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Magic And Wicca - Herbal Encyclopedia - T


Herbs & Oils

~ T ~


(Melaleuca alternifolia)

Tea tree oil has huge healing potential. It is a powerful antiseptic and immunostimulant, active against bacteria, viruses, and fungi such as athlete's foot and thrush. It helps treat colds, flu, lesions, warts and acne. Tea Tree is the best remedy for yeast infections!
Aromatherapy Uses:
Abscesses; Acne; Athlete's Foot; Blisters; Burns; Bruises; Chicken Pox Rash; Cold Sores; Dandruff; Herpes; Insect Bites; Oily Skin; Spots; Rashes; Warts; Wounds (infected); Asthma; Bronchitis; Catarrh; Coughs; Sinusitis; Tuberculosis; Whooping Cough; Thrush; Vaginitis; Colds; Fever; Flu; Infectious Illnesses; Cystitis; Pruritis. Key Qualities: Penetrating; Medicinal; Stimulating; Refreshing.


(Thymus vulgaris)

Also known as Common Thyme, Mother of Thyme, and Garden Thyme. A Druid sacred herb, culinary Thyme aids the digestion of fatty foods and is part of bouquet garni and Benedictine liqueur. Thyme oil is distilled from the leaves and flowering tops and is a stimulant and antiseptic. It is a nerve tonic used externally to treat depression, colds, muscular pain and respiratory problems. The oil is added to acne lotions and mouthwashes. Research has confirmed Thyme strengthens the immune system.
Thyme is an excellent lung cleanser. Use it to dry up and clear out moist phlegm and to treat whooping cough. It makesa good tea for the mother after childbirth, as it helps expel the placenta. Steem one-half teaspoon fresh herb or one teaspoon dried herb in one-half cup of hot water for five minutes. Take up to one and a half cups a day in quarter-cup doses. A natural antiseptic, thyme is often used in salves for wounds, swellings, sciatica, and failing eyes. The tea relieves gas and colic (as does the oil, takin in one- to five-drop doses). The tincturecan be used in ten- to twenty-drop doses, taken three times a day. Use thyme for headaches and hangovers.
Parts Used:
Above-ground portions of the herb.
Magical Uses:
Thyme is burned in incense ot purify an area. A place where wild thyme grows will be a particularly powerful energy center on earth. A magical cleansing bath can be make by pouring a tea made with thyme and marjoram into the bathwater. A pillow stuffed with thyme cures nightmares. When attending a funeral, wear a sprig of thyme to repel the negativity of the mourners. Use as incense for: Health; Healing; Purification; Clairvoyance; Courage; Love; Psychic Awareness; Energy; Power; Strength. Thyme is often burned prior to magical rituals to cleanse the area. Carried and smelled to give courage and energy.
Aromatherapy Uses:
Abscess; Acne; Bruises; Burns; Cuts; Dermatitis; Eczema; Insect Bites; Lice; Arthritis; Gout; Muscular Aches and Pains; Obesity; Edema; Poor Circulation; Rheumatism; Sprains; Asthma; Bronchitis; catarrh; Coughs; Laryngitis; Sinusitis; Tonsillitis; Diarrhea; Dyspepsia; Flatulence; Chills; Colds; Flu; Infectious Diseases; Cystitis; Urethritis; Headaches; Insomnia; Stress Related Conditions. Key Qualities: Stimulating; Restorative; Warming; Reviving; Refreshing; Purifying; Antidepressant.


(Nicotiana tabacum)

This annual or biennial has large, long leaves and green-white to rose tubulur florwers. The cured, dried leaves are smoked as a narcotic, but the poisonous incotine the contain causes heart and lung disease and cancer. North and South American tribes smoke the leaves in ceremonies and apply poultices to sprains, to infected cuts and bites, and to problem skin. The juice is applied externally to relieve facial neuralgia, and wet leaves offer a quick cure for hemorrhoids. Research has revealed a chemical in the leaves that inhibits tumors.
Parts Used:
Magical Uses:
Candidates for some shamanic systems must drink tobacco juice to induce visions as part of their trainng. Tobacco has long been used in religious ceremonies by some of the American Indians. Indeed many peoples still regard the plant as sacred.
Tobacco is a magical substitute for sulphur, as well as for datura and nightshade, both of which are related to tobaco. It can be substituted for any other poisonous herb in ritual incense blends. Although it is regularly smoked by millions, tobacco is a very poisonous plant and can kill.


Tag Alder
See Alder, Tag.

Tallow Tree

Botanical: Sapium Salicifolium
Family: N.O. Euphorbiaceae
---Parts Used---
Leaves, fruit.
Tropics of both Hemispheres and cultivated in China and Paraguay.

It yields a milky juice, which is acrid and even poisonous, the leaves are willow-like, and at their point of union with the stalk have two round glands; the flowers are small and greenish, and grow in terminal spikes, the lower portion bearing the fertile, and the upper ones the sterile flowers. The bark of Sapium Salicifolium yields a substance for tanning which is used instead of oak; most modern writers unite this genus with Stillingia, from which there are no reliable characters to distinguish it. In America, S. Biglandulosum is a source for rubber. Sapium or S. Indicum is known in Borneo under the name of Booroo; the leaves are used for dyeing and staining rotang a dark color; theacrid milky juice burns the mouth as Capsicum does; the young fruit is acid and eaten as a condiment; the fruit is also used to poison alligators; the ripe fruit are woolly, trilobed capsules, about 1 inch across, threecelled and containing only one seed in each.
S. sebiyerum, the Chinese Tallow Tree, gives a fixed oil which envelops the seeds. The tallow occurs in hard brittle opaque white masses, which consists of palmatin and stearin. The oil is used for lighting and the waste from the nuts for fuel and manure.

Botanical: Larix Americana (MICHX.)
Family: N.O. Coniferae
American Larch. Black Larch. Hackmatack. Pinus Pendula (Salisb.).
---Part Used---
Eastern North America.

The tree has a straight slender trunk with thin horizontal branches growing to 80 to 100 feet high; leaves short, 1 or 2 inches long, very fine, almost thread-form, soft deciduous, without sheaths in fascicles of from twenty to forty, being developed early in the spring from lateral scaly and globular buds which produce growing shoots on which the leaves are scattered. Cones oblong of a few rounded scales widening upward from 1/2 to 1 inch in length, deep purple color, scales thin, inflexed on the margin. Bracts elliptical, often hollowed at the sides, abruptly acuminate, with a slender point and, together with the scales, persistent.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The bark used as a decoction is laxative, tonic, diuretic and alterative, useful in obstructions of the liver, rheumatism, jaundice and some cutaneous diseases. A decoction of the leaves has been used for piles, haemoptysis, menorrhagia, diarrhoea and dysentery.
2 tablespoonsful of the bark decoction.
Pine (Larch)
Pine, White
Pine (Ground)
Pine, American Ground


Botanical: Tamarindus Indica (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Imlee. Tamarindus officinalis (Hook).
---Part Used---
The fruits freed from brittle outer part of pericarp.
India; tropical Africa; cultivated in West Indies.
A large handsome tree with spreading branches and a thick straight trunk, ash-grey bark, height up to 40 feet. Leaves alternate, abruptly pinnated; leaflets light green and a little hairy, in twelve to fifteen pairs. In cold damp weather and after sunset the leaflets close. Flowers fragrant, yellow-veined, red and purple filaments, in terminal and lateral racemes. Legume oblong, pendulous, nearly linear, curved, somewhat compressed, filled with a firm acid pulp. Bark hard and scabrous, never separates into valves; inside the bark are three fibres, one down, on the upper concave margin, the other two at equal distances from the convex edge. Seeds six to twelve, covered with a shiny smooth brown shell, and inserted into the convex side of the pericarp. There are three varieties of Tamarinds. The East Indian, with long pods containing six to twelve seeds, the West Indian, with shorter pods containing about four seeds, and a third, with the pulp of the pod a lovely rose color. West Indian Tamarinds are usually imported in syrup, the outer shell having been removed; East Indian Tamarinds are exported in a firm black mass of shelled legumes; the third kind are usually preserved in syrup.
Citric, tartaric and malic acids, potassium, bitartrate, gum, pectin, some grape sugar, and parenchymatous fibre.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Cathartic, astringent, febrifuge, antiseptic, refrigerant. There are no known constituents in Tamarinds to account for their laxative properties; they are refrigerant from the acids they contain, an infusion of the Tamarind pulp making a useful drink in febrile conditions, and the pulp a good diet in convalescence to maintain a slightly laxative action of the bowels; also used in India as an astringent in bowel complaints. The pulp is said to weaken the action of resinous cathartics in general, but is frequently prescribed with them as a vehicle for jalap, etc. Tamarind is useful in correcting bilious disorders, 3 drachms up to 2 OZ. of the pulp to render it moderately cathartic are required according to the case. The leaves are some times used in subacid infusions, and a decoction is said to destroy worms in children, and is also useful for jaundice, and externally as a wash for sore eyes and ulcers. A punch is made from the fruit in the West Indies, mixed with a decoction of borage to allay the scalding of urine. Tamarind Whey, made by boiling 1 OZ. of the pulp in 1 pint of milk and then strained, makes a cooling laxative drink. In some forms of sore throat the fruit has been found of service. In Mauritius the Creoles mix salt with the pulp and use it as a liniment for rheumatism and make a decoction of the bark for asthma. The Bengalese employ Tamarind pulp in dysentery, and in times of scarcity use it as a food, boiling the pods or macerating them and removing the dark outer skin. The natives of India consider that the neighbourhood in which Tamarind trees grow becomes unwholesome, and that it is unsafe to sleep under the tree owing to the acid they exhale during the moisture of the night. It is said that no plant will live under the shade of it, but in the Author's experience some plants and bulbs bloomed luxuriantly under the Tamarind trees in her garden in Bengal. The wood is very hard and durable, valuable for building purposes and furnishes excellent charcoal for gunpowder; the leaves in infusion give a yellow dye. Tamarinds in Indian cookery is an important ingredient in curries and chutneys, and makes a delicious sauce for duck, geese and water fowl, and in Western India is used for pickling fish, Tamarind fish being considered a great delicacy.


Botanical: Tanacetum vulgare (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Parts Used
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
Steadman Shorter's Medical Dictionary, 1942, Poisons & Antidotes: Tansy Oil
---Part Used---
Tansy, a composite plant very familiar in our hedgerows and waste places, is a hardy perennial, widely spread over Europe.
The stem is erect and leafy, about 2 to 3 feet high, grooved and angular. The leaves are alternate, much cut into, 2 to 6 inches long and about 4 inches wide. The plant is conspicuous in August and September by its heads of round, flat, dull yellow flowers, growing in clusters, which earn it the name of 'Buttons.' It has a very curious, and not altogether disagreeable odour, somewhat like camphor.
It is often naturalized in our gardens for ornamental cultivation. The feathery leaves of the Wild Tansy are beautiful, especially when growing in abundance on marshy ground, and it has a more refreshing scent than the Garden Tansy.
Tansy will thrive in almost any soil and may be increased, either in spring or autumn, by slips or by dividing the creeping roots, which if permitted to remain undisturbed, will, in a short time, overspread the ground. When transplanting the slips or portions of root, place therefore at least a foot apart.
The name Tansy is probably derived from the Greek Athanaton (immortal), either, says Dodoens, because it lasts so long in flower or, as Ambrosius thought, because it is capital for preserving dead bodies from corruption. It was said to have been given to Ganymede to make him immortal.
Tansy was one of the Strewing Herbs mentioned by Tusser in 1577, and was one of the native plants dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Perhaps it found additional favour as a 'Strewing Herb' because it was said to be effectual in keeping flies away, particularly if mixed with elder leaves.
Parkinson grew Tansy amongst other aromatic and culinary herbs in his garden.
It is connected with some interesting old customs observed at Easter time, when even archbishops and bishops played handball with men of their congregation, and a Tansy cake was the reward of the victors. These Tansy cakes were made from the young leaves of the plant, mixed with eggs, and were thought to purify the humours of the body after the limited fare of Lent. In time, this custom obtained a kind of symbolism, and Tansies, as these cakes were called, came to be eaten on Easter Day as a remembrance of the bitter herbs eaten by the Jews at the Passover. Coles (1656) says the origin of eating it in the spring is because Tansy is very wholesome after the salt fish consumed during Lent, and counteracts the ill-effects which the 'moist and cold constitution of winter has made on people . . . though many understand it not, and some simple people take it for a matter of superstition to do so.'
'This balsamic plant,' says Boerhaave (the Danish physician), 'will supply the place of nutmegs and cinnamon,' and the young leaves, shredded, serve as a flavouring for puddings and omelets. Gerard tells us that Tansy Teas were highly esteemed in Lent as well as Tansy puddings.

