Wicca Witchcraft  Paganism  




Home Wicca Wiccan Recipes Magic Spells And Charms Magic Links



Magic And Wicca - Herbal Encyclopedia - H


Herbs & Oils

~ H ~


(Cratageus spp.)

Also known as May Tree, May Blossom, or White Thorn. A Druid sacred tree, this deciduous, thorny shrub has serrated, lobed leaves, dense white flower clusters in late spring, and red false fruits (haws). The flowers consist of five white petals, sacred to the Goddess. During World War I, young Hawthorn leaves were used as substitutes for tea and tobacco, and the seeds were ground in place of coffee.
The berry is a superior heart tonic, useful for almost any heart condition. Cholesterol problems and valvular diseases are benefited. The berries also strengthen the appetite and digestion. Extended use lowers blood pressure. Hawthorn berry is a good remedy for the nerves and for insomnia. The berries are simmered or tinctured. Simmer two teaspoons of berries per cup of water for twenty minutes. The dose is a quarter cup four times a day. Take ten to twenty drops of tincture four times a day. The flowers are taken as a tea to benefit the heart. Steep two teaspoons of flowers per cup of water for twenty minutes; the dose is a quarter cup four times a day.
Parts Used: Berry and flower
Magical Uses: Hawthorn is the classic flower to decorate a maypole. An herb of fertility, it finds its place in weddings, May Day celebrations, and ritual groves. Beltaine was once reckoned as the day the hawthorn first bloomed. Wands made of hawthorn have great power. The blossoms are highly erotic. Use for Fertility magic; Protection; Defense; and Chastity. Hawthorn is sacred to the fairies, and is part of the tree fairy triad of Britain "Oak, Ash and Thorn" and where all three trees grow together it is said that one may see fairies.


(Corylus avellana)

Also called European Filbert. A Druid sacred tree, Hazel is a deciduous, suckering shrub with pendulous male catkins in spring and clusters of nuts in autumn. The leaves have served as a tobacco substitute.
Hazel nuts are rich in phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and copper. Culpeper says that hazel nuts with mead or honey will cure a chronic cough. These are made into an "electuary". Grind the nuts in an electric blender, then add mead or honey or form a past, which is eaten several times a day in tablespoon doses. Add pepper to discharge phlegm.
Parts Used: Nut
Magical Uses: Hazel is an ancient Celtic tree of wisdom, inspiration, and poetry. Hazel nuts are eaten before divination. Diancecht, the god of healing, invented a porridge that would cure colds, sore throats, and worms. According to legend, it consisted of hazel buds, dandelions, chickweed, sorrel, and oatmeal. It was to be taken in the mornings and evenings.
Wands of Hazel symbolize white magic and healing. Forked sticks are used to find water or buried treasure. If outside and in need of magical protection quickly, draw a circle around yourself with a hazel branch. To enlist the aid of plant fairies, string hazelnuts on a cord and hang up in your house or ritual room.
Healing; Protection; Luck; Clairvoyance; Divination; Inspiration; Wisdom; Defense; Fertility; Wishes.


(Calluna vulgaris)

A Druid Sacred Herb, there are more than a thousand cultivars from this low-growing, evergreen species, which has scale like leaves and crowded racemes of flowers. Heather provides a support system for rural farmers, who use it for fuel, thatch, fodder, tea, and as a dye. Growing the plants increases the soils fertility.
The flowering shoots of heather are used for insomnia, stomach pains, coughs, and skin problems. Heather, used fresh or dry, strengthens the heart and slightly raises the blood pressure. Heather is slightly diuretic. Fresh or dried heather shoots are simmered, four teaspoons to a cup of water; the dose is one-half cup a day.
Parts Used: Flowering shoot
Magical Uses: Heather is a Goddess herb associated with the planet Venus and sacred to Isis. It is carried as a guard against rape and other violent crimes, or just to bring good luck. White heather is the best for this purpose. Heather when burned with fern outside attracts rain, or dip heather and fern in water and sprinkle around to conjure rain. Heather has also long been used to conjure ghosts. Red Heather is used for passion, to start or end an affair. Purple for spiritual development. White for cooling passions of unwanted suitors.


(Ilex aquifolium)

The American variety is Ilex opaca. A Druid sacred tree. Sacred to the Winter Solstice, when it is used for decorating. The leaf is dried and used as tea for fevers, bronchitis, bladder problems, and gout. Steep a half ounce of the chopped leaf in boiled water for twenty minutes; take up to one cup a day. The juice of the fresh leaf is helpful in jaundice; take one tablespoon per day.
CAUTION: the berries are poisonous!
Parts Used: Leaf
Magical Uses: Holly, with it's warrior-like bristles, is known as an herb of protection. Cast it about to repel unwanted animals and spirits. Sprinkle newborn babies with "holly water" (water in which holly has been soaked, especially if left under a full moon overnight) to keep them happy and safe. Holly is one of the evergreens brought into the home by Druids. It symbolizes a willingness to allow the nature spirits to share one'e abode during the harsh, cold season.
Planted near a house, holly repels negative spells sent against you. A bag of leaves and berries carried by a man increases his ability to attract women. Carry to promote good luck. Energy; Power; Strength; Protection.
After midnight on a Friday, without making a sound, gather nine holly leaves, preferably from a non-spiny plant. Wrap these up in a white cloth using nine knots the tie the ends together. Place this beneath your pillow, and your dreams will come true. The traditional crowns for the bride and groom are made of holly (a male plant) and ivy (a female plant), wreaths and altar decoration are made of these as well.


(Lonicera japonica)

This evergreen or semi-evergreen vine has hairy leaves and fragrant spring to summer flowers that open white and turn yellow, followed by poisonous black berries.
Properties cited are for the common flower that grows wild, rather that the ornamental varieties. The flowers have a broad spectrum antimicrobial effect against salmonella, staphyloccus, and streptococcus. Chinese herbalists have long recognized honesuckle as an antibiotic herb for colds, flus, and fevers. Sore throats, conjuctivitis, and inflammations of the bowel, urinary tract, and reproductive organs have been treated with it. It is said to be useful in treating cancer. Combine it with seeds of Forsythia suspensii, the well-known yellow flowering shrub, or Echinacea augustifolia or E. purpurea for maximum antivirul and antibacterial effect. Steep two teaspoons per cup for twenty minutes. The dose is a quarter cup, four times a day.
Parts Used: Flower
Magical Uses: Health-Healing; Love; Luck; Creativity; Prophetic Dreams; Protection; Psychic Awareness; Divination; Clairvoyance; Anointing; Balance. Lightly crush the fresh flowers and then rub on the forehead to heighten psychic powers. Ring green candles with honeysuckle flowers to attract money.


(Humulus lupulus)

Also known as Beer Flavor. A Druid sacred herb, this herbaceous twining herb has large toothed leaves and flowers with a distinctive scent of beer. The young shoots are eaten as a vegetable and the leaves blanched for soups, but Hops are cultivated mainly for the brewing industry. The ripe, female flowers, called "strobiles," are added to beer to flavor, clarify, and preserve it. A pillow stuffed with dried hops aids sleep and healing.
Parts Used: Flower
Magical Uses: Use in exorcism incenses and mixtures, as well as healing sachets.


(Marrubium vulgare)

Horehound is a woolly herb with a faint scent of wormwood, crinkled hairy leaves, and flowering stems with whorls of small white blossoms. Navajo mothers were given a root decoction before and after childbirth. Horehound's woolly leaves were once used to clean milk pails, and the dried flower remains were floated on oil as candle wicks. The leaves are used in tonics, liqueurs, and ales, and are made into expectorant and antiseptic cough drops. An infusion relaxes muscles, and helps expel mucus, treating bronchitis, croup, and asthma. It destroys intestinal worms, and acts as a digestive and liver tonic and a laxative. The tea is used internally and externally to treat eczema and shingles.
Parts Used: Leaf
Magical Uses: Use in protective sachets and carry to guard against sorcery and fascination. Also scattered as an exorcism herb. Drink an infusion of the herb and it will clear your mind and promote quick thinking as well as strengthen the mental powers. Horehound, when mixed with ash leaves and placed in a bowl of water, releases healing vibrations, and should be placed in a sickroom.


Hysopus officinalis Hyssop is a semievergreen shrub or subshrub with aromatic leaves and spikes of blue, two-lipped, late-summer flowers. The leaf is added to liqueurs, adds bit to sweet and savory dished, and aids in the digestion of fatty meat. Once used for purifying temples and cleansing lepers, the leaves contain an antiseptic, antiviral oil. A mold that produces penicillin grows on the leaves. An infusion id taken as a sedative expectorant for flu, bronchitis, and phlegm. A leaf poultice treats bruises and wounds. The antiseptic, antiviral, but hazardous essential oil is used in perfumes and to treat cold sores, disperse bruises, and heal scars. Hyssop is added to potpourri and laundry rinses. Hyssop is used in companion to distract cabbage butterflies and planted near vines to increase yield. It should be avoided when pregnant and by those with hypertension and epilepsy.
The herb is used (often in combination with sage, which has similar properties, or horehound) for respiratory tract infections. Flu, sore throats, lung complaints, asthma, chronic bronchitis, gas, adn bloating are treated by it. Externally, it is used as a wound herb for bruises, injuries, and rheumatism. The green tops of the herb can be added to soups to benefit asthmatics. Hyssop baths are useful for rheumatic complaints. Make a standard infusion of the herb using two teaspoons per cup of water and steeping for twenty minutes. The dose is one-fourth cup four times a day.
Parts Used: The above ground portions of the herb
Magical Uses: Hyssop was a holy herb of the ancient Greeks, used to cleanse sacred spaces. It is the most widely used purification herb in magic. Hyssop can be burned in incense, worn, used in decorations, and added to the chalice. Use a bunch to ritually "sweep" the altar as a preparation for a ceremonial rite. It is added to baths in sachets, infused and sprinkled on objects or persons to cleanse them, and hung up in the home to purge it of evil negativity.
Aromatherapy Uses Bruises; Cuts; Dermatitis; Eczema; Inflammation; Wounds; Low or High Blood Pressure; Rheumatism; Asthma; Bronchitis; Catarrh; Cough; Flu; Sore Throat; Tonsillitis; Whooping Cough; Colic; Indigestion; Amenorrhea; Leukorrhea; Anxiety; Fatigue; Nervous Tension; Stress related Conditions. Key Qualities: Tonic; Cephalic; Nervine; Warming; Calming; Purifying; Cleansing; Aphrodisiac; Mental Stimulant; balancing.


Hair Cap Moss

See Moss, Hair Cap.


Botanical: Spiraea tomentosa (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
---Synonyms---Steeple Bush. White Cap. White Leaf. Silver Leaf.
---Parts Used---Leaves, root, flowers.
---Habitat---Canada. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia to the mountains of Georgia westward.
---Description---Indigenous shrub, with leaves ovate, lanceolate, serrate, greenish-white and downy. The rose-colored flowers are in panicles underneath.
---Constituents---The root is said to contain gallic and tannic acid, and, when freshly dug, some volatile oils.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The flowers give feebly the medicinal action of salicylic acid and are used in decoction for their diuretic and tonic effect.
The root and leaves are astringent and useful in diarrhoea when there are no inflammatory symptoms.
Dose for diarrhoea, 30 to 60 minims of the fluid extract.

Hart's Tongue
See Ferns.

Hawkbit, Autumnal

Botanical: Leontodon autumnalis (LINN.)

Hawkbit, Rough

Botanical: Leontodon hispidus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Other Species
---Part Used---Herb.
Assigned also at one time to the genus Hieracium, but now placed by most botanists in the genus Leontodon, and sometimes in the genus Apargia, are the Hawkbits, of which there are two British species, the Autumnal Hawkbit and the Rough Hawkbit, both abundantly distributed throughout Britain, in meadowland, and on commons and waste ground.
The Rough Hawkbit has been used medicinally in the same manner as the Hawkweeds and the Dandelion, for its action on the kidneys and as a remedy for jaundice and dropsy, and is still used for its diuretic qualities in country districts in Ireland.
It is a plant somewhat resembling the Dandelion in appearance, the leaves all springing from the root, 3 to 4 inches long, jaggedly cut into, with the lobes pointing backwards, but instead of being smooth like the Dandelion, they are rough with forked bristles. The few flowers which the plant bears are borne singly on slender stems, 6 inches to a foot or more high, swollen at the top beneath the heads, which are 1 1/2 inches in diameter when expanded; when in bud, they droop.
The name of the genus, Leontodon, is formed from two Greek words, meaning Lion's tooth, referring to the toothed leaves. Apargia is derived from the name bestowed by the Greeks on this or some similar plant, and is taken from two Greek words, meaning 'From idleness,' the implication being that where these weeds are allowed to abound, the farmer has his own idleness to thank. The name of the genus, Hieracium, derived from the Greek, hieras (a hawk), refers to an ancient belief that hawks ate these plants to sharpen their sight, a belief also indicated in the popular English names, Hawkweed and Hawkbit.
All the Hawkweeds abound in honey and have a sweet honey-like smell when expanded in the full sunshine.
---Other Species---
Hieracium Aurantiacum, called also 'Grimthe-Collier,' from the black hairs which clothe the flower-stalk and involucre, is an ornamental plant with orange flowers.



Hawkweed, Wall

Botanical: Hieracium murorum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
---Part Used---Herb.

Hawkweed, Wood

Botanical: Hieracium sylvaticum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
---Part Used---Herb.
The Hawkweeds, together with the Hawkbits, Goat's Beard and Salsify, belong to the Chicory group of the great order Compositae, which includes also the Dandelion and Sowthistles. All the plants of this group have milky juice, and the flowers - mostly yellow - have not two kinds of florets, like the daisy, but consist only of strap-shaped florets, each one of which is a complete flower in itself, not lacking stamens, as do the outer similarly shaped ray florets of the Daisy.
It is often a perplexing matter to distinguish the different members of the Hawkweed family. Some botanical authorities have recognized no less than thirty different species, but many of these are considered by other authorities to be merely variations or subspecies, and, as a rule, about ten species are regarded as distinct, of which the commonest among the taller species are the Wall Hawkweed (Hieracium murorum), and the Wood Hawkweed (H. sylvaticum), and the little Mouse-ear Hawkweed.
The older writers have often grouped together, as far as their medicinal qualities are concerned, the Hawkweeds, the Hawkbits and the Hawkbeards, all of which have yellow, dandelion-like flowers, and are much alike in appearance. Culpepper says:
'Saturn owns it. Hawkweed, saith Dioscorides, is cooling, somewhat drying and binding, and good for the heat of the stomach and gnawings therein, for inflammation and the bad fits of ague. The juice of it in wine helps digestion, dispels wind, hinders crudities abiding in the stomach; it is good against the biting of venomous serpents, if the herb be applied to the place, and is good against all other poisons. A scruple of the dried root given in wine and vinegar is profitable for dropsy. The decoction of the herb taken in honey digesteth the phlegm in the chest or lungs, and with hyssop helps the cough. The decoction of the herb and of wild succory made with wine, cures windy colic and hardness of the spleen, it procures rest and sleep, cools heat, purges the stomach, increases blood and helps diseases of the reins and bladder. Outwardly applied it is good for all the defects and diseases of the eyes, used with new milk- it is used with good success for healing spreading ulcers, especially in the beginning. The green leaves, bruised and with a little salt, applied to any place burnt with fire before blisters arise, help them: as also St. Anthony's fire (erysipelas) and all eruptions. Applied with meal and water as a poultice, it eases and helps cramps and convulsions. The distilled water cleanseth the skin and taketh away freckles, spots, or wrinkles in the face.'
The Wall Hawkweed, probably the commonest of the genus, grows freely in Great Britain in woods and on heaths, walls and rocks. It is a very variable plant, 1 to 2 feet high; the leaves, which are more or less hairy, mostly rise directly from the root and lie in a rosette on the ground. They are egg-shaped and toothed at the base and have slender footstalks. The stem is many-flowered and rarely bears more than one large leaf, sometimes none. The yellow flowers, which are in bloom in July and August, are from 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter, their stalks below the heads being covered with scattered, simple and gland-tipped black hairs.
The Wood Hawkweed is found on banks and in copses, flowering in August and September. It is also very variable, but is best distinguished from H. murorum by its more robust habit, rather larger heads of flowers and by the narrower leaves, less crowded in a rosette, the stem being as a rule more leafy, but some varieties of murorum would rank with this in form of foliage. The leaves are sometimes very slightly toothed, the teeth pointing upwards, at other times deeply so, and are often spotted with purple. The stems are 1 to 3 feet high and many flowered, the involucres of the heads being hoary with down.

Hawkweed, Mouse-Ear

Botanical: Hieracium Pilosella (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
---Synonyms---Hawkweed. Pilosella. Mouse Ear.
---Part Used---Herb.
None of the Hawkweeds are now much used in herbal treatment, though in many parts of Europe they were formerly employed as a constant medicine in diseases of the lungs, asthma and incipient consumption, but the small Mouse-ear Hawkweed, known commonly as Mouse-ear is still collected and used by herbalists for its medicinal properties. It is very common on sunny banks and walls, and in dry pastures, and is well distinguished from all other British plants of the order, by its creeping scions or runners, which are thrown out in the same manner as in the strawberry, by its small rosettes of hairy, undivided leaves, greyish green above and hoary beneath, with a dense white coat of stellately branched hairs, and by its bright lemon-colored flowers, which are borne singly on the almost leafless stems, which are only a few inches high. The flower-heads, which are about an inch in diameter, are composed of about fifty florets, the outer having a broad, purple stripe on the under side. They open daily at 8 a.m. and close about 2 p.m. The plant is in bloom from May to September.
The Mouse-ear differs from all other milky plants of this class, in its juice being less bitter and more astringent, and on account of this astringency, it was much employed as a medicine in the Middle Ages under the name of Auricula muris, from which the popular name is taken. It has sudorific, tonic and expectorant properties, and is considered a good remedy for whooping cough (for which, indeed, it has been regarded as a specific) and all affections of the lungs.
The infusion of the whole herb is employed, made by pouring 1 pint of boiling water on 1 OZ. of the dried herb. This is well sweetened with honey and taken in wineglassful doses. A fluid extract is also prepared, the dose being 1/2 to 1 drachm. The powdered leaves prove an excellent astringent in haemorrhage, both external and internal, a strong decoction being good for haemorrhoids, and the leaves boiled in milk are a good external application for the same purpose.
Drayton has written:
'To him that hath a flux, of Shepherd's Purse he gives,
And Mouse-ear unto him whom some sharp rupture grieves.'
The name 'Mouse-ear' is also applied to 'Mouse-ear Chickweed,' a plant of the genus Cerastium, to a plant of the genus Myosotis, valued for its medicinal properties, and to various kinds of Woundworts.
Culpepper gives many uses for Mouse-ear Hawkweed. He tells us that:
'The juice taken in wine, or the decoction drunk, cures the jaundice, though of long continuance, to drink thereof morning and evening, and abstain from other drink two or three hours after. It is a special remedy for the stone and the tormenting pains thereof; and griping pains in the bowels. The decoction with Succory and Centaury is very effectual in dropsy and the diseases of the spleen. It stayeth fluxes of blood at the mouth or nose, and inward bleeding also, for it is a singular wound herb for wounds both inward and outward.... There is a syrup made of the juice and sugar by the apothecaries of Italy, which is highly esteemed and given to those that have a cough, and in phthisis, and for ruptures and burstings. The green herb bruised and bound to any cut or wound doth quickly close the lips thereof, and the decoction or powder of the dried herb wonderfully stays spreading and fretting cankers in the mouth and other parts. The distilled water of the plant is applicable for the diseases aforesaid and apply tents of cloths wet therein.'
The herb is collected in May and June, when in flower and is dried.
Parkinson states that if 'Mouseare' be given to any horse it 'will cause that he shall not be hurt by the smith that shooeth him.' Also that skilful shepherds are careful not to let their flocks feed in pastures where mouseare abounds 'lest they grow sicke and leane and die quickly after.'


Botanical: Crataegus oxyacantha (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparation and Dosage
Other Species
---Synonyms---May. Mayblossom. Quick. Thorn. Whitethorn. Haw. Hazels. Gazels. Halves. Hagthorn. Ladies' Meat. Bread and Cheese Tree.
(French) L'épine noble
(German) Hagedorn
---Part Used---Dried haws or fruits.
---Habitat---Europe, North Africa, Western Asia.
---Description---The Hawthorn is the badge of the Ogilvies and gets one of its commonest popular names from blooming in May. Many country villagers believe that Hawthorn flowers still bear the smell of the Great Plague of London. The tree was formerly regarded as sacred, probably from a tradition that it furnished the Crown of Thorns. The device of a Hawthorn bush was chosen by Henry VII because a small crown from the helmet of Richard III was discovered hanging on it after the battle of Bosworth, hence the saying, 'Cleve to thy Crown though it hangs on a bush.' The Hawthorn is called Crataegus Oxyacantha from the Greek kratos, meaning hardness (of the wood), oxcus (sharp), and akantha (a thorn). The German name of Hagedorn, meaning Hedgethorn, shows that from a very early period the Germans divided their land into plots by hedges; the word haw is also an old word for hedge. The name Whitethorn arises from the whiteness of its bark and Quickset from its growing as a quick or living hedge, in contrast to a paling of dead wood.
This familiar tree will attain a height of 30 feet and lives to a great age. It possesses a single seed-vessel to each blossom producing a separate fruit, which when ripe is a brilliant red and this is in miniature a stony apple. In some districts these mealy red fruits are called Pixie Pears, Cuckoo's Beads and Chucky Cheese. The flowers are mostly fertilized by carrion insects, the suggestion of decomposition in the perfume attracts those insects that lay their eggs and hatch out their larvae in decaying animal matter.
---Constituents---In common with other members of the Prunus and Pyrus groups of theorder Rosaceae, the Hawthorn contains Amyddalin. The bark contains the alkaloid Crataegin, isolated in greyish-white crystals, bitter in taste, soluble in water, with difficulty in alcohol and not at all in ether.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Cardiac, diuretic, astringent, tonic. Mainly used as a cardiac tonic in organic and functional heart troubles. Both flowers and berries are astringent and useful in decoction to cure sore throats. A useful diuretic in dropsy and kidney troubles.
---Preparation and dosage---Fluid Extract of Berries, 10 to 15 drops.
The leaves have been used as an adulterant for tea. An excellent liquer is made from Hawthorn berries with brandy.
Formerly the timber, when of sufficient size, was used for making small articles. The root-wood was also used for making boxes and combs; the wood has a fine grain and takes a beautiful polish. It makes excellent fuel, making the hottest wood-fire known and used to be considered more desirable than Oak for oven-heating. Charcoal made from it has been said to melt pig-iron without the aid of a blast.
The stock is employed not only for grafting varieties of its own species, but also for several of the garden fruits closely allied to it, such as the medlar and pear.
---Other Species---
C. Aronia is a bushy species giving larger fleshy fruit than C. Oxyacantha. It is indigenous to Southern Europe and Western Asia and is common about Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, where its fruit is used for preserves.
C. odoratissima is very agreeable also as a fruit.
C. Azarole. Its fruit in the same way is highly esteemed in Southern Europe.


Botanical: Viola tricolor (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Violaceae
Part Used Medicinally and Preparation for Market
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Wild Pansy. Love-Lies-Bleeding. Love-in-Idleness. Live-in-Idleness. Loving Idol. Love Idol. Cull Me. Cuddle Me. Call-me-to-you. Jackjump-up-and-kiss-me. Meet-me-in-the-Entry. Kiss-her-in-the-Buttery. Three-Faces-under-a-Hood. Kit-run-in-the-Fields. Pink-o'-the-Eye. Kit-run-about. Godfathers and Godmothers. Stepmother. Herb Trinitatis. Herb Constancy. Pink-eyed-John. Bouncing Bet. Flower o'luce. Bird's Eye. Bullweed.
(Anglo-Saxon) Banwort, Banewort.
(French) Pensée.
---Part Used---Herb.
---Habitat---The Heartsease, or Wild Pansy, very different in habit from any other kind of Viola, is abundantly met with almost throughout Britain. Though found on hedgebanks and waste ground, it seems in an especial degree a weed of cultivation, found most freely in cornfields and garden ground. It blossoms almost throughout the entire floral season, expanding its attractive little flowers in the early days of summer and keeping up a succession of blossom until late in autumn.
---Description---The Heartsease is as variable as any of the other members of the genus, but whatever modifications of form it may present, it may always be readily distinguished from the other Violets by the general form of its foliage, which is much more cut up than in any of the other species and by the very large leafy stipules at the base of the true leaves. The stem, too, branches more than is commonly found in the other members of the genus. Besides the free branching of the stem, which is mostly 4 to 8 inches in height, it is generally very angular. The leaves are deeply cut into rounded lobes, the terminal one being considerably the largest. In the other species of Viola the foliage is ordinarily very simple in outline, heartshaped, or kidney-shaped, having its edge finely toothed.
The flowers (1/4 to 1 1/4 inch across) vary a great deal in color and size, but are either purple, yellow or white, and most commonly there is a combination of all these colors in each blossom. The upper petals are generally most showy in color and purple in tint, while the lowest and broadest petal is usually a more or less deep tint of yellow. The base of the lowest petal is elongated into a spur, as in the Violet.
The flowers are in due course succeeded by the little capsules of seeds, which when ripe, open by three valves. Though a near relative of the Violet, it does not produce any of the curious bud-like flowers - cleistogamous flowers - characteristic of the Violet, as its ordinary showy flowers manage to come to fruition so that there is no necessity for any others. Darwin found that the humble bee was the commonest insect visitor of the Heartsease, though the moth Pluvia visited it largely - another observer mentions Thrips small wingless insects - as frequent visitors to the flowers. Darwin considered that the cultivated Pansy rarely set seed if there were no insect visitors, but that the little Field Pansy can certainly fertilize itself if necessary.
The flower protects itself from rain and dew by drooping its head both at night and in wet weather, and thus the back of the flower and not its face receives the moisture.
The wild species is an annual, but from it the countless varieties of the perennial garden pansies, with blossoms of large size and singular beauty, are supposed to have originated. It is a very widely distributed plant, found not only throughout Britain, but in such diverse places as Arctic Europe, North Africa, Siberia and N.W. India. Several of the varieties have been distinguished as subspecies: the most marked of these are V. arvensis, most common in cornfields, with white or yellowish flowers, with spreading petals; and lutea, which has a branched rootstock, short stems, with underground runners, and blue, purple or yellow flowers with spreading petals much longer than the sepals.
Miss Martineau tells us that many kinds are common in meadows in America, and says that as early as February the fields about Washington are quite gay with their flowers.
The Pansy is one of the oldest favourites in the English garden and the affection for it is shown in the many names that were given it. The Anglo-Saxon name was Banwort or Bonewort.
Miss Rohde is of opinion that Banwort was the old name for the daisy.
She says: 'It would be interesting to know if the daisy is still called banwurt in the north,' and she quotes from Turner's Herbal in support of this, 'The Northern men call thys herbe banwurt because it helpeth bones to knyt againe....'
Its common name of Pansy (older form 'Pawnce,' as in Spenser) is derived from the French pensées, the name which is still used in France.
'Love in Idleness' is still in use in Warwickshire. In ancient days the plant was much used for its potency in love charms, hence perhaps its name of Heartsease. It is this flower that plays such an important part as a love-charm in the Midsummer Night's Dream.
The celebrated Quesnay, founder of the 'Economists,' physician to Louis XV, was called by the king his 'thinker,' and given, as an armorial bearing, three pansy flowers.
In many old Herbals the plant is called Herba Trinitatis, being dedicated by old writers to the Trinity, because it has in each flower three colors.
Stepmother is a familiar name for it in both France and Germany, from a fanciful reference to the different-shaped petals, supposed to represent a stepmother, her own daughters and her stepchildren.
---Part Used Medicinally and Preparation for Market---The whole herb, collected in the wild state and dried.
The Wild Pansy may be collected any time from June to August, when the foliage is in the best condition.
---Constituents---The herb contains an active chemical principle, Violine (a substance similar to Emetin, having an emeto-cathartic action), mucilage, resin, sugar, salicylic acid and a bitter principle. When bruised, the plant, and especially the root, smells like peach kernels or prussic acid. The seeds are considered to have the same therapeutic activity as the leaves and flowers.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The Pansy has very similar properties to the Violet.
It was formerly in much repute as a remedy for epilepsy, asthma and numerous other complaints, and the flowers were considered cordial and good in diseases of the heart, from which may have arisen its popular name of Heartsease as much as from belief in it as a love potion.
Gerard states:
'It is good as the later physicians write for such as are sick of ague, especially children and infants, whose convulsions and fits of the falling sickness it is thought to cure. It is commended against inflammation of the lungs and chest, and against scabs and itchings of the whole body and healeth ulcers.'
A strong decoction of syrup of the herb and flowers was recommended by the older herbalists for skin diseases and a homoeopathic medicinal tincture is still made from it with spirits of wine, using the entire plant, and given in small diluted doses for the cure of cutaneous eruptions.
It was formerly official in the United States Pharmacopoeia, and is still employed in America in the form of an ointment and poultice in eczema and other skin troubles, and internally for bronchitis.
Some years ago attention was called to this herb by a writer in the Medical Journal as a valuable remedy for the cutaneous disorder called crusta lactes, or Scald head, in children. For this purpose, 1/2 drachm of dried leaves, or a handful of the fresh herb boiled in milk, was recommended to be given every morning and evening: poultices formed of the leaves were likewise applied with success. By several medical writers its use is said to have proved very efficacious in this complaint.
On the Continent, the herbaceous parts of the plant have been employed for their mucilaginous, demulcent and expectorant properties. The root and seeds are also emetic and purgative, which properties as well as the expectorant action of the plant are doubtless due to the presence of the violine.
Pansy leaves are used on the Continent in place of litmus in acid and alkali tests.

