Romans. Before then it was introduced into Europe from Sardis, in Asia Minor, whence the fruit was called the 'Sardian Nut.' From Italy and Greece it seems to have spread itself over the greater part of temperate Europe, ripening its fruit and sowing itself wherever the vine flourishes.
In France, Italy and Spain it attains a great size. Theophrastus called it the 'Euboean Nut' from Eubcea, now Negropont, where it was very abundant.
The famous Tortworth Chestnut, in Gloucestershire, was a landmark in the boundary records compiled in the reign of John, and was already known as the Great Chestnut of Tortworth in the days of Stephen. This enormous tree at 5 feet from the ground measured over 50 feet in circumference in 1720, and was still flourishing some years ago. Many of the trees forming the vast Chestnut forests on the slopes of Mount Etna are said to be even larger. In the Mediterranean region the Chestnut flourishes luxuriantly.
---Description---The tree grows very erect when planted among others, is firmly set and massive, the trunk columnar, tapering little, upstanding to the summit. When standing alone, it spreads its branches firmly on every side. Its bark is dark grey in color, thick and deeply furrowed: the furrows run longitudinally, but in age tend to twist, often then presenting almost the appearance of thick strands in a great cable.
The handsome, narrow leaves are large and glossy, somewhat leathery in texture, 7 to 9 inches in length, about 2 1/2 inches broad, tapering to a point at each end, the margins with distant, sharp-pointed, spreading teeth, arranged alternately on the twig. They remain on the trees late in autumn, turning to a golden color, and are then very beautiful, especially as they are not so liable to be insecteaten as are the leaves of the oak. They make useful litter.
The flowers appear after the leaves, in late spring or early summer, and are arranged in long catkins of two kinds. Some of the catkins bear only male flowers, each with eight stamens, and these mature first, the ripe pollen having a rather sickly odour. Other catkins have both kinds of flowers, the majority of them being pollen-bearing, but having also, near the twig from which they spring, the female or fruit-producing flowers in clusters, two or three fiowers together in a four-lobed prickly involucre, which later grows completely together and becomes the thick, leathery hull which covers the ripening seeds. The fruit hangs in clusters of these forbidding-looking burs - the brown nuts, which are roundish in shape, drawn up to a point and flattened on one side, being thus enclosed in a kind of casket protected by spines .
---Uses---In this country, as a rule not more than one of these nuts matures, and as they rarely come to great perfection, nearly all of those used are imported, mostly from Spain whence they are also called Spanish Chestnuts. The larger and better sorts, called Marones, are the produce of Italy, France, Switzerland and southern Germany, in which countries, especially in southern France and Italy, it forms an important article of diet, constituting in Italy a considerable proportion of the food of the peasantry.
They make an excellent stuffing for turkey, also roast pheasant, which is one of the few forms in which they are eaten here, apart from simply being roasted. Evelyn spoke of them as 'delicacies for princes and a lusty and masculine food for rusticks, and able to make women well-complexioned,' and then not unnaturally lamented that in England they are chiefly given to swine.
The meal of the Chestnut has also been used for whitening linen cloth and for making starch. The best kind, the Marones, contain 15 per cent sugar, and by expression yield a thick syrup, from which in turn a very usable sugar can be derived. This variety in France forms the favourite sweetmeat: Marons glacés.
Chestnut makes excellent timber. Though in old age the wood is brittle and liable to crack, when in a growing stage, having very little sap wood, it contains more timber of a durable quality than an oak of the same dimensions, and young chestnuts have proved more durable than oak for woodwork that has to be partly in the ground, such as stakes and fences. It is used for many other purposes, such as pit-props and wine-barrels and formerly Chestnut timber was used indiscriminately with oak for the construction of houses, mill-work and household furniture. In hop-growing districts it is in great demand for poles, and a coppice of prime chestnut is worth over L. 50 (pounds sterling) per acre. It makes excellent underwood and is quick growing. We read of an abbot in the reign of Henry II having a grant made to him of 'tithes of Chestnuts in the Forest of Dean,' and in modern days extensive plantings of Chestnuts have been made in the same great forest.
The usual method of propagation is by well-selected nuts, but if the tree is grown with the object of fruit-bearing, grafting is the best method. This is done in foreign countries and the method has been adopted in Devonshire. The grafted trees - called marronniers by the French - are, however, unfit for timber. The most suitable soil for Chestnut trees is a sandy loam, with a dry bottom, but they will grow in any soil, provided the subsoil be dry.
The Chestnut takes its name, Castanea, from a town of the name of Castanis in Thessaly, near where the tree grew in great abundance. It has the same name in different forms in all the European languages.
---Part Used Medicinally---The leaves, picked in June and July when they are in best condition and dried. They have also been used in the fresh state.
Chestnut leaves have no odour, but an astringent taste.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---In some places Chestnut leaves are used as a popular remedy in fever and ague, for their tonic and astringent properties.
Their reputation rests, however, upon their efficacy in paroxysmal and convulsive coughs, such as whooping-cough, and in other irritable and excitable conditions of the respiratory organs. The infusion of 1 OZ. of the dried leaves in a pint of boiling water is administered in tablespoonful to wineglassful doses, three or four times daily.
Culpepper says:
'if you dry the chestnut, both the barks being taken away, beat them into powder and make the powder up into an electuary with honey, it is a first-rate remedy for cough and spitting of blood.

---Chestnut Soup---
Scald, peel and scrape 50 large chestnuts; put these into a stewpan with 2 OZ. of butter, an onion, 4 lumps of sugar, and a little pepper and salt, and simmer the whole over a slow fire for three-quarters of an hour; then bruise the chestnuts in a mortar; remove the pulp into a stewpan, add a quart of good brown gravy, and having rubbed the purée through a Tammy, pour it into a stewpan; make it hot and serve with fried crusts.
---Chestnut Pudding---
Put 12 OZ. of chestnut farina into a stewpan, and add 6 oz. of pounded sugar, a spoonful of vanilla sugar, a pinch of salt, 4 oz. of butter, and a pint of milk; stir this over the fire till it thickens, and then quicken the motion of the spoon until the paste leaves the sides of the stewpan; it must then be removed from the fire, and the yolks of 6 eggs incorporated therewith- then mix in gently the 6 whites whipped firm, and use this preparation to fill a plain mould spread inside with butter; place it on a baking-sheet, and bake it in an oven of moderate heat for about an hour; when done, turn it out on its dish, pour some diluted apricot jam round it, and serve.


Botanical: Stellaria media (CYRILL.)
Family: N.O. Caryophyllaceae
Part Used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Starweed. Star Chickweed. Alsine media (Linn.). Passerina
(French) Stellaire.
(German) Augentrosgräs.
---Part Used---Herb.
---Habitat---It has been said that there is no part of the world where the Chickweed is not to be found. It is a native of all temperate and north Arctic regions, and has naturalized itself wherever the white man has settled, becoming one of the commonest weeds.
From the Groundsel, we naturally from association of ideas turn to the Chickweed, though it is in no way botanically allied to the Groundsel.
Several plants have been named Chickweed, one of them a plant belonging to the Purslane family and four species of Cerastium - the Mouse Ear Chickweeds - but the name especially belongs to the plant in question, Stellaria media, the ubiquitous garden weed, of which our caged birds are as fond as they are of Groundsel, a taste shared by young chickens, to whose diet it makes a wholesome addition.
Chickweed is a most variable plant. Gerard enumerates no less than thirteen species, but the various forms are nowadays merely considered deviations from the one type. Hooker gives three varieties which have been named by other botanists as separate species.
---Description---The stem is procumbent and weak, much branched, often reaching a considerable length, trailing on the ground, juicy, pale green and slightly swollen at the joints. Chickweed is readily distinguished from the plants of the same genus by the line of hairs that runs up the stem on one side only, which when it reaches a pair of leaves is continued on the opposite side. The leaves are succulent, egg-shaped, about 1/2 inch long and 1/4 inch broad, with a short point, pale green and quite smooth, with flat stalks below, but stalkless above. They are placed on the stem in pairs. The small white star-like flowers are situated singly in the axils of the upper leaves. Their petals are narrow and deeply cleft, not longer than the sepals. They open about nine o'clock in the morning and are said to remain open just twelve hours in bright weather, but rain prevents them expanding, and after a heavy shower they become pendent instead of having their faces turned up towards the sun, though in the course of a few days rise again. The flowers are already in bloom in March and continue till late in the autumn. The seeds are contained in a little capsule fitted with teeth which close up in wet weather, but when ripe are open and the seeds are shaken out by each movement of the plant in the breeze this being one of the examples of the agency of the wind in the dispersal of seeds, which is to be seen in similar form in the capsules of poppy, henbane, campion and many other common plants.
The Chickweed is also an instance of what is termed the 'Sleep of Plants,' for every night the leaves approach each other, so that their upper surfaces fold over the tender buds of the new shoots, and the uppermost pair but one of the leaves at the end of the stalk are furnished with longer leafstalks than the others, so that they can close upon the terminating pair and protect the tip of the shoot.
The young leaves when boiled can hardly be distinguished from spring spinach, and are equally wholesome. They may also be used uncooked with young Dandelion leaves to form a salad.
The custom of giving Chickweed to birds is a very old one, for Gerard tells us:
'Little birds in cadges (especially Linnets) are refreshed with the lesser Chickweed when they loath their meat whereupon it was called of some "Passerina." '
Both wild and caged birds eat the seeds as well as the young tops and leaves. Pigs like Chickweed, and also rabbits; cows and horses will eat it; sheep are indifferent to it, but goats refuse to touch it.
---Part Used Medicinally---The whole herb, collected between May and July, when it is in the best condition, and dried in the same manner as Groundsel. It is used both fresh and dried.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Demulcent, refrigerant. It is held in great repute amongherbalists, used mostly in the form of an ointment.
The fresh leaves have been employed as a poultice for inflammation and indolent ulcers with most beneficial results. A poultice of Chickweed enclosed in muslin is a sure remedy for a carbuncle or an external abscess. The water in which the Chickweed is boiled should also be used to bathe the affected part.
Gerard tells us that:
'the leaves of Chickweed boyled in water very soft, adding thereto some hog's grease, the powder of Fenugreeke and Linseed, and a few roots of Marsh Mallows, and stamped to the forme of Cataplasme or pultesse, taketh away the swelling of the legs or any other part . . . in a word it comforteth, digesteth, defendeth and suppurateth very notably.'
He says that 'the leaves boyled in vinegar and salt are good against mangines of the hands and legs, if they be bathed therewith.'
Combined with Elecampane, Chickweed has also been recommended as a specific for hydrophobia, and the juice, taken internally, for scurvy.
The plant chopped and boiled in lard makes a fine green cooling ointment, good for piles and sores, and cutaneous diseases. It has also been employed as an application for ophthalmia.
A decoction made with the fresh plant is good for constipation, and an infusion of the dried herb is efficacious in coughs and hoarseness. The dose of the fluid extract is 10 to 60 drops.
Culpepper calls it 'a fine, soft, pleasing herb, under the dominion of the Moon,' and goes on to tell us that:
'It is found to be as effectual as Purslain to all the purposes whereunto it serveth, except for meat only. The herb bruised, or the juice applied, with cloths or sponges dipped therein to the region of the liver, and as they dry to have fresh applied, doth wonderfully temper the heat of the liver and is effectual for all impostumes and swellings whatsoever; for all redness in the face, wheals, pushes, itch or scabs, the juice being either simply used, or boiled in hog's grease; the juice or distilled water is of good use for all heat and redness in the eyes ... as also into the ears.... It helpeth the sinews when they are shrunk by cramps or otherwise, and extends and makes them pliable again, by using the following methods, viz.: Boil a handful of Chickweed and a handful of dried red-rose leaves, but not distilled, in a quart of muscadine, until a fourth part be consumed; then put to them a pint of oil of trotters, or sheep's feet, let them boil a good while, still stirring them well, which being strained, anoint the grieved part therewith warm against the fire, rubbing it well with your hand, and bind also some of the herb, if you choose, to the place, and with God's blessing it will help in three times dressing.'
Chickweed water is an old wives' remedy for obesity.


Botanical: Cichorium intybus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Part Used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Succory. Wild Succory. Hendibeh. Barbe de Capucin.
---Part Used---Root.
---Habitat---Wild Chicory or Succory is not uncommon in many parts of England and Ireland, though by no means a common plant in Scotland. It is more common on gravel or chalk, especially on the downs of the south-east coast, and in places where the soil is of a light and sandy nature, when it is freely to be found on waste land, open borders of fields and by the roadside, and is easily recognized by its tough, twig-like stems, along which are ranged large, bright blue flowers about the size and shape of the Dandelion. Sir Jas. E. Smith, founder of the Linnean Society, says of the tough stems: 'From the earliest period of my recollection, when I can just remember tugging ineffectually with all my infant strength at the tough stalks of the wild Succory, on the chalky hills about Norwich....'
---Description---It is a perennial, with a tap root like the Dandelion. The stems are 2 to 3 feet high, the lateral branches numerous and spreading, given off at a very considerable angle from the central stem, so that the general effect of the plant, though spreading, is not rich and full, as the branches stretch out some distance in each direction and are but sparsely clothed with leaves of any considerable size. The general aspect of the plant is somewhat stiff and angular.
The lower leaves of the plant are large and spreading - thickly covered with hairs, something like the form of the Dandelion leaf, except that the numerous lateral segments or lobes are in general direction about at a right angle with the central stem, instead of pointing downwards, as in similar portions of the leaf of the Dandelion. The terminal lobe is larger and all the segments are coarsely toothed. The upper leaves are very much smaller and less divided, their bases clasping the stems.
The flowerheads are numerous, placed in the axils of the stem-leaves, generally in clusters of two or three. When fully expanded, the blooms are rather large and of a delicate tint of blue: the color is said to specially appeal to the humble bee. They are in blossom from July to September. However sunny the day, by the early afternoon every bloom is closed, its petal-rays drawing together. Linnaeus used the Chicory as one of the flowers in his floral Clock at Upsala, because of its regularity in opening at 5 a.m. and closing at 10 a.m. in that latitude. Here it closes about noon and opens between 6 and 7 in the morning.
---History---It has been suggested that the name Succory came from the Latin succurrere (to run under), because of the depth to which the root penetrates. It may, however be a corruption of Chicory, or Ctchorium, a word of wiccan origin, which in various forms is the name of the plant in practically every European language. The Arabian physicians called it 'Chicourey.' Intybus, the specific name of the Chicory, is a modification of another Eastern name for the plant - Hendibeh. The Endive, an allied but foreign species (a native of southern Asia and northern provinces of China) derives both its common and specific names from the same word. The Endive and the Succory are the only two species in the genus Cichorium. There is little doubt that the Cichorium mentioned by Theophrastus as in use amongst the ancients was the wild Chicory, since the names by which the wild plant is known in all the languages of modern Europe are merely corruptions of the original Greek word, while there are different names in the different countries for the Garden Endive.
Succory was known to the Romans and eaten by them as a vegetable or in salads, its use in this way being mentioned by Horace, Virgil, Ovid, and Pliny.
On the Continent, Chicory is much cultivated, not only as a salad and vegetable, but also for fodder and more especially for the sake of its root, which though woody in the wild state, under cultivation becomes large and fleshy, with a thick rind, and is employed extensively when roasted and ground, for blending with coffee.
In this country Chicory has been little grown. There was an attempt in 1788 to introduce its cultivation here as fodder, it being grown largely for that purpose in France, especially for sheep, but it would seem not to have met with success and has not been grown as a farm crop, though it furnishes abundance of good fodder at a time when green food is scarce, growing very quickly, two cuttings being possible in the first year and three in subsequent years, the produce being said to be superior on the whole to Lucerne. Although this plant, being succulent, seldom dries well for hay in this country, it seems valuable as fresh food for horses, cows and sheep: rabbits are fond of it. There has been an attempt since the war to re-introduce the cultivation of Chicory, and it has been successfully grown at the experimental farm of the University College of North Wales at Bangor, and at Kirton, Lincolnshire, for the first time for forty years, was reported in March, 1917, to be yielding 20 tons per acre.
When grown for a forage crop, it should be sown during the last week in May, or first week in June, in drills about 15 inches apart, the plants being afterwards singled to from 6 inches to 8 inches in the row. About 5 lb. of seed will be needed for the acre. If sown too early the plant is likely to bolt. So grown, the crop of leaves can be cut in autumn to be fed to stock of all kinds, such as poultry, rabbits, cows, etc., and in following years, if the crop is kept clean, the foliage may be mown off three or four times. So grown it should of course never be allowed to seed.
On the Continent, especially in Belgium, the young and tender roots are boiled and eaten with butter like parsnips, and form a very palatable vegetable.
---Uses---The leaves are used in salads, for which they are much superior to Dandelion. They may be cut and used from young plants, but are generally blanched, as the unblanched leaves are bitter. This forced foliage is termed by the French Barbe de Capucin and forms a favourite winter salad, much eaten in France and Belgium. A particularly fine strain is known as Witloof, in Belgium, where smallholders make a great feature of this crop and excel in its cultivation. The young blanched heads also form a good vegetable for cooking, similar to Sea Kale.
Enormous quantities of the plant are cultivated on the Continent, to supply the grocer with the ground Chicory which forms an ingredient or adulteration to coffee. In Belgium, Chicory is sometimes even used as a drink without admixture of coffee. For this purpose, the thick cultivated root is sliced kiln-dried, roasted and then ground. It differs from coffee in the absence of volatile oil, rich aromatic flavour, caffeine and caffeotannic acid, and in the presence of a large amount of ash, including silica. When roasted, it yields 45 to 65 per cent of soluble extractive matter. Roasted Coffee yields only 21 to 25 per cent of soluble extract, this difference affording a means of approximately determining the amount of Chicory in a mixture.
When infused, Chicory gives to coffee a bitterish taste and a dark color. French writers say it is contra-stimulante, and serves to correct the excitation caused by the principles of coffee, and that it suits bilious subjects who suffer from habitual constipation, but is ill-adapted for persons whose vital energy soon flags, and that for lymphatic or bloodless persons its use should be avoided.
---Cultivation---Chicory is a hardy perennial and will grow in almost any soil. For use as a salad, the plant may be easily cultivated in the kitchen garden. Sow the seed in May or June, in drills about 1 inch deep, about 12 inches apart, and thin out the young plants to 6 or 8 inches apart in the rows; when well up, water in very dry weather.
For blanching, dig up in October as many as may be needed, and after cutting off the leaves, it is well to let the roots be exposed to the air for a fortnight or three weeks; they should then be planted in deep boxes or pots of sand or light soil, leaving 8 inches between the soil and the top of the box. A cover of some sort is put on the box to exclude the light and the box put into a warm place, either in a warm green-house, under the stage, or, being so hardy, they may be successful in a moderately warm cellar and shed from which frost is excluded. Deprived of light, the young oncoming leaves become blanched and greatly elongated, and in this state are cut and sent to the market. If light is totally debarred, as it should be, the produce will be of a beautiful creamy white color, soft and nearly destitute of the bitter flavour present when the plants are grown in the open air.
The fresh root is bitter, with a milky juice which is somewhat aperient and slightly sedative, suiting subjects troubled with bilious torpor, whilst, on good authority, the plant has been pronounced useful against pulmonary consumption.
A decoction of 1 OZ. of the root to a pint of boiling water, taken freely, has been found effective in jaundice, liver enlargements, gout and rheumatic complaints, and a decoction of the plant, fresh gathered, has been recommended for gravel.
Syrup of Succory is an excellent laxative for children, as it acts without irritation.
An infusion of the herb is useful for skin eruptions connected with gout.
The old herbalists considered that the leaves when bruised made a good poultice for swellings, inflammations and inflamed eyes, and that 'when boiled in broth for those that have hot, weak and feeble stomachs doe strengthen the same.' Tusser (1573) considered it - together with Endive - a useful remedy for ague, and Parkinson pronounced Succory to be a 'fine, cleansing, jovial plant.'
Chicory when taken too habitually, or freely, causes venous passive congestion in the digestive organs within the abdomen and a fullness of blood in the head. If used in excess as a medicine it is said to bring about loss of visual power in the retina.
From the flowers a water was distilled to allay inflammation of the eyes. With violets, they were used to make the confection, 'Violet plates,' in the days of Charles II.
The seeds contain abundantly a demulcent oil, whilst the petals furnish a glucoside which is colorless unless treated with alkalies, when it becomes of a golden yellow. The leaves have been used to dye blue.
SWINE'S CHICORY (Arnoseris pusilla, Gaertn.), also known as Lamb's Succory, is a cornfield weed belonging to a closely related genus. All its leaves are radical, and it has small heads of yellow flowers on leafless, branched flower-stalks. It has no therapeutic uses.
To obtain roots of a large size, the ground must be rich, light and well manured.
---Part Used Medicinally---The root. When dried - in the same manner as Dandelion it is brownish, with tough, loose, reticulated white layers surrounding a radiate, woody column. It often occurs in commerce crowned with remains of the stem. It is inodorous and of a mucilaginous and bitter taste.
---Constituents---A special bitter principle, not named, inulin and sugar.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Chicory has properties similar to those of Dandelion, its action being tonic, laxative and diuretic.



Botanical: Smilax China (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Liliaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Habitat---China, Japan and East Indies.
(The China used in homoeopathy is not to be confused with this plant. In homoepathy China is the name given to Peruvian bark. - EDITOR)
---Description---A climbing shrub with tuberous roots, stems prickly, leaves stalked and veined, with a tendril on each side of the leaf stalks. The flowers have globular heads, sessile in the axils of the leaves, Tubers cylindrical, irregular, 4 to 6 inches long, 2 inches thick, slightly flattened, having short knotty branches, with a rust-colored shiny bark, sometimes smooth, may be wrinkled, internally pale fawn color, mealy, small resin cells, no odour, taste indifferent, afterwards slightly bitter and acrid, not unlike ordinary sarsaparilla.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Alterative, diaphoretic, tonic. China Smilax is used for the same purposes and has much the same properties as the official Sarsaparilla. In large doses it causes nausea and vomiting, especially valuable in weakened and depraved conditions due to a poisoned state of the blood, it is a useful alterative in old syphilitic cases and in chronic rheumatism; it is also used for certain skin diseases. It was introduced into China in A.D. 1535, when it was considered an infallible remedy for gout; in that country the roots are eaten as a food. With alum the root gives a yellow dye and with sulphate of iron a brown color.
The name Smilax was used by the Greeks to denote a poisonous tree, but some authorities consider it is derived from 'Smile,' meaning cutting or scratching, having reference to the rough prickly nature of the plant.
---Preparations---The compound syrup is mostly used to form a vehicle for the administration of mercury and iodide of potassium. Dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm.
The smoke from sarsaparilla has been highly recommended for asthma.
---Other Species---The rootstocks of Smilax Pseudo-China are made into a sort of beer in South Carolina. They are also used to fatten pigs. In Persia the young shoots of some of these species are eaten as asparagus.


Botanical: Swertia chirata (BUCH.-HAM.)
Family: N.O. Gentianaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Dosages and Preparations
Other Species
---Synonyms---Chirata. Indian Gentian. Indian Balmony.
---Part Used---Herb.
---Habitat---Northern India, Nepal.
---Description---This plant first came into notice in Britain in 1829, and in 1839 was admitted to the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia. It is an annual, about 3 feet high; branching stem; leaves smooth entire, opposite, very acute, lanceolate; flowers numerous; peduncles yellow; one-celled capsule. The whole herb is used and collected when flower is setting for seed and dried.
---Constituents---Two bitter principles, Ophelic acid and Chiratin, the latter in larger proportion.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The true Chiretta has a yellowish pith, is extremely bitter and has no smell, an overdose causes sickness and a sense of oppression in the stomach. It acts well on the liver, promoting secretion of bile, cures constipation and is useful for dyspepsia. It restores tone after illness.
---Dosages and Preparations---Dried plant, 5 to 30 grains. Infusion of Chiretta, B.P., 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 draehm. Solid extract, 4 to 8 grains.
---Other Species---In Indian bazaars where Chiretta is much more used than in England, the name Chirata is given to manykinds of Gentian-like plants. The one that is most in use among them is Ophelia augustifolia, the hill Chirata. It can easily be recognized by the stem being hollow, without pith and lower part of stem square. Another adulterant is Andrographis paniculata, also a native of India, one of the Acanthaceae; this in the dried state looks more like a bundle of broomtops, but is used a great deal in India as it has two valuable bitter tonic principles, Andrographolide and Halmeghin.


Botanical: Allium schoenoprasum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Liliaceae
(French) Ail civitte
(Old French) Petit poureau
---Part Used---Herb.
---Habitat---The Chive is the smallest, though one of the finest-flavoured of the Onion tribe, belonging to the botanical group of plants that goes under the name of Allium, which includes also the Garlic, Leek and Shallot. Though said to be a native of Britain, it is only very rarely found growing in an uncultivated state, and then only in the northern and western counties of England and Wales and in Oxfordshire. It grows in rocky pastures throughout temperate and northern Europe. De Candolle says: 'This species occupies an extensive area in the northern hemisphere. It is found all over Europe from Corsica and Greece to the south of Sweden, in Siberia as far as Kamschatka and also in North America. The variety found in the Alps is the nearest to the cultivated form.' Most probably it was known to the Ancients, as it grows wild in Greece and Italy. Dodoens figures it and gives the French name for it in his days: 'Petit poureau,' relating to its rush-like appearance. In present day French it is commonly called 'Ail civitte.' The Latin name of this species means 'Rush-Leek.'
---Description---The plant is a hardy perennial. The bulbs grow very close together in dense tufts or clusters, and are of an elongated form, with white, rather firm sheaths, the outer sheath sometimes grey.
The slender leaves appear early in spring and are long, cylindrical and hollow, tapering to a point and about the thickness of a crowsquill. They grow from 6 to 10 inches high.
The flowering stem is usually nipped off with cultivated plants (which are grown solely for the sake of the leaves, or 'grass'), but when allowed to rise, it seldom reaches more than a few inches to at most a foot in height. It is hollow and either has no leaf or one leaf sheathing it below the middle. It supports a close globular head, or umbel, of purple flowers; the numerous flowers are densely packed together on separate, very slender little flower-stalks, shorter than the flowers themselves, which lengthen slightly as the fruit ripens, causing the heads to assume a conical instead of a round shape. The petals of the flowers are nearly half an inch long; when dry, their pale-purple color, which has in Parts a darker flush, changes to rose-color. The anthers (the pollen-bearing part of the flower) are of a bluish-purple color. The seed-vessel, or capsule, is a little larger than a hemp seed and is completely concealed within the petals, which are about twice its length. The small seeds which it contains are black when ripe and similar to Onion seeds.
The flowers are in blossom in June and July, and in the most cold and moist situations will mature their seeds, though rarely allowed to do so under cultivation.
---Cultivation---The Chive will grow in any ordinary garden soil. It can be raised by seed, but is usually propagated by dividing the clumps in spring or autumn. In dividing the clumps, leave about six little bulbs together in a tiny clump, which will spread to a fine clump in the course of a year, and may then be divided. Set the clumps from 9 inches to a foot apart each way. For a quick return, propagation by division of the bulb clumps is always to be preferred.
The green from the clumps can be cut three or four times in the season. When required for use, each clump may be cut in turn, fairly close to the ground. The leaves will soon grow again and be found more tender each time of cutting. By carefully cropping, the 'grass' can be obtained quite late in the season, until the early frosts come, when it withers up and disappears through the winter, pushing up again in the first warm days of February. For early crops, a little 'grass' can be forced on the clumps by placing cloches or a 'light' over them.
Beyond weeding between the clumps, no further care or attention is needed after division. Beds should be re-planted at least once in three or four years.
If it is desired to produce seed, grow two plantations, one for producing 'grass' for use, and the other to be left to flower and set seed, as you cannot get the two crops - 'grass' and seed, off the one set of plants.
---Uses---The Chive contains a pungent volatile oil, rich in sulphur, which resent in all the Onion tribe and causes their distinctive smell and taste.
It is a great improvement to salads - cut fresh and chopped fine-and may be put not only into green salads, but also into cucumber salad, or sprinkled on sliced tomatoes.
Chives are also excellent in savoury omelettes, and may be chopped and boiled with potatoes that are to be mashed, or chopped fresh and sprinkled, just before serving, on mashed potatoes, both as a garnish and flavouring. They may also be put into soup, either dried, or freshly cut and finely chopped, and are a welcome improvement to homemade sausages, croquettes, etc., as well as an excellent addition to beefsteak puddings and pies.
Chives are also useful for cutting up and mixing with the food of newly-hatched turkeys.
Parkinson mentions Chives as being cultivated in his garden, among other herbs.

See Pellitory.

Cicely, Sweet

Botanical: Myrrhis odorata (SCOP.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---British Myrrh. Anise. Great (Sweet) Chervil. Sweet Chervil. Smooth Cicely. Sweet Bracken. Sweet-fern. Sweet-Cus. Sweet-Humlock. Sweets. The Roman Plant. Shepherd's Needle. Smoother Cicely. Cow Chervil.
---Parts Used---The whole plant and seeds.
---Habitat---Mountain pastures from the Pyrenees to the Caucasus. In Britain, in the hilly districts of Wales, northern England and Scotland.
---Description---The name Myrrhis odorata is derived from the Greek word for perfume, because of its myrrh-like smell.
It is a native of Great Britain, a perennial with a thick root and very aromatic foliage, on account of which it was used in former days as a salad herb, or boiled, when the root, leaves, and seed were all used. The leaves are very large, somewhat downy beneath, and have a flavour rather like Anise, with a scent like Lovage. The first shoots consist of an almost triangular, lacey leaf, with a simple wing curving up from each side of its root. The stem grows from 2 to 3 feet high, bearing many leaves, and white flowers in early summer appear in compound umbels.In appearance it is rather like Hemlock, but is of a fresher green color. The fruit is remarkably large, an inch long, dark brown, and fully flavoured. The leaves taste as if sugar had been sprinkled over them. It is probable that it is not truly a wild plant, as it is usually found near houses, where it may very probably be cultivated in the garden. Sweet Cicely is very attractive to bees; in the north of England it is said that the seeds are used to polish and scent oak floors and furniture. In Germany they are still very generally used in cookery. The old herbalists describe the plant as 'so harmless you cannot use it amiss.' The roots were supposed to be not only excellent in a salad, but when boiled and eaten with oil and vinegar, to be 'very good for old people that are dull and without courage; it rejoiceth and comforteth the heart and increaseth their lust and strength.'
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Aromatic, stomachic, carminative and expectorant. Useful in coughs and flatulence, and as a gentle stimulant for debilitated stomachs. The fresh root may be eaten freely or used in infusion with brandy or water. A valuable tonic for girls from 15 to 18 years of age. The roots are antiseptic, and a decoction is used for the bites of vipers and mad dogs The distilled water is said to be diuretic, and helpful in pleurisy, and the essence to be aphrodisiac. The decoction of roots in wine is also said to be effective for consumption, in morning and evening doses of 4 to 8 OZ., while the balsam and ointment cure green wounds, stinking ulcers, and ease the pain of gout.
The medicinal properties resemble those of the American variety.
Chervil, or Scandix Cerefolium (fam. Umbelliferae), a native of southern Europe and the Levant, is used only in cookery, and used in the French bouquet of herbs known as 'fines herbes.'
American Sweet Cicely (fam. Apicceae) or Ozmorrhiza longistylis. This plant grows in various parts of the United States, on lowlying, moist lands, flowering in May and June. The root has a sweet smell and taste, resembling aniseed and yields its properties to water or diluted alcohol.

Cineraria Maritima

Botanical: Senecio maritima (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonym---Dusty Miller.
---Part Used---Juice of the leaves.
---Habitat---Shores of the Mediterranean. Also found on the maritime rocks of Holyhead.
---Description---The word 'Cineraria' means ashy grey, a mixture of black and white coloring resulting in the beautiful color of the plant which grows sparsely in the author's garden at Chalfont St. Peter. This plant is perennial, propagated by cuttings, layers, or seeds. It belongs to the groundsel or ragwort family, of which there are nearly 900 different species known to botanists. The species takes its name from Senex (an old man) in allusion to the white hairy pappus which crowns the achenes. The leaves are about 6 inches long, 2 inches wide, pinnately divided; flowers yellow.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The fresh juice is said to remove cataract. A few drops of the fresh juice are dropped into the eye.


Botanical: Cinnamomum zeylanicum (NEES.)
Family: N.O. Lauraceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
Other Species
---Synonym---Laurus Cinnamomum.
---Part Used---Bark.
---Habitat---Ceylon, but grows plentifully in Malabar, Cochin-China, Sumatra and Eastern Islands. Has also been cultivated in the Brazils, Mauritius, India, Jamaica, etc.
---Description---Grows best in almost pure sand, requiring only 1 per cent of vegetable substance; it prefers a sheltered place, constant rain, heat and equal temperature. The Dutch owned the monopoly of the trade of the wild produce, and it was not cultivated until 1776, owing to Dutch opposition and the belief that cultivation would destroy its properties.
Cinnamon is now largely cultivated. The tree grows from 20 to 30 feet high, has thick scabrous bark, strong branches, young shoots speckled greeny orange, the leaves petiolate, entire, leathery when mature, upper side shiny green, underside lighter; flowers small white in panicles; fruit, an oval berry like an acorn in its receptacle, bluish when ripe with white spots on it, bigger than a blackberry; the root-bark smells like cinnamon and tastes like camphor, which it yields on distillation. Leaves, when bruised, smell spicy and have a hot taste; the berry tastes not unlike Juniper and has a terebine smell; when ripe, bruised and boiled it gives off an oily matter which when cool solidifies and is called cinnamon suet.
The commercial Cinnamon bark is the dried inner bark of the shoots.
Cinnamon has a fragrant perfume, taste aromatic and sweet; when distilled it only gives a very small quantity of oil, with a delicious flavour.
---Constituents---0 to 10 per cent of volatile oil, tannin, mucilage and sugar.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Carminative, astringent, stimulant, antiseptic; more powerful as a local than as a general stimulant; is prescribed in powder and infusion but usually combined with other medicines. It stops vomiting, relieves flatulence, and given with chalk and astringents is useful for diarrhoea and haemorrhage of the womb.
---Preparations and Dosages---Cinnamon Water, B.P., 1 to 2 fluid ounces. Tincture of Cinnamon, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Oil, B.P., 1/2 to 3 drops. Comp. Powd. Arom., B.P., 10 to 40 grains. Spirit, B.P., 5 to 20 drops.
---Other Species---
Cinnamon Cassia is often substituted for it it possesses much the same qualities and constituents but is inferior. See CASSIA.
C. Culiawan. Native of Amboyna- the bark has the flavour of cloves.
C. iners. Native of Malabar, seeds useful for fevers and dysentery; bark employed as a condiment.
C. nitidum. Dried leaves are said to furnish the aromatic called 'folid Malabathri.'

