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Magic And Wicca - Herbal Encyclopedia - K


Herbs & Oils

~ K ~



Botanical: Mallotus Philippinensis (MUELL.)
Family: N.O. Euphorbiaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonyms---Glandulae Rottelerae. Kamcela. Spoonwood. Röttlera tinctoria.
---Parts Used---Glands and hairs covering the fruits.
India, at the foot of the Madras hills, Malay Archipelago, Orissa, Bengal, Bombay, Abyssinia, Southern Arabia, China, Australia.
A very common small Indian tree, named after the Rev. Dr. Röttler, the naturalist, who died in 1836. It is 20 to 30 feet high, trunk 3 or 4 feet in diameter, branches slender with pale bark, the younger ones covered with dense ferruginous tomentosum; leaves alternate, articulate petioles, 1 to 2 inches long; rusty tomentose, blade 3 to 6 inches long, ovate with two obscure glands at base, entire, coriaceous, upper surface glabrous, veins very prominent on under surface, flowers dioecious. Males three together in the axils of small bracts arranged in longer much-branched axillary branches to the females, both densely covered with ferrugineous tomentosum, flowering November to January. From the surface of the trilobed capsules of the plant, which are about the size of peas, a red mealy powder is obtained; this consists of minute glands and hairs colored brick or madder red, nearly odourless and tasteless; it is much used by the Hindu silk dyers, who obtain from it by boiling in carbonate of soda, a durable flame color of great beauty. The capsules are ripe February and March, when the red powder is brushed off and collected for sale; no other preparation is necessary to preserve it.
Rottlerin, yellow and red resins, wax, and a yellow crystalline substance, tannic acid, gum, and volatile oil.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The root of the tree is used in dyeing, and for cutaneous eruptions, also used by the Arabs internally for leprosy and in solution to remove freckles and pustules. In this country it has been successfully used for an eruption in children known as wildfire, the powder is rubbed over the affected part with moist lint. Its greatest use, however, is in the use of tapeworm, being safer and more certain than other cures; the worm is passed whole and generally dead. The dose of Karmala for a robust person is 3 drachms, but only half that quantity for anyone of enfeebled health; the fluid extract is milder and acts with more certainty.
Kamala acts quickly and actively as a purgative, and often causes much griping and nausea, but seldom vomiting. It may be given in water mucilage or syrup; the worm is usually expelled at the third or fourth stool; if it fails to act, the dose is repeated after four hours, or a dose of castor oil is given. Kamala is largely used in India externally for cutaneous troubles, and is most effective for scabies. It has been successfully employed in herpetic ringworm (a disease very prevalent there), and as a taenifuge it has been used with good results, on the Continent, combined with Kousso and known as Kama-kosin.
Kamala is insoluble in cold water and boiling water has little effect on it. The resin is the most active constituent, and is dissolved by ether, chloroform, alcohol or benzol. When exposed to a flame it explodes with a flash resembling Lycopodium.
---Preparations and Dosages--
-Powdered Kamala, 2 to 4 drachms. Fluid extract, 2 to 4 drachms.
Kamala is often grossly adulterated; its quality can be judged by throwing a little on the surface of water, when the adulterants, such as sand, ferric oxide, etc., will sink, and the pure drug float; stalks and leaves can be easily sifted out. Dyed starch is detected by microscope, also ground safflower by same means.
---Other Species---(N.O. Leguminosae.)
Flemingia congesta, under the name of wurrus (contains a substance similar to Kamala), is a large shrub growing in India and Africa, gives a dull dark purplish powder and consists of single not grouped hairs and glands, the glands being in tiers not radiating; wurrus contains two resins, one dark and the other orange brown, an orange red crystalline substance, flemingin and homoflemingin, principles which while resembling Kamala are not identical with it, but largely used in India as a dye, giving silk a lovely golden color.
Rottlera Schimfeeri, the bark of which has anthelmintic properties.