See Hysop, Hedge.

Hedge Mustard
See Mustard.


Botanical: Heliotropium Peruviana
Family: N.O. Heliotropeae
---Synonyms---Turnsole. Cherry Pie.
A sweet-scented plant which is called Heliotrope because it follows the course of the sun. After opening it gradually turns from the east to the west and during the night turns again to the east to meet the rising sun. The Ancients recognized this characteristic of the plant and applied it to mythology.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---In homoeopathic medicine a tincture of the whole fresh plant is used for clergyman's sore throat and uterine displacement.

Hellebore, Black

Botanical: Helleborus niger (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae
Part Used
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---Christe Herbe. Christmas Rose. Melampode.
---Parts Used---Rhizome, root.
---Habitat---It is a native of the mountainous regions of Central and Southern Europe, Greece and Asia Minor, and is cultivated largely in this country as a garden plant. Supplies of the dried rhizome, from which the drug is prepared, have hitherto come principally from Germany.
Two allied species are natives of this country, but this particular kind does not grow wild here.
The Black Hellebore - once known as Melampode - is a perennial, low-growing plant, with dark, shining, smooth leaves and flower-stalks rising directly from the root, its pure white blossoms appearing in the depth of winter and thereby earning for it the favourite name of Christmas Rose.
The generic name of this plant is derived from the Greek elein (to injure) and bora (food), and indicates its poisonous nature. The specific name refers to the darkcolored rootstock.
The Black Hellebore used by the Greeks has been identified by Dr. Sibthorp as Helleborus officinalis, a handsome plant, with a branching stem, bearing numerous serrated bracts, and three to five whitish flowers. It is a native of Greece, Asia Minor, etc.
The two species found wild in many parts of England, especially on a limestone soil, are H. Foetidus, the Bearsfoot, and H. Viridis, the Green Hellebore; the latter has injurious effects on cattle if eaten by them.
Both these British species possess powerful medicinal effects and are at times substituted for the true H. niger.
---History---According to Pliny, Black Hellebore was used as a purgative in mania byMelampus, a soothsayer and physician, 1,400 years before Christ, hence the name Melampodium applied to Hellebores. Spenser in the Shepheard's Calendar, 1579, alludes to the medicinal use of Melampode for animals. Parkinson, writing in 1641, tells us:
'a piece of the root being drawne through a hole made in the eare of a beast troubled with cough or having taken any poisonous thing cureth it, if it be taken out the next day at the same houre.'
Parkinson believed that White Hellebore would be equally efficacious in such a case, but Gerard recommends the Black Horehound only, as being good for beasts. He says the old farriers used to 'cut a slit in the dewlap, and put in a bit of Beare-foot, and leave it there for daies together.'
Gerard describes the plant in these words:
'It floureth about Christmas, if the winter be mild and warm . . . called Christ herbe. This plant hath thick and fat leaves of a deep green color, the upper part whereof is somewhat bluntly nicked or toothed, having sundry diversions or cuts, in some leaves many, in others fewer, like unto a female Peony. It beareth rose-colored flowers upon slender stems, growing immediately out of the ground, an handbreadth high, sometimes very white, and ofttimes mixed with a little shew of purple, which being faded, there succeed small husks full of black seeds; the roots are many; with long, black strings coming from one end.'
Once, people blessed their cattle with this plant to keep them from evil spells, and for this purpose, it was dug up with certain mystic rites. In an old French romance, the sorcerer, to make himself invisible when passing through the enemy's camp, scatters powdered Hellebore in the air, as he goes.
The following is from Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy:
'Borage and hellebore fill two scenes,
Sovereign plants to purge the veins
Of melancholy, and cheer the heart
Of those black fumes which make it smart.'
---Cultivation---All kinds of Hellebore will thrive in ordinary garden soil, but for some kinds prepared soil is preferable, consisting of equal parts of good fibry loam and welldecomposed manure, half fibry peat and half coarse sand. Thorough drainage is necessary, as stagnant moisture is very injurious. It prefers a moist, sheltered situation, with partial shade, such as the margins of shrubberies. If the soil is well trenched and manured, Hellebore will not require replanting for at least seven years, if grown for flowering, but a top dressing of well-decayed manure and a little liquid manure might be given during the growing season, when plants are making their foliage. Propagation is by seeds, or division of roots. Seedlings should be pricked off thickly into a shady border, in a light, rich soil. The second year they should be transplanted to permanent quarters, and will bloom in the third year. For division of roots, the plant is strongest in July, and the clumps to be divided must be well established, with rootstocks large enough to cut. The plants will be good flowering plants in two years, but four years are required to bring them to perfection.
---Part Used---The rhizome, collected in autumn and dried.
The root has a slight odour, when cut or broken, somewhat resembling Senega root. The dry powder causes violent sneezing. It has a somewhat bitter-sweet and acrid taste.
---Constituents---Two crystalline glucosides, Helleborin and helleborcin, both powerful poisons. Helleborin has a burning, acrid taste and is narcotic, helleborcin has a sweetish taste and is a highly active cardiac poison, similar in its effects to digitalis and a drastic purgative. Other constituents are resin, fat and starch. No tannin is present.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The drug possesses drastic purgative, emmenagogue and anthelmintic properties, but is violently narcotic. It was formerly much used in dropsy and amenorrhoea, and has proved of value in nervous disorders and hysteria. It is used in the form of a tincture, and must be administered with great care.
Applied locally, the fresh root is violently irritant.
---Preparations and Dosages---Fluid extract, 2 to 10 drops. Solid extract, 1 to 2 grains. Powdered root, 10 to 20 grains as a drastic purge, 2 to 3 grains as an alterative. Decoction, 2 drachms to the pint, a fluid ounce every four hours till effective.
A tincture of the fresh root of H. foetidus is used in homoeopathy.

Hellebore, False

Botanical: Adonis autumnalis, Adonis vernalis
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---Red Chamomile. Pheasant's Eye. Adonis. Red Morocco. Rose-a-rubie. Red Mathes. Sweet Vernal.
---Part Used---Herb.
The Pheasant's Eye (Adonis autumnalis), a plant very nearly allied to the Anemone, is sometimes found wild in England, mostly in cornfields in Kent, but is often regarded as a mere garden escape. Though generally only a cultivated species in this country, it is common enough on the Continent.
It is a graceful plant, growing about a foot high, with finely cut leaves and terminal flowers like small scarlet buttercups.
---History---Its Latin name is derived from the ill-fated Adonis, from whose blood it sprang, according to the Greek legends. 'Red Morocco' was a somewhat strange old English name for this plant, also 'Rose-a-rubie' and 'Red Mathes,' 'by which name,' says Gerard, 'it is called of them that dwell where it groweth naturally and generally red camomill' - the latter on account of the finely-cut leaves. It is now aptly called Pheasant's Eye, on account of its brilliant little scarlet and black blossoms.
Although named A. autumnalis, it blossoms throughout the summer, commencing to flower in June, and the seeds ripen in August and September. It is an annual, propagated by its seeds, which may be sown at almost any season, but should always be sown where the plant is to grow, because it does not bear transplanting. Any soil will suit it: it blossoms more freely in the sunshine, but willalso flourish in shade.
In olden days it was considered to have some medicinal value, but is no longer used. Its near relative, A. vernalis (or 'Ox-eye'), though not officinal, is still regarded of medicinal value, and is a perennial species, not a native of this country, but common in central Europe, where its root is often used in the place of Black Hellebore.
'A. vernalis is one of the brightest and most effective of spring plants, known in many places as Sweet Vernal. It might be said of this, as of the Daffodil, that it "takes the winds of March with beauty," for often before the month is out it opens its rich, golden Anemone-like cups to the sun, and when planted in profusion, presents a glowing mass of color. The plant is only about 9 inches high, and its foliage is one of its beauties. It makes a good addition to the rockery. Another species, A. amurensis, which is among the earliest of all the flowers, for it comes into bloom in February and March, is rather taller, and the foliage is more finely cut. There is a double variety, flore pleno, with large, yellow flowers. These plants will grow in any good garden soil, well drained and not too heavy. They should have a sunny position, but should not be allowed to suffer from drought during summer. They are quite hardy, and if left undisturbed improve from year to year.'
---Constituents---A. vernalis contains a glucoside Adonidin and has an action almost exactly like that of digitalin, but is much stronger and is said not to be cumulative. It appears to be about ten times as powerful as digitoxin. It has been prescribed instead of digitalis, and sometimes succeeds where digitalis fails, especially where there is kidney disease. It is, however, less certainly beneficial in valvular disease than digitalis, and should be used only where digitalis fails. It produces vomiting and diarrhoea more readily than digitalis. It is given in the form of an infusion.
---Preparations and Dosages---Fluid extract, 1 to 2 drops. Glucoside adonidin, 1/4 to 1/2 grain.
The infusion is made with 1/4 oz. of the herb to a pint of boiling water and given in tablespoonful doses every three hours.

Hellebore, Green

Botanical: Veratrum viride
Family: N.O. Melanthaceae or Liliaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Poisons, if any, and Antidotes
---Synonyms---American Hellebore. Swamp Hellebore. Indian Poke. Itch-weed.
---Parts Used---Dried rhizome and roots.
---Habitat---Swamps, low grounds, and moist meadows of the United States.
---Description---For commercial convenience, the roots are usually broken into small pieces or fragments, but are sometimes sliced, the cut surface being of a dingy white color, or whole, the outside dark brown, with characteristic markings. Often, portions of the dried stem or leafstalks remain attached, and these, being inert, should be rejected.
American Hellebore closely resembles the German Veratrum album, or White Hellebore, and the Mexican V. officinale, or Sabadilla (Cevadilla), N.O. Liliaceae. The name Veratrine is given to the mixture of bases obtained from Sabadilla by extracting with alcohol, distilling off the alcohol, and precipitating the mixed bases with ammonia. Official in the Pharmacopoeia of 1898. The British Pharmacopoeia Codex preparation is Oleinatum Veratrinae.
---Constituents---It has been found that the alkaloids contained in V. viride are not the same as the veratrine contained in V. album and the seeds of Sabadilla. The principal alkaloids are Pseudojervine, Rubijervine, Jervine, Cevadine, Protoveratrine, and Protoveratridine. The last is probably a decomposition product, it is highly poisonous, and sternutatory. Starch and resin are also present.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Emetic, diaphoretic, sedative, highly poisonous. The German White Hellebore, resembling the American, but without its cevadine, is rarely given internally, but the powder has been used in preparing an ointment for itch.
Veratrine, a pale grey amorphous powder, is used externally as an analgesic, and also as a parasiticide. It is not known to affect the living blood but when the latter is drawn, veratrine kills the white corpuscles. Violent pain and irritation are caused if it is given internally or subcutaneously. It prolongs the contractions of heart and muscles. Its only justifiable use is as an anodyne counter irritant, especially for neuralgia. It was emphatically decided a few years ago that V. viride should whenever possible be used instead of the European V. album, which is more likely to upset the intestines. The various alkaloids present act in very different manners, and none in exactly the same way as the whole drug - jervine, for example, is less poisonous than the drug itself, while protoveratrine, although present in small quantity, is extremely toxic.
A moderate dose of veratrum produces a reduction in the rate of the pulse, with a fall in the arterial pressure. There may be slowing of respiration. It has been used in the treatment of pneumonia, peritonitis, and other sthenic fevers, but is chiefly useful in chronic diseases, such as arterio-sclerosis and interstitial nephritis. It differs from digitalis in that it diminishes cardiac tone, and has been used for threatened apoplexy and 'irritable heart'; also for puerperal eclampsia.
Sabadilla is the principal ingredient of the pulvis capocinorum, sometimes used in Europe for the destruction of vermin in the hair.
---Dosages---V. viride, from 1 to 3 minims of the fluid extract every two or three hours until pulse rate is reduced. 1 to 2 grains. Of U.S. tincture, 10 to 30 minims.
V. album, 1 to 2 grains in powder. Rarely given internally.
Veratrine, 1/30 grain.
---Poisons, if any, and Antidotes---Causes vomiting, with much nausea and retching. Pulse slow, later, rapid and irregular. Prostration, perspiration, pallor, with shallow and sometimes stertorous breathing.
If there is vomiting, two glasses of water should be given and 20 grains of tannic acid as an imperfect chemical antidote. Should vomiting not occur, it must be provoked, or a stomach pump employed. The patient must be kept in a horizontal position, not even being allowed to sit up to vomit. To stop the vomiting a counter-irritant must be used over the epigastrium and morphine employed very cautiously. In the early stages, when the pulse is low, atropine is very valuable, or active respiratory stimulants, such as hypodermic injections of ammonia and strychnine. If the bodily temperature is low, heat can be applied externally.

Hellebore, White

Botanical: Veratrum album
Family: N.O. Lilaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Poisons, if any, and Antidotes
Other Species
---Synonyms---Veratrum Lobelianium. Veratrum Californicum. Weiszer Germer. Weisze Nieszwurzel.
---Parts Used---Rhizome, root.
---Habitat---Europe, from Lapland to Italy. Does not occur in the British Isles.
---Description---Veratrum album closely resembles the American species, but is distinguished by its yellowish-white flower.
The fresh rhizome has an alliaceous odour, but when dried it has no marked smell. Its taste is first sweet, then bitter and acrid, leaving the tongue tingling and numb. Its powder is ash-colored. White Hellebore deteriorates by keeping. It is scarcely ever used internally owing to the severity of its action. It is stated to have been one of the principal poisons used in Europe for arrows, daggers, etc.
---Constituents---Authorities differ as to the presence or absence of the veratria of cevadilla. It contains jervine, pseudo-jer-vine, rubijervine, veratralbine and veratrine. Cevadine is stated to be absent. There is fatty matter, composed of olein, stearin and a volatile acid, supergallate of Veratia, yellow coloring matter, starch ligneous matter, and gum; the ashes contain much phosphate and carbonate of lime, carbonate of potassa and some traces of silica, and sulphate of lime. There has been found in it a white, crystalline, fusible and inflammable substance called barytin, of which the properties have not been thoroughly investigated.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A violent, irritant poison. When snuffed up the nose it occasions profuse running of the nose; when swallowed, severe vomiting and profuse diarrhoea. It was formerly used in cerebral affections, such as mania, epilepsy, etc., and for gout, as a substitute for colchicum or the Eau Mediciale of Husson, when 3 parts of the wine of White Hellebore added to 1 part of laudanum was given in doses of from 1/2 fluid drachm to 2 fluid drachms.
It is occasionally used in the form of an ointment or decoction in obstinate skin diseases such as scabies, or to kill lice, but even this use is not free from danger. It is also occasionally used as an errhine or sternutatory, diluted with starch or other mild powder, in cases of amaurosis and chronic affections of the brain.
The principal use of the plant is in veterinary medicine.
---Dosages---Of the powder, 1 to 8 grains, gradually and cautiously increased, commencing with 1 grain. Of the vinous tincture, from 20 to 60 minims.
---Poisons, if any, and Antidotes---Narcotic symptoms, such as stupor and convulsions, appear in addition to vomiting and diarrhcea, when the dose is fatal. The poison may be treated by drinks and injections of coffee, stimulants to overcome the depressed condition of the heart and arteries, and opiates and demulcents to relieve internal inflammation.
---Other Species---
Helleborus orientalis (Lam.). A tincture ofthe root is used in homoeopathy for indigestion and diarrhcea.
See also:


Botanical: Conium maculatum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Parts Used, Harvesting and Drying
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---Herb Bennet. Spotted Corobane. Musquash Root. Beaver Poison. Poison Hemlock. Poison Parsley. Spotted Hemlock. Kex. Kecksies.
---Parts Used---Leaves, fruit, seeds.
---Habitat---It is by no means an uncommon plant in this country, found on hedgebanks, in neglected meadows, on waste ground and by the borders of streams in most parts of England, occurring in similar places throughout Europe (except the extreme north) and also in temperate Asia and North Africa. It has been introduced into North and South America.
The Hemlock is a member of the great order Umbelliferae, the same family of plants to which the parsley, fennel, parsnip and carrot belong.
Many of the umbelliferous plants abound in an acrid, watery juice, which is more or less narcotic in its effects on the animal frame, and which, therefore, when properly administered in minute doses, is a valuable medicine. Among these the most important is Conium, or Hemlock. Every part of this plant, especially the fresh leaves and fruit, contains a volatile, oily alkaloid, which is so poisonous that a few drops prove fatal to a small animal.
---History---The Ancients were familiar with the plant, which is mentioned in early Greek literature, and fully recognized its poisonous nature. The juice of hemlock was frequently administered to criminals, and this was the fatal poison which Socrates was condemned to drink.
The old Roman name of Conium was Cicuta, which prevails in the mediaeval Latin literature, but was applied about 1541 by Gesner and others to another umbelliferous plant, Cicuta virosa, the Water Hemlock, which does not grow in Greece and southern Europe. To avoid the confusion arising from the same name for these quite dissimilar plants, Linnaeus, in 1737, restored the classical Greek name and called the Hemlock (Conium maculatum), the generic name being derived from the Greek word Konas, meaning to whirl about, because the plant, when eaten, causes vertigo and death. The specific name is the Latin word, meaning 'spotted,' and refers to the stem-markings. According to an old English legend, these purple streaks on the stem represent the brand put on Cain's brow after he had committed murder.
Hemlock was used in Anglo-Saxon medicine, and is mentioned as early as the tenth century. The name Hemlock is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words hem (border, shore) and leác (leek or plant). Another authority derives the British name 'hemlock' from the Anglo-Saxon word healm (straw), from which the word 'haulm' is derived.
The use of Hemlock in modern medicine is due chiefly to the recommendation of Storch, of Vienna, since when (1760) the plant has been much employed, though it has lost some of its reputation owing to the uncertain action of the preparations made from it.
---Description---Hemlock is a tall, much branched and gracefully growing plant, with elegantly-cut foliage and white flowers. Country people very generally call by the name of Hemlock many species of umbelliferous plants, but the real Hemlock may be distinguished by its slender growth, perfectly smooth stem which is marked with red, and its finely-divided leaves which are also smooth.
It is a biennial plant, usually growing from 2 to 4 feet high, but in sheltered situations sometimes attaining nearly double that height. The root is long, forked, pale yellow and 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter. The erect, smooth stem, stout below, much branched above and hollow, is bright green, but (as already stated) is distinctively mottled with small irregular stains or spots of a port-wine color and also covered with a white 'bloom' which is very easily rubbed off.
The leaves are numerous, those of the first year and the lower ones very large, even reaching 2 feet in length, alternate, longstalked, tripinnate (divided along the midrib into opposite pairs of leaflets and these again divided and subdivided in similar manner). The upper leaves are much smaller, nearly stalkless, with the short footstalk dilated and stem-clasping, often opposite or three together, more oblong in outline, dipinnate or pinnate, quite smooth, uniform dull green, segments toothed, each tooth being tipped with a minute, sharp white point.
The umbels are rather small, 1 1/4 to 2 inches broad, numerous, terminal, on rather short flower stalks, with 12 to 16 rays to the umbel. At the base of the main umbel there are 4 to 8 lance-shaped, deflexed bracts; at the base of the small umbels there are three or four spreading bractlets. The flowers are small, their petals white with an inflexed point, the stamens a little longer than the petals, with white anthers.
The fruit is small, about 1/8 inch long broad, ridged, compressed laterally and smooth. Both flowers and fruit bear a resemblance to caraway, but the prominent crenate (wavy) ridges and absence of vittae (oil cells between the ridges) are important characters for distinguishing this fruit from others of the same natural order of plants.
The entire plant has a bitter taste and possesses a disagreeable mousy odour, which is especially noticeable when bruised. When dry, the odour is still disagreeable, but not so pronounced as in the fresh plant. The seeds or fruits have very marked odour or taste, but when rubbed with a solution of potassium bi-oxide, the same disagreeable mouse-like odour is produced.
The poisonous property occurs in all parts of the plant, though it is stated to be less strong in the root. Poisoning has occurred from eating the leaves for parsley, the roots for parsnips and the seeds in mistake for anise seeds. Many children, too, have suffered by using whistles made from the hollow stems of the Hemlock, which should be extirpated from meadows and pastures since many domestic animals have been killed by eating it, though goats are said to eat it with impunity.
---Parts Used, Harvesting and Drying---The leaves and fruit. The fresh green Hemlock is employed in the preparation of Juice of Conium, Conium Ointment, and the green Extract of Conium.
The British pharmacopoeia directs that the leaves and young branches should be gathered from wild British plants when the flowers are fully matured, and the fruits are just beginning to form, as they then possess their greatest medicinal activity. This is about the end of June. The smaller leaves are selected and the larger stalks picked out and discarded.
The leaves separated from the branches and dried are also official.
The dried ripe fruit is official in the British Pharmacopceia, and the Pharmacopceia of India, but in the Pharmacopceia of the United States the full-grown fruit, gathered before it turns from green to yellow and carefully dried, is directed to be used.
Hemlock fruits were introduced into British medicine in 1864 as a substitute for the dried leaf in making the tincture, but it has been shown that a tincture, whether of leaf or fruit, is far inferior to the preserved juice of the herb.
---Constituents---By far the most important constituent of hemlock leaves is the alkaloid Coniine, of which they may contain, when collected at the proper time, as much as 2.77 per cent the average being 1.65 per cent. When pure, Coniine is a volatile, colorless, oily liquid, strongly alkaline, with poisonous properties and having a bitter taste and a disagreeable, penetrating, mouse-like odour.
There are also present the alkaloids, Methyl-coniine, Conhydrine, Pseudoconhydrine, Ethyl piperidine, mucilage, a fixed oil and 12 per cent of ash.
Hemlock fruits have essentially the same active constituents, but yield a greater portion of Coniine than the leaves.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---As a medicine, Conium is sedative and antispasmodic, and in sufficient doses acts as a paralyser to the centres of motion. In its action it is, therefore, directly antagonistic to that of Strychnine, and hence it has been recommended as an antidote to Strychnine poisoning, and in other poisons of the same class, and in tetanus, hydrophobia, etc. (In mediaeval days, Hemlock mixed with betony and fennel seed was considered a cure for the bite of a mad dog.)
On account of its peculiar sedative action on the motor centres, Hemlock juice (Succus conii) is prescribed as a remedy in cases of undue nervous motor excitability, such as teething in children, epilepsy from dentition. cramp, in the early stages of paralysis agitans, in spasms of the larynx and gullet, in acute mania, etc. As an inhalation it is said to relieve cough in bronchitis, whooping-cough, asthma, etc.
The drug has to be administered with care, as narcotic poisoning may result from internal use, and overdoses produce paralysis. In poisonous doses it produces complete paralysis with loss of speech, the respiratory function is at first depressed and ultimately ceases altogether and death results from asphyxia. The mind remains unaffected to the last. In the account of the death of Socrates, reference is made to loss of sensation as one of the prominent symptoms of his poisoning, but the dominant action is on the motor system. It is placed in Table II of the Poison Schedule.
Hemlock was formerly believed to exercise an alterative effect in scrofulous disorders. Both the Greek and Arabian physicians were in the practice of using it for the cure of indolent tumours, swellings and pains of the joints, as well as for affections of the skin. Among the moderns Baron Storch was the first to call the attention of medical men to its use, both externally and internally, for the cure of cancerous and other ulcers, and in the form of a poultice or ointment it has been found a very valuable application to relieve pain in these cases.
In the case of poisoning by Hemlock, the antidotes are tannic acid, stimulants and coffee, emetics of zinc, or mustard and castor oil, and, if necessary, artificial respiration. It is essential to keep up the temperature of the body.
Like many other poisonous plants, when cut and dried, Hemlock loses much of its poisonous properties, which are volatile and easily dissipated. Cooking destroys it.
Its disagreeable odour has prevented its fatal use as a vegetable in the raw state.
Larks and quails are said to eat Hemlock with impunity, but their flesh becomes so impregnated with the poison that they are poisonous as food. Thrushes eat the fruits with impunity, but ducks have been poisoned by them.
Coles' Art of Simpling:
'If Asses chance to feed much upon Hemlock, they will fall so fast asleep that they will seeme to be dead, in so much that some thinking them to be dead indeed have flayed off their skins, yet after the Hemlock had done operating they have stirred and wakened out of their sleep, to the griefe and amazement of the owners.'
---Adulteration---Commercial Conium occasionally contains the leaves of other umbelliferous plants somewhat like it in appearance, or it may even be almost wholly composed of such plants. Anise has been used as an adulterant of the fruit.
Among umbelliferous plants most frequently mistaken for the true Hemlock Anthriscus sylvestris (Wild Chervil) an Æthusa Cynapium (Fool's Parsley) have similar general characteristics, but are readily distinguished. A. sylvestris has hairy, not smooth leaves, its fruit is elongated, not broad, and the bracts of the partial involucre (or involucels) are not directed outwards, as in the Hemlock. The stem also is unspotted.
---Preparations and Dosages---Powdered leaves 1 to 3 grains. Fluid extract of leaves, 5 to 10 drops. Fluid extract of seeds, 2 to 5 drops. Tincture seeds, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Juice of leaves, B.P., 1 to 2 drachms. Solid extract, 2 to 6 grains. Ointment, B.P.