Cinnamon, White

Botanical: Canella alba (MURRAY)
Family: N.O. Canellaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Canella. White Wood. Wild Cinnamon. Canellae Cortex.
---Part Used---The bark, deprived of its corky layer and dried.
---Habitat---The West Indies and Florida.
---Description---A straight tree, from 10 to 50 feet in height, branched only at the top. The bark is whitish and the leaves alternate, oblong, thick, and of a dark, shining, laurel green. The flowers are small, and seldom open. They are of a violet color, and grow in clusters at the tops of the branches. The fruit is an oblong berry containing four kidney-shaped seeds, and turns from green to blue and then to a glossy black. The wild pigeons of Jamaica eat the fruit, and their flesh is flavoured by them. The whole tree is aromatic, and if the flowers are dried, then softened again in warm water, they have a fragrance resembling musk. Canella was first introduced into Britain in 1600. The Spaniards, on seeing it in America, thought it was a species of cinnamon, and brought it to Europe as 'white cinnamon.'
The corky layer of the bark can be gently beaten off, and the inner bark is dried, and exported chiefly from the Bahamas.
In commerce the bark is found in quills or twisted pieces, of a pale orange-brown, with characteristic markings scars, or spots. The fracture is short, granular, and whitish. The odour is agreeable, resembling cloves and cinnamon, and the taste is pungent, bitter, and acrid.
The negroes and Caribs use it as a condiment or spice, and it is sometimes added by smokers to their tobacco to remove the unpleasant odour and make their rooms fragrant.
---Constituents---A volatile oil, gum, starch, canellin, bitter extractive, resin, albumen, mannite, etc. The oil has a pungent, aromatic taste, and contains eugenol, cineol, and terpenes. There is no tannin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---An aromatic bitter, useful in enfeebled conditions of the stomach, and often given with other medicines. It was formerly given in scurvy. The powder is used with aloes as a stimulating purgative. (This is a descendant of the Hiera Piera of Galen. - EDITOR.) It is often sold as a substitute for winter's bark, but it contains no tannic acid, or oxide of iron, both of which are present in the other.
---Dosage---10 to 40 grains of the powder.
---Other Species---
C. axillaris of Brazil. Thought by some authorities to be the source of Malambo bark and Matias bark.

See Five-Leaf Grass.

Clary, Common

Botanical: Salvia Sclarea (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Clary, Wild English
---Synonyms---Clarry. Orvale. Toute-bonne. Clear Eye. See Bright. Eyebright.
---Parts Used---The herb and leaves, both fresh and dry.
---Habitat---Middle Europe.
Common Clary, like the Garden Sage, is not a native of Great Britain, having first been introduced into English cultivation in the year 1562. It is a native of Syria Italy, southern France and Switzerland, but will thrive here upon almost any soil that is not too wet, though it will rot frequently upon moist ground in the winter.
Gerard, in 1597, describes and figures several varieties of Clary, under the names of Horminum and Gallitricum. He describes it as growing 'in divers barren places almost in every country, especially in the fields of Holborne neare unto Grayes Inne . . . and at the end of Chelsea.' It must have become acclimatized very quickly if it was found 'in divers barren places' before the close of the sixteenth century, less than forty years after its introduction into the country.
Salmon, in 1710, in The English Herbal, gives a number of varieties of the Garden Clary, which he calls Horminum Hortense, in distinction to Horminum Sylvestre, the Wild Clary, subdividing it into the Common Clary (H. commune), the True Garden Clary of Dioscorides (H. sativum verum Dioscorides), the Yellow Clary (Calus Jovis), and the Small or German Clary (H. humile Germanicum or Gallitricum alterum Gerardi). It is interesting to note that this last variety, being termed Gerardi, indicates that Gerard classified this species when it was first brought over from the Continent, evidently taking great pains to trace its history, giving in his Herball its Greek name and its various Latin ones. That Clary was known in ancient times is shown by the second variety, the True Garden Clarv being termed Dioscoridis.
---Description---The Common Garden Clary is a biennial plant, its square, brownish stems growing 2 to 3 feet high, hairy and with few branches. The leaves are arranged in pairs, almost stalkless, and are almost as large as the hand, oblong and heart-shaped, wrinkled, irregularly toothed at the margins and covered with velvety hairs. The flowers are in a long, loose, terminal spike, on which they are set in whorls. The lipped corollas, similar to the Garden Sage, but smaller, are of a pale blue or white. The flowers are interspersed with large colored, membraneous bracts, longer than the spiny calyx. Both corollas and bracts are generally variegated with pale purple and yellowish-white. The seeds are blackish brown, 'contained in long toothed husks,' as an old writer describes the calyx. The whole plant possesses a very strong, aromatic scent, somewhat resembling that of Tolu, while the taste is also aromatic, warm and slightly bitter.
---History---According to Ettmueller, this herb was first brought into use by the wine merchants of Germany, who employed it as an adulterant, infusing it with Elder flowers, and then adding the liquid to the Rhenish wine, which converted it into a Muscatel. It is still called in Germany Muskateller Salbei (Muscatel Sage).
Waller (1822) states it was also employed in this country as a substitute for Hops, for sophisticating beer, communicating considerable bitterness and intoxicating property, which produced an effect of insane exhilaration of spirits, succeeded by severe headache. Lobel says:
'Some brewers of Ale and Beere doe put it into their drinke to make it more heady, fit to please drunkards, who thereby, according to their several dispositions, become either dead drunke, or foolish drunke, or madde drunke.'
In some parts of the country, a wine has been made from the herb in flower, boiled with sugar, which has a flavour not unlike Frontiniac.
Though employed in ancient times and in the Middle Ages for its curative properties, it seems to have fallen into disuse as a medicinal plant, though revived to a certain extent towards the end of the nineteenth century.
The English name Clary originates in the Latin specific name sclarea, a word derived from clarus (clear). This name Clary was gradually modified into 'Clear Eye,' one of the popular names and generally explained from the fact that the seeds have been employed for clearing the sight, being so mucilaginous that a decoction from them placed in the eye would 'clear' it from any small foreign body, the presence of which might have caused irritation.
Although the Garden Clary has much fallen into disuse as a medicine, there is a big trade done in it now, mainly in France, for the extraction of its oil as a perfume fixer, and there is undoubtedly a big future ahead for it for this purpose, not only on the Continent, but also in this country.
---Uses---The leaves are used to adulterate digitalis. The dried root and the seeds were formerly used in domestic medicine.
---Cultivation---Clary is propagated by seed, which should be sown in the spring. When fit to move, the seedlings should be transplanted to an open piece of ground, a foot apart each way, if required in large quantities. After the plants have taken root, they will require no further care but to be kept free of weeds. The winter and spring following, the leaves will be in perfection. As the plant is a biennial only, dying off the second summer, after it has ripened its seeds, there should be young plants annually raised for use.
---Constituents---Salvia Sclarea yields an oil with a highly aromatic odour, resembling that of ambergris. It is known commercially as Clary Oil, or Muscatel Sage, and is largely used as a fixer of perfumes. Pinene, cineol, and linalol have been isolated from this oil.
French Oil of Clary has a specific gravity of 0.895 to 0.930, and is soluble in two volumes of 80 per cent. alcohol. German oil of Clary has a specific gravity of 0.910 to 0.960, and is soluble in two volumes of 90 per cent alcohol.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Antispasmodic, balsamic, carminative, tonic, aromatic,aperitive, astringent and pectoral.
It has mostly been employed in disordered states of the digestion, as a stomachic, and has also proved useful in kidney diseases.
The seeds when soaked in water for a few minutes form a thick mucilage, which is efficacious in removing particles of dust from the eye. Gerard says:
'It purgeth them exceedingly from the waterish humerous rednesse, inflammation, and drives other maladies or all that happens unto the eies and takes away the paine and smarting thereof, especially being put into the eies one seed at a time and no more.'
Culpepper tells us:
'For tumours, swellings, &c., make a mucilage of the seeds and apply to the spot. This will also draw splinters and thorns out of the flesh.... For hot inflammation and boils before they rupture, use a salve made of the leaves boiled with hot vinegar, honey being added later till the required consistency is obtained.'
He recommends a powder of the dry roots taken as snuff to relieve headache, and 'the fresh leaves, fried in butter, first dipped in a batter of flour, egges, and a little milke, serve as a dish to the table that is not unpleasant to any and exceedingly profitable.'
The juice of the herb drunk in ale and beer, as well as the ordinary infusion, has been recommended as very helpful in all women's diseases and ailments.
In Jamaica, where the plant is found, it was much in use among the negroes, who considered it cooling and cleansing for ulcers, and also used it for inflammations of the eyes. A decoction of the leaves boiled in coco-nut oil was used by them to cure the stings of scorpions. Clary and a Jamaican species of Vervain form two of the ingredients of an aromatic warm bath sometimes prescribed there with benefit.
For violent cases of hysteria or wind colic, a spirituous tincture has been found of use, made by macerating in warm water for fourteen days, 2 OZ. of dried Clary leaves and flowers, 1 OZ. of Chamomile flowers, 1/2 oz. bruised Avens root, 2 drachms of bruised Caraway and Coriander seeds, and 3 drachms of bruised Burdock seeds, adding 2 pints of proof spirit, then filtering and diluting with double quantity of water - a wineglassful being the dose.

Clary, Wild English

Botanical: Salvia Verbenaca
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Vervain Sage. Oculus Christi.
---Parts Used---Leaves and seeds.
Salvia Verbenaca, the Wild English Clary, or Vervain Sage, is a native of all parts of Europe and not uncommon in England in dry pastures and on roadsides, banks and waste ground, especially near the sea, or on chalky soil. It is a smaller plant than the Garden Clary, but its medicinal virtues are rather more powerful.
---Description---The perennial root is woody, thick and long, the stem 1 to 2 feet high, erect and with the leaves in distant pairs, the lower shortly stalked, and the upper ones stalkless. The radical leaves lie in a rosette and have foot-stalks 1 1/2 to 4 inches long, their blades about the same length, oblong in shape, blunt at their ends and heart-shaped at the base, wavy at the margins, which are generally indented by five or six shallow, blunt lobes on each side, and their surfaces much wrinkled. The whole plant is aromatic, especially when rubbed, and is rendered conspicuous by its long spike of purplish-blue flowers, first dense, afterwards becoming rather lax. The whorls of the spike are sixflowered, and at the base of each flower are two heart-shaped, fringed, pointed bracts. The calyx is much larger than the corolla. The plant is in bloom from June to August. The seeds are smooth, and like the Garden Clary produce a great quantity of soft, tasteless mucilage, when moistened. Because, if put under the eyelids for a few moments, the tears dissolve this mucilage, which envelopes any dust and brings it out safely, old writers called this plant 'Oculus Christi,' or 'Christ's Eye.'
---Medicinal Action and Uses---'A decoction of the leaves,' says Culpepper, 'being drank, warms the stomach, also it helps digestion and scatters congealed blood in any part of the body.'
This Clary was thought to be more efficacious to the eye than the Garden variety.
'The distilled water strengthening the eyesight, especially of old people,' says Culpepper, 'cleaneth the eyes of redness waterishness and heat: it is a gallant remedy for dimness of sight, to take one of the seeds of it and put it into the eyes, and there let it remain till it drops out of itself, the pain will be nothing to speak on: it will cleanse the eyes of all filthy and putrid matter; and repeating it will take off a film which covereth the sight.'


Botanical: Clematis recta
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Upright Virgin's Bower. Flammula Jovis.
---Parts Used---The roots, stems.
---Description---A perennial plant, stem about 3 feet high, leafy, striated, herbaceous, greenish or reddish; leaves large opposite, leaflets five to nine pubescent underneath, petioled; flowers, white in upright stiff terminal umbels, peduncles several times ternate; seeds dark brown, smooth, orbicular, much compressed, tails long yellowish, plumose; time for collecting when beginning to flower.
The leaves and flowers have an acrid burning taste, the acridity being greatly diminished by drying.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The leaves and flowers when bruised irritate the eyes and throat giving rise to a flow of tears and coughing; applied to the skin they produce inflammation and vesication, hence the name Flammula Jovis. They are diuretic and diaphoretic, and are useful locally and internally in syphilitic, cancerous and other foul ulcers. Best suited to fair people, much used by homoeopathists for eye affections, gonorrhoeal symptoms and inflammatory conditions.
----Dosages---1 to 2 grains of the extract a day. 30 to 40 grains of the leaves in infusion a day.
---Antidotes---Camphor moderates the too violent effects of the drug. Bryonia is said to appease the toothache caused by clematis.
---Other Species---
Clematis flammula (Sweet-scented Virgin's Bower) is cultivated in gardens, together with C. Vitalba (Travellers' Joy) and C. Virginia (Common Virgin's Bower). C. Viorna (Leather Flower) and C. crispa has been sometimes used in place of C. recta. C. flammula is said to contain an alkaloid, Clematine, a violent poison. From the bruised roots and stems of C. vitalba, boiled for a few minutes in water and then digested for a while in sweet oil, a preparation is made used as a cure for itch, this variety is also said to contain Clematine.


Botanical: Galium aparine (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Rubiacece
Part Used Medicinally
Chemical Constituents
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Cleavers. Goosegrass. Barweed. Hedgeheriff. Hayriffe. Eriffe. Grip Grass. Hayruff. Catchweed. Scratweed. Mutton Chops. Robin-run-in-the-Grass. Loveman. Goosebill. Everlasting Friendship.
---Part Used---Herb.
---Habitat---It is abundant as a hedgerow weed, not only throughout Europe, but also in North America, springing up luxuriantly about fields and waste places.
The natural order Rubiaceae, to which the Madder (Rubia tinctoria) and our common wild plants, the Clivers, the Bedstraws and Sweet Woodruff belong, comprises upwards of 3,000 species. Many of these are of the highest utility to man, both as food and medicine, among the former the coffee-tree, Coffea Arabica, is perhaps of the first importance. The valuable drug quinine is furnished by several species of Cinchona, a South American genus, and drugs of similar properties are derived from other plants of the same tribe, while Ipecacuanha is the powdered root of another member of this order, growing in the forests of Brazil. Many species growing in tropical climates are moreover noted for the beauty and fragrance of their flowers.
Our British representatives are of a very different character, being all herbaceous plants, with slender, angular stems, bearing leaves arranged in whorls, or rosettes and small flowers. From the star-like arrangement of their leaves, all these British species have been assigned to the tribe Stellatae of the main order Rubiaceae. All the members of this tribe, numbering about 300, grow in the cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
Of the fifteen British representatives of the tribe Stellatae, eleven bear the name of Galium (the genus of the Bedstraws), and perhaps the commonest of these is the annual herb Galium aparine, familiarly known as Clivers or Goosegrass, though it rejoices in many other popular names in different parts of the country.
The angles of its quadrangular stalks and leaves are covered with little hooked bristles, which attach themselves to passing objects, and by which it fastens itself in a ladder-like manner to adjacent shrubs, so as to push its way upwards through the dense vegetation of the hedgerows into daylight, its rough, weak stems then struggling over and through all the other wayside plants, often forming matted masses.
The narrow, lance-shaped leaves (Professor Henslow explains that though the Galiums look as if they possessed whorls of six leaves, in reality each whorl consists of only two real leaves, one of which may usually be recognized by having a bud or shoot arising from its axil, the other four are stipules, two belonging to each leaf. - Editor.) - about 1/2 inch long and 1/4 inch broad - are arranged in rosettes or whorls, six or eight together, and are rough all over both margins and surface, the prickles pointing backwards. The flowers two or three together, spring from the axils of the leaves and are small and star-like, either white or greenish-white. They are followed by little globular seed-vessels, about 8 inch in diameter, covered with hooked bristles and readily adhering, like the leaves, to whatever they touch. By clinging to the coat of any animal that touches them, the dispersal of the seeds is ensured.
Most of the plant's popular names are connected with the clinging nature of the herb. Some of its local names are of very old origin, being derived from the Anglo-Saxon 'hedge rife,' meaning a taxgatherer or robber, from its habit of plucking the sheep as they pass near a hedge. The old Greeks gave it the name Philanthropon, from its habit of clinging. The specific name of the plant, aparine, also refers to this habit, being derived from the Greek aparo (to seize). Clite, Click, Clitheren, Clithers are no doubt various forms of Cleavers, and Loveman is merely an Anglicized version of Philanthropon. Its frequent name, Goosegrass, is a reference to the fact that geese are extremely fond of the herb. It is often collected for the purpose of giving it to poultry. Horses, cows and sheep will also eat it with relish.
The seeds of Clivers form one of the best substitutes for coffee; they require simply to be dried and slightly roasted over a fire, and so prepared, have much the flavour of coffee. They have been so used in Sweden. The whole plant gives a decoction equal to tea.
We learn from Dioscorides that the Greek shepherds of his day employed the stems of this herb to make a rough sieve, and it is rather remarkable that Linnaeus reported the same use being made of it in Sweden, in country districts, as a filter to strain milk; the stalks are still used thus in Sweden.
The plant is inodorous, but has a bitterish and somewhat astringent taste.
The roots will dye red, and if eaten by birds will tinge their bones.
---Part Used Medicinally---The whole plant root excepted, gathered in May and June, when just coming into flower.
---Chemical Constituents---Chlorophyll, starch and three distinct acids, viz. a variety of tannic acid, which has been named galitannic acid, citric acid and a peculiar acid named rubichloric acid.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Diuretic, tonic, alterative, aperient.
In old Herbals it is extolled for its powers, and it is still employed in country districts, both in England and elsewhere, as a purifier of the blood, the tops being used as an ingredient in rural 'spring drinks.'
Fluid extract: dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm.
Modern herbalists and homoeopaths still recognize the value of this herb, and as an alterative consider it may be given to advantage in scurvy, scrofula, psoriasis and skin diseases and eruptions generally. The expressed juice is recommended, in doses of 3 oz. twice a day, but as it is a rather powerful diuretic, care should be taken that it is not given where a tendency to diabetes is manifested. Its use, however, is recommended in dropsical complaints, as it operates with considerable power upon the urinary secretion and the urinary organs. It is given in obstructions of these organs, acting as a solventof stone in the bladder.
The dried plant is often infused in hot water and drunk as a tea, 1 OZ. of the dried herb being infused to 1 pint of water. This infusion, either hot or cold, is taken frequently in wine-glassful doses.
The same infusion has a most soothing effect in cases of insomnia, and induces quiet, restful sleep.
A wash made from Clivers is said to be useful for sunburn and freckles, a decoction or infusion of the fresh herb being used for this purpose, applied to the face by means of a soft cloth or sponge.
The herb has a special curative reputation with reference to cancerous growths and allied tumours, an ointment being made from the leaves and stems wherewith to dress the ulcerated parts, the expressed juice at the same time being used internally.
Clivers was also used as an ointment for scalds and burns in the fourteenth century, under the name of Heyryt, Cosgres, Clive and Tongebledes (Tonguebleed), the latter doubtless from its roughness due to the incurved hooks all over the plant.
It was later used for colds, swellings, etc., the whole plant being rather astringent, and on account of this property being of service in some bleedings, as well as in diarrhoea. Clivers tea is still a rural remedy for colds in the head.
The crushed herb is applied in France as a poultice to sores and blisters.
Gerard writes of Clivers as a marvellous remedy for the bites of snakes, spiders and all venomous creatures, and quoting Pliny, says: 'A pottage made of Cleavers, a little mutton and oatmeal is good to cause lankness and keepe from fatnesse.'
Culpepper recommends Clivers for earache.

Clover, Red

Botanical: Trifolium pratense (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Trefoil. Purple Clover.
---Part Used---Blossoms.
---Habitat---Abundant in Britain, throughout Europe, Central and Northern Asia from the Mediterranean to the Arctic Circle and high up into the mountains.
---Description---A perennial, but of short duration, generally abundant on meadow land of a light sandy nature, where it produces abundant blossom, forming an excellent mowing crop. Not of great value as a bee plant - the bees not working it for so long as they will the white variety.
Several stems 1 to 2 feet high, arising from the one root, slightly hairy; leaves ternate, leaflets ovate, entire, nearly smooth, ending in long point often lighter colored in centre, flowers red to purple, fragrant, in dense terminal ovoid or globular heads.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The fluid extract of Trifolium is used as an alterative and antispasmodic. An infusion made by 1 OZ. to 1 pint of boiling water may with advantage be used in cases of bronchial and whooping-cough. Fomentations and poultices of the herb have been used as localapplications to cancerous growths.
---Dosages---1 drachm of fluid extract, 1 to 2 drachms of infusion.


Botanical: Eugenia caryophyllata (THUMB.)
Family: N.O. Myrtaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonym---Eugenia Aromatica.
---Part Used---Undeveloped flowers.
---Habitat---Molucca Islands, Southern Philippines.
---Description---A small evergreen tree, pyramidal, trunk soon divides into large branches covered with a smooth greyish bark; leaves large, entire, oblong, lanceolate (always bright green color), which stand in pairs on short foot-stalks, when bruised very fragrant. Flowers grow in bunches at end of branches.
At the start of the rainy season long greenish buds appear; from the extremity of these the corolla comes which is of a lovely rosy peach color; as the corolla fades the calyx turns yellow, then red. The calyces, with the embryo seed, are at this stage beaten from the tree and when dried are the cloves of commerce. The flowers have a strong refreshing odour. If the seeds are allowed to mature, most of the pungency is lost. Each berry has only one seed. The trees fruit usually about eight or nine years after planting. The whole tree is highly aromatic. The spice was introduced into Europe from the fourth to the sixth century.
The finest cloves come from Molucca and Pemba, where the trees grow better than anywhere else, but they are also imported from the East and West Indies, Mauritius and Brazil.
In commerce the varieties are known by the names of the localities in which they are grown. Formerly Cloves were often adulterated, but as production increased the price lowered and fraud has decreased. Cloves contain a large amount of essential oil which is much used in medicine. When of good quality they are fat, oily, and dark brown in color, and give out their oil when squeezed with the finger-nail. When pale color and dry, they are of inferior quality and yield little oil. Clove stalks are some times imported, and are said to be strongerand more pungent even than the Cloves.
Clove trees absorb an enormous amount of moisture, and if placed near water their weight is visibly increased after a few hours; dishonest dealers often make use of this knowledge in their dealings, and the powdered stems are often sold as pure powdered Cloves.
---Constituents---Volatile oil, gallotannic acid; two crystalline principles - Caryophyllin, which is odourless and appears to be a phylosterol, Eugenin; gum, resin, fibre.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The most stimulating and carminative of all aromatics; given in powder or infusion for nausea emesis, flatulence, languid indigestion and dyspepsia, and used chiefly to assist the action of other medicines. The medicinal properties reside in the volatile oil. The oil must be kept in dark bottles in a cool place. If distilled with water, salt must be added to raise the temperature of ebullition and the same Cloves must be distilled over and over again to get their full essence.
The oil is frequently adulterated with fixed oil and oil of Pimento and Copaiba. As a local irritant it stimulates peristalsis. It is a strong germicide, a powerful antiseptic, a feeble local anaesthetic applied to decayed teeth, and has been used with success as a stimulating expectorant in phthisis and bronchial troubles. Fresh infusion of Cloves contains astringent matter as well as the volatile oil. The infusion and Clove water are good vehicles for alkalies and aromatics.
---Dosages---Fluid extract, 5 to 30 drops. Oil extract, 1 to 5 drops. Infusion, B.P., 1/2 to 1 OZ.

Club Moss

Moss, American Club
Moss, Common Club
Moss, Corsican
Moss, Cup
Moss, Hair Cap
Moss, Iceland
Moss, Irish
Moss, Sphagnum

Coca, Bolivian

Steadman Shorter's Medical Dictionary, Poisons & Antidotes: Cocaine
Botanical: Erythroxylon Coca (LAMK.)
Family: N.O. Linaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
Poisoning Antidotes
---Synonyms---Cuca. Cocaine.
---Part Used---Leaves.
---Habitat---Bolivia and Peru; cultivated in Ceylon and Java.
---Description---Small shrubby tree 12 to 18 feet high in the wild state and kept down to about 6 feet when cultivated. Grown from seeds and requires moisture and an equable temperature. Starts yielding in eighteen months and often productive over fifty years. The leaves are gathered three times a year, the first crop in spring, second in June, and third in October; must always be collected in dry weather. There are two varieties in commerce, the Huanuco Coca, or Erythroxylon Coca, which comes from Bolivia and has leaves of a brownish-green color, oval, entire and glabrous, with a rather bitter taste, and Peruvian Coca, the leaves of which are much smaller and a pale-green color. Coca leaves deteriorate very quickly in a damp atmosphere, and for this reason the alkaloid is extracted from the leaves in South America before exportation. The Coca shrubs of India and Ceylon were originally cultivated from plants sent out there from Kew Gardens and grown from seeds.
---Constituents---Coca leaves contain the alkaloids Cocaine, Annamyl Cocaine, andTruxilline or Cocamine. As a rule the Truxillo or Peruvian leaves contain more alkaloid than the Bolivian, though the latter are preferred for medicinal purposes. Java Coca contains tropacocaine and four yellow crystalline glucosides in addition to the other constituents.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The actions of Coca depend principally on the alkaloid Cocaine, but the whole drug is said to be more stimulating and to have a mild astringency. In Peru and Bolivia the leaves are extensively chewed to relieve hunger and fatigue, though the habit eventually ruins the health. Coca leaves are used as a cerebral and muscle stimulant, especially during convalescence, to relieve nausea, vomiting and pains of the stomach without upsetting the digestion. A tonic in neurasthenia and debilitated conditions. The danger of the formation of the habit, however, far outweighs any value the drug may possess, and use of Coca in any form is attended with grave risks. Cocaine is a general protoplasmic poison, having a special affinity for nervous tissue; it is a powerful local anaesthetic, paralysing the sensory nerve fibres. To obtain local cutaneous anaesthesia the drug is injected hypodermically. Applied to the eye it dilates the pupil and produces complete local anaesthesia. It is a general excitant of the central nervous system and the brain, especially the motor areas producing a sense of exhilaration and an incitement to effort; large doses cause hallucinations, restlessness, tremors and convulsions. Those acquiring the Cocaine habit suffer from emaciation, loss of memory, sleeplessness and delusions.
---Preparations and Dosages---Elixir Coca, B.P.C., 1 to 4 fluid drachms. Extract of Coca, B.P.C., 2 to 10 grains. Liquid extract of Coca, B.P., 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Fluid extract of Coca, U.S.P., 30 minims. Tincture of Coca, B.P.C., 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Coca Wine, B.P.C., 2 to 4 fluid drachms. Wine of Coca,, U.S.P., 4 fluid drachms. Cocaine, P.B., 1/20 to 1/2 grain.
---Adulterants---Coca leaves have sometimes been adulterated with those of Jaborandi.
---Poisoning Antidotes---Cocaine rarely enters the system through the alimentary canal, therefore the use of a stomach pump, emetics or chemical antidotes is not usual; strong coffee should be given as a stimulant by mouth or rectum and measures taken to prevent cardiac failure.

Cocculus, Indicus

Botanical: Anamirta paniculata (COLEBR.)
Family: N.O. Menispermaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Levant Nut. Fish Berry.
---Part Used---Dried fruit.
---Habitat---India, Ceylon, Malabar.
---Description---A poisonous climbing plant with ash-colored corky bark, leaves stalked, heart-shaped, smooth, underside pale with tufts of hair at the junctions of the nerves and at the base of the leaves, the flowers are pendulous panicles, male and female blooms on different plants; fruit round and kidney shaped, outer coat thin, dry, browny, black and wrinkled, inside a hard white shell divided into two containing a whitish seed, crescent shaped and very oily.
---Constituents---The chief constituent is the bitter, crystalline, poisonous substance, picrotoxin; the seed also contains about 50 per cent. of fat.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The powdered berries are sometimes used as an ointment for destroying lice; the entire fruits are used to stupefy fish, being thrown on the water for that purpose. Picrotoxin is a powerful convulsive poison used principally to check night sweats in phthisis by its action in accelerating respiration, but it is not always successful. It was at one time used to adulterate beers, increasing their reputation as intoxicants; it is an antidote in Morphine poisoning.
---Preparations---Fluid extract, 1/4 to 1 drop. Picrotoxin, B.P.

Cocillana Bark

Botanical: Guarea rusbyi (BRIT.)
Family: N.O. Meliaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Sycocarpus Rusbyi. Guarea trichiliodes.
---Part Used---Bark.
---Description---A large Bolivian tree; flowers in axillary clusters; bark ashy grey on the older trees on account of lichen growths; the inner bark is generally thicker than the outer; fracture, coarse fibrous splinters; odour musk like; taste distinctive, astringent and nauseous; leaves pinnate and of peculiar growth, as the lower leaflets fall young ones grow at the end of the same leaf-stalk, which elongates, the lower outer portion becomes woody with an outer bark and a thin pith inside and grows into a branch.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The bark causes vomiting, and often prostration and nausea. In action very like ipecacuanha, but a more stimulating expectorant. Used with success in the treatment of bronchitis and pulmonary complaints.
---Preparations---Fluid extract: dose, 5 to 20 drops.


Botanical: Xanthium spinosum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Annuals in group of Ambroisecae of the Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonym---Spiny Clot Burr.
---Part Used---The whole plant.
---Habitat---South Europe and naturalized in America near sea-coast, Central Asia northwards to the Baltic and many other parts of the globe.
---Description---Xanthic flowers belong to a type which are yellow in color and can become white or red but never blue. These plants are spread as weeds or cultivated over a great part of the world. Stem annual, from 1 to 3 feet high, much branched and many spined; these are straw-colored and divided about 1/4 inch from their base into three slender branches, diverging and sharp. Leaves lanceolate, acute, tapering to short leaf-stalks with two lobes at base; underside is covered with a thick white down. Flowers small, monoecious, those at apex sterile, while the fertile ones are at the base of the branchlets. Fruit, a rough burr with a short beak at the apex and covered densely with hooked prickles.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A valuable and sure specific in the treatment of hydrophobia. An active styptic, local and general. Fluid extract, 1 to 2 drachms. 10 grains of the powdered plant, four times daily.
---Other Species---Xanthium Strumarium, a coarse erect annual, 1 to 2 feet high, leaves on long stalks, large broadly heart-shaped, coarsely toothed or angular on both sides. Flower heads, greenish yellow, terminal clusters on short racemes, upper ones male, lower female, forming when in fruit ovoid burrs covered with hooked prickles. The short stout conical beaks erect or curved inwards. It is not a British plant, though is sometimes found there and in Ireland.


Botanical: Coffea arabica (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Rubiaceae
Description and History
Constituents of Roasted Coffee
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Parts Used---Seeds, leaves, caffeine.
---Habitat---South-west point of Abyssinia. and cultivated throughout the tropics.
---Description and History---The name Coffee is derived from Caffa, a province of Abyssinia. In its wild state the tree grows to a height of 30 feet, but in cultivation it is kept shorter to expedite picking; it has evergreen leaves, smooth and shiny on the upper side, dark green under and paler, 6 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide; flowers in dense clusters at base of leaves, white and very decorative, but only lasting in bloom two days; berries red and fleshy like small cherries, each berry two-seeded, convex on one side, flat on the other with a long furrowed line running lengthways and covered with a thin parchment which has to be winnowed or milled before roasting, after the outer pulp has been removed by a machine. The roasting develops the volatile oil and peculiar acid to which the aromas and flavours are due. The Coffee shrub was introduced into Arabia early in the fifteenth century from Abyssinia, and for two centuries Arabia supplied the world's Coffee; at the end of the seventeenth century the Dutch introduced the plant into Batavia, and from there a plant was presented to Louis XIV in 1714. All the Coffee now imported from Brazil has been imported from that single plant. The European use of Coffee dates from the sixteenth century when it was introduced into Constantinople, and a century later in 1652 the first Coffee shop was opened in London. In 1858 the quantity imported into the United Kingdom was over sixty million pounds. In Turkey the consumption is enormous, and so necessary is it considered that the refusal to supply a reasonable amount to a Turk's wife is considered a legal cause for divorce.
---Constituents of Roasted Coffee---Oil, wax, caffeine, aromatic oil, tannic acid, caffetannic acid, gum, sugar, protein.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---An active brain stimulant, which produces sleeplessness, hence its great value in narcotic poisoning; in acute cases is injected into the rectum. Very valuable in cases of snake-bite, helping to ward off the terrible coma. It also exerts a soothing action on the vascular system, preventing a too rapid wasting of the tissues of the body; these effects are not only due to the volatile oil but to the caffeine it contains. The Malays infuse the leaves, which contain even more caffeine than the berries. Caffeine is valuable for heart disease, ascites and pleuritic effusion and combines well with digitalis; also valuable in cases of inebrity; is a powerful diuretic, but loses its effect with use.
---Dose---Preparation Caffeine, 1 to 5 grains.