Kava Kava

Botanical: Piper Methysticum (FORST.)
Family: N.O. Piperaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Ava. Intoxicating Pepper. Ava Pepper.
---Part Used---The peeled, dried and divided rhizome.
Polynesia, Sandwich Islands, South Sea Islands. Official in the Australian Colonies.
An indigenous shrub several feet high, leaves cordate, acuminate, with very short axillary spikes of flowers, stem dichotomous, spotted. The natives prepare a fermented liquor from the upper portion of the rhizome and base of the stems; it is narcotic and stimulant and is drunk before important religious rites. The root of the plant chewed and mixed with the saliva, gives a hot intoxicating juice; it is mixed with pure water or the water of the coco-nut. Its continued use in large doses causes inflammation of the body and eyes, resulting in leprous ulcers; the skin becomes parched and peels off in scales. Commercial Kava rhizome is in whitish or grey-brown roughly wedge-shaped fragments from which the periderm is cut off about 2 inches thick; the transverse section usually shows a dense central pith, surrounded by a clean ring of vascular bundles, narrow and radiating, separated by broadish light-colored medullary rays. Fracture starchy, faint pleasant odour, taste bitter, pungent, aromatic; it yields not more than 8 per cent of ash.
Oil cells often contain a greenish-yellow resin, termed kawine; it is strongly aromatic and acrid; the plant contains a second resin less active than the first, a volatile oil and an alkaloid, Kavaine Methysticcum yangonin, and abundance of starch.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The effect on the nerve centres is at first stimulating, then depressing, ending with paralysis of the respiratory centre. The irritant action and insolubility of the resin has lessened its use as a local anesthetic, but for over 125 years Kava root has been found valuable in the treatment of gonorrhoea both acute and chronic, vaginitis, leucorrhoea, nocturnal incontinence and other ailments of the genitourinary tract. It resembles pepper in local action. A 20 per cent oil of Kava resin in oil of Sandalwood, called gonosan, is used internally for gonorrhoea. Being a local anaesthetic it relieves pain and has an aphrodisiac effect; it has also an antiseptic effect on the urine. The capsules contain 0.3 gram; two to four can be given several times per day. As Kava is a strong diuretic it is useful for gout, rheumatism, bronchial and other ailments, resulting from heart trouble.
Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Powdered root, 1 drachm. Solid extract, 1 to 15 grains.


Botanical: Cotyledon Umbilicus
Family: N.O. Crassulaceae
Wall Pennywort. Penny Pies. Wall Pennyroyal.
The Kidneywort or Navelwort (Cotyledon Umbilicus) is a remarkably succulent plant, mostly to be found on moist rocks and walls in the high-lying districts in the west of England.
The whole plant is a pale bright green and very smooth. The rootstock from which it springs is a small, roundish tuber, varying according to the size of the plant, from the dimension of a small pea to that of a large nut. The leaves, most of which grow directly from the rootstock, are in shape some what like those of the garden Nasturtium, being circular, their stalks, 2 to 6 inches long, springing from about the centre of their undersurfaces, an arrangement that is termed botanically peltate. The succulent blades of the leaves are about 1 to 3 inches across, slightly concave, having a depression in the centre, where joined to the foot-stalk; and from this feature the generic name, Cotyledon has been given, derived from the Greek cotyle (a cup). Some of the English names of the plant, Wall Pennywort, Wall Pennyroyal and Penny Pies, are references to the round form of the leaf suggesting a coin.
At the end of May or early in June, stout reddish flowering stems arise, decumbent for a greater or less distance at the base, but then growing very erect to the height of 6 to 18 inches or more. They bear leaves which pass by intermediate gradation from those of a round peltate form to a shortly stalked, wedge-shaped one, and are terminated by a long raceme, or spike, of numerous, pendulous, bell-shaped, yellow-green flowers, with corollas about half an inch long. The calyx is small and, like the corolla, is five-cleft. The plant is in blossom from June to August, and the leaves often remain green most of the winter.
The juice and extract of the Kidneywort had an old reputation for epilepsy, especially among herb doctors in the west of England, where it is most frequently found; its use as a remedy in epilepsy was revived last century even in regular practice, but it has obtained no permanent reputation as a remedy.
It is applied by the peasantry in Wales to the eyes as a remedy in some diseases. The leaves, bruised to a pulp and applied as a poultice, are said to cure piles, and are also recommended as an application for slight burns or scalds. A decoction of the leaves is considered cooling and diuretic, and the juice when taken inwardly to be excellent for inflammation of the liver and spleen.
Culpepper tells us that:
'the juice or distilled water being drunk is very effectual for all inflammations, to cool a fainting stomach, a hot liver or the bowels; the herb, juice or distilled water outwardly applied healeth pimples, St. Anthony's Fire (erysipelas) and other outward heats.'
He also recommends the juice or distilled water for ulcerated kidneys, gravel and stone, and an ointment made with it for 'painful piles' and pains of the gout and sciatia. In addition,
'it heals kibes or chilblains if they be bathed with the juice or anointed with ointment made hereof and some of the skin of the leaf upon them: it is used in green wounds to stay the blood and to heal them quickly.'