From an old cookery book:

-'A Tansy-
'Beat seven eggs, yolks and whites separately; add a pint of cream, near the same of spinach-juice, and a little tansy-juice gained by pounding in a stone mortar; a quarter of a pound of Naples biscuit, sugar to taste, a glass of white wine, and some nutmeg. Set all in a sauce-pan, just to thicken, over the fire; then put it into a dish, lined with paste, to turn out, and bake it.'
Culpepper says: 'Of Tansie. The root eaten, is a singular remedy for the gout: the rich may bestow the cost to preserve it.'
Cows and sheep eat Tansy, but horses, goats and hogs refuse to touch it, and if meat be rubbed with this plant, flies will not attack it. In Sussex, at one time, Tansy leaves had the reputation of curing ague, if placed in the shoes.
The Finlanders employ it in dyeing green.
---Parts Used---The leaves and tops. The plant is cut off close above the root, when first coming into flower in August.
---Constituents---Tanacetin, tannic acid, a volatile oil, mainly thujone, waxy, resinous and protein bodies, some sugar and a coloring matter.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Anthelmintic, tonic, stimulant, emmenagogue.
Tansy is largely used for expelling worms in children, the infusion of 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water being taken in teacupful doses, night and morning, fasting.
It is also valuable in hysteria and in kidney weaknesses, the same infusion being taken in wineglassful doses, repeated frequently. It forms an excellent and safe emmenagogue, and is of good service in low forms of fever, in ague and hysterical and nervous affections. As a diaphoretic nervine it is also useful.
In moderate doses, the plant and its essential oil are stomachic and cordial, being anti-flatulent and serving to allay spasms.
In large doses, it becomes a violent irritant, and induces venous congestion of the abdominal organs.
In Scotland, an infusion of the dried flowers and seeds (1/2 to 1 teaspoonful, two or three times a day) is given for gout. The roots when preserved with honey or sugar, have also been reputed to be of special service against gout, if eaten fasting every day for a certain time.
From 1 to 4 drops of the essential oil may be safely given in cases of epilepsy, but excessive doses have produced seizures.
Tansy has been used externally with benefit for some eruptive diseases of the skin, and the green leaves, pounded and applied, will relieve sprains and allay the swelling.
A hot infusion, as a fomentation to sprained and rheumatic parts, will in like manner give relief.
---Preparations and Dosages---Fluid extract, 1/2 to 2 drachms. Solid extract, 5 to 10 grains.
In the fourteenth century we hear of Tansy being used as a remedy for wounds, and as a bitter tonic, and Tansy Tea has an old reputation in country districts for fever and other illnesses.
Gerard also tells us that cakes were made of the young leaves in the spring, mixed with eggs,
'which be pleasant in taste and good for the stomache; for if bad humours cleave thereunder, it doth perfectly concoct them and carry them off. The roote, preserved in honie, or sugar, is an especiall thing against the gout, if everie day for a certaine space, a reasonable quantitie thereof be eaten fasting.'


Botanical: Manihot utilissima (POHL.), Jatropha Manihot (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Euphorbiaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Cassara. Manioc. Manihot. Brazilian Arrowroot. Cassara Starch. Janipha Manihot (Kunth.).
---Part Used---
The starch grains obtained from the Bitter and Sweet Cassara Root.
Brazil and tropical America.
Irregular hard white rough grains possessing little taste, partially soluble in cold water and affording a fine blue color when iodine solution is added to its filtered solution. Many of the starch grains are swollen by the heat of drying. The root of the Sweet Cassara may be eaten with impunity; that of the Bitter, which is the more extensively cultivated, contains an acrid milky juice, which renders it highly poisonous if eaten in the recent state; this poison is entirely eliminated in the process of washing and drying for the production of Tapioca.
The name 'Tapioca' is that used by the Brazilian Indians.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
A nutritious diet for invalids; is baked into bread by the natives of Central America; it is used to adulterate arrowroot.
---Other Species---
Arum arrowroot derived from Arum Dracunculus (see ARUM).
East India arrowroot, or Aircuma arrowroot, is derived from the tubers of Aircuma angustifolia and C. Leucophiza, belonging, like the true arrowroot, to the order Marantaceae, according to some botanists, and by others assigned to the same order as the ginger, viz. Zingiberaceae.


Botanical: Artemisia Dracunculus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Little Dragon, Mugwort.
(French) Herbe au Dragon.
---Parts Used---
Leaves, herb.
Tarragon, a member of the Composite tribe, closely allied to Wormwood, is a perennial herb cultivated for the use of its aromatic leaves in seasoning, salads, etc., and in the preparation of Tarragon vinegar.
It grows to a height of about 2 feet and has long, narrow leaves, which, unlike other members of its genus, are undivided. It blossoms in August, the small flowers, in round heads, being yellow mingled with black, and rarely fully open. The roots are long and fibrous, spreading by runners.
Tarragon is more common in Continental than in English cookery, and has long been cultivated in France for culinary purposes.
The name Tarragon is a corruption of the French Esdragon, derived from the Latin Dracunculus (a little dragon), which also serves as its specific name. It was sometimes called little Dragon Mugwort and in French has also the name Herbe au Dragon. To this, as to other Dragon herbs, was ascribed the faculty of curing the bites and stings of venomous beasts and of mad dogs. The name is practically the same in most countries.
One of the legends told about the origin of Tarragon, which Gerard relates, though without supporting it, is that the seed of flax put into a radish root, or a sea onion, and set in the ground, will bring forth this herb.
Two kinds of Tarragon are cultivated in kitchen gardens. The French Tarragon, with very smooth, dark green leaves and the true Tarragon flavour, which is a native of the South of Europe, and Russian Tarragon, a native of Siberia, with less smooth leaves of a fresher green shade and somewhat lacking the peculiar tartness of the French variety.
As Tarragon rarely produces fertile flowers, either in England or France, it is not often raised by seed, but it may be readily propagated by division of roots in March or April, or by cuttings struck when growth is commencing in spring or later in the summer, under a hand-glass, placed outside. A few young plants should be raised annually to keep up a supply.
It loves warmth and sunshine and succeeds best in warm, rather dry situations, and a little protection should also be afforded the roots through the winter, as during severe frost they are liable to be injured. Both varieties need a dry, rather poor soil, for if set in a wet soil, they are likely to be killed by our winter.
The green leaves should be picked between Midsummer and Michaelmas. The foliage may also be cut and dried in early autumn for use in a dry state afterwards. The beds should then be entirely cut down and topdressed, to protect from frost. If green leaves are required during winter, a few roots should be lifted in the autumn and placed in heat: it will only need a small quantity to maintain a succession.
If the herb is required dried, for winter use, gather in August, choosing a fine day, in the morning after the sun has dried off the dew. Cut off close above the root and reject any stained or insect-eaten leaves. Tie in bunches - about six stalks in a bunch - spread out fanwise, so that the air may penetrate freely to ail parts and hang over strings, either on a hot, sunny day, in the open, but in half-shade, or indoors, in a sunny room, or failing sun, in a wellventilated room by artificial heat, care being taken that the window be left open by day, so that there is a free current of air and the moisture-laden air may escape. If dried in the open, bring in before there is any risk of damp from dew or showers. A disused green-house may be used as drying-shed, provided that the glass is shaded and that there is no tank in the house to cause steaming. Heating may be either by pipes or by any ordinary coke or anthracite stove, should sun fail, but ventilation is in all cases essential. The drying temperature for aromatic herbs should never exceed 80 degrees.
The bunches of herbs should be of uniform size and length, to facilitate packing, and when quite dry and crisp, must be packed away at once, in airtight boxes or tins, otherwise moisture will be re-absorbed from the air.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
John Evelyn says of Tarragon:' 'Tis highly cordial and friend to the head, heart and liver.'
In Continental cookery its use is advised to temper the coolness of other herbs in salads. The leaves, which have a fragrant smell in addition to their aromatic taste, make an excellent pickle.
Fresh Tarragon possesses an essential volatile oil, chemically identical with that of Anise, which becomes lost in the dried herb.
To make Tarragon vinegar, fill a widemouthed bottle with the freshly-gathered leaves, picked just before the herb flowers, on a dry day. Pick the leaves off the stalks and dry a little before the fire. Then place in a jar, cover with vinegar, allow to stand some hours, then strain through a flannel jelly bag and cork down in the bottles. The best white vinegar should be used.
Tarragon vinegar is the only correct flavouring for Sauce Tantare, but must never be put into soups, as the taste is too strong and pungent. French cooks usually mix their mustard with Tarragon vinegar.
Russian Tarragon is eaten in Persia to induce appetite.
The root of Tarragon was formerly used to cure toothache.




Botanical: Camellia Thea (LINK.)
Family: N.O. Camelliaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Thea sinensis (Sims). Thea Veridis. Thea bohea. Thea stricta Jassamica. Camellia theifera (Griff.).
---Part Used---
Dried leaf.
Assam; cultivated in Ceylon, Japan, Java, and elsewhere where climate allows.
A small evergreen shrub cultivated to a height of 7 to 8 feet, but growing wild up to 30 feet high, much branched. Bark rough, grey. Leaves dark green, lanceolate or elliptical, on short stalks, blunt at apex, base tapering, margins shortly serrate, young leaves hairy, older leaves glabrous. Flowers solitary or two or three together on short branchlets in the leaf axils, somewhat drooping, on short stalks with a few small bracts, 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide; sepals five, imbricate, slightly united below, ovate or rounded, blunt smooth, persistent; petals usually five or up to nine, unequal, strongly rounded, concave, spreading, white, caducous; stamens indefinite, adherent to petals at base in two rows, filaments fiexuose, half the length of petals; anthers large, versatile; ovary small, free, conical, downy, threecelled with three or four pendulous ovules in each cell; styles three distinct or combined at base, slender simple stigmas. Fruit a smooth, flattened, rounded, trigonous three-celled capsule; seed solitary in each cell; size of a small nut.
It was formerly supposed that black and green tea were the produce of distinct plants, but they are both prepared from the same plant. Green tea is prepared by exposing the gathered leaves to the air until superfluous moisture is eliminated, when they are roasted over a brisk wood fire and continually stirred until they become moist and flaccid; after this they pass to the rolling table, and are rolled into balls and subjected to pressure which twists them and gets rid of the moisture; they are then shaken out on flat trays, again roasted over a slow and steady charcoal fire, and kept in rapid motion for an hour to an hour and a half, till they assume a dullish green color. After this they are winnowed, screened, and graded into different varieties. With black tea, the gathered leaves are exposed to the air for a longer period, then gathered up and tossed until soft and flaccid, and after further exposure, roasted in an iron pan for about five minutes. After rolling and pressing, they are shaken out, exposed to the outer air for some hours, re-roasted for three or four minutes, rerolled, spread out in baskets and exposed to the heat of a charcoal fire for five or six minutes and then rolled for the third time and again heated, and finally dried in baskets over charcoal fires, from which process they become black in color. China is the great tea-producing country, over four million acres of ground being devoted to its cultivation. In India also it is a very important product.
Caffeine (theine), tannin (10 to 20 per cent gallotannic acid), boheic acid, volatile oil, aqueous extract, protein wax, resin, ash and theophylline.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Stimulant, astringent. It exerts a decided influence over the nervous system, generally evinced by a feeling of comfort and exhilaration; it also causes unnatural wakefulness when taken in quantity. Taken moderately by healthy individuals it is harmless, but in excessive quantities it will produce unpleasant nervous and dyspeptic symptoms, the green variety being decidedly the more injurious. Tea is rarely used as a medicine, but, the infusion is useful to relieve neuralgic headaches.


Botanical: N.O. Dipsaceae
Teazle, Common
The Fuller's Thistle was an old name for the Teazle, of which there are three varieties in this country, Dipsacus Fullonum, the FULLER'S TEAZLE, the COMMON TEAZLE (D. sylvestris), and the SMALL TEAZLE (D. pilosus), a distinct species sometimes found in moist hedgerows, but not generally distributed, being in height, shape of its flower-heads and form of the foliage, quite distinct from the two first named species and having more the habit of a Scabious than of a Teazle.
Many botanists consider the Fuller's Teazle only a variety of the Common Wild Teazle, in which the spines of the flowerheads are strongly developed into a hooked form, a feature preserved by cultivation and apt to disappear by neglect, or on poor soil, causing it to relapse into the ordinary wild variety.


Botanical: Dipsacus sylvestris
Family: N.O. Dipsaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Venus' Basin. Card Thistle. Barber's Brush. Brushes and Combs. Church Broom.
---Parts Used---
Root, heads.
The Common Teazle is to be found on waste land, in hedgerows and dykesides, mainly in the south of England, being rarer in the north.
It is a biennial, with a tall, rigid, prickly, furrowed stem, generally attaining the height of 4 or 5 feet, bearing cylindrical flower-heads, globular when young, but lengthening out to a conelike shape when in full flower. The whole plant is very harsh and prickly to the touch.
For some distance below the head, the stems are bare except for prickles, then small pairs of leaves appear, joined directly by their bases to the main stem, with a shining, white midrib, on the back of which are many prickles. In the lower and larger pairs of leaves the bases are joined round the stem and form deep cups, which are capable of holding dew and rain. This conspicuous feature has earned the plant its older name of Venus' Basin, and it was held that the water which collects there acquired curative properties. It was regarded as a remedy for warts, and was also used as a cosmetic and an eye-wash. The generic name of the plant, Dipsacus, also refers to this peculiarity in structure, being derived from the Greek verb, to be thirsty.
The English name, Teazle, is from the Anglo-Saxon taesan, signifying to tease cloth, and refers to the use of the flowerheads by cloth-workers. These heads are a mass of semi-stiff spines, the spines longest at the top of the head, each head being enclosed by curving, narrow, green bracts, set with small prickles, arising in a ring at the base of the head and following the line of the head, though a little outside it, curved inward at the tip. When the head commences to flower, the purple petals of the floret show in a ring about one-third of the way down and then spread upward and downwards simultaneously.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Culpepper tells us that the medicinal uses of both the Wild and Fuller's Teazle are the same, and that 'the roots, which are the only parts used, are said to have a cleansing faculty.' He refers to the use of the water in the leaf-basins as a cosmetic and eye-wash, and tells us, on the authority of Dioscorides, that an ointment made from the bruised roots is good, not only for warts and wens, but also against cankers and fistulas.
Other old writers have recommended an infusion of the root for strengthening the stomach and creating an appetite. Also for removing obstructions of the liver, and as a remedy for jaundice.
Lyte, in his translation of Dodoens, 1586, says that the small worms found often within the heads 'do cure and heale the quartaine ague, to be worne or carried about the necke or arme,' a theory which Gerard contemptuously discards, from his own personal experience.
But the principal use of the Teazle, dating from long before Gerard's time, still remains unchallenged, and that is for wool 'fleecing,' or raising the nap on woollen cloth. The cultivated variety, D. Fullonum, Gerard's 'tame Teasell' is used, because, as already mentioned, its spines are crooked, not straight. These heads are fixed on the rim of a wheel, or on a cylinder, which is made to revolve against the surface of the cloth to be 'fleeced,' thus raising the nap. No machine has yet been invented which can compete with the Teazle in its combined rigidity and elasticity. Its great utility is that while raising the nap, it will yet break at any serious obstruction, whereas all metallic substances in such a case would cause the cloth to yield first and tear the material.
This particular Teazle is grown largely in the west of England, and also imported from France, Germany, Italy, Africa and America, to meet the needs of our manufacturers. One large firm uses 20,000 Teazle heads in a year.
The heads are cut as soon as the flowers wither, about 8 inches of stem remaining attached to them, and they are then dried and sorted into qualities.
The arms of the Clothworkers' Company are three Teazle-heads.
Closely allied to the Teazle, though very different in appearance, is the Scabious, also belonging to the natural order Dipsaceae, a family of plants having affinities with the large order Compositae, to which the Thistles belong.