Cohosh, Black

Botanical: Cimicifuga racemosa (NUTT.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Black Snake Root. Rattle Root. Squaw Root. Bugbane.
---Part Used---Root.
---Habitat---A native of North America, where it grows freely in shady woods in Canada and the United States. It is called Black Snake Root to distinguish it from the Common Snake Root (Aristolochia serpentaria).
---Description---The seeds are sent annually to Europe, and should be sown as soon as the season will permit. It flowers in June or early in July, but does not perfect seed in England, though it thrives well in moist shady borders and is perfectly hardy. It is a tall, herbaceous plant, with feathery racemes of white blossoms, 1 to 3 feet long, which being slender, droop gracefully. The fruits are dry.
The plant produces a stout, blackish rhizome (creeping underground stem), cylindrical, hard and knotty, bearing the remains of numerous stout ascending branches. It is collected in the autumn after the fruit is formed and the leaves have died down, then cut into pieces and dried. It has only a faint, disagreeable odour, but a bitter and acrid taste.
The straight, stout, dark brown roots which are given off from the under surface of the rhizome are bluntly quadrangular and furrowed. In the dried drug, they are brittle, broken off usually quite close to the rhizome. In transverse section, they show several wedge-shaped bundles of porous, whitish wood. A similar section of the rhizome shows a large dark-colored, horny pith, surrounded by a ring of numerous pale wedges of wood, alternately with dark rays, outside which is a thin, dark, horny bark.
---Constituents---The chief constituent of Cimicifuga root is the amorphous resinous substance known as Cimicifugin, or Macrotin, of which it contains about 18 per cent but the bitter taste is due to a crystalline principle named Racemosin. The drug also contains two resins, together with fat, wax starch, gum, sugar and an astringent substance.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Astringent, emmenagogue, diuretic, alterative, expectorant. The root of this plant is much used in America in many disorders, and is supposed to be an antidote against poison and the bite of the rattlesnake. The fresh root, dug in October, is used to make a tincture.
In small doses, it is useful in children's diarrhoea.
In the paroxyms of consumption, it gives relief by allaying the cough, reducing the rapidity of the pulse and inducing perspiration. In whooping-cough, it proves very effective.
The infusion and decoction have been given with success in rheumatism.
In infantile disorders, it is given in the form of syrup. It is said to be a specific in St. Vitus' Dance of children. Overdoses produce nausea and vomiting.
---Preparations---Fluid extract, U.S.P., 15 to 30 drops. Fluid extract, B.P., 5 to 30 drops. Tincture, U.S.P., 1 drachm. Tincture, B.P., 15 to 60 drops. Cimicifugin, 1 to 6 grains. Powdered extract, U.S.P., 4 grains.

Cohosh, Blue

Botanical: Caulophyllum thalictroides (MICH.)
Family: N.O. Berberidaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Pappoose Root. Squawroot. Blueberry Root.
---Part Used---Root.
---Habitat---United States and Canada.
---Description---A handsome perennial plant, growing in low rich, moist, soil in swamps and near running streams, smooth and glaucous, and bears in May and June a panicle of small yellowish green flowers and one or two seeds about the size of a large pea, which ripen in August. These are sometimes roasted and boiled in water, and given as a decoction resembling coffee.
The berries are dry and mawkish; the root is a hard thick, irregular, knotty, contorted caudex, one to several inches long, with long slender radicles up to 8 inches long, externally yellowy brown, internally whitish to yellow, with a central pith running longitudinally; taste, sweetish-bitter, then acrid and pungent, with a slightly (pungent) fragrant odour; yields its properties to alcohol, water or glycerine.
---Constituents---Gum, starch, salts, extractive, phosphoric acid, soluble resin, greenish-yellow coloring matter, and a body analogous to Saponin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Emmenagogue, antispasmodic, diuretic, diaphoretic and anthelmintic. Said to be successfully used in rheumatism, dropsy, epilepsy, hysteria and uterine inflammation, specially for chronic cases. It is sometimes combined with Mitchella repens and Eupatoria aromatica. In use it is preferable to Ergot, expediting delivery, where delay results from debility, fatigue or want of uterine nervous energy.
---Doses---Decoction or Infusion. 1 OZ. of root to 1 pint of boiling water, macerated for 1/2 hour. Dose, 2 to 4 fluid ounces three or four times a day.
---Tincture---3 oz. of finely powdered root to 1 pint of alcohol, allowed to soak for two weeks, then well shaken and filtered. Dose, 1/2 fluid drachm to 2 fluid drachms. Fluid extract, 10 to 30 drops. Solid extract, 5 to 10 grains. Caulophyllum, 2 to 5 grains.

See (Meadow) Saffron.

Cole Seed
See Mustard.

See (Bitter) Apple.


Botanical: Tussilago Farfara (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Parts Used
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Coughwort. Hallfoot. Horsehoof. Ass's Foot. Foalswort. Fieldhove. Bullsfoot. Donnhove. (French) Pas d'âne
---Parts Used---Leaves, flowers, root.
---Habitat---Coltsfoot grows abundantly throughout England, especially along the sides of railway banks and in waste places, on poor stiff soils, growing as well in wet ground as in dry situations. It has long-stalked, hoof-shaped leaves, about 4 inches across, with angular teeth on the margins. Both surfaces are covered, when young, with loose, white, felted woolly hairs, but those on the upper surface fall off as the leaf expands. This felty covering easily rubs off and before the introduction of matches, wrapped in a rag dipped in a solution of saltpetre and dried in the sun, used to be considered an excellent tinder.
---Description---The specific name of the plant is derived from Farfarus, an ancient name of the White Poplar, the leaves of which present some resemblance in form and color to those of this plant. There is a closer resemblance, however, to the leaves of the Butterbur, which must not be collected in error; they may be distinguished by their more rounded outline, larger size and less sinuate margin.
After the leaves have died down, the shoot rests and produces in the following February a flowering stem, consisting of a single peduncle with numerous reddish bracts and whitish hairs and a terminal, composite yellow flower, whilst other shoots develop leaves, which appear only much later, after the flower stems in their turn have died down. These two parts of the plant, both of which are used medicinally, are, therefore, collected separately and usually sold separately.
The root is spreading, small and white, and has also been used medicinally.
An old name for Coltsfoot was Filius ante patrem (the son before the father), because the star-like, golden flowers appear and wither before the broad, sea-green leaves are produced.
The seeds are crowned with a tuft of silky hairs, the pappus, which are often used by goldfinches to line their nests, and it has been stated were in former days frequently employed by the Highlanders for stuffing mattresses and pillows.
The underground stems preserve their vitality for a long period when buried deeply, so that in places where the plant has not been observed before, it will often spring up in profusion after the ground has been disturbed. In gardens and pastures it is a troublesome weed, very difficult to extirpate.
---Parts Used---The leaves, collected in June and early part of July, and, to a slighter extent, the flower-stalks collected in February.
---Constituents---All parts of the plant abound in mucilage, and contain a little tannin and a trace of a bitter amorphous glucoside. The flowers contain also a phytosterol and a dihydride alcohol, Faradial.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Demulcent, expectorant and tonic. One of the most popular of cough remedies. It is generally given together with other herbs possessing pectoral qualities, such as Horehound, Marshmallow, Ground Ivy, etc.
The botanical name, Tussilago, signifies 'cough dispeller,' and Coltsfoot has justly been termed 'nature's best herb for the lungs and her most eminent thoracic.' The smoking of the leaves for a cough has the recommendation of Dioscorides, Galen, Pliny, Boyle, and other great authorities, both ancient and modern, Linnaeus stating that the Swedes of his time smoked it for that purpose. Pliny recommended the use of both roots and leaves. The leaves are the basis of the British Herb Tobacco, in which Coltsfoot predominates, the other ingredients being Buckbean, Eyebright, Betony, Rosemary, Thyme, Lavender, and Chamomile flowers. This relieves asthma and also the difficult breathing of old bronchitis. Those suffering from asthma, catarrh and other lung troubles derive much benefit from smoking this Herbal Tobacco, the use of which does not entail any of the injurious effects of ordinary tobacco.
A decoction is made of 1 OZ. of leaves, in 1 quart of water boiled down to a pint, sweetened with honey or liquorice, and taken in teacupful doses frequently. This is good for both colds and asthma.
Coltsfoot tea is also made for the same purpose, and Coltsfoot Rock has long been a domestic remedy for coughs.
A decoction made so strong as to be sweet and glutinous has proved of great service in scrofulous cases, and, with Wormwood, has been found efficacious in calculus complaints.
The flower-stalks contain constituents similar to those of the leaves, and are directed by the British Pharmacopceia to be employed in the preparation of Syrup of Coltsfoot, which is much recommended for use in chronic bronchitis.
In Paris, the Coltsfoot flowers used to be painted as a sign on the doorpost of an apothecarie's shop.
Culpepper says:
'The fresh leaves, or juice, or syrup thereof, is good for a bad dry cough, or wheezing and shortness of breath. The dry leaves are best for those who have their rheums and distillations upon their lungs causing a cough: for which also the dried leaves taken as tobacco, or the root is very good. The distilled water hereof simply or with elder-flowers or nightshade is a singularly good remedy against all agues, to drink 2 OZ. at a time and apply cloths wet therein to the head and stomach, which also does much good being applied to any hot swellings or inflammations. It helpeth St. Anthony's fire (erysypelas) and burnings, and is singular good to take away wheals.'
One of the local names for Coltsfoot, viz. Donnhove, seems to have been derived from Donn, an old word for horse, hence Donkey (a little horse). Donnhove became corrupted to Tun-hoof as did Hay-hove (a name for Ground Ivy) to ale-hoof.
The plant is so dissimilar in appearance at different periods that both Gerard and Parkinson give two illustrations: one entitled 'Tussilago florens, Coltsfoot in floure,' and the other, 'Tussilaginous folia, the leaves of Coltsfoot,' or 'Tussilago herba sine flore.'
'Coltsfoot hath many white and long creeping roots, from which rise up naked stalkes about a spanne long, bearing at the top yellow floures; when the stalke and seede is perished there appeare springing out of the earth many broad leaves, green above, and next the ground of a white, hoarie, or grayish color. Seldom, or never, shall you find leaves and floures at once, but the floures are past before the leaves come out of the ground, as may appear by the first picture, which setteth forth the naked stalkes and floures, and by the second, which porttraiteth the leaves only.'
Pliny and many of the older botanists thought that the Coltsfoot was without leaves, an error that is scarcely excusable, for, notwithstanding the fact that the flowers appear in a general way before the leaves, small leaves often begin to make their appearance before the flowering season is over.
Pliny recommends the dried leaves and roots of Coltsfoot to be burnt, and the smoke drawn into the mouth through a reed and swallowed, as a remedy for an obstinate cough, the patient sipping a little wine between each inhalation. To derive the full benefit from it, it had to be burnt on cypress charcoal.


Botanical: Aquilegia vulgaris (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonym---Culverwort (Saxon).
---Parts Used---Leaves, root, seeds.
The Columbine, though a wild flower in this country, found occasionally in woods and copses, and in open clearings (generally on a calcareous soil), is more familiar as a garden plant.
---Description---From its branching and fibrous root, which is blackish and rather stout, springs a large tuft of leaves, dark and bluish green on the upper surfaces and greyish beneath. These lowest leaves are on long foot-stalks and are large, having a terminal group of three leaflets, and below them on each side another group of three leaflets. The stem-leaves get gradually smaller, the higher they grow up the stem, the uppermost being without stalks and merely threelobed. The flower stems are 1 to 2 feet high, erect and slender, often reddish in color, branching into a loose head of flowers, which are 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter and drooping.
The only variety in which the flowers are not drooping is Aquilegia parviflora, which Ledebour describes with the flowers perfectly erect.
When growing wild, the flowers are usually blue or dull purple, occasionally white. The Columbine may be distinguished from all other British flowers, by having each of its five petals terminated in an incurved, hornlike spur. The petals are tubular and dilated at the other extremity.
The flowers are perfumed like hay.
The plant is in blossom throughout May and June. Its fruit is composed of five carpels, cylindrical in form, with pointed ends like a cluster of little pea-pods, each carpel (or seed vessel) containing many smooth, dark-colored seeds, which are freely shed when ripe, so that the parent plant is generally the centre of a little colony of seedlings.
The generic name of Aquilegia is derived from the Latin aquila (an eagle), the spurs of the flowers being considered to resemble an eagle's talons. The popular name, Columbine, is from the Latin columba (a dove or pigeon), from the idea that the flowers resemble a flight of these birds. A still older name, Culverwort, has the same reference wort being the Saxon word for a plant and culfre meaning a pigeon.
The Columbine is a favourite old-fashioned garden-flower, being mentioned by Tusser (1580) among a list of flowers suitable 'for windows and pots', Parkinson, in 1629, speaks of the many varieties grown in gardens.
It was one of the badges of the House of Lancaster and also of the family of Derby. The flower is referred to in Hamlet and in one of Ben Jonson's poems:
'Bring cornflag, tulip and Adonis flower,
Fair Oxeye, goldylocks and columbine.'
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Astringent. It has been employed on the continent, but according to Linnaeus, with very unsatisfactory results, children having sometimes been poisoned by it when given in too large doses. It is no longer used.
Culpepper tells us:
'The leaves of Columbine are successfully used in lotions for sore mouths and throats. . . . The Spaniards used to eat a piece of the root thereof in a morning fasting many days together, to help them when troubled with stone. The seed taken in wine with a little saffron removes obstructions of the liver and is good for the yellow jaundice.'

Columbo, American

Botanical: Frasera Carolinensis (WALT.)
Family: N.O. Gentianaceae
Medicinal Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---American Calumba. American Colombo. Radix Colombo Americanae. Frasera Walteri. Frasera Canadensis. Faux Colombo.
---Part Used---The dried root.
---Habitat---Middle and Southern United States and west of the Alleghanies.
---Description---Frasera Carolinensis is chiefly known as an occasional substitute for Calurnba Root, or Jateorrhiza Colurnba, a native of Mozambique. The English name is derived from the African Kalumb.
It is a plant of from 4 to 9 feet in height, with a smooth, erect stem, bearing lanceolate leaves in whorls, and yellowish-white flowers in terminal panicles. The roots are triennial, horizontal, long, and yellow. They should be collected in the autumn of the second or the spring of the third year and cut into transverse slices before being dried. When sliced longitudinally they have been put on the market as American Gentian, and when fresh, their properties closely resemble Gentiana Lutea, the European Yellow Gentian. The sliced root as found in the market has a reddish-brown epidermis, yellow cortex and spongy centre. The taste is slightly bitter and saccharine. It may be distinguished from true Colombo Root by the absence of concentric circles, and the smaller, thicker slices.
---Constituents---The root contains a peculiar acid, bitter extractive, gum, pectin, glucose, wax, resin, fatty matter, and yellowcoloring matter.
It may be distinguished from Calumba by the absence of starch (though it contains tannin), and by its change of color when treated with sulphate of iron, remaining unchanged by tincture of iodine or galls. It has not the pectine of gentians.
---Medicinal Uses---Tonic, cathartic, emetic stimulant. When dried it is a simple bitter that may be used in a similar way to gentian. In its fresh state it is cathartic and emetic.
---Dosages---Of powder, 1 to 3 grains. Of infusion of 1 fluid ounce to 1 pint of boiling water - 2 fluid ounces a day.
---Other Species---
Coscinium fenestratum is the Columbowood or false Columbo of Ceylon.


Botanical: Combretum sundaicum (MIF.)
Family: N.O. Combretaceae Myrobalans
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonym---Jungle Weed.
---Parts Used---Roasted leaves, stalks.
---Habitat---Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, and the tropical regions of both Hemispheres
---Description---Leaves odourless, taste astringent.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The leaves and stalks roasted have long been used in China in the form of a decoction, as a cure for the opium habit, the daily dose of opium is added to a decoction of the leaves and the patient is given 1 fluid ounce of the mixture every four hours.
---Constituents---Combretum contains a large proportion of tannic acid and traces of a glucoside.


Botanical: Symphytum officinale (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Boraginaceae
Parts Used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Common Comfrey. Knitbone. Knitback. Consound. Blackwort. Bruisewort. Slippery Root. Boneset. Yalluc (Saxon). Gum Plant. Consolida. Ass Ear.
---Parts Used---Root, leaves.
---Habitat---A native of Europe and temperate Asia; is common throughout England on the banks of rivers and ditches, and in watery places generally.
This well-known showy plant is a member of the Borage and Forget-me-not tribe, Boraginaceae.
The plant is erect in habit and rough and hairy all over. There is a branched rootstock, the roots are fibrous and fleshy spindle-shaped, an inch or less in diameter and up to a foot long, smooth, blackish externally, and internally white, fleshy and juicy.
---Description---The leafy stem, 2 to 3 feet high, is stout, angular and hollow, broadly winged at the top and covered with bristly hairs. The lower, radical leaves are very large, up to 10 inches long, ovate in shape and covered with rough hairs which promote itching when touched. The stem-leaves are decurrent, i.e. a portion of them runs down the stem, the body of the leaf being continued beyond its base and point of attachment with the stem. They decrease in size the higher they grow up the stem, which is much branched above and terminated by one-sided clusters of drooping flowers, either creamy yellow, or purple, growing on short stalks. These racemes of flowers are given off in pairs, and are what is known as scorpoid in form, the curve they always assume suggesting, as the word implies, the curve of a scorpion's tail, the flowers being all placed on one side of the stem, gradually tapering from the fully-expanded blossom to the final and almost imperceptible bud at the extremity of the curve, as in the Forget-meNot. The corollas are bell-shaped, the calyx deeply five-cleft, narrow to lance-shaped, spreading, more downy in the purpleflowered type. The fruit consists of four shining nutlets, perforated at the base, and adhering to the receptacle by their base. Comfrey is in bloom throughout the greater part of the summer, the first flowers opening at the end of April or early May.
The creamy yellow-flowered form is stated by Hooker to be Symphytum officinale proper, and the purple flowered he considered a variety and named it S. officinale, var patens. The botanist Sibthorpe makes a definite species of it under the name patens.
There is another species, S. tuberosum, found in wet places from North Wales, Stafford and Lincoln northwards into Scotland, and most common in the south of Scotland, though absent from Ireland.
In this form, the stem is scarcely branched and but slightly winged, the bases of the leaves being hardly at all continued down the stem. Though also covered with hairs, the latter are not so bristly. The root-stock is short and horizontal with slender root fibres. This is a much smaller plant, the stem rarely more than a foot high, rather slender and leafy. The lower radical leaves are much as in S. officinale in form, but with longer footstalks. The flowers, creamy-yellow in color though about the same size as those of S. officinale, are in much smaller masses.
The Common Comfrey is abundantly met with in England, but is rare in Scotland; the tuberous Comfrey is commonly found in Scotland, but is seldom met with in England, the northern counties of England and North Wales being its extreme southern limit, so that except in the narrow zone of country common to both, there will be no possibility of mistaking the one species for the other.
The variety of S. officinale, with a purplish flower, is more common in many parts of the Continent than in England. The purple and yellowish flowers are not found mixed where the plants grow wild: the difference in color is permanent in plants raised from seed.
[In the water-meadows which form such a well-known feature in South Wilts, especially in the valleys round about Salisbury, Common Comfrey is abundant, and the flowers vary in color from creamy-white to a pretty rose-pink; while the purple sort is the commonest. - Note by a Wiltshire writer.]
A variety with flowers of a rich blue color S. Asperimum, Prickly Comfrey, was introduced into this country from the Caucasus in 1811 as a fodder plant. This species is the largest of the genus, rising to 5 feet and more, with prickly stems and bold foliage, the leaves very large and oval, the hairs on them having bulbous bases. It was extensively recommended as a green food for most animals, it being claimed for it that it contained a considerable amount of flesh-forming substances, and was, moreover, both preventative and curative of foot and mouth disease in cattle. It has the advantage of producing large crops, two at least in a season, if cut before the flowers quite expand, and in favourable circumstances even more, so that 40 to 50 tons of green food per acre might be reckoned on. At the time of its introduction, a number of farmers and smallholders planted it. It was found, however that though horses, cattle and pigs would eat it, they never took kindly to it as a forage. Horses in time of scarcity will eat it in small quantities in the green state, though do not care for it dried. It is a useful food in the green state for pigs of all ages, but it takes a little time for them to get used to it. Its feeding value, however, has been proved to be not so very much more than that of grass and though it grows luxuriantly in all moist situations, where the soil is pretty good, it is not adapted for either dry or poor land.
The following is the result of an analysis of S. Asperimum, by Professor Voelcker:
In Natural Calc. In Natural Calc.
State Dry State Dry

Water 88.400 -- 94.74 --
Flesh-forming substances 2.712 23.37 .69 13.06
Non-nitrogenized substances:
Heat and fat-producing matters 6.898 59.49 3.81 72.49
Inorganic matters (ash) .990 .14 .76 14.45
______ ______ ______ ______
100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
On comparison the above figures will show this plant to be almost equal to some of our more important green-food crops; and certainly if we take into consideration the quantity of its produce, there are few plants capable of yielding so much green food as the Comfrey. Dr. Voelcker says that 'the amount of flesh-forming substances is considerable. The juice of this plant contains much gum and mucilage, and little sugar.'
Formerly country people cultivated Comfrey in their gardens for its virtue in wound healing, and the many local names of the plant testify to its long reputation as a vulnerary herb - in the Middle Ages it was a famous remedy for broken bones. The very name, Comfrey, is a corruption of con firma, in allusion to the uniting of bones it was thought to effect, and the botanical name, Symphytum, is derived from the Greek symphyo (to unite).
---Cultivation---Comfrey thrives in almost any soil or situation, but does best under the shade of trees.
Propagation may be effected either by seed or by division of roots in the autumn: the roots are very brittle, and the least bit of root will start growing afresh. They should be planted about 2 1/2 feet apart each way, and will need no further care except to keep them clear from weeds.
As a green crop they will yield largely if well-rotted manure be dug between the rows when dressing for winter.
As an ornamental plant, Comfrey is often introduced into gardens, from which it is very difficult to eradicate it when it has once established itself, a new plant arising from any severed portion of the root.
---Parts Used Medicinally---The root and leaves, generally collected from wild plants.
Comfrey leaves are sometimes found as an adulteration to Foxglove leaves, which they somewhat resemble, but may be distinguished by the smaller veins not extending into the wings of the leaf-stalk, and by having on their surface isolated stiff hairs. They are also more lanceolate than Foxglove leaves.
---Constituents---The chief and most important constituent of Comfrey root is mucilage, which it contains in great abundance, more even than Marshmallow. It also contains from 0.6 to 0.8 per cent. of Allantoin and a little tannin. Starch is present in a very small amount.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Demulcent, mildly astringent and expectorant. As the plant abounds in mucilage, it is frequently given whenever a mucilaginous medicine is required and has been used like Marshmallow for intestinal troubles. It is very similar in its emollient action to Marshmallow, but in many cases is even preferred to it and is an ingredient in a large number of herbal preparations. It forms a gentle remedy in cases of diarrhoea and dysentery. A decoction is made by boiling 1/2 to 1 OZ. of crushed root in 1 quart of water or milk, which is taken in wineglassful doses, frequently.
For its demulcent action it has long been employed domestically in lung troubles and also for quinsy and whooping-cough. The root is more effectual than the leaves and is the part usually used in cases of coughs. It is highly esteemed for all pulmonary complaints, consumption and bleeding of the lungs. A strong decoction, or tea, is recommended in cases of internal haemorrhage, whether from the lungs, stomach, bowels or from bleeding piles -to be taken every two hours till the haemorrhage ceases, in severe cases, a teaspoonful of Witch Hazel extract being added to the Comfrey root tea.
A modern medicinal tincture, employed by homoeopaths, is made from the root with spirits of wine, 10 drops in a tablespoonful of water being administered several times a day.
Comfrey leaves are of much value as an external remedy, both in the form of fomentations, for sprains, swellings and bruises, and as a poultice, to severe cuts, to promote suppuration of boils and abscesses, and gangrenous and ill-conditioned ulcers . The whole plant, beaten to a cataplasm and applied hot as a poultice, has always been deemed excellent for soothing pain in any tender, inflamed or suppurating part. It was formerly applied to raw, indolent ulcers as a glutinous astringent. It is useful in any kind of inflammatory swelling.
Internally, the leaves are taken in the form of an infusion, 1 OZ. of the leaves to 1 pint of boiling water.
Fluid extract: dose, 1/2 to 2 drachms.
The reputation of Comfrey as a vulnerary has been considered due partly to the fact of its reducing the swollen parts in the immediate neighbourhood of fractures, causing union to take place with greater facility. Gerard affirmed: 'A salve concocted from the fresh herb will certainly tend to promote the healing of bruised and broken parts.' Surgeons have declared that the powdered root, if dissolved in water to a mucilage, is far from contemptible for bleedings and fractures, whilst it hastens the callus of bones under repair. Its virtues as a vulnerary are now attributed to the Allantoin it contains. According to Macalister (British Medical Journal, Jan. 6, 1912), Allantoin in aqueous solution in strengths of 0.3 per cent has a powerful action in strengthening epithelial formations, and is a valuable remedy not only in external ulceration, but also in ulcers of the stomach and duodenum. Comfrey Root is used as a source of this cell proliferant Allantoin, employed in the dealing of chronic wounds, burns, ulcers, etc., though Allantoin is also made artificially.
The following is from the Chemist and Druggist of August 13, 1921:
'Allantoin is a fresh instance of the good judgment of our rustics, especially of old times, with regard to the virtues of plants. The great Comfrey or consound, though it was official with us down to the middle of the eighteenth century, never had a very prominent place in professional practice; but our herbalists were loud in its praise and the country culler of simples held it almost infallible as a remedy for both external and internal wounds bruises, and ulcers, for phlegm, for spitting of blood, ruptures, haemorrhoids, etc. For ulcers of the stomach and liver especially, the root (the part used) was regarded as of sovereign virtue. It is precisely for such complaints as these that Allantoin, obtained from the rhizome of the plant, is now prescribed. One old Syrupus de Symphyto was a rather complicated preparation. Gerard has a better formula, also a compound, which he highly recommends for ulcers of the lungs. The old Edinburgh formula is the simplest and probably the best: Fresh Comfrey leaves and fresh plantain leaves, of each lb.ss.; bruise them and well squeeze out the juice, add to the dregs spring water lb.ij.; boil to half, and mix the strained liquor with the expressed juice; add an equal quantity of white sugar and boil to a syrup.'
Culpepper says:
'The great Comfrey ("great" to distinguish it from the "Middle Comfrey" - another name for the Bugle) restrains spitting of blood. The root boiled in water or wine and the decoction drank, heals inward hurts, bruises, wounds and ulcers of the lungs, and causes the phlegm that oppresses him to be casily spit forth.... A syrup made there of is very effectual in inward hurts, and the distilled water for the same purpose also, and for outward wounds or sores in the fleshy or sinewy parts of the body, and to abate the fits of agues and to allay the sharpness of humours. A decoction of the leaves is good for those purposes, but not so effectual as the roots. The roots being outwardly applied cure fresh wounds or cuts immediately, being bruised and laid thereto; and is specially good for ruptures and broken bones, so powerful to consolidate and knit together that if they be boiled with dissevered pieces of flesh in a pot, it will join them together again.'
He goes on to describe its curative effect on haemorrhoids and continues:
'The roots of Comfrey taken fresh, beaten small and spread upon leather and laid upon any place troubled with the gout presently gives ease: and applied in the same manner it eases pained joints and tends to heal running ulcers, gangrenes, mortifications, for which it hath by often experience been found helpful.'
The young leaves form a good green vegetable, and are not infrequently eaten by country people. When fully grown they become, however, coarse and unpleasant in taste. They have been used to flavour cakes and other food.
In some parts of Ireland Comfrey is eaten as a cure for defective circulation and poverty of blood, being regarded as a perfectly safe and harmless remedy.
Comfrey roots, together with Chichory and Dandelion roots, are used to make a well-known vegetation 'Coffee,' that tastes practically the same as ordinary coffee, with none of its injurious effects.
A strong decoction has been used on the Continent for tanning leather, and in Angora a sort of glue is got from the common Comfrey, which is used for spinning the famous fleeces of that country.
In that inimitable little book by Russell George Alexander, called A Plain Plantain, in which he quotes from an old MS. inscribed 'Madam Susanna Avery, Her Book, May ye 12th Anno Domini 1688,' we find the following reference to Comfrey: 'From the French conserve, Latin conserva - healing: conserves - to boil together; to heal. A Wound Herb.' 'The roots,' says a sixteenthcentury writer, 'heal all inwarde woundes and burstings,' and Baker (Jewell of Health, 1567) says: 'The water of the Greater Comferie druncke helpeth such as are bursten, and that have broken the bone of the legge.' In cookery, the leaves gathered young may be used as a substitute for Spinach; the young shoots have been eaten after blanching by forcing them to grow through heaps of earth.

Compass Plant
See Cup Plant.


Botanical: Gonolobus Condurango (NICHOLS)
Family: N.O. Asclepiadaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Condurango Blanco. Marsdenia Condurango.
---Part Used---Bark.
---Habitat---Ecuador, South America.
---Description---The product of an asclepiadaceous vine about 30 feet long and 2 feet in diameter. The bark is beaten with a mallet to separate it from the stem when it has been sun-dried. In commerce it occurs in quilled pieces 2 to 4 inches long and 1/2 inch in diameter. External surface, pale greyish brown to dark brown, nearly smooth, more or less scaly and roughened, with numerous warts or lenticels, the scales soft with sometimes a brownish-black fungus on them, inner side whity brown and longitudinally striate; fracture short, fibrous, granular; odour slightly aromatic, specially in the fresh drug; taste bitter and aromatic; yields not more than 12 per cent of ash.
---Constituents---A large quantity of tannin, a glucoside and an alkaloid resembling strychnine in its action.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Diuretic stomachic, alterative. Has been regarded as a potential remedy for cancer and is useful in the early stages, but has no effect in the progress of the disease. There are many varieties of the plant, and the species experimented with in cancer is the Condurango blanco, which may be considered a genuine C. Cortex. It is largely used in South America as an alterative in chronic syphilis and is of great benefit.
It increases the circulation.
---Dose---Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm.
---Caution---Overdoses produce convulsions, ending in paralysis, vertigo and disturbed sight.


Botanical: Dorstenia Contrayerva (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Urticaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Dorstenia Houstoni (LINN.).
---Part Used---Root.
---Habitat---Native of Mexico, West Indies and Peru.
---Description---Name derived from a Spanish-American word signifying counterpoison or antidote. It is probable that the root sold as Contrayerva is derived from several species of Dorstenia, others being Dorstenia Houstoni and D. Drabena, the former growing near Campeachy, the latter near Vera Cruz. The official root is the product of D. Brasiliensis and comes from Brazil. The commercial root is oblong, 1 or 2 inches long, thickness varies, hard rough solid, outside reddish brown, paler inside, odour aromatic, taste warm, bitter, pungent, rootlets notas strong as main tubes. The root properties are extracted by alcohol and boiling water, and makes a very mucilaginous decoction.
---Constituents---Cajupine and contrayerbine.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Stimulant, tonic, and diaphoretic; given in cases of low fevers, typhoid, dysentery, diarrhoea, and other illnesses needing a stimulant.
---Dose---1/2 drachm of powdered root, or 1 oz. to 1 pint infused in boiling water.

Convolvulus, Field

Botanical: Convolvulus arvensis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Convolvulaceae
---Synonyms---Cornbind. Ropebind. Withywind. Bearwind. Jack-run'-in'-the-Country. Devil's Garters. Hedge Bells.
---Parts Used---Root, root resin.
Although the blossoms of the Field Convolvulus (C. arvensis) are some of the prettiest and daintiest of our native wild-flowers, the plant which bears them ranks among the most troublesome of weeds to the farmer not only creeping up his hedges, but strangling his corn and spreading over everything within its reach. In North America it has intruded as a most unwelcome immigrant, persistently covering the ground with its trailing stems.
Its roots run very deeply into the ground and extend over a large area. It is, therefore, extremely difficult to extirpate, for the long roots are brittle and readily snap, and any portion left in the ground will soon grow as vigorously as ever and send up shoots to the surface, so that in a very brief time it is again spreading over the ground and climbing over everything in its way.
Its delicate creeping stems grow with great rapidity, either when found on banks trailing along the ground amidst the grass or climbing wherever they find a support. Their ends swing slowly and continuously in circles and twine round anything with which they may happen to come in contact. It has been found that a Bindweed stem in favourable circumstances will make a complete revolution in about 1 3/4 hours, which explains the rapidity of its growth.
The generic name of the plant is derived from the Latin convolvo (to intertwine), and is descriptive of its general growth, for it does not, like many climbers, support itself by tendrils, but the whole plant twists itself tightly round the object that supports it - ordinarily a stalk of corn, or some other plant or object of similar size: it is never found twining round anything of bulky dimensions, such as gate-posts, etc. Its English name, Bindweed, is similarly given it for its habit of twining round and matting together all other plants near it. The Latin specific name, arvensis, is derived from arvum (a cornfield), because this species of Convolvulus, though commonly enough met with in waste places, is one of the characteristic flowers of the cornfield.
Professor Henslow remarks that this Field Convolvulus invariably twines round some stalk or object of small diameter.
---Description---It is a perennial and has a long period of blooming, generally beginning to flower about the first week of June, and being found in blossom throughout the summer and autumn months. The leaves are arrowshaped in form, but often very variable, the extremity of the leaf being in some cases far more acute than in others, and the lobes at the base more elongated. They are placed singly along the stem at very regular intervals.
From the axils of the leaves - the points at which their stalks join the main stemspring the flower-stalks, one to each leaf all up the stem. These flower-stalks often fork into two smaller ones, each bearing a bud. One of these lesser stalks is almost invariably smaller than the other, bearing a bud in an earlier stage of development, so that although the buds occur in pairs on the flower-stem, the flowers never expand at the same time, but always appear singly. At the junction of the flower-stalk and the main stem are a pair of very small scale-like bracts.
The flowers have trumpet-shaped corollas which vary a great deal in color - in some plants they are almost white, whilst in others the normal pink becomes almost crimson. On the underside are five dark pink rays. In the bud the petals are folded into five pleats, the outermost part of the fold being these deep pink rays. At the bottom of the flower are what appear to be the mouths of five tubes, or pipes, running downwards, the tubes being formed by the flattened filaments of the stamens being joined to the corolla tube and yet projecting ridge-like into the flower. Flowers with tubes like these are known as 'revolver flowers,' because of the resemblance to the barrels of a revolver: the Gentians are another example. These tubes lead to the nectar which is contained in five small sacs, one at the base of each tube. To get to the honey an insect has to thrust its proboscis down each tube in turn, but whilst doing so, he knocks against the pollen in the anther placed just above it, and by carrying that pollen to the next flower it effects its cross-fertilization. In spite of this arrangement, it is a strange and unexplained fact that the flowers seldom set seeds, though the open corollas are visited by many insects, attracted by the nectar and by the faint perfume of vanilla that characterizes it. The failure to set seed is, however, quite compensated for by the vitality of its widely spreading, much branched roots, on which it chiefly depends for its propagation.
The Convolvulus is very sensitive to weather conditions, always closing in rain, to open again with the return of sunshine. It also closes at night. Its blossoms give a deep yellow or orange tint to water, which is heightened by alum and alkalies.
It is found wild throughout Europe, in Siberia, China, Persia and India, in North America where it has been introduced, and in Chile.
See also:


Botanical: Tiarella Cordifolia (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Saxifragaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Foam Flower. Mitrewort
---Part Used---Whole herb.
---Habitat---North America from Canada to Virginia.
---Description---Perennial, forms a neat little edging with tiny white spiraea-like flowers, buds tinged pink, grows in the author's garden, and, given air and sunlight, in a light rich soil thrives well. It has simple leaves spotted and veined deep red; basal leaves turn a rich red orange. Needs dividing every second year. Seeds are few, sub-globose. Taste slightly stringent, odourless.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Tonic, diuretic. Of value in gravel and other diseases of the bladder, and as a tonic in indigestion and dyspepsia, corrects acidity and aids the liver.
---Dose---For an infusion or decoction, 1 OZ. to the pint of water; take freely 4 oz. of the infusion two or three times daily till conditions improve.