Botanical: Pterocarpus marsupium, Pterocarpus erinaceus, Butea frondosa
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages

Kino is the inspissated juice of the Bastard Teak (Pterocarpus marsupium) obtained from incisions made in the trunk. The term Kino is also applied to the juice of other plants inspissated without artificial heat. The varieties commonly distinguished are:
MALABAR or EAST INDIAN KINO obtained from P. marsupium.
AFRICAN or GAMBIA KINO from P. erinaceus.
BUTEA, BENGAL, or PALAS KINO from Butea frondosa.
BOTANY BAY, AUSTRALIAN or EUCALYPTUS KINO from different species of Eucalyptus.
WEST INDIAN or JAMAICA KINO from Coccoloba uvifera.
SOUTH AMERICAN or CARACAS KINO, which is identified with Columbian Kino and is believed to be obtained from the same plant that yields the West Indian Kino.
In the British Pharmacopceia Malabar or West Indian Kino is the only one recognized, and this is found in small, brittle glistening pieces, reddish-black in color. They are odourless with a very astringent taste and stick to the teeth when chewed and make the saliva bright red.
Kino is almost entirely soluble in alcohol and entirely in ether and partly in water.
Chemically it closely resembles catechu, and is very like it in action, but it is less astringent and therefore less effective.
The Indian Pharmacopceia recognizes this kind and also Bengal Kino are recognized, and in the United States other kinds are official as well as these two.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Astringent. Used whenever tannin is indicated. Internally in diarrhoea, dysentery, and pyrosis. Externally as a gargle and as an injection for leucorrhoea.
---Preparations and Dosages---
Powdered gum, 5 to 20 grains. Comp. powder, B.P., 5 to 20 grains. Tincture, B.P. and U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm.

Knapweed, Black

Botanical: Centaurea nigra (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Centaurea nigra, the Black Knapweed, is a perennial, with an unwinged, erect stem, 6 inches to 3 feet high, generally freely branched in the upper part. The leaves are very variable, both in breadth and degrees of division, the upper ones narrow and generally with entire margins, but the lower ones lobed, or at any rate with some coarse teeth. The whole plant is dull green, rather rough with small hairs, the stems, like the preceding species, very tough. The flowers are without the spreading outer rays of the Greater Knapweed, the florets being all tubular, which makes the black fringes to the bracts of the involucre most noticeable, hence the name of the species. The florets are of a less bright purple in color.