Hemlock, Water

Botanical: Cicuta virosa
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Other Species
---Part Used---Root.
The leaves of the Water Hemlock are sometimes found admixed with those of Conium. This is a semi-aquatic plant growing in ditches and on the banks of pools and rivers, though not very common in England. It has similar properties to the true Hemlock.
---Description---Water Hemlock is a perennial, with a short, thick, vertical, hollow rootstock, in shape somewhat like a parsnip, giving off whorls of slender, fibrous roots. The erect, very stout, hollow stem, rising 2 to 4 feet high or more, is smooth, branched and slightly furrowed. The lower leaves are large, 1 to 2 feet long and long-stalked; they are tripinnate, like the Hemlock. The upper leaves are divided into three leaflets, and each again into three (twice ternate). The flowers are pure white, arranged in rather large, longstalked umbels of 12 to 16 long, slender, curved rays. There is no general involucre.
The Water Hemlock may be distinguished from the true Hemlock as follows: (i) The pinnae of the leaves are larger and lanceshaped; (ii) the umbel of the flowers is denser and more compact; (iii) the stem is not spotted like the true Hemlock; (iv) the odour of the plant resembles that of smallage or parsley.
Both plants are poisonous; but while the root of the Water Hemlock is acrid and powerfully poisonous in its fresh state, though it loses its virulent qualities when dried, that of the true Hemlock possesses little or no active power.
The Water Hemlock produces tetanic convulsions, and is fatal to cattle. In April, 1857, two farmer's sons were found lying paralysed and speechless close to a ditch where they had been working. Assistance was soon rendered, but they shortly expired. A quantity of the Water Hemlock grew in the ditch, where they had been employed. A piece of the root was subsequently found with the marks of teeth in it, near to where the men lay, and another piece of the same root was discovered in the pocket of one of them.
---Constituents---A resinous body has been obtained from Cicuta virosa named Cicutoxin, an amorphous substance of acid reaction, of slight odour, but disagreeable taste; the dry root yields 3 to 5 per cent. The presence of a volatile alkaloid termed Cicutine has also been traced.
---Other Species---
Botanical: Circuta maculata
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
The American Cowbane is closely analogous to the European species, and also possesses very poisonous properties. In several instances, children have been fatally poisoned by eating its roots. It is said to be the most poisonous plant native to the United States.
Although it has been recommended as a remedy in nervous and sick headaches, it is very rarely used.
No complete analysis of the plant has been published, but the alkaloid termed Cicutine, present in the European species, is said to exist in it. The seed is stated to contain an alkaloid identical with Coniine.
The root of this American variety is even more virulent than the English one.

Hemp, Agrimony
See Agrimony.

Hemp, Canadian

Botanical: Apocynum Cannabinum (LINN.), Apocynum Androsaemum
Family: N.O. Apocynaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Black Indian Hemp. Dogsbane.
---Parts Used---Dried rhizome, roots.
---Habitat---United States of America, Canada.
---Description---This plant must not be confused with Indian Hemp (Cannabis Indica). Both species have a milky juice and a tough fibrous bark, which when macerated affords a substitute for hemp, hence its common name. It is used in California for making twine, bags, cordage, fishing-nets, lines, and a coarse kind of linen. When the milky juice is properly dried it exhibits the properties of india-rubber. The corolla of this plant secretes a sweet liquid, which attracts flies and other insects to settle on them; the scales in the throat of the corolla are very sensitive, and as soon as the insects settle on them, they bend inwards and make them prisoners. None of these plants possess any great beauty, all are more or less poisonous and acrid. In Apocynum Cannabinum, a perennial herb, the stems and branches are upright, headed by erect many-flowered stems, leaves nearly sessile; it grows in gravelly or sandy soil, mostly near streams. While A. Androsaemifolium, or Dogsbane, has spreading forked branches, leaves slender petioled cymes, loose and spreading, grows in dry thickets and open woods, and is distinguished from A. Cannabinum by the root, thick-walled stone cells which are arranged in a broken circle, near middle of the bark, short fracture, with some pith occurring in pieces of the rhizome, very slight odour, taste starchy, afterwards bitter and acrid.
---Constituents---The activity of the plants is due to a very bitter principle of a glucose nature to which is applied the name of Symarin. Apocynum belongs to the digitalis group of heart tonics, and acts very much in the same way, differing only from foxglove in the relative degree of its different effects. It is the most powerful of the group, often causing sickness and diarrhoea; it acts more irritantly on the mucous membrane than either strophanthus, or digitalis, and it may be this stimulating effect which is the cause of its violent diuretic action, though some authorities consider that this is caused by dilatation of the renal arteries. A. Docynum is the crystalline lactone cynotoxin, the crystalline substance. Apocynin is identical with acetovanillone. A. Androsaemifolium contains apocyanamarin, identical with cynotoxin, also apocynin and its glucoside, androsin ipuranil; the two phytosterols androsterol and homo-androsterol, and other fatty acids.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Diuretic, diaphoretic, expectorant. Should only be prescribed with the greatest caution. It is a very valuable heart tonic of great service in dropsy resulting from heart failure; it is also to be highly recommended in the ascites of hepatic cirrhosis, but care must be taken that it does not accumulate in the system. It causes violent vomiting.
---Dosage---1 to 5 grains.
---Preparations---Fluid extract of Apocynum, U.S.P., 15 minims. Tincture of Apocynum, 5 to 10 minims.
---Other Species---
HEMP, AFRICAN, or Bowstring (Sanseviera guineenesis, N.O. Liliaceae), native of tropical Africa, also S. Roxburghiana, a native of India, and S. Angolensis, native of western tropical Africa. The leaves contain much fibre for making ropes, the latter producing the best kind of fibre for deep-sea soundings and dredging lines.
HEMP, KENTUCKY (Urtica Canadensis and Cannabina, N. O. Urticaceae), natives of Canada and Northern U.S. These also contain a strong fibre and are known by the name given above.
HEMP, MANILLA, the fibre of Musitextilis (N.O. Musaceae), native of the Philippines, cultivated in India, and other countries, for its fibre, of which there are two qualities, the finer made into shawls and the coarser into ropes.
HEMP, SUNN, the Indian name for the fibre of Crotalaria Juncea (N.O. Leguminosae), native of India; it gives a very strong fibre, useful for ropes, canvas, etc.
HEMP, JUBBULPORE (Crotalaria tenuifolia), The plant closely resembles Sunn Hemp (C. Juncea).

Hemp, Indian

(Please DO NOT e-mail me about this being listed as a Poison. This is the way it is listed in the original edition, published in 1931, by Mrs. Grieve. I’ve attempted to keep the "electronic" version as faithful as possible to the original - Editor, botanical.com)
Botanical: Cannabis sativa (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Urticaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Cannabis Indica. Cannabis Chinense. Ganeb. Ganja. Kif. Hanf. Tekrouri. Chanvre.
---Part Used---The dried, flowering tops of the female, or pistillate plants.
Habitat. In Britain, and formerly elsewhere, only Hemp grown in India was recognized as official, but the heavy tax has resulted in the admission by the United States of any active Cannabis sativa, whether grown in the States or in Africa, Turkey, Turkestan, Asia Minor, Italy, or Spain.
---Description---The plant is an annual, the erect stems growing from 3 to 10 feet or more high, very slightly branched, having greyish-green hairs. The leaves are palmate, with five to seven leaflets (three on the upper leaves), numerous, on long thin petioles with acute stipules at the base, linear-lanceolate, tapering at both ends, the margins sharply serrate, smooth and dark green on the upper surface, lighter and downy on the under one. The small flowers are unisexual, the male having five almost separate, downy, pale yellowish segments, and the female a single, hairy, glandular, five-veined leaf enclosing the ovary in a sheath. The ovary is smooth, one-celled, with one hanging ovule and two long, hairy thread-like stigmas extending beyond the flower for more than its own length. The fruit is small, smooth, light brownish-grey in color, and completely filled by the seed.
Hemp grows naturally in Persia, Northern India and Southern Siberia, and probably in China. It is largely cultivated in Central and Southern Russia. It is sometimes found as a weed in England, probably due to seeds from birdcages, as they are much used in feeding tame birds. The drug that is official in Europe comes from Bogra and Rajshabi, north of Calcutta, or sometimes from Guzerat and Madras. It is called Guaza by London merchants.
It is imported in parcels of small masses, with flowers, smaller leaves and a few ripe fruits pressed together by sticky, resinous matter. It is rough, brittle, dull-green in color and almost tasteless, with a peculiar, slightly narcotic odour. It should be freed from resin by macerating in spirit and then soaking in water. The leaves are said to be picked off to form bhang, and the little shoots which follow these are used as above, and called ganja. It is exported from Bombay in wooden cases. Two-year-old ganja is almost inert, and the law requires it to be burnt in the presence of excise officers. In the Calcutta areas the short tops are rolled under foot instead of being trodden, the weight of the workers being supported by a horizontal bamboo pole. This variety is very active, and is usually re-exported from England to the West Indies.
Hemp is prepared in various forms. Ganja is smoked like tobacco. Bhang, sidhee, or subjee is the dried, larger leaves, broken or mixed with a few fruits. It is pounded with water to make a drink, and is the chief ingredient of the sweetmeat majun. Churrus or charas is the resin which exudes spontaneously from the leaves, tops and stems. A usual way of collecting it is for men in leathern garments to rush through the bushes, the resin being afterwards scraped off the clothes. In Nepal the plant is squeezed between the palms of the hands, and in Baluchistan the resin is separated by rubbing the dried plant carefully between carpets. This is the hashish, haschisch, or hashash of the Arabians, the word 'assassin' being said to be derived from it, owing to the wild, fanatical courage given by its use. In Persia the woollen carpets, after scraping, are washed with water, and the evaporated extract is sold cheaply. Another way is to collect the dust after stirring dry bhang, this impure form of resin being only used for smoking.
Flat cakes called hashish by the Russians are a preparation made from Hemp in Central Asia, and also called nasha.
In Thibet momea or mimea is said to be made with Hemp and human fat.
Many electuaries and pastes are made with butter or other oily foundation, such as majun of Calcutta, mapouchari of Cairo, and the dawames of the Arabs.
The madjound of the Algerians is a mixture of honey and hashish powder.
Hemp Fibre is best produced by the plants in cooler latitudes, the best being obtained from Italy, but much from Russia. About one and a half million hundredweight are imported annually for cordage, sacking, and sail-cloths.
A varnish is made from the pressed seeds.
Two or three green twigs collected in spring and placed in beds will drive bedbugs from the room.
---Constituents---Cannabinone or Hemp resin is soluble in alcohol and ether. Cannabinol is separated from it. It is fawn-colored, in thin layers, and burns with a clear, white flame, leaving no ash. This is the active principle. There is a small amount of ambercolored volatile oil, one of the linseed-oil group. It has been resolved into a colorless liquid called cannabene, and a solid hydride of this.
It is said that a volatile alkaloid has been found in the tops, resembling nicotine. It also contains alcoholic extract, ash, and the alkaloid Choline.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The principal use of Hemp in medicine is for easing pain and inducing sleep, and for a soothing influence in nervous disorders. It does not cause constipation nor affect the appetite like opium. It is useful in neuralgia, gout, rheumatism, delirium tremens, insanity, infantile convulsions, insomnia, etc.
The tincture helps parturition, and is used in senile catarrh, gonorrhoea, menorrhagia, chronic cystitis and all painful urinary affections. An infusion of the seed is useful in after pains and prolapsus uteri. The resin may be combined with ointments, oils or chloroform in inflammatory and neuralgic complaints.
The drug deteriorates rapidly and hence is very variable, so that it is best given in ascending quantities to produce its effect. The deterioration is due to the oxidation of cannabinol and it should be kept in hermetically-sealed containers.
The action is almost entirely on the higher nerve centres. It can produce an exhilarating intoxication, with hallucinations, and is widely used in Eastern countries as an intoxicant, hence its names 'leaf of delusion,' 'increaser of pleasure,' 'cementer of friendship,' etc. The nature of its effect depends much on the nationality and temperament of the individual. It is regarded as dangerous to sleep in a field of hemp owing to the aroma of the plants.
---Dosage---Tincture, B.P. and U.S.P., 5 to 15 drops. Solid extract, B.P., 1/4 to 1 grain. Fluid extract, 1 to 3 drops. Of cannabis, 1 to 3 grains. Of best hashish, for smoking, 1/4 to 1 grain. Of tincture, 10 to 30 minims. Of tincture for menorrhagia, 5 to 10 minims. three to four times a day (i.e. 24 grains of resinous extract in a fluid ounce of rectified spirit).
Of extract, from 1 to 20 grains, according to quality.
The following is stated to be a certain cure for gonorrhcea. Take equal parts of tops of male and female hemp in blossom. Bruise in a mortar, express the juice, and add an equal portion of alcohol. Take 1 to 3 drops every two to three hours.


Botanical: Hyoscyamus niger (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Solanaceae
Parts Used
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
Other Species of Hyoscamus
---Synonyms---Common Henbane. Hyoscyamus. Hog's-bean. Jupiter's-bean. Symphonica. Cassilata. Cassilago. Deus Caballinus.
(Anglo-Saxon) Henbell.
(French) Jusquiame.
---Parts Used---Fresh leaves, flowering tops and branches, seeds.
---Habitat---It is found throughout Central and Southern Europe and in Western Asia, extending to India and Siberia. As a weed of cultivation it now grows also in North America and Brazil. It had become naturalized in North America prior to 1672, as we find it mentioned in a work published in that year among the plants 'sprung up since the English planted and kept cattle in New England.'
It is not considered truly indigenous to Great Britain, but occurs fairly frequently in parts of Scotland, England and Wales, and also in Ireland, and has been found wild in sixty British counties, chiefly in waste, sandy places, by road-sides, on rubbish heaps and near old buildings, having probably first escaped from the old herb gardens. It is frequently found on chalky ground and particularly near the sea. It appears to have been more common in Gerard's time (Queen Elizabeth's reign) than it is now.

Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger, Linn.) is a member of the important order Solanaceae, to which belong the Potato, Tobacco and Tomato, and also the valuable Belladonna.
There are about eleven species of the genus Hyoscyamus, distributed from the Canary Islands over Europe and Northern Africa to Asia. All those which have been investigated contain similar principles and possess similar properties.
The medicinal uses of Henbane date from remote ages; it was well known to the Ancients, being particularly commended by Dioscorides (first century A.D.), who used it to procure sleep and allay pains, and Celsus (same period) and others made use of it for the same purpose, internally and externally, though Pliny declared it to be 'of the nature of wine and therefore offensive to the understanding.' There is mention of it in a work by Benedictus Crispus (A.D. 681) under the names of Hyoscyamus and Symphonica. In the tenth century, we again find its virtues recorded under the name of Jusquiasmus (the modern French name is Jusquiame). There is frequent mention made of it in AngloSaxon works on medicine of the eleventh century, in which it is named 'Henbell,' and in the old glossaries of those days it also appears as Caniculata, Cassilago and Deus Caballinus.
Later it fell into disuse. It was omitted from the London Pharmacopoeia of 1746 and 1788, and only restored in 1809, its re-introduction being chiefly due to experiments and recommendations by Baron Storch, who gave it in the form of an extract, in cases of epilepsy and other nervous and convulsive diseases.
It is supposed that this is the noxious herb referred to by Shakespeare in Hamlet:
'Sleeping within mine orchard,
My custom always of the afternoon
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
And in the porches of mine ear did pour
The leprous distillment.'
Other authorities argue that the name used here is a varied form of that by which the Yew is known in at least five of the Gothic languages, and which appears in Marlowe and other Elizabethan writers as 'hebon.' There can be little doubt that Shakespeare took both the name and the use of this plant from Marlowe, who mentions 'juice of hebon' as a deadly poison. Hebenus, according to Gower, is a 'sleepy tree.' Spenser, too, makes 'heben' a tree, and speaks of 'the deadly heben bow,' a weapon that could hardly be made of Henbane. 'This tree,' wrote Lyte in his Herball, 1578, 'is altogether venomous and against man's nature; such as do only sleepe under the shadow thereof become sicke and sometimes they die,' whereas he recommends the juice of Henbane as an application for earache.
Speaking of Henbane, Gerard says:
'The leaves, the seeds and the juice, when taken internally cause an unquiet sleep, like unto the sleep of drunkenness, which continueth long and is deadly to the patient. To wash the feet in a decoction of Henbane, as also the often smelling of the flowers causeth sleep.'
Culpepper says:
'I wonder how astrologers could take on them to make this an herb of Jupiter: and yet Mizaldus, a man of penetrating brain, was of that opinion as well as the rest: the herb is indeed under the dominion of Saturn and I prove it by this argument: All the herbs which delight most to grow in saturnine places are saturnine herbs. Both Henbane delights most to grow in saturnine places, and whole cart loads of it may be found near the places where they empty the common Jakes, and scarce a ditch to be found without it growing by it. Ergo, it is a herb of Saturn. The leaves of Henbane do cool all hot inflammations in the eyes.... It also assuages the pain of the gout, the sciatica, and other pains in the joints which arise from a hot cause. And applied with vinegar to the forehead and temples, helps the headache and want of sleep in hot fevers.... The oil of the seed is helpful for deafness, noise and worms in the ears, being dropped therein; the juice of the herb or root doth the same. The decoction of the herb or seed, or both, kills lice in man or beast. The fume of the dried herb stalks and seeds, burned, quickly heals swellings, chilblains or kibes in the hands or feet, by holding them in the fume thereof. The remedy to help those that have taken Henbane is to drink goat's milk, honeyed water, or pine kernels, with sweet wine; or, in the absence of these, Fennel seed, Nettle seed, the seed of Cresses, Mustard or Radish; as also Onions or Garlic taken in wine, do all help to free them from danger and restore them to their due temper again. Take notice, that this herb must never be taken inwardly; outwardly, an oil, ointment, or plaister of it is most admirable for the gout . . . to stop the toothache, applied to the aching side....'
The leaves or roots eaten produce maniacal delirium, if nothing worse. Another old writer says:
'If it be used either in sallet or in pottage, then doth it bring frenzie, and whoso useth more than four leaves shall be in danger to sleepe without waking.'
It is poisonous in all its parts, and neither drying nor boiling destroys the toxic principle. The leaves are the most powerful portion, even the odour of them when fresh will produce giddiness and stupor. Accidental cases of poisoning by Henbane are, however, not very common, as the plant has too unpleasant a taste and smell to be readily mistaken for any esculent vegetable, but its roots, which are thick and somewhat like those of salsafy, have sometimes been gathered and eaten. In one case recorded, a woman pulled up a quantity of Henbane roots which she found in a field, supposing them to be parsnips. She boiled them in soup, which was eaten by the family. The whole of the nine persons who had partaken of them suffered severely, being soon seized with indistinctness of vision, giddiness and sleepiness, followed by delirium and convulsions.
It is also recorded that the whole of the inmates of a monastery were once poisoned by using the roots instead of chicory. The monks partaking of the roots for supper were all more or less affected during the night and following day, being attacked with a sort of delirious frenzy, accompanied in many cases by such hallucinations that the establishment resembled a lunatic asylum.
The herb was used in magic and diabolism, for its power of throwing its victims into convulsions. It was employed by witches in their midnight brews, and from the leaves was prepared a famous sorcerer's ointment.
Anodyne necklaces were made from the root and were hung about the necks of children as charms to prevent fits and to cause easy teething.
In mythology, we read that the dead in Hades were crowned with it as they wandered hopelessly beside the Styx.
The herb is also called Hog's-bean, and both its botanical name Hyoscyamus and the tenth-century Jusquiasmus are derived from the Greek words hyos and cyamos, signifying 'the bean of the hog,' which animal is supposed to eat it with impunity. An old AngloSaxon name for it was 'Belene,' probably from the bell-shaped flowers; then it became known as 'Hen-bell,' and from the time that its poisonous properties were recognized this name was changed to 'Henbane,' because the seeds were thought to be fatal to poultry. Dr. Prior is inclined to think that the name Henbane is derived from the Spanish hinna (a mule), e.g. 'henna bell,' referring to the similarity of its seed-vessel to the bell hung upon the neck of the mules.
Although swine are said to feed upon the leaves and suffer no ill effects, this plant should not be allowed to grow in places to which cattle have access, though they seldom touch it, and its effects seem less violent on most of the larger domestic animals than on man, sheep will sometimes eat it when young, and it has occasionally been noticed that no bad effects have followed. Cows, however, have been poisoned by having Henbane mixed with their forage, it is said for the purpose of fattening them. A small quantity of the seeds of the Stramonium or Thornapple, as well as those of Henbane, are also sometimes added, the idea appears to be that the tendency to stupor and repose caused by these plants is conducive to fattening. In some districts, horse-dealers mix the seeds of Henbane with their oats, in order to fatten their animals.
---Description---H. niger is susceptible of considerable diversity of character, causing varieties which have by some been considered as distinct species. Thus the plant is sometimes annual, the stem almost unbranched, smaller and less downy than in the biennial form, the leaves shorter and less hairy and the flowers often yellow, without any purple markings. The annual plant also flowers in July or August, the biennial in May and June.
The annual and biennial form spring indifferently from the same crop of seed, the former growing during summer to a height of from 1 to 2 feet, and flowering and perfecting seed, the latter producing the first season only a tuft of radical leaves, which disappear in winter, leaving underground a thick, fleshy root, from the crown of which arises in spring a branched, flowering stem, usually much taller and more vigorous than the flowering stems of the annual plants. The annual form is apparently produced by the weaker and later developed seeds formed in the fruit at the ends of the shoots; it is considered to be less active than the typical species and differs in being of dwarfed growth and having rather paler flowers. The British drug of commerce consists of dense flowering shoots only, and of larger size.
Both varieties are used in medicine, but the biennial form is the one considered official. The leaves of this biennial plant spread out flat on all sides from the crown of the root like a rosette; they are oblong and egg-shaped, with acute points, stalked and more or less sharply toothed, often more than a foot in length, of a greyish-green color and covered with sticky hairs. These leaves perish at the appearance of winter. The flowering stem pushes up from the root-crown in the following spring, ultimately reaching from 3 to 4 feet in height, and as it grows, becoming branched and furnished with alternate, oblong, unequally lobed, stalkless leaves, which are stem-clasping and vary considerably in size, but seldom exceed 9 or 10 inches in length. These leaves are pale green in color, with a broad conspicuous mid-rib, and are furnished on both sides (but particularly on the veins on the under surface) with soft, glandular hairs, which secrete a resinous substance that causes the fresh leaves to feel unpleasantly clammy and sticky. Similar hairs occur on the sub-cylindrical branches. The flowers are shortly stalked, the lower ones growing in the fork of the branches, the upper ones stalkless, crowded together in onesided, leafy spikes, which are rolled back at the top before flowering, the hairy, leafy, coarsely-toothed bracts becoming smaller upwards. The flowers have a hairy, pitchershaped calyx, which remains round the fruit and is strongly veined, with five stiff, broad, almost prickly lobes. The corollas are obliquely funnel-shaped, upwards of an inch across, of a dingy yellow or buff, marked with a close network of lurid purple veins. A variety sometimes occurs in which the corolla is not marked with these purple veins. The seed-capsule opens transversely by a convex lid and contains numerous small seeds. Perhaps the most striking feature of the plant are these curious seed-vessels, a very detailed description of which is given in the works of Flavius Josephus, as it was upon this capsule that one of the ornaments of the Jewish High Priests' head-dress was modelled. The whole plant has a powerful, oppressive, nauseous odour.
---Cultivation---Henbane is in such demand for medicinal purposes that it is necessary to cultivate it, the wild plants not yielding a sufficient supply. Both varieties were formerly cultivated in England, but at present the biennial is almost solely grown. Englishgrown Henbane has always been nearly sufficient to provide enough fresh leaves for the preparation of the juice, or green extract, but large quantities, chiefly of the annual kind, were imported before the War from Germany, Austria and Russia, in the form of dry leaves.
Henbane will grow on most soils, in sandy spots near the sea, on chalky slopes, and in cultivation flourishing in a good loam.
It is, however, very capricious in its growth, the seeds being prone to lie dormant for a season or more, refusing to germinate at all in some places, and the crop varying without any apparent reason, sometimes dying in patches. In some maritime localities it can be grown without any trouble. It requires a light, moderately rich and well-drained soil for successful growth and an open, sunny situation, but does not want much attention beyond keeping the ground free from weeds.
The seed should be sown in the open early in May or as soon as the ground is warm, as thinly as possible, in rows 2 to 2 1/2 feet apart, the seedlings thinned out to 2 feet apart in the rows, as they do not stand transplanting well. Only the larger seedlings should be reserved, especially those of a bluish tint. The soil where the crop is to be, must have been well manured, and must be kept moist until the seeds have germinated, and also during May and June of the first year. It is also recommended to sow seeds of biennial Henbane at their natural ripening time, August, in porous soil.
The ground must never be water-logged, especially in the first winter; it runs to stalk in a wet season. Drought and late frosts stunt the growth and cause it to blossom too early, and if the climatic conditions are unsuitable, especially in a dry spring and summer, the biennial Henbane will flower in its first year, while the growth is quite low, but wellmanured soil may prevent this.
Care must be taken in selecting the seed: commercial Henbane seed is often kiln-dried and useless for sowing. In order to more readily ensure germination, it is advisable to soak the seeds in water for twenty-four hours before planting: the unfertile seeds will then float on the top of the water and may thus be distinguished. Ripe seed should be grey, and yellowish or brown seeds should be rejected, as they are immature. Let the seeds dry and then sift out the smallest, keeping only the larger seeds.
Henbane seed being very small and light should be well mixed with fine dry soil as it is sown.
As seedlings often die off, a reserve should be kept in a box or bed to fill gaps, even though they do not always transplant success fully.
If it is desired to raise a crop of the annualvariety the plants, being smaller and not branching so freely, may be grown at a distance of 18 inches apart each way, but the annual is very little cultivated in this country.
If any annuals come up among the biennials sown, the flowers should be cut off until the leaves get larger and the stem branches.
There is usually some difficulty in growing Henbane owing to its destruction by insects: sometimes the whole of the foliage is destroyed by the larvae of a leaf-mining fly, Pegomyia Hyoscyami, and the crop is rendered worthless in a week. And when the large autumnal leaves of the first-year plants of the biennial variety decay, the large terminal bud is often destroyed by one of the various species of macro-lepidopterous caterpillars which hide themselves in the ground. The crown or bud should be covered as soon as the leaves have rotted away with soil mixed with soot or naphthaline, to prevent the depredations of these and other insects.
Floods may also rot the plants in winter, if grown on level ground. Potato pests are fond of the prickly leaves and will leave a potato patch to feed on the Henbane plant.
If mildew develops on the foliage in summer, dust the plants with powdered sulphur or spray with 1/2 oz. of liver of sulphur in 2 gallons of water.
When it is desired to preserve seed for propagation, it is well to cut off the top flowering shoots at an early stage of flowering (these may be dried and sold as flowering tops), and allow only about six seed-capsules to ripen. This will ensure strong seed to the capsules left, and this seed will probably produce biennial Henbane, weaker seeds being apt to produce the less robust and less valuable annual Henbane.
Seeds sown as soon as ripe in August may germinate in autumn, and thus constitute a biennial by growing on all through the winter and flowering the next summer.
Although the cultivation of Henbane in sandy ground near the sea, especially on the rich soil of estuaries, would probably pay well, it is hardly a profitable plant to grow in small gardens, more especially as the yield of dried leaf is very small. It is estimated that about 15 cwt. of dry herb are obtained from an acre of ground.
---Parts Used, Preparation for Market---Henbane leaves are official in all pharmacopoeias. Some require that it be collected from uncultivated plants, others that it be not used after keeping for more than a year.
The official drug, according to the British Pharmacopoeia, consists of the fresh leaves, flowering tops and branches of the biennial variety of H. niger, and the same parts of the plant carefully dried.
The drug is preferably given in the form of the fluid extract or tincture. The smaller branches and leaves of the plant, with the leaves and flowers, is the drug from which the green extract and juice of Henbane are prepared, whilst the leaves and flowering tops are separated from the branches and dried and used for making tincture. The inspissated juice of the fresh leaves is considered exceedingly variable in its operation, and is not so much recommended.
The commercial drug presents three varieties, distinguished by the trade names 'Annual,' 'First Biennial' (the leaves from the biennial plant in its first year), and 'Biennial,' or 'Second Biennial,' the official drug, which is scarce and high-priced, the first two kinds commanding lower prices.
When grown in this country, the official Henbane plant, as already mentioned, is usually biennial. The leaves of the first year's growth are collected and sold under the name of 'First Biennial Henbane.' This variety consists of large, stalked leaves, attaining 10 inches or more in length, and is of course free from flower.
Under certain conditions the biennial plant will flower in the first year: this is also collected and sold as 'Annual (English) Henbane.' It closely resembles the biennial, but the flowering tops are usually less dense, and the drug often contains portions of the stem. Such plants are much stronger than the foreign imported annual, and being more carefully dried are richer in alkaloids.
Formerly the second year's growth of the biennial plant was thought to contain a considerably larger percentage of alkaloid than either the first year's growth of the same plant, or the annual plant, and only the actual flowering tops of such plants were official, but it is now held that leaves from the English-grown species of all the above are practically of equal alkaloidal value, though the imported drug is of much less value.
Much Henbane is imported from Germany and Russia; this is probably collected mostly from annual plants, and often arrives in very poor condition, sometimes mixed with other species of Henbane. In consequence, English Henbane has always commanded a much higher price. Foreign annual Henbane is usually a much more slender plant than the English, and as imported its alkaloidal value is lower than that of the English-grown varieties. This may be due to the large proportion of stem, sand, etc., that the drug contains, the whole plant being cut and dried. It is probable that the well-dried leaves alone of all the varieties are of approximately equal alkaloidal strength.
---Harvesting---Much of the efficacy of Henbane depends upon the time at which itis gathered. The leaves should be collected when the plant is in full flower. In the biennial plant, those of the second year are preferred to those of the first; the latter are less clammy and foetid, yield less extractive, and are medicinally considered less efficient. Sometimes, however, the plant is destroyed by a severe winter in England, and then no leaves of the second year's growth are obtainable, and it has been suggested that this is, perhaps, one of the causes of the great uncertainty of the medicine as found in commerce.
The leaves of the biennial variety are collected in June or the first week of July and those of the annual in August.
The leaves and flowering tops which constitute the 'Second Biennial Henbane' are collected either with or without the smaller branches to which they are attached and carefully dried, unless they are required for the preparation of the juice or green extract, when they should be sent to the distillery at once on cutting.
The herb when required in the fresh state should be cut the first week in June, because in the second week the leaf-mining insect attacks the leaves, leaving only patches of white epidermis.
The herb requires very careful drying, as its properties are liable to be in great measure destroyed if kept too long in a damp state.
The fresh herb loses 80 to 86 per cent of its weight on drying, 100 lb. yielding 14 to 20 lb. of dry herb.
The fresh leaves have, when bruised, a strong, disagreeable narcotic odour, somewhat like that of tobacco: their taste is mucilaginous and very slightly acrid. The characteristic odour disappears to a large extent on drying, but the bitter taste then becomes more pronounced.
When the dried leaves are thrown upon the fire they burn with a crackling noise from the nitrate they contain, and at the same time they emit a strong odour.
The dried drug consists principally of the flowering tops. In commerce, it is commonly found in irregular rounded or flattened masses, in which the coarsely-toothed hairy bracts, the yellowish corolla with deep purple lines and two-celled ovary, with numerous ovules, can easily be identified.
The root is not employed in medicine, but experiments have shown that the seeds not only possess all the properties of the plant, but have ten times the strength of the leaves. They are also employed in pharmacy, having been much used in the Middle Ages. At the present time, they are much prescribed by the Mohammedan doctors of India.
The seed should be gathered in August; it may be kiln-dried for medicinal purposes, but the treatment renders it useless for culture, and if required for propagation seeds should be sun-dried. The capsules should be harvested before the lids split off, the seeds then being shaken out and dried in the sun.
---Constituents---The chief constituent of Henbane leaves is the alkaloid Hyoscyamine, together with smaller quantities of Atropine and Hyoscine, also known as Scopolamine.
The proportion of alkaloid in the British Pharmacopoeia dried drug varies from 0.045 to 0.14 per cent. Higher yields are exceptional. The amount of Hyoscyamine is many times greater than that of Hyoscine.
Other constituents of Henbane are a glucosidal bitter principle called hyoscytricin, choline, mucilage, albumin, calcium oxalate and potassium nitrate. On incineration, the leaves yield about 12 per cent of ash. By destructive distillation, the leaves yield a very poisonous empyreumatic oil.
The chief constituent of the seeds is about 0.5 to 0.6 per cent of alkaloid, consisting of Hyoscyamine, with a small proportion of Hyoscine. The seeds also contain about 20 per cent of fixed oil.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Antispasmodic, hypnotic, mild diuretic. The leaves have long been employed as a narcoticmedicine. It is similar in action to belladonna and stramonium, though milder in its effects.
The drug combines the therapeutic actions of its two alkaloids, Hyoscyamine and Hyoscine. Because of the presence of the former, it tends to check secretion and to relax spasms of the involuntary muscles, while through the narcotic effects of its hyoscine it lessens pain and exercises a slight somnifacient action.
Its most important use is in relief of painful spasmodic affections of the unstriped muscles, as in lead colic and irritable bladder. It will also relieve pain in cystitis.
It is much employed to allay nervous irritation, in various forms of hysteria or irritable cough, the tincture or juice prepared from the bruised, fresh leaves and tops being given in mixtures as an antispasmodic in asthma.
Combined with silver nitrate, it is especially useful in the treatment of gastric ulcer and chronic gastric catarrh.
It is used to relieve the griping caused by drastic purgatives, and is a common ingredient of aperient pills, especially those containing aloes and colocynth.
In small repeated doses Henbane has been found to have a tranquillizing effect upon persons affected by severe nervous irritability, producing a tendency to sleep, not followed by the disorder of the digestive organs and headache, which too frequently result from the administration of repeated doses of opium, to which Henbane is often preferred when an anodyne or sedative is required. The comparatively small amount of atropine present does not give rise to the excitation and delirium occasioned by belladonna. It is, therefore, used in insomnia, especially when opium cannot be given. Except for this, it acts like atropine.
A watery solution of the extract applied to the eye has a similar effect to that of atropine, in dilating the pupil and thus preparing the eye for an operation, or assisting the cure of its internal inflammation. This dilution leaves no injurious effect afterwards.
In the form of extract or tincture, it is a valuable remedy, either as an anodyne, a hypnotic or a sedative, and will take effect when other drugs fail. When used for such a purpose, it is the active principle, Hyoscine, that is employed. This is very powerful - only a very small amount is used, from 1/200 to 1/70 of a grain of the Hydrobromate of Hyoscine. This drug comes under Table I of the Poisons Schedule. In poisonous doses Henbane in any form causes dimness of sight, faintness, delirium, and sometimes death.
Hyoscine, in combination with other drugs, has of late come into use in the treatment known as Twilight Sleep. This is on account of its sedative action on brain and spine, causing loss of recollection and insensibility. Hyoscine is also used to a considerable extent in asylum practice, for the treatment of acute mania and delirium tremens.
A sedative application for external use is prepared by macerating Henbane leaves in alcohol, mixing the strong tincture with olive oil and heating in a water-bath, until the alcohol is dissipated. A compound liniment of Henbane, when applied to the skin, is of great service for relieving obstinate rheumatic pains.
The fresh leaves, crushed and applied as a poultice, or fomentation, will similarly relieve local pains of gout or neuralgia. They have been employed also to allay pain in cancerous ulcers, irritable sores and swellings, but their use for this purpose is of doubtful real advantage, and seems only a palliative. The extract, in form of suppositories, is also frequently used to alleviate the pain of haemorrhoids.
---Preparations and Dosages---Powdered leaves, 2 to 10 grains. Fluid extract, 2 to 10 drops. Tincture, B.P. and U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Juice, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Solid extract, 2 to 8 grains. Hyoscyamine, 1/8 to 1 grain.
The seeds possess all the properties of the plant. Their expressed oil was formerly used externally.
Henbane seeds are used in some parts of the country as a domestic remedy for toothache; the smoke obtained by heating the seeds on a hot plate is applied to the mouth by means of a funnel, or a poultice is sometimes made from the crushed drug. The seeds were a favourite remedy for toothache in the Middle Ages, but their use is dangerous, having caused convulsions and even insanity in some instances. Both leaves and seeds have also been smoked in a pipe as a remedy for neuralgia and rheumatism, but with equal risk, being too uncertain and violent in their effect to be safe.
Children have been known to eat the seeds with serious results.
Sir Hans Sloane records the case of four children who, having eaten some of the capsules in mistake for filberts, exhibited all the symptoms of narcotic poisoning, continuing for two days and nights in a profound sleep.
In the case of adults, twenty seeds have been proved insufficient to prove fatal, though they induced grave results, the effects being the same as in poisoning by atropine or belladonna, the remedies to be employed being an emetic of mustard, followed by large draughts of warm water, strong tea or coffee, with powdered charcoal; stimulants (whisky, etc.), if necessary; the patient to be roused if drowsy; heat and friction to be applied to the extremities and finally, in acute cases, artificial respiration.
Gerard writes with regard to the use of the seed of Henbane by mountebanks for obstinate toothache:
'Drawers of teeth who run about the country and pretend they cause worms to come forth from the teeth by burning the seed in a chafing dish of coals, the party holding his mouth over the fume thereof, do have some crafty companions who convey small lute strings into the water, persuading the patient that these little creepers came out of his mouth, or other parts which it was intended to ease.'
Another old writer says: 'These pretended worms are no more than an appearance of worms which is always seen in the smoak of Henbane seed.' As a matter of fact, the small white, cylindrical embryos of the seed are forced out of some of them by the heat (especially if the seed be put into a basin with boiling water), and these were mistaken by ignorant sufferers for 'worms' coming out of their teeth.
---Other Species of Hyoscyamus---
Henbane, except for the use of the unofficial forms, is scarcely subject to adulteration in the entire condition. It, however, frequently contains an excessive amount of stem, which reduces its alkaloidal percentage and value.
In the south of Europe, RUSSIAN HENBANE (H. albus) - a native of the region of the Mediterranean, and so called from the pale color of its flowers - is used as the official Henbane, and is regarded as equal in medicinal value. In France it is used indiscriminately with H. niger, though here it is not recognized as having identical properties. It is easily distinguished by the bracts, as well as the leaves being all stalked, and by the pale-yellow color of the flower. According to Pharmacographia, the Hyoscyamus of the Ancients was probably H. albus, and the white variety was preferred for internal use in the practice of more modern times. Both the black and the white occur in our first Pharmacopoeia, but the use of the former was confined to external applications, such as unguentum populeum, while the latter was an ingredient of the famous electuary, Philonium Romanum, the original of the Confection of Opium. In France, too, White Henbane had the preference, though it was held to be milder in operation: only the seeds were official, whereas in the black variety only the leaves were official.
The alkaloidal contents of H. muticus, wiccan HENBANE, from Egypt and the East Indies, often exceeds 1.25 per cent. This is mostly pure Hyoscyamine: its medicinal action is thus different, and its use as a substitute is dangerous.
The drug is readily distinguished, consisting chiefly of very light and light-colored stems, often as thick as the finger, and capsules which are equally light-colored and far more elongated than those of H. niger. The calyx limb is also further prolonged beyond the capsule. The leaves are much narrower; they are coarsely toothed or lobed at the summit, but lack the very large and sharp lateral lobe of the European Henbane.
The presence of H. muticus, as an admixture of the official imported drug, may be detected by the presence of characteristic branching non-glandular hairs, which are found on both the stems and leaves.
H. muticus is one of the most important medicinal herbs produced in Egypt, and is a valuable source of the alkaloids, Hyoscyamine, Hyoscine and Atropine, Hyoscyamine, practically pure, occurring in the drug in considerably greater proportion than in the European herb, the wiccan-grown plant being much richer than the Indian, and being chiefly imported into this country for the manufacture of Hyoscyamine.
The drug occurs in three forms, as a mixture of broken stem, leaf and fruit, in which stem predominates - as leaves with little stem, and as seeds; the first named is the variety usually met with.
Although H. muticus is grown in Egypt, a British Protectorate before the War, the Germans had a monopoly of the supply. TheImperial Institute, during the War, investigated H. muticus as a source of atropine, and reported that if a sufficient supply of the drug could be imported, it would be an additional inducement to British manufacturers to take up the preparation of atropine. As a result, pressed bales have reached this country in fair supply, and the manufacture of atropine is now carried on here in increased quantities.
It has been grown in this country, but not to any great extent. In 1916 it was reported that it was proposed to experiment with the seed of this plant in certain districts in the West Indian islands.
In Egypt the drug is called Sakran, meaning 'the drunken.' In India it is considerably used as a narcotic.
Scopola carniolica, a common plant in Austria and Hungary, Bavaria and southwest Russia, which appears in our trade lists of plants recommended for our pleasure gardens, also yields the alkaloid Hyoscine (Scopolamine) and is worth attention. By selective cultivation, its yield of alkaloid might be raised.
In 1916 (reported in the Chemist and Druggist, Feb. 17, 1924) Wild Hyoscyamus was discovered growing in Montana, U.S.A., the plant growing to the height of about 6 feet near Bearmouth, also Big Timber and other nearby places. It is assumed that it was introduced by some foreigners who were working on a building at Big Timber, Montana. From here it spread and became such a pest that every property-owner was ordered to rid his place of it. The climate and soil seem to suit it and the plants yield the normal quantity of alkaloid.