Botanical: Copaifera Langsdorffii (DESF.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---Copaiva. Balsam Copaiba. Copaiba officinalis.
---Part Used---Oleoresin.
---Habitat---Brazil and north of South Africa.
---Description---An oleoresin obtained from a South American species of Copaiba, by an incision in the trunk. It was first noticed in England in 1625, in a work published by Purchas. There are many species in South America, all yielding Copaiba- a single tree is said to yield about 40 litres. The first yield is clear, colorless and very thin, but in contact with the air its consistency soon becomes thicker and yellower. It is most largely collected from Para and Maranhao in Brazil, and is brought to this country in small casks and barrels; large quantities also come from Maracaibo in Venezuela, and it is also exported from Angostura, Cayenne, Rio Janeiro and some of the West Indian Islands. The variety that comes from Venezuela is more viscid and darker in color.
---Constituents---Volatile oil, resin. Amorphous resin acids and resenes.
Copaiba is a clear transparent liquid of the consistency of olive oil, pale yellow with a peculiar but not unpleasant odour, taste bitterish, hot and nauseous; the substance it most closely resembles is turpentine. As it contains no benzoic acid, it cannot properly be called a resin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Stimulant, diuretic, carminative, laxative; in large doses purgative, causing nausea, vomiting, strangury, bloody urine and fever. A good remedy for chronic catarrh and bronchitis, as it assists expectoration and is antiseptic; is given with advantage in leucorrhoea, chronic cystitis, diarrhoea and haemorrhoids. It is chiefly used in gonorrhoea (though not advocated for chronic cases), often combined with cubebs and sandal. It has also been recommended externally for chilblains. Both the volatile oil and resin are greatly altered when expelled in the urine, and when precipitated by nitric acid might be mistaken for albumen; it is considered a valuable hydragogue diuretic in obstinate dropsy.
It creates an irritant action on the whole mucous membrane, imparts a peculiar odour to the urine and breath, causes an eruption resembling measles attended with irritation and tingling; it is the resin, not the oleoresin, that is used as a diuretic.
---Preparations and Dosages---Oil, B.P., 5 to 20 drops. For obstinate dropsy, 15 to 20 grains three times daily. Usually taken in pill or capsule form (10 to 15 minims), or in the form of an emulsion.


Botanical: Copaifera Langsdorffii (DESF.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---Copaiva. Balsam Copaiba. Copaiba officinalis.
---Part Used---Oleoresin.
---Habitat---Brazil and north of South Africa.
---Description---An oleoresin obtained from a South American species of Copaiba, by an incision in the trunk. It was first noticed in England in 1625, in a work published by Purchas. There are many species in South America, all yielding Copaiba- a single tree is said to yield about 40 litres. The first yield is clear, colorless and very thin, but in contact with the air its consistency soon becomes thicker and yellower. It is most largely collected from Para and Maranhao in Brazil, and is brought to this country in small casks and barrels; large quantities also come from Maracaibo in Venezuela, and it is also exported from Angostura, Cayenne, Rio Janeiro and some of the West Indian Islands. The variety that comes from Venezuela is more viscid and darker in color.
---Constituents---Volatile oil, resin. Amorphous resin acids and resenes.
Copaiba is a clear transparent liquid of the consistency of olive oil, pale yellow with a peculiar but not unpleasant odour, taste bitterish, hot and nauseous; the substance it most closely resembles is turpentine. As it contains no benzoic acid, it cannot properly be called a resin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Stimulant, diuretic, carminative, laxative; in large doses purgative, causing nausea, vomiting, strangury, bloody urine and fever. A good remedy for chronic catarrh and bronchitis, as it assists expectoration and is antiseptic; is given with advantage in leucorrhoea, chronic cystitis, diarrhoea and haemorrhoids. It is chiefly used in gonorrhoea (though not advocated for chronic cases), often combined with cubebs and sandal. It has also been recommended externally for chilblains. Both the volatile oil and resin are greatly altered when expelled in the urine, and when precipitated by nitric acid might be mistaken for albumen; it is considered a valuable hydragogue diuretic in obstinate dropsy.
It creates an irritant action on the whole mucous membrane, imparts a peculiar odour to the urine and breath, causes an eruption resembling measles attended with irritation and tingling; it is the resin, not the oleoresin, that is used as a diuretic.
---Preparations and Dosages---Oil, B.P., 5 to 20 drops. For obstinate dropsy, 15 to 20 grains three times daily. Usually taken in pill or capsule form (10 to 15 minims), or in the form of an emulsion.


Botanical: Coriandrum sativum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Parts Used
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Parts Used---Fruit and fresh leaves.
---Habitat---Coriander, an umbelliferous plant indigenous to southern Europe, is found occasionally in Britain in fields and waste places, and by the sides of rivers. It is frequently found in a semi-wild state in the east of England, having escaped from cultivation.
---Description---It is an annual, with erect stems, 1 to 3 feet high, slender and branched. The lowest leaves are stalked and pinnate, the leaflets roundish or oval, slightly lobed. The segments of the uppermost leaves are linear and more divided. The flowers are in shortly-stalked umbels, five to ten rays, pale mauve, almost white, delicately pretty. The seed clusters are very symmetrical and the seeds fall as soon as ripe. The plant is bright green, shining, glabrous and intensely foetid.
Gerard described it as follows:
'The common kind of Coriander is a very striking herb, it has a round stalk full of branches, two feet long. The leaves are almost like the leaves of the parsley, but later on become more jagged, almost like the leaves of Fumitorie, but a great deal smaller and tenderer. The flowers are white and grow in round tassels like Dill.'
The inhabitants of Peru are so fond of the taste and smell of this herb that it enters into almost all their dishes, and the taste is often objectionable to any but a native. Both in Peru and in Egypt, the leaves are put into soup.
The seeds are quite round like tiny balls. They lose their disagreeable scent on drying and become fragrant- the longer they are kept, the more fragrant they become.
Coriander was originally introduced from the East, being one of the herbs brought to Britain by the Romans. As an aromatic stimulant and spice, it has been cultivated and used from very ancient times. It was employed by Hippocrates and other Greek physicians.
The name Coriandrum, used by Pliny, is derived from koros, (a bug), in reference to the foetid smell of the leaves.
Pliny tells us that 'the best (Coriander) came from Egypt,' and from thence no doubt the Israelites gained their knowledge of its properties.
The Africans are said to have called this herb by a similar name (goid), which Gesenius derives from a verb (gadad), signifying 'to cut,' in allusion to the furrowed appearance of the fruit.
It is still much used in the East as a condiment, and forms an ingredient in curry powder.
In the northern countries of Europe, the seeds are sometimes mixed with bread, but the chief consumption of Coriander seed in this country is in flavouring certain alcoholic liquors, for which purpose it is largely grown in Essex. Distillers of gin make use of it, and veterinary surgeons employ it as a drug for cattle and horses. The fruit is the only part of the plant that seems to have any medical or dietetical reputation.
Confectioners form from the seeds little, round pink and white comfits for children.
It is included in the British Pharmacopceia, but it is chiefly used to disguise unpleasant medicine.
A power of conferring immortality is thought by the Chinese to be a property of the seeds.
Turner says (1551): '"Coriandre layd to wyth breade or barly mele is good for Saynt Antonyes fyre" (the erysipelas: so called because it was supposed to have been cured by the intercession of St. Anthony). Coriander cakes are seldom made now.'
---Cultivation---Coriander likes a warm, dry, light soil, though it also does well in the somewhat heavy soil of Essex.
Sow in mild, dry weather in April, in shallow drills, about 1/2 inch deep and 8 or 9 inches apart, and cover it evenly with the soil. The seeds are slow in germinating. The seeds may also be sown in March, in heat, for planting out in May.
As the seeds ripen, about August, the disagreeable odour gives place to a pleasant aroma, and the plant is then cut down with sickles and when dry the fruit is threshed out.
The best land yields on an average 15 cwt. per acre. It is grown to a small extent in the Eastern counties, but more especially in Essex. It is also cultivated in various parts of Continental Europe, and in northern Africa, Malta and India.
---Parts Used---The fruit, and sometimes for salads and soups - the fresh leaves.
The fruit (so-called seeds) are of globular form, beaked, finely ribbed, yellowish-brown 1/5 inch in diameter, with five longitudinal ridges, separable into two halves (the mericarps), each of which is concave internally and shows two broad, longitudinal oil cells (vittae). The seeds have an aromatic taste and, when crushed, a characteristic odour.
---Constituents---Coriander fruit contains about 1 per cent of volatile oil, which is the active ingredient. It is pale yellow or colorless, and has the odour of Coriander and a mild aromatic taste. The fruit yields about 5 per cent of ash and contains also malic acid, tannin and some fatty matter.
Coriander fruit of the British Pharmacopoeia is directed to be obtained from plants cultivated in Britain, the fruit before being submitted to distillation being brushed or bruised.
The English-grown are said to have the finest flavour, though the Russian and German are the richest in oil. The Mogadore are the largest and brightest, but contain less oil, and the Bombay fruit, which are also large, are distinguished by their oval shape and yield the least oil of any.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Stimulant, aromatic and carminative. The powdered fruit, fluid extract and oil are chiefly used medicinally as flavouring to disguise the taste of active purgatives and correct their griping tendencies. It is an ingredient of the following compound preparations of the Pharmacopceia: confection, syrup and tincture of senna, and tincture and syrup of Rhubarb, and enters also into compounds with angelica gentian, jalap, quassia and lavender. As a corrigent to senna, it is considered superior to other aromatics.
If used too freely the seeds become narcotic.
Coriander water was formerly much esteemed as a carminative for windy colic.
---Preparations---Powdered fruit: dose, 10 to 60 grains. Fluid extract, 5 to 30 drops. B.P.: dose, 1/2 to 3 drops.

'Lucknow' Curry Powder
1 OZ. ginger, 1 OZ. Coriander seed, 1 OZ. cardamum seed, 1/4 oz. best Cayenne powder, 3 oz. turmeric.
Have the best ingredients powdered at the druggist's into a fine powder and sent home in different papers. Mix them well before the fire, then put the mixture into a widemouthed bottle, cork well, and keep it in a dry place. - (From an old Family Cookerybook in the author's possession.)

Corkwood Tree

Botanical: Duboisia myoporoides
Family: N.O. Solanaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Part Used---Leaves.
---Habitat---New South Wales and Queensland, Australia; New Caledonia.
---Description---A tall glabrous shrub or small tree, flowers, axillary clusters, white with two-lipped calyx; corolla, funnel-shaped; limb, five parted; five stamens within the corolla (two long and two short); one rudimentary ovary, two many-ovalled compartments and fruit berry-like; leaves, inodorous and bitter taste. Another species, Duboisia Hoopwoodii, contains an acrid liquid alkaloid, Piturine, which is said to be identical with nicotine; it is largely used by the natives of Central Australia rather in the same way that the Indians use Coca leaves. It is obtained from the leaves and twigs, which are collected while the flowers are in bloom in August; the natives smoke and chew it for its stimulating effect, which enables them to work at high pressure without food.
---Constituents---Alkaloidal sulphates, mainly hyoscyamine and hyoscine.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Sedative, hypnotic and mydriatic (of variable strength), which augments the activity of the respiratory system. Its alkaloid, Sulphate of Duboisia, is sometimes used as a substitute for atropine. The homoeopaths use the tincture and the alkaloid for paralysis and eye affections; a red spot interfering with vision is an indication for its use. It is antidoted by coffee and lemon-juice.

Corn Cockle

Botanical: Agrostemna Githago
Lychnis Githago
Family: N.O. Caryophyllaceae
---Synonyms---Corn Pink. Corn Campion. Ray. Nigella. Zizany. Darnel. Tare. Gith. Lychnis. Githage. Agrostemma. Pseudo-melanthium. Lolium.
---Part Used---Seeds.
---Description---A well-known Corn weed, with large entire purple petals.
'An annual herb of the Pink family; one of the Campions. The tall, slender stem, 2 to 4 feet high, has a dense coat of white hairs. The narrow, lance-shaped leaves, 4 to 5 inches in length, are produced in pairs and their stalkless bases meet around the stem. The large solitary flowers have very long stalks which issue from the axils of the leaves. They are 1 1/2 and 2 inches broad, with purple petals which have pale streaks ("honey guides"), showing the way to the mouth of the tube. There are no scales round the mouth. But the striking feature of the flower which distinguishes it from the Campions is the woolly calyx with its five strong ridges and five long green teeth that far exceed the length of the petals; in the open flower they take their place between the petals, and seem to serve as preliminary alighting perches for the butterflies and moths by which the flowers are pollinated. Nectar is secreted at the bottom of the tube, whose depth makes the flower unsuitable for bees. The flower is at first male, the anthers shedding their pollen before the stigmas are mature; they are so disposed at the mouth of the tube that the nectar-seekers push their faces among them and pick up pollen. On visiting a flower that is a day or two older and has become female, the stigmas occupying the mouth are in the way to receive it by a similar process. Sometimes, smaller flowers are produced in addition, which are entirely female, for the stamens are not developed. The flowers bloom from June to August, and are succeeded by a large, oval capsule, opening by five teeth, and containing about 2 dozen large black seeds. The seeds contain an irritant poison, and sometimes cause trouble through being eaten by domestic animals, and by getting into milling corn and thence into the family loaf.' - (Trees and Flowers of the Countryside.)
Corn Cockle is not used in alopathic medicine to-day, but according to Hill, if used long enough, it was considered a cure for dropsy and jaundice.
In homoeopathy a trituration of the seeds has been found useful in paralysis and gastritis.


Botanical: Centaurea Cyanus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Part Used Medicinally
---Synonyms---Bluebottle. Bluebow. Hurtsickle. Blue Cap.
(French) Bluet.
f the Pink family; one of the Campions. The tall, slender stem, 2 to 4 feet high, has a dense coat of white hairs. The narrow, lance-shaped leaves, 4 to 5 inches in length, are produced in pairs and their stalkless bases meet around the stem. The large solitary flowers have very long stalks which issue from the axils of the leaves. They are 1 1/2 and 2 inches broad, with purple petals which have pale streaks ("honey guides"), showing the way to the mouth of the tube. There are no scales round the mouth. But the striking feature of the flower which distinguishes it from the Campions is the woolly calyx with its five strong ridges and five long green teeth that far exceed the length of the petals; in the open flower they take their place between the petals, and seem to serve as preliminary alighting perches for the butterflies and moths by which the flowers are pollinated. Nectar is secreted at the bottom of the tube, whose depth makes the flower unsuitable for bees. The flower is at first male, the anthers shedding their pollen before the stigmas are mature; they are so disposed at the mouth of the tube that the nectar-seekers push their faces among them and pick up pollen. On visiting a flower that is a day or two older and has become female, the stigmas occupying the mouth are in the way to receive it by a similar process. Sometimes, smaller flowers are produced in addition, which are entirely female, for the stamens are not developed. The flowers bloom from June to August, and are succeeded by a large, oval capsule, opening by five teeth, and containing about 2 dozen large black seeds. The seeds contain an irritant poison, and sometimes cause trouble through being eaten by domestic animals, and by getting into milling corn and thence into the family loaf.' - (Trees and Flowers of the Countryside.)
Corn Cockle is not used in alopathic medicine to-day, but according to Hill, if used long enough, it was considered a cure for dropsy and jaundice.
In homoeopathy a trituration of the seeds has been found useful in paralysis and gastritis.


Botanical: Centaurea Cyanus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Part Used Medicinally
---Synonyms---Bluebottle. Bluebow. Hurtsickle. Blue Cap.
(French) Bluet.
---Part Used---Flowers.
Centaurea Cyanus, the Cornflower, with its star-like blossoms of brilliant blue, is one of our most striking wild-flowers, though it is always looked on as an unwelcome weed by the farmer, for not only does it by its presence withdraw nourishment from the ground that is needed for the corn, 'but its tough stems in former days of hand-reaping were wont to blunt the reaper's sickle, earning it the name of 'Hurt Sickle':
'Thou blunt'st the very reaper's sickle and so
In life and death becom'st the farmer's foe.'
The Latin name, Cyanus, was given the Cornflower after a youthful devotee of the goddess Flora (Cyanus), whose favourite flower it was, and the name of the genus is derived from the Centaur, Chiron, who taught mankind the healing virtue of herbs.
It has long been cultivated as a garden plant, in several colors as well as white. C. montana, a perennial form, is frequent in gardens.
---Description---In the wild condition it is fairly common in cultivated fields and by roadsides. The stems are 1 to 3 feet high, tough and wiry, slender, furrowed and branched, somewhat angular and covered with a loose cottony down. The leaves, very narrow and long, are arranged alternately on the stem, and like the stem are covered more or less with white cobwebby down that gives the whole plant a somewhat dull and grey appearance. The lower leaves are much broader and often have a roughly-toothed outline. The flowers grow solitary, and of necessity upon long stalks to raise them among the corn. The bracts enclosing the hard head of the flower are numerous, with tightly overlapping scales, each bordered by a fringe of brown teeth. The inner disk florets are small and numerous, of a pale purplish rose color. The bright blue ray florets, thatform the conspicuous part of the flower, are large, widely spread, and much cut into.
---Part Used Medicinally---The flowers are the part used in modern herbal medicine and are considered to have tonic, stimulant and emmenagogue properties, with action similar to that of Blessed Thistle.
A water distilled from Cornflower petals was formerly in repute as a remedy for weak eyes. The famous French eyewash, 'Eau de Casselunettes,' used to be made from them. Culpepper tells us that the powder or dried leaves of the Bluebottle is given with good success to those that are bruised by a fall or have broken a vein inwardly. He also informs us that, with Plantain, Horsetail, or Comfrey,
'it is a remedy against the poison of the scorpion and resisteth all venoms and poisons. The seeds or leaves (or the distilled water of the herb) taken in wine is very good against the plague and all infectious diseases, and is very good in pestilential fevers: the juice put into fresh or green wounds doth quickly solder up the lips of them together, and is very effectual to heal all ulcers and sores in the mouth.'
The expressed juice of the petals makes a good blue ink; if expressed and mixed with alum-water, it may be used in water-color drawing. It dyes linen a beautiful blue, but the color is not permanent.
The dried petals are used by perfumers for giving color to pot-pourri.

Corn, Indian

Botanical: Zea Mays (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Graminaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Part Used---Seeds.
---Habitat---South America; also cultivated in other parts of America, in the West Indian Islands, Australia, Africa, India, etc., and now in France.
---Description---A monoecious plant. Male flowers in terminal racemes; spikelets, two-flowered glumes nearly equal, herbaceous, terminating in two sharp points; females, axillary in the sheaths of the leaves. The spikes or ears proceed from the stalls at various distances from the ground, and are closely enveloped in several thin leaves, forming a sheath called the husk; the ears consist of a cylindrical substance, a pith called the cob; on this the seeds are ranged in eight rows, each row having thirty or more seeds. From the eyes or germs of the seeds proceed individual filaments of a silky appearance and bright green color; these hang from the point of the husk and are called 'the silk.' The use of these filaments or stigmata is to receive the farina which drops from the flowers, and without which the flowers would produce no seed. As soon as this has been effected, the tops and 'the silk' dry up. The maize grains are of varying color - usually yellow, but often ranging to black.
---Constituents---Starch, sugar, fat, salts, water, yellow oil, maizenic acid, azotized matter, gluten, dextrine, glucose, cellulose, silica, phosphates of lime and magnesia, soluble salts of potassa and soda.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Diuretic and mild stimulant. A good emollient poultice for ulcers, swellings, rheumatic pains. An infusion of the parched corn allays nausea and vomiting in many diseases. Cornmeal makes a palatable and nutritious gruel and is an excellent diet for convalescents.
---Preparations---A liquid extract is official in U.S.A. and B.P.C.
---Other Species---There is only one distinct species, but there are several varieties resulting from difference of soil, culture and climate. Five of these have been described by Stendel - and all are natives of South America. Some of the finest cobs have been raised in Australia, and the plant is also extensively grown in many parts of Africa and India for consumption. Maize is easily digested by the human body, and when cooked as porridge is called by the Americans 'Mush.' Hominy, samp and cerealine are all starchy preparations of split maize. Corn bread contains much more nourishment thanwheaten bread, and is suitable for those suffering from kidney or liver diseases. Maizend or cornflour is prepared from the grains and represents only the fat-forming and heat producing constituents of the grain without mineral salts. It contains only 18 grains of proteids to the pound. Mexicans of today are very skilful in making fermented liquors from maize. One preparation called 'Chicka' resembles beer and cider, and a spirituous liquor called 'Pulque de Mahis,' made from the juice of the stalk of the maize, forms an important article of commerce.

Corn Salad

Botanical: Valerianella olitoria (MOENCH)
Family: N.O. Caryophylleae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Lamb's Lettuce. Valerian locusta (Linn.). White Pot Herb. Lactuca agnina.
(French) Loblollie. Mâche. Doucette. Salade de Chanoine. Salade de Prêtre.
---Part Used---Herb.
Closely allied to the Valerians are the members of the genus Valerianella (the name signifying 'little Valerian'), the chief representative of which, V. olitoria (Moench), the Lamb's Lettuce or Corn Salad, was named by Linnaeus, Valeriana Locusta. At one time the plant was classed with the lettuces and called Lactuca agnina, either, as old writers tell us, from appearing about the lambing season, or because it is a favourite food of lambs. The young leaves in spring and autumn are eaten as a salad and are excellent.
This little plant is a common weed in waste ground and cultivated land especially corn fields, having been long cultivated in gardens and at present found in an apparently wild state. Gerard says: 'We know the Lamb's Lettuce as Loblollie; and it serves in winter as a salad herb among others none of the worst.' He tells us that the Dutch called it 'White Pot Herb' (probably in distinction from the 'Black Pot Herb' (Alexander's Smyrnium olusatrum), and that foreigners using it while in England led to its cultivation in our gardens. It is now not much grown here, and is much more known on the Continent, and has long been a favourite salad plant in France under the name of Mâche, Doucette and Salade de Chanoine, and also as Salade de Prêtre, from its being generally eaten in Lent.
---Description---It is now common and generally distributed throughout Great Britain, a small, annual, bright-green plant, with succulent stems, 6 to 12 inches high, generally forking from the very base, or at least within the lowest quarter of their height. The first leaves, springing from the root, are 1 to 3 inches long, bluntly lance-shaped scarcely-stalked, generally decaying early. The stem leaves are quite stalkless, often stem-clasping. The flowers are minute and are greenish-white in appearance, arranged in close, rounded, terminal heads, surrounded by narrow bracts, the tiny corolla is pale lilac, but so small that the heads of flowers do not give the appearance of any color.
---Cultivation---When cultivated in gardens, Lamb's Lettuce may be sown in rows all through the autumn, winter and early spring, so as to produce a constant succession of crops. A small portion of garden earth sown with the seeds in August, will supply an excellent portion of the salad throughout the winter. The younger the leaves, the better they taste in salad.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---This herb was in request by country folk in former days as a spring medicine, and a homoeopathic medicinal tincture is made from the fresh root.
Several other species are found in this country, either indigenous or introduced accidentally with the seeds of the plants described, but they are not common. Some botanists assign these species to the genus Fedia, the name of which is of uncertain derivation.

Corn Silk

Botanical: Zea Mays (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Graminaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Part Used---Flower pistils.
---Habitat---Sub-tropical countries of the world. and cultivated in warm climates.
---Description---The stigmas (fine soft, yellowish threads) from the female flowers of maize from 4 to 8 inches long and of a light green, purplish red, yellow or light brown color, stigmas bifid; the segments very slender, frequently unequal, nearly odourless, faintly sweetish taste.
---Constituents---Maizenic acid is present in the dried corn silk; also fixed oil, resin, chlorophyl, sugar-gum extractive albuminoids phlobaphine salt, cellulose and water.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A mild stimulant, diuretic and demulcent, useful in acute and chronic cystitis and in the bladder irritation of uric acid and phosphatic gravel; has also been employed in gonorrhoea. In action like Holy Thistle.
---Preparations and Dosages---Infusion 1 in 10), 2 fluid ounces. Fluid extract of maize stigmas, B.P.C., 1 to 2 fluid drachms. Syrup of maize stigmas, B.P.C., 2 to 4 fluid drachms. Mazenic is given in doses of 1/8 grain.

Corsican Moss
See Moss, Corsican.


Botanical: Tanacetum balsamita (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Alecost. Balsam Herb. Costmarie. Mace. Balsamita.
(French) Herbe Sainte-Marie.
---Part Used---Leaves.
Closely allied to the Tansy is another old English herb - Costmary (Tanacetum balsamita, Linn.). The whole of this plant emits a soft balsamic odour - pleasanter and more aromatic than that of Tansy - to which fact it owes its name of balsamita, and we find it referred to by Culpepper and others as the 'Balsam Herb.' In some old herbals it appears as Balsamita mas, Maudlin, Achillea ageratum, being Balsamita foemina.
It is a native of the Orient, but has now become naturalized in many parts of southern Europe and was formerly to be found in almost every garden in this country, having been introduced into England in the sixteenth century - Lyte, writing in 1578, said it was then 'very common in all gardens.' Gerard, twenty years later, says 'it groweth everywhere in gardens,' and Parkinson mentions it among other sweet herbs in his garden, but it has now so completely gone out of favour as to have become a rarity, though it may still occasionally be found in old gardens, especially in Lincolnshire, where it is known as 'Mace.'
In distinction to the feathery leaves of its near relative, the Tansy, the somewhat long and broad leaves of Costmary are entire, their margins only finely toothed. The stems rise 2 to 3 feet from the creeping roots and bear in August, at their summit, heads of insignificant yellowish flowers in loose clusters, which do not set seed in this country.
---Cultivation---The plant will thrive in almost every soil or situation, but will do best on dry land.
Propagation is effected by division of the roots in early spring, or in autumn, planting 2 feet apart, in a dry, warm situation. As the roots creep freely, the plants will probably spread over the intervening spaces in a couple of years and need dividing and transplanting every second or third year.
Grown in the shade, Costmary goes strongly to leaf, but will not flower.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---On account of the aroma and taste of its leaves, Costmary was much used to give a spicy flavouring to ale - whence its other name, Aletcost. Markham (The Countrie Farmer, 1616) says that 'both Costmarie' and Avens 'give this savour.'
The fresh leaves were also used in salads and in pottage, and dried are often put into pot-pourri, as they retain their aroma. Our great-grandmothers used to tie up bundles of Costmary with Lavender 'to Iye upon the toppes of beds, presses, etc., for sweet scent and savour.'
The name Costmary is derived from the Latin costus (an Oriental plant), the root of which is used as a spice and as a preserve, and 'Mary,' in reference to Our Lady. In the Middle Ages, the plant was widely associated with her name and was known in France as Herbe Sainte-Marie.
It was at one time employed medicinally in this country, having somewhat astringent and antiseptic properties, and had a place in our Pharmacopceia until 1788, chiefly as an aperient, its use in dysentery being especially indicated.
Green's Universal Herbal (1532) stated, 'A strong infusion of the leaves to be good in disorders of the stomach and head,' and much celebrated for its efficacy as an emmenagogue.
Salmon (171O), among other uses, recommends the juice of the herb as a diuretic and 'good in cases of Quotidien Ague,' and continues:
'The powder of the leaves is a good stomatick and may be taken from 1/2 to 1 dram morning and night. I commend it to such as are apt to have the gout to fly upwards into the stomach. It is astringent, resists poison and the bitings of venomous beasts and kills worms in human bodies. The oil by insolation or boiling in Olive oil warms and comforts preternatural coldness, discusses swellings and gives ease in gout, sciatica and other like pains. The Cataplasm draws out the fire in Burnings, being applied before they are blistered. The spirituous tincture helps a weak and disaffected liver, strengthens the nerves, head and brain.'
Culpepper speaks of its being 'astringent to the stomach' and:
'strengthening to the liver and all other inward parts; and taken in whey works more effectually. Taken fasting in the morning it is very profitable for pains in the head that are continual, and to stay, dry up, and consume all thin rheums or distillations from the head into the stomach, and helps much to digest raw humours that are gathered therein. . . . It is an especial friend and help to evil, weak and cold livers. The seed is familiarly given to children for the worms, and so is the infusion of the flowers in white wine given them to the quantity of two ounces at a time.'
And before Culpepper's days, Gerard had said:
'The Conserve made with leaves of Costmaria and sugar doth warm and dry thebraine and openeth the stoppings of the same; stoppeth all catarrhes, rheumes and distillations, taken in the quantitie of a beane.'
We find this plant mentioned in a very composite old recipe 'for a Consumption,' called 'Aqua Composita,' in which it is spelt 'Coursemary.' Also in an 'Oyntment,' for 'bruises, dry itches, streins of veins and sinews, scorchings of gunpowder, the shingles, blisters, scabs and vermine.'
An ointment made by boiling the herb in olive oil with Adder's Tongue and thickening the strained liquid with wax and resin and turpentine was considered to be very valuable for application to sores and ulcers.
Achillea ageratum (Linn.), the Maudlin or Sweet Milfoil, a native of Italy and Spain, introduced into England in 1570, an aromatic plant with a sweet smell and a bitter taste, and yellow, tansy-like flowers, was used by the earlier herbalists for the same purposes as Costmary. Culpepper speaks of it growing in gardens and having the same virtues as Costmary, but by the time of Linnzeus its use was obsolete. Both Costmary and Maudlin were much used to make 'sweete washing water.'


Botanical: Botanical source unknown
Family: Possibly N.O. Lauracea
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Part Used---The bark.
---Description---A bark bearing this name came into the London drug market about 1893. The bark of a rubiaceous plant (Palicourea densiflors), known as Coto, is employed in Brazil for rheumatism, but it is not known if this is the true Bolivian plant; the outer surface is irregular, of a cinnamon brown color. It is sold in pieces of 4 to 6 inches long, 3 inches wide and about 1 inch thick, and is sometimes covered with an adherent corry surface, free from lichens. The inner cross-sections of the bark are covered with yellowish spots, the odour is aromatic and much stronger if bruised, taste hot and biting; in powdered form the smell is very pungent. This description conforms with the barks sold in the American markets, but other barks are used under the same name, the chief being Paracote bark; this has an agreeable spicy taste, but is not so strong-smelling or tasting, and has deep white furrows on the surface.
---Constituents---Coto bark contains a volatile alkaloid, a pungent aromatic volatile oil, a light brown soft resin, and a hard brown resin, starch, gum, sugar, tannin, Cal. Oxalate and three acids, acetic, butyric and formic.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Antiseptic, astringent. Coto bark is irritating to the skin applied externally. If taken internally it gives constant violent pain and vomiting. Its chief use is in diarrhoea, but it has a tendency to produce inflammation, so must be used with great caution, it is said to lessen peristaltic action. Paracota bark resembles it in action, but is much less powerful. In Japan, paracota bark has been successfully employed for cholera by hypodermic injection of 3 grains of paracotoin. The value of cotoin in diarrhcea is established, and it is also used for catarrhal diarrhoea and for diarrhcea in tubercular ulceration of typhoid fever. Has also a specific action on the alimentary canal, dilating the abdominal vessels and hastening absorption.
---Preparations and Dosages---Cotoin, 1 to 3 grains. Fluid extract, 5 to 15 drops. Powdered coto, 2 to 15 grains.