Knapweed, Greater

Botanical: Centaurea Scabiosa
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Hardhead. Ironhead. Hard Irons. Churls Head. Logger Head. Horse Knops. Matte Felon. Mat Fellon. Bottleweed. Bullweed. Cowede. Boltsede.
---Parts Used---Root, seeds.
Frequent in the borders of fields and in waste places, being not uncommon in England, where it is abundant on chalk soil, but rare in Scotland.
The plant is a perennial, the rootstock thick and woody in old plants. The stem is 1 to 3 feet high, generally branched, very tough. The leaves, which are firm in texture, are very variable in the degree of division, but generally deeply cut into, the segments again deeply notched. The lower leaves are very large, often a foot or even more in length, making a striking looking rosette on the ground, from which the flowering stems arise. The whole plant is a dull green, sparingly hairy. It flowers in July and August. The flowers are terminal, somewhat similar to those of the Cornflower in general shape, though larger. All the florets are of the same color, a rich purplish-crimson, the outer ray ones with the limb divided nearly to the base into narrow, strap-shaped segments. The flower-head is hard and solid, a mass of bracts lapping over each other like tiles, each having a central green portion and a black fringe-like edge. In some districts the plant is called from these almost round heads, 'Hardhead,' and the ordinary English name, Knapweed, is based on the same idea, Knap, being a form of Knop, or Knob.
This larger species of Knapweed was in olden times called 'Matte Felon,' from its use in curing felons or whitlows. As early as 1440 we find it called 'Maude Felone,' or 'Boltsede.'
This species is very common and generally distributed in pastures, borders of fields and roadsides throughout Britain, and flowers from early June till well into September. Both species of Knapweed may readily be distinguished from Thistles by the absence of spines and prickles.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The Knapweed was once in great repute as a vulnerary. It was included in the fourteenthcentury ointment, Save, for wounds and for the pestilence, and was also used with pepper for loss of appetite.
The root and seeds are used. Its diuretic diaphoretic and tonic properties are recognized.
It is good for catarrh, taken in decoction, and is also made into ointment for outward application for wounds and bruises, sores, etc.
Culpepper tells us: 'it is of special use for soreness of throat, swelling of the uvula and jaws, and very good to stay bleeding at the nose and mouth.'

Knapwort Harshweed

Botanical: Centaurea Jacea
Brown Radiant Knapweed.
Centaurea Jacea, known to old writers as Knapwort Harshweed, its modern name being the Brown Radiant Knapweed, is a rare species.
It was also applied as a vulnerary and was used internally. Culpepper describes it as a mild astringent, 'helpful against coughs, asthma, and difficulty of breathing, and good for diseases of the head and nerves,' and tells us that 'outwardly the bruised herb is famous for taking away black and blue marks out of the skin.'
The botanical name of the species, scabiosa, signifying the Scabious-like Knapweed, is given this species of Centaurea from its resemblance in general size, form of leaf and other features to the Scabious, another common plant also found in the chalk district, which obtains its name from the Latin word scabies, an irritating roughness of the skin, for which it has been employed as a remedy.
The medicinal qualities of the Greater Knapweed are similar to those of the Black Knapweed, a smaller variety, which is more generally collected for medicinal use, perhaps because more common.