Botanical: Lawsonia alba (LANK.), Lawsonia inermis
Family: N.O. Lythraceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Henne. Al-Khanna. Al-henna. Jamaica Mignonette. Mehndi. Mendee. wiccan Privet. Smooth Lawsonia.
---Parts Used---Flowers, powdered leaves, fruit.
---Habitat---Egypt, India, Kurdistan, Levant, Persia, Syria.
---Description---The small, white and yellow, heavy, sweet-smelling flowers are borne on dwarf shrubs 8 to 10 feet high. A distilled water prepared from them is used as a cosmetic, and the powdered leaves have been in use from the most ancient times in Eastern countries for dyeing the hair and the nails a reddish-yellow.
Since 1890 it has been widely used in Europe for tinting the hair, usually in the form of a shampoo, many shades being obtainable by mixing with the leaves of other plants, such as indigo. As a dye for the skin or nails the powder may be mixed with catechu or lucerne, made into a paste with hot water, and spread on the part to be dyed, being allowed to remain for one night.
---Constituents---There has been found in it a brown substance of a resinoid fracture, having the chemical properties which characterize the tannins, and therefore named hennotannic acid.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---It has been employed both internally and locally in jaundice, leprosy, smallpox, and affections of the skin. The fruit is thought to have emmenagogue properties.
The wiccans are said to have prepared both an oil and an ointment from the flowers for making the limbs supple.

See Liverwort (American).

Herb Paris
See Paris Herb.

Hog's Fennel
See Fennel, Hog's.


Botanical: Ilex aquifolium (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Aquifoliaceae
Part Used
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Hulver Bush. Holm. Hulm. Holme Chase. Holy Tree. Christ's Thorn.
---Parts Used---Leaves, berries, bark.
---Habitat---The Holly is a native of most of the central and southern parts of Europe. It grows very slowly: when planted among trees which are not more rapid in growth than itself, it is sometimes drawn up to a height of 50 feet, but more frequently its greatest height in this country is 30 to 40 feet, and it rarely exceeds 2 feet in diameter. In Italy and in the woods of France, especially in Brittany, it attains a much larger size than is common in these islands.
Holly, the most important of the English evergreens, forming one of the most striking objects in the wintry woodland, with its glossy leaves and clusters of brilliant scarlet berries, is in the general mind closely connected with the festivities of Christmas, having been from very early days in the history of these islands gathered in great quantities for Yuletide decorations, both of the Church and of the home. The old Christmas Carols are full of allusions to Holly:
Comes in like a bride,
With Holly and Ivy clad.'
---History---Christmas decorations are said to be derived from a custom observed by the Romans of sending boughs, accompanied by other gifts, to their friends during the festival of the Saturnalia, a custom the early Christians adopted. In confirmation of this opinion, a subsequent edict of the Church of Bracara has been quoted, forbidding Christians to decorate their houses at Christmas with green boughs at the same time as the pagans, the Saturnalia commencing about a week before Christmas. The origin has also been traced to the Druids, who decorated their huts with evergreens during winter as an abode for the sylvan spirits. In old church calendars we find Christmas Eve marked templa exornantur (churches are decked), and the custom is as deeply rooted in modern times as in either pagan or early Christian days.
An old legend declares that the Holly first sprang up under the footsteps of Christ, when He trod the earth, and its thorny leaves and scarlet berries, like drops of blood, have been thought symbolical of the Saviour's sufferings, for which reason the tree is called 'Christ's Thorn' in the languages of the northern countries of Europe. It is, perhaps, in connexion with these legends that the tree was called the Holy Tree, as it is generally named by our older writers. Turner, for instance, refers to it by this name in his Herbal published in 1568. Other popular names for it are Hulver and Holme, and it is still called Hulver in Norfolk, and Holme in Devon, and Holme Chase in one part of Dartmoor.
Pliny describes the Holly under the name of Aquifolius, needle leaf, and adds that it was the same tree called by Theophrastus Crataegus, but later commentators deny this. Pliny tells us that Holly if planted near a house or farm, repelled poison, and defended it from lightning and witchcraft, that the flowers cause water to freeze, and that the wood, if thrown at any animal, even without touching it, had the property of compelling the animal to return and lie down by it.
---Description---It sometimes sends up a clean stem furnished with a bushy head, or it may form a perfect pyramid, leafy to the base. The trunk, like that of the Beech, frequently has small wood knots attached to it: these are composed of a smooth nodule of solid wood embedded in bark, and may be readily separated from the tree by a smart blow. The bark is of a remarkably light hue, smooth and grey, often touched with faint crimson, and is very liable to be infected with an exceedingly thin lichen, the fructification of which consists of numerous curved black lines, closely resembling Oriental writing.
The leaves are thick and glossy, about 2 inches long and 1 1/4 inch broad, and edged with stout prickles, whose direction is alternately upwards and downwards, and of which the terminal one alone is invariably in the same plane as the leaf. The upper leaves have mostly only a single prickle. The leaves have neither taste nor odour. They remain attached to the tree for several years, and when they fall, defy for a long time the action of air and moisture, owing to their leathery texture and durable fibres, which take a long time to decay.
Professor Henslow says:
'It has been gravely asserted that holly leaves are only prickly on trees as high as a beast can reach, but at the top it has no spines; that spiny processes of all sorts are a provision of Nature against browsing animals. The truth is that they are the result of drought. A vigorous shoot of Holly may have small leaves without spines at the base, when vigour was beginning; normal, large leaves in the middle when growth was most active; and later on small spineless leaves again appear as the annual energy is declining. Moreover, hollies of ten grow to twenty feet in height, with spiny leaves throughout, and if spineless ones do occur at the top, it is only the result of lessened energy. A cow has been known to be partial to some holly bushes within reach, which had to be protected, just as another would eat stinging-nettles: and the camel lives upon the "Camel-thorn." This animal has a hardened pad to the roof of its mouth, so feels no inconvenience in eating it.'
In May, the Holly bears in the axils of the leaves, crowded, small, whitish flowers, male and female flowers being usually borne on different trees. The fertile flowers are succeeded by the familiar, brilliant, coral-red berries. The same tree rarely produces abundant crops of flowers in consecutive seasons, and Hollies sometimes produce abundance of flowers, but never mature berries, this barrenness being caused by the male flowers alone being properly developed. Berries are rarely produced abundantly when the tree is much clipped, and are usually found in the greatest number on the upper part of the tree, where the leaves are less spiny.
The berries, though eaten by birds, are injurious to human beings, and children should be warned against them. Deer will eat the leaves in winter, and sheep thrive on them. They are infested with few insects.
The ease with which Holly can be kept trimmed renders it valuable as a hedge plant: it forms hedges of great thickness that are quite impenetrable.
It has been stated by M. J. Pierre, that the young stems are gathered in Morbihan by the peasants, and made use of as a cattle-food from the end of November until April, with great success. The stems are dried, and having been bruised are given as food to cows three times daily. They are found to be very wholesome and productive of good milk, and the butter made from it is excellent.
It is also well known to rabbit-breeders that a Holly-stick placed in a hutch for the rabbits to gnaw, will act as a tonic, and restore their appetite.
The wood of Holly is hard, compact and of a remarkable even substance throughout. Except towards the centre of very old trees, it is beautifully white, and being susceptible of a very high polish, is much prized for ornamental ware, being extensively used for inlaying, as in the so-called Tunbridge ware. The evenness of its grain makes it very valuable to the turner. When freshly cut, it is of a slightly greenish hue, but soon becomes perfectly white, and its hardness makes it superior to any other white wood. As it is very retentive of its sap and warps in consequence, it requires to be well dried and seasoned before being used. It is often stained blue, green, red or black; when of the latter color, its principal use is as a substitute for ebony, as in the handles of metal teapots. Mathematical instruments are made of it, also the blocks for calico printing, and it has been employed in wood engraving as a substitute for boxwood, to which, however, it is inferior. The wood of the silver-striped variety is said to be whiter than that of the common kind.
A straight Holly-stick is much prized for the stocks of light driving whips, also for walking-sticks.
The common Holly is the badge of the Drummonds.
---Cultivation---The Holly will grow in almost any soil, provided it is not too wet, but attains the largest size in rich, sandy or gravelly loam, where there is good drainage, and a moderate amount of moisture at the roots, for in very dry localities it is usually stunted in its growth, but it will live in almost any earth not saturated with stagnant water. The most favourable situation seems to be a thin scattered wood of Oaks, in the intervals of which it grows up at once. It is rarely injured by even the most severe winters.
Holly is raised from seeds, which do not germinate until the second year, hence the berries are generally buried in a heap of earth for a year previously to being sown. The young plants are transplanted when about a foot or 18 inches high, autumn being the best time for the process. If intended for a hedge, the soil around should be previously well trenched and moderately manured if necessary. Holly exhausts the soil around it to a greater extent than most deciduous trees. At least two years will be needed to recover the check given by transplanting. Although always a slow grower, Holly grows more quickly after the first four or five years.
The cultivated varieties of Holly are very numerous: of these one is distinguished by the unusual color of its berries, which are yellow. Other forms are characterized by the variegated foliage, or by the presence of a larger or smaller number of prickles than ordinary.
In winter the garden and shrubbery are much indebted to the more showy varieties for the double contrast afforded by their leaves and berries. They are propagated by grafting on four- or five-year-old plants of the common sort and by cuttings.
The best time to cut down Holly is early in the spring, before the sap rises. A sloping cut is preferable to a straight one, as moisture is thus prevented from remaining on the cut portion, and as an additional precaution the wound should be covered with a coating of tar. The side growths should be left, as they will help to draw up the sap.
---Part Used---The leaves and berries, also the bark. The leaves are used both fresh and dried, but usually in the dried condition, for which they are collected in May and June. They should be stripped off the tree on a dry day, the best time being about noon, when there is no longer any trace of dew on them. All stained or insect-eaten leaves must be rejected.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Holly leaves were formerly used as a diaphoretic and an infusion of them was given in catarrh, pleurisy and smallpox. They have also been used in intermittent fevers and rheumatism for their febrifugal and tonic properties, and powdered, or taken in infusion or decoction, have been employed with success where Cinchona has failed, their virtue being said to depend on a bitter principle, an alkaloid named Ilicin. The juice of the fresh leaves has been employed with advantage in jaundice.
The berries possess totally different qualities to the leaves, being violently emetic and purgative, a very few occasioning excessive vomiting soon after they are swallowed, though thrushes and blackbirds eat them with impunity. They have been employed in dropsy; also, in powder, as an astringent to check bleeding.
Culpepper says 'the bark and leaves are good used as fomentations for broken bones and such members as are out of joint.' He considered the berries to be curative of colic.
From the bark, stripped from the young shoots and suffered to ferment, birdlime is made. The bark is stripped off about midsummer and steeped in clean water; then boiled till it separates into layers, when the inner green portion is laid up in small heaps till fermentation ensues. After about a fortnight has elapsed, it becomes converted into a sticky, mucilaginous substance, and is pounded into a paste, washed and laid by again to ferment. It is then mixed with some oily matter, goosefat being preferred, and is ready for use. Very little, however, is now made in this country. In the north of England, Holly was formerly so abundant in the Lake District, that birdlime was made from it in large quantities and shipped to the East Indies for destroying insects.
The leaves of Holly have been employed in the Black Forest as a substitute for tea. Paraguay Tea, so extensively used in Brazil, is made from the dried leaves and young shoots of another species of Holly (Ilex Paraguayensis), growing in South America, an instance of the fact that similar properties are often found in more than one species of the same genus.
I. Gongonha and I. Theezans, also used in Brazil as tea, and like I. Paraguayensis are valuable diuretics and diaphoretics. The leaves of I. Paraguayensis and several others are used by dyers; the unripe fruits of I. Macoucoua abound in tannin, and bruised in a ferruginous mud, are used in dyeing cotton, acting something like galls.