Cotton Root

Botanical: Gossypium herbaceum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Malvaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Part Used---Bark of root and of other cultivated species.
---Habitat---Asia Minor, and cultivated in U.S.A. and Egypt, India, Mediterranean.
---Description---Gossypium herbaceum is the indigenous species in India, and yields the bulk of the cotton of that country. It is also grown in the south of Europe, and other countries bordering on the Mediterranean Persia, etc. The seeds are woolly and yield a very short stapled cotton, while G. Barbadense gives the Sea Island, or long-stapled cotton, this latter being indigenous to America. The two varieties are recognized in the U.S.A. G. Barbadense, the best species was introduced from the Bahamas in 1785 and only grows in the low islands and sea-coast of Georgia and South Carolina. The upland Georgian, Bowed or short-stapled cotton, which forms the bulk of American cotton, is the produce of the upland or inner districts of the Southern States. Its staple is only about 1 1/4 inch long, and it adheres firmly to the seed, which is covered with short down. wiccan cotton and Bourbon are likewise referrable to this species.
G. herbaceum is a biennial or triennial plant with branching stems 2 to 6 feet high, palmate hairy leaves, lobes lanceolate and acute flowers with yellow petals, and a purple spot in centre, leaves of involucre serrate, capsule when ripe splits open and shows a loose white tuft surrounding the seeds and adhering firmly to outer coating; it requires warm weather to ripen its seeds, which they do not do north of Virginia.
The crushed seeds give a fixed, semi-drying oil used in making soap, etc. The flowering time ends in September, and a month or so earlier the tops are cut off in order to ripen and send the sap back to the capsules. The pods are about the size of a walnut, and are collected by hand as they ripen;the cotton is also separated by hand and packed in bales. In the Levant the seeds are often used as food. An acre may be expected to produce 240 to 300 lb. of cotton.
The herbaceous part of the plant contains much mucilage and has been utilized as a demulcent. Cotton seeds have been used in the Southern States for intermittent fever with great success. The root and stem-bark deteriorates with age, so only newly harvested material should be used. The root-bark of commerce consists of thin flexible bands of quilled pieces covered with a browny yellow periderm, odour not strong, taste slightly acid.
---Constituents---A peculiar acid resin, odourless and insoluble in water, absorbing oxygen when exposed, then changes to a red color. The bark also contains sugar, gum, tannin, fixed oil, chlorophyll.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Mainly used as an abortifacient in place of ergot, being not so powerful but safer; it was used largely in this way by the slaves in the south. It not only increases the contractions of the uterus in labour, but also is useful in the treatment of metrorrhagia, specially when dependent on fibroids; useful also as an ecbolic; of value in sexual lassitude. A preparation of cotton seed increases milk of nursing mothers.
---Preparations---Boil 4 OZ. of the inner bar of the root in 1 quart of water down to 1 pint: dose, 1 full wineglass (4 oz.) every thirty minutes. Fluid extract, U.S.D., 1 to 2 drachms. Gossipium, 1 to 5 grains. Solid extract, 15 to 20 grains. Liquid extract of cotton root bark, B.P.C., 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Tinc. Gossipii, B.P.C., 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Decoction of cotton root bark, B.P.C., 1/2 to 2 fluid ounces (as an emmenagogue or to check haemorrhages).


See Grasses.
Botanical: Mucuna pruriens (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Dolichos pruriens. Stizolobium pruriens. Mucuna prurita. Setae Siliquae Hirsutae. Cowage. Cowitch. Couhage. Kiwach.
(French) Cadjuet. Pois velus. Pois à gratter. Liane à gratter. Pois pouilleux. Ceil de bourrique.
(German) Kratzbohnen. Kuhkratze.
---Parts Used---The hairs of the pod, seeds.
---Habitat---Tropical regions, especially East and West Indies.
---Description---The name of the genus, Mucuna, is that of a Brazilian species mentioned by Marggraf in 1648, and pruriens refers to the itching caused on the skin by the hairs. The popular name, variously spelt, is from the Hindustani.
Travellers in the tropics know the plants well on account of their annoying seed-pods, covered with stinging hairs which are easily shaken off, and cause great irritation. They are found in Asia, America, Africa, and the Fiji Islands.
M. pruriens is a leguminous climbing plant, with long, slender branches, alternate, lanceolate leaves on hairy petioles, 6 to 12 inches long, with large, white flowers, growing in clusters of two or three, with a bluish-purple, butterfly-shaped corolla.
The pods or legumes, hairy, thick, and leathery, averaging 4 inches long, are shaped like violin sound-holes, and contain four to six seeds. They are of a rich dark brown color, thickly covered with stiff hairs, about 1/1O inch long, which are the official part. In commerce they are found in a loose mass mixed with pieces of the pericarp.
When young and tender, the legumes are cooked and eaten in India.
---Constituents---The hairs are usually filled with air, but sometimes contain granular matter, with tannic acid and resin. No tincture or decoction is effective.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A mechanical anthelmintic. The hairs, mixed with syrup, molasses, or honey, pierce the bodies of intestinal worms, which writhe themselves free from the walls, so that a brisk cathartic will bring them away. It is usually a safe remedy, but enteritis has sometimes followed its use. It has little effect upon tape-worm, but is good for Ascaris lumbricoides and in slightly less degree for the smaller Oxyuris vermicularis.
In the form of an ointment, Mucuna has been used as a local stimulant in paralysis and other affections, acting like Croton oil. A decoction of the root or legumes is said to have been used in dropsy as a diuretic and for catarrh, and in some parts of India an infusion is used in cholera.
It is a good medium for the application of such substances as muriate of morphia. In the proportion of 7 to 8 grains of cowhage to an ounce of lard, it should be rubbed in for from 10 to 20 minutes. It brings out flat, white pimples, which soon disappear. Oil relieves the heat and irritation caused on the skin.
The seeds are said to be aphrodisiac.
---Dosage---For an adult, a tablespoonful, and for a child a teaspoonful, for three consecutive mornings, after which a brisk cathartic should be given.
---Other Species---
M. urens, [The pulverized bean of M. urens (Horse-ye) macerated in alcohol, is used in homoeopathy for haemorrhoids.--EDITOR] or Dolichos urens (M. prurita),the seeds of which, called Horse-eye beans, round and brownish, are used as a substitute for Calabar beans. Some authorities regard this East Indian variety as a distinct species, being larger than M. pruriens.


Botanical: Primula veris (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Primulaceae
Part Used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Herb Peter. Paigle. Peggle. Key Flower. Key of Heaven. Fairy Cups. Petty Mulleins. Crewel. Buckles. Palsywort. Plumrocks. Mayflower. Password. Artetyke. Drelip. Our Lady's Keys. Arthritica.
(Anglo-Saxon) Cuy lippe.
(Greek) Paralysio.
Many of the Primrose tribe possess active medicinal properties. Besides the Cowslip and the Primrose, this family includes the little Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis), as truly a herald of warm summer weather as the Primrose is of spring, the Yellow Loosestrife and the Moneywort (Lysimachia vulgaris and Nummularia), the handsome Water Violet (Hottonia) and the nodding Cyclamen or Sowbread, all of which have medicinal value to a greater or lesser degree. Less important British members of the group are the Chaffweed (Centunculus minimus), one of the smallest among British plants, the Chickweed Wintergreen (Trientalis), the Sea Milk-wort (Glaux maritima), which has succulent salty leaves and has been used as a pickle, and the Common Brookweed or Water Pimpernel (Samolus).
The botanical name of the order, Primulaceae, is based on that of the genus Primula, to which belong not only those favourite spring flowers of the country-side, the Primrose, Cowslip, and their less common relative the Oxlip, but also the delicately-tinted greenhouse species that are such welcome pot plants for our rooms in mid-winter.
Linnaeus considered the Primrose, Cowslip and Oxlip to be but varieties of one species, but in this opinion later botanists have not followed him, though in all essential points they are identical.
---Description---Quite early in the spring, the Cowslip begins to produce its leaves. At first, each is just two tight coils, rolled backwards and lying side by side; these slowly unroll and a leaf similar to that of a Primrose, but shorter and rounder, appears. All the leaves lie nearly flat on the ground in a rosette, from the centre of which rises a long stalk, crowned by the flowers, which spring all from one point, in separate little stalks, and thus form an 'umbel.' The number of the flowers in an umbel varies very much in different specimens.
We quote the following from Familiar Wild Flowers:
'It is a curious fact that the inflorescence of the Primrose is as truly umbellate as that of the Cowslip, though in the former case it can only be detected by carefully tracing the flower stems to their base, when all will be found to spring from one common point. In some varieties of the Primrose the umbel is raised on a stalk, as in the Cowslip. This form is sometimes called Oxlip; it is by some writers raised to the dignity of an independent position as a true and distinct species. . . . Primrose roots may at times be met with bearing both forms, one or more stalked umbels together with a number of the ordinary type of flower.'
The sepals of the flowers are united to form pale green crinkled bags, from which the corolla projects, showing a golden disk about inch across with scalloped edges, the petals being united into a narrow tube within the calyx. On the yellow disk are five red spots, one on each petal.
'In their gold coats spots you see,
These be rubies fairy favours
In those freckles lie their savours.'
The Midsummer Night's Dream refers to the old belief that the flower held a magic value for the complexion.
The origin of Cowslip is obscure: it has been suggested that it is a corruption of 'Cow's Leek,' leek being derived from the Anglo-Saxon word leac, meaning a plant (comp. Houseleek).
In old Herbals we find the plant called Herb Peter and Key Flower, the pendent flowers suggesting a bunch of keys, the emblem of St. Peter, the idea having descended from old pagan times, for in Norse mythology the flower was dedicated to Frcya, the Key Virgin, and was thought to admit to her treasure palace. In northern Europe the idea of dedication to the goddess was transferred with the change of religion, and it became dedicated to the Virgin Mary, so we find it called 'Our Lady's Keys' and 'Key of Heaven,' and 'Keyflower' remains still the most usual name.
The flowers have a very distinctive and fresh fragrance and somewhat narcotic juices, which have given rise to their use in making the fermented liquor called Cowslip Wine, which had formerly a great and deserved reputation and is still largely drunk in country parts, being much produced in the Midlands. It is made from the 'peeps,' i.e. the yellow petal rings, in the following way: A gallon of 'peeps' with 4 lb. of lump sugar and the rind of 3 lemons is added to a gallon of cold spring water. A cup of fresh yeast is then included and the liquor stirred every day for a week. It is then put into a barrel with the juice of the lemons and left to 'work.' When 'quiet,' it is corked down for eight or nine months and finally bottled. The wine should be perfectly clear and of a pale yellow color and has almost the value of a liqueur. In certain children's ailments, Cowslip Wine, given in small doses as a medicine, is particularly beneficial.
Young Cowslip leaves were at one time eaten in country salads and mixed with other herbs to stuff meat, whilst the flowers were made into a delicate conserve. Cowslip salad from the petals, with white sugar, is said to make an excellent and refreshing dish.
Children delight in making Cowslip Balls, or 'tosties,' from the flowers. The umbels are picked off close to the top of the main flowerstalk and about fifty to sixty are hung across a string which may be stretched for convenience between the backs of two chairs. The flowers are then pressed carefully together and the string tied tightly so as to collect them into a ball. Care must be taken to choose only such heads or umbels in which all the flowers are open, as otherwise the surface of the ball will be uneven.
---Part Used Medicinally---The yellow corolla is alone needed, no stalk or green part whatever is required, only the yellow part, plucked out of the green calyx.
---Constituents---The roots and the flowers have somewhat of the odour of Anise, due to their containing some volatile oil identical with Mannite. Their acrid principle is Saponin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Sedative, antispasmodic.
In olden days, Cowslip flowers were ingreat request for homely remedies, their special value Iying in strengthening the nerves and the brain, and relieving restlessness and insomnia. The Cowslip was held good 'to ease paines in the head and is accounted next with Betony, the best for that purpose.'
Cowslip Wine made from the flowers, as above described, is an excellent sedative. Also, 1 lb. of the freshly gathered blossom infused in 1 1/2 pint of boiling water and simmered down with loaf sugar to a fine yellow syrup, taken with a little water is admirable for giddiness from nervous debility or from previous nervous excitement, and this syrup was formerly given against palsy.
In earlier times, the Cowslip was considered beneficial in all paralytic ailments, being, as we have seen, often called Palsy Wort or Herba paralysis. The root was also called in old Herbals Radix arthritica, from its use as a cure for muscular rheumatisrm.
In A Plain Plantain (Russell G. Alexander) we read:
'Cowslip water was considered to be good for the memory, and Cowslips of Jerusalem for mitigating "hectical fevers." Mrs. Raffald (English Housekeeper, 1778) gives a recipe for the wine. "For the future," says the poet Pope, in one of his letters, "I'll drown all high thoughts in the Lethe of Cowslip Wine" (which is pleasantly soporific). Our Lady's Cowslip is Gagea lutea.'
The old writers give a long list of ills that may be remedied by application of the roots or leaves of the plant; the juice of the flowers 'takes off spots and wrinkles from the face and other vices of the skin,' the water of the flowers being 'very proper medicine for weakly people.'
Turner says:
'Some weomen we find, sprinkle ye floures of cowslip wt whyte wine and after still it and wash their faces wt that water to drive wrinkles away and to make them fayre in the eyes of the worlde rather than in the eyes of God, Whom they are not afrayd to offend.'
Formerly an ointment was made from the flowers as a cosmetic. Culpepper says:
'Our city dames know well enough the ointment or distilled water of it adds to beauty or at least restores it when lost. The flowers are held to be more effectual than the leaves and the roots of little use. An ointment being made with them taketh away spots and wrinkles of the skin, sunburnings and freckles and promotes beauty; they remedy all infirmities of the head coming of heat and wind, as vertigo, false apparitions, phrensies, falling sickess, palsies, convulsions, cramps, pains in the nerves, and the roots ease pains in the back and bladder. The leaves are good in wounds and the flowers take away trembling. Because they strengthen the brains and nerves and remedy palsies, the Greeks gave them the name Paralysio. The flowers preserved or conserved and a quantity the size of a nutmeg taken every morning is a sufficient dose for inward diseases, but for wounds, spots, wrinkles and sunburnings an ointment is made of the leaves and hog's lard.'
A later writer, Hill (1755), tells us that when boiled in ale, the powdered roots were taken with success by country folk for giddiness, wakefulness and similar nervous troubles for which the syrup made from the flowers was also taken.
The usual dose of the dried and powdered flowers is 15 to 20 grains.
From Hartman's Family Physitian, 1696:
'Another way to make Cowslip Wine
'Having boil'd your Water and Sugar together, pour it boiling hot upon your Cowslips beaten, stir them well together, and let them stand in a Vessel close cover'd till it be almost cold; then put into it the Yest beaten with the Juice of Lemons; let it stand for two days, then press it out with as much speed as you can, and put it up into a Cask, and leave a little hole open, for the working; when it hath quite done working stop it up close for a Month or Six Weeks, then Bottle it. Cowslip Wine is very Cordial, and a glass of it being drank at night Bedward, causes sleep and rest. . . .'
The Bird's-eye Primrose (Primula farinosa) is a plant of mountain slopes and pastures, and may be met with on the mountain ranges of Europe and Asia. It is not uncommon in the northern counties of England, though much less common in Scotland.
Gerard, in his Herball, says:
"These plants grow very plentifully in moist and squally grounds in the North parts of England, as in Harwood, neere to Blackburne in Lancashire, and ten miles from Preston in Aundernesse; also at Crosby, Ravensnaith, and Craig-close in Westmorland. They likewise grow in the meadows belonging to a village in Lancashire neere Maudsley called Harwood, and at Hasketh, not far from thence, and in many other places of Lancashire, but not on this side Trent' (Gerard writes as a Londoner) 'that I could ever have certain knowledge of. Lobel reporteth, That Doctor Penny, a famous Physition of our London Colledge, did find them in these Southerne Parts.'
Specimens of the Bird's-eye Primrose growing in the North of Scotland, in Caithness and the Orkney Islands, and in other localities bordering on the sea, vary from the typical form of the plant in being of stouter habit and much smaller, in having leaves of broader proportions and flowers of a deeper purple; and some botanists are inclined to distinguish this variety by creating it an independent species, and calling it the ScotchBird's-eye (P. Scotica), while others are content to consider it but a variety from the type, and label it P. farinosa, var. Scotica.
All the hardy varieties of Primula, whether Primrose, Cowslip, Polyanthus or Auricula, may be easily propagated by dividing the roots of old plants in autumn. New varieties are raised from seed, which should be sown as soon as ripe, in leaf-mould, and pricked out into beds when large enough.
Among the many splendid flowers that are grown in our greenhouses none shows more improvement under the fostering hand of the British florist than the Chinese Primula which originally had small, inconspicuous flowers, but now bears trusses of magnificent blooms ranging from the purest white to the richest scarlet and crimson. The Star Primulas, which have attained an even greater popularity in late years, are considered perhaps even more elegant, being looser in growth and carrying their plentiful blossoms in more graceful, if not more beautiful trusses. Both varieties are among the most beautiful of our winter-flowering plants, the toothed and lobed, somewhat heart-shaped leaves being extremely handsome with their crimson tints.
Seeds of these greenhouse Primulas should be sown in the spring in gentle heat, the soil used being very fine and pleasantly moist. The seedlings must be pricked off and potted out as necessary, with a view to ensuring sturdy, healthy growth.
P. obconica is a slightly varying type of these greenhouse Primulas, the leaves approaching more the shape of those of the common Primrose, the plants are exceedingly floriferous and graceful, the full trusses of delicate lilac flowers are borne on tall slender stems and care must be used in the handling of it, as the leaves sometimes cause an eruption like eczema. Homoeopaths make a tincture from this species.
The broad, thick leaves of the Auricula (P. auricula), a frequent garden plant in this country, though not native to Great Britain, are used in the Alps as a remedy for coughs.
In its native state the Auricula is said to be either yellow or white. It is the skill of the gardener which has brought it to its present purple and brown. It was formerly known as Mountain Cowslip, or Bear's Ears.


Botanical: Melampyrum pratense (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Scrophulariaceae
---Synonyms---Horse Floure. Triticum vaccinium.
---Part used---Herb.
The Cow-wheat (Melampyrum pratense, Linn.) is an annual, with slender, branched stems, about a foot high, bearing stalkless, narrow, tapering, smooth leaves in distant pairs, each pair at right angles to those that are next to it, and long-tubed, pale yellow flowers which are placed in the axils of the upper leaves in pairs, all turning one way. The corolla is four times as long as the calyx, and the lower lip longer than the upper standing sharply out instead of hanging downwards as in most labiate flowers. The color is somewhat between the delicate pale yellow of the primrose and the rich bright yellow of the buttercup. The plant is in flower from June to September.
Cow-wheat is said to afford fodder for cattle, though not cultivated in this country for that purpose. Linnaeus states that when cows are fed in fields where the Meadow Cow-wheat is abundant, the butter yielded by their milk is peculiarly rich and of a brilliant yellow color, but in England the plant grows more frequently in the undergrowth of woods and thickets than in meadows, abounding in nearly all copses and woods throughout Great Britain.
The name of Cow-wheat is said to be derived from an extraordinary notion prevalent in some country districts among the peasantry of the Middle Ages, that the small seeds were capable of being converted into wheat, a supposition probably originating in the sudden appearance of the plants among corn, on land that had been recently cleared of wood.
Another reason for the meaning of Melampyrum is given in Lindley's Treasury of Botany, i.e. it refers to an ancient belief that the seeds, when mixed with grains of wheat and ground into flour tended to make the bread black.
The seeds, which bear some little resemblance to wheat, are generally eaten by swine, though they will not touch the herb. Cows and sheep are extremely fond of the plant, and Dr. Prior explains the name of the plant on the score that though its seed resembles wheat, it is only fit for cows. In old Herbals, we find it named 'Horse Floure' and also Triticum vaccinium. The generic name is derived from the Greek melas (black) and pyros (wheat), because the seeds made bread black when mixed with them.
Dodonaeus tells us that 'the seeds of this herb taken in meate or drinke troubleth the braynes, causing headache and drunkennesse.'

Cramp Bark
See Guelder Rose.

Cranesbill Root, American

Botanical: Geranium maculatum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Geraniaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Alum Root. Spotted Cranesbill. Wild Cranesbill. Storksbill. Alum Bloom. Wild Geranium. Chocolate Flower. Crowfoot. Dove's-foot. Old Maid's Nightcap. Shameface.
---Parts Used---Dried rhizome, leaves.
---Habitat---Flourishes in low grounds and woods from Newfoundland to Manitoba, south to Georgia, Missouri and in Europe.
---Description---A perennial, grows from 1 to 2 feet high. The entire plant is erect and unbranched, more or less covered with hairs; the leaves deeply parted, each division again cleft and toothed, flowering April to June, color pale to rosy purple, petals veined and woolly at base, fruit a beaked capsule, divided into five cells, each cell containing one seed, the root stocks 2 to 4 inches long thick with numerous branches for the next growth, outside brown, white and fleshy inside when fresh, when dried it turns to a darkish purple inside; no odour, taste strongly astringent, contains much tannin which is most active just before the plant flowers. This is the time the root should be collected for drying.
---Constituents---Tannic and gallic acid, also starch, sugar, gum, pectin and coloring matter.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Styptic, astringent, tonic. Used for piles and internalbleeding. Excellent as an injection for flooding and leucorrhoea, and taken internally for diarrhoea, children's cholera, chronic dysentery; a good gargle.
The leaves are also used and give the greatest percentage of tannin and should be collected before the plant seeds.
---Dosages---15 to 30 grains. Infusion, 1 OZ. herb to 1 pint water. Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Geranin, 1 to 3 grains.
---Other Species---
The English herb Geranium dissectum has similar properties.

Crawley Root

Botanical: Corallorhiza odontorhiza (NUTT.)
Family: N.O. Orchidaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Dragon's Claw. Coral Root. Chicken Toe.
---Part Used---The root.
---Habitat---Indigenous to the United States, from Maine to Carolina westward.
---Description---This parasitic plant has been used by herbalists for centuries. It grows in rich woods at the roots of trees.
It is singular and leafless, with muchbranched and toothed coral-like root-stocks, the root being a collection of fleshy, articulated tubers, the scape about 14 inches high, fleshy, smooth, striate, with a few long purplish-brown long sheaths, the flowers, 10 to 20, greenish brown in color, on a long spike, blooming from July to October, with a large, reflexed, ribbed, oblong capsule.
The root is the official part; it is small and dark, with a strong nitrous smell and a slightly bitter mucilaginous astringent taste, the fracture is short and presents under the microscope a frosted granular appearance.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Crawley Root is one of the most certain, quick and powerful diaphoretics, but its scarcity and high price prevents it being more generally used. It promotes perspiration without producing any excitement in the system, so is of value in pleurisy, typhus fever and other inflammatory diseases. In addition to being a powerful diaphoretic, its action has a sedative effect. It has been found efficacious inacute erysipelas, cramps, nightsweats, flatulence and hectic fevers generally, and combines tonic, sedative, diaphoretic and febrifuge properties without weakening the patient, its valuable properties being most marked in low stages of fever.
---Dosage---20 to 30 grains of powdered root given in very hot water every two or three hours. The powder should be kept in wellstoppered bottles as it is subject to deterioration from insects.
Combined with the resin of Blue Cohosh, it is an excellent remedy for amenorrhoea, dismenorrhoea, afterbirth pains, suppression of lochia and for febrile conditions of the parturient period, and combined with extract of Leptandra or Podophyllum resin, it acts well on the bowels and liver, and if mixed with Dioscorea is excellent for bilious and flatulent colic.
Fluid extract, 15 to 30 drops.
---Other Species---
It is considered that the varieties Corallorhiza multiflora, C. Wisteriana, C. verna and C. innata possess similar properties.


Botanical: Galium cruciata (SCOPOLI)
Family: N.O. Rubiaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Parts Used---Herb, leaves.
---Description---The Crosswort (Galium cruciata, Scopoli), like G. verum, has yellow flowers, but they are not so showy, being only in short clusters of about eight together, in the axils of the upper whorls of leaves and of a dull, pale yellow. The stems are slender and scarcely branched, 1 to 2 feet long, and bear soft and downy leaves oblong in shape, arranged four in a whorl, hence the name Crosswort.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---This species though now practically unused, was considered a very good wound herb for both inward and outward wounds. A decoction of the leaves in wine was also used for obstructions in the stomach or bowels and to stimulate appetite. It was also recommended as a remedy for rupture, rheumatism and dropsy.
We have only one representative in Great Britain of the genus Rubia (name from Latin ruber, red), from which this large natural order takes its name, namely the Wild Madder (R. peregrina, Linn.), common in bushy places in the south-west of England.
It is a long, straggling, perennial plant, many feet in length, with remarkably rough stems and leaves, the latter glossy above and growing in whorls of four to six, their margins recurved and bearing prickles, which are also present on the angles of the stem and the midribs of the leaves, the plant being otherwise smooth.
The flowers, in bloom from June to August, are yellowish-green and grow in loose panicles. They are followed by black berries, about as large as currants, which remain attached to the plant till late in winter.
The properties of this native Wild Madder are not made use of, although it yields a good dye, said to be but little inferior to that of the cultivated species, R. tinctorum, the Dyer's Madder, formerly a plant of much greater importance than it is now, owing to the researches of chemical science having discovered an easier source of the important dye it yields.


Botanical: Croton tiglium (WILLD,)
Family: N.O. Euphorbiaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosage
Steadman Shorter's Medical Dictionary, 1942, Poisons & Antidotes: Croton Oil
---Synonyms---Tiglium Seeds. Klotzsch.
---Part Used---The oil from ripe seeds.
---Description---A small tree or shrub with a few spreading branches bearing alternate petiolate leaves which are ovate, acuminate, serrate, smooth, dark green on upper surface paler beneath and furnished with two glands at base. Flowers in erect terminal racemes, scarcely as long as the leaf, the lower female, upper male, straw-colored petals. Fruit a smooth capsule of the size of a filbert, three cells, each containing a single seed; these seeds resemble castor beans in size and structure, oblong, rounded at the extremities with two faces; the kernel or endosperm is yellowish brown and abounds in oil. The oil is obtained by expression from the seeds previously deprived of the shell.
---Constituents---Croton oil consists chiefly of the glycerides of stearic, palmitic, myristic, lauric and oleic acids; there are also present in the form of glycerin ethers the more volatile acids as formic, acetic, isobutyric and isovalerianic acids. The active principle is believed to be Crotonic acid, which is freely soluble in alcohol.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A powerful drastic purgative, in large doses apt to excite vomiting and severe griping pains capable of producing fatal effects. It acts with great rapidity, frequently evacuating the bowels in less than an hour. The dose is very small; a drop placed on the tongue of a comatose patient will generally operate It is chiefly employed in cases of obstinate constipation, often being successful where other drugs have failed. Applied externally, it produces inflammation of the skin attended with pustular eruption, and has been used as a counter-irritant in rheumatism gout, neuralgia, bronchitis, etc. It should be diluted with three parts of olive oil, soap liniment or other vehicle and applied as a liniment. Must always be used with the greatest care and should never be given to children or pregnant women.
---Preparations and Dosage---Dose of the oil, 1/2 to 1 minim on a lump of sugar Collodium Crotons B.P.C., a powerful counter-irritant and vesicant. Liniment of Croton oil, B.P., seldom used owing to the painful inflammation which may be produced.

Crowfoot, Celery-leaved

Botanical: Ranunculus sceleratus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonym---Marsh Crowfoot.
---Part Used---Whole plant.
---Habitat---The Celery-leaved Crowfoot is widely spread throughout Britain, growing in watery places and muddy ditches, flowering during July and August.
---Description---The root is annual. The plant itself is of a pale, shining, yellowishgreen color, juicy and very glabrous except the flower-stalks and upper part of the stem, which are occasionally hairy. The flowers are numerous, small and of a palish yellow.
This species is easily distinguished by its broad, shining, lower leaves, which are on long stalks, the blades palmate, and cut into three divisions, which are notched and toothed. The stem is thick, hollow, furrowed and bears small sessile leaves, divided into three narrow parts, hardly toothed at all. The small, pale yellow flowers, about 1/4 inch across, are succeeded by smooth, oblong seed-heads.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---One of the most virulent of native plants: bruised and applied to the skin, it raises a blister and creates a sore by no means easy to heal. When chewed, it inflames the tongue and produces violent effects. Even the distilled water is intensely acrimonious, and as it cools, deposits crystals which are insoluble, and have the curious property of being inflammable. Yet if the plant be boiled and the water thrown away, it is said to be not unwholesome, the peasants of Wallachia eating it thus as a vegetable. When made into a tincture, given in small diluted doses, it proves curative of stitch in the side and neuralgic pains between the ribs.

Crowfoot, Upright Meadow

Botanical: Ranunculus acris (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Gold Cup. Grenouillette.
---Part Used---Whole herb.
---Habitat---This Buttercup is a native of meadows and pastures in all the northern parts of Europe, and is very common in England, flowering in June and July.
The Upright Meadow Crowfoot, a familiar plant in our hay-fields, is recognized at once from all other Buttercups or Crowfoots by its tall flower-stalks not being furrowed, and its fruit-base, or receptacle, not being hairy. The stems are hollow, round, more or less covered with soft, silky hairs and very freely branching towards their summits, where they are terminated by numerous goldenyellow flowers.
---Description---The leaves vary a good deal in form, according to their position on the plant: the lower leaves are on long petioles (foot-stalks) and are comprised of numerous wide-spreading and deeply divided segments; the upper leaves are small, composed of few segments, simple in form and few in number. The root is perennial, though the plant itself dies down each autumn, and has many long, white fibres.
The petals of the flower are bright, shining yellow; the calyx is composed of five greenish-yellow spreading sepals. The centre of the flower, as in other Buttercups, is a clustering mass of stamens round the smooth, green immature seed-vessels, which develop into a round head of numerous small bodies called achenes.
Most of the Crowfoots are known to be acrid and some even to be poisonous, but this plant receives its Latin specific name of acris from its supposed intensity of acridity, for all parts of it are intensely acrid. It has been stated that even pulling it up and carrying it some little distance, has produced considerable inflammation in the palm of the hand, and that cattle will not readily eat it in the green state, and if driven by hunger to feed on it, their mouths become sore and blistered. According to Linnaeus, sheep and goats eat it, but cattle, horses and pigs refuse it. When made into hay, it loses its acrid quality, but then seems to be too hard and and stalky to yield much nourishment. The notion that the butter owes its yellow color to the prevalence of buttercups in the meadows, is quite groundless - it is the richness of the pasture that communicates this color to the butter and not these flowers which the cattle seldom or never touch willingly.
Miss Pratt (Familiar Wild Flowers) states:
'Instances are common in which the wanderer in the meadow has lain down to sleep with a handful of these flowers beside him, and has awakened to find the skin of his cheek pained and irritated to a high degree, by the acrid blossoms having lain near it.'
Poetically, the associations of this plant are numerous. Gay tells us in The Shepherd's Oracle that it was worn by lovers at betrothal time, and its golden color was dedicated to Hymcn in classical history. In France, it is termed the grenouillette, a name similar in meaning to its Latin generic name Ranunculus, a reference to the moist meadows in which it usually grows. In the astrological Herbals it was deemed a plant of Mars, on account of its acrid, fiery nature.
Old authors say:
'this fiery and hot-spirited herb is not fit to be given inwardly, but that an ointment of the leaves and flowers will raise a blister and may be applied to the nape of the neck to draw rheum from the eyes,' and that mixed with a little mustard it raises a blister as perfectly as the Spanish Fly.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The juice of the leaves takes away warts, and bruised together with the roots will act as a caustic. In violent headaches where pain is confined to one part, a plaster made of them often affords instant relief, and they have been used in gout with great success.
The fresh leaves formed part of a famous cure for cancer, practised by a Mr. Plunkett in 1794.
Thornton, in his Herbal of 100 years ago, says if a decoction of the plant be poured on ground containing worms, 'they will be forced to rise from their concealment.'


Botanical: Piper cubeba (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Piperaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonym---Tailed Pepper.
---Part Used---The dried, full-grown, unripe fruit.
---Habitat---Java, Penang, and other parts of East Indies.
---Description---A climbing perennial plant, with dioecious flowers in spikes. The fruit is a globose, pedicelled drupe. It is extensively grown in the coffee plantations, well shaded and supported by the coffee trees. Odour aromatic and characteristic- taste strongly aromatic and pungent and somewhat bitter. Commercial Cubebs are often adulterated with other fruits containing a volatile oil, but with very different properties. There is no evidence that the plant was known to the ancients, though it was probably brought into Europe by the Arabians, who doubtless employed the fruit as pepper.
---Constituents---10 to 18 per cent of volatile oil, also resins, amorphous cubebic acid and colorless crystalline cubebin. By extraction with ether yields about 22 per cent of oleoresin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Stimulant, carminative, much used as a remedy for gonorrhoea, after the first active inflammatory symptoms have subsided; also used in leucorrhoea, cystitis, urethritis, abscesses of the prostate gland, piles and chronic bronchitis.
---Preparations and Dosages---Infusion: 1 OZ. of Cubebs to 1 pint of water is sometimes used as an injection in discharge from the vagina. In the treatment of gonorrhcea it is usually given in capsule form combined with copaiba, etc. Powdered fruit: dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Oil, 5 to 30 drops. Fluid extract, 1/4 to 1 drachm.
Cubebs should be freshly prepared as the oil evaporates; the powder is often adulterated with pimento. The crushed fruit should turn crimson with the addition of sulphuric acid and give a mace-like smell; this experiment will detect any adulteration.