Botanical: Thapsia Garganica
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Southern Europe, from Spain to Greece, also Algeria.
The plant was well known to the Ancients who gave it its peculiar name, believing it to be obtained originally from the Isle of Thapsus. It is considered by the Algerians to be a specific against pain, every part of the plant being efficacious, though deadly poisonous to Camels. The root is a strong purgative. Thapsia Silphion is thought to be identical with Thapsia Garganica, is found on the mountains near the site of Ancient Cyrene, and is said to have yielded the gum resin to the Ancients as Laser Cyrenaicum or Asa Dulces, the Greek name being Silphion. Representations of it occur on Cyrene coins.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Theophrastus speaks of the purgative and emetic properties of the root, and modern French doctors recognize its value and include it in their Codex as Resin Thapsiae. An extract is made from the bark of the root with alcohol, the moisture is evaporated and made into a plaster with 7 per cent of the resin combined with yellow wax, turps and colophony. Great caution has to be exercised in unpacking the commercial bales of the roots because the dust or powder arising in the process causes itching and swelling of the face and hands. The French Thapsia plaster is a very drastic counter-irritant, creating much inflammation with an eczematous eruption (and intolerable itching) which leaves scars. Another variety, T. Villosa, also contains in its root a vesicant resin which acts more gently than T. Garganica.


Family: N.O. Compositae
Thistle, Holy
Thistle, Milk
Thistle, Scotch
Thistle, Dwarf
Thistle, Creeping Plume
Thistle, Welted
Thistle, Woolly-Headed
Thistle, Melancholy
Thistle, Spear
Thistle, Musk
Thistle, Marsh Plume
Thistle, Carline
Thistle, Common Star
Thistle, Yellow Star
Thistle is the old English name - essentially the same in all kindred languages - for a large family of plants occurring chiefly in Europe and Asia, of which we have fourteen species in Great Britain, arranged under the botanical groups Carduus, Carlina, Onopordon and Carbenia, or Cnicus.
In agriculture the Thistle is the recognized sign of untidiness and neglect, being found not so much in barren ground, as in good ground not properly cared for. It has always been a plant of ill repute among us; Shakespeare classes 'rough Thistles' with 'hateful Docks,' and further back in the history of our race we read of the Thistle representing part of the primeval curse on the earth in general, and on man in particular, for - 'Thorns also and Thistles shall it bring forth to thee.'
Thistles will soon monopolize a large extent of country to the extinction of other plants, as they have done in parts of the American prairies, in Canada and British Columbia, and as they did in Australia, till a stringent Act of Parliament was passed, about twenty years ago, imposing heavy penalties upon all who neglected to destroy Thistles on their land, every man being now compelled to root out, within fourteen days, any Thistle that may lift up its head, Government inspectors being specially appointed to carry out the enforcement of the law.
The growth of weeds in Great Britain, having, in the opinion of many, also reached disturbing proportions, it is now proposed to enact a similar law in this country, and the Smallholders' Union is bringing forward a 'Bill to prevent the spread of noxious weeds in England and Wales,' the provisions being similar to the Australian law - weed-infested roadsides, as well as badly-cleared cultivated land, to come within the scope of the enactment.
Among the thirteen noxious weeds enumerated in the proposed Bill, the name of Thistle is naturally to be found. And yet in medicine Thistles are far from useless.
When beaten up or crushed in a mill to destroy the prickles, the leaves of all Thistles have proved excellent food for cattle and horses. This kind of fodder was formerly used to a great extent in Scotland before the introduction of special green crops for the purpose. The young stems of many of the Thistles are also edible, and the seeds of all the species yield a good oil by expression.
Two or three of our native species are handsome enough to be worthy of a place in gardens. Some species which flourish in hotter and drier climates than our own, such as the handsome Yellow Thistles of the south of Europe, Scolymus, are cultivated for that purpose, and have a classical interest, being mentioned by Hesiod as the flower of summer. This striking plant, crowned with its golden flowers, is abundant throughout Sicily. The Fish-bone Thistle (Chamaepeuce diacantha), from Syria, is also a very handsome plant. A grand Scarlet Thistle from Mexico (Erythrolena conspicua) was grown in England some fifty years ago, but is now never seen.


Botanical: Carbenia benedicta (BERUL.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Part Used
Chemical Constituents
Medicinal Action and Uses
Blessed Thistle. Cnicus benedictus (Gaetn.). Carduus benedictus (Steud.).
---Part Used---
A Thistle, however, that has been cultivated for several centuries in this country for its medicinal use is known as the Blessed or Holy Thistle. It is a handsome annual, a native of Southern Europe, occurring there in waste, stony, uncultivated places, but it grows more readily in England in cultivation.
It is said to have obtained its name from its high reputation as a heal-all, being supposed even to cure the plague. It is mentioned in all the treatises on the Plague, and especially by Thomas Brasbridge, who in 1578 published his Poore Man's Jewell, that is to say, a Treatise of the Pestilence, unto which is annexed a declaration of the vertues of the Hearbes Carduus Benedictus and Angelica. Shakespeare in Much Ado about Nothing, says: 'Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus and lay it to your heart; it is the only thing for a qualm.... I mean plain Holy Thistle.' The 'distilled' leaves, it says 'helpeth the hart,' 'expelleth all poyson taken in at the mouth and other corruption that doth hurt and annoye the hart,' and 'the juice of it is outwardly applied to the bodie' ('lay it to your heart,' Sh.), 'therefore I counsell all that have Gardens to nourish it, that they may have it always to their own use, and the use of their neighbours that lacke it.'
It has sometimes been stated that the herb was first cultivated by Gerard in 1597, but as this book was published twenty years previously it would appear to have been in cultivation much earlier, and in fact it is described and its virtues enumerated in the Herbal of Turner in 1568.
The stem of the Blessed Thistle grows about 2 feet high, is reddish, slender, very much branched and scarcely able to keep upright under the weight of its leaves and flowerheads. The leaves are long, narrow, clasping the dull green stem, with prominent pale veins, the irregular teeth of the wavy margin ending in spines. The flowers are pale yellow, in green prickly heads, each scale of the involucre, or covering of the head, ending also in a long, brown bristle. The whole plant, leaves, stalks and also the flowerheads, are covered with a thin down. It grows more compactly in some soils than in others.
Being an annual, Blessed Thistle is propagated by seed. It thrives in any ordinary soil. Allow 2 feet each way when thinning out the seedlings. Though occurring sometimes in waste places in England as an escape from cultivation, it cannot be considered indigenous to this country. The seeds are usually sown in spring, but if the newly-ripened seeds are sown in September or October in sheltered situations, it is possible to have supplies of the herb green, both summer and winter.
---Part Used---
The whole herb. The leaves and flowering tops are collected in July, just as the plant breaks into flower, and cut on a dry day, the best time being about noon, when there is no longer any trace of dew on them.
About 3 1/2 tons of fresh herb produce 1 ton when dried, and about 35 cwt. of dry herb can be raised per acre.
---Chemical Constituents---
Blessed Thistle contains a volatile oil, and a bitter, crystallineneutral body called Cnicin (soluble in alcohol and slightly also in water) which is said to be analogous to salicin in its properties.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Tonic, stimulant, diaphoretic, emetic and emmenagogue. In large doses, Blessed Thistle acts as a strong emetic, producing vomiting with little pain and inconvenience. Cold infusions in smaller draughts are valuable in weak and debilitated conditions of the stomach, and as a tonic, creating appetite and preventing sickness. The warm infusion - 1 OZ. of the dried herb to a pint of boiling water - in doses of a wineglassful, forms in intermittent fevers one of the most useful diaphoretics to which employment can be given. The plant was at one time supposed to possess very great virtues against fevers of all kinds.
Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm.
It is said to have great power in the purification and circulation of the blood, and on this account strengthens the brain and the memory.
The leaves, dried and powdered, are good for worms.
It is chiefly used now for nursing mothers the warm infusion scarcely ever failing to procure a proper supply of milk. It is considered one of the best medicines which can be used for the purpose.
Turner (1568) says:
'It is very good for the headache and the megram, for the use of the juice or powder of the leaves, preserveth and keepeth a man from the headache, and healeth it being present. It is good for any ache in the body and strengtheneth the members of the whole body, and fasteneth loose sinews and weak. It is also good for the dropsy. It helpeth the memory and amendeth thick hearing. The leaves provoke sweat. There is nothing better for the canker and old rotten and festering sores than the leaves, juice, broth, powder and water of Carduus benedictus.'
Culpepper (1652) writes of it:
'It is a herb of Mars, and under the Sign Aries. It helps swimmings and giddiness in the head, or the disease called vertigo, because Aries is the House of Mars. It is an excellent remedy against yellow jaundice and other infirmities of the gall, because Mars governs choller. It strengthens the attractive faculty in man, and clarifies the blood, because the one is ruled by Mars. The continual drinking the decoction of it helps red faces, tetters and ringworm, because Mars causeth them. It helps plague-sores, boils and itch, the bitings of mad dogs and venomous beasts, all which infirmities are under Mars. Thus you see what it doth by sympathy.
'By Antypathy to other Planets: it cures the French Pox by Antypathy to Venus who governs it. It strengthens the memory and cures deafness by Antypathv to Saturn, who hath his fall in Aries which Rules the Head. It cures Quarten Agues and other diseases of Melancholy, and a dust Choller by Sympathy to Saturn, Mars being exalted in Capricorn. Also it provokes Urine, the stopping of which is usually caused by Mars or the Moon.'
Mattheolus and Fuschius wrote also of Carduus benedictus:
'It is a plant of great virtue; it helpeth inwardly and outwardly; it strengthens all the principal members of the body, as the brain, the heart, the stomach, the liver, the lungs and the kidney; it is also a preservative against all disease, for it causes perspiration, by which the body is purged of much corruption, such as breedeth diseases; it expelleth the venom of infection; it consumes and wastes away all bad humours; therefore, give God thanks for his goodness, Who hath given this herb and all others for the benefit of our health.'
Four different ways of using Blessed Thistle have been recommended: It may be eaten in the green leaf, with bread and butter for breakfast, like Watercress; the dried leaves may be made into a powder and a drachm taken in wine or otherwise every day; a wineglassful of the juice may be taken every day, or, which is the usual and the best method, an infusion may be made of the dried herb, taken any time as a preventive, or when intended to remove disease, at bed time, as it causes copious perspiration.
Many of the other Thistles may be used as substitutes for the Blessed Thistle. The seeds of the Milk Thistle (Carduus Marianus), known also as Silybum Marianum, have similar properties and uses, and the Cotton Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, etc., have also been employed for like purposes.


Botanical: Silybum Marianum
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Marian Thistle.
---Parts Used---
Whole herb, root, leaves, seeds and hull.
The Marian, or Milk Thistle, is perhaps the most important medicinally among the members of this genus, to which all botanists do not, however, assign it, naming it Silybum Marianum.
It is a fine, tall plant, about the size of the Cotton Thistle, with cutinto root-leaves, waved and spiny at the margin, of a deep, glossy green, with milkwhite veins, and is found not uncommonly in hedgebanks and on waste ground, especially by buildings, which causes some authorities to consider that it may not be a true native. In Scotland it is rare.
This handsome plant is not unworthy of a place in our gardens and shrubberies and was formerly frequently cultivated. The stalks, like those of most of our larger Thistles, may be eaten, and are palatable and nutritious. The leaves also may be eaten as a salad when young. Bryant, in his Flora Dietetica, writes of it: 'The young shoots in the spring, cut close to the root with part of the stalk on, is one of the best boiling salads that is eaten, and surpasses the finest cabbage. They were sometimes baked in pies. The roots may be eaten like those of Salsify.' In some districts the leaves are called 'Pig Leaves,' probably because pigs like them, and the seeds are a favourite food of goldfinches.
The common statement that this bird lines its nest with thistledown is scarcely accurate, the substance being in most cases the down of Colt's-foot (Tussilago), or the cotton down from the willow, both of which are procurable at the building season, whereas thistledown is at that time immature.
Westmacott, writing in 1694, says of this Thistle: 'It is a Friend to the Liver and Blood: the prickles cut off, they were formerly used to be boiled in the Spring and eaten with other herbs; but as the World decays, so doth the Use of good old things and others more delicate and less virtuous brought in.'
The heads of this Thistle formerly were eaten, boiled, treated like those of the Artichoke.
There is a tradition that the milk-white veins of the leaves originated in the milk of the Virgin which once fell upon a plant of Thistle, hence it was called Our Lady's Thistle, and the Latin name of the species has the same derivation.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The seeds of this plant are used nowadays for the same purpose as Blessed Thistle, and on this point John Evelyn wrote: 'Disarmed of its prickles and boiled, it is worthy of esteem, and thought to be a great breeder of milk and proper diet for women who are nurses.'
It is in popular use in Germany for curing jaundice and kindred biliary derangements. It also acts as a demulcent in catarrh and pleurisy. The decoction when applied externally is said to have proved beneficial in cases of cancer.
Gerard wrote of the Milk Thistle that:
'the root if borne about one doth expel melancholy and remove all diseases connected therewith. . . . My opinion is that this is the best remedy that grows against all melancholy diseases,'
which was another way of saying that it had good action on the liver. He also tells us:
'Dioscorides affirmed that the seeds being drunke are a remedy for infants that have their sinews drawn together, and for those that be bitten of serpents:'
and we find in a record of old Saxon remedies that 'this wort if hung upon a man's neck it setteth snakes to flight.' The seeds were also formerly thought to cure hydrophobia.
Culpepper considered the Milk Thistle to be as efficient as Carduus benedictus for agues, and preventing and curing the infection of the plague, and also for removal of obstructions of the liver and spleen. He recommends the infusion of the fresh root and seeds, not only as good against jaundice, also for breaking and expelling stone and being good for dropsy when taken internally, but in addition, to be applied externally, with cloths, to the liver. With other writers, he recommends the young, tender plant (after removing the prickles) to be boiled and eaten in the spring as a blood cleanser.
A tincture is prepared by homoeopathists for medicinal use from equal parts of the root and the seeds with the hull attached.
It is said that the empirical nostrum, antiglaireux, of Count Mattaei, is prepared from this species of Thistle.
Thistles in general, according to Culpepper, are under the dominion of Jupiter.