Holly, Sea

Botanical: Eryngium maritinum, Eryngium campestre
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Part Used
Medicinal Actiona and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Eryngo. Sea Hulver. Sea Holme.
(French) Panicaut.
(German) Krausdistel.
---Part Used---Root.
---Habitat---It abounds on most of our sandy seashores and is very plentiful on the East Coast, also on the sands of Mounts Bay, Cornwall, but is rare in Scotland.
Closely allied to the Wood Sanicle, not only belonging to the same order, Umbelliferae, but placed by Hooker in the same Tribe or subdivision of the order, Saniculae, is the Sea Holly (Eryngium maritinum).
This spiny plant, which at first sight might be taken rather for a thistle than a member of the umbelliferous order, is sometimes called by old English writers Sea Hulver and Sea Holme.
---Description---The roots are perennial, large, fleshy and brittle, penetrating far into the sand, often reaching several feet in length.
The stems, 6 to 12 inches high, thick and solid, are branched at the summit. The radical leaves are on stalks, 2 to 7 inches long, the blades cut into three broad divisions at the apex, coarsely toothed, the teeth ending in spines and undulated. The margin of the leaf is thickened and cartilaginous. The lower stem-leaves are shortly stalked, resembling the radical ones, but the upper ones are sessile and half embracing the stem, which terminates in a shortly-stalked head, below which it gives off two or three spreading branches, all from one point, which is surrounded by a whorl of three leaves, spreading like the rays of the sun.
The heads of flowers appear in July and are at first round, afterwards egg-shaped, 3/4 to 1 inch across, the flowers stalkless, whitish-blue, 1/8 inch across. The calyx tube is thickly covered with soft, cartilaginous bristles; the calyx teeth end in a spine.
The plant is intensely glaucous tinged with blue towards the top, especially on the flowerheads and the leaves immediately below them.
The name of this genus has reference to its supposed efficacy in flatulent disorders, coming from the Greek word eruggarein (to eructate). Dioscorides recommended the roots for this purpose.
Another derivation is from the diminutive of eerungos (the beard of a goat), possibly from its appearance. Plutarch relates a curious story about the plant, saying:
'They report of the Sea Holly, if one goat taketh it into her mouth, it causeth her first to stand still and afterwards the whole flock, until such time as the shepherd takes it from her.'
According to Linnaeus, the young flowering-shoots, when boiled and eaten like asparagus, are palatable and nourishing. The leaves are sweetish, with a slight aromatic, warm pungency. The roots, boiled or roasted resemble chestnuts in taste, and are palatable and nutritious.
The roots are supposed to have the same aphrodisiac virtues as those of the Orchis tribe, and are still regarded by the Arabs as an excellent restorative. They are sold in some places in a candied form, and used to be obtainable in London shops as a sweetmeat. They are said to have been prepared in this manner by Robert Burton, an apothecary of Colchester, in the seventeenth century, who established a manufactory for the purpose, but the roots were in use long before, being considered both antiscorbutic and excellent for health, and we are told that the 'kissing comfits,' alluded to by Falstaff, were made of them. We read that once the town of Colchester presented royalty with a sample of their candied Sea Holly roots, whereon the sale of the article increased greatly, and many wonderful cures were supposed to be effected by the confection.
Gerard says:
'The roots if eaten are good for those that be liver sick, and they ease cramps, convulsions and the falling sickness. If condited, or preserved with sugar, they are exceeding good to be given to old and aged people that are consumed and withered with age, and who want natural moisture.'
He gives an elaborate recipe for 'conditing' the roots of Sea Holly or Eringos.
He also cultivated in his garden the Field Eryngo (E. campestre), a native of most parts of Europe, but not common in Britain, though a troublesome weed in the few spots where it does appear, as the roots run deep into the ground, and are not easily destroyed by the plough and spread greatly. The whole plant is very stiff and of a pale-green color, less glaucous and more branched than the Sea Holly; the corolla are blue, sometimes white or yellow. It is taller and more slender, also, than the Sea Holly. By many authorities it is considered a doubtful native of these islands.
---Cultivation---The Sea Holly, in common with the ornamental varieties, Eryngo, now cultivated, will grow in a garden, if planted in a warm, well-drained and preferably a gravel soil, but the roots will not grow as large or as fleshy as those which are found upon the seashore within reach of salt water. Plenty of sun is essential for all varieties.
The best time to transplant the roots is in autumn, when the leaves decay; the young roots are much better to transplant than the old, because, being furnished with fibres, they will readily take root. They will require no further culture than to be kept free from weeds.
If propagated by seeds, they are more likely to succeed if the seeds are sown in the autumn, as the germination is very slow. They may be sown where intended to grow and thinned out to about a foot or more apart, to avoid transplanting, as the long roots may break in the process. The seedlings are, in any case, not ready for transplanting for a year, so that the mode of propagation generally preferred is by division of roots in spring.Cuttings of the roots will succeed in light soil, if planted about 2 inches deep.
---Part Used---The root, dug in autumn, from plants at least two years old.
Culpepper says:
'The distilled water of the whole herb' (Sea Holly) 'when the leaves and stalks are young is profitably drank for all the purposes aforesaid, and helps the melancholy of the heart, and is available in quartan and quotidian agues; as also for them that have their necks drawn awry, and cannot turn them without turning their whole body.'
Eryngo roots when dry are in pieces from 2 to 4 inches long, or more, transversely wrinkled, blackish-brown, crowned with the bristly remains of leaf-stalks. The fracture is spongy and coarsely fibrous, with a small radiate, yellow centre.
The taste is sweetish and mucilaginous, but the root has no odour.
The roots of both the Common Sea Holly and of the Field Eryngo are both sold under the name of Eryngo Root.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Diaphoretic, diuretic, aromatic, stimulant, expectorant. Eryngo promotes a free expectoration and possessing an aromatic principle is very serviceable in debility attendant upon coughs of chronic standing in the advanced stages of pulmonary consumption, in which it has been used in the candied form with great benefit.
It is useful in paralysis and chronic nervous diseases, alike in simple nervousness and in delirium produced by diseases.
Boerhaave, the celebrated Danish physician, much recommended Eryngo, considering that a decoction of the roots, drunk freely, acted on the kidneys and is serviceable in scorbutic complaints. It is used with good results in cases of bladder disease.
The roots are also considered good in obstructions of the liver and in jaundice, operating as a diuretic and a good restorative.
They have been pronounced balsamic, as well as diuretic, old writers telling us that bruised and applied outwardly, they are good for King's Evil, and that when bruised and boiled in hog's fat and applied to broken bones, thorns in the flesh, etc., they draw the latter out and heal up the place again, 'gathering new flesh where it was consumed.'
---Other Species---
E. campestre was formerly abundant about Watling Street.
Of the foreign species, which are numerous, the most worthy of notice is E. amethystinum, so called from the brilliant blue tint not of its flowers only, but of the bracts and upper part of the stem; it is a native of Dalmatia and Croatia, but is frequently cultivated in English gardens; while E. Alpinum, a smaller plant of a still more brilliant color, is a native of the Swiss Alps.
E. aquaticum (Button Snake-root), a North American plant, is used in Homoeopathy, a tincture being made from the root both fresh and dried.


Botanical: Althaea Rosea (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Malvaceae
---Synonym---Garden Hollyhock.
---Part Used---Flowers.
The Hollyhock, first brought to this country from China, was once eaten as a pot-herb, though it is not particularly palatable.
Its flowers are employed medicinally for their emollient, demulcent and diuretic properties, which make them useful in chest complaints. Their action is similar to Marshmallow.
The flowers are also used for coloring purposes. They are sold freed from the calyx and should be gathered in July and early August, when in full bloom, and dried in trays, in thin layers, in a current of warm air immediately after picking. When dry, they are a deep, purplish-black, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, united with the stamens, which form a tube, the one-celled, reniform anthers remaining free.


Botanical: Lonicera caprifolium (LINN.), Lonicera Periclymenum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Caprifoliaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Dutch Honeysuckle. Goats' Leaf.
(French) Chèvre-feuille.
(German) Geisblatt.
(Italian) Capri-foglio.
---Parts Used---Flowers, seeds, leaves.
Caprifoliaceae, the order to which the Honeysuckles belong, includes about 300 species, chiefly shrubs, growing in the north temperate zone or extending into the higher cool tropical regions. Besides the Viburnums and Sambucus, a number have found more or less important uses in medicine, but they exhibit but little uniformity in composition or properties.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A dozen or more of the 100 species of Lonicera or Honeysuckle are used medicinally, the fruits generally having emiticocathartic properties. Several of these drugs have more than a local repute.
The herbage of L. caprifolium (Linn.), the smaller, or ITALIAN HONEYSUCKLE, of Mid- and Southern Europe, is used as a cutaneous and mucous tonic and vulnerary and the seeds as a diuretic.
L. Periclymenum (Linn.), our common ENGLISH WILD HONEYSUCKLE, is used similarly and the stems as a substitute or adulterant for Solanum Dulcamara, the Bittersweet.
Waller says: 'The leaves and flowers of Honeysuckle are possessed of diuretic and sudorific properties,' and adds:
'a decoction of the flowers has been celebrated as an excellent antispasmodic and recommended in asthma of the nervous kind. An elegant water may be distilled from these flowers, which has been recommended for nervous headache.'
Gerard says: 'The Honeysuckle is "neither cold nor binding, but hot and attenuating or making thin." ' He quotes Dioscorides as saying that:
'the ripe seed gathered and dried in theshadow and drunk for four days together, doth waste and consume away the hardness of the spleen and removeth wearisomeness, helpeth the shortness and difficulty of breathing, cureth the hicket (hiccough), etc. A syrup made of the flowers is good to be drunk against diseases of the lungs and spleen.'
He also recommends it for sores in various parts of the alimentary canal.
Salmon in his Herbal (1710) speaks only of the Meadow Honeysuckle, 'which was the name given by the agriculturists of his day to the Meadow Trefoil (Trifolium pratense).'
The herbage of the true Honeysuckles is a favourite food of goats, hence the Latin name Caprifolium (Goats' Leaf), the French Chèvre-feuille, German Geisblatt and Italian Capri-foglio, all signifying the same. The berries have been used as food for chickens. The name of the genus, Lonicera, was given by Linnaeus in honour of Adam Lonicer, a physician and naturalist, born at Marburg in 1528, who wrote, among other works, the Naturalis Historiae Opus novum, which contains much curious information about plants.
Our native Honeysuckle has expectorant and laxative properties. The flowers in the form of syrup have been used for diseases of the respiratory organs and in asthma and the leaves as decoction in diseases of the liver and spleen. It was also considered a good ingredient in gargles.
L. tartarica, a native of Siberia, an upright species, a shrub, not a climber, has berries which are nauseously bitter and purgative.
The wood of L. Xylosteum, native of Eastern Europe and Asia, but found naturalized in Sussex, also of shrub-like nature, is used by the Russians to prepare an empyrheumatic oil for 'cold tumours and chronic pains. ' It is sold in China as Jin-tung. Animals seldom touch the leaves of this species and birds eat its berries only in hard weather - they are reputed to be purgative and emetic.
L. brachypoda repens is used in Japan as a drastic purgative, and L. Japonica (Thunb.) is sold in China as Kin-yin-keva.
Diervilla, the Bush Honeysuckle, especially Diervilla Diervilla (L. Diervilla, Linn.), has a similar repute, especially as a diuretic and as an application to relieve itching.
Various species of Symphoricarpus, Snowberry, Wax-berry, Coral-berry, Indian Currant, Turkey-berry, Wolf-berry, to give a few of its names, of North America, are similarly employed. S. racemosa (Mich.) is often planted in hedges.
Culpepper says:
'Honeysuckles are cleansing, consuming and digesting, and therefore no way fit for inflammations. Take a leaf and chew it in your mouth and you will quickly find it likelier to cause a sore mouth and throat than cure it. If it be not good for this, what is it good for? It is good for something, for God and nature made nothing in vain. It is a herb of Mercury, and appropriated to the lungs; the celestial Crab claims dominion over it, neither is it a foe to the Lion; if the lungs be afflicted by Jupiter, this is your cure. It is fitting a conserve made of the flowers should be kept in every gentlewoman's house; I know no better cure for the asthma than this besides it takes away the evil of the spleen: provokes urine, procures speedy delivery of women in travail, relieves cramps, convulsions, and palsies, and whatsoever griefs come of cold or obstructed perspiration; if you make use of it as an ointment, it will clear the skin of morphew, freckles, and sunburnings, or whatever else discolors it, and then the maids will love it. Authors say, the flowers are of more effect than the leaves, and that is true: but they say the seeds are the least effectual of all. But there is a vital spirit in every seed to beget its like; there is a greater heat in the seed than any other part of the plant; and heat is the mother of action.'


Botanical: Humulus Lupulus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Urticaceae
Parts Used Medicinally
Chemical Constituents
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Part Used---Flowers.
The Hop (Humulus Lupulus, Linn.) is a native British plant, having affinities, botanically speaking, with the group of plants to which the Stinging Nettles belong. The sole representative of its genus in these islands, it is found wild in hedges and copses from York southwards, being only considered an introduced species in Scotland, and rare and not indigenous in Ireland. It is found in most countries of the North temperate zone.
The root is stout and perennial. The stem that arises from it every year is of a twining nature, reaching a great length, flexible and very tough, angled and prickly, with a tenacious fibre, which has enabled it to be employed to some extent in Sweden in the manufacture of a coarse kind of cloth, white and durable, though the fibres are so difficult of separation, that the stems require to be steeped in water a whole winter. Paper has also been made from the stem, or bine, as it is termed.
The leaves are heart-shaped and lobed, on foot-stalks, and as a rule placed opposite one another on the stem, though sometimes the upper leaves are arranged singly on the stem, springing from altenate sides. They are of a dark-green color with their edges finely toothed.
The flowers spring from the axils of the leaves. The Hop is dioecious, i.e. male and female flowers are on separate plants. The male flowers are in loose bunches or panicles, 3 to 5 inches long. The female flowers are in leafy cone-like catkins, called strobiles. When fully developed, the strobiles are about 1 1/4 inch long, oblong in shape and rounded, consisting of a number of overlapping, yellowish-green bracts, attached to a separate axis. If these leafy organs are removed, the axis will be seen to be hairy and to have a little zigzag course. Each of the bracts enfolds at the base a small fruit (achene), both fruit and bract being sprinkled with yellow translucent glands, which appear as a granular substance. Much of the value of Hops depends on the abundance of this powdery substance, which contains 10 per cent of Lupulin, the bitter principle to which Hops owe much of their tonic properties.
As it is, these ripened cones of the female Hop plant that are used in brewing, female plants only are cultivated, since from these alone can the fruits be obtained. Those with undeveloped seeds are preferred to ensure which the staminate plants are excluded, only a few male plants being found scattered over a plantation of hops.
We find the Hop first mentioned by Pliny, who speaks of it as a garden plant among the Romans, who ate the young shoots in spring, in the same way as we do asparagus, and as country people frequently do in England at the present day. The young tops of Hop used formerly to be brought to market tied up in small bundles for table use. The tender first foliage, blanched, is a good potherb.
The leaves and flower-heads have been used also to produce a fine brown dye.
The origin of the name of the Hop genus, Humulus, is considered doubtful, though it has been assumed by some writers that it is derived from humus, the rich moist ground in which the plant grows. The specific name Lupulus, is derived from the Latin, lupus (a wolf), because, as Pliny explains, when produced among osiers, it strangles them by its light, climbing embraces, as the wolf does a sheep. The English name Hop comes from the Anglo-Saxon hoppan (to climb).
Hops appear to have been used in the breweries of the Netherlands in the beginning of the fourteenth century. In England they were not used in the composition of beer till nearly two centuries afterwards. The liquor prepared from fermented malt formed the favourite drink of our Saxon and Danish forefathers. The beverage went by the name of Ale (the word derived from the Scandinavian öl - the Viking's drink) and was brewed either from malt alone, or from a mixture of the latter with Honey and flavoured with Heath tops, Ground Ivy, and various other bitter and aromatic herbs, such as Marjoram, Buckbean, Wormwood, Yarrow, Woodsage or Germander and Broom. They knew not, however, the ale to which Hops give both flavour and preservation. For long after the introduction of Hops, the liquor flavoured in the old manner retained the name of Ale, while the word of German and Dutch origin, Bier or Beer, was given only to that made with the newly-introduced bitter catkins.
It has been stated that the planting of Hops in this country was forbidden in the reign of Henry VI, but half a century later the cultivation was introduced from Flanders, though only to a limited extent, and it did not become sufficient for the needs of the kingdom till the end of the seventeenth century. The prejudice against the use of Hops was at first great. Henry VIII forbade brewers to put hops and sulphur into ale, Parliament having been petitioned against the Hop as 'a wicked weed that would spoil the taste of the drink and endanger the people.' In the fifth year of Edward VI, however, privileges were granted to Hop growers, though in the reign of James I the plant was still not sufficiently cultivated to supply the consumption, as we find a statute of 1608 against the importation of spoiled Hops.
Hops were at first thought to engender melancholy.
'Hops,' says John Evelyn, in his Pomona (1670), 'transmuted our wholesome ale into beer, which doubtless much alters its constitution. This one ingredient, by some suspected not unworthily, preserves the drink indeed, but repays the pleasure in tormenting diseases and a shorter life.'
---Cultivation---It has been estimated that in pre-war times 70 per cent of the Hops used in brewing was home produce and 30 per cent imported, chiefly from the United States and Germany.
Hops are also grown in France, South Russia, Australia and New Zealand.
The cultivation of Hops in the British Islands is restricted to England, where it is practically confined to half a dozen counties: four in the south-east (Kent, Surrey, Hants and Sussex) and two in the western Midland counties (Worcester and Hereford). As a rule, over 60 per cent of home-grown Hops are grown in Kent.
In the years 1898-1907, the average annual acreage of Hops under cultivation in this country was 48,841 acres (being 51,127 acres in 1901 and 33,763 acres in 1907). The average annual yield per acre for these ten years was 8.84 cwt., and the average annual home produce 434,567 cwt. In 1907 Kent had under cultivation 28,169 acres; Hereford, 6,143; Sussex, 4,243; Worcester, 3,622; Hants; 1,842, and Surrey, 744.
Hops require deep, rich soil, on dry bottom, with south or south-west aspect - free circulation of air is necessary. The ground is generally well pulverized and manured to considerable depth by plough or spade before planting. Hops in Kent are usually planted in October or November, the plants being placed 6 feet apart each way, thus giving 1,210 plant centres to the acre. The plants are usually set in 'stools' of from three to five, a few inches apart. They are obtained from cuttings or suckers taken from the healthiest old shoots, which are usually planted out closely in nursery lines a year before being planted permanently.
Very little growth takes place the first year. Some planters still grow potatoes or mangels between the rows of the first year, as the plants do not bear much till the second year, but this is considered a mistake, as it exhausts the ground.
As a rule, the plants are not full bearing till the third year, when four to six poles from 14 to 18 feet long are required for each stool. The most used timber for Hop poles is Spanish Chestnut, which is largely grown for this special purpose in coppices in hopgrowing districts. Ash is also used. The poles are set to the plants in spring, before growth commences, and removed when the latter are cut away in autumn. The plants are then dressed with manure, and the soil between the stools stirred lightly. Much of the Hop-land is ploughed between the rows, but it is better to dig Hop-land if possible, the tool used being the Kent spud.
Experiments in Hop manuring have been conducted in connexion with the South-East Agricultural College, Wye. The main results have been to demonstrate the necessity of a liberal supply of phosphates, if the full benefit is to be reaped from application of nitrogenous manures. Manuring is applied in the winter and dug or ploughed in. London manure from stables is used to an enormous extent. Rags, fur waste, sprats, wood waste and shoddy, are also put on in the winter. In the summer, rape dust, guano, nitrate of soda and various patent Hopmanures are chopped in with the Canterbury hoe. Fish guano, or desiccated fish, is largely used; it is very stimulating and more lasting than some of the forcing manures.
Hop-land is ploughed or dug between November and March. After this, the plants are trimmed or 'dressed,' i.e. all the old bine ends are cut off with a sharp curved Hop-knife and the plant centres kept level with the ground. Much attention is required to keep the bines in their places on the poles, strings or wire during the summer.
The Hop cones - or strobiles - are fit to gather when a brown-amber color and of a firm consistence. The stalks are then cut at the base and removed with the poles and laid horizontally on frames of wood, to each of which is attached a large sack into which the Hops fall as they are picked. When picked, the Hops are at once taken to the kiln or oast-house, and dried, as they are liable to become spoiled in a few hours, especially when picked moist. During the process of drying which is carried out in a similar manner to the drying of malt, great care is required to prevent overheating, by which the essential oil would become volatilized. The Hops are spread 8 to 12 inches deep, on hair-cloth, also being sometimes exposed to fumes of burning sulphur. When the ends of the stalks shrivel, they are removed from the kiln and laid on a woodenfloor till quite cool, when they are packed in bales, known as 'pockets.'
The difficulties attendant upon the cultivation of Hops have been aggravated and the expenses increased in recent years by the regularly recurring attacks of aphis blight, due to the insect Aphis humuli, which make it necessary to spray or syringe every Hop plant, every branch and leaf with insecticidal solutions three or four times and sometimes more often in each season. Quassia and soft soap solutions are usually employed: the soft soap serves as a vehicle to retain the bitterness of the quassia upon the bines and leaves, making them repulsive to the Aphides, which are thus starved out. The solution is made from 4 to 8 lb. of quassia chips to 100 gallons of water.
Another pest, the Red Spider (Tetranychus telarius) is most destructive in very hot summers. Congregating on the under surfaces of the leaves, the red spiders exhaust the sap and cause the leaves to fall. The Quassia and Soft Soap Hopwash is of little avail in the case of Red Spider. Some success has attended the use of a solution consisting of 8 to 10 lb. of soft soap to 100 gallons of water, with 3 pints of paraffin added. It must be applied with great force, to break through the webs with which the spiders protect themselves.
Hop washing is done by means of large garden engines worked by hand or by horseengines: even steam-engines have sometimes been employed.
Among fungoid parasites, Mould or Mildew is frequently the cause of loss to Hop planters. It is due to the action of the fungus Podosphaera castagnei, and the mischief is more especially that done to the cones. The remedy is sulphur, employed usually in the form of flowers of sulphur, from 40 to 60 lb. per acre being applied at each sulphuring, distributed by means of a blast pipe. The first sulphuring takes place when the plants are fairly up the poles and is repeated three or four weeks later, and even again if indications of mildew are present. Sulphur is also successfully employed in the form of an alkaline sulphur, such as a solution of liver of sulphur, a variety of potassium sulphide.
---Parts Used Medicinally---(a) The strobiles, collected and dried as described. (b) The Lupulin, separated from the strobiles by sifting.
---Chemical Constituents---The aromatic odour of the Hop strobiles is due to a volatile oil, of which they yield about 0.3 to 1.0 per cent. It appears to consist chiefly of the sesquiterpene Humulene. Petroleum spirit extracts 7 to 14 per cent of a powerfully antiseptic soft resin, and ether extracts a hard resin. The petroleum spirit extract contains the two crystalline bitter principles (a) Lupamaric acid (Humulone), (b) Lupamaric acid (Lupulinic acid). These bodies are chiefly contained in the glands at the base of the bracts. The leafy organs contain about 5 per cent of tannin which is not a constituent of the glands. Hops yield about 7 per cent Ash.
The oil and the bitter principle combine to make Hops more useful than Chamomile, Gentian or any other bitter in the manufacture of beer: hence the medicinal value of extra-hopped or bitter beer. The tannic acid contained in the strobiles adds to the value of Hops by causing precipitation of vegetable mucilage and consequently the cleansing of beer.
Fresh Hops possess a bitter aromatic taste and a strong characteristic odour. The latter, however, changes and becomes distinctly unpleasant as the Hops are kept. This change is ascribed to oxidation of the soft resin with production of Valerianic acid. On account of the rapid change in the odour of Hops, the recently dried fruits should alone be used: these may be recognized by the characteristic odour and distinctly green color. Those which have been subjected to the treatment of sulphuring are not to be used in pharmacy. This process is conducted with a view of improving the color and odour of the Hops, since sulphuric acid is found to retard the production of the Valerianic odour and to both preserve and improve the color of the Hops.
Lupulin, which consists of the glandular powder present on the seeds and surface of the scales, may be separated by shaking the strobiles. The drug occurs in a granular, brownish-yellow powder, with the strong odour and bitter aromatic taste characteristic of Hops. The glands readily burst on the application of slight pressure and discharge their granular oleo-resinous contents. Commercial Lupulin is often of a very inferior quality, and consists of the sifted sweepings from the floors of hop-kilns. It should contain not more than 40 per cent of matter insoluble in ether and not yield more than 12 per cent of ash on incineration. A dark color and disagreeable odour indicates an old drug.
The chief constituent of Lupulin is about 3 per cent of volatile oil, which consists chiefly of Humulene, together with various oxygenated bodies to which the oil owes its peculiar odour. Other constituents are the two Lupamaric acids, cholene and resin.
Lupulin is official both in the British Pharmacopoeia and the United States Pharmacopoeia.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Hops have tonic, nervine, diuretic and anodyne properties. Their volatile oil produces sedative and soporific effects, and the Lupamaric acid or bitter principle is stomachic and tonic. For this reason Hops improve the appetite and promote sleep.
The official preparations are an infusion and a tincture. The infusion is employed as a vehicle, especially for bitters and tonics: the tincture is stomachic and is used to improve the appetite and digestion. Both preparations have been considered to be sedative, were formerly much given in nervousness and hysteria and at bedtime to induce sleep; in cases of nervousness, delirium and inflammation being considered to produce a most soothing effect, frequently procuring for the patient sleep after long periods of sleeplessness in overwrought conditions of the brain.
The bitter principle in the Hop proves one of the most efficacious vegetable bitters obtainable. An infusion of 1/2 oz. Hops to 1 pint of water will be found the proper quantity for ordinary use. It has proved of great service also in heart disease, fits, neuralgia and nervous disorders, besides being a useful tonic in indigestion, jaundice, and stomach and liver affections generally. It gives prompt ease to an irritable bladder, and is said to be an excellent drink in cases of delirium tremens. Sherry in which some Hops have been steeped makes a capital stomachic cordial.
A pillow of warm Hops will often relieve toothache and earache and allay nervous irritation.
An infusion of the leaves, strobiles and stalks, as Hop Tea, taken by the wineglassful two or three times daily in the early spring, is good for sluggish livers. Hop Tea in the leaf, as frequently sold by grocers, consists of Kentish Hop leaves, dried, crushed under rollers and then mixed with ordinary Ceylon or Indian Tea. The infusion combines the refreshment of the one herb with the sleepinducing virtues of the other.
Hop juice cleanses the blood, and for calculus trouble nothing better can be found than the bitter principle of the Hop. A decoction of the root has been esteemed as of equal benefit with Sarsaparilla.
As an external remedy, an infusion of Hops is much in demand in combination with chamomile flowers or poppy heads as a fomentation for swelling of a painful nature, inflammation, neuralgic and rheumatic pains, bruises, boils and gatherings. It removes pain and allays inflammation in a very short time. The Hops may also be applied as a poultice.
The drug Lupulin is an aromatic bitter and is reputed to be midly sedative, inducing sleep without causing headache.
It is occasionally administered as a hypnotic, either in pills with alcohol, or enclosed in a cachet.
Preparations of Lupulin are not much used in this country, although official, but in the United States they are considered preferable for internal use.


Formerly every farmhouse inn had a brewing plant and brewhouse attached to the buildings, and all brewed their own beer till the large breweries were established and supplanted home-brewed beers. Many of these farmhouses then began to brew their own 'stingo' from wayside herbs, employing old rustic recipes that had been carried down from generation to generation. The true value of vegetable bitters and of herb beers have yet to be recognized by all sections of the community. Workmen in puddling furnaces and potteries in the Midland and Northern counties find, however, that a tea made of tonic herbs is cheaper and less intoxicating than ordinary beer and patronize the herb beers freely, Dandelion Stout ranking as one of the favourites. It is also made in Canada.
Dandelion is a good ingredient in many digestive or diet drinks. A dinner drink may be made as follows: Take 2 OZ. each of dried Dandelion and Nettle herbs and 1 OZ. of Yellow Dock. Boil in 1 gallon of water for 15 minutes and then strain the liquor while hot on to 2 Lb. of sugar, on the top of which is sprinkled 2 tablespoonsful of powdered Ginger. Leave till milk-warm, then add boiled water gone cold to bring the quantity up to 2 gallons. The temperature must then not be above 75 degrees F. Now dissolve 1/2 oz. solid yeast in a little of the liquid and stir into the bulk. Allow to ferment 24 hours, skim and bottle, and it will be ready for use in a day or two.
A good, pleasant-tasting botanic beer is also made of the Nettle alone. Quantities of the young fresh tops are boiled in a gallon of water, with the juice of two lemons, a teaspoonful of crushed ginger and 1 Lb. of brown sugar. Fresh yeast is floated on toast in the liquor, when cold, to ferment it, and when it is bottled the result is a specially wholesome sort of ginger beer.
Meadow Sweet was also formerly much in favour. The mash when worked with barm made a pleasant drink, either in the harvest field or at the table. It required little sugar, some even made it without any sugar at all.
Another favourite brew was that of armsful of Meadowsweet, Yarrow, Dandelion and Nettles, and the mash when 'sweetened with old honey' and well worked with barm, and then bottled in big stoneware bottles, made a drink strong enough to turn even an old toper's head.
Old honeycomb from the thatch of an ancient cottage, filled with rich and nearly black honey, when boiled into syrup and then strained, was used in the making of herb beer, while the wax was put at the mouths of the hives for the bees.
Dandelion, Meadowsweet and Agrimony, equal quantities of each, would also be boiled together for 20 minutes (about 2 OZ. each of the dried herbs to 2 gallons of water), then strained and 2 lb. of sugar and 1/2 pint of barm or yeast added. This was bottled after standing in a warm place for 12 hours. This recipe is still in use.
A Herb Beer that needs no yeast is made from equal quantities of Meadowsweet, Betony, Agrimony and Raspberry leaves (2 OZ. of each) boiled in 2 gallons of water for 15 minutes, strained, then 2 lb. of white sugar added and bottled when nearly cool.
In some outlying islands of the Hebrides there is still brewed a drinkable beer by making two-thirds Heath tops with one-third of malt.
HOP BITTERS, as an appetiser, to be taken in tablespoonful doses three times in the day before eating, may be made as follows: Take 2 OZ. of Buchu leaves and 1/2 lb. of Hops. Boil these in 5 quarts of water in an iron vessel for an hour. When lukewarm add essence of Winter green (Pyrola) 2 OZ. and 1 pint alcohol.
Another way of making Hop Bitters is to take 1/2 oz. Hops, 1 OZ. Angelica Herb and 1 OZ. Holy Thistle. Pour 3 pints of boiling water on them and strain when cold. A wineglassful may be taken four times a day.
To make a good HOP BEER, put 2 OZ. Hops in 2 quarts of water for 15 minutes. Then strain and dissolve 1 lb. of sugar in the liquor. To this add 4 quarts of cold water and 2 tablespoonsful of fresh barm. Allow to stand for 12 hours in a warm place and it will then be ready for bottling.