Botanical: Polyganum aviculare (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Polygonaceae
Medicinal Actiona and Uses
Other Species
Knotgrass. Centinode. Ninety-knot. Nine-joints. Allseed. Bird's Tongue. Sparrow Tongue. Red Robin. Armstrong. Cowgrass. Hogweed. Pigweed. Pigrush. Swynel Grass. Swine's Grass.
---Part Used---
Whole herb.
The entire globe.
The Knotgrass is abundant everywhere, a common weed in arable land, on waste ground and by the roadside.
The root is annual, branched and somewhat woody, taking strong hold of the earth; the stems, 1/2 to 6 feet in length, much branched, seldom erect, usually of straggling habit, often quite prostrate and widely spreading. The leaves, alternate and often stalkless, are variable, narrow, lanceshaped or oval, 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch long, issuing from the sheaths of the stipules or ochreae, which are membraneous, white, shining, torn, red at the base and two-lobed. The flowers are minute, in clusters of two to three, in the axils of the stem, barely 1/8 in. long, usually pinkish, sometimes red, green, or dull whitish. In contrast to the other Polygonums, there is little or no honey or scent, so that the flowers are very rarely visited by insects and pollinate themselves by the incurving of the three inner stamens on to the styles. The remaining five stamens alternate with the perianth segments and bend outwards, thus ensuring cross-pollination in addition, should any insect visit the flower.
The plant varies greatly in size. When it grows singly in a favourable soil and clear of other vegetation, it will often cover a circle of a yard or more in diameter, the stems being almost prostrate on the ground and leaves broad and large; but when growing crowded by other plants the stalks become more upright and all the parts are generally smaller.
The stems are smooth, with swollen joints, hence the common names, Nine-joints, Ninety-knots, etc., and when gathered it generally snaps at one of the joints.
It begins flowering in May and continues till September or October. Cleistogamic flowers (which do not open at all and in which therefore self-pollination is necessarily effected) are found under the ochrea, and this species is said also to possess subterranean cleistogamic flowers.
The specific name, aviculare, is from the Latin aviculus, a diminutive of avis (a bird), great numbers of our smaller birds feeding on its seeds. The seeds are useful for every purpose in which those of the allied Buckwheat are employed and are produced in great numbers, hence its local name - Allseed.
Some of the older herbals call it Bird's Tongue or Sparrow Tongue, these names arising from the shape of its little, pointed leaves. Its minute reddish flowers gained it the name of Red Robin. From the difficulty of pulling it up, it was called Armstrong, and from the fact that cattle and swine eat it readily, we find it called Cowgrass and Hogweed, Pigweed or Pigrush. Gerard tells us:
'It is given to swine with good successe when they are sicke and will not eat their meate, whereupon the country people so call it Swine's Grass and Swine's Skir. In the Grete Herball (1516) it is called Swynel Grass.
Shakespeare (Midsummer Night's Dream) speaks of this plant as 'the hindering Knotgrass,' referring to the belief that its decoction was efficacious in retarding the growth of children and the young of domestic animals.
The larvae of Geometer moths will eat the plant as a substitute for their usual food.
---Medicinal Action and Uses--
-The plant has astringent properties, rendering an infusion of it useful in diarrhoea, bleeding piles and all haemorrhages; it was formerly employed considerably as a vulnerary and styptic.
It has also diuretic properties, for which it has found employment in strangury and as an expellant of stone, the dose recommended in old herbals being 1 drachm of the herb, powdered in wine, taken twice a day.
The decoction was also administered to kill worms.
The fresh juice has been found effectual to stay bleeding of the nose, squirted up the nose and applied to the temples, and made into an ointment it has proved an excellent remedy for sores.
Salmon stated:
'Knotgrass is peculiar against spilling of blood, strangury and other kidney affections, cools inflammations, heals wounds and cleanses and heals old filthy ulcers. The Essence for tertians and quartan. The decoction for colick; the Balsam strengthens weak joints, comforts the nerves and tendons, and is prevalent against the gout, being duly and rightly applied morning and evening.'
The fruit is emetic and purgative.
---Other Species---
P. Arifoleum, or Sickle-grass, Halbertleaved Tear-thumb, Hactate Knotgrass. An infusion is a powerful diuretic, to be drunk freely in all urinary affections.
The Russian Knotgrass (Polygonum erectum, Linn.) possesses similar astringent properties, and an infusion of this herb is used in diarrhoea and children's summer complaints.
The Alpine Knotweed (P. viviparum, Linn.), a small perennial, only 4 to 8 inches high, found in British mountain alpine pastures, is peculiar in that its slender, spike-like raceme of white or pinkish flowers bears in its lower portion, in place of flowers, little red bulbs (as in certain species of Lilium and Alium), on which the plant depends for its propagation, its fruit rarely maturing.
This species is found in North America, being there the one nearest related to the Bistort, whose properties it shares.

Knotgrass, Russian

Botanical: Polygonum erectum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Polygonacea
---Synonym---Erect Knotgrass.
---Part Used---Whole herb.
British America, and Western and Middle States.
This perennial herb was discovered in North America in 1790, but up to date it has not been largely utilized. It is a variety of the English one - Polygonum aviculare, and has similar properties. It has an upright smooth branched stem and grows from 1 to 3 feet high. Leaves are smooth, broadly obvate, rather obtuse- 1 to 2 inches long - and about half as broad - either sessile or petiolate. Flowers bloom June to September in bunches at axils of the leaves.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
It is highly astringent as an infusion or decoction; useful in diarrhcea as an injection and in children's summer complaints; also as a good gargle and a valuable remedy for inflammatory diseases of the tissues.