Botanical: Onopordon Acanthium
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Cotton Thistle. Woolly Thistle.
---Parts Used---
Leaves, root.
The Scotch Thistle, or Cotton Thistle (Onopordon Acanthium) is one of the most beautiful of British plants, not uncommon in England, by roadsides and in waste places, particularly in chalky and sandy soils in the southern counties.
It is a biennial, flowering in late summer and autumn. The erect stem, 18 inches to 5 feet high, is very stout and much branched, furnished with wing-like appendages (the decurrent bases of the leaves) which are broader than its own diameter. The leaves are very large, waved and with sharp prickles on the margin. The flowers are light purple and surrounded with a nearly globular involucre, with scales terminating in strong, yellow spines.
The whole plant is hoary with a white, cottony down, that comes off readily when rubbed, and causes the young leaves to be quite white. From the presence of this covering, the Thistle has obtained its popular name of Cotton or Woolly Thistle.
This species is one of the stiffest and most thorny of its race, and its sharp spines well agree with Gerard's description of the plant as 'set full of most horrible sharp prickles, so that it is impossible for man or beast to touch the same without great hurt and danger.'
Which is the true Scotch Thistle even the Scottish antiquarians cannot decide, but it is generally considered to be this species of Thistle that was originally the badge of the House of Stuart, and came to be regarded as the national emblem of Scotland. The first heraldic use of the plant would appear to be in the inventory of the property of James III of Scotland, made at his death in 1458, where a hanging embroidered with 'thrissils' is mentioned. It was, undoubtedly, a national badge in 1503, in which year Dunbar wrote his poetic allegory, 'The Thrissill and the Rose,' on the union of James IV and Princess Margaret of England. The Order of the Thistle, which claims, with the exception of the Garter, to be the most ancient of our Orders, was instituted in 1540 by James V, and revived by James VII of Scotland and Second of England, who created eight Knights in 1687. The expressive motto of the Order, Nemo me impune lacessit (which would seem to apply most aptly to the species just described), appears surrounding the Thistle that occupies the centre of the coinage of James VI. From that date until now, the Thistle has had a place on our coins.
Pliny states, and mediaeval writers repeat, that a decoction of Thistles applied to a bald head would restore a healthy growth of hair.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The Ancients supposed this Thistle to be a specific in cancerous complaints, and in more modern times the juice is said to have been applied with good effect to cancers and ulcers.
A decoction of the root is astringent and diminishes discharges from mucous membranes.
Gerard tells us, on the authority of Dioscorides and Plinv, that 'the leaves and root hereof are a remedy for those that have their bodies drawn backwards,' and Culpepper explains that not only is the juice therefore good for a crick in the neck, but also as a remedy for rickets in children. It was considered also to be good in nervous complaints.
The name of the genus is derived from the Greek words onos (an ass) and perdon (I disperse wind), the species being said to produce this effect in asses.
The juicy receptacle or disk on which the florets are placed was used in earlier times as the Artichoke - which is also a member of the Thistle tribe. The young stalks, when stripped of their rind, may be eaten like those of the Burdock.
The cotton is occasionally collected from the stem and used to stuff pillows, and the oil obtained from the seeds has been used on the Continent for burning, both in lamps and for ordinary culinary purposes. Twelve pounds of the seeds are said to produce, when heat is used in expression, about 3 lb of oil.
The greater number of the Thistles are assigned to the genus Carduus. The derivation of the name of this genus is difficult to determine; by some orders it is said to come from the Greek cheuro, a technical word denoting the operation of carding wool, to which process the heads of some of the species are applicable.


Botanical: Carduus acaulis
Family: N.O. Compositae
Ground Thistle. Dwarf May Thistle (Culpepper).
---Part Used---
Carduus acaulis, the Dwarf Thistle, is found in pastures, especially chalk downs, and is rather common in the southern half of England, particularly on the east side. It is a perennial, with a long, woody root-stock. The stem in the ordinary form is so short that the flowers appear to be sessile, or sitting, in the centre of the rosette of prickly leaves, but very occasionally it attains the length of a foot or 18 inches, and then is usually slightly branched. The leaves are spiny and rigid, with only a few hairs on the upper side, and on the veins beneath, and are of a dark, shining green. The flowers are large and dark crimson in color, and are in bloom from July to September.
The Thistle is very injurious in pastures; it kills all plants that grow beneath it, and ought not to be tolerated, even on the borders of fields and waste places. At one time the root used to be chewed as a remedy for toothache.
Johns (Flowers of the Field) calls this the Ground Thistle, and Culpepper calls it the Dwarf May Thistle, and says that 'in some places it is called the Dwarf Carline Thistle.'


Botanical: Carduus arvensis
Family: N.O. Compositae
Way Thistle.
---Parts Used---
Root, leaves.
Carduus arvensis, the Creeping Plurne Thistle, or Way Thistle, has many varieties. It is found in cultivated fields and waste places, and is very common and widely distributed. The root-stock is perennial, creeping extensively and sending up leafy barren shoots and flowering stems about 3 feet high. The leaves are attenuated, embracing the stems at their base, with strong spines at their margins. The flowers are in numerous small heads, and are pale purple in color. The plant is bright green, the leaves often white beneath, but varying much in this respect.


Botanical: Carduus crispus
Family: N.O. Compositae
Field Thistle.
---Parts Used---
Root, leaves.
Carduus crispus, the Welted Thistle, or Field Thistle, is one of the taller species. The stem, 3 to 4 feet high, is erect, branched, continuously spinous-winged throughout. The leaves are green on both sides, downy on the veins beneath, narrow, cut into numerous lobes and very prickly. The flowers are purplish-crimson, not very large, sometimes clustered three or four together on short stalks. The plant varies much in the degree of soft hairiness, and consequently in the green or whitish color of the leaves. It is common and generally distributed in England, growing in hedgebanks, borders of fields and by roadsides, occurring less frequently in Scotland. This is one of the least troublesome of the Thistles, being an annual and less abundant than some others. Like the last species, it has many variations of form.


Botanical: Carduus eriophorus
Family: N.O. Compositae
---Parts Used---Root, leaves.
Carduus eriophorus, the Woolly-headed Thistle, is a biennial. The stem is elongated, branched, not winged, short and furrowed, woolly, 3 to 5 feet high. The lowest leaves are very large, often 2 feet long, the stem leaves much smaller, all deeply cut into, with strap-shaped lobes joined together in pairs in the lower ones. The flowers are light reddish-purple, the large woolly heads covered with reddish curled hairs. The whole plant is a deep dull green. It flowers in August.
This Thistle is eaten when young as a salad. The young stalks, peeled and soaked in water to take off the bitterness, are excellent, and may be eaten either boiled or baked in pies after the manner of Rhubarb, though Gerard says: 'concerning the temperature and virtues of these Thistles we can allege nothing at all.'


Botanical: Carduus heterophyllus
Family: N.O. Compositae
---Parts Used---
Root, leaves.
Carduus heterophyllus, the Melancholy Thistle, is said by some to have been the original badge of the House of Stuart, instead of the Cotton Thistle; it is the Cluas an fleidh of the Highlanders, and is more common in Scotland than in England, where it only occurs in the midland and northern counties, growing no farther south than the northern counties of Wales. It is a perennial, with a long and creeping root. The stems are tall and stout, often deeply furrowed, and more or less covered with a white or cotton-like down. The leaves clasp the stem at their bases and white dark green above, have their under-surfaces thickly covered with white and down like hairs. Unlike most of the Thistles, the leaves are not continued down the stem at all, and are much simpler in form than the ordinary type of Thistle foliage. Their edges have small bristle-like teeth. The flowerheads are borne singly on long stalks, the bracts that form the involucre being quite destitute of prickles.
Culpepper considered that a decoction of this Thistle in wine 'being drank expels superfluous melancholy out of the body and makes a man as merry as a cricket.'
And he further adds:
'Dioscorides saith, the root borne about one doth the like, and removes all diseases of melancholy: Modern writers laugh at him: Let them laugh that win: my opinion is, that it is the best remedy against all melancholy diseases that grows; they that please may use it.'


Botanical: Carduus lanceolatus
Family: N.O. Compositae
---Parts Used---
Root, leaves.
Carduus lanceolatus, the Spear Thistle, is one of our most striking and common Thistles. It grows in waste places, by roadsides, in pastures and cultivated ground, and is generally distributed over the whole kingdom. The plant is a biennial, the stem 1 to 5 feet high, stout and strong, more or less woolly with narrow, spinous wings. The leaves have the segments elongated or lanceshaped, palmately cleft sometimes in large plants, but short and scarcely cleft at all in weaker specimens, each lobe terminating in a long and acute prickle. They are dark, dull green above, paler beneath, where they are sometimes nearly white from the abundance of hair present. The flowerheads stand singly and are large and conspicuous. The flowers are a beautiful purple and, like those of the Artichoke, have the property of curdling milk.


Botanical: Carduus nutans
Family: N.O. Compositae
Nodding Thistle.
---Parts Used---
Root, seeds.
Carduus nutans, the Musk Thistle, or Nodding Thistle, occurs in waste places, and is particularly partial to chalky and limestone soils. It is not uncommon in England, but is rare in Scotland, where it is confined to sandy seashores in the southern counties. The stem is erect, 2 to 3 feet high, branched only in larger plants, furrowed, interruptedly winged. The leaves are long, undulated, with scattered hairs on both surfaces, somewhat shiny, green and verydeeply cut. This is a common Thistle on a dry soil, and may be known by its large drooping, crimson-purple flowers, the largest of all our Thistle blooms, handsome both in form and color, and by its faint, musky scent.
The down of this, as of some other species, may be advantageously used as a material in making paper.


Botanical: Carduus palustris
Family: N.O. Compositae
Cirsium palustre.
---Parts Used--
-Root, leaves.
Carduus palustris, or Cirsium Palustre, the Marsh Plume Thistle, is very common in meadows, marshes and bogs, by the sides of ditches, etc., and is generally distributed over the country. It is a biennial, the stem stout, erect, furrowed, 1 to 5 feet high, scarcely branched at all, the branches, when occurring, being much shorter than the main stem, which is narrowly winged, the wings having numerous, long slender spines. The spines on the edges of the narrow, long leaves are similar to those on the wings of the stem. The flowers are dark, dull, crimson purple, small in themselves, but grouped together in large clusters, which distinguish it from most of our thistles, though one or two others exhibit their characteristic in a lesser degree. The plant is a deep dull green, the leaves sometimes slightly hoary beneath.
The stalks of this species are said to be as good as those of the Milk Thistle, and in Evelyn's time were similarly employed.
Culpepper tells us that, in his day, it was 'frequent in the Isle of Ely.'


Botanical: Carlina vulgaris
Family: N.O. Compositae
---Parts Used---
Root, leaves.
Carlina vulgaris, the Carline Thistle, closely related to the last-named Thistles, but assigned to a special genus, of which it is the sole representative in this country, is found on dry banks and pastures, being rather scarce except on chalk, where it is plentiful. It is rare in Scotland. It is a biennial, the root, a taproot, producing in the first year a tuft of strap-shaped, nearly flat leaves, hoary, especially beneath, very spinuous, but with the spines short and weak. The flower stem, appearing in the second year, is from 3 inches to 2 feet high, purple, not winged, the leaves on it decreasing in length and increasing in width from bottom to top, strongly veined, spinous and waved at the edges. The whole plant is pale green, the leaves rigid and scarcely altering after the plant is dead, except in color. The flowers are straw yellow, the inner florets purplish, the heads distinguished by the strawcolored, glossy, radiating long inner scales of the involucre, or outer floral cup. The outer bracts are very prickly. The flowers expand in dry and close in moist weather. They retain this property for a long time and form rustic hygrometers, being often seen on the Continent nailed over cottage doors for this purpose. The presence of the Carline Thistle indicates a very poor soil; it particularly infests dry, sandy pastures.
Culpepper describes the 'Wild Carline Thistle (C. vulgaris)' as having flowers 'of a fine purple,' so he must have confused it with another species, or given it a wrong name.
The original name of this plant was Carolina, so called after Charlemagne, of whom the legend relates that:
'a horrible pestilence broke out in his army and carried off many thousand men, which greatly troubled the pious emperor. Wherefore he prayed earnestly to God, and in his sleep there appeared to him an angel who shot an arrow from a crossbow, telling him to mark the plant upon which it fell, for with that plant he might cure his army of the pestilence.'
The herb so miraculously indicated was this Thistle. Its medicinal qualities appear to be very like those of Elecampane, it has diaphoretic action, and in large doses is purgative. The herb contains some resin and a volatile essential oil of a camphoraceous nature, like that of Elecampane, which has made it of use for similar purposes as a cordial and antiseptic.
In Anglo-Saxon, the plant was called from the bristly appearance of its flowerheads, ever throat, i.e. boar's throat. It was formerly used in magical incantations.
The texture of Carline Thistles is like that of Everlasting Flowers; they scarcely alter their appearance when dead; and the whole plant is remarkably durable.
Other Thistles are the SLENDER-FLOWERED THISTLE (C. pycnocephalous) which has stems 2 to 4 feet high, slightly branched, hoary, with broad continuous, deeply-lobed, spinous wings; leaves cottony underneath; heads many, clustered, cylindrical, small; florets pink. It grows in sandy, waste places, especially near the sea: frequent. Biennial.
The TUBEROUS PLUME THISTLE (C. tuberosus). The root is spindle-shaped with tuberous fibres; stem 2 feet high, single, erect, round hairy, leafless above; leaves not decurrent, deeply pinnatifid, fringed with minute prickles; heads generally solitary, large, egg-shaped; florets crimson. Grows only in Wiltshire. Perennial.
The MEADOW PLUME THISTLE (C. pratensis). A small plant, 12 to 18 inches high, with fibrous roots; a cottony stem, giving off runners; few leaves, mostly radical, soft, wavy, fringed with minute spines, not decurrent; and generally solitary heads, with adpressed, slightly cottony bracts and crimson florets. Found in wet meadows; not general. Flowers in August. Perennial.
The sow THISTLE is in no sense a Thistle, but is more nearly allied to the Dandelion.
The Star Thistles belong to the genus Centaurea.
SOW THISTLE (no listing)