Horehound, White

Botanical: Marrubium vulgare (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Part Used---Herb.
---Habitat---White Horehound is a perennial herbaceous plant, found all over Europe and indigenous to Britain. Like many other plants of the Labiate tribe, it flourishes in waste places and by roadsides, particularly in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, where it is also cultivated in the corners of cottage gardens for making tea and candy for use in coughs and colds. It is also brewed and made into Horehound Ale, an appetizing and healthful beverage, much drunk in Norfolk and other country districts.
---Description---The plant is bushy, producing numerous annual, quadrangular and branching stems, a foot or more in height, on which the whitish flowers are borne in crowded, axillary, woolly whorls. The leaves are much wrinkled, opposite, petiolate, about 1 inch long, covered with white, felted hairs, which give them a woolly appearance. They have a curious, musky smell, which is diminished by drying and lost on keeping. Horehound flowers from June to September.
The Romans esteemed Horehound for its medicinal properties, and its Latin name of Marrubium is said to be derived from Maria urbs, an ancient town of Italy. Other authors derive its name from the Hebrew marrob (a bitter juice), and state that it was one of the bitter herbs which the Jews were ordered to take for the Feast of Passover.
The wiccan Priests called this plant the 'Seed of Horus,' or the 'Bull's Blood,' and the 'Eye of the Star.' It was a principal ingredient in the negro Caesar's antidote for vegetable poisons.
Gerard recommends it, in addition to its uses in coughs and colds, to 'those that have drunk poyson or have been bitten of serpents,' and it was also administered for 'mad dogge's biting.'
It was once regarded as an anti-magical herb.
According to Columella, Horehound is a serviceable remedy against Cankerworm in trees, and it is stated that if it be put into new milk and set in a place pestered with flies, it will speedily kill them all.
---Cultivation---White Horehound is a hardy plant, easily grown, and flourishes best in a dry, poor soil. It can be propagated from seeds sown in spring, cuttings, or by dividing the roots (the most usual method). If raised from seed, the seedlings should be planted out in the spring, in rows, with a space of about 9 inches or more between each plant. No further culture will be needed than weeding. It does not blossom until it is two years old.
Until recently, it was chiefly collected in Southern France, where it is much cultivated. It is in steady demand, and it would probably pay to cultivate it more in this country.
White Horehound is distinguished from other species by its woolly stem, the densely felted hairs on the leaves, and the tentoothed teeth of the calyx.
---Constituents---The chief constituent is a bitter principle known as Marrubium, with a little volatile oil, resin, tannin, wax, fat, sugar, etc.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---White Horehound has long been noted for its efficacy in lung troubles and coughs. Gerard says of this plant:
'Syrup made of the greene fresh leaves and sugar is a most singular remedie against the cough and wheezing of the lungs . . . and doth wonderfully and above credit ease such as have been long sicke of any consumption of the lungs, as hath beene often proved by the learned physitions of our London College.'
And Culpepper says:
'It helpeth to expectorate tough phlegm from the chest, being taken with the roots of Irris or Orris.... There is a syrup made of this plant which I would recommend as an excellent help to evacuate tough phlegm and cold rheum from the lungs of aged persons, especially those who are asthmatic and short winded.'
Preparations of Horehound are still largely used as expectorants and tonics. It may, indeed, be considered one of the most popular pectoral remedies, being given with benefit for chronic cough, asthma, and some cases of consumption.
Horehound is sometimes combined with Hyssop, Rue, Liquorice root and Marshmallow root, 1/2 oz. of each boiled in 2 pints of water, to 1 1/2 pint, strained and given in 1/2 teacupful doses, every two to three hours.
For children's coughs and croup, it is given to advantage in the form of syrup, and is a most useful medicine for children, not only for the complaints mentioned, but as a tonic and a corrective of the stomach. It has quite a pleasant taste.
Taken in large doses, it acts as a gentle purgative.
The powdered leaves have also been employed as a vermifuge and the green leaves, bruised and boiled in lard, are made into an ointment which is good for wounds.
For ordinary cold, a simple infusion of Horehound (Horehound Tea) is generally sufficient in itself. The tea may be made by pouring boiling water on the fresh or dried leaves, 1 OZ. of the herb to the pint. A wineglassful may be taken three or four times a day.
Candied Horehound is best made from the fresh plant by boiling it down until the juice is extracted, then adding sugar before boiling this again, until it has become thick enough in consistence to pour into a paper case and be cut into squares when cool.
Two or three teaspoonsful of the expressed juice of the herb may also be given as a dose in severe colds.
---Preparations and Dosages---Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Syrup, 2 to 4 drachms. Solid extract, 5 to 15 grains.

Horehound, Black

Botanical: Ballota nigra (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Marrubium nigrum. Black Stinking Horehound.
---Part Used---Herb.
---Description---Black Horehound is distinguished by its disagreeable odour. It also belongs to the Labiatae order, among which it is distinguished by the strongly ten-ribbed salver-shaped calyx. The Ballota are natives of the temperate regions of the Eastern Hemisphere, and are remarkable for their strong offensive odour, on account of which they are for the most part rejected by cattle; hence the name from the Greek ballo (to reject). This plant (Ballota nigra) is sometimes given the opprobrious name of 'Black Stinking Horehound.' It is a common wayside perennial, has stout-branched stems, eggshaped wrinkled leaves, and whorls of numerous dull purple flowers.
The whole plant is as offensive in odour as it is unattractive in appearance. It is mostly found growing near towns and villages, and has accompanied our colonists to many remote countries.
It has a perennial root of a woody and fibrous nature. The leaves are arranged in pairs on the stem, each pair being at right angles to the pair it succeeds. They are stalked, with margins coarsely serrate, dull green in color, their surfaces clothed with soft grey hairs, and with rather conspicuous veining.
The flowers are arranged in more or less dense whorls at the axils of the leaves; their color occasionally varies to white.
The corolla of the Horehound has its upper lip erect and slightly concave, and the lower lip cleft into three, the lateral lobes being considerably smaller than the central ones. The calyx is tubular, its mouth having five short spreading teeth terminating in a stiff bristly point. The body of the calyx is sharply ridged and furrowed.
It is found in flower from June to October. The name ballote was given to this plant as early as the time of Dioscorides.
It has been suggested that the name Horehound came from two Anglo-Saxon words signifying the hoary honey-yielding plant; but other authorities find other derivations.
Dioscorides (like Gerard) declared that the Ballota was an antidote for the bite of a mad dog.
Beaumont and Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess has a reference to this property of the plant:
'This is the clote bearing a yellow flower,
And this black horehound: both are very good
For sheep or shepherd bitten by a wood-Dog's venom'd tooth.'
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Antispasmodic, stimulant and vermifuge.
---Preparation---Liquid extract.

Horse Chestnut
See Chestnut, Horse

See Mints.


Botanical: Solanum carolinense (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Solanaceae
---Synonyms---Bull Nettle. Treadfoot. Sand Brier. Apple of Sodom. Poisonous Potato.
---Parts Used---Air-dried ripe berries, root.
---Habitat---United States of America. This weed is a hardy, coarse perennial, found growing in waste sandy ground as far west as Iowa and south to Florida.
---Description---Bears orange yellow berries which is the most active part of the plant, they are glabrous and fleshy, with an odour like pepper, taste, bitter and acrid.
---Constituents---Probably Solanine and Solanidine and an organic acid.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Sedative, antispasmodic; has long been used by the Southern negroes in the treatment ofepilepsy; is a useful remedy in infantile convulsions and menstrual hysteria, has no unpleasant effects, but its usefulness is said to be limited, unless given with bromides.
---Preparations and Dosages---Fluid drachm three times a day. Berries are given in doses of 5 to 60 grains. Root, 10 grains.


Botanical:Cochlearia Armoracia (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Cruciferae
Part Used
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---Mountain Radish. Great Raifort. Red Cole.
(French) Moutarde des Allemands.
---Part Used---Root.
---Habitat---This plant has been in cultivation from the earliest times, but its exact place of origin seems to be obscure. Hooker considers that it is possibly a cultivated form of Cochlearia macrocarpa, a native of Hungary; other authorities consider it indigenous to the eastern parts of Europe, from the Caspian and through Russia and Poland to Finland. In Britain and other parts of Europe from Sicily northwards, it occurs cultivated, or semi-wild as a garden escape. It is probably the plant mentioned by Pliny under the name of Amoracia, and recommended by him for its medicinal qualities, being then apparently employed exclusively in physic, not as food or condiment It is possible that the Wild Radish, or Raphanos agrios of the Greeks was this plant It is said to be one of the five bitter herbs, with Coriander, Horehound, Lettuce and Nettle. which the Jews were made to eat during the Feast of Passover.
Both the root and leaves of Horseradish were universally used as a medicine during the Middle Ages, and as a condiment in Denmark and Germany. It was known in England as 'Red Cole' in the time of Turner (1548), but is not mentioned by him as a condiment. Gerard (1597), who describes it under the name of Raphanus rusticanus, states that it occurs wild in several parts of England, and after referring to its medicinal uses, goes on to say:
'the Horse Radish stamped with a little vinegar put thereto, is commonly used among the Germans for sauce to eate fish with and such like meates as we do mustarde,'
showing that the custom was unfamiliar to his countrymen, with whom the root had not yet passed from a drug to a condiment. He mentions this plant as an illustration of the old idea of 'Antipathies,' saying:
'Divers thinke that this Horse Radish is an enimie to Vines, and that the hatred between them is so great, that if the rootes heerof be planted neere to the vine, it bendeth backward from it as not willing to have fellowship with it.'
Nearly half a century later, the taste for Horseradish as a condiment had spread to England, for Parkinson, writing in 1640, describes its use as a sauce 'with country people and strong labouring men in some countries of Germany,' and adds 'and in our owne land also, but, as I said, it is too strong for tender and gentle stomaches,' and a few years later, in 1657, Coles states as a commonly-known fact, 'that the root, sliced thin and mixed with vinegar is eaten as a sauce with meat, as among the Germans.' That the use of Horseradish in France was in like manner a custom adopted from their neighbours, is proved by its old French name, Moutarde des Allemands.
The root was included in the Materia Medica of the London Pharmacopoeias of the eighteenth century, under the name of R. rusticanus, the same name Gerard gave it. Its present botanical name, Cochlearia Armoracia, was given it by Linnaeus, Cochleare being the name of an old-fashioned spoon to which its long leaves are supposed to bear a resemblance. The popular English name, Horseradish, means a coarse radish, to distinguish it from the edible radish (R. sativus), the prefix 'Horse' being often used thus, comp. Horse-Mint, Horse Chestnut. It was formerly also known as the Mountain Radish and Great Raifort.
The common Scurvy-grass (C. officinalis) is of the same genus, as are also the English Scurvy-grass (C. Anglica) and the Danish Scurvy-grass (C. Danica).
---Cultivation---To grow fine Horseradish roots a plot of tilled ground must be chosen, manure being placed 18 to 24 inches deep; the ground in which they are planted ought to be very rich, or they will not thrive.
In order to obtain good sticks for winter an early start must be made, and some time in January the ground should be deeply dug. Planting is carried out in February by means of root cuttings, straight, young roots, 8 or 9 inches long, and about 1/2 inch wide being chosen, each having a crown or growing point. Make deep holes with the dibber, 12 to 15 inches deep and 12 to 18 inches apart each way; carefully divest the sets of all side roots and drop each in a hole, trickling a little fine soil round them before filling up the holes firmly. Beyond hoeing to keep the soil clear of weeds, no further care is needed.
During winter, the crop may either be lifted or stored like Beetroot, or the roots be lifted as required. In the latter case, the ground must be protected in frosty weather. The roots may be preserved for some time in their juicy state by putting them in dry sand.
It is necessary every few years to replant the bed, otherwise the crop deteriorates. The plants will stand through two seasons without deterioration. They may either be replanted elsewhere or another bed made on the same site, just as may be expedient. When it is desired to destroy plantations of Horseradish, it is absolutely necessary to rid the soil of even the smallest particle of root: if this is not done, much annoyance will be caused the following summer.
---Part Used---The root is the only part now used, and in the fresh state only. It is nearly cylindrical, except at the crown, where it is somewhat enlarged.
---Constituents---When unbroken, it is inodorous, but exhales a characteristic pungent odour when scraped or bruised, and has a hot, biting taste, combined with a certain sweetness. It has properties very similar to Black Mustard seeds, containing Sinigrin, a crystalline glucoside, which is decomposed in the presence of water by Myrosin, an enzyme found also in the root, the chief produce being the volatile oil Allyl, isothiocyanate, which is identical with that of Black Mustard seed. This volatile oil, which is easily developed by scraping the root when in a fresh state, does not pre-exist in the root, the reaction not taking place in the root under normal conditions, because the Sinigrin and Myrosin exist in separate cells, and it is only the bruising of the cells that brings their contents together.
The oil is highly diffusible and pungent on account of the Myrosin contained, 1 drop being sufficient to odorize the atmosphere of a whole room. On exposure to the air, the root quickly turns color and loses its volatile strength. It likewise becomes vapid and inert by being boiled. It contains also a bitter resin, sugar, starch, gum, albumin and acetates.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Stimulant, aperient, rubefacient, diuretic and antiseptic. It is a powerful stimulant, whether applied internally or externally as a rubefacient, and has aperient and antiseptic properties. Taken with oily fish or rich meat, either by itself or steeped in vinegar, or in a plain sauce, it acts as an excellent stimulant to the digestive organs, and as a spur to complete digestion.
It is a very strong diuretic, and was employed by old herbalists in calculus and like affections. It is useful in the treatment of dropsy. Boerhaave recommended it to be given in scurvy when there was not much fever, and administered it for various other complaints.
An infusion for dropsy is prepared by pouring 1 pint of boiling water on 1 OZ. of Horseradish and 1/2 oz. of Mustard seed, crushed. The dose is 2 to 3 tablespoonsful three times a day.
The chief official preparation of Horseradish in the British Pharmacopoeia is Comp. Sp. Horseradish; a fluid extract is also prepared. A compound spirit of Horseradish may be prepared with slices of the fresh root, orange peel, nutmeg and spirit of wine, which proves effective in languid digestion, as well as for chronic rheumatism, 1 or 2 teaspoonsful being taken two or three times daily after meals with half a wineglassful of water.
The root is expectorant, antiscorbutic, and if taken too freely, emetic. It contains so much sulphur that it is serviceable used externally as a rubefacient in chronic rheumatism and in paralytic complaints. Culpepper says.: 'If bruised and laid to a part grieved with the sciatica, gout, joint-ache or hard swellings of the spleen and liver, it doth wonderfully help them all.' A poultice of the scraped root serves instead of a mustard plaister. Scraped horseradish if applied to chilblains, secured with a light bandage, will help to cure them. For facial neuralgia, some of the fresh scrapings, if held in the hand of the affected side, will give relief - the hand in some cases within a short time becoming bloodlessly white and benumbed.
When infused in wine, Horseradish root will stimulate the whole nervous system and promote perspiration.
An infusion of sliced Horseradish in milk, by its stimulating pungency and the sulphur it contains, makes an excellent cosmetic for the skin when lacking clearness and freshness of color. Horseradish juice mixed with white vinegar will also, applied externally, help to remove freckles. The same mixture, well diluted with water and sweetened with glycerine, gives marked relief to children in whooping-cough, 1 or 2 desertspoonsful being taken at a time. Horseradish syrup is very effectual in hoarseness: 1 drachm of the root, fresh scraped, with 4 oz. of water, is infused two hours in a close vessel and made into a syrup with double its weight in sugar. The dose is a teaspoonful or two, occasionally repeated.
If eaten at frequent intervals during the day and at meals, Horseradish is said to be most efficacious in getting rid of the persistent cough following influenza.
Horseradish was formerly much employed as a remedy for worms in children. Coles says: 'Of all things given to children for worms, horseradish is not the least, for it soon killeth and expelleth them.'
---Preparations and Dosages---Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Comp. Spirit of Horseradish, B.P., 1 to 2 drachms.


Botanical: Equisetum arvense, Equisetum hyemale, Equisetum maximum, Equisetum sylvaticum
Family: N.O. Equisetaceae
Part Used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Shave-grass. Bottle-brush. Paddock-pipes. Dutch Rushes. Pewterwort.
---Part Used---Herb.
---Habitat---They are chiefly distributed in the temperate northern regions: seven of the twenty-five known species are British, the most frequent being Equisetum arvense, E. sylvaticum, E. maximum and E. hyemale. E. arvense, the CORN HORSETAIL, is a very troublesome weed, most difficult to extirpate from cultivated land. Many of the species are very variable.
The Horsetails belong to a class of plants, the Equisetaceae, that has no direct affinity with any other group of British plants. They are nearest allied to the Ferns. The class includes only a single genus, Equisetum, the name derived from the Latin words equus (a horse) and seta (a bristle), from the peculiar bristly appearance of the jointed stems of the plants, which have also earned them their popular names of Horsetail, Bottle-brush and Paddock-pipes.
Large plants of this order probably formed a great proportion of the vegetation during the carboniferous period, the well-known fossils Calamites being the stems of gigantic fossil Equisetaceae, which in this period attained their maximum development - those now existing being mere dwarfish representatives.
The Equisetaceae have an external resemblance in habit to Casuarina or Ephedra, and as regards the heads of fructification to Zamia (a genus of Cycadaceae). The Casuarina have very much the appearance of gigantic Horsetails, being trees with threadlike, jointed, furrowed, pendent branches without leaves, but with small toothed sheaths at the joints. They are met with most abundantly in tropical Australia, less frequently in the Indian Islands, New Caledonia, etc. In Australia they are said by Dr. Bennett to be called Oaks. The wood is used for fires, as it burns readily and the ashes retain the heat for a long time. The wood is much valued for steam-engines, ovens, etc., and the timber furnished by these trees is appreciated for its extreme hardness. From its color it is called in the Colonies 'Beefwood.'
Though mostly inhabitants of watery places, flourishing where they can lodge their perennial roots in water or string clay which holds the wet, the Equisetums will grow in a garden near water, under a wall, or in the shade and will spread rapidly.
---Description---The stems spring from a creeping rhizome, or root-stock, which produces at its joints a number of roots. Two kinds of stems are produced fertile and barren: they are erect, jointed, brittle and grooved, hollow except at the joints and with air-cells in their walls under the grooves. There are no leaves, the joints terminating in toothed sheathes, the teeth corresponding with the ridges and representing leaves. Branches, if present, arise from the sheathbases and are solid. In most cases, the fertile or fruiting stem is unbranched and withers in spring, almost before the barren fronds appear. It bears a terminal cone-like catkin, consisting of numerous closely-packed peltae, upon the under margins of which are the sporanges, containing microscopic spores, attached to elastic threads, which are coiled round the spore when moist and uncoil when dry.
The development of young Horsetails from the spores is similar to that of Ferns, germination and impregnation being effected in the same manner. The Equisitaceae are also propagated in a vegetative non-sexual manner by means of subterranean stolons and by tubers.
The barren summer fronds give off numerous, slender, jointed branches in whorls of about a dozen; in some British species, the fruiting and barren stems are often both unbranched.
A quantity of silica is deposited in the stems, especially in the epidermis or outer skin. In one species, E. hyemale (Linn.), the epidermis contains so much silica that bunches of the stem have been sold for polishing metal and used to be imported from Holland for the purpose, hence the popular name of Dutch Rushes. It is also called Scouring Rush, and by old writers Shavegrass, and was formerly much used by white smiths and cabinet-makers. Gerard tells us that in his time it was employed for scouring pewter and wooden kitchen utensils, and thence called Pewterwort, and that fletchers and combmakers rubbed and polished their work with it, and long after his day, the dairymaids of the northern counties of England used it for scouring their milk-pails. Linnaeus tells us that this species, among others, forms excellent food for horses in some parts of Sweden, but that cows are apt to lose their teeth by feeding on it and to be afflicted with diarrhoea. As a matter of fact, cattle, in this country, usually instinctively avoid these plants and would probably only eat them in the absence of better fodder.
The young shoots of the larger species of Horsetail, especially E. maximum (Lamk.) the E. fluviatile of Linnaeus - were formerly said to be eaten, dressed like asparagus, or fried with flour and butter. It is recorded that the poorer classes among the Romans occasionally ate them as a vegetable, but they are neither palatable nor very nutritious. Linnaeus stated that the reindeer, who refuses ordinary hay, will eat this kind of Horsetail, which is about 3 feet high and juicy, and that it is cut as fodder in the north of Sweden for cows, with a view to increasing their milk, but that horses will not touch it.
Several of the species have been used medicinally, and the older herbalists considered them useful vulneraries, and recommended them for consumption and dysentery. The FIELD HORSETAIL (E. arvense), the species of British Horsetail most commonly met with, is the one now generally collected and sold for medicinal purposes . It is common in cornfields and wet meadows, its presence being supposed to indicate subterranean, flowing waters or springs. In this species, the fruiting stems are simple, very rarely branched, appearing early in spring and soon decaying. The barren stems which appear later are branched, six to nineteen grooved, the angles rough and sharp, and terminate generally in a long, naked point; the joints are about 1 inch long and 1/24 to 1/16 inch in diameter, the teeth of the sheaths long and acute. The shoots have neither color nor taste. The fertile stems are yellowish, shorter and stouter, somewhat succulent, with only two to five joints.
In warmer climates, and even in Lisbon, as E. debile and elongatum, they require the support of bushes to which they cling. They sometimes attain a great size as does E. giganteum, though they never reach the dimensions of the fossil Equisetaceae.
The rhizomes contain a considerable quantity of starch-cells.
E. sylvaticum, the WOOD HORSETAIL, which grows in copses and on hedgebanks, has slender, angular stems, 1 to 2 feet high, nearly smooth, ten to eighteen grooved. It is readily recognized by the elegant appearance of the whorls of recurved branches, generally twelve or more branches to a whorl, which are very slender, about 5 inches long, quadrangular and beset by several secondary whorls so that the plant resembles a miniature pine tree. The cones of the fertile stems are 3/4 to 1 inch long.
It is this species that Linnaeus informs us is a principal food for horses in some parts of Sweden. It is used medicinally in the same manner as the preceding species.
E. maximum, the GREAT or RIVER HORSETAIL, already mentioned, is found in bogs, ditches, and on the banks of rivers and ponds. It is the largest of the European species, the barren stems attaining a height of from 3 to 6 feet, sometimes nearly an inch in diameter. They are twenty to forty grooved, with numerous joints, pale in color and smooth, the branchlets quadrangular. The fertile stems are quite short, only 8 to 10 inches high, but thicker; their cones, 2 to 3 inches long.
---Part Used Medicinally---The barren stems only are used medicinally, appearing after the fruiting stems have died down, and are used in their entirety, cut off just above the root. The herb is used either fresh or dried, but is said to be most efficacious when fresh. A fluid extract is prepared from it. The ashes of the plant are also employed.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Diuretic and astringent. Horsetail has been found beneficial in dropsy, gravel and kidney affections generally, and a drachm of the dried herb, powdered, taken three or four times a day, has proved very effectual in spitting of blood.
The ashes of the plant are considered very valuable in acidity of the stomach, dyspepsia, etc., administered in doses of 3 to 10 grains.
Besides being useful in kidney and bladder trouble, a strong decoction acts as an emmenagogue; being cooling and astringent, it is of efficacy for haemorrhage, cystic ulceration and ulcers in the urinary passages.
The decoction applied externally will stop the bleeding of wounds and quickly heal them, and will also reduce the swelling of eyelids.
---Preparation and Dosage---Fluid extract, 10 to 60 drops.
Horsetail was formerly official under the name of Cauda equina and was much esteemed as an astringent. Culpepper quotes Galen in saying that it will heal sinews, 'though they be cut in sunder,' and speaks of it highly for bleeding of the nose, a use to which it is still put by country people.
Culpepper says:
'It is very powerful to stop bleeding, either inward or outward, the juice or the decoction being drunk, or the juice, decoction or distilled water applied outwardly... It also heals inward ulcers.... It solders together the tops of green wounds and cures all ruptures in children. The decoction taken in wine helps stone and strangury; the distilled water drunk two or three times a day eases and strengthens the intestines and is effectual in a cough that comes by distillation from the head. The juice or distilled water used as a warm fomentation is of service in inflammations and breakings-out in the skin.'

Hound's Tongue

Botanical: Cynoglossum officinale (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Boraginaceae
---Synonyms---Lindefolia spectabilis. Dog's Tongue.
---Part Used---Herb.
Hound's Tongue is a rough, bristly perennial, belonging to the Borage tribe. Its scientific name of Cynoglossum is derived from the Greek, and signifies ' Dog's Tongue,' from the shape and texture of the leaves, under which name, and still more frequently as Hound's Tongue, it is properly known.
It is a stout, herbaceous plant, found occasionally in this country on waste ground, though more frequently on the Continent, especially in Switzerland and Germany.
The stem, hairy and leafy, 1 to 2 feet high, branched above, arises from amidst large, narrow, radical, stalked leaves.
In Culpepper's days, the root was also used in decoction and as pills for coughs, colds in the head and shortness of breath, and the leaves were boiled in wine as a cure for dysentery. He also tells us:
'Bruising the leaves or the juice of them boiled in hog's lard and applied helpeth to preserve the hair from falling and easeth the pain of a scald or burn. A bruised leaf laid to a green wound speedily heals the same. The baked roots are good for piles, also the distilled water of the herb and root is used with good effect for all the aforesaid purposes, taken inwardly or applied outwardly, especially as a wash for wounds or punctures.'
Gerard says of this plant: 'It will tye the tongues of Houndes so that they shall not bark at you, if it be laid under the bottom of your feet,' and in his days the ointment and decoction were very generally reputed to be a cure for the bites of mad dogs.
In modern medicine it is often used internally and externally to relieve piles. It is soothing to the digestive organs.