Kola Nuts

Botanical: Kola vera (SCHUM.)
Family: N.O. Sterculiaceae
Medicinal Actiona and Uses
Cola acuminata. Sterculia acuminata. Kola Seeds. Gurru Nuts. Bissy Nuts. Cola Seeds. Guru Nut.
---Part Used---Seeds.
Sierra Leone, North Ashanti near the sources of the Nile; cultivated in tropical Western Africa, West Indies, Brazil, Java.
This tree grows about 40 feet high, has yellow flowers, spotted with purple; leaves 6 to 8 inches long, pointed at both ends.
The seeds are extensively used as a condiment by the natives of Western and Central tropical Africa, also by the negroes of the West Indies and Brazil, who introduced the trees to these countries.
In Western Africa these trees are usually found growing near the sea-coast, and a big trade is carried on with the nuts by the natives of the interior- Cola being eaten by them as far as Fezzan and Tripoli. A small piece is chewed before each meal to promote digestion; it is also thought to improve the flavour of anything eaten after it and even to render putrid water palatable; the powder is applied to cuts.
There are several kinds of Cola seeds derived from different species, but the Cola vera are most generally used and preferred for medicinal purposes. Those from West Africa and West Indies supply the commercial drug. C. acuminata, or Gurru Nuts, are employed in the same way as C. vera; they are from a tree growing in Cameron and Congo, not esteemed so highly, but much in use as a caffeine stimulant; 600 tons are said to be sent yearly to Brazil for the negroes' use, who also employ the seeds of S. Chica and S. Striata. The Kola of commerce consists of the separated cotyledons of the kernel of the seed; when fresh it is nearly white, on drying it undergoes a fermentative change, turning reddish brown and losing much of its astringency. The dried cotyledons vary in size from 1 to 2 inches, are irregular in shape but roughly plano-convex, exterior reddy brown, interior paler, easily cut, showing a uniform section, odourless and almost tasteless. Large quantities of the fresh seeds are employed in Africa on account of their sustaining properties, where they form an important article of inland commerce.
The different varieties of nuts give a greater or lesser percentage of caffeine, which is only found in the fresh state. The seeds are said to contain a glucoside, Kolanin, but this substance appears to be a mixture of Kola red and caffeine. The seeds also contain starch, fatty matter, sugar, a fat decomposing enzyme acting on various oils.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The properties of Kola are the same as caffeine, modified only by the astringents present. Fresh Kola Nuts have stimulant action apart from the caffeine content, but as they appear in European commerce, their action is indistinguishable from that of other caffeine drugs and Kola red is inert. Kola is also a valuable nervine, heart tonic, and a good general tonic.
Male Kola (not to be confused with Kola) is the fruit of a small tree, Garcinia Kola, and contains no caffeine. The fruit is oblong, from 2 to 3 inches long and 1 inch broad; it is trigonal in section, reddish brown with nutmeg-like markings. Taste, bitter and astringent. Under microscope shows resinous masses, surrounded by cells full of starch. The seeds of Lucuma Mammosa are sometimes found mixed with Kola Nuts, but are easily detected by their strong smell of prussic acid. Hertiera Litorales seeds are also sometimes found mixed with Kola Nuts.
C. Ballayi (cornu) seeds are also used, but these are easily distinguished as the seeds have six cotyledons and contain little caffeine.
---Preparations---Fluid extract of Kola, 10 to 40 drops. Solid extract alc., 2 to 8 grains.