Botanical: Centaurea Colcitrapa
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Parts Used---
Herb, seeds, root.
South-east England.
Centaurea Calcitrapa, the Common Star Thistle, occurs in waste places and by roadsides, but is somewhat rare and chiefly found in south-east England.
The stem is branched, not winged, like most of the true Thistles; the lower leaves are much cut into, almost to the midrib, but the uppermost are merely toothed or with entire margins. On the flowerheads are long sharp spines, 1/2 inch to 1 inch long. The flowers themselves are pale, purplish rose, the ray florets no longer than the central ones. The plant is a dull green, somewhat hairy, and flowers in July.
The specific name of this species is due to the resemblance of the flower-head to the Caltrops, or iron ball covered with spikes, formerly used for throwing under horses' feet to lame them on a field of battle.
It is a troublesome weed to agriculturists in certain districts, and is only eradicated by breaking up the ground.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The seeds used to be made into powder and drunk in wine as a remedy for stone, and the powdered root was considered a cure for fistula and gravel.


Botanical:Centaurea solstitalis
Family: N.O. Composite
Medicinal Action and Uses
St. Barnaby's Thistle.
---Parts Used---
Herb, seeds, root.
Centaurea solstitialis, the Yellow Star Thistle, St. Barnaby's Thistle, is rare and hardly to be considered a native, though found in dry pastures in south-east Kent.
The plant forms a scrubby bush, 18 inches to 2 feet high, with the lower part of the stems very stiff, almost woody, the branches when young very soft, with broad wings, decurrent from the short, strap-shaped leaves. The lower leaves are deeply cut into, the upper ones narrow and with entire margins. The spines of the flower-heads are very long, 1/2 inch to 1 inch in length, pale yellow. The whole plant is hoary.
This plant obtains its name from being supposed to flower about St. Barnabas' Day, June 11 (old style). It is an annual.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
It has been used for the same purposes as the Common Star Thistle.
Many species of Centaurea grow wild in Palestine, some of formidable size. Canon Tristram mentions some in Galilee through which it was impossible to make way till the plants had been beaten down. 'Thistle' mentioned several times in the Bible refers to some member of this family (Centaurea), probably C. Calcitrapa, which is a Palestinian weed.