Botanical: Sempervivum tectorum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Crassulaceae
Part Used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Jupiter's Eye. Thor's Beard. Jupiter's Beard. Bullock's Eye. Sengreen. Ayron. Ayegreen.
(French) Joubarbe des toits.
(German) Donnersbart.
---Part Used---Fresh leaves.
The Houseleek was dedicated of old to Jupiter or Thor, and bore also the names of Jupiter's Eye, Thor's Beard, Jupiter's Beard, Barba Jovis (in France, Joubarbe des toits), from its massive clusters of flowers, which were supposed to resemble the beard of Jupiter. The German name of Donnersoart and the English Thunderbeard have the same meaning, being derived from Jupiter the Thunderer.
It was in high esteem among the Romans, who grew it in vases before their houses.
It is not really indigenous to this country, being a native of the mountain ranges of Central and Southern Europe and of the Greek islands, but it was introduced into Great Britain many centuries ago and is now found abundantly throughout the country, its large rosettes of fleshy leaves being a familiar sight on many an old cottage roof.
The word Leek is from the Anglo-Saxon leac, a plant, so that Houseleek means literally the House Plant. It was also called, in the fourteenth century, Ayron, Ayegreen and Sengreen, i.e. Evergreen.
The generic name Sempervivum, from the Latin semper (always) and vivo (I live), refers to its retention of vitality under almost all conditions, and the specific name tectorum bears witness to its usual place of growth - a roof.
It was supposed to guard what it grows upon against fire and lightning, and we read that Charlemagne ordered it to be planted upon the roof of every house, probably with this view. Whatever the origin of the custom, it prevails in many other parts of Europe, as well as in England and France. Welsh peasants believe it protects their houses from storms, and ensures the prosperity of their inmates. Superstitious country-folk in Wiltshire are often found to have a strong objection to the removal of a plant of Houseleek from their roof, or even to the plucking of the flowers by a stranger, believing it will bring death to the dwellers; it was formerly believed to be an efficient guard against sorcery as well as against lightning.
The root is perennial and is fibrous. The thick succulent leaves enable the plant to retain vitality even in the driest weather, acting as reservoirs of moisture. The leaves, arising directly from the root, grow in compact, rose-like tufts, 2 to 4 inches in diameter. They are extremely fleshy and juicy, flat, 1 to 2 inches long, sessile, oblong, though broader towards the middle of the rosette, sharply pointed, and the edges fringed with hairs and of a purple color.
The flowers are produced in July, but generally very sparingly. The flower-stems do not arise from the rosettes of leaves, but are on separate, upright shoots, which are from 9 inches to a foot or more in height, round, fleshy and stout, slightly downy, with the leaves scattered thickly on them. The flowers are clustered together on only one side of the stem and are numerous, 2/3 to 1 inch in diameter, of a dull, pale red-purple. Like other flowers in this genus they are absolutely regular and symmetrical throughout, the sepals, petals and pistils being all of the same number - twelve in this species - and the stamens just twice as many, twentyfour in this case, twelve of which are arranged alternately with the petals and are imperfect, frequently bearing in their anthers instead of pollen dust, embryo seeds, which never attain maturity. The flowers are quite scentless.
This is a most useful as well as effective plant for an old wall, or to cover the high part of a rock-garden; it can be absolutely relied upon to withstand drought.
---Cultivation---This species will grow on rock-work, as well as on a roof, flourishing better than on ordinary ground. When once fixed, it will spread fast by means of its offsets. It may easily be made to cover the whole roof of a building, whether of tiles, thatch or wood, by sticking the offsets on with a little earth. Linnaeus stated that the plant was used in this manner as a preservative to the coverings of houses in certain parts of Sweden, and it is certain that it tends to preserve thatched roofs.
The flowering-heads die soon after they have blossomed, but the offsets soon supply their places.
---Part Used Medicinally---The fresh leaves and the expressed juice from them. The leaves have a saline, astringent and acid taste, but no odour.
---Constituents---The leaves contain malic acid in combination with lime.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Refrigerant, astringent, diuretic. In rural districts, the bruised leaves of the fresh plant, or its juice, are often applied as a poultice to burns, scalds, contusions, scrofulous ulcers, and in inflammatory conditions of the skin generally, giving immediate relief. If the juice be mixed with clarified lard and applied to an inflamed surface, the inflammation is quickly reduced.
It can be used in many skin diseases. Some old authorities recommend mixing the juice with cream.
With honey, the juice has been used to assuage the soreness and ulcerated condition of the mouth in thrush, the mixture being used with a hair pencil.
Boerhaave, the famous Dutch physician, found 10 oz. of the juice beneficial in dysentery, but it is not admitted into modern practice.
In large doses, Houseleek juice is emetic and purgative.
Dose, 2 to 10 drops.
It is said to remove warts and corns. Parkinson tells us:
'The juice takes away corns from the toes and feet if they be bathed therewith every day, and at night emplastered as it were with the skin of the same House Leek.'
The leaves sliced in two and the inner surface applied to warts, act as a positive cure for them.
Culpepper informs us that:
'Our ordinary Houseleek is good for all inward heats, as well as outward, and in the eyes or other parts of the body: a posset made of the juice is singularly good in all hot agues, for it cooleth and tempereth the blood and spirits and quencheth the thirst; and is also good to stay all defluction or sharp and salt rheums in the eyes, the juice being dropped into them. If the juice be dropped into the ears, it easeth pain.... It cooleth and restraineth all hot inflammations St. Anthony's fire (Erysipelas), scaldings and burnings, the shingles, fretting ulcers, ringworms and the like; and much easeth the pain and the gout.'
After describing the use of the leaves in the cure of corns, he goes on to say:
'it easeth also the headache, and the distempered heat of the brain in frenzies, or through want of sleep, being applied to the temples and forehead. The leaves bruised and laid upon the crown or seam of the head, stayeth bleeding at the nose very quickly. The distilled water of the herb is profitable for all the purposes aforesaid. The leaves being gently rubbed on any place stung with nettles or bees, doth quickly take away the pain.'
Gerard tells us the:
'iuice of Houseleeke, Garden Nightshade and the buds of Poplar, boiled in hog's grease, maketh the most singular Populeon that ever was used in Chirugerie.'
Galen recommends Houseleek for erysipelas and shingles, and Dioscorides as a remedy for weak and inflamed eyes. Pliny says it never fails to produce sleep.
In the fourteenth century it was used as an ingredient of a preparation for neuralgia, called hemygreyne, i.e. megrim, and an ointment used at that time for scalds and burns.
Culpepper speaks of the Small Houseleek, the Stonecrop Houseleek, the Common Stonecrop or Wallpepper, the Orpine, the Kidneywort and the Water Houseleek, some of which are known now under different names, the name Houseleek nowadays being reserved exclusively for the above-described species, Sempervivum tectorum.

Hyacinth, Grape

Botanical: Muscari racemosum (MILL.)
Family: N.O. Liliaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonym---Starch Hyacinth.
The Grape Hyacinth, very much cultivated in England as a garden plant and occasionally met with in sandy soils in the eastern and southern counties, has, like the Wild Hyacinth, a poisonous bulb. The leaves are narrow and rather thick, 6 inches to a foot long, the flower-stem usually shorter, with a close, terminal raceme, or head of small, dark blue flowers, looking almost like little berries and having a sweet scent. A few of the uppermost are of a pale blue, erect, much narrower and without stamens or pistils. As the flowers of the various species of Muscari secrete much nectar, they are like the garden Scillas - to be reckoned among the useful bee plants of the spring.
The Grape Hyacinth has sometimes been called Starch Hyacinth, as the flowers have been supposed to smell of wet starch. The name of the genus, Muscari, comes from the Greek word for musk, a smell yielded by some species.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The American species Muscari comosum (Mill.) (Feather Hyacinth), or Purse Tassel, has been used, as well as other species of Muscari, for its diuretic and stimulant properties. Comisic acid has been extracted from the bulb, and apparently acts like Saponin.
The innumerable varieties of Garden Hyacinth are derived from an Eastern plant, Hyacinthus orientalis.

Hyacinth, Wild

Botanical: Hyacinthus nonscriptus
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
---Synonyms---Bluebell. Scilla nutans. Nodding Squill. Scilla nonscriptus. Agraphis nutans.
---Part Used---Roots.
---Habitat---Woods of Britain.
---History---The Wild Hyacinth is in flower from early in April till the end of May, and being a perennial, and spreading rapidly, is found year after year in the same spot, forming a mass of rich color in the woods where it grows. The long leaves remain above ground until late in the autumn. From the midst of very long, narrow leaves, rising from the small bulb and overtopping them, rises the flower-stem, bearing the pendulous 'bluebells' arranged in a long, curving line. Each flower has two small bracts at the base of the short flower-stalk of pedicel. The perianth (the term applied when the parts of the calyx and corolla are so similar in form and color that no difference is perceptible) is bluish-purple and composed of six leaflets. The flowers have a slight, starch-like scent.
This is the 'fair-hair'd hyacinth' of Ben Jonson, a name alluding to the old myth, for tradition associates the flower with the Hyacinth of the Ancients, the flower of grief and mourning, so Linnaeus first called it Hyacinthus. Hyacinthus was a charming and handsome Spartan youth, loved by both Apollo and Zephyrus. Hyacinthus preferred the Sun-God to the God of the West, who sought to be revenged. One day, when Apollo was playing quoits with the youth, a quoit that he threw was blown by Zephyrus out of its proper course and it struck and killed Hyacinthus. Apollo, stricken with grief, raised from his blood a purple flower on which the letters 'ai, ai,' were traced, so that the cry of woe might for evermore have existence on the earth. As our English variety of Hyacinth had no trace of these mystic letters, our older botanists called it Hyacinthus nonscriptus, or 'not written on.' A later generic name, Agraphis, is of similar meaning, being a compound of two Greek words, meaning 'not to mark.'
The bulbs are poisonous in the fresh state. The viscid juice so abundantly contained in them and existing in every part of the plant has been used as a substitute for starch and in the days when stiff ruffs were worn was much in request, being thought second only to Wake-robin roots. It was also used for fixing feathers on arrows, instead of glue and as bookbinders' gum for the covers of books.
The roots, dried and powdered, are balsamic, having some styptic properties which have not been fully investigated.
It has been found to be one of the best remedies for leucorrhoea. The decoction of the juice of the root operates by urine.
---Dosage---From 1 to 3 grains.

Hyacinth, Wild

Botanical: Hyacinthus nonscriptus
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
---Synonyms---Bluebell. Scilla nutans. Nodding Squill. Scilla nonscriptus. Agraphis nutans.
---Part Used---Roots.
---Habitat---Woods of Britain.
---History---The Wild Hyacinth is in flower from early in April till the end of May, and being a perennial, and spreading rapidly, is found year after year in the same spot, forming a mass of rich color in the woods where it grows. The long leaves remain above ground until late in the autumn. From the midst of very long, narrow leaves, rising from the small bulb and overtopping them, rises the flower-stem, bearing the pendulous 'bluebells' arranged in a long, curving line. Each flower has two small bracts at the base of the short flower-stalk of pedicel. The perianth (the term applied when the parts of the calyx and corolla are so similar in form and color that no difference is perceptible) is bluish-purple and composed of six leaflets. The flowers have a slight, starch-like scent.
This is the 'fair-hair'd hyacinth' of Ben Jonson, a name alluding to the old myth, for tradition associates the flower with the Hyacinth of the Ancients, the flower of grief and mourning, so Linnaeus first called it Hyacinthus. Hyacinthus was a charming and handsome Spartan youth, loved by both Apollo and Zephyrus. Hyacinthus preferred the Sun-God to the God of the West, who sought to be revenged. One day, when Apollo was playing quoits with the youth, a quoit that he threw was blown by Zephyrus out of its proper course and it struck and killed Hyacinthus. Apollo, stricken with grief, raised from his blood a purple flower on which the letters 'ai, ai,' were traced, so that the cry of woe might for evermore have existence on the earth. As our English variety of Hyacinth had no trace of these mystic letters, our older botanists called it Hyacinthus nonscriptus, or 'not written on.' A later generic name, Agraphis, is of similar meaning, being a compound of two Greek words, meaning 'not to mark.'
The bulbs are poisonous in the fresh state. The viscid juice so abundantly contained in them and existing in every part of the plant has been used as a substitute for starch and in the days when stiff ruffs were worn was much in request, being thought second only to Wake-robin roots. It was also used for fixing feathers on arrows, instead of glue and as bookbinders' gum for the covers of books.
The roots, dried and powdered, are balsamic, having some styptic properties which have not been fully investigated.
It has been found to be one of the best remedies for leucorrhoea. The decoction of the juice of the root operates by urine.
---Dosage---From 1 to 3 grains.

See Chaulmoogra.


Botanical: Hydrangea arborescens (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Saxifragaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Wild Hydrangea. Seven Barks. Hydrangea vulgaris. Common Hydrangea.
---Parts Used---Dried rhizome, roots.
---Habitat---The United States.
---History---The Hydrangeas are marsh or aquatic plants, and hence the name is derived from a Greek compound signifying water-vessel. Four of the known species are natives of America; one, the garden Hydrangea (Hydrangea hortensis), is widely cultivated in the gardens of China and Japan. Many methods are employed in this country for imparting the blue tinge to its petals. The oak-leaved Hydrangea (H. quercifolia), a native of Florida, is also cultivated for its beauty.
The bark of H. arborescens is rough, with a tendency to peel, each layer being of a different color, from which it has probably derived its name 'Seven Barks.' The roots are of variable length and thickness, having numerous radicles, reaching a diameter of more than half an inch. They are externally pale grey, tough, with splintery fracture; white inside, without odour, having a sweetish, rather pungent taste. When fresh, the root and stalks are very succulent, containing much water, and can easily be cut. When dry, they are tough and resistant, so that they should be bruised or cut into short, transverse sections while fresh. The taste of the bark of the dried root resembles that of cascarilla. The stalks contain a pith which is easily removed, and they are used in some parts of the country for pipe-stems.
---Constituents---The root has been found to contain two resins, gum, sugar, starch, albumen, soda, lime potassa, magnesia, sulphuric and phosphoric acids, a protosalt of iron, and a glucoside, Hydrangin. No tannin has been found, but a fixed oil and a volatile oil have been obtained. From the alcoholic extract of the flowers of H. hortensia, two crystalline substances were isolated, Hydragenol and Hydrangeaic acid.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Diuretic, cathartic, tonic. The decoction is said to have been used with great advantage by the Cherokee Indians, and later, by the settlers, for calculous diseases. It does not cure stone in the bladder, but, as demonstrated to the medical profession by Dr. S. W. Butler, of Burlington, N.J., it removes gravelly deposits and relieves the pain consequent on their emission. As many as 120 calculi have been known to come from one person under its use.
The fluid extract is principally used for earthy deposits, alkaline urine, chronic gleet, and mucous irritations of the bladder in aged persons. A concentrated syrup with sugar or honey, or a simple decoction of the root, may also be used. In overdoses, it will cause vertigo, oppressions of the chest, etc. The leaves are said by Dr. Eoff to be tonic, silagogue, cathartic and diuretic.
---Dosage---30 grains. Of fluid extract, 30 to 100 minims. Of syrup, 1 teaspoonful, three times a day.


Botanical: Hydrocotyle Asiatica (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Indian Pennywort. Marsh Penny. White Rot. Thick-leaved Pennywort.
---Part Used---Leaves.
---Habitat---Asia and Africa.
---Description---A small umbelliferous plant growing in Southern Africa and India, indigenous to the Southern United States. The special characteristics of the leaflets are petiolate, reniform, crenate, seven nerved and nearly glabrous.
---Constituents---An oily volatile liquid called vellarin (which has a strong smell reminiscent of the plant, and a bitter, pungent, persistent taste) and tannic acid.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A valuable medicine for its diuretic properties; has long been used in India as an aperient or alterative tonic, useful in fever and bowel complaints and a noted remedy for leprosy, rheumatism and ichthyosis; employed as a poultice for syphilitic ulcers. In small doses it acts as a stimulant, in large doses as a narcotic, causing stupor and headache and with some people vertigo and coma.
---Other Species---
The native species is not unlike the Indian variety, but there is a slight difference in the leaves.
European hydrocotyle vulgaris (syn. Common Pennywort). Leaves orbicular and peltate. The plant appears to have no noxious qualities; it grows freely in boggy places on the edges of lakes and rivers.
The plant has come into disfavour because it is said to cause footrot in sheep.


Botanical: Hydrophilia spinosa
Family: N.O. Acanthaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonym---Asteracantha Longifolia.
---Parts Used---Root, seeds, dried herb.
---Habitat---India, widely distributed in the sub-tropical regions of the world.
---Description---The name is derived from the Greek, and refers to the medical doctrine of fluids in the body. It has tapering roots, a number of rootlets, and upright square stems; leaves and branches opposite, nodes swollen near them; the stem and leaves have three- to five-celled stiff hairs. Flowers, four pairs awl-shaped and like leaves in shape. Corolla glabrous on lower lip. Fruit has four to eight flattened brownish seeds, which contain a quantity of strong mucilage. The drug has no special odour or taste.
---Constituents---Chiefly mucilage, fixed oil, phytosterol, and a trace of an alkaloidal substance, properties similar to Couchgrass.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Demulcent and a diuretic for catarrh of the urinary organs; the dried herb and root, or rhizome, has long been used in India for dropsy, especially when accompanied by hepatic obstruction. It is a popular aphrodisiac. In Southern India the root is the commercial part, but in Bombay the seeds are mostly used.
---Preparation---Decoction, 2 oz. of root to 3 pints of water boiled down to 1 pint. Dose, 1/2 to 2 fluid ounces. Official in India and the Eastern Colonies.


Botanical: Hyssopus officinalis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Recipe for Hyssop Tea
---Part Used---Herb.
Hyssop is a name of Greek origin. The Hyssopos of Dioscorides was named from azob (a holy herb), because it was used for cleaning sacred places. It is alluded to in the Scriptures: 'Purge me with Hyssop, and I shall be clean.'
---Cultivation---It is an evergreen, bushy herb, growing 1 to 2 feet high, with square stem, linear leaves and flowers in whorls, six- to fifteen-flowered. Is a native of Southern Europe not indigenous to Britain, though stated to be naturalized on the ruins of Beaulieu Abbey in the New Forest.
Hyssop is cultivated for the use of its flower-tops, which are steeped in water to make an infusion, which is sometimes employed as an expectorant. There are three varieties, known respectively by their blue, red and white flowers, which are in bloom from June to October, and are sometimes employed as edging plants. Grown with catmint, it makes a lovely border, backed with Lavender and Rosemary. As a kitchen herb, it is mostly used for broths and decoctions, occasionally for salad. For medicinal use the flower-tops should be cut in August.
It may be propagated by seeds, sown in April, or by dividing the plants in spring and autumn, or by cuttings, made in spring and inserted in a shady situation. Plants raised from seeds or cuttings, should, when large enough, be planted out about 1 foot apart each way, and kept watered till established. They succeed best in a warm aspect and in a light, rather dry soil. The plants require cutting in, occasionally, but do not need much further attention.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Expectorant, diaphoretic, stimulant, pectoral, carminative. The healing virtues of the plant are due to a particular volatile oil, which is stimulative, carminative and sudorific. It admirably promotes expectoration, and in chronic catarrh its diaphoretic and stimulant properties combine to render it of especial value. It is usually given as a warm infusion, taken frequently and mixed with Horehound. Hyssop Tea is also a grateful drink, well adapted to improve the tone of a feeble stomach, being brewed with the green tops of the herb, which are sometimes boiled in soup to be given for asthma. In America, an infusion of the leaves is used externally for the relief of muscular rheumatism, and also for bruises and discolored contusions, and the green herb, bruised and applied, will heal cuts promptly.
The infusion has an agreeable flavour and is used by herbalists in pulmonary diseases.
It was once much employed as a carminative in flatulence and hysterical complaints, but is now seldom employed.
A tea made with the fresh green tops, and drunk several times daily, is one of the oldfashioned country remedies for rheumatism that is still employed. Hyssop baths have also been recommended as part of the cure, but the quantity used would need to be considerable.
---Preparation---Fluid extract, 30 to 60 drops. The Hyssop of commerce (Hyssopus officinalis) occurs in Palestine, but is not conspicuous among the numerous Labiatae of the Syrian hillsides, which include thyme and marjoram, mint, rosemary and lavender. Tradition identifies the Hyssop of Scripture with the familiar herb, Marjoram (origanum), of which six species are found in the Holy Land. The common kind, so well known in cottage gardens (O. vulgare), grows only in the north, but an allied species (O. maru) abounds through the central hills, and a variety is common in the southern desert.
Dr. J. F. Royle disagrees, and identifies the Hyssop of the Bible with the Caper-plant (Capparis spinosa) which grows in the Jordan Valley, in Egypt, and the Desert, in the gorges of Lebanon, and in the Kedron Valley. It 'springs out of the walls' of the old Temple area. This view is supported by Canon Tristram and others. The Arabs call it azaf.
The leaves, stems and flowers of H. officinalis possess a highly aromatic odour and yield by distillation an essential oil of exceedingly fine odour, much appreciated by perfumers, its value being even greater than Oil of Lavender. It is also much employed in the manufacture of liqueurs, forming an important constituent in Chartreuse. Bees feed freely on the plant and the odour of the honey obtained from this source is remarkably good. The leaves are used locally as a medicinal tea. As a kitchen herb it has gone out of use because of its strong flavour, but on account of its aroma it was formerly employed as a strewing herb.
'Infuse a quarter of an ounce of dried hyssop flowers in a pint of boiling water for ten minutes; sweeten with honey, and take a wineglassful three times a day, for debility of the chest. It is also considered a powerful vermifuge.' (Old Cookery Book.)

Hyssop, Hedge

Botanical: Gratiola officinalis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Scrophulariaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Parts Used---Root, herb.
---Description---Hedge-Hyssop was formerly an official drug. The root and herb are still used in herbal medicine.
The plant, a perennial, is a native of the south of Europe, growing in meadows and moist grounds. The square stem rises from a creeping, scaly rhizome to the height of 6 to 12 inches, and has opposite stalkless, lanceshaped, finely serrate, smooth, pale-green leaves, and whitish, or reddish flowers, placed singly in the axils of the upper pairs of leaves, the corollas two-lipped, with yellow hairs in the tube.
The plant is inodorous, but has a bitter, nauseous, somewhat acrid taste, which earns it the name of Hedge Hyssop.
---Constituents---Its active constituent is the bitter crystalline glucoside Gratiolin and a reddish, amorphous, bitter principle, Gratiosolin, likewise a glucoside.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A drastic cathartic and emetic, possessing also diuretic properties. Has been used for the relief of dropsy, and is recommended in scrofula, chronic affections of the liver, jaundice, and enlargement of the spleen, and as a worm dispeller.
---Preparations---The infusion of 1/2 oz. of powdered root is taken in tablespoonful doses. Powdered root, 15 to 30 grains.
Gratiola officinalis was in former times called Gratia Dei, on account of its active medicinal properties. In large doses it is said to be poisonous. Haller says that the abundance of this plant in some of the Swiss meadows renders it dangerous to allow cattle to feed in them. G. peruviane has similar properties.' (Treasury of Botany.)
The tropical American herb Vandellia diffusa (Linn.) is used like Gratiola. The dried plant has a strong odour of tobacco.
A decoction of V. diffusa is employed medicinally in Guiana in fevers and disorders of the liver. The species are natives of the East Indies, China, Burma, and South America. Some of them are grown in this country. The generic name commemorates a Professor of Botany at Lisbon.
Curanga amara (Juss.), known as Herpestis amara (Benth.) and Gratiola amara (Roxb.), yields the important East Indian tonic and febrifuge Curanja or Koen-tao-tjao. It contains the bitter alcohol-soluble glucoside curanjiin.
Bonnaya rotundifolia (Benth.) is the East Indian Tsjanga-puspam used as an antispasmodic.
Scoparia dulcis (Linn.), a common weed of tropical America, is used as an astringent and antispasmodic under the name Vacourinha.
Many other species, native to different parts of the world, belonging to this family, are in medicinal use in a lesser degree. Nearly all of them contain bitter substances, and many possess anthelmintic properties.


Botanical: Hysteronica Baylahuen
Family: N.O. Compositae
---Synonym---Haplopappus Baylahuen.
---Habitat---Western United States of America, Chile.
---Description---Belongs to the same group as Solidago (Golden Rod) and is closely allied to Grindelia botanically and as a drug.
---Constituents---Volatile oil, fatty oil which has the same odour as the plant, acid resin which is a mixture of four other resines, and tannin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Stimulant, expectorant. The medicinal properties lie principally in its resin and volatile oil, the resin acting chiefly on the bowels and urinary passages, and the volatile oil on the lungs. It does not cause disorder to the stomach and bowels, it is a valuable remedy in dysentery, chronic diarrhoea specially of tuberculous nature and in chronic cystitis.
The tincture, by its stimulating and protective action (like tinc. benzoin), has served as a dressing for wounds and ulcers.
---Preparations---Infusion (1 : 150) has been advised, also a tincture (100 : 500) in a dose of 15 to 25 drops.


This is that herb which such physicians as are licensed to blaspheme by authority, without danger of having their tongues burned through with an hot iron, called an herb of the Trinity. It is also called by those that are more moderate, Three Faces in a Hood, Live in Idleness, Cull me to you; and in Sussex we call them Pancies.
Place : Besides those which are brought up in gardens, they grow commonly wild in the fields, especially in such as are very barren: sometimes you may find it on the tops of the high hills.
Time : They flower all the Spring and Summer long.
Government and virtues : The herb is really saturnine, something cold, viscous, and slimy. A strong decoction of the herbs and flowers (if you will, you may make it into syrup) is an excellent cure for the French pox, the herb being a gallant antivenereal: and that antivenereals are the best cure for that disease, far better and safer than to torment them with the flux, divers foreign physicians have confessed. The spirit of it is excellently good for the convulsions in children, as also for the falling sickness, and a gallant remedy for the inflammation of the lungs and breasts, pleurisy, scabs, itch, &c. It is under the celestial sign Cancer.


The Latins call them Cinera, only our college calls them Artichocus.
Government and virtues : They are under the dominion of Venus, and therefore it is no marvel if they provoke lust, as indeed they do, being somewhat windy meat; and yet they stay the involuntary course of natural seed in man, which is commonly called nocturnal pollutions. And here I care not greatly if I quote a little of Galen's nonsense in his treatise of the faculties of nourishment. He saith, they contain plenty of choleric juice, (which notwithstanding I can scarcely believe,) of which he saith is engendered melancholy juice, and of that melancholy juice thin choleric blood. But, to proceed; this is certain, that the decoction of the root boiled in wine, or the root bruised and distilled in wine in an alembic, and being drank, purges by urine exceedingly.


Descript : This has divers leaves arising from the root, every one severally, which fold themselves in their first springing and spreading: when they are full grown, are about a foot long, smooth and green above but hard and with little sap in them, and streaked on the back, athwart on both sides of the middle rib, with small and somewhat long and brownish marks; the bottoms of the leaves are a little bowed on each side of the middle rib, somewhat small at the end. The root is of many black threads, folded or interlaced together.
Time : It is green all the Winter; but new leaves spring every year.
Government and virtues : Jupiter claims dominion over this herb, therefore it is a singular remedy for the liver, both to strengthen it when weak, and ease it when afflicted, you shall do well to keep it in a syrup all the year. For though authors say it is green all the year, I scarcely believe it. Hart's Tongue is much commended against the hardness and stoppings of the spleen and liver, and against the heat of the liver and stomach, and against lasks, and the bloody-flux. The distilled water thereof is also very good against the passions of the heart, and to stay the hiccough, to help the falling of the palate, and to stay the bleeding of the gums, being gargled in the mouth. Dioscorides saith, it is good against the stinging or biting of serpents. As for the use of it, my direction at the latter end will be sufficient, and enough for those that are studious in physic, to whet their brains upon for one year or two.


Hazel Nuts are so well known to every body, that they need no description.
Government and virtues : They are under the dominion of Mercury. The parted kernels made into an electuary, or the milk drawn from the kernels with mead or honeyed water, is very good to help an old cough; and being parched, and a little pepper put to them and drank, digests the distillations of rheum from the head. The dried husks and shells, to the weight of two drams, taken in red wine, stays lasks and women's courses, and so doth the red skin that covers the kernels, which is more effectual to stay women's courses.
And if this be true, as it is, then why should the vulgar so familiarly affirm, that eating nuts causes shortness of breath, than which nothing is falser? For, how can that which strengthens the lungs, cause shortness of breath? I confess, the opinion is far older than I am; I knew tradition was a friend to error before, but never that he was the father of slander. Or are men's tongues so given to slander one another, that they must slander Nuts too, to keep their tongues in use? If any part of the Hazel Nut be stopping, it is the husks and shells, and no one is so mad as to eat them unless physically; and the red skin which covers the kernel, you may easily pull off. And so thus have I made an apology for Nuts, which cannot speak for themselves.