Botanical: Hagenia Abyssinica (WILLD.), Brayera anthelmintica (KUNTH.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Banksia Abyssinica. Kooso. Kusso. Kosso. Cossoo. Cusso.
---Parts Used---
Herb, unripe fruit, and the dried panicles of the pistillate flowers.
North-Eastern Africa, and cultivated in Abyssinia; official in United States of America.
The tree is named after Dr. K. G. Hagen of K”nigsberg, a German botanist (d. 1829), and also after A. Brayera, a French physician in Constantinople, who wrote a monograph on the tree in 1823. It is a beautiful tree growing about 20 feet high, at an elevation of 3,000 to 8,000 feet. The flowers are unisexual, small, of a greenish color, becoming purple. The dried flowers have a slight balsamic odour, and the taste is bitter and acrid; the female flowers are chiefly collected, although not exclusively so. 'Loose Kousso,' i.e. flowers stripped from their panicles, sometimes come into the market, often with some staminate flowers among it. These are much less active, easily distin guished by their greeny color, fertile stamens and outer hairy sepals, whereas the female flowers are a dark reddish color. As a medicine it is very apt to be adulterated, owing to its high price; therefore it is advisable to buy it in its unpowdered state.
A volatile oil, a bitter acrid resin, tannic acid, and a bitter principle called A Kosin and B Kosin, which is found in Kousso, but thought to be decomposition products. The principle constituent of Kousso is Koso-toxin, a yellow amorphous body, possibly closely allied to filicia acid, and Rottlerin; other inactive colorless bodies are crystalline Protokosin and Kosidin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Purgative and anthelmintic; the Abyssinians are greatly troubled with tapeworm, and Kousso is used by them to expel the worms. One dose is said to be effective in destroying both kinds of tapeworms, the taenia solium and bothriocephalus latus; but as it possesses little cathartic power the subsequent administration of a purgative is generally necessary to bring away the destroyed ectozoon. The dose of the flowers when powdered is from 4 to 5 1/2 drachms, macerated in 3 gills of lukewarm water for 15 minutes; the unstrained infusion is taken in two or three doses following each other, freely drinking lemon-juice or tamarind water before and after the doses. It is advisable to fast twenty-four or forty-eight hours before taking the drug. The operation is usually safe, effective, and quick, merely causing sometimes a slight nausea, but it has never failed to expel the worm. Occasionally emesis takes place or diuresis, and collapse follows, but cases of this sort are extremely rare. It is said in Abyssinia that honey gathered from beehives immediately the Kousso plants have flowered is very effective in teaspoonful doses as a taenicide, its effect being to poison the worms.
Infusion of 1/2 oz. to 1 pint of boiling water is taken in 4 oz. doses, and repeated at short intervals. Fluid extract, 2 to 4 drachms.


Descript : It has many thick, flat, and round leaves growing from the root, every one having a long footstalk, fastened underneath, about the middle of it, and a little unevenly weaved sometimes about the edges, of a pale green color, and somewhat yellow on the upper side like a saucer; from among which arise one or more tender, smooth, hollow stalks half a foot high, with two or three small leaves thereon, usually not round as those below, but somewhat long, and divided at the edges: the tops are somewhat divided into long branches, bearing a number of flowers, set round about a long spike one above another, which are hollow and like a little bell of a whitish green color, after which come small heads, containing very small brownish seed, which falling on the ground, will plentifully spring up before Winter, if it have moisture. The root is round and most usually smooth, greyish without, and white within, having small fibres at the head of the root, and bottom of the stalk.
Place : It grows very plentifully in many places of this land, but especially in all the west parts thereof, upon stone and mud walls, upon rocks also, and in stony places upon the ground, at the bottom of old trees, and sometimes on the bodies of them that are decayed and rotten.
Time : It usually flowers in the beginning of May, and the seed ripening quickly after, sheds itself; so that about the end of May, usually the stalks and leaves are withered, dry, and gone until September, then the leaves spring up again, and so abide all winter.
Government and virtues : Venus challenges the herb under Libra. The juice or the distilled water being drank, is very effectual for all inflammations and unnatural heats, to cool a fainting hot stomach, a hot liver, or the bowels: the herb, juice, or distilled water thereof, outwardly applied, heals pimples, St. Anthony's fire, and other outward heats. The said juice or water helps to heal sore kidneys, torn or fretted by the stone, or exulcerated within; it also provokes urine, is available for the dropsy, and helps to break the stone. Being used as a bath, or made into an ointment, it cools the painful piles or hæmorrhoidal veins. It is no less effectual to give ease to the pains of the gout, the sciatica, and helps the kernels or knots in the neck or throat, called the king's evil: healing kibes and chilblains if they be bathed with the juice, or anointed with ointment made thereof, and some of the skin of the leaf upon them: it is also used in green wounds to stay the blood, and to heal them quickly.