Botanical: Datura Stramonium (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Solanaceae
(The dried leaves are not regarded as poisonous. - EDITOR.)
Parts Used, Harvesting and Preparation for Market
Medicinal Action and Used
Other Species
An Old Recipe 'for A Burne
Stramonium. Datura. Devil's Apple. Jamestown-weed. Jimson-weed. Stinkweed. Devil's Trumpet. Apple of Peru.
---Parts Used---
Leaves, seeds.
Throughout the world, except the colder or Arctic regions.
The Thornapple is, like the Henbane, a member of the order Solanceae. It belongs to the genus Datura, which consists of fifteen species, distributed throughout the warmer portion of the whole world, the greatest number being found in Central America. Nearly all of them are used locally in medicine, and are characterized by similar properties to those of the official species, Datura Stramonium. The plants vary from herbs to shrubs, and even trees.
The question of the native country and early distribution of D. Stramonium has been much discussed by botanical writers. It is doubtful to what country this plant originally belonged. Many European botanists refer it to North America, while there it is looked on as a denizen of the Old World. Nuttall considers it originated in South America or Asia, and it is probable that its native country is to be found in the East. Alphonse de Candolle, Géographie Botanique (1855), gives it as his opinion that D. Stramonium is indigenous to the Old World, probably to the borders of the Caspian Sea or adjacent regions, but certainly not India; it grows wild abundantly in southern Russia from the borders of the Black Sea eastward to Siberia. Its seeds are very retentive of life, and being often in the earth put on shipboard for ballast, from one country to another, the plant is thus propagated in all regions, and it is now spread throughout the world, except in the colder or Arctic regions. Gypsies are also said to have had a share in spreading the plant by means of its seeds from western Asia into Europe. In the United States, it is now a familiar weed, found everywhere in the vicinity of cultivation, especially about barnyards, timber-yards, docks and waste places, frequenting dung-heaps, the roadsides and commons, and other places where a rank soil is created by the deposited refuse of towns and villages. Where the plant grows abundantly, its vicinity may be detected by the rank odour which it diffuses. Notwithstanding the abundance of the plant in North America, it is cultivated there in order to obtain a drug of uniform quality. The Bureau of Plant Industry, United States Department of Agriculture, has conducted experiments on a large scale: several hundred pounds of leaf were grown and cured by artificial heat in a tobacco barn, proving of excellent quality, being marketed at a price in advance of the highest quoted figures.
In Great Britain, it is only occasionally found and can scarcely be considered naturalized here, though it is sometimes met with in the south of England, generally in rich, waste ground, chiefly near gardens or dwellings. It is sometimes grown in private gardens in England as an ornamental plant. It was cultivated in London towards the close of the sixteenth century.
The name Stramonium is of uncertain origin: some authorities claim that it is derived from the Greek name of the madapple. Stramonia was the name of D. metel at Venice, in the middle of the sixteenth century, and the plant is figured under that title in the great Herbals of Tragus and Fuchsius. D. Stramonium seems to have been a later introduction into Europe than D. metel, not becoming general till after the middle of the sixteenth century, but as it rapidly spread and became a common plant, the name of the latter was transferred to it.
The generic name, Datura, is from the Hindoo Dhatura, derived from the Sanskrit, D'hustúra, applied to the Indian species fastuosa, well known to the mediaeval Arabian physicians under the name of Tatorea.
The Thornapple is a large and coarse herb, though an annual, branching somewhat freely, giving a bushy look to the plant. It attains a height of about 3 feet, its spreading branches covering an area almost as broad. On rich soil it may attain a height of even 6 feet.
The root is very long - thick and whitish, giving off many fibres. The stem is stout, erect and leafy, smooth, a pale yellowishgreen in color, branching repeatedly in a forked manner, and producing in the forks of the branches a leaf and a single, erect flower. The leaves are large and angular, 4 to 6 inches long, uneven at the base, with a wavy and coarsely-toothed margin, and have the strong, branching veins very plainly developed. The upper surface is dark and greyish-green, generally smooth, the under surface paler, and when dry, minutely wrinkled.
The plant flowers nearly all the summer. The flowers are large and handsome, about 3 inches in length, growing singly on short stems springing from the axils of the leaves or at the forking of the branches. The calyx is long, tubular and somewhat swollen below, and very sharply five-angled, surmounted by five sharp teeth. The corolla, folded and only half-opened, is funnel-shaped, of a pure white, with six prominent ribs, which are extended into the same number of sharppointed segments. The flowers open in the evening for the attraction of night-flying moths, and emit a powerful fragrance.
The flowers are succeeded by large, eggshaped seed capsules of a green color, about the size of a large walnut and covered with numerous sharp spines, hence the name of the plant. When ripe, this seed-vessel opens at the top, throwing back four valve-like forms, leaving a long, central structure upon which are numerous rough, dark-brown seeds. The appearance of the plant when in flower and fruit is so peculiar that it cannot be mistaken for any other native herb.
The plant is smooth, except for a slight downiness on the younger parts, which are covered with short, curved hairs, which fall off as growth proceeds. It exhales a rank, very heavy and somewhat nauseating narcotic odour. This foetid odour arises from the leaves, especially when they are bruised, but the flowers are sweet-scented, though producing stupor if their exhalations are breathed for any length of time.
The plant is strongly narcotic, but has a peculiar action on the human frame which renders it very valuable as a medicine. The whole plant is poisonous, but the seeds are the most active; neither drying nor boiling destroys the poisonous properties. The usual consequences of the poison when taken in sufficient quantity are dimness of sight, dilation of the pupil, giddiness and delirium, sometimes amounting to mania, but its action varies greatly on different persons. Many fatal instances of its dangerous effects are recorded: it is thought to act more powerfully on the brain than Belladonna and to produce greater delirium. The remedies to be administered in case of poisoning by Stramonium are the same as those described for Henbane poisoning, and also Belladonna poisoning. It is classed in Table II of the poison schedule. The pupils have become widely dilated even by accidentally rubbing the eyes with the fingers after pulling the fresh leaves of Stramonium from the plant.
The seeds have in several instances caused death, and accidents have sometimes occurred from swallowing an infusion of the herb in mistake for other preparations, such as senna tea.
Browsing animals as a rule refuse to eat Thornapple, being repelled by its disagreeable odour and nauseous taste, so that its presence is not really dangerous to any of our domestic cattle. Among human beings the greater number of accidents have occurred among children, who have eaten the halfripe seeds which have a sweetish taste.
The poisonous properties of the seeds are well known in India, where the Datura is abundant, the thieves and assassins not unfrequently administering them to their victims to produce insensibility.
In America it is called the 'Devil's Apple,' from its dangerous qualities and the remarkable effects that follow its administration. When the first settlers arrived in Virginia, some ate the leaves of this plant and experienced such strange and unpleasant effects that the colonists (so we are told) gave it this name by which it is still known in the United States. It is also known very commonly there by the name of 'Jamestown (or Jimson) Weed,' derived probably from its having been first observed in the neighbourhood of that old settlement in Virginia.
There are two varieties of this species of Datura, one with a green stem and white flowers, the other with a dark-reddish stem, minutely dotted with green and purplish flowers, striped with deep purple on the inside. The latter is now considered as a distinct species, being the D. Tatula of Linnaeus. The leaves are mostly of a deeper green, and have purplish foot-stalks and mid-ribs.
De Candolle considered D. Tatula to be a native of Central America, whence it was imported into Europe in the sixteenth century, and naturalized first in Italy and then in South-west Europe, where it is very common. It occurs in England more rarely than D. Stramonium, under similar conditions and seems a more tender plant. It is sometimes cultivated here. The properties of both species are the same.
In early times, the Thornapple was considered an aid to the incantation of witches, and during the time of the witch and wizard mania in England, it was unlucky for anyone to grow it in his garden.
Thornapple is easily cultivated, growing well in an open, sunnysituation. It will flourish in most moderately good soils, but will do best in a rich calcareous soil, or in a good sandy loam, with leaf mould added.
Seeds are sown in the open in May, in drills 3 feet apart, barely covered. Sow thinly, as the plants attain a good size and grow freely from seed. Thin out the young plants to a distance of 12 to 15 inches between each plant in the drill. From 10 to 15 lb. of seed to the acre should be allowed.
The soil should be kept free from weeds in the early stages, but the plants are so umbrageous and strong that they need little care later. If the summer is hot and dry, give a mulching of rotted cow-manure.
The plants may also be raised from seeds, sown in a hot-bed in February or March, or in April in boxes in a cool greenhouse, the seedlings, when large enough, being transferred to small pots, in which they are grown with as much light and air as possible till June, when they are planted in the open. Thornapple transplants readily.
If grown for leaf crop, the capsules should be picked off as soon as formed, as in a wind the spines tear the leaves. Some seed, for propagation purposes, should always be collected from plants kept specially for the purpose.
Though cultivated in this country, on some of the herb farms, such as Long Melford and Brentford, Thornapple was not much grown on a commercial scale before the War, considerable quantities of the dried leaves having always been imported from Germany and Hungary.
---Parts Used, Harvesting and Preparation for Market---
All parts of the Thornapple have medicinal value, but only the leaves and seeds are official. The United States Pharmacopceia formerly recognized leaves, root and seeds, but since 1900 the leaves alone are recognized as official. They are used in the dried state and are referred to as Stramonium.
Stramonium leaves are official in all Pharmacopoeias. Many require that they be renewed annually. The Belgian excludes discolored leaves. The Portuguese directs the use of the entire plant except the root, and allows the substitution of D. Tatula. To how great an extent it is true that the quality deteriorates on being kept is conjectural.
The commercial drug as imported into Great Britain consists of the leaves and young shoots, collected while the plant is in flower, and subsequently dried, and containing the shrivelled, bristly young fruits, tubular calyx, and yellowish corolla, but the official description, for medicinal purposes, permits of the use of the leaves only.
The leaves should be gathered when the plant is in full bloom and carefully dried. The United States Pharmacopoeia considers that they may be gathered at any time from the appearance of the flowers till the autumnal frosts. In this country they are generally harvested in late summer, about August, the crop being cut by the sickle on a fine day in the morning, after the sun has dried off the dew, and the leaves stripped from the stem and dried carefully as quickly as possible, as for Henbane.
The dried leaves are usually much shrivelled and wrinkled, and appear in commerce either loose, or more or less matted together, of a dark-greyish green color, especially on the upper surface, stalked and often unequal at the base, and are characterized by the very coarse pointed teeth. About 34 parts of dried leaves are produced from 100 parts of fresh leaves.
The fresh leaves, when bruised, emit a foetid, narcotic odour, which they lose on drying. Their taste is bitter and nauseous. These properties, together with their medicinal virtues, are imparted to water and alcohol and the fixed oils. The leaves if carefully dried retain their bitter taste.
The inspissated juice of the fresh leaves was formerly commonly prescribed, but the alcoholic extract is now almost exclusively used.
Stramonium seeds are official in a number of Pharmacopoeias. The thorny capsules are gathered from the plants when they are quite ripe, but still green. They should then be dried in the sun for a few days, when they will split open and the seeds can be readily shaken out. The seeds can then be dried, either in the sun or by artificial heat.
The dried, ripe seeds are dark brown or dull black in color, flattened, kidney-shaped in outline, wrinkled and marked with small depressions, and average about 1/6 inch in length. Though ill-smelling when fresh, when dry they have a scarcely perceptible odour till crushed, but a bitter, oily taste. They should not be stored in a damp place, or will mildew. Kiln-dried seeds, it should be noted, are no use for cultivation.
The demand for the seed is very limited, but the dry leaves find a ready market. The south of Europe furnishes a quantity, but owing to careless collection and neglect of botanical characters, the South European product is often mixed with other leaves of no value, which are sometimes entirely substituted for it, especially species of Xanthium, which has spiny though smaller fruits. Spanish Stramonium which contains no Stramonium at all has been offered in London and Liverpool. The imported commercial Stramonium leaves are also frequently found freely adulterated with those of Carthamus helenoides.
Stramonium leaves contain the same alkaloids as Belladonna, but in somewhat smaller proportion, the average of commercial samples being about 0.22 per cent: the percentage may, however, rise to as much as 0.4 per cent. The mid-rib and footstalk of the leaf contain a far larger proportion than the blade. It is generally considered that the main stems and the root contain little alkaloid, and should, therefore, not be present in the drug. The American Journal of Pharmacy (January, 1919) directs attention to the fact that if the stems could be utilized, the cost of labour in harvesting a crop of Stramonium would be only onefourth or one-fifth of what it is where the leaves alone are gathered, since machinery for the purpose could be employed. Dr. G. B. Koch, of the Biological Laboratories of the H.K. Mulford Co., Philadelphia, has been making careful experiments on the relative value of the stem and root of this plant, and has arrived at the following conclusions:
1. The whole plant, either with or without the root, can be harvested and used for the commercial preparations without fear of the total alkaloid content falling below 0.25 per cent, which is the desired standard of the United States Pharmacopoeia.
2. The total mydriatic (pupil-dilating) alkaloids of the leaf and secondary stems when analysed individually, or the leaves with 10 per cent of the secondary stems, run much higher than the United States Pharmacopoeia requirement.
3. Of the whole plant, including stem, root and leaf, the leaf represents about 41 per cent.
4. Excluding the root, the ratio of the leaf to the stem is about 47.5 to 52.3 per cent.
In general it has been found that fresh parts yielded more alkaloid than the dried parts. The alkaloid consists chiefly of hyoscyamine, associated with atropine and hyoscine (scopolamine), malic acid also being present. The Daturin formerly described as a constituent is now known to be a mixture of hyoscyamine and atropine. The leaves also yield 17 to 20 per cent of ash, and are rich in potassium nitrate, to which, doubtless, part of the antispasmodic effects are due, and they contain also a trace of volatile oil, gum, resin, starch, and other unimportant substances.
Seeds. Except that they contain about 25 per cent of fixed oil, the constituents of the seeds are practically the same as those of the leaves, though considered to contain a much greater proportion of alkaloid, which renders them more powerful than the leaves. But the presence of the large amount of fixed oil makes it difficult to extract the alkaloids or to make stable preparations and the leaves have, therefore, greatly taken the place of the seeds.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Antispasmodic, anodyne and narcotic. Its properties are virtually those of hyoscyamine. It acts similarly to belladonna, though without constipating, and is used for purposes similar to those for which belladonna is employed, dilating the pupil of the eyes in like manner. It is considered slightly more sedative to the central nervous system than is belladonna.
Stramonium is, in fact, so similar to belladonna in the symptoms produced by it in small or large doses, in its toxicity and its general physiological and therapeutic action, that the two drugs are practically identical, and since they are about the same strength in activity, the preparations may be used in similar doses.
Stramonium has been employed in all the conditions for which belladonna is more commonly used, but acts much more strongly on the respiratory organs, and has acquired special repute as one of the chief remedies for spasmodic asthma, being used far more as the principal ingredient in asthma powders and cigarettes than internally. The practice of smoking D. ferox for asthma was introduced into Great Britain from the East Indies by a certain General, and afterwards the English species was substituted for that employed in Hindustan. Formerly the roots were much used: in Ceylon, the leaves, stem and fruit are all cut up together to make burning powders for asthma, but in this country the dried leaves are almost exclusively employed for this purpose. The beneficial effect is considered due to the presence of atropine, which paralyses the endings of the pulmonary branches, thus relieving the bronchial spasm. It has been proved that the smoke from a Stramonium cigarette, containing 0.25 grams of Stramonium, leaves contains as much as 0.5 milligrams of atropine. The leaves may be made up into cigarettes or smoked in a pipe, either alone, or with a mixture of tobacco, or with cubebs, sage, belladonna and other drugs. More commonly, however, the coarsely-ground leaves are mixed into cones with some aromatic and with equal parts of potassium nitrate, in order to inincrease combustion and are burned in a saucer, the smoke being inhaled into the lungs. Great relief is afforded, the effect being more immediate when the powdered leaves are burnt and the smoke inhaled than when smoked by the patient in the form of cigars or cigarettes, but like most drugs, after constant use, the relief is not so great and the treatment is only palliative, the causation of the attack not being affected. Accidents have also occasionally happened from the injudicious use of the plant in this manner.
Dryness of the throat and mouth are to be regarded as indications that too large a quantity is being taken.
The seeds, besides being employed to relieve asthma in the same manner as the leaves, being smoked with tobacco, are employed as a narcotic and anodyne, generally used in the form of an extract, prepared by boiling the seeds in water, or macerating them in alcohol. A tincture is sometimes preferred. The extract is given in pills to allay cough in spasmodic bronchial asthma, in whooping-cough and spasm of the bladder, and is considered a better cough-remedy than opium, but should only be used with extreme care, as in over-doses it is a strong narcotic poison.
Applied locally, in ointment, plasters or fomentation, Stramonium will palliate the pain of muscular rheumatism, neuralgia, and also pain due to haemorrhoids, fistula, abscesses and similar inflammation.
---Preparations and Dosages---
Powdered leaves, 1/10 to 5 grains. Fluid extract leaves, 1 to 3 drops. Fluid extract seeds, 1 to 2 drops. Tincture leaves, B.P. and U.S.P., 5 to 15 drops. Powdered extract, U.S.P., 1/5 grain. Solid extract, B.P., 1/4 to 1 grain. Ointment, U.S.P.
Gerard declared that:
'the juice of Thornapple, boiled with hog's grease, cureth all inflammations whatsoever, all manner of burnings and scaldings, as well of fire, water, boiling lead, gunpowder, as that which comes by lightning and that in very short time, as myself have found in daily practice, to my great credit and profit.'
It has been conjectured that the leaves of D. Stramonium were used by the priests of Apollo at Delphi to assist them in their prophecies, and in the Temple of the Sun, in the city of Sagomozo the seeds of the Floripondio (D. Sanguinea) are used for a similar purpose. The Peruvians also prepare an intoxicating beverage from the seeds, which induces stupefaction and delirium if partaken of in large quantities. The Arabs of Central Africa are said to dry the leaves, the flowers, and the rind of the rootlet, which is considered the strongest preparation, and to smoke them in a common bowl, or in a waterpipe. It is esteemed by them a sovereign remedy for asthma and influenza, and although they do not use it like the Indian Datura poisoners, accidents nevertheless occur from its narcotic properties.
Stramonium was at one time esteemed as a sedative in epilepsy, and in acute mania and other forms of active insanity, but its action is very uncertain.
The introduction of Stramonium into medicine is due chiefly to the exertions of Baron Storch, in the latter half of the eighteenth century, who was also instrumental in re-introducing Henbane into modern medicine.
In a recent issue of an American medical journal, the opinion was expressed that Stramonium was a remedy for hydrophobia, the writer saying 'there is no drug so far proven that deserves as thorough and careful a trial in this dread disease as Stramonium.'
The poorer Turks are said to use Stramonium instead of opium, for smoking.
---Other Species---
In India and the Eastern and West Indian Colonies, the leaves and seeds of D. fastuosa var. alba are also official, under the name of Datura. They possess similar properties, and are regarded as of equal strength.
D. fastuosa is a small shrub indigenous to tropical India. There are said to be several varieties of this species, and it is generally conceded to be the most toxic of the Indian Daturas. The leaves are ovate and more or less angular, the flowers being mostly purplish, sometimes white.
Of the varieties of D. fastuosa, the British Pharmacopoeia recognizes that known as alba. From it the Thugs prepared the poison Dhât, with which they used to stupefy their victims. It is used in India as a criminal poison, the professional poisoners being called Dhatureeas.
The drug has a slight, unpleasant odour and a bitter taste. It contains the alkaloid Hyoscine, a resin and a fixed oil, hyoscyamine being also present and a small proportion of atropine.
It is used by the native doctors (India) for the relief of rheumatic and other painful affections.
While this drug produces effects more or less similar to those of belladonna, its precise action has not been clearly determined.
This species of Datura grows in abundance in almost all the islands of the Philippine group, in some localities reaching a height of 6 feet, and might afford a favourable source of atropine and hyoscyamine, though it has not so far been made use of commercially, there being no attempt at cultivation or even systematic collection of the drug, though attention was drawn to its latent possibilities during the War.
Under the names of Man t'o lo fa, Wan t'o hua and Nau Yeung fa the Chinese use as a medicine the flowers of the D. alba.
D. metel is also an Indian plant and resembles D. fastuosa; it differs in that the leaves are heart-shaped, almost entire and downy, and the flowers always white. The leaves contain 0.55 per cent alkaloid, the seeds 0.5 per cent, all hyoscine.
D. alba or D. metel also produce similar effects. The Rajpoot mothers are said to smear their breasts with the juice of the leaves, to poison their newly-born female infants.
D. arborea, a South American species (the Tree Datura), growing freely in Chile, contains about 0.44 per cent alkaloid, nearly all hyoscine. A tincture of the flowers is used to induce clairvoyance.
D. quercifolia, of Mexico, contains 0.4 per cent. in the leaves and 0.28 per cent of alkaloids in the seeds, about half hyoscyamine and half hyoscine.
El Bethene, a Datura of the Sahara Desert, is capable of causing delirium, coma and death.
D. Tatula, Purple Stramonium has already been mentioned. It owes its activity to the same alkaloids as D. Stramonium, and its leaves are also much used in the form of cigarettes as a remedy for spasmodic asthma.
D. ferox, Chinese Datura, is used in homoeopathy.
A tincture is made from the unripe fruit and a trituration of the seeds.

An Old Recipe 'for A Burne'
'Take of the plant called Thorneaple, and Elder leaves, 2 good handfuls; pound both leaves and apples very small in A stone mortar; then take a pound of Barow hogs lard watered and putt them altogether in an earthen pan, working them well together; lett itt stand till it begins to hoare [grow musty], and then sett itt over A soft fire, not letting it boyle; then strain it, and putt in fresh herbs; order itt as before; this doe three times; and then keep itt for your use, it will keep seven years.' - (A Plain Plantain.)

See Ceadar, Yellow.

Thyme, Basil

Botanical: Calamintha acinos
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Common Calamint. Calamintha officinalis. Calamintha menthifolia. Thymos acinos. Acinos vulgaris. Mountain Mint.
---Part Used---
Rather scarce in England, though fairly generally distributed over the country; it is rare in Scotland and very rare in Ireland.
This species is found on dry banks and in fields, in chalky, gravelly and sandy soils: a small, bushy herb, its stems 6 to 8 inches high, branching at the base, slender and leafy.
The shortly stalked leaves, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, with the veins prominent beneath, are eggshaped and hairy. The flowers, in bloom in July and August, are 1/2 inch long and grow in whorls from the axils of the leaves, like in the preceding species, as well as at the summit of the stem. The corollas are bluish-purple, variegated with white on the lower lip, in the middle of which there is a purple spot. The calyx is distinctly two-lipped, the lower lip bulged at the base and has prominent ribs, fringed with bristly hairs.
The plant varies much in degree of hairiness. It has a pleasant, aromatic smell, somewhat similar, though weaker, than that of Thyme, to which, however, in general appearance, it bears little resemblance.
Basil Thyme was a great favourite with the old herbalists. Gerard enumerates twelve uses to which it can be applied without fear of failure. Among them he states that:
'it cureth them that are bitten of serpents; being burned or strewed, it drives serpents away; it taketh away black and blew spots that come by blows or by beatings, making the skinne faire and white; but for such things, saith Galen, it is better to be laid to greene than dry.'
Externally, its use has been recommended as an addition to warm baths, especially for children, as a strengthener and nerve soother.
The oil, which is very heating, is of service as a rubefacient, applied to the skin in sciatica and neuralgia.
One drop of the oil, on cotton wool, put into a decayed tooth, will alleviate the pain.
The flowering tops are used to flavour jugged hare, etc., they have a milder and rather more grateful flavour than the common Thyme.
Although it has been stated that animals will seldom eat this plant and that rabbits do not touch it, it has been alleged that sheep love to crop its fragrant leaves and that, as a consequence, a fine flavour is imparted to their flesh.
It is said that Wild Thyme and Marjoram laid by milk in the dairy will prevent it being turned by thunder.