Botanical: Arum maculatum
Family: N.O. Araceae
Collection and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Lords and Ladies. Arum. Starchwort. Adder's Root. Bobbins. Friar's Cowl. Kings and Queens. Parson and Clerk. Ramp. Quaker. Wake Robin.
---Part Used---Root.
The Arum family, Aroidae, which numbers nearly 1,000 members, mostly tropical, and many of them marsh or water plants, is represented in this country by a sole species, Arum maculatum (Linn.), familiarly known as Lords and Ladies, or Cuckoo-pint.
---Description---The flowering organs are contained in a sheath-like leaf called a spathe, within which rises a long, fleshy stem, or column called the spadix, bearing closely arranged groups of stalkless, primitive flowers. At the base are a number of flowers each consisting of a pistil only. Above these is a belt of sterile flowers, each consisting of only a purplish anther. Above the anther is a ring of glands, terminating in short threads The spadix is then prolonged into a purple; club-like extremity.
The bright leaves, conspicuous by their glossiness and purple blotches, and their halberd-like shape, are some of the first to emerge from the ground on the approach of spring, and may then be noticed under almost every hedge in shady situations; the pale green spathe is a still more striking object when it appears in April and May.
In autumn, the lowest ring of flowers form a cluster of bright scarlet, attractive berries, which remain long after the leaves have withered away, and on their short, thick stem alone mark the situation of the plant. In pite of their very acrid taste, they have sometimes been eaten by children, with most injurious results, being extremely poisonous. One drop of their juice will cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat for hours. In the case of little children who have died from eating the berries, cramp and convulsions preceded death if no medical aid had been obtained.
The Arum has large tuberous roots, somewhat resembling those of the Potato, oblong in shape, about the size of a pigeon's egg, brownish externally, white within and when fresh, fleshy yielding a milky juice, almost insipid to the taste at first, but soon producing a burning and pricking sensation.The acridity is lost during the process of drying and by application of heat, when the substance of the tuber is left as starch. When baked, the tubers are edible, and from the amount of starch, nutritious. This starch of the root, after repeated washing, makes a kind of arrowroot, formerly much prepared in the Isle of Portland, and sold as an article of food under the name of Portland Sago, or Portland Arrowroot, but now obsolete. For this purpose, it was either roasted or boiled, and then dried and pounded in a mortar, the skin being previously peeled.
Arum starch was used for stiffening ruffs in Elizabethan times, when we find the name Starchwort among the many names given to the plant. Gerard says:
'The most pure and white starch is made of the rootes of the Cuckoo-pint, but most hurtful for the hands of the laundresse that have the handling of it, for it chappeth, blistereth, and maketh the hands rough and rugged and withall smarting.'
This starch, however, in spite of Gerard's remarks, forms the Cyprus Powder of the Parisians, who used it as a cosmetic for the skin, and Dr. Withering says of this cosmetic formed from the tuber starch, that 'it is undoubtedly a good and innocent cosmetic'; and Hogg (Vegetable Kingdom, 1858) reported its use in Italy to remove freckles from the face and hands.
In parts of France, a custom existed of turning to account the mucilaginous juice of the plant as a substitute for soap, the stalks of the plant when in flower being cut and soaked for three weeks in water, which was daily poured off carefully and the residue collected at the bottom of the pan, then dried and used for laundry work.
Withering quotes Wedelius for the supposition that it was this plant, under the name of Chara, on which the soldiers of Caesar's army subsisted when encamped at Dyrrhachium.
A curious belief is recorded by Gerard as coming from Aristotle, that when bears were half-starved with hibernating and had lain in their dens forty days without any nourishment, but such as they get by 'sucking their paws,' they were completely restored by eating this plant.
The roots, according to Gilbert White, are scratched up and eaten by thrushes in severe snowy seasons, and the berries are devoured by several kinds of birds, particularly by pheasants. Pigs which have eaten the fresh tubers suffered, but none died, though it acts as an irritant and purgative. As the leaves when bruised give out a disagreeable odour, they are not spontaneously eaten by animals, who quickly refuse them.
---Constituents---The fresh tuber contains a volatile, acrid principle and starch, albumen, gum, sugar, extractive, lignin and salts of potassium and calcium. Saponin has been separated, also a brownish, oily liquid alkaloid, resembling coniine in its properties, but less active.
Arum leaves give off prussic acid when injured, being a product of certain glucosides contained, called cyanophoric glucosides.
---Collection and Uses---The tubers for medicinal use should be dug up in autumn, or in early spring, before the leaves are fully developed. If laid in sand in a cellar, they can be preserved in sound condition for nearly a year.
When not needed for use in the fresh state, they can be dried slowly in very gentle heat and sliced. The dried slices are reduced to powder and kept in the cool, in stoppered bottles.
The fresh root when beaten up with gum, is recommended as a good pill mass, retaining all the medicinal properties.
The Arum had formerly a great reputation as a drug, in common with all other plants containing acrid or poisonous principles.
The dried root was recommended as a diuretic and stimulant, but is no longer employed. The British Domestic Herbal describes a case of alarming dropsy with great constitutional exhaustion treated most successfully with a medicine composed of Arum and Angelica, which cured in about three weeks.
The juice of the fresh tuber is purgative, but too violently so to be safely administered, and its use for this purpose has now been abandoned. Other uses of the tuber are, however, advocated in herbal medicine. Preparations were once official in the Dublin Pharmacopceia, and are also recommended by Homoeopathy. A homoeopathic tincture is prepared from the plant, and its root, which proves curative in diluted doses for a chronic sore throat with swollen mucous membranes and hoarseness, and likewise for a feverish sore throat.
An ointment made by stewing the fresh sliced tuber with lard is stated to be an efficient cure for ringworm, though the fresh sliced tuber applied to the skin produces a blister. The juice of the fresh plant when incorporated with lard has also been applied locally in the treatment of ringworm.
---Other Species---
The AMERICAN ARUM (Arum triphyllum, Limn), Dragon Root, has similar characters and properties to the above.
---Synonym---Wild Turnip. Jack-in-the-Pulpit.
It is very common in eastern North America, in moist places, where it is known as Indian Turnip, Wild Turnip, Jack-in-thePulpit, Devil's Ear, Pepper Turnip, Wake Robin, etc.
It grows 1 to 3 feet high; a green spathe, broadly striped with brown purple, arches over and encloses the spadix. The corm is smaller than the English species, 1/2 to 2 inches broad and about half as high. It is very acrid when fresh, but loses this property when cooked, or partially when dried.
For the drug market it is collected in the early spring, transversely sliced and dried, and is employed in both herbal and homoeopathic treatment.
It has acrid, stimulant, diaphoretic and expectorant properties, and is said to be useful when taken immediately after eating, to assist digestion and promote assimilation. It is considered a stimulant to the lungs in consumption, asthma and chronic forms of lung complaints, and to be of great value in hoarseness, coughs, asthma, rheumatism and lung diseases.
Owing to its acrimony, it is usually given in powder in honey or syrup, or mixed with fine sugar.
In the absolutely fresh state, both English and American Arums are violent irritants to the mucous membrane, producing when chewed, intense burning to the mouth and throat, and if taken internally, causing violent gastro-enteritis, which may end in death.
---Dose---Powdered root 10 to 30 grains.
The ITALIAN ARUM drug of Southern Europe is derived from the Mediterranean A. Italicum (Mill.), which is found also in the Isle of Wight. It has the same poisonous properties.
That of Asia Minor, with similar properties, is A. dioscorides, Sib.
In A. Italicum and some of the other species, the spadix which supports the flowers disengages a quantity of heat, sufficient to be felt by the hand that touches it. Lamarck mentions an extraordinary degree of heat evolved by A. maculatum about the time when the sheath is about to open.
The DRAGON ARUM of the ancients was probably Amorphophallus campanulatus (Pol.) of the East Indies, whose corm-like rhizome gives rise yearly to one enormous leaf and an equally gigantic inflorescence. Its dirty red and yellow color and foetid smell attract numbers of carrion flies, by which it is fertilized; they are often so deceived as to lay their eggs on the spadix.
The Arrow poison, Maschi, of Guiana, is supposed to come from a species of Arum.
On account of their starch, the rhizomes and tubers of many other species of this family are used as foods, or the starches are extracted. Even those which are poisonous may be thus employed, since cooking usually destroys their toxicity.
The most important, edible product is the corm of Calocasia antiquorum (Schott) (syn. Caladium, or A. esculentum, Linn.), Taro, which is one of the most largely used of tropical foods. Other species are similarly used. It abounds in starch and is much used as an article of food by the natives of Hawaii and other Pacific Islands. In the natural state, both the foliage and roots of Taro have all the pungent acrid qualities that mark the genus to which the plant belongs, but these are so dissipated by cooking that they become mild and palatable with no peculiar flavour more than belongs to good bread. The islanders bake the root in ovens in the same way as Bread Fruit, then beat it into a mass like dough, called Poe.
In India, a liniment is made of the root of Calocasia macrorhiza and Gingilie oil, and used by the native practitioners for frictions to cure intermittent fevers.
In South America, A. Indicum, the Mankuchoo and Manguri of Brazil, is much cultivated about the huts of the natives for its esculent stem and pendulous tubers.
Arum Arrowroot is derived from A. Dracunculus (Linn.), being something like Tapioca.
The root of A. montanum is used in India to poison tigers. The roots of A. lyratum furnish an article of diet to the natives of the Circar mountains. They require, however, to be carefully boiled several times, and dressed in a particular manner, to divest them of a somewhat disagreeable taste.
A. Dracunculus is sometimes cultivated in gardens for the sake of its large pedate leaves, its spotted stem and handsome purple spadix. It is well, however, to advise those intending to add this plant to their gardens that though its lurid and striking spadix forms a handsome feature in a border yet its odour is decidedly strong and unpleasant resembling that of putrid meat, a fact which is evidently perceived by insects who swarm to it, especially in hot weather.


Botanical: Cucumis sativa (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Cucurbitaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Part Used---The whole fruit peeled and unpeeled, raw and cooked.
---Habitat---Native of East Indies. First cultivated in Britain about 1573.
---Description---In the East this trailing annual plant has been extensively cultivated from some 3,000 years and spread westward. It was known to the Greeks (the Greek name being sikuos) and to the Romans. According to Pliny, the Emperor Tiberius had it on his table daily, summer and winter. Pliny describes the Italian fruit as very small, probably like our gherkin; the same form is figured in Herbals of the sixteenth century, but states, 'if hung in a tube while in blossom, the Cucumber will grow to a most surprising length.' In Bible history, the Israelites in the wilderness complained to Moses that they missed the luxuries they had in Egypt, 'Cucumbers and Melons,' and Hasselquist in his travels (middle of eighteenth century) states: 'they still form a great part of the food of the lower-class people in Egypt serving them for meat, drink and physic.' Isaiah, speaking of the desolation of Judah says: 'The daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers.' The Cucumber of the Scriptures is, however, by some authorities considered to be a wild form of Cucumis melo, the melon.
The Cucumber has been long known in England, where it was common in the time of Edward III (1327), then fell into disuse and was forgotten till the reign of Henry VIII, but not generally cultivated here till the middle of the seventeenth century. It is too well known to need description.
---Constituents---The dietary value of Cucumber is negligible, there being upwards of 96 per cent water in its composition.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Cucumber seeds possess similar properties to those of the allied Pumpkin (Cucurbita Pepo, Linn.) which are distinctly diuretic, but mainly employed as a very efficient taeniacide, 1 to 2 oz. of the seed, thoroughly ground and made into an electuary with sugar, or into an emetic with water, being taken fasting, followed in from 1 to 2 hours by an active purge. The resin has been given in doses of 15 grains.
Cucumber seeds are much smaller than Pumpkin seeds, relatively narrower and thicker and with almost no marginal groove. The emulsion made by bruising Cucumber seeds and rubbing them up with water was formerly thought to possess considerable virtue and was much used in catarrhal affections and diseases of the bowels and urinary passages.

As a cosmetic, Cucumber is excellent for rubbing over the skin to keep it soft and white. It is cooling, healing and soothing to an irritated skin, whether caused by sun, or the effects of a cutaneous eruption, and Cucumber juice is in great demand in various forms as a cooling and beautifying agent for the skin. Cucumber soap is used by many women, and a Cucumber wash applied to the skin after exposure to keen winds is extremely beneficial. This lotion is made as follows:

---Cucumber Lotion---
Peel 1 or 2 large Cucumbers, cut them into slices, and place them in a double boiler, which should be closely covered. Cook them slowly until they are soft. Then put the pieces into a fine linen bag and squeeze them until all the juice has been extracted. Add to the extracted juice one-fourth of rectified spirits of wine (or whisky) and one-third of Elder-flower water. Shake the mixture well and pour into small bottles ready for use.
---Another Cucumber Lotion for Sunburn---
Chop up a Cucumber and squeeze out the juice with a lemon-squeezer. Mix this with a quantity of glycerine and rose-water mixed together in equal parts.
Cucumber juice is used in the preparation of Glycerine and Cucumber creams. After expression and clarification, it is treated with alcohol, benzoin or salicylic acids being added as preservatives.
Emollient ointments prepared from the Cucumber were formerly considerably employed in irritated states of the skin, but they have been largely superseded by non-fatty cosmetics. The most frequently used preparation of Cucumber at the present time is the cosmetic preparation known as Cucumber Jelly, which is used as a soothing application in roughness of the skin, etc. It consists of a jelly of tragacanth, quince seeds or some similar mucilaginous drug, flavoured with Cucumber juice, which imparts to the preparation a characteristic odour.
The lotion sold in the shops as Glycerinc and Cucumber sometimes contain Cucumber juice, but more frequently this is conspicuous by its absence.
The French make an ointment of Cucumber, using it like cold cream, called 'Pomade aux Concombres,' made with Cucumber juice, lard, veal suet, Balsam of Tolu in alcohol, and rose-water.

1. Take 7 lb. green Cucumbers, 24 oz. pure lard and 15 oz. veal suet. Grate the washed Cucurnbers to a pulp, express and strain the juice. Cut the suet into small pieces, heat over a water bath till melted then add the lard and when melted, strain through muslin into an earthen vessel capable of holding a gallon and stir until thickening commences, when one-third of the juice is to be added and the whole beaten with a spatula till the odour has been almost wholly extracted. Decant the portion which separates, then add, consecutively, the remaining two-thirds of the juice and decant similarly. Then close the jar closely and place in a water bath till the fatty matter entirely separates from the juice. The green coagulum floating on the surface is now removed and the jar put in a cool place that the ointment may solidify. Then separate the crude ointment from the liquid on which it floats, melt again, strain and put up in closely-sealed glass jars. A layer of rose-water on its surface will aid preservation.
2. Incorporate 1 part of distilled Spirit of Cucumbers with 7 parts of benzoinated lard. The spirit is made by distilling a mixture of 1 part of grated Cucumbers with 3 parts of diluted alcohol, returning the first 2 parts or distillates which come over. This spirit is permanent and ointment or cream made from it keeps well.
Cucumber Milk is made of the following ingredients: 1 OZ. soap, 1 OZ. olive oil, 1 OZ. wax, 1 OZ. spermaceti 1 lb. almonds, 4 1/2 pints freshly expressed Cucumber juice, 1 pint extract of Cucumber, 2 lb. alcohol.
---Use in Perfumery---The peculiarly refreshing odour of Cucumber has found application in perfumery. Various products belonging under this head requiring the odour of Cucumber - it being used in blending certain bouquet perfumes - this plant is to be included among the aromatic plant in a wider sense.
Extract of Cucumber may be prepared as follows:
To 8 lb. Cucumbers, take 5 quarts of alcohol. The Cucumbers are peeled, cut into thin slices and macerated in the warm alcohol. If the odour is not strong enough in the alcohol after some days, it is poured over some more fresh slices, the macerated residue is expressed and at the end of the operation all the liquors are united and filtered.
Concentrated Cucumber perfume is made by the repeated extraction of the freshly sliced fruit with strong alcohol and subsequent concentration by distillation in vacuo. It is naturally very expensive.

---Other Species---
The SIKKIM CUCUMBER (C. sativa, var. sikkimensis) is a large-fruited form, reaching 15 inches long by 6 inches thick, grown in the Himalayas. The fruit, produced abundantly, is reddish brown, marked with yellow and is eaten both raw and cooked.
The WEST INDIAN GHERKIN is C. anguria a plant with slender vines and very abundant, small, egg-shaped green fruit, covered with warts and prickles. It is the principal ingredient in West Indian pickles and is also used there in soups and frequently eaten green, but is far inferior to the common Cucumber.
C. flexuosum is the SNAKE CUCUMBER: it grows to a great length and may be used either raw or pickled.
The Squirting Cucumber, Ecballium Elaterium, furnishes the drug Elaterium.
The fruits of C. trigonis (Roxb.), 'Karit,' C. Hardwickii, Royle (the Hill Colocynth of India), and C. prophetarum (Linn.) of Arabia (the last-named containing the bitter substance prophetin, which occurs also in Elaterium) are largely employed as purgatives.
A less bitter variety of Karit is said to be eaten after the removal of its bitter principle by maceration in water.
C. myriocarpus (Naud.), a small gourd of South Africa, is used by the Kaffirs as an emetic in the form of the fruit-pulp, 20 grains being found to produce nausea and purgation after several hours. Larger quantities produce vomiting with some blood and considerable salivation. Its active principle has been called Myriocarpin.
The INDIAN CUCUMBER, or Cucumber Root, is the rhizome of Medeola virginiana (Linn.) a member of the order Liliaceae, reputed to be hydragogue and diuretic and therefore used in dropsies. In its fresh state it is somewhat Cucumber-like in taste.
The Bitter Cucumber is another name for Colocynth (Citrullus colocynthis, Schrader).
The Cucumber Tree, so called from the resemblance of the young fruits to small cucumbers, is Magnolia virginiana, var. acuminata (Linn.), the Mountain Magnolia. It has shortly acuminate leaves and yellowish-green flowers, 3 to 4 inches across, with a peculiar bluish tinge. The wood of the tree is yellow and is used for bowls. The bark was formerly official, with that of other species of Magnolia, in the United States Pharmacopceia, employed for its tonic, stimulant and diaphoretic properties and, like other bitters, employed in the treatment of malarial fever and considered a valuable remedy for rheumatism. Dose of the recently-dried bark is 1/2 to 1 drachm, frequently repeated; of the tincture, 1 fluid drachm.

Cucumber, Squirting

Botanical: Echallium Elaterium
Family: N.O. Cucurbitaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
Poisons and Antidotes
---Synonyms---Momordica Elaterium. Wild Cucumber.
---Habitat---Europe, cultivated in Britain.
---Description---A perennial plant but in Britain an annual, with a large fleshy root from which rise several round, thick stems, branching and trailing like the Common Cucumber but without tendrils; leaves heartshaped, rough; flower-stalks auxillary; male flowers in clusters with bell-shaped, yellow green veined corollas, females solitary; fruit a small elliptical greenish gourd covered with soft triangular prickles. The fruits forcibly eject their seeds together with a mucilaginous juice, a phenomenon due to endormosis. The plant flowers in July. The fruit is collected just before it ripens and is left until it matures and ejects the seeds and juice; this must not be artificially hastened or the product will be injured; the juice is then dried in flakes and sent to the market as Elaterium. The flakes often bear the impress of the muslin on which they were dried.
---Constituents---Elaterin; a green resin, starch, lignin, and saline matter.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A powerful hydragogue cathartic, and in large doses excites nausea and vomiting. If administered too frequently it operates with great violence on both the stomach and bowels producing inflammation and possibly fatal results. It also increases the flow of urine, and is of some use in the treatment of dropsy, especially when oedema is due to disease of the kidney. There is a case on record of a French doctor who suffered severely from carrying some of the seeds in his hat from the Jardin des Plante to his Paris lodging.
---Preparations and Dosages---It must be used with the greatest caution; because of its variability Elaterium should not be employed, preference always being given to the official Elaterin. 'Elaterium, 1/10 to 1/2 grain. Elacterin, 1/40 to 1/10 grain. Compound powder of Elacterin = Elaterin in fine powder, 1 part milk, sugar in fine powder 39 parts; dose, 1 to 4 grains.
---Poisons and Antidotes---As for Bitter Apple.
Botanical: Rocella tinctoria
Family: N.O. Lichenes
Action and Uses
---Habitat---Maritime rocks of Madeira. The Azores, Canary and Cape de Verde Islands.
Cudbear is a purplish-red powder prepared from a species of the Rocella tinctoria, Lecanora Acharius and other lichens. It is an alcoholic or agueous preparation of a deep red color, which is lightened by the addition of acids and changed to a purplish red by alkalies. It yields about 35 per cent of ash, mostly sodium chloride.
---Action and Uses---Employed for coloring purposes as a dye. Cudbear is very difficult to extract, so the liquid preparations are rarely uniform in color, and for this reason powdered Cudbear is generally used. The powder is made from an ammoniacal infusion of the lichen evaporated to dryness and then reduced to powder. In pharmacy it is sometimes used as a test for alkalies and acids.
R. tinctoria is the lichen from which Litmus is obtained. The lichen is boiled with water, containing chalk in suspension, and then concentrated in vacuum; it is then dried, freed from impurities and put in large vats together with the liquor and ammonia. It is kept at 25 to 30 degrees F. for two or three months and then dried and powdered.


Botanical: Graphalium uliginosum
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Cotton Weed. March Everlasting.
---Part Used---Herb.
---Habitat---Marshy places in most parts of Europe.
---Description---Stalk branched, diffused; flowers crowded, termina tiny; leaves elliptical, tapering into a long foot-stalk, slightly downy and greenish above, whitish and more downy underneath. The ends of the branches crowded with nurnerous heads of nearly sessile flowers which appear in August.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Quinsy, gargle astringent, infusion 1 OZ. to 1 pint boiling water taken internally in wineglassful; also used as a gargle.
Fluid extract: Dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm.


Botanical: Cuminum cyminum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonym---Cumino aigro (Malta).
---Part Used---Fruit.
---Habitat---Cumin, besides being used medicinally, was in the Middle Ages one of the commonest spice of European growth. It is a small annual, herbaceous plant, indigenous to Upper Egypt, but from early times was cultivated in Arabia, India, China, and in the countries bordering on the Mediterranean.
---Description---Its stem is slender and branched, rarely exceeding 1 foot in height and somewhat angular. The leaves are divided into long, narrow segments like Fennel, but much smaller and are of a deep green color, generally turned back at the ends. The upper leaves are nearly stalkless, but the lower ones have longer leaf-stalks. The flowers are small, rose-colored or white, in stalked umbels with only four to six rays, each of which are only about 1/3 inch long, and bloom in June and July, being succeeded by fruit - the so-called seeds - which constitute the Cumin of pharmacy. They are oblong in shape, thicker in the middle, compressed laterally about 5 inch long, resembling Caraway seeds, but lighter in color and bristly instead of smooth, almost straight, instead of being curved. They have nine fine ridges, overlapping as many oil channels, or vittae. The odour and taste are somewhat like caraway, but less agreeable.
---History---Cumin is mentioned in Isaiah xxvii. 25 and 27, and Matthew xxiii. 23, and in the works of Hippocrates and Dioscorides. From Pliny we learn that the ancients took the ground seed medicinally with bread, water or wine, and that it was accounted the best of condiments. The seeds of the Cumin when smoked, were found to occasion pallor of the face, whence the expression of Horace, exsangue cuminum, and Pliny tells us that the followers of the celebrated rhetorician Porcius Latro employed it to produce a complexion such as bespeaks application to study.
Cumin also symbolized cupidity among the Greeks: Marcus Aurelius was so nicknamed because of his avarice, and misers were jocularly said to have eaten Cumin.
In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when it was much in use as a culinary spice, its average price in England per lb. was 2d., equivalent to 1s. 4d. at the present day.
Cumin has now gone out of use in European medicine, having been replaced by Caraway seed, which has a more agreeable flavour, but it is still used to some extent in India, in native medicine. Its principal employment is in veterinary medicine and as an ingredient in curry powder, for which purposes it is imported from Bombay and Calcutta, Morocco, Sicily and Malta. It is commonly sold in Malta, where they call it cumino aigro (hot Cumin), to distinguish it from Anise, which they term cumino dulce, or sweet Cumin.
---Cultivation---Although we get nearly all our supplies from the Mediterranean, it would be perfectly feasible to grow Cumin in England, as it will ripen its fruit as far north as Norway. It is, however, rarely cultivated here, and seeds are generally somewhat difficult to obtain.
They should be sown in small pots, filled with light soil and plunged into a very moderate hot bed to bring up the plants. These should be hardened gradually in an open frame and transplanted into a warm border of good soil, preserving the balls of earth which adhere to the roots in the pots. Keep clean of weeds and the plants will flower very well and will probably perfect their seeds if the season should be warm and favourable.
The plants are threshed when the fruit is ripe and the 'seeds' dried in the same manner as Caraway.
---Constituents---The strong aromatic smell and warm, bitterish taste of Cumin fruits are due to the presence of a volatile oil which is separated by distillation of the fruit with water, and exists in the proportion of 2 to 4 per cent. It is limpid and pale yellow in color, and is mainly a mixture of cymol or cymene and cuminic aldehyde, or cyminol, which is its chief constituent.
The tissue of the fruits contains a fatty oil with resin, mucilage and gum, malates and albuminous matter, and in the outerseed coat there is much tannin. The yield of ash is about 8 per cent.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Stimulant, antispasmodic, carminative. The older herbalists esteemed Cumin superior in comforting carminative qualities to Fennel or Caraway, but on account of its very disagreeable flavour, its medicinal use at the present day is almost confined to veterinary practice, in which it is employed as a carminative.
Formerly Cumin had considerable repute as a corrective for the flatulency of languid digestion and as a remedy for colic and dyspetic headache. Bruised and applied externally in the form of a plaster, it was recommended as a cure for stitches and pains in the side caused by the sluggish congestion of indolent parts, and it has been compounded with other drugs to form a stimulating liniment.
Bay-salt and Cumin-seeds mixed, is a universal remedy for the diseases of pigeons, especially scabby backs and breasts. The proportions of the remedy are: 1/4 lb. Baysalt, 1/4 lb. Common Salt, 1 lb. Fennel-seeds, 1 lb. Dill-seeds, 1 lb. Cumin-seeds, 1 OZ. Assafoetida; mix all with a little wheaten flour and some fine-worked clay; when all are well beaten together, put into two earthen pots and bake them in the oven. When cold, put them on the table in the dove-cote; the pigeons will eat it and thus be cured.

Cup Moss
Moss, American Club
Moss, Common Club
Moss, Corsican
Moss, Cup
Moss, Hair Cap
Moss, Celand
Moss, Irish
Moss, Sphagnum

Cup Plant
Botanical: Silphium perfoliatum
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Indian Cup Plant. Ragged Cup.
---Part Used---Root.
---Habitat---Western States of America, Oregon, Texas.
---Description---The chief features of the genus are the monaecious radiate heads, the ray florets strap-shaped and pistil bearing, the disc florets tubular and sterile, and the broad flat achenes, surrounded by a wing notched at the summit and usually terminating in two short awn-like teeth which represent the pappus. Its distinctive character is rhizome, cylindrical, crooked, rough, small roots, and transversed section shows large resin cells. Taste, persistent, acrid. The most interesting of the species is the Compass plant, so named from its tendency to point to the North. This plant is also known by the names of Pilot plant, Polar plant, Rosin and Turpentine weed, and like the Cup plant of another species, Silphium Loeve, with tuberous roots, which are a native food in the Columbia valley, is cultivated in English gardens. The Cup plant derives its name from the cup-like appearance of the winged stalks of its opposite leaves which are united.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Tonic, diaphoretic, alterative. Found useful in liver and spleen maladies, also in fevers, internal bruises, debility, ulcers, and a general alterative restorative. Gum is a stimulant and antispasmodic.
---Dose---4 oz. of powdered root in decoction. Powder itself in 20-grain doses.
---Other Species---
S. Ginniferum or Rosin weed is said to bestimulating and antispasmodic, and yields resinous secretions like mastic; this resin is diuretic and imparts to the urine an aromatic odour. Its root is a good expectorant in pulmonary and catarrhal diseases and the Compass plant is said to be emetic.

See Nux Vomica.

Currant, Black

Botanical: Ribes nigrum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Saxifragaceae
Medicinal Uses
---Synonyms---Quinsy Berries. Squinancy Berries.
---Parts Used---Fruit, leaves, bark, roots.
---Description---The Black Currant is occasionally found wild in damp woods as far north as the middle of Scotland, but is considered to be a true native only in Yorkshire and the Lake District - when found apparently wild in other parts of the country, its presence is due to the agency of birds. It is easily distinguished at all seasons by the strong perfume of its buds and leaves.
This shrub shows the only instance of a process by which double flowers may become single, by changing petals into stamina. It has a solitary, one-flowered peduncle at the base of the raceme, and its leaves are dotted underneath.
It was not so popular originally as the Red and Whitc Currants, for Gerard describes the fruit as being 'of a stinking and somewhat loathing savour.'
The berries are sometimes put into brandy like Black Cherries. The Russians make wine of them, with or without honey or spirits, while in Siberia a drink is made of the leaves which, when young, make common spirits resemble brandy. An infusion of them is like green tea, and can change the flavour of black tea. Goats eat the leaves, and bears especially like the berries, which are supposed to have medicinal properties not possessed by others of the genus.
---Medicinal Uses---Diuretic, diaphoretic, febrifuge.
The juice can be boiled to an extract with sugar, when it is called Rob, and is used for inflammatory sore throats. Excellent lozenges are also prepared from it.
The infusion of the leaves is cleansing and diuretic, while an infusion of the young roots is useful in eruptive fevers and the dysenteric fevers of cattle.
The raw juice is diuretic and diaphoretic, and is an excellent beverage in febrile diseases.
A decoction of the bark has been found of value in calculus, dropsy, and haemorrhoidal tumours.

Black Currant Jelly is deservedly prized for its usefulness in colds and is both laxative and cooling. It should not be made with too much sugar or its medicinal properties will be impaired. For a sore throat, take a tablespoonful of the jam or jelly; put it in a tumbler and fill the tumbler with boiling water. This 'Black Currant Tea' has a soothing, demulcent effect, taken several times in the day and drunk while hot.
A delicious wine can be made from the fruit. The following is a recipe from an old Cookery Book:
Black Currant Wine, very fine----To every 3 quarts of juice, put the same of water, unboiled; and to every 3 quarts of the liquor, add 3 lb . of very pure, moist sugar. Put it in a cask, preserving a little for filling up. Put the cask in a warm, dry room, and the liquor will ferment itself. Skim off the refuse, when the fermentation shall be over, and fill up with the reserved liquor. When it has ceased working, pour 3 quarts of brandy to 40 quarts of wine. Bung it close for nine months, then bottle it and drain the thick part through a jelly-bag, until it be clear, and bottle that. Keep it ten or twelve months.
Black Currant Cheese---is delicious and is made by putting equal parts of stalked currants and loaf sugar into a pan; place over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then bring slowly to the boil, stirring all the time. Remove all scum and simmer for an hour, stirring often. Rub the fruit through a hair sieve, return the puree to the pan, and stir until it boils, then put it into small pots and cover like jam.

Currant, Red

Botanical: Ribes rubrum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Grossulariacae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Poison and Antidotes
---Synonyms---Ribs. Risp. Reps.
---Part Used---The fruits, especially the juice.
---Habitat---Central and Northern Europe, and United States, Siberia and Canada.
---Description---This plant is equally at home in hedges and ditches, trained against the wall of a house, or as a shrub cultivated in gardens. It has straggling stems, three to five lobed leaves, yellowish-green flowers, and fruit in pendulous racemes. The smooth berries are always red in the wild state, but cultivation has added the white and champagne or flesh-colored varieties. The White and Red Dutch Currants are regarded as the best. The English name was given because the berries were like the Corinth or Zante Grape, the currant of the shops. There are between thirty and forty kinds of currant recognized in catalogues. The fruit is a favourite for tarts andjellies, and being a very hardy plant, is within the reach of all. The juice is a pleasant acid in punch, and was a favourite ingredient in the coffee-houses of Paris, where the sweetened juice is still preferred as a beverage, to syrup of almonds.
---Constituents---The juice is said to contain citric acid, malic acid, sugar, vegetable jelly and jam.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Refrigerant, aperient, antiscorbutic. The juice forms a refreshing drink in fever, and the jelly, made from equal weights of fruit and sugar, when eaten with 'high' meats, acts as an anti-putrescent. The wine made from white 'red' currants has been used for calculous affections.
In some cases the fruit causes flatulence and indigestion. It has frequently given much help in forms of visceral obstruction. The jelly is antiseptic, and will ease the pain of a burn and prevent the formation of blisters, if applied immediately. Some regard the leaves as having emmenagogue properties.
---Poison and Antidotes---In common with other acidulous fruits, they must be turned out of an open tin immediately into a glass or earthenware dish, or the action of the acid combining with the surrounding air will begin to engender a deadly metallic poison.

Cyclamen, Ivy-Leaved

Botanical: Cyclamen hederaefolium
Family: N.O. Primulaceae
Part Used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Part Used---Tuherous root-stock used fresh when the plant is in flower.
The Cyclamens at first glance do not appear to have much similarity with Primulas, but certain structural points in common have caused them to be grouped in the same family.
There are eight members of the genus, distributed over Southern Europe, North Africa and Western Asia, one of which, Cyclamen hederaefolium, the Ivy-leaved Cyclamen or Sowbread, has been occasionally found in Kent and Sussex, but is generally considered to have been introduced accidentally, being really a native of Italy. Its large, tuberous root-stock, in common with that of C. Europaeum and of others found in the south of Europe, is intensely acrid, a quality that has caused its employment as a purgative.
---Description---It occurs rarely in hedge banks and copses, flowering in September. The tuber, 1 to 3 inches in diameter, is turnip-shaped, brown in color and fibrous all over. The nodding rose-colored or white flowers, which appear before the leaves, are placed singly on fleshy stalks, 4 to 8 inches high. The corolla tube is short, thickened at the throat, the lobes are bent back and are about an inch in length and red at the base. As the fruit ripens, the flower-stalk curls spirally and buries it in the earth. The name of the genus is derived from the Greek cyclos (a circle), either from the reflexed lobes of the corolla, or from the spiral form of the fruit-stalk. The leaves, appearing after the flowers, are somewhat heart-shaped, five to nine angled, in the manner of ivy leaves, dark green, with a white mottled border, often purple beneath, and spring straight from the root on longish stalks or petioles. They continue growing all the winter and spring till May, when they begin to decay, and in June are entirely dried up.
The apparently inappropriate name of this beautiful little plant, Sowbread, arises from its tuberous roots having afforded food for wild swine.
The favourite greenhouse Cyclamens flowering in the winter months, are varieties of a Persian species, C. Perscum, introduced into European horticulture in the middle of the eighteenth century.
---Part Used Medicinally---The tuberous rootstock, used fresh, when the plant is in flower.
---Constituents---Besides starch, gum and pectin, the tuber yields chemically cyclamin or arthanatin, having an action like saponin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A homoeopathic tincture is made from the fresh root, which applied externally as a liniment over the bowels causes purging.
Old writers tell us that Sowbread baked and made into little flat cakes has the reputation of being 'a good amorous medicine,' causing the partaker to fall violently in love.
Although the roots are favourite food of swine, their juice is stated to be poisonous to fish.
Powdered root: dose, 20 to 40 grains.
The fresh tubers bruised and formed into a cataplasm make a stimulating application to indolent ulcers.
An ointment called 'ointment of arthainta' was made from the fresh tubers for expelling worms, and was rubbed on the umbilicus of children and on the abdomen of adults to cause emesis and upon the region over the bladder to increase urinary discharge.