Descript : The common sort hereof has many long and somewhat dark green leaves, rising from the root, dented about the edges, and sometimes a little rent or torn on both sides in two or three places, and somewhat hairy withal; amongst which arises a long round stalk, four or five feet high, divided into many branches, at the tops whereof stand great scaly green heads, and from the middle of them thrust forth a number of dark purplish red thrumbs or threads, which after they are withered and past, there are found divers black seeds, lying in a great deal of down, somewhat like unto Thistle seed, but smaller; the root is white, hard and woody, and divers fibres annexed thereunto, which perishes not, but abides with leaves thereon all the Winter, shooting out fresh every spring.
Place : It grows in most fields and meadows, and about their borders and hedges, and in many waste grounds also every where.
Time : It usually flowers in June and July, and the seed is ripe shortly after.
Government and virtues : Saturn challenges the herb for his own. This Knapweed helps to stay fluxes, both of blood at the mouth or nose, or other outward parts, and those veins that are inwardly broken, or inward wounds, as also the fluxes of the belly; it stays distillation of thin and sharp humours from the head upon the stomach and lungs; it is good for those that are bruised by any fall, blows or otherwise, and is profitable for those that are bursten, and have ruptures, by drinking the decoction of the herb and roots in wine, and applying the same outwardly to the place. It is singularly good in all running sores, cancerous and fistulous, drying up of the moisture, and healing them up so gently, without sharpness; it doth the like to running sores or scabs of the head or other parts. It is of special use for the soreness of the throat, swelling of the uvula and jaws, and excellently good to stay bleeding, and heal up all green wounds.


It is generally known so well that it needs no description.
Place : It grows in every county of this land by the highway sides, and by foot-paths in fields; as also by the sides of old walls.
Time : It springs up late in the Spring, and abides until the Winter, when all the branches perish.
Government and virtues : Saturn seems to me to own the herb, and yet some hold the Sun; out of doubt 'tis Saturn. The juice of the common kind of Knotgrass is most effectual to stay bleeding of the mouth, being drank in steeled or red wine; and the bleeding at the nose, to be applied to the forehead or temples, or to be squirted up into the nostrils. It is no less effectual to cool and temper the heat of the blood and stomach, and to stay any flux of the blood and humours, as lasks, bloody-flux, women's courses, and running of the reins. It is singularly good to provoke urine, help the stranguary, and allays the heat that comes thereby; and is powerful by urine to expel the gravel or stone in the kidneys and bladder, a dram of the powder of the herb being taken in wine for many days together. Being boiled in wine and drank, it is profitable to those that are stung or bitten by venomous creatures, and very effectual to stay all defluxions of rheumatic humours upon the stomach and kills worms in the belly or stomach, quiets inward pains that arise from the heat, sharpness and corruption of blood and choler. The distilled water hereof taken by itself or with the powder of the herb or seed, is very effectual to all the purposes aforesaid, and is accounted one of the most sovereign remedies to cool all manner of inflammations, breaking out through heat, hot swellings and imposthumes, gangrene and fistulous cankers, or foul filthy ulcers, being applied or put into them; but especially for all sorts of ulcers and sores happening in the privy parts of men and women. It helps all fresh and green wounds, and speedily heals them. The juice dropped into the ears, cleanses them being foul, and having running matter in them.
It is very prevalent for the premises; as also for broken joints and ruptures.



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