Thyme, Cat

Botanical: Teucrium Marum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Parts Used---Leaves, root-bark, whole herb.
The Cat Thyme, or Marum, is not a British plant, but a native of Spain, though with care it can be grown here and will live through the winter in the open, on a dry soil and in a good situation, when the frosts are not severe, though it is frequently killed in hard winters, if unprotected by mats or other covering.
In the southern countries of Europe, this species of Teucrium forms a shrub 3 or 4 feet high, but in England it rarely attains even half that height. It has oval leaves, broader at the base, downy beneath, with uncut margins. The flowers are in one-sided spikes, the corollas crimson in color.
The leaves and younger branches when fresh, on being rubbed emit a volatile, aromatic smell, which excites sneezing, but in taste they are somewhat bitter, accompanied with a sensation of heat.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The plant is supposed to possess very active powers, having been recommended in many diseases requiring medicine of a stimulant, aromatic and deobstruent quality. It has been considered good in most nervous complaints, the leaves being powdered and given in wine. The powdered leaves, either alone, or mixed with other ingredients of a like nature, when taken as snuff, have been recommended as excellent for 'disorders of the head,' under the name of compound powder of Assarabacca, but lavender flowers are now generally substituted for Cat Thyme.
Cat Thyme is more nearly related to the Germanders and to Wood Sage than to the Thymes.
The bark of the root is considerably astringent and has been used for checking haemorrhages.
A homoepathic tincture is made from the whole herb, said to be effectual against small thread-worms in children.

Thyme, Garden

Botanical: Thymus Vulgaris (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Common Thyme.
---Part Used---
The Garden Thyme is an 'improved' cultivated form of the Wild Thyme of the mountains of Spain and other European countries bordering on the Mediterranean, flourishing also in Asia Minor, Algeria and Tunis, and is a near relation to our own Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum), which has broader leaves (the margins not reflexed as in the Garden Thyme) and a weaker odour.
It is cultivated now in most countries with temperate climates, though we do not know at what period it was first introduced into northern countries. It was certainly commonly cultivated in England before the middle of the sixteenth century, and is figured and described by Gerard.
T. vulgaris is a perennial with a woody, fibrous root. The stems are numerous, round, hard, branched, and usually from 4 to 8 inches high, when of the largest growth scarcely attaining a foot in height. The leaves are small, only about 1/8 inch long and 1/16 inch broad, narrow and elliptical, greenish-grey in color, reflexed at the margins, and set in pairs upon very small foot-stalks. The flowers terminate the branches in whorls. The calyx is tubular, striated, closed at the mouth with small hairs and divided into two lips, the uppermost cut into three teeth and the lower into two. The corolla consists of a tube about the length of the calyx, spreading at the top into two lips of a pale purple color, the upper lip erect or turned back and notched at the end, the under lip longer and divided into three segments. The seeds are roundish and very small, about 170,000 to the ounce, and 24 OZ. to the quart: they retain their germinating power for three years. The plant has an agreeable aromatic smell and a warm pungent taste. The fragrance of its leaves is due to an essential oil, which gives it its flavouring value for culinary purposes, and is also the source of its medicinal properties. It is in flower from May to August.
There are three varieties usually grown for use, the broad-leaved, narrow-leaved and variegated: the narrow-leaved, with small, greyish-green leaves, is more aromatic than the broad-leaved, and is also known as Winter or German Thyme. The fragrant Lemon Thyme, likewise grown in gardens, has a lemon flavour, and rather broader leaves than the ordinary Garden Thyme, is not recurved at the margins, and ranks as a variety of T. serpyllum, the Wild Thyme. It is of a more trailing habit and of still smaller growth than the common Garden Thyme, and keeps its foliage better in the winter, though is generally considered to be not as hardy as the common Thyme. Another variety, the Silver Thyme, is the hardiest of all and has perhaps the best flavour. There is a variety, also, called the Orange Thyme, which Dr. Kitchener, in The Cook's Oracle, describes as a delicious herb that deserves to be better known. This and other varieties of Thyme, including the Caraway Thyme, which was used to rub the baron of beef, before it was roasted, and so came to be called 'Herbe Baronne,' are all worth cultivating.
The name Thyme, in its Greek form, was first given to the plant by the Greeks as a derivative of a word which meant 'to fumigate,' either because they used it as incense, for its balsamic odour, or because it was taken as a type of all sweet-smelling herbs. Others derive the name from the Greek word thumus, signifying courage, the plant being held in ancient and mediaeval days to be a great source of invigoration, its cordial qualities inspiring courage. The antiseptic properties of Thyme were fully recognized in classic times, there being a reference in Virgil's Georgics to its use as a fumigator, and Pliny tells us that, when burnt, it puts to flight all venomous creatures. Lady Northcote (in The Herb Garden) says that among the Greeks, Thyme denoted graceful elegance; 'to smell of Thyme' was an expression of praise, applied to those whose style was admirable. It was an emblem of activity, bravery and energy, and in the days of chivalry it was the custom for ladies to embroider a bee hovering over a sprig of Thyme on the scarves they presented to their knights. In the south of France, Wild Thyme is a symbol of extreme Republicanism, tufts of it being sent with the summons to a Republican meeting.
This little plant, so familiar also in its wild form, has never been known in England by any familiar name, though occasionally 'Thyme' is qualified in some way, such as 'Running Thyme,' or 'Mother-of-Thyme.' 'Mother Thyme' was probably derived from the use of the plant in uterine disorders, in the same way that 'Motherwort' (Leonurus Cardiaca) has received its popular name for use in domestic medicine.
The affection of bees for Thyme is well known and the fine flavour of the honey of Mount Hymettus near Athens was said to be due to the Wild Thyme with which it was covered (probably T. vulgaris), the honey from this spot being of such especial flavour and sweetness that in the minds and writings of the Ancients, sweetness and Thyme were indissolubly united. 'Thyme, for the time it lasteth, yieldeth most and best honie and therefor in old time was accounted chief,' says an old English writer. Large clumps of either Garden or Wild Thyme may with advantage be grown in the garden about 10 feet away from the hives.
Though apparently not in general use as a culinary herb among the ancients, it was employed by the Romans to give an aromatic flavour to cheese (and also to liqueurs).
Sow about the middle of March or early April, in dry, mild weather, moderately thin, in shallow drills about 1/2 inch deep, and 8 or 9 inches apart, in good, light soil, in a warm position. Cover in evenly with the soil. Some of the plants may remain where planted, after a thinning for early use, others plant out in the summer. Thyme thrives best with lots of room to spread in. It is well to make new beds annually. Selfsown plants will answer for this where found.
Stocks may also be increased by dividing old roots, or making cuttings, by slipping pieces off the plants with roots to them and planting out with trowel or dibber, taking care to water well. This may be done as soon as the weather is warm enough, from May to September. The old clumps may be divided to the utmost extent and provided each portion has a reasonable bit of root attached, success is assured. The perfume of Lemon Thyme is sweeter if raised from cuttings or division of roots, rather than from seed.
Although Thyme grows easily, especially in calcareous light, dry, stony soils, it can be cultivated in heavy soils, but it becomes less aromatic. It dislikes excess of moisture. To form Thyme beds, choose uncultivated ground, with soil too poor to nourish cereals. If Thyme grows upon walls or on dry, stony land, it will survive the severest cold of this country. If the soil does not suit it very well and is close and heavy, some material for lightening it, such as a little road-sand or sweepings, ensuring reasonable porosity, will be welcomed, and should be thoroughly incorporated - in a gritty soil it will root quickly, but it does not like a close, cold soil about its roots.
According to Gattefosse, the Thyme is 'a faithful companion of the Lavender. It lives with it in perfect sympathy and partakes alike of its good and its bad fortune.' Generally speaking, the conditions most suitable to the growth of Thyme are identical with those favoured by Lavender.
The plant is often overrun by Dodder (Cuscuta epithymum). If this happens, cut off the affected plants and burn them, or use a solution of sulphate of iron.
At the close of the summer, as soon as the herbs have been cut sufficiently, the beds should be attended to, all weeds cleared away and the soil well forked on the surface.
In winter, protect the plants from frost by banking up with earth.
Thyme roots soon extract the goodness from the soil, hence whatever is sown or planted afterwards will seldom thrive unless the ground is first trenched deeper than the Thyme was rooted, and is well manured.
The whole herb is used, fresh and dried. Though cultivated in gardens for culinary use, Common Thyme is not grown in England on a large scale, most of the dried Thyme on the market having been imported from the Continent, mainly from Germany.
Its essential oil is distilled in the south of France, the flowering herb being used for the production of oil of Thyme. In the neighbourhood of Nimes, the entire plant is used and the distillation is carried on at two periods of the year, in May and June, and again in the autumn. In England, only a comparatively small amount of the essential oil is distilled, but it is considered to be of a high quality. For distilling, the fresh herb should be collected on a dry day, when just coming into flower; the lower portions of the stem, together with any yellow or brown leaves, should be rejected and the herbs conveyed to the distillery as soon as possible.
Oil of Thyme is the important commercial product obtained by distillation of the fresh leaves and flowering tops of T. vulgaris. Its chief constituents are from 20 to 25 per cent of the phenols Thymol and Carvacrol, rising in rare cases to 42 per cent. The phenols are the principal constituents of Thyme oil, Thymol being the most valuable for medicinal purposes, but Carvacrol, an isomeric phenol, preponderate in some oils. Cymene and Pinene are present in the oil, as well as a little Menthone. Borneol and Linalol have been detected in the high boiling fractions of the oil and a crystalline body, probably identical with a similar body found in Juniper-berry oil.
Two commercial varieties of Thyme oil are recognized, the 'red,' the crude distillate, and the 'white' or colorless, which is the 'red' rectified by re-distilling. The yield of oil is very variable, from 2 per cent to 1 per cent in the fresh herb (100 lb. of the fresh flowering tops yielding from 1/2 to 1 lb. of essential oil) and 2.5 per cent in the dried herb, the yield of oil from the dried German herb being on the average 1.7 per cent and from the dried French herb 2.5 to 2.6 per cent. The phenols present in French and German oils consist mainly of Thymol, but under certain conditions the latter may be replaced by Carvacrol. The value of Thyme oil depends so much upon the phenols it contains, that it is important that these should be estimated, as the abstraction of Thymol is by no means uncommon.
Red oil of Thyme is frequently imported and sold under the name of oil of Origanum: it is often adulterated with oils of turpentine, spike lavender and rosemary, and colored with alkanet root, and is not infrequently more or less destitute of Thymol. True oil of Origanum is extracted from Wild Marjoram, Origanum vulgare, and other species of Origanum.
French oil of Thyme is the most esteemed variety of the oil known. A considerable quantity of Thyme oil is also distilled in Spain, but probably from mixed species of Thyme oil, the origin of Spanish Thyme oil not having been definitely proved; a certain amount is also distilled in Algeria from T. Algeriensis. French oil (specific gravity 0.905 to 0.935) contains 20 to 36 per cent of phenols, chiefly Thymol, on which the value of the oil chiefly depends. Spanish oil contains a much higher percentage of phenols, 50 to 70 per cent, mostly Carvacrol, but sometimes a fairly large proportion of Thymol is present. The production of Thymol or Carvacrol seems to depend on some variation in the soil or climatic conditions which favours the formation of one or the other. The specific gravity of Spanish oil is 0.928 to 0.958.
T. capitans also yields an oil of a specific gravity about 0.900, closely resembling that obtained from T. vulgaris. A similar oil is obtained from T. camphoratus. A somewhat different oil is obtained from the Lemon Thyme, T. serpyllum, var citriodorus. This oil has an odour resembling Thyme, Lemon and Geranium. It contains only a very small amount of phenols. Admixture with the oil of T. serpyllum does not alter the specific gravity of Thyme oil. T. mastichina, the so-called Spanish Wood Marjoram, also yields an oil of Thyme, of a bright yellow color, turning darker with age and with a camphoraceous odour like Thyme.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Antiseptic, antispasmodic, tonic and carminative.
The pounded herb, if given fresh, from 1 to 6 OZ. daily, mixed with syrup, has been employed with success as a safe cure for whooping cough. An infusion made from 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water, sweetened with sugar or honey, is also used for the same purpose, as well as in cases of catarrh and sore throat, given in doses of 1 or more tablespoonsful, several times daily. The wild plant may be equally well used for this.
Thyme tea will arrest gastric fermentation. It is useful in cases of wind spasms and colic, and will assist in promoting perspiration at the commencement of a cold, and in fever and febrile complaints generally.
In herbal medicine, Thyme is generally used in combination with other remedies.
Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Oil, 1 to 10 drops.
According to Culpepper, Thyme is:
'a noble strengthener of the lungs, as notable a one as grows, nor is there a better remedy growing for hooping cough. It purgeth the body of phlegm and is an excellent remedy for shortness of breath. It is so harmless you need not fear the use of it. An ointment made of it takes away hot swellings and warts, helps the sciatica and dullness of sight and takes away any pains and hardness of the spleen: it is excellent for those that are troubled with the gout and the herb taken anyway inwardly is of great comfort to the stomach.'
Gerard says it will 'cure sciatica and pains in the head,' and is healing in leprosy and the falling sickness.
Oil of Thyme is employed as a rubefacient and counter-irritant in rheumatism, etc.
Thyme enters into the formula for Herb Tobacco, and employed in this form is good for digestion, headache and drowsiness.
In Perfumery, Essence of Thyme is used for cosmetics and rice powder. It is also used for embalming corpses.
The dried flowers have been often used in the same way as lavender, to preserve linen from insects.
In this country, Thyme is principally in request for culinary requirements, for its use in flavouring stuffings, sauces, pickles, stews, soups, jugged hare, etc. The Spaniards infuse it in the pickle with which they preserve their olives.
All the different species of Thyme and Marjoram yield fragrant oils extensively used by manufacturing perfumers for scenting soaps. When dried and ground, they enter into the composition of sachet powders.
THYMOL, a most valuable crystalline phenol, is the basis of the fragrant volatile Essence of Sweet Thyme, and is obtainable from Carum copticum, Monarda punctata and various other plants, as well as from T. vulgaris, being present to the extent of from 20 to 60 per cent in the oils which yield it. Ajowan oil, its principal commercial source (from the seeds of C. copticum) contains from 40 to 55 per cent of Thymol; the oil of T. vulgaris contains from 20 to 30 per cent as a rule of Thymol and Carvacrol in varying proportions, while the oil of M. punctata contains 61 per cent of Thymol.
The extraction of Thymol is effected by treating the oil with a warm solution of sodium hydroxide: this alkali dissolves the Thymol, and on dilution with hot water the undissolved oil (terpenes, etc.) rises to the surface. The alkaline thymol compound is decomposed by treatment with hydrochloric acid and subsequent crystallization of the oily layer into large, oblique, prismatic crystals. Thymol (methyl-propyl-phenol) has been prepared synthetically.
When treated with caustic potash and iodine, it yields iodo-thymol, commonly known as 'Aristol.'
Camphor of Thyme was noticed first by Neumann, apothecary to the Court at Berlin in 1725. It was called Thymol and carefully examined in 1853 by Lallemand and recommended instead of Phenol (carbolic acid) in 1868 by Bouilhon, apothecary, and Paquet, M.D., of Lille.
Thymol is a powerful antiseptic for both internal and external use; it is also employed as a deodorant and local anaesthetic. It is extensively used to medicate gauze and wool for surgical dressings. It resembles carbolic acid in its action, but is less irritant to wounds, while its germicidal action is greater. It is therefore preferable as a dressing and during recent years has been one of the most extensively used antiseptics.
Thymol is also a preservative of meat.
In respect of its physiological action, Thymol appears to stand between carbolic acid and oil of turpentine. Its action as a disinfectant is more permanent and at the same time more powerful than that of carbolic acid. It is less irritating to the skin, does not act as a caustic like carbolic acid, and is a less powerful poison to mammals. In the higher animals it acts as a local irritant and anaesthetic to the skin and mucous membrane. It is used as an antiseptic lotion and mouth wash; as a paint in ringworm, in eczema, psoriasis, broken chilblains, parasitic skin affections and burns; as an ointment, halfstrength, perfumed with lavender, to keep off gnats and mosquitoes. Thymol in oily solution is applied to the respiratory passages by means of a spray in nasal catarrh, and a spirituous solution may be inhaled for laryngitis, bronchial affections and whooping cough. It is most useful against septic sore throat, especially during scarlet-fever. Internally, it is given in large doses, to robust adults, in capsules, as a vermifuge, to expel parasites, especially the miner's worm, and it has also been used in diabetes and vesical catarrh.
Thymol finds no place in perfumery, but the residual oil after extracting the crystalline Thymol from Ajowan oil, which amounts to about 50 per cent of the original oil, is generally sold as a cheap perfume for soap-making and similar purposes, under the name of 'Thymene.'
Till the outbreak of war, Thymol was manufactured almost exclusively in Germany. One of the chief commercial sources of Thymol, Ajowan seed (C. copticum), is an annual umbelliferous plant, a kind of caraway, which is abundant in India, where it is widely cultivated for the medicinal properties of its seeds. Almost the whole of the exports of Ajowan seed from India, Egypt, Persia and Afghanistan went to Germany for the distillation of the oil and extraction of Thymol, the annual export of the seed from India being about 1,200 tons, from which the amount of Thymoi obtainable was estimated at 20 tons. On the outbreak of war the export of Ajowan seed dropped to 2 tons per month, and there was a universal shortage of Thymol, just when it was urgently needed for the wounded.
As a result of investigations by the Imperial Institute, Thymol is now being made by several firms in this country, and the product is equal in quality and appearance to that previously imported from Germany. In India, also, good samples were obtained as a result of experiments conducted in Government laboratories in the early months of the War, and by the close of 1915 companies were already established at Dehra and Calcutta for its manufacture on a large scale. In the two years ending June, 1919, as much as 10,500 lb. of Thymol were exported from Calcutta.
Several other plants can be utilized as sources of Thymol, although none yield such high percentages as Ajowan seed. The following new sources of Thymol were suggested when the scarcity of the valuable antiseptic made itself so severely felt on curtailment of Continental supplies: Garden Thyme and Wild Thyme (T. vulgaris and serpyllum), American Horse Mint (M. punctata), Cunila mariana, Mosla japonica, Origanum hirtum, Ocimim viride and Satureja thymbra.
The oil of Thyme obtained by distilling the fresh-flowering herb of T. vulgaris is already an article of commerce, and contains varying amounts of Thymol, but the actual amount present is not very high, varying, as already stated, from 20 to 25 per cent, only in very rare cases amounting to more; and the methods of separation in order to obtain a pure compound are necessarily more complicated than in the manufacture from Ajowan oil.
The American Horsemint (M. punctata), native to the United States and Canada, seems likely to prove a more valuable source of Thymol than T. vulgaris. It yields from 1 to 3 per cent of a volatile oil, which contains a large proportion of Thymol, up to 61 per cent having been obtained; Carvacrol also appears to be a constituent. The oil has a specific gravity of 0.930 to 0.940, and on prolonged standing deposits crystals of Thymol.
Another species also found in America (M. didyma) (called also 'Oswego tea' from the use sometimes made of its leaves in America) is said to yield an oil of similar composition, though not to the same degree, and so far M. punctata is considered the only plant indigenous to North America which can be looked upon as a fruitful source of Thymol, though from C. mariana, also found in North America, an oil is derived - Oil of Dittany - which is stated to contain about 40 per cent of phenols, probably Thymol.
Thymol is also contained in the oil distilled from the dry herb of Mosla japonica, indigenous to Japan. It is stated to yield about 2.13 per cent of oil, containing about 44 per cent of Thymol.
Satureja thymbra, which is used in Spain as a spice and is closely allied to the Savouries grown in the English kitchen garden, yields an oil containing about 19 per cent of Thymol. Other species of Satureja contain Carvacrol.
A new source of Thymol is also Ocimum viride, the 'Mosquito Plant' of West Africa and the West Indies, which yield 0.35 to 1.2 of oil from which 32 to 65 per cent of Thymol can be extracted. This plant occurs wild on all soils in every part of Sierra Leone, and is also grown in the Seychelles. In Sierra Leone it bears the name of 'Fever-plant' on account of its febrifugal qualities; a decoction is made from the leaves.
The Origanum oils shipped from Trieste and Smyrna generally contain only Carvacrol, the only species yielding Thymol exclusively and to a considerable degree being Origanum hirtum, which may be regarded as a promising source of Thymol.
Recently a Spanish species of Thyme has been used as a source of Thymol (T. zygis, Linn.), known to Theophrastus as Serpyllum zygis. It is common throughout Spain and Portugal, occurring in oak and other woods, in desert and dry gravelly places among the sierras of the central, eastern and southern provinces. In consequence of its wide distribution, the common names for the plant vary greatly; in Portugal it is known as Wood Marjoram, ouregao do mato; but the most frequently recurring name in Spain is Tomillo salsero or Sauce Thyme, from its use as a condiment. The species is very similar to T. vulgaris, but is easily distinguished by the comparatively large white hairs at the base of the leaves. The flowers are either purple or white, the white form being the only one occurring in the Balearic Islands, where it is called Senorida de flor blanca. There are two well-known varieties, var. floribunda and var. gracillis, a simpler, less-branched form, and it is the latter (not such a decided alpine as floribunda) which is now being used by a British manufacturer as a source of Thymol. See Chemist and Druggist, June 12th and July 17th, 1920. Var. gracilis is more easily collected on account of its lower station, and further unguarded exploitation of the wild plant might result in the substitution of var. floribunda, which it seems probable yields an oil with quite different characters and content from those of the oil obtained from var. gracilis.
Carvacrol has not hitherto been employed in medicine, but the antiseptic properties of Origanum oil, consisting principally of Carvacrol, as well as of the phenol itself, have been investigated and Iodocrol - iodide of Carvacrol - a reddish-brown powder, has been used lately as an antiseptic in place of iodoform in treatment of eczema and other skin diseases.
If required, a British Possession can provide Carvacrol as a substitute for Thymol. It can be obtained from oils derived from a variety of plants, but most profitably from the Origanum of Cyprus (Origanum dubium), which contains 82.5 per cent of Carvacrol. At the instance of the Imperial Institute, this Cyprus Origanum oil has been produced in commercial quantities from wild plants in Cyprus, and already in 1913 was exported thence to the United Kingdom to the value of L. (lear) 980. It is believed that the plant can be cultivated profitably and on a large scale in Cyprus, and experiments in this direction were begun shortly after the outbreak of war. The oil from O. onites, var. Symrnaeum - Smyrna Origanum oil - contains 68 per cent phenols, almost wholly Carvacrol. Other sources of Carvacrol are Monarda fistulosa (Wild Bergamot), which yields 52 to 58 per cent of Carvacrol; Satureja montana (Winter Savoury or White Thyme), oil from wild plants of this species containing 35 to 40 per cent of Carvacrol; while that from cultivated plants has been found to contain as much as 65 per cent. A sample of Dalmatian Satureja, a form of S. montana, yielded at the Imperial Institute 68.75 of phenolic constituents, consisting mostly of Carvacrol.