I SHALL spare labour in writing a description of these, since almost everyone that can but write at all, may describe them from his own knowledge, they being generally so well known, that descriptions are altogether needless.
Place : They are generally planted in gardens.
Time : Their flower time is towards the middle or end of July, and the seed is ripe in August.
Government and virtues : The Cabbages or Coleworts boiled gently in broth, and eaten, do open the body, but the second decoction doth bind the body. The juice thereof drank in wine, helps those that are bitten by an adder, and the decoction of the flowers brings down women's courses. Being taken with honey, it recovers hoarseness, or loss of the voice. The often eating of them well boiled, helps those that are entering into a consumption. The pulp of the middle ribs of Coleworts boiled in almond milk, and made up into an electuary with honey, being taken often, is very profitable for those that are puffy and short winded. Being boiled twice, an old cock boiled in the broth and drank, it helps the pains and the obstructions of the liver and spleen, and the stone in the kidneys. The juice boiled with honey, and dropped into the corner of the eyes, clears the sight, by consuming any film or clouds beginning to dim it; it also consumes the cankers growing therein. They are much commended, being eaten before meat to keep one from surfeiting, as also from being drunk with too much wine, or quickly to make a man sober again that was drunk before. For (as they say) there is such an antipathy or enmity between the Vine and the Coleworts, that the one will die where the other grows. The decoction of Coleworts takes away the pain and ache, and allays the swelling of sores and gouty legs and knees, wherein many gross and watery humours are fallen, the place being bathed therewith warm. It helps also old and filthy sores, being bathed therewith, and heals all small scabs, pushes, and wheals, that break out in the skin. The ashes of Colewort stalks mixed with old hog's-grease, are very effectual to anoint the sides of those that have had long pains therein, or any other place pained with melancholy and windy humours. This was surely Chrysippus's God, and therefore he wrote a whole volume on them and their virtues, and that none of the least neither, for he would be no small fool. He appropriates them to every part of the body, and to every disease in every part; and honest old Cato (they say) used no other physic. I know not what metal their bodies were made of; this I am sure, Cabbages are extremely windy, whether you take them as meat or as medicine: yea, as windy meat as can be eaten, unless you eat bag-pipes or bellows, and they are but seldom eaten in our days; and Colewort flowers are something more tolerable, and the wholesomer food of the two. The Moon challenges the dominion of this herb.


Descript : This has divers somewhat long and broad large and thick wrinkled leaves, somewhat crumpled about the edges, and growing each upon a thick footstalk very brittle, of a greyish green color, from among which rises up a strong thick stalk, two feet high and better, with some leaves thereon to the top, where it branches forth much; and on every branch stands a large bush of pale whitish flowers, consisting of four leaves apiece. The root is somewhat great, shoots forth many branches under ground, keeping the leaves green all the Winter.
Place : They grow in many places upon the sea-coasts, as well on the Kentish as Essex shores; as at Lid in Kent, Colchester in Essex, and divers other places, and in other counties of this land.
Time : They flower and seed about the time that other kinds do.
Government and virtues : The Moon claims the dominion of these also. The broth, or first decoction of the Sea Colewort, doth by the sharp, nitrous, and bitter qualities therein, open the belly, and purge the body; it cleanses and digests more powerfully than the other kind. The seed hereof, bruised and drank, kills worms. The leaves or the juice of them applied to sores or ulcers, cleanses and heals them, and dissolves swellings, and takes away inflammations.


Descript : This is a small herb, seldom rising above a foot high, with square, hairy and woody stalks, and two small hoary leaves set at a joint, about the height of Marjoram, or not much bigger, a little dented about the edges, and of a very fierce or quick scent, as the whole herb is. The flowers stand at several spaces of the stalk, from the middle almost upwards, which are small and gaping like to those of the Mints, of a pale bluish color. After which follow small, round blackish seed. The root is small and woody, with divers small strings spreading within the ground, and dies not, but abides many years.
Place : It grows on heaths, and uplands, and dry grounds, in many places of this land.
Time : They flower in July and their seed is ripe quickly after.
Government and virtues : It is an herb of Mercury, and a strong one too, therefore excellent good in all afflictions of the brain. The decoction of the herb being drank, brings down women's courses, and provokes urine. It is profitable for those that are bursten, or troubled with convulsions or cramps, with shortness of breath, or choleric torments and pains in their bellies or stomach; it also helps the yellow-jaundice, and stays vomiting, being taken in wine. Taken with salt and honey, it kills all manner of worms in the body. It helps such as have the leprosy, either taken inwardly, drinking whey after it, or the green herb outwardly applied. It hinders conception in women, but either burned or strewed in the chamber, it drives away venomous serpents. It takes away black and blue marks in the face, and makes black scars become well colored, if the green herb (not the dry) be boiled in wine, and laid to the place, or the place washed therewith. Being applied to the hucklebone, by continuance of time, it spends the humours, which cause the pain of the sciatica. The juice being dropped into the ears, kills the worms in them. The leaves boiled in wine, and drank, provoke sweat, and open obstructions of the liver and spleen. It helps them that have a tertian ague (the body being first purged) by taking away the cold fits. The decoction hereof, with some sugar put thereto afterwards, is very profitable for those that be troubled with the over-flowing of the gall, and that have an old cough, and that are scarce able to breathe by shortness of their wind; that have any cold distemper in their bowels, and are troubled with the hardness of the spleen, for all which purposes, both the powder, called Diacaluminthes, and the compound Syrup of Calamint are the most effectual. Let no woman be too busy with it, for it works very violent upon the feminine part.


IT is so well known everywhere, that it is but lost time and labour to describe it. The virtues thereof are as follow.
A decoction made of Camomile, and drank, takes away all pains and stitches in the side. The flowers of Camomile beaten, and made up into balls with Gill, drive away all sorts of agues, if the part grieved be anointed with that oil, taken from the flowers, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, and afterwards laid to sweat in his bed, and that he sweats well. This is Nechessor, an wiccan's, medicine. It is profitable for all sorts of agues that come either from phlegm, or melancholy, or from an inflammation of the bowels, being applied when the humours causing them shall be concocted; and there is nothing more profitable to the sides and region of the liver and spleen than it. The bathing with a decoction of Camomile takes away weariness, eases pains, to what part of the body soever they be applied. It comforts the sinews that are overstrained, mollifies all swellings. It moderately comforts all parts that have need of warmth, digests and dissolves whatsoever has need thereof, by a wonderful speedy property. It eases all pains of the cholic and stone, and all pains and torments of the belly, and gently provokes urine. The flowers boiled in posset-drink provokes sweat, and helps to expel all colds, aches, and pains whatsoever, and is an excellent help to bring down women's courses. Syrup made of the juice of Camomile, with the flowers, in white wine, is a remedy against the jaundice and dropsy. The flowers boiled in lye, are good to wash the head, and comfort both it and the brain. The oil made of the flowers of Camomile, is much used against all hard swellings, pains or aches, shrinking of the sinews, or cramps, or pains in the joints, or any other part of the body. Being used in clysters, it helps to dissolve the wind and pains in the belly; anointed also, it helps stitches and pains in the sides.
Nechessor saith, the wiccans dedicated it to the Sun, because it cured agues, and they were like enough to do it, for they were the arrantest apes in their religion that I ever read of. Bachinus, Bena, and Lobel, commend the syrup made of the juice of it and sugar, taken inwardly, to be excellent for the spleen. Also this is certain, that it most wonderfully breaks the stone. Some take it in syrup or decoction, others inject the juice of it into the bladder with a syringe. My opinion is, that the salt of it, taken half a dram in the morning in a little white or Rhenish wine, is better than either; that it is excellent for the stone, appears in this which I have seen tried, viz., that a stone that has been taken out of the body of a man being wrapped in Camomile, will in time dissolve, and in a little time too.


THEY are called also Tribulus Aquaticus, Tribulus Lacusoris, Tribulus Marinus, Caltrops, Saligos, Water Nuts, and Water Chesnuts.
Descript : As for the greater sort of Water Caltrop it is not found here, or very rarely. Two other sorts there are which I shall here describe. The first has a long creeping and jointed root, sending forth tufts at each joint, from which joints rise long, flat, slender, knotted, stalks, even to the top of the water, divided towards the top into many branches, each carrying two leaves on both sides, being about two inches long, and half an inch broad, thin and almost transparent; they look as though they were torn; the flowers are long, thick, and whitish, set together almost like a bunch of grapes, which being gone, there succeed, for the most part, sharp pointed grains all together, containing a small white kernel in them.
The second differs not much from this, save that it delights in more clean water; its stalks are not flat, but round; its leaves are not so long, but more pointed. As for the place we need not determine, for their name shews they grow in water.
Government and virtues : They are under the dominion of the Moon, and being made into a poultice, are excellently good for hot inflammations, swellings, cankers, sore mouths and throats, being washed with the decoction; it cleanses and strengthens the neck and throat, and helps those swellings which, when people have, they say the almonds of the ears are fallen down. It is excellently good for the rankness of the gums, a safe and present remedy for the king's evil. They are excellent for the stone and gravel, especially the nuts, being dried. They also resist poison, and bitings of venomous beasts.


Descript : The wild White Campion has many long and somewhat broad dark green leaves lying upon the ground, and divers ribs therein, somewhat like plantain, but somewhat hairy, broader, but not so long. The hairy stalks rise up in the middle of them three or four feet high, and sometimes more, with divers great white joints at several places thereon, and two such like leaves thereat up to the top, sending forth branches at several joints also; all which bear on several foot-stalks white flowers at the tops of them, consisting of five broad pointed leaves, every one cut in on the end unto the middle, making them seem to be two a-piece, smelling somewhat sweet, and each of them standing in a large green striped hairy husk, large and round below next to the stalk. The seed is small and greyish in the hard heads that come up afterwards. The root is white and long, spreading divers fangs in the ground.
The Red Wild Campion grows in the same manner as the White; but its leaves are not so plainly ribbed, somewhat shorter, rounder, and more woolly in handling. The flowers are of the same form and bigness; but in some of a pale, in others of a bright red color, cut in at the ends more finely, which makes the leaves look more in number than the other. The seeds and the roots are alike, the roots of both sorts abiding many years.
There are forty-five kinds of Campion more, those of them which are of a physical use, having the like virtues with those above described, which I take to be the two chief kinds.
Place : They grow commonly through this land by fields and hedge-sides, and ditches.
Time : They flower in Summer, some earlier than others, and some abiding longer than others.
Government and virtues : They belong to Saturn, and it is found by experience, that the decoction of the herb, either in white or red wine being drank, doth stay inward bleedings, and applied outwardly it does the like; and being drank, helps to expel urine, being stopped, and gravel and stone in the reins and kidneys. Two drams of the seed drank in wine, purges the body of choleric humours, and helps those that are stung by scorpions, or other venomous beasts, and may be as effectual for the plague. It is of very good use in old sores, ulcers, cankers, fistulas, and the like, to cleanse and heat them, by consuming the moist humours falling into them, and correcting the putrefaction of humours offending them.


It is called Carduus Benedictus, or Blessed Thistle, or Holy Thistle. I suppose the name was put upon it by some that had little holiness themselves.
I shall spare a labour in writing a description of this as almost every one that can but write at all, may describe them from his own knowledge.
Time : They flower in August, and seed not long after.
Government and virtues : It is an herb of Mars, and under the sign of Aries. Now, in handling this herb, I shall give you a rational pattern of all the rest; and if you please to view them throughout the book, you shall, to your content, find it true. It helps swimming and giddiness of the head, or the disease called vertigo, because Aries is in the house of Mars. It is an excellent remedy against the yellow jaundice and other infirmities of the gall, because Mars governs choler. It strengthens the attractive faculty in man, and clarifies the blood, because the one is ruled by Mars. The continual drinking the decoction of it, helps red faces, tetters, and ringworms, because Mars causes them. It helps the plague, sores, boils, and itch, the bitings of mad dogs and venomous beasts, all which infirmities are under Mars; thus you see what it doth by sympathy.

By antipathy to other planets it cures the French pox. By antipathy to Venus, who governs it, it strengthens the memory, and cures deafness by antipathy to Saturn, who has his fall in Aries, which rules the head. It cures quartan agues, and other diseases of melancholy, and adust choler, by sympathy to Saturn, Mars being exalted in Capricorn. Also provokes urine, the stopping of which is usually caused by Mars or the Moon.


Garden Carrots are so well known, that they need no description; but because they are of less physical use than the wild kind (as indeed almost in all herbs the wild are the most effectual in physic, as being more powerful in operation than the garden kinds,) I shall therefore briefly describe the Wild Carrot.
Descript : It grows in a manner altogether like the tame, but that the leaves and stalks are somewhat whiter and rougher. The stalks bear large tufts of white flowers, with a deep purple spot in the middle, which are contracted together when the seed begins to ripen, that the middle part being hollow and low, and the outward stalk rising high, makes the whole umbel to show like a bird's nest. The root small, long, and hard, and unfit for meat, being somewhat sharp and strong.
Place : The wild kind grows in divers parts of this land plentifully by the field-sides, and untilled places.
Time : They flower and seed in the end of Summer.
Government and virtues : Wild Carrots belong to Mercury, and therefore break wind, and remove stitches in the sides, provoke urine and women's courses, and helps to break and expel the stone; the seed also of the same works the like effect, and is good for the dropsy, and those whose bellies are swelling with wind; helps the cholic, the stone in the kidneys, and rising of the mother; being taken in wine, or boiled in wine and taken, it helps conception. The leaves being applied with honey to running sores or ulcers, do cleanse them.
I suppose the seeds of them perform this better than the roots; and though Galen commended garden Carrots highly to break wind, yet experience teaches they breed it first, and we may thank nature for expelling it, not they; the seeds of them expel wind indeed, and so mend what the root mars.


It is on account of the seeds principally that the Carraway is cultivated.
Descript : It bears divers stalks of fine cut leaves, lying upon the ground, somewhat like to the leaves of carrots, but not bushing so thick, of a little quick taste in them, from among which rises up a square stalk, not so high as the Carrot, at whose joints are set the like leaves, but smaller and finer, and at the top small open tufts, or umbels of white flowers, which turn into small blackish seed, smaller than the Aniseed, and of a quicker and hotter taste. The root is whitish, small and long, somewhat like unto a parsnip, but with more wrinkled bark, and much less, of a little hot and quick taste, and stronger than the parsnip and abides after seed-time.
Place : It is usually sown with us in gardens.
Time : They flower in June and July, and seed quickly after.
Government and virtues : This is also a Mercurial plant. Carraway seed has a moderate sharp quality, whereby it breaks wind and provokes urine, which also the herb doth. The root is better food than the parsnip; it is pleasant and comfortable to the stomach, and helps digestion. The seed is conducing to all cold griefs of the head and stomach, bowels, or mother, as also the wind in them, and helps to sharpen the eye-sight. The powder of the seed put into a poultice, takes away black and blue spots of blows and bruises. The herb itself, or with some of the seed bruised and fried, laid hot in a bag or double cloth, to the lower parts of the belly, eases the pains of the wind cholic.
The roots of Carraway eaten as men do parsnips, strengthen the stomach of ancient people exceedingly, and they need not to make a whole meal of them neither, and are fit to be planted in every garden.
Carraway comfits, once only dipped in sugar, and half a spoonful of them eaten in the morning fasting, and as many after each meal, is a most admirable remedy, for those that are troubled with wind.


Descript : This hath divers tender, round, whitish green stalks, with greater joints than ordinary in other herbs as it were knees, very brittle and easy to break, from whence grow branches with large tender broad leaves, divided into many parts, each of them cut in on the edges, set at the joint on both sides of the branches, of a dark bluish green color, on the upper side like Columbines, and of a more pale bluish green underneath, full of yellow sap, when any is broken, of a bitter taste, and strong scent. At the flowers, of four leaves a-piece, after which come small long pods, with blackish seed therein. The root is somewhat great at the head, shooting forth divers long roots and small strings, reddish on the outside, and yellow within, full of yellow sap therein.
Place : They grow in many places by old walls, hedges and waysides in untilled places; and being once planted in a garden, especially some shady places, it will remain there.
Time : They flower all the Summer, and the seed ripens in the mean time.
Government and virtues : This is an herb of the Sun, and under the Celestial Lion, and is one of the best cures for the eyes; for, all that know any thing in astrology, know that the eyes are subject to the luminaries; let it then be gathered when the Sun is in Leo, and the Moon in Aries, applying to this time; let Leo arise, then may you make into an oil or ointment, which you please, to anoint your sore eyes with. I can prove it doth both my own experience, and the experience of those to whom I have taught it, that most desperate sore eyes have been cured by this only medicine; and then, I pray, is not this far better than endangering the eyes by the art of the needle? For if this does not absolutely take away the film, it will so facilitate the work, that it might be done without danger. The herb or root boiled in white wine and drank, a few Aniseeds being boiled therewith, opens obstructions of the liver and gall, helps the yellow jaundice; and often using it, helps the dropsy and the itch, and those who have old sores in their legs, or other parts of the body. The juice thereof taken fasting, is held to be of singularly good use against the pestilence. The distilled water, with a little sugar and a little good treacle mixed therewith (the party upon the taking being laid down to sweat a little) has the same effect. The juice dropped into the eyes, cleanses them from films and cloudiness which darken the sight, but it is best to allay the sharpness of the juice with a little breast milk. It is good in all old filthy corroding creeping ulcers wheresoever, to stay their malignity of fretting and running, and to cause them to heal more speedily. The juice often applied to tetters, ring-worms, or other such like spreading cankers, will quickly heal them, and rubbed often upon warts, will take them away. The herb with the roots bruised and bathed with oil of camomile, and applied to the navel, takes away the griping pains of the belly and bowels, and all the pains of the mother; and applied to women's breasts stays the overmuch flowing of the courses. The juice or decoction of the herb gargled between the teeth that ache, eases the pain, and the powder of the dried root laid upon any aching, hollow or loose tooth, will cause it to fall out. The juice mixed with some powder of brimstone is not only good against the itch, but takes away all discolorings of the skin whatsoever: and if it chance that in a tender body it causes any itchings or inflammations, by bathing the place with a little vinegar it is helped.
Another ill-favoured trick have physicians got to use to the eye, and that is worse than the needle; which is to take away the films by corroding or gnawing medicine. That I absolutely protest against.
1.Because the tunicles of the eyes are very thin, and therefore soon eaten asunder.
2.The callus or film that they would eat away, is seldom of an equal thickness in every place, and then the tunicle may be eaten asunder in one place, before the film be consumed in another, and so be a readier way to extinguish the sight than to restore it.
It is called Chelidonium, from the Greek word Chelidon, which signifies a swallow; because they say, that if you put out the eyes of young swallows when they are in the nest, the old ones will recover their eyes again with this herb. This I am confident, for I have tried it, that if we mar the very apple of their eyes with a needle, she will recover them again; but whether with this herb or not, I know not.
Also I have read (and it seems to be somewhat probable) that the herb, being gathered as I showed before, and the elements draw apart from it by art of the alchymist, and after they are drawn apart rectified, the earthly quality, still in rectifying them, added to the Terra damnata (as Alchymists call it) or Terra Sacratisima (as some philosophers call it) the elements so rectified are sufficient for the cure of all diseases, the humours offending being known and the contrary element given. It is an experiment worth the trying, and can do no harm.


I wonder what ailed the ancients to give this the name Celandine, which resembles it neither in nature nor form; it acquired the name of Pilewort from its virtues, and it being no great matter where I set it down, so I set it down at all, I humoured Dr. Tradition so much, as to set him down here.
Descript : This Celandine or Pilewort (which you please) doth spread many round pale green leaves, set on weak and trailing branches which lie upon the ground, and are flat, smooth, and somewhat shining, and in some places (though seldom) marked with black spots, each standing on a long foot-stalk, among which rise small yellow flowers, consisting of nine or ten small narrow leaves, upon slender foot-stalks, very like unto Crowsfoot, whereunto the seed also is not unlike being many small kernels like a grain of corn sometimes twice as long as others, of a whitish color, with fibres at the end of them.
Place : It grows for the most part in moist corners of fields and places that are near water sides, yet will abide in drier ground if they be a little shady.
Time : It flowers betimes, about March or April, is quite gone by May; so it cannot be found till it spring again.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of Mars, and behold here another verification of the learning of the ancients, viz. that the virtue of an herb may be known by its signature, as plainly appears in this; for if you dig up the root of it, you shall perceive the perfect image of the disease which they commonly call the piles. It is certain by good experience, that the decoction of the leaves and roots wonderfully helps piles and hæmorrhoids, also kernels by the ears and throat, called the king's evil, or any other hard wens or tumours.
Here's another secret for my countrymen and women, a couple of them together; Pilewort made into an oil, ointment, or plaister, readily cures both the piles, or hæmorrhoids, and the king's evil. The very herb borne about one's body next the skin helps in such diseases, though it never touch the place grieved; let poor people make use of it for those uses; with this I cured my own daughter of the king's evil, broke the sore, drew out a quarter of a pint of corruption, cured without any scar at all in one week's time.


Descript : This grows up most usually but with one round and somewhat crusted stalk, about a foot high or better, branching forth at the top into many sprigs, and some also from the joints of the stalks below; the flowers thus stand at the tops as it were in one umbel or tuft, are of a pale red, tending to carnation color, consisting of five, sometimes six small leaves, very like those of St. John's Wort, opening themselves in the day time and closing at night, after which come seeds in little short husk, in forms like unto wheat corn. The leaves are small and somewhat round; the root small and hard, perishing every year. The whole plant is of an exceeding bitter taste.
There is another sort in all things like the former, save only it bears white flowers.
Place : They grow ordinarily in fields, pastures, and woods, but that with the white flowers not so frequently as the other.
Time : They flower in July or thereabouts, and seeds within a month after.
Government and virtues : They are under the dominion of the Sun, as appears in that their flowers open and shut as the Sun, either shows or hides his face. This herb, boiled and drank, purges choleric and gross humours, and helps the sciatica; it opens obstructions of the liver, gall, and spleen, helps the jaundice, and eases the pains in the sides and hardness of the spleen, used outwardly, and is given with very good effect in agues. It helps those that have the dropsy, or the green-sickness, being much used by the Italians in powder for that purpose. It kills the worms in the belly, as is found by experience. The decoction thereof, viz. the tops of the stalks, with the leaves and flowers, is good against the cholic, and to bring down women's courses, helps to avoid the dead birth, and eases pains of the mother, and is very effectual in all pains of the joints, as the gout, cramps, or convulsions. A dram of the powder taken in wine, is a wonderful good help against the biting and poison of an adder. The juice of the herb with a little honey put to it, is good to clear the eyes from dimness, mists and clouds that offend or hinder sight. It is singularly good both for green and fresh wounds, as also for old ulcers and sores, to close up the one and cleanse the other, and perfectly to cure them both, although they are hollow or fistulous; the green herb especially, being bruised and laid thereto. The decoction thereof dropped into the ears, cleanses them from worms, cleanses the foul ulcers and spreading scabs of the head, and takes away all freckles, spots, and marks in the skin, being washed with it; the herb is so safe you cannot fail in the using of it, only giving it inwardly for inward diseases. It is very wholesome, but not very toothsome.
There is beside these, another small Centaury, which bears a yellow flower; in all other respects it is like the former, save that the leaves are larger, and of a darker green, and the stalks pass through the midst of them, as it does in the herb Thorowan. They are all of them, as I told you, under the government of the Sun; yet this, if you observe it, you shall find an excellent truth; in diseases of the blood, use the red Centaury; if of choler, use the yellow; but if phlegm or water, you will find the white best.


I suppose there are few but know this tree, for its fruit's sake; and therefore I shall spare writing a description thereof.
Place : For the place of its growth, it is afforded room in every orchard.
Government and virtues : It is a tree of Venus. Cherries, as they are of different tastes, so they are of different qualities. The sweet pass through the stomach and the belly more speedily, but are of little nourishment; the tart or sour are more pleasing to an hot stomach, procure appetite to meat, to help and cut tough phlegm, and gross humours; but when these are dried, they are more binding to the belly than when they are fresh, being cooling in hot diseases, and welcome to the stomach, and provokes urine. The gum of the Cherry-tree, desolved in wine is good for a cold, cough, and hoarseness of the throat; mends the color in the face, sharpens the eyesight, provokes appetite, and helps to break and expel the stone, and dissolved, the water thereof is much used to break the stone, and to expel gravel and wind.


Descript : The Winter Cherry has a running or creeping root in the ground, of the bigness many times one's little finger, shooting forth at several joints in several places, whereby it quickly spreads a great compass of ground. The stalk rises not above a yard high, whereon are set many broad and long green leaves, somewhat like nightshades, but larger; at the joints, whereof come forth whitish flowers made of five leaves a piece, which afterwards turn into green berries inclosed with thin skins, which change to be reddish when they grow ripe, the berry likewise being reddish, and as large as a cherry; wherein are contained many flat and yellowish seeds lying within the pulp, which being gathered and strung up, will keep all the year to be used upon occasions.
Place : They grow not naturally in this land, but are cherished in gardens for their virtues.
Time : They flower not until the middle or latter end of July; and the fruit is ripe about August, or the beginning of September.
Government and virtues : This also is a plant of Venus. They are of great use in physic. The leaves being cooling, may be used in inflammations, but not opening as the berries and fruit are; which by drawing down the urine provoke it to be voided plentifully when it is stopped or grown hot, sharp, and painful in the passage; it is good also to expel the stone and gravel out of the reins, kidneys and bladder, helping to dissolve the stone, and voiding it by grit or gravel sent forth in the urine; it also helps much to cleanse inward imposthumes or ulcers in the reins of bladder, or in those that void a bloody or foul urine. The distilled water of the fruit, or the leaves together with them, or the berries, green or dry, distilled with a little milk and drank morning and evening with a little sugar, is effectual to all the purposes before specified, and especially against the heat and sharpness of the urine. I shall only mention one way, amongst many others, which might be used for ordering the berries, to be helpful for the urine and the stone; which is this: Take three or four good handfuls of the berries, either green or fresh, or dried, and having bruised them, put them into so many gallons of beer or ale when it is new tunned up. This drink taken daily, has been found to do much good to many, both to ease the pains, and expel urine and the stone, and to cause the stone not to engender. The decoction of the berries in wine and water is the most usual way; but the powder of them taken in drink is more effectual.


It is called Cerefolium, Mirrhis, and Mirrha, Chervil, Sweet Chervil, and Sweet Cicely.
Descript : The garden Chervil doth at first somewhat resemble Parsley, but after it is better grown, the leaves are much cut in and jagged, resembling hemlock, being a little hairy and of a whitish green color, sometimes turning reddish in the Summer, with the stalks also; it rises a little above half a foot high, bearing white flowers in spiked tufts, which turn into long and round seeds pointed at the ends, and blackish when they are ripe; of a sweet taste, but no smell, though the herb itself smells reasonably well. The root is small and long, and perishes every year, and must be sown a-new in spring, for seed after July for Autumn fails.
The wild Chervil grows two or three feet high with yellow stalks and joints, set with broader and more hairy leaves, divided into sundry parts, nicked about the edges, and of a dark green color, which likewise grow reddish with the stalks; at the tops whereof stands small white tufts of flowers, afterwards smaller and longer seed. The root is white, hard, and enduring long. This has little or no scent.
Place : The first is sown in gardens for a sallad herb; the second grows wild in many of the meadows of this land, and by the hedge sides, and on heaths.
Time : They flower and seed early, and thereupon are sown again in the end of Summer.
Government and virtues : The garden Chervil being eaten, doth moderately warm the stomach, and is a certain remedy (saith Tragus) to dissolve congealed or clotted blood in the body, or that which is clotted by bruises, falls, &c. The juice or distilled water thereof being drank, and the bruised leaves laid to the place, being taken either in meat or drink, it is good to help to provoke urine, or expel the stone in the kidneys, to send down women's courses, and to help the pleurisy and pricking of the sides.
The wild Chervil bruised and applied, dissolves swellings in any part, or the marks of congealed blood by bruises or blows, in a little space.


Descript : This grows very like the great hemlock, having large spread leaves cut into divers parts, but of a fresher green color than the Hemlock, tasting as sweet as the Anniseed. The stalks rise up a yard high, or better, being creased or hollow, having leaves at the joints, but lesser; and at the tops of the branched stalks, umbels or tufts of white flowers; after which comes long crested black shining seed, pointed at both ends, tasting quick, yet sweet and pleasant. The root is great and white, growing deep in the ground, and spreading sundry long branches therein, in taste and smell stronger than the leaves or seeds, and continuing many years.
Place : This grows in gardens.
Government and virtues : These are all three of them of the nature of Jupiter, and under his dominion. This whole plant, besides its pleasantness in sallads, has its physical virtue. The root boiled, and eaten with oil and vinegar, (or without oil) do much please and warm old and cold stomachs oppressed with wind or phlegm, or those that have the phthisic or consumption of the lungs. The same drank with wine is a preservation from the plague. It provokes women's courses, and expels the after-birth, procures an appetite to meat, and expels wind. The juice is good to heal the ulcers of the head and face; the candied roots hereof are held as effectual as Angelica, to preserve from infection in the time of a plague, and to warm and comfort a cold weak stomach. It is so harmless, you cannot use it amiss.


It were as needless to describe a tree so commonly known as to tell a man he had gotten a mouth; therefore take the government and virtues of them thus:
The tree is abundantly under the dominion of Jupiter, and therefore the fruit must needs breed good blood, and yield commendable nourishment to the body; yet if eaten over-much, they make the blood thick, procure head ache, and bind the body; the inner skin, that covers the nut, is of so binding a quality, that a scruple of it being taken by a man, or ten grains by a child, soon stops any flux whatsoever. The whole nut being dried and beaten into powder, and a dram taken at a time, is a good remedy to stop the terms in women. If you dry Chesnuts, (only the kernels I mean) both the barks being taken away, beat them into powder, and make the powder up into an electuary with honey, so have you an admirable remedy for the cough and spitting of blood.


They are called Earth-nuts, Earth Chesnuts, Ground Nuts, Cipernuts, and in Sussex Pig-nuts. A description of them were needless, for every child knows them.
Government and virtues : They are something hot and dry in quality, under the dominion of Venus, they provoke lust exceedingly, and stir up to those sports she is mistress of; the seed is excellent good to provoke urine; and so also is the root, but it doth not perform it so forcibly as the seed both. The root being dried and beaten into powder, and the powder made into an electuary, is as singular a remedy for spitting and pissing of blood, as the former Chesnut was for coughs.


It is so generally known to most people, that I shall not trouble you with the description thereof, nor myself with setting forth the several kinds, since but only two or three are considerable for their usefulness.
Place : They are usually found in moist and watery places, by wood sides, and elsewhere.
Time : They flower about June, and their seed is ripe in July.
Government and virtues : It is a fine soft pleasing herb under the dominion of the Moon. It is found to be effectual as Purslain to all the purposes whereunto it serves, except for meat only. The herb bruised, or the juice applied (with cloths or sponges dipped therein) to the region of the liver, and as they dry, to have it fresh applied, doth wonderfully temperate the heat of the liver, and is effectual for all imposthumes and swellings whatsoever, for all redness in the face, wheals, pushes, itch, scabs; the juice either simply used, or boiled with hog's grease and applied, helps cramps, convulsions, and palsy. The juice, or distilled water, is of much good use for all heats and redness in the eyes, to drop some thereof into them; as also into the ears, to ease pains in them; and is of good effect to ease pains from the heat and sharpness of the blood in the piles, and generally all pains in the body that arise of heat. It is used also in hot and virulent ulcers and sores in the privy parts of men and women, or on the legs, or elsewhere. The leaves boiled with marshmallows, and made into a poultice with fenugreek and linseed, applied to swellings or imposthumes, ripen and break them, or assuage the swellings and ease the pains. It helps the sinews when they are shrunk by cramps, or otherwise, and to extend and make them pliable again by this medicine. Boil a handful of Chickweed, and a handful of red rose leaves dried, in a quart of muscadine, until a fourth part be consumed; then put to them a pint of oil of trotters or sheep's feet; let them boil a good while, still stirring them well; which being strained, anoint the grieved place therewith, warm against the fire, rubbing it well with one hand: and bind also some of the herb (if you will) to the place, and, with God's blessing, it will help it in three times dressing.


Descript : The garden sorts whether red, black, or white, bring forth stalks a yard long, whereon do grow many small and almost round leaves, dented about the edges, set on both sides of a middle rib. At the joints come forth one or two flowers, upon sharp foot stalks, pease-fashion, either white or whitish, or purplish red, lighter or deeper, according as the pease that follow will be, that are contained in small, thick, and short pods, wherein lie one or two pease, more usually pointed at the lower end, and almost round at the head, yet a little cornered or sharp; the root is small, and perishes yearly.
Place and Time : They are sown in gardens, or fields as pease, being sown later than pease, and gathered at the same time with them, or presently after.
Government and virtues : They are both under the dominion of Venus. They are less windy than beans, but nourish more; they provoke urine, and are thought to increase sperm; they have a cleansing faculty, whereby they break the stone in the kidneys. To drink the cream of them, being boiled in water, is the best way. It moves the belly downwards, provokes women's courses and urine, increases both milk and seed. One ounce of Cicers, two ounces of French barley, and a small handful of Marsh-mallow roots, clean washed and cut, being boiled in the broth of a chicken, and four ounces taken in the morning, and fasting two hours after, is a good medicine for a pain in the sides. The white Cicers are used more for meat than medicine, yet have the same effect, and are thought more powerful to increase milk and seed. The wild Cicers are so much more powerful than the garden kinds, by how much they exceed them in heat and dryness; whereby they do more open obstructions, break the stone, and have all the properties of cutting, opening, digesting, and dissolving; and this more speedily and certainly than the former.