There are several sorts of Hawk-weed, but they are similar in virtues.
Descript : It has many large leaves lying upon the ground, much rent or torn on the sides into gashes like Dandelion, but with greater parts, more like the smooth Sow Thistle, from among which rises a hollow, rough stalk, two or three feet high, branched from the middle upward, whereon are set at every joint longer leaves, little or nothing rent or cut, bearing on them sundry pale, yellow flowers, consisting of many small, narrow leaves, broad pointed, and nicked in at the ends, set in a double row or more, the outermost being larger than the inner, which form most of the Hawk-weeds (for there are many kinds of them) do hold, which turn into down, and with the small brownish seed is blown away with the wind. The root is long and somewhat great, with many small fibres thereat. The whole plant is full of bitter-milk.
Place : It grows in divers places about the field sides, and the path-ways in dry grounds.
Time : It flowers and flies away in the Summer months.
Government and virtues : Saturn owns it. Hawk-weed (saith Dioscorides) is cooling, somewhat drying and binding, and therefore good for the heat of the stomach, and gnawings therein; for inflammations and the hot fits of agues. The juice thereof in wine, helps digestion, discusses wind, hinders crudities abiding in the stomach, and helps the difficulty of making water, the biting of venomous serpents, and stinging of the scorpion, if the herb be also outwardly applied to the place, and is very good against all other poisons. A scruple of the dried root given in wine and vinegar, is profitable for those that have the dropsy. The decoction of the herb taken in honey, digests the phlegm in the chest or lungs, and with Hyssop helps the cough. The decoction thereof, and of wild Succory, made with wine, and taken, helps the wind cholic and hardness of the spleen; it procures rest and sleep, hinders venery and venerous dreams, cooling heats, purges the stomach, increases blood, and helps the diseases of the reins and bladder. Outwardly applied, it is singularly good for all the defects and diseases of the eyes, used with some women's milk; and used with good success in fretting or creeping ulcers, especially in the beginning. The green leaves bruised, and with a little salt applied to any place burnt with fire, before blisters do rise, helps them; as also inflammations, St. Anthony's fire, and all pushes and eruptions, hot and salt phlegm. The same applied with meal and fair water in manner of a poultice, to any place affected with convulsions, the cramp, and such as are out of joint, doth give help and ease. The distilled water cleanses the skin, and takes away freckles, spots, morphew, or wrinkles in the face.


It is not my intention to trouble you with a description of this tree, which is so well known that it needs none. It is ordinarily but a hedge bush, although being pruned and dressed, it grows to a tree of a reasonable height.
As for the Hawthorn Tree at Glastonbury, which is said to flower yearly on Christmas-day, it rather shews the superstition of those that observe it for the time of its flowering, than any great wonder, since the like may be found in divers other places of this land; as in Whey-street in Romney Marsh, and near unto Nantwich in Cheshire, by a place called White Green, where it flowers about Christmas and May. If the weather be frosty, it flowers not until January, or that the hard weather be over.
Government and virtues : It is a tree of Mars. The seeds in the berries beaten to powder being drank in wine, are held singularly good against the stone, and are good for the dropsy. The distilled water of the flowers stay the lask. The seed cleared from the down, bruised and boiled in wine, and drank, is good for inward tormenting pains. If cloths or sponges be wet in the distilled water, and applied to any place wherein thorns and splinters, or the like, do abide in the flesh, it will notably draw them forth.
And thus you see the thorn gives a medicine for its own pricking, and so doth almost every thing else.


Descript : The common great Hemlock grows up with a green stalk, four or five feet high, or more, full of red spots sometimes, and at the joints very large winged leaves set at them, which are divided into many other winged leaves, one set against the other, dented about the edges, of a sad green color, branched towards the top, where it is full of umbels of white flowers, and afterwards with whitish flat seed. The root is long, white, and sometimes crooked, and hollow within. The whole plant, and every part, has a strong, heady, and ill-savoured scent, much offending the senses.
Place : It grows in all counties of this land, by walls and hedgesides, in waste grounds and untilled places.
Time : It flowers and seeds in July, or thereabouts.
Government and virtues : Saturn claims dominion over this herb, yet I wonder why it may not be applied to the privities in a Priapism, or continual standing of the yard, it being very beneficial to that disease. I suppose, my author's judgment was first upon the opposite disposition of Saturn to Venus in those faculties, and therefore he forbade the applying of it to those parts, that it might not cause barrenness, or spoil the spirit procreative; which if it do, yet applied to the privities, it stops its lustful thoughts. Hemlock is exceedingly cold, and very dangerous, especially to be taken inwardly. It may safely be applied to inflammations, tumours, and swellings in any part of the body (save the privy parts) as also to St. Anthony's fire, wheals, pushes, and creeping ulcers that arise of hot sharp humours, by cooling and repelling the heat; the leaves bruised and laid to the brow or forehead are good for their eyes that are red and swollen; as also to take away a pin and web growing in the eye; this is a tried medicine: Take a small handful of this herb, and half so much bay salt, beaten together, and applied to the contrary wrist of the hand, for 24 hours, doth remove it in thrice dressing. If the root thereof be roasted under the embers, wrapped in double wet paper, until it be soft and tender, and then applied to the gout in the hands or fingers, it will quickly help this evil. If any through mistake eat the herb Hemlock instead of Parsley, or the roots instead of a Parsnip (both of which it is very like) whereby happens a kind of frenzy, or perturbation of the senses, as if they were stupid and drunk, the remedy is (as Pliny saith) to drink of the best and strongest pure wine, before it strikes to the heart, or Gentian put in wine, or a draught of vinegar, wherewith Tragus doth affirm, that he cured a woman that had eaten the root.


This is so well known to every good housewife in the country, that I shall not need to write any description of it.
Time : It is sown in the very end of March, or beginning of April, and is ripe in August or September.
Government and virtues : It is a plant of Saturn, and good for something else, you see, than to make halters only. The seed of Hemp consumes wind, and by too much use thereof disperses it so much that it dries up the natural seed for procreation; yet, being boiled in milk and taken, helps such as have a hot dry cough. The Dutch make an emulsion out of the seed, and give it with good success to those that have the jaundice, especially in the beginning of the disease, if there be no ague accompanying it, for it opens obstructions of the gall, and causes digestion of choler. The emulsion or decoction of the seed stays lasks and continual fluxes, eases the cholic, and allays the troublesome humours in the bowels, and stays bleeding at the mouth, nose, or other places, some of the leaves, being fried with the blood of them that bleed, and so given them to eat. It is held very good to kill the worms in men or beasts; and the juice dropped into the ears kills worms in them; and draws forth earwigs, or other living creatures gotten into them. The decoction of the root allays inflammations of the head, or any other parts: the herb itself, or the distilled water thereof doth the like. The decoction of the root eases the pains of the gout, the hard humours of knots in the joints, the pains and shrinking of the sinews, and the pains of the hips. The fresh juice mixed with a little oil and butter, is good for any place that hath been burnt with fire, being thereto applied.


Descript : Our common Henbane has very large, thick, soft, woolly leaves, lying on the ground, much cut in, or torn on the edges, of a dark, ill greyish green color; among which arise up divers thick and short stalks, two or three feet high, spread into divers small branches, with lesser leaves on them, and many hollow flowers, scarce appearing above the husk, and usually torn on one side, ending in five round points, growing one above another, of a deadish yellowish color, somewhat paler towards the edges, with many purplish veins therein, and of a dark, yellowish purple in the bottom of the flower, with a small point of the same color in the middle, each of them standing in a hard close husk, which after the flowers are past, grow very like the husk of Asarabacca, and somewhat sharp at the top points, wherein is contained much small seed, very like Poppy seed, but of a dusky, greyish color. The root is great, white, and thick, branching forth divers ways under ground, so like a Parsnip root (but that it is not so white) that it has deceived others. The whole plant more than the root, has a very heavy, ill, soporiferous smell, somewhat offensive.
Place : It commonly grows by the waysides, and under hedgesides and walls.
Time : It flowers in July, and springs again yearly of its own seed. I doubt my authors mistook July for June, if not for May.
Government and virtues : I wonder how astrologers could take on them to make this an herb of Jupiter; and yet Mizaldus, a man of a penetrating brain, was of that opinion as well as the rest; the herb is indeed under the dominion of Saturn, and I prove it by this argument: All the herbs which delight most to grow in saturnine places, are saturnine herbs. But Henbane delights most to grow in saturnine places, and whole cart loads of it may be found near the places where they empty the common Jakes, and scarce a ditch to be found without it growing by it. Ergo, it is an herb of Saturn. The leaves of Henbane do cool all hot inflammations in the eyes, or any other part of the body; and are good to assuage all manner of swellings of the privities, or women's breasts, or elsewhere, if they be boiled in wine, and either applied themselves, or the fomentation warm; it also assuages the pain of the gout, the sciatica, and other pains in the joints which arise from a hot cause. And applied with vinegar to the forehead and temples, helps the head-ache and want of sleep in hot fevers. The juice of the herb or seed, or the oil drawn from the seed, does the like. The oil of the seed is helpful for deafness, noise, and worms in the ears, being dropped therein; the juice of the herb or root doth the same. The decoction of the herb or seed, or both, kills lice in man or beast. The fume of the dried herb, stalks and seed, burned, quickly heals swellings, chilblains or kibes in the hands or feet, by holding them in the fume thereof. The remedy to help those that have taken Henbane is to drink goat's milk, honeyed water, or pine kernels, with sweet wine; or, in the absence of these, Fennel seed, Nettle seed, the seed of Cresses, Mustard, or Radish; as also Onions or Garlic taken in wine, do all help to free them from danger, and restore them to their due temper again.
Take notice, that this herb must never be taken inwardly; outwardly, an oil ointment, or plaister of it, is most admirable for the gout, to cool the veneral heat of the reins in the French pox; to stop the tooth-ache, being applied to the aching side: to allay all inflammations, and to help the diseases before premised.


Divers sorts there are of this plant; the first of which is an Italian by birth, and only nursed up here in the gardens of the curious. Two or three sorts are found commonly growing wild here, the description of two of which I shall give you.
Descript : The first is a smooth, low plant, not a foot high, very bitter in taste, with many square stalks, diversly branched from the bottom to the top, with divers joints, and two small leaves at each joint, broader at the bottom than they are at the end, a little dented about the edges, of a sad green color, and full of veins. The flowers stand at the joints, being of a fair purple color, with some white spots in them, in fashion like those of dead nettles. The seed is small and yellow, and the roots spread much under ground.
The second seldom grows half a foot high, sending up many small branches, whereon grow many small leaves, set one against the other, somewhat broad, but very short. The flowers are like the flowers of the other fashion, but of a pale reddish color. The seeds are small and yellowish. The root spreads like the other, neither will it yield to its fellow one ace of bitterness.
Place : They grow in wet low grounds, and by the water-sides; the last may be found among the bogs on Hampstead Heath.
Time : They flower in June or July, and the seed is ripe presently later.
Government and virtues : They are herbs of Mars, and as choleric and churlish as he is, being most violent purges, especially of choler and phlegm. It is not safe taking them inwardly, unless they be well rectified by the art of the alchymist, and only the purity of them given; so used they may be very helpful both for the dropsy, gout, and sciatica; outwardly used in ointments they kill worms, the belly anointed with it, and are excellently good to cleanse old and filthy ulcers.


It is also called Setter-wort, Setter-grass, Bear's-foot, Christmas-herb, and Christmas-flowers.
Descript : It hath sundry fair green leaves rising from the root, each of them standing about an handful high from the earth; each leaf is divided into seven, eight, or nine parts, dented from the middle of the leaf to the point on both sides, abiding green all the Winter; about Christmas-time, if the weather be any thing temperate, the flowers appear upon foot stalks, also consisting of five large, round, white leaves a-piece, which sometimes are purple towards the edges, with many pale yellow thumbs in the middle; the seeds are divided into several cells, like those of Columbines, save only that they are greater; the seeds are in color black, and in form long and round. The root consists of numberless blackish strings all united into one head. There is another Black Hellebore, which grows up and down in the woods very like this, but only that the leaves are smaller and narrower, and perish in the Winter, which this doth not.
Place : The first is maintained in gardens. The second is commonly found in the woods in Northamptonshire.
Time : The first flowers in December or January; the second in February or March.
Government and virtues : It is an herb of Saturn, and therefore no marvel if it has some sullen conditions with it, and would be far safer, being purified by the art of the alchymist than given raw. If any have taken any harm by taking it, the common cure is to take goat's milk. If you cannot get goat's milk, you must make a shift with such as you can get. The roots are very effectual against all melancholy diseases, especially such as are of long standing, as quartan agues and madness; it helps the falling sickness, the leprosy, both the yellow and black jaundice, the gout, sciatica, and convulsions; and this was found out by experience, that the root of that which grows wild in our country, works not so churlishly as those do which are brought from beyond sea, as being maintained by a more temperate air. The root used as a pessary, provokes the terms exceedingly; also being beaten into powder, and strewed upon foul ulcers, it consumes the dead flesh, and instantly heals them; nay, it will help gangrenes in the beginning. Twenty grains taken inwardly is a sufficient does for one time, and let that be corrected with half so much cinnamon; country people used to rowel their cattle with it. If a beast be troubled with a cough, or have taken any poison, they bore a hole through the ear, and put a piece of the root in it, this will help him in 24 hours time. Many other uses farriers put it to which I shall forbear.


The Herb Robert is held in great estimation by farmers, who use it in diseases of their cattle.
Descript : It rises up with a reddish stalk two feet high, having divers leaves thereon, upon very long and reddish foot-stalks, divided at the ends into three or five divisions, each of them cut in on the edges, which sometimes turn reddish. At the tops of the stalks come forth divers flowers made of five leaves, much larger than the Dove's-foot, and of a more reddish color; after which come black heads, as in others. The root is small and thready, and smells, as the whole plant, very strong, almost stinking.
Place : This grows frequently every where by the way-sides, upon ditch banks and waste grounds wheresoever one goes.
Time : It flowers in June and July chiefly, and the seed is ripe shortly after.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of Venus. Herb Robert is commended not only against the stone, but to stay blood, where or howsoever flowing; it speedily heals all green wounds, and is effectual in old ulcers in the privy parts, or elsewhere. You may persuade yourself this is true, and also conceive a good reason for it, do but consider it is an herb of Venus, for all it hath a man's name.


Descript : Ordinary Herb True-love has a small creeping root running under the uppermost crust of the ground, somewhat like couch grass root, but not so white, shooting forth stalks with leaves, some whereof carry no berries, the others do; every stalk smooth without joints, and blackish green, rising about half a foot high, if it bear berries, otherwise seldom so high, bearing at the top four leaves set directly one against another, in manner of a cross or ribband tied (as it is called in a true-loves knot,) which are each of them apart somewhat like unto a night-shade leaf, but somewhat broader, having sometimes three leaves, sometimes five, sometimes six, and those sometimes greater than in others, in the middle of the four leaves rise up one small slender stalk, about an inch high, bearing at the tops thereof one flower spread open like a star, consisting of four small and long narrow pointed leaves of a yellowish green color, and four others lying between them lesser than they; in the middle whereof stands a round dark purplish button or head, compassed about with eight small yellow mealy threads with three colors, making it the more conspicuous, and lovely to behold. This button or head in the middle, when the other leaves are withered, becomes a blackish purple berry, full of juice, of the bigness of a reasonable grape, having within it many white seeds. The whole plant is without any manifest taste.
Place : It grows in woods and copses, and sometimes in the corners or borders of fields, and waste grounds in very many places of this land, and abundantly in the woods, copses, and other places about Chislehurst and Maidstone in Kent.
Time : They spring up in the middle of April or May, and are in flower soon after. The berries are ripe in the end of May, and in some places in June.
Government and virtues : Venus owns it; the leaves or berries hereof are effectual to expel poison of all sorts, especially that of the aconites; as also, the plague, and other pestilential disorders; Matthiolus saith, that some that have lain long in a lingering sickness, and others that by witchcraft (as it was thought) were become half foolish, by taking a dram of the seeds or berries hereof in powder every day for 20 days together, were restored to their former health. The roots in powder taken in wine eases the pains of the cholic speedily. The leaves are very effectual as well for green wounds, as to cleanse and heal up filthy old sores and ulcers; and is very powerful to discuss all tumours and swellings in the privy parts, the groin, or in any part of the body, and speedily to allay all inflammations. The juice of the leaves applied to felons, or those nails of the hands or toes that have imposthumes or sores gathered together at the roots of them, heals them in a short space. The herb is not to be described for the premises, but is fit to be nourished in every good woman's garden.


Hyssop is so well known to be an inhabitant in every garden, that it will save me labour in writing a description thereof. The virtues are as follow.
Government and virtues : The herb is Jupiter's, and the sign Cancer. It strengthens all the parts of the body under Cancer and Jupiter; which what they may be, is found amply described in my astrological judgment of diseases. Dioscorides saith, that Hyssop boiled with rue and honey, and drank, helps those that are troubled with coughs, shortness of breath, wheezing and rheumatic distillation upon the lungs; taken also with oxymel, it purges gross humours by stool; and with honey, kills worms in the belly; and with fresh and new figs bruised, helps to loosen the belly, and more forcibly if the root of Flower-de-luce and cresses be added thereto. It amends and cherishes the native color of the body, spoiled by the yellow jaundice; and being taken with figs and nitre, helps the dropsy and spleen; being boiled with wine, it is good to wash inflammations, and takes away the black and blue spots and marks that come by strokes, bruises, or falls, being applied with warm water. It is an excellent medicine for the quinsy, or swellings in the throat, to wash and gargle it, being boiled in figs; it helps the toothache, being boiled in vinegar and gargled therewith. The hot vapours of the decoction taken by a funnel in at the ears, eases the inflammations and singing noise of them. Being bruised, and salt, honey, and cummin seed put to it, helps those that are stung by serpents. The oil thereof (the head being anointed) kills lice, and takes away itching of the head. It helps those that have the falling sickness, which way soever it be applied. It helps to expectorate tough phlegm, and is effectual in all cold griefs or diseases of the chests or lungs, being taken either in syrup or licking medicine. The green herb bruised and a little sugar put thereto, doth quickly heal any cut or green wounds, being thereunto applied.


These are so well known that they need no description; I mean the manured kind, which every good husband or housewife is acquainted with.
Descript : The wild hop grows up as the other doth, ramping upon trees or hedges, that stand next to them, with rough branches and leaves like the former, but it gives smaller heads, and in far less plenty than it, so that there is scarcely a head or two seen in a year on divers of this wild kind, wherein consists the chief difference.
Place : They delight to grow in low moist grounds, and are found in all parts of this land.
Time : They spring not until April, and flower not until the latter end of June; the heads are not gathered until the middle or latter end of September.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of Mars. This, in physical operations, is to open obstructions of the liver and spleen, to cleanse the blood, to loosen the belly, to cleanse the reins from gravel, and provoke urine. The decoction of the tops of Hops, as well of the tame as the wild, works the same effects. In cleansing the blood they help to cure the French diseases, and all manner of scabs, itch, and other breakings-out of the body; as also all tetters, ringworms, and spreading sores, the morphew and all discoloring of the skin. The decoction of the flowers and hops, do help to expel poison that any one hath drank. Half a dram of the seed in powder taken in drink, kills worms in the body, brings down women's courses, and expels urine. A syrup made of the juice and sugar, cures the yellow jaundice, eases the head-ache that comes of heat, and tempers the heat of the liver and stomach, and is profitably given in long and hot agues that rise in choler and blood. Both the wild and the manured are of one property, and alike effectual in all the aforesaid diseases. By all these testimonies beer appears to be better than ale.
Mars owns the plant, and then Dr. Reason will tell you how it performs these actions.


There are two kinds of Horehound, the white and the black. The black sort is likewise called Hen-bit; but the white one is here spoken of.
Descript : Common Horehound grows up with square hairy stalks, half a yard or two feet high, set at the joints with two round crumpled rough leaves of a sullen hoary green color, of a reasonable good scent, but a very bitter taste. The flowers are small, white, and gaping, set in a rough, hard prickly husk round about the joints, with the leaves from the middle of the stalk upward, wherein afterward is found small round blackish seed. The root is blackish, hard and woody, with many strings, and abides many years.
Place : It is found in many parts of this land, in dry grounds, and waste green places.
Time : It flowers in July, and the seed is ripe in August.
Government and virtues : It is an herb of Mercury. A decoction of the dried herb, with the seed, or the juice of the green herb taken with honey, is a remedy for those that are short-winded, have a cough, or are fallen into a consumption, either through long sickness, or thin distillations of rheum upon the lungs. It helps to expectorate tough phlegm from the chest, being taken from the roots of Iris or Orris. It is given to women to bring down their courses, to expel the after-birth, and to them that have taken poison, or are stung or bitten by venomous serpents. The leaves used with honey, purge foul ulcers, stay running or creeping sores, and the growing of the flesh over the nails. It also helps pains of the sides. The juice thereof with wine and honey, helps to clear the eyesight, and snuffed up into the nostrils purges away the yellowjaundice, and with a little oil of roses dropped into the ears, eases the pains of them. Galen saith, it opens obstructions both of the liver and spleen, and purges the breast and lungs of phlegm: and used outwardly it both cleanses and digests. A decoction of Horehound (saith Matthiolus) is available for those that have hard livers, and for such as have itches and running tetters. The powder hereof taken, or the decoction, kills worms. The green leaves bruised, and boiled in old hog's grease into an ointment, heals the biting of dogs, abates the swellings and pains that come by any pricking of thorns, or such like means; and used with vinegar, cleanses and heals tetters. There is a syrup made of Horehound to be had at the apothecaries, very good for old coughs, to rid the tough phlegm; as also to void cold rheums from the lungs of old folks, and for those that are asthmatic or short-winded.


Of that there are many kinds, but I shall not trouble you nor myself with any large description of them, which to do, were but, as the proverb is, To find a knot in a rush, all the kinds thereof being nothing else but knotted rushes, some with leaves, and some without. Take the description of the most eminent sort as follows.
Descript : The great Horsetail at the first springing has heads somewhat like those of asparagus, and afterwards grow to be hard, rough, hollow stalks, jointed at sundry places up to the top, a foot high, so made as if the lower parts were put into the upper, where grow on each side, a bush of small long rush-like hard leaves, each part resembling a horsetail, from whence it is so called. At the tops of the stalks come forth small catkins, like those of trees. The root creeps under ground, having joints at sundry places.
Place : This (as most of the other sorts hereof) grows in wet grounds.
Time : They spring up in April, and their blooming catkins in July, seeding for the most part in August, and then perish down to the ground, rising afresh in the Spring.
Government and virtues : The herb belongs to Saturn, yet is very harmless, and excellently good for the things following: Horsetail, the smoother rather than the rough, and the leaves rather than the bark is most physical. It is very powerful to staunch bleeding either inward or outward, the juice or the decoction thereof being drank, or the juice, decoction, or distilled water applied outwardly. It also stays all sorts of lasks and fluxes in man or woman and bloody urine; and heals also not only the inward ulcers, and the excoriation of the entrails, bladder, &c. but all other sorts of foul, moist and running ulcers, and soon solders together the tops of green wounds. It cures all ruptures in children. The decoction thereof in wine being drank, provokes urine, and helps the stone and stranguary; and the distilled water thereof drank two or three times in a day, and a small quantity at a time, also eases the bowels, and is effectual against a cough that comes by distillations from the head. The juice or distilled water being warmed, and hot inflammations, pustules or red wheals, and other breakings-out in the skin, being bathed therewith, doth help them, and doth no less the swelling heat and inflammation of the lower parts in men and women.


Both these are so well known to my countrymen, that I shall not need to write any description of them.
Place : It grows commonly upon walls and house-sides, and flowers in July.
Government and virtues : It is an herb of Jupiter, and it is reported by Mezaldus, to preserve what it grows upon from fire and lightning. Our ordinary Houseleek is good for all inward heats as well as outward, and in the eyes or other parts of the body; a posset made with the juice of Houseleek, is singularly good in all hot agues, for it cools and tempers the blood and spirits, and quenches the thirst; and also good to stay all hot defluctions or sharp and salt rheums in the eyes, the juice being dropped into them, or into the ears. It helps also other fluxes of humours in the bowels, and the immoderate courses of women. It cools and restrains all other hot inflammations, St. Anthony's fire, scaldings and burnings, the shingles, fretting ulcers, cankers, tetters, ringworms, and the like; and much eases the pains of the gout proceeding from any hot cause. The juice also takes away warts and corns in the hands or feet, being often bathed therewith, and the skin and leaves being laid on them afterwards. It eases also the head-ache, and distempered heat of the brain in frenzies, or through want of sleep, being applied to the temples and forehead. The leaves bruised and laid upon the crown or seam of the head stays bleeding at the nose very quickly. The distilled water of the herb is profitable for all the purposes aforesaid. The leaves being gently rubbed on any place stung with nettles or bees, doth quickly take away the pain.


Descript : The great ordinary Hound's Tongue has many long and somewhat narrow, soft, hairy, darkish green leaves, lying on the ground, somewhat like unto Bugloss leaves, from among which rises up a rough hairy stalk about two feet high, with some smaller leaves thereon, and branched at the tops into divers parts, with a small leaf at the foot of every branch, which is somewhat long, with many flowers set along the same, which branch is crooked or turned inwards before it flowers, and opens by degrees as the flowers blow, which consist of small purplish red leaves of a dead color, rising out of the husks wherein they stand with some threads in the middle. It has sometimes a white flower. After the flowers are past, there comes rough flat seed, with a small pointle in the middle, easily cleaving to any garment that it touches, and not so easily pulled off again. The root is black, thick, and long, hard to break, and full of clammy juice, smelling somewhat strong, of an evil scent, as the leaves also do.
Place : It grows in moist places of this land, in waste grounds, and untilled places, by highway sides, lanes, and hedge-sides.
Time : It flowers about May or June, and the seed is ripe shortly after.
Government and virtues : It is a plant under the dominion of Mercury. The root is very effectually used in pills, as well as the decoction, or otherwise, to stay all sharp and thin defluxions of rheum from the head into the eyes or nose, or upon the stomach or lungs, as also for coughs and shortness of breath. The leaves boiled in wine (saith Dioscorides, but others do rather appoint it to be made with water, and add thereto oil and salt) molifies or opens the belly downwards. It also helps to cure the biting of a mad dog, some of the leaves being also applied to the wound. The leaves bruised, or the juice of them boiled in hog's lard, and applied, helps falling away of the hair, which comes of hot and sharp humours; as also for any place that is scalded or burnt; the leaves bruised and laid to any green wound doth heal it up quickly: the root baked under the embers, wrapped in paste or wet paper, or in a wet double cloth, and thereof a suppository made, and put up into or applied to the fundament, doth very effectually help the painful piles or hæmorrhoids. The distilled water of the herbs and roots is very good to all the purposes aforesaid, to be used as well inwardly to drink, as outwardly to wash any sore place, for it heals all manner of wounds and punctures, and those foul ulcers that arise by the French pox. Mizaldus adds that the leaves laid under the feet, will keep the dogs from barking at you. It is called Hound's-tongue, because it ties the tongues of hounds; whether true, or not, I never tried, yet I cured the biting of a mad dog with this only medicine.


For to describe a tree so well known is needless.
Government and virtues : The tree is Saturnine. The berries expel wind, and therefore are held to be profitable in the cholic. The berries have a strong faculty with them; for if you eat a dozen of them in the morning fasting when they are ripe and not dried, they purge the body of gross and clammy phlegm: but if you dry the berries, and beat them into powder, they bind the body, and stop fluxes, bloody-fluxes, and the terms in women. The bark of the tree, and also the leaves, are excellently good, being used in fomentations for broken bones, and such members as are out of joint. Pliny saith, the branches of the tree defend houses from lightning, and men from witchcraft.



Find the best deals on Wiccan Supplies Articles For Withcraft Magic and Pagan Jewelry right here





Disclaimer: The purpose of this site is to give general information to the reader. I or any directly, or indirectly affiliated entity disclaim any liability to any person, arising directly, or indirectly from the use of or from any errors or omissions in the information within these page and their links. The adoption and the application of any information is at the discretion of the reader, and is their sole responsibility. All the information here is believed to be from public domain. If you think otherwise please contact here

wiccazone.net 2014-NOW . All rights reserved