Thyme, Wild

Botanical: Thymus serpyllum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Medicinal Action and Uses
other of Thyme. Serpyllum.
---Part Used---H

The Wild Thyme is indigenous to the greater part of the dry land of Europe, though is a great deal less abundant than the Common Thyme so widely cultivated. It is foundup to a certain height on the Alps, on high plateaux, and in valleys, along ditches and roads, on rocks, in barren and dry soil, and also in damp clay soil destitute of chalk. It is seen in old stony, abandoned fields, dried-up lawns and on clearings. In England it is found chiefly on heaths and in mountainous situations, and is also often cultivated as a border in gardens or on rockeries and sunny banks. It was a great favourite of Francis Bacon, who in giving us his plan for the perfect garden, directs that alleys should be planted with fragrant flowers: 'burnet, wild thyme and watermints, which perfume the air most delightfully being trodden upon and crushed,' so that you may 'have pleasure when you walk or tread.'
The herb wherever it grows wild denotes a pure atmosphere, and was thought to enliven the spirits by the fragrance which it diffuses into the air around. The Romans gave Thyme as a sovereign remedy to melancholy persons.
Wild Thyme is a perennial, more thickset than the Garden Thyme, though subject to many varieties, according to the surroundings in which it grows. In its most natural state, when found on dry exposed downs, it is small and procumbent, often forming dense cushions; when growing among furze or other plants which afford it shelter, it runs up a slender stalk to a foot or more in height, which gives it a totally different appearance. The specific name, serpyllum, is derived from a Greek word meaning to creep, and has been given it from its usually procumbent and trailing habit.
The root is woody and fibrous, the stems numerous, hard, branched, procumbent, rising from 4 inches to 1 foot high, ordinarily reddish-brown in color. The bright green oval leaves 1/8 inch broad, tapering below into very short foot-stalks, are smooth and beset with numerous small glands. They are fringed with hairs towards the base and have the veins prominent on the under surfaces. Their margins are entire and not recurved as in Garden Thyme. As with all other members of the important order Labiatae, to which the Thymes belong, the leaves are set in pairs on the stem. The plant flowers from the end of May or early June to the beginning of autumn, the flowers, which are very similar to those of the Garden Thyme, being purplish and in whorls at the top of the stems.
Bees are especially fond of the Thyme blossoms, from which they extract much honey. Spenser speaks of the 'bees-alluring time,' and everyone is familiar with Shakespeare's the 'bank whereon the wild thyme blows,' the abode of the queen of the Fairies. It was looked upon as one of the fairies' flowers, tufts of Thyme forming one of their favourite playgrounds.
In some parts it was a custom for girls to wear sprigs of Thyme, with mint and lavender, to bring them sweethearts!
Thyme has also been associated with death. It is one of the fragrant flowers planted on graves (in Wales, particularly), and the Order of Oddfellows still carry sprigs of Thyme at funerals and throw them into the grave of a dead brother. An old tradition says that Thyme was one of the herbs that formed the fragrant bed of the Virgin Mary.
Wild Thyme is the badge of the Drummond clan.
Wild Thyme will grow on any soil, but prefers light, sandy or gravel ground exposed to the sun.
Propagate by seeds, cuttings, or division of roots. Care must be taken to weed. Manure with farmyard manure in autumn or winter and nitrates in spring.
Cut when in full flower, in July and August, and dry in the same manner as Common Thyme.
It is much picked in France, chiefly in the fields of the Aisne, for the extraction of its essential oil.
When distilled, 100 kilos (about 225 lb.) of dried material yield 150 grams of essence (about 5 or 6 OZ.). It is a yellow liquid, with a weaker scent than that of oil of Thyme extracted from T. vulgaris, and is called oil of Serpolet. It contains 30 to 70 per cent of phenols: Thymol, Carvacrol, etc. It is made into an artificial oil, together with the oil of Common Thyme. In perfumery, oil of Serpolet is chiefly used for soap.
The flowering tops, macerated for 24 hours or so in salt and water, are made into a perfumed water.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
In medicine, Wild Thyme or Serpolet has the same properties as Common Thyme, but to an inferior degree. It is aromatic, antiseptic, stimulant, antispasmodic, diuretic and emmenagogue.
The infusion is used for chest maladies and for weak digestion, being a good remedy for flatulence, and favourable results have been obtained in convulsive coughs, especially in whooping cough, catarrh and sore throat. The infusion, prepared with 1 OZ. of the dried herb to a pint of boiling water, is usually sweetened with sugar or honey and made demulcent by linseed or acacia. It is given in doses of 1 or more tablespoonfuls several times daily.
The infusion is also useful in cases of drunkenness, and Culpepper recommends it as a certain remedy taken on going to bed for 'that troublesome complaint the nightmare,' and says: 'if you make a vinegar of the herb as vinegar of roses is made and annoint the head with it, it presently stops the pains thereof. It is very good to be given either in phrenzy or lethargy.'
Wild Thyme Tea, either drunk by itself or mixed with other plants such as rosemary, etc., is an excellent remedy for headache and other nervous affections.
Formerly several preparations of this plant were kept in shops, and a distilled spirit and water, which were both very fragrant.

Tiger Lily
See Lily, Tiger.


Botanical: Linaria vulgaris (