Descript : It spreads and creeps far upon the ground, with long slender strings like straw-berries, which take root again, and shoot forth many leaves, made of five parts, and sometimes of seven, dented about the edges, and somewhat hard. The stalks are slender, leaning downwards and bear many small yellow flowers thereon, with some yellow threads in the middle, standing about a smooth green head, which, when it is ripe, is a little rough, and contains small brownish seeds. The root is of a blackish brown color, as big as one's little finger, but growing long, with some threads thereat; and by the small string it quickly spreads over the ground.
Place : It grows by wood sides, hedge sides, the path-way in fields, and in the borders and corners of them almost through all this land.
Time : It flowers in summer, some sooner, some later.
Government and virtues : This is an herb of Jupiter, and therefore strengthens the part of the body it rules; let Jupiter be angular and strong when it is gathered; and if you give but a scruple (which is but twenty grains,) of it at a time, either in white wine, or in white wine vinegar, you shall very seldom miss the cure of an ague, be it what ague soever, in three fits, as I have often proved to the admiration both of myself and others; let no man despise it because it is plain and easy, the ways of God are all such. It is an especial herb used in all inflammations and fevers, whether infectious or pestilential; or among other herbs to cool and temper the blood and humours in the body. As also for all lotions, gargles, infections, and the like, for sore mouths, ulcers, cancers, fistulas, and other corrupt, foul, or running sores. The juice hereof drank, about four ounces at a time, for certain days together, cures the quinsey and yellow jaundice; and taken for thirty days together, cures the falling sickness. The roots boiled in milk, and drank, is a most effectual remedy for all fluxes in man or woman, whether the white or red, as also the bloody flux. The roots boiled in vinegar, and the decoction thereof held in the mouth, eases the pains of the toothache. The juice or decoction taken with a little honey, helps the hoarseness of the throat, and is very good for the cough of the lungs. The distilled water of both roots and leaves, is also effectual to all the purposes aforesaid; and if the hands be often washed therein, and suffered at every time to dry in of itself without wiping, it will in a short time help the palsy, or shaking in them. The root boiled in vinegar, helps all knots, kernels, hard swellings, and lumps growing in any part of the flesh, being thereto applied, as also inflammations, and St. Anthony's fire, all imposthumes, and painful sores with heat and putrefaction, the shingles also, and all other sorts of running and foul scabs, sores and itch. The same also boiled in wine, and applied to any joint full of pain, ache, or the gout in the hands or feet, or the hip gout, called the Sciatica, and the decoction thereof drank the while, doth cure them, and eases much pain in the bowels. The roots are likewise effectual to help ruptures or bursting, being used with other things available to that purpose, taken either inwardly or outwardly, or both; as also bruises or hurts by blows, falls, or the like, and to stay the bleeding of wounds in any parts inward or outward.
Some hold that one leaf cures a quotidian, three a tertian, and four a quartan ague, and a hundred to one if it be not Dioscorides; for he is full of whimsies. The truth is, I never stood so much upon the number of the leaves, nor whether I give it in powder or decoction. If Jupiter were strong, and the Moon applying to him, or his good aspect at the gathering, I never knew it miss the desired effect.


CALLED also Rush Leeks, Chives, Civet, and Sweth.
Government and virtues : I confess I had not added these, had it not been for a country gentleman, who by a letter certified me, that amongst other herbs, I had left these out; they are indeed a kind of leek, hot and dry in the fourth degree as they are, and so under the dominion of Mars; if they be eaten raw, (I do not mean raw, opposite to roasted or boiled, but raw, opposite to chymical preparation) they send up very hurtful vapours to the brain, causing troublesome sleep, and spoiling the eye-sight, yet of them prepared by the art of the alchymist, may be made an excellent remedy for the stoppage of the urine.


Descript : Our ordinary garden Clary has four square stalks, with broad, rough, wrinkled, whitish, or hoary green leaves somewhat evenly cut in on the edges, and of a strong sweet scent, growing some near the ground, and some by couples upon stalks. The flowers grow at certain distances, with two small leaves at the joints under them, somewhat like unto the flowers of Sage, but smaller, and of a whitish blue color. The seed is brownish, and somewhat flat, or not so round as the wild. The roots are blackish, and spread not far, and perish after the seed time. It is usually sown, for it seldom rises of its own sowing.
Place : This grows in gardens.
Time : It flowers in June and July, some a little later than others, and their seed is ripe in August, or thereabouts.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of the Moon. The seed put into the eyes clears them from motes, and such like things gotten within the lids to offend them, as also clears them from white and red spots on them. The mucilage of the seed made with water, and applied to tumours, or swellings, disperses and takes them away; as also draws forth splinters, thorns, or other things gotten into the flesh. The leaves used with vinegar, either by itself, or with a little honey, doth help boils, felons, and the hot inflammation that are gathered by their pains, if applied before it be grown too great. The powder of the dried root put into the nose, provokes sneezing, and thereby purges the head and brain of much rheum and corruption. The seed or leaves taken in wine, provokes to venery. It is of much use both for men and women that have weak backs, and helps to strengthen the reins: used either by itself, or with other herbs conducing to the same effect, and in tansies often. The fresh leaves dipped in a batter of flour, eggs, and a little milk, and fried in butter, and served to the table, is not unpleasant to any, but exceedingly profitable for those that are troubled with weak backs, and the effects thereof. The juice of the herb put into ale or beer, and drank, brings down women's courses, and expels the after-birth.


Wild Clary is most blasphemously called Christ's Eye, because it cures diseases of the eye. I could wish for my soul, blasphemy, ignorance, and tyranny, were ceased among physicians, that they may be happy, and I joyful.
Descript : It is like the other Clary, but lesser, with many stalks about a foot and a half high. The stalks are square, and somewhat hairy; the flowers of a bluish color. He that knows the common Clary cannot be ignorant of this.
Place : It grows commonly in this nation in barren places; you may find it plentifully, if you look in the fields near Gray's Inn, and near Chelsea.
Time : They flower from the beginning of June to the latter end of August.
Government and virtues : It is something hotter and drier than the garden Clary is, yet nevertheless under the dominion of the Moon, as well as that; the seeds of it being beat to powder, and drank with wine, is an admirable help to provoke lust. A decoction of the leaves being drank, warms the stomach, and it is a wonder if it should not, the stomach being under Cancer, the house of the Moon. Also it helps digestion, scatters congealed blood in any part of the body. The distilled water hereof cleanses the eyes of redness, waterishness and heat. It is a gallant remedy for dimness of sight, to take one of the seeds of it, and put into the eyes, and there let it remain till it drops out of itself, (the pain will be nothing to speak of,) it will cleanse the eyes of all filthy and putrefied matter; and in often repeating it, will take off a film which covers the sight: a handsomer, safer, and easier remedy by a great deal, than to tear it off with a needle.


It is also called Aperine, Goose-shade, Goose-grass, and Cleavers.
Descript : The common Cleavers have divers very rough square stalks, not so big as the top of a point, but rising up to be two or three yards high sometimes, if it meet with any tall bushes or trees whereon it may climb, yet without any claspers, or else much lower, and lying on the ground, full of joints, and at every one of them shoots forth a branch, besides the leaves thereat, which are usually six, set in a round compass like a star, or a rowel of a spur. From between the leaves or the joints towards the tops of the branches, come forth very small white flowers, at every end, upon small thready foot-stalks, which after they have fallen, there do shew two small round and rough seeds joined together which, when they are ripe, grow hard and whitish, having a little hole on the side, something like unto a navel. Both stalks, leaves, and seeds are so rough, that they will cleave to any thing that will touch them. The root is small and thready, spreading much to the ground, but dies every year.
Place : It grows by the hedge and ditchsides in many places of this land, and is so troublesome an inhabitant in gardens, that it ramps upon, and is ready to choak whatever grows near it.
Time : It flowers in June or July, and the seed is ripe and falls again in the end of July or August, from whence it springs up again, and not from the old roots.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of the Moon. The juice of the herb and the seed together taken in wine, helps those bitten with an adder, by preserving the heart from the venom. It is familiarly taken in broth to keep them lean and lank, that are apt to grow fat. The distilled water drank twice a day, helps the yellow jaundice, and the decoction of the herb, in experience, is found to do the same, and stays lasks and bloody-fluxes. The juice of the leaves, or they a little bruised, and applied to any bleeding wounds, stays the bleeding. The juice also is very good to close up the lips of green wounds, and the powder of the dried herb strewed thereupon doth the same, and likewise helps old ulcers. Being boiled in hog's grease, it helps all sorts of hard swellings or kernels in the throat, being anointed therewith. The juice dropped into the ears, takes away the pain of them.
It is a good remedy in the Spring, eaten (being first chopped small, and boiled well) in water-gruel, to cleanse the blood, and strengthen the liver, thereby to keep the body in health, and fitting it for that change of season that is coming.


Descript : It grows up sometimes to two or three feet high, but usually about two feet, with square green rough stalks, but slender, joined somewhat far asunder, and two very long, somewhat narrow, dark green leaves, bluntly dented about the edges thereof, ending in a long point. The flowers stand towards the tops, compassing the stalks at the joints with the leaves, and end likewise in a spiked top, having long and much gaping hoods of a purplish red color, with whitish spots in them, standing in somewhat round husks, wherein afterwards stand blackish round seeds. The root is composed of many long strings, with some tuberous long knobs growing among them, of a pale yellowish or whitish color, yet some times of the year these knobby roots in many places are not seen in this plant. This plant smells somewhat strong.
Place : It grows in sundry counties of this land, both north and west, and frequently by path-sides in the fields near about London, and within three or four miles distant about it, yet it usually grows in or near ditches.
Time : It flowers in June or July, and the seed is ripe soon after.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of the planet Saturn. It is singularly effectual in all fresh and green wounds, and therefore bears not this name for nought. And it is very available in staunching of blood and to dry up the fluxes of humours in old fretting ulcers, cankers, &c. that hinder the healing of them.
A syrup made of the juice of it, is inferior to none for inward wounds, ruptures of veins, bloody flux, vessels broken, spitting, urining, or vomiting blood. Ruptures are excellent and speedily, ever to admiration, cured by taking now and then a little of the syrup, and applying an ointment or plaister of this herb to the place. Also, if any vain be swelled or muscle, apply a plaister of this herb to it, and if you add a little Comfrey to it, it will not be amiss. I assure thee the herb deserves commendation, though it has gotten such a clownish name; and whosoever reads this, (if he try it, as I have done,) will commend it; only take notice that it is of a dry earthy quality.


Descript : This has divers weak but rough stalks, half a yard long, leaning downward, but set with winged leaves, longer and more pointed than those of Lintels, and whitish underneath; from the tops of these stalks arise up other slender stalks, naked without leaves unto the tops, where there grow many small flowers in manner of a spike, of a pale reddish color with some blueness among them; after which rise up in their places, round rough, and somewhat flat heads. The root is tough, and somewhat woody, yet lives and shoots a-new every year.
Place : It grows upon hedges, and sometimes in the open fields, in divers places of this land.
Time : They flower all the months of July and August, and the seed ripen in the meanwhile.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of Venus. It has power to rarify and digest, and therefore the green leaves bruised and laid as a plaister, disperse knots, nodes, or kernels in the flesh; and if, when dry, it be taken in wine, it helps the stranguary; and being anointed with oil, it provokes sweat. It is a singular food for cattle, to cause them to give store of milk; and why then may it not do the like, being boiled in ordinary drink, for nurses.


These are so well known, growing almost in every garden, that I think I may save the expense of time in writing a description of them.
Time : They flower in May, and abide not for the most part when June is past, perfecting their seed in the meantime.
Government and virtues : It is also an herb of Venus. The leaves of Columbines are commonly used in lotions with good success for sore mouths and throats. Tragus saith, that a dram of the seed taken in wine with a little saffron, opens obstructions of the liver, and is good for the yellow jaundice, if the party after the taking thereof be laid to sweat well in bed. The seed also taken in wine causes a speedy delivery of women in childbirth: if one draught suffice not, let her drink the second, and it will be effectual. The Spaniards used to eat a piece of the root thereof in the morning fasting, many days together, to help them when troubled with the stone in the reins or kidneys.


Called also Coughwort, Foals's-foot, Horse-hoof, and Bull's-foot.
Descript : This shoots up a slender stalk, with small yellowish flowers somewhat earlier, which fall away quickly, and after they are past, come up somewhat round leaves, sometimes dented about the edges, much lesser, thicker, and greener than those of butterbur, with a little down or frieze over the green leaf on the upper side, which may be rubbed away, and whitish or meally underneath. The root is small and white, spreading much under ground, so that where it takes it will hardly be driven away again, if any little piece be abiding therein; and from thence spring fresh leaves.
Place : It grows as well in wet grounds as in drier places.
Time : And flowers in the end of February, the leaves begin to appear in March.
Government and virtues : The plant is under Venus, the fresh leaves or juice, or a syrup thereof is good for a hot dry cough, or wheezing, and shortness of breath. The dry leaves are best for those that have thin rheums and distillations upon their lungs, causing a cough, for which also the dried leaves taken as tobacco, or the root is very good. The distilled water hereof simply, or with Elder flowers and Nightshade, is a singularly good remedy against all hot agues, to drink two ounces at a time, and apply cloths wet therein to the head and stomach, which also does much good, being applied to any hot swellings and inflammations. It helps St. Anthony's fire, and burnings, and is singularly good to take away wheals and small pushes that arise through heat; as also the burning heat of the piles, or privy parts, cloths wet therein being thereunto applied.


This is a very common but a very neglected plant. It contains very great virtues.
Descript : The common Great Comfrey has divers very large hairy green leaves lying on the ground, so hairy or prickly, that if they touch any tender parts of the hands, face, or body, it will cause it to itch; the stalks that rise from among them, being two or three feet high, hollow and cornered, is very hairy also, having many such like leaves as grow below, but less and less up to the top. At the joints of the stalks it is divided into many branches, with some leaves thereon, and at the ends stand many flowers in order one above another, which are somewhat long and hollow like the finger of a glove, of a pale whitish color, after which come small black seeds. The roots are great and long, spreading great thick branches under ground, black on the outside, and whitish within, short and easy to break, and full of glutinous or clammy juice, of little or no taste at all.
There is another sort in all things like this, only somewhat less, and bears flowers of a pale purple color.
Place : They grow by ditches and water-sides, and in divers fields that are moist, for therein they chiefly delight to grow. The first generally through all the land, and the other but in some places. By the leave of my authors, I know the first grows in dry places.
Time : They flower in June or July, and give their seed in August.
Government and virtues : This is an herb of Saturn, and I suppose under the sign Capricorn, cold, dry, and earthy in quality. What was spoken of Clown's Woundwort may be said of this. The Great Comfrey helps those that spit blood or make a bloody urine. The root boiled in water or wine, and the decoction drank, helps all inward hurts, bruises, wounds, and ulcer of the lungs, and causes the phlegm that oppresses them to be easily spit forth. It helps the defluction of rheum from the head upon the lungs, the fluxes of blood or humours by the belly, women's immoderate courses, as well the reds as the whites, and the running of the reins happening by what cause soever. A syrup made thereof is very effectual for all those inward griefs and hurts, and the distilled water for the same purpose also, and for outward wounds and sores in the fleshy or sinewy part of the body whatsoever, as also to take away the fits of agues, and to allay the sharpness of humours. A decoction of the leaves hereof is available to all the purposes, though not so effectual as the roots. The roots being outwardly applied, help fresh wounds or cuts immediately, being bruised and laid thereto; and is special good for ruptures and broken bones; yea, it is said to be so powerful to consolidate and knit together, that if they be boiled with dissevered pieces of flesh in a pot, it will join them together again. It is good to be applied to women's breasts that grow sore by the abundance of milk coming into them; also to repress the over much bleeding of the hæmorrhoids, to cool the inflammation of the parts thereabouts, and to give ease of pains. The roots of Comfrey taken fresh, beaten small, and spread upon leather, and laid upon any place troubled with the gout, doth presently give case of the pains; and applied in the same manner, gives ease to pained joints, and profits very much for running and moist ulcers, gangrenes, mortifications, and the like, for which it hath by often experience been found helpful.


It is also called by some Toothwort, Tooth Violet, Dog-Teeth Violet, and Dentaria.
Descript : Of the many sorts of this herb two of them may be found growing in this nation; the first of which shoots forth one or two winged leaves, upon long brownish foot-stalks, which are doubled down at their first coming out of the ground; when they are fully opened they consist of seven leaves, most commonly of a sad green color, dented about the edges, set on both sides the middle rib one against another, as the leaves of the ash tree; the stalk bears no leaves on the lower half of it; the upper half bears sometimes three or four, each consisting of five leaves, sometimes of three; on the top stand four or five flowers upon short foot-stalks, with long husks; the flowers are very like the flowers of Stockgilli-flowers, of a pale purplish color, consisting of four leaves apiece, after which come small pods, which contain the seed; the root is very smooth, white and shining; it does not grow downwards, but creeps along under the upper crust of the ground, and consists of divers small round knobs set together; towards the top of the stalk there grows some single leaves, by each of which comes a small cloven bulb, which when it is ripe, if it be set in the ground, it will grow to be a root.
As for the other Coralwort, which grows in this nation, it is more scarce than this, being a very small plant, much like Crowfoot, therefore some think it to be one of the sorts of Crowfoot. I know not where to direct you to it, therefore I shall forbear the description.
Place : The first grows in Mayfield in Sussex, in a wood called Highread, and in another wood there also, called Fox-holes.
Time : They flower from the latter end of April to the middle of May, and before the middle of July they are gone, and not to be found.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of the Moon. It cleanses the bladder, and provokes urine, expels gravel, and the stone; it eases pains in the sides and bowels, is excellently good for inward wounds, especially such as are made in the breast or lungs, by taking a dram of the powder of the root every morning in wine; the same is excellently good for ruptures, as also to stop fluxes; an ointment made of it is exceedingly good for wounds and ulcers, for it soon dries up the watery humours which hinder the cure.


This is so frequently known to be an inhabitant in almost every garden, that I suppose it needless to write a description thereof.
Time : It flowers in June and July.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of Jupiter. The ordinary Costmary, as well as Maudlin, provokes urine abundantly, and moistens the hardness of the mother; it gently purges choler and phlegm, extenuating that which is gross, and cutting that which is tough and glutinous, cleanses that which is foul, and hinders putrefaction and corruption; it dissolves without attraction, opens obstructions, and helps their evil effects, and it is a wonderful help to all sorts of dry agues. It is astringent to the stomach, and strengthens the liver, and all the other inward parts; and taken in whey works more effectually. Taken fasting in the morning, it is very profitable for pains in the head that are continual, and to stay, dry up, and consume all thin rheums or distillations from the head into the stomach, and helps much to digest raw humours that are gathered therein. It is very profitable for those that are fallen into a continual evil disposition of the whole body, called Cachexia, but especially in the beginning of the disease. It is an especial friend and helps to evil, weak and cold livers. The seed is familiarly given to children for the worms, and so is the infusion of the flowers in white wine given them to the quantity of two ounces at a time; it makes an excellent salve to cleanse and heal old ulcers, being boiled with oil of olive, and Adder's tongue with it, and after it is strained, put a little wax, rosin, and turpentine, to bring it to a convenient body.


Besides Cudweed and Cottonweed, it is also Called Chaffweed, Dwarf Cotton, and Petty Cotton.
Descript : The common Cudweed rises up with one stalk sometimes, and sometimes with two or three, thick set on all sides with small, long and narrow whitish or woody leaves, from the middle of the stalk almost up to the top, with leaf stands small flowers of a dun or brownish yellow color, or not so yellow as others; in which herbs, after the flowers are fallen, come small seed wrapped up, with the down therein, and is carried away with the wind; the root is small and thready.
There are other sorts hereof, which are somewhat less than the former, not much different, save only that the stalks and leaves are shorter, so that the flowers are paler and more open.
Place : They grow in dry, barren, sandy, and gravelly grounds, in most places of this land.
Time : They flower about July, some earlier, some later, and their seed is ripe in August.
Government and virtues : Venus is Lady of it. The plants are all astringent, binding, or drying, and therefore profitable for defluctions of rheum from the head, and to stays fluxes of blood wheresoever, the decoction being made into red wine and drank, or the powder taken therein. It also helps the bloody-flux, and eases the torments that come thereby, stays the immoderate courses of women, and is also good for inward or outward wounds, hurts, and bruises, and helps children both of bursting and the worms, and being either drank or injected, for the disease called Tenesmus, which is an often provocation to the stool without doing any think. The green leaves bruised, and laid to any green wound, stays the bleeding, and heals it up quickly. The juice of the herb taken in wine and milk, is, as Pliny saith, a sovereign remedy against the mumps and quinsey; and further saith, That whosoever shall so take it, shall never be troubled with that disease again.


Both the wild and garden Cowslips are so well known, that I neither trouble myself nor the reader with a description of them.
Time : They flower in April and May.
Government and virtues : Venus lays claim to this herb as her own, and it is under the sign Aries, and our city dames know well enough the ointment or distilled water of it adds beauty, or at least restores it when it is lost. The flowers are held to be more effectual than the leaves, and the roots of little use. An ointment being made with them, takes away spots and wrinkles of the skin, sun-burning, and freckles, and adds beauty exceedingly; they remedy all infirmities of the head coming of heat and wind, as vertigo, ephialtes, false apparitions, phrensies, falling-sickness, palsies, convulsions, cramps, pains in the nerves; the roots ease pains in the back and bladder, and open the passages of urine. The leaves are good in wounds, and the flowers take away trembling. If the flowers be not well dried, and kept in a warm place, they will soon putrefy and look green. Have a special eye over them. If you let them see the Sun ounce a month, it will do neither the Sun nor them harm.
Because they strengthen the brain and nerves, and remedy palsies, and Greeks gave them the name Paralysis. The flowers preserved or conserved, and the quantity of a nutmeg eaten every morning, is a sufficient does for inward diseases; but for wounds, spots, wrinkles, and sunburnings, an ointment is made of the leaves, and hog's grease.


Called also Water Sengreen, Knight's Pond Water, Water House-leek, Pond Weed, and Fresh-water Soldier.
Descript : It has sundry long narrow leaves, with sharp prickles on the edges of them, also very sharp pointed; the stalks which bear flowers, seldom grow so high as the leaves, bearing a forked head, like a Crab's Claw, out of which comes a white flower, consisting of three leaves, with divers yellowish hairy threads in the middle; it takes root in the mud at the bottom of the water.
Place : It grows plentifully in the fens in Lincolnshire.
Time : It flowers in June, and usually from thence till August.
Government and virtues : It is a plant under the dominion of Venus, and therefore a great strengthener of the reins; it is excellently good for inflammation which is commonly called St. Anthony's Fire; it assuages inflammations, and swellings in wounds: and an ointment made of it is excellently good to heal them; there is scarcely a better remedy growing than this is, for such as have bruised their kidneys, and upon that account discharge blood; a dram of the powder of the herb taken every morning, is a very good remedy to stop the terms.


Descript : It has long leaves, deeply cut and jagged on both sides, not much unlike wild mustard; the stalk small, very limber, though very tough: you may twist them round as you may a willow before they break. The flowers are very small and yellow, after which comes small pods, which contains the seed.
Place : It is a common herb, grows usually by the way-side, and sometimes upon mud walls about London, but it delights to grow most among stones and rubbish.
Time : It flowers in June and July, and the seed is ripe in August and September.
Government and virtues : It is a plant of a hot and biting nature, under the dominion of Mars. The seed of Black Cresses strengthens the brian exceedingly, being, in performing that office, little inferior to mustard seed, if at all; they are excellently good to stay those rheums which may fall down from the head upon the lungs; you may beat the seed into powder, if you please, and make it up into an electuary with honey; so you have an excellent remedy by you, not only for premises, but also for the cough, yellow jaundice and sciatica. This herb boiled into a poultice, is an excellent remedy for inflammations; both in women's breasts, and men's testicles.


Descript : These are of two kinds. The first rises up with a round stalk about two feet high, spreads into divers branches, whose lower leaves are somewhat larger than the upper, yet all of them cut or torn on the edges, somewhat like the garden Cresses, but smaller, the flowers are small and white, growing at the tops of branches, where afterwards grow husks with small brownish seeds therein very strong and sharp in taste, more than the Cresses of the garden; the root is long, white, and woody.
The other has the lower leaves whole somewhat long and broad, not torn at all, but only somewhat deeply dented about the edges towards the ends; but those that grow up higher are smaller. The flowers and seeds are like the former, and so is the root likewise, and both root and seeds as sharp as it.
Place : They grow in the way-sides in untilled places, and by the sides of old walls.
Time : They flower in the end of June, and their seed is ripe in July.
Government and virtues : It is a Saturnine plant. The leaves, but especially the root, taken fresh in Summer-time, beaten or made into a poultice or salve with old hog's grease, and applied to the places pained with the sciatica, to continue thereon four hours if it be on a man, and two hours on a woman; the place afterwards bathed with wine and oil mixed together; and then wrapped with wool or skins, after they have sweat a little, will assuredly cure not only the same disease in hips, knuckle-bone, or other of the joints, as gout in the hands or feet, but all other old griefs of the head, (as inveterate rheums,) and other parts of the body that are hard to be cured. And if of the former griefs any parts remain, the same medicine after twenty days, is to be applied again. The same is also effectual in the diseases of the spleen; and applied to the skin, takes away the blemish thereof, whether they be scars, leprosy, scabs, or scurf, which although it ulcerate the part, yet that is to be helped afterwards with a salve made of oil and wax. Esteem this as another secret.


Descript : Our ordinary Water Cresses spread forth with many weak, hollow, sappy stalks, shooting out fibres at the joints and upwards long winged leaves made of sundry broad sappy almost round leaves, of a brownish color. The flowers are many and white standing on long foot-stalks after which come small yellow seed, contained in small long pods like horns. The whole plant abides green in the winter, and tastes somewhat hot and sharp.
Place : They grow, for the most part, in small standing waters, yet sometimes in small rivulets of running water.
Time : They flower and seed in the beginning of Summer.
Government and virtues : It is an herb under the dominion of the Moon. They are more powerful against the scurvy, and to cleanse the blood and humours, than Brooklime is, and serve in all the other uses in which Brooklime is available, as to break the stone, and provoke urine and woman's courses. The decoction thereof cleanses ulcers, by washing them therewith. The leaves bruised, or the juice, is good, to be applied to the face or other parts troubled with freckles, pimples, spots, or the like, at night, and washed away in the morning. The juice mixed with vinegar, and the fore part of the head bathed therewith, is very good for those that are dull and drowsy, or have the lethargy.
Water-cress pottage is a good remedy to cleanse the blood in the spring, and help headaches, and consume the gross humours winter has left behind; those that would live in health, may use it if they please; if they will not, I cannot help it. If any fancy not pottage, they may eat the herb as a sallad.


This herb receives its name from the situation of its leaves.
Descript : Common Crosswort grows up with square hairy brown stalks a little above a foot high, having four small broad and pointed, hairy yet smooth thin leaves, growing at every joint, each against other one way, which has caused the name. Towards the tops of the stalks at the joints, with the leaves in three or four rows downwards, stand small, pale yellow flowers, after which come small blackish round seeds, four for the most part, set in every husk. The root is very small, and full of fibres, or threads, taking good hold of the ground, and spreading with the branches over a great deal of ground, which perish not in winter, although the leaves die every year and spring again anew.
Place : It grows in many moist grounds, well in meadows as untilled places, about London, in Hampstead church-yard, at Wye in Kent, and sundry other places.
Time : It flowers from May all the Summer long, in one place or other, as they are more open to the sun; the seed ripens soon after.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of Saturn. This is a singularly good wound herb, and is used inwardly, not only to stay bleeding of wounds, but to consolidate them, as it doth outwardly any green wound, which it quickly solders up, and heals. The decoction of the herb in wine, helps to expectorate the phlegm out of the chest, and is good for obstructions in the breast, stomach, or bowels, and helps a decayed appetite. It is also good to wash any wound or sore with, to cleanse and heal it. The herb bruised, and then boiled applied outwardly for certain days together, renewing it often: and in the mean time the decoction of the herb in wine, taken inwardly every day, doth certainly cure the rupture in any, so as it be not too inveterate; but very speedily, if it be fresh and lately taken.


Many are the names this furious biting herb has obtained, almost enough to make up a Welchman's pedigree, if he fetch no farther than John of Gaunt, or William the Conqueror; for it is called Frog's-foot, from the Greek name Barrakion: Crowfoot, Gold Knobs, Gold Cups, King's Knob, Baffiners, Troilflowers, Polts, Locket Goulons, and Butterflowers.
Abundance are the sorts of this herb, that to describe them all, would tire the patience of Socrates himself, but because I have not yet attained to the spirit of Socrates, I shall but describe the most usual.
Descript : The most common Crowfoot has many thin great leaves, cut into divers parts, in taste biting and sharp, biting and blistering the tongue. It bears many flowers, and those of a bright, resplendent, yellow color. I do not remember, that I ever saw any thing yellower. Virgins, in ancient time, used to make powder of them to furrow bride beds; after which flowers come small heads, some spiked and rugged like a Pine-Apple.
Place : They grow very common everywhere; unless you turn your head into a hedge you cannot but see them as you walk.
Time : They flower in May and June, even till September.
Government and virtues. This fiery and hot-spirited herb of Mars is no way fit to be given inwardly, but an ointment of the leaves or flowers will draw a blister, and may be so fitly applied to the nape of the neck to draw back rheum from the eyes. The herb being bruised and mixed with a little mustard, draws a blister as well, and as perfectly as Cantharides, and with far less danger to the vessels of urine, which Cantharides naturally delight to wrong. I knew the herb once applied to a pestilential rising that was fallen down, and it saved life even beyond hope; it were good to keep an ointment and plaister of it, if it were but for that.


It is called Aron, Janus, Barba-aron, Calve's-foot, Ramp, Starchwort, Cuckow-point, and Wake Robin.
Descript : This shoots forth three, four or five leaves at the most, from one root, every one whereof is somewhat large and long, broad at the bottom next the stalk, and forked, but ending in a point, without a cut on the edge, of a full green color, each standing upon a thick round stalk, of a hand-breadth long, or more, among which, after two or three months that they begin to wither, rises up a bare, round, whitish green stalk, spotted and streaked with purple, somewhat higher than the leaves. At the top whereof stands a long hollow husk close at the bottom, but open from the middle upwards, ending in a point: in the middle whereof stands the small long pestle or clapper, smaller at the bottom than at the top, of a dark purple color, as the husk is on the inside, though green without; which, after it hath so abided for some time, the husk with the clapper decays, and the foot or bottom thereof grows to be a small long bunch of berries, green at the first, and of a yellowish red color when they are ripe, of the bigness of a hazel-nut kernel, which abides thereon almost until Winter; the root is round, and somewhat long, for the most part lying along, the leaves shooting forth at the largest end, which, when it bears its berries, are somewhat wrinkled and loose, another growing under it, which is solid and firm, with many small threads hanging thereat. The whole plant is of a very sharp biting taste, pricking the tongue as nettles do the hands, and so abides for a great while without alteration. The root thereof was anciently used instead of starch to starch linen with.
There is another sort of Cuckow-point, with less leaves than the former, and some times harder, having blackish spots upon them, which for the most part abide longer green in Summer than the former, and both leaves and roots are more sharp and fierce than it. In all things else it is like the former.
Place : These two sorts grow frequently almost under every hedge-side in many places of this land.
Time : They shoot forth leaves in the Spring, and continue but until the middle of Summer, or somewhat later; their husks appearing before the fall away, and their fruit shewing in April.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of Mars. Tragus reports, that a dram weight, or more, if need be, of the spotted Wake Robin, either fresh and green, or dried, having been eaten and taken, is a present and sure remedy for poison and the plague. The juice of the herb taken to the quantity of a spoonful has the same effect. But if there be a little vinegar added thereto, as well as to the root aforesaid, it somewhat allays the sharp biting taste thereof upon the tongue. The green leaves bruised, and laid upon any boil or plague sore, doth wonderfully help to draw forth the poison. A dram of the powder of the dried root taken with twice so much sugar in the form of a licking electuary, or the green root, doth wonderfully help those that are pursy and short-winded, as also those that have a cough; it breaks, digests, and rids away phlegm from the stomach, chest, and lungs. The milk wherein the root has been boiled is effectual also for the same purpose. The said powder taken in wine or other drink, or the juice of the berries, or the powder of them, or the wine wherein they have been boiled, provokes urine, and brings down women's courses and purges them effectually after child-bearing, to bring away the after-birth. Taken with sheep's milk, it heals the inward ulcers of the bowels. The distilled water thereof is effectual to all the purposes aforesaid. A spoonful taken at a time heals the itch; an ounce or more taken a time for some days together, doth help the rupture. The leaves either green or dry, or the juice of them, doth cleanse all manner of rotten and filthy ulcers, in what part of the body soever; and heals the stinking sores in the nose, called Polypus. The water wherein the root has been boiled, dropped into the eyes, cleanses them from any film or skin, cloud or mists, which begin to hinder the sight, and helps the watering and redness of them, or when, by some chance, they become black and blue. The root mixed with bean-flour, and applied to the throat or jaws that are inflamed, helps them. The juice of the berries boiled in oil of roses, or beaten into powder mixed with the oil, and dropped into the ears, eases pains in them. The berries or the roots beaten with the hot ox-dung, and applied, eases the pains of the gout. The leaves and roots boiled in wine with a little oil, and applied to the piles, or the falling down of the fundament, eases them, and so doth sitting over the hot fumes thereof. The fresh roots bruised and distilled with a little milk, yields a most sovereign water to cleanse the skin from scurf, freckles, spots, or blemishes whatsoever therein.
Authors have left large commendations of this herb you see, but for my part, I have neither spoken with Dr. Reason nor Dr. Experience about it.


Government and virtues : There is no dispute to be made, but that they are under the dominion of the Moon, though they are so much cried out against for their coldness, and if they were but one degree colder they would be poison. The best of Galenists hold them to be cold and moist in the second degree, and then not so hot as either lettuce or purslain. They are excellently good for a hot stomach, and hot liver; the unmeasurable use of them fills the body full of raw humours, and so indeed the unmeasurable use of any thing else doth harm. The face being washed with their juice, cleanses the skin, and is excellently good for hot rheums in the eyes; the seed is excellently good to provoke urine, and cleanses the passages thereof when they are stopped: there is not a better remedy for ulcers in the bladder growing, than Cucumbers are. The usual course is, to use the seeds in emulsions, as they make almond milk; but a far better way (in my opinion) is this. When the season of the year is, take the Cucumbers and bruise them well, and distil the water from them, and let such as are troubled with ulcers in the bladder drink no other drink. The face being washed with the same water, cures the reddest face that is; it is also excellently good for sun-burning, freckles, and morphew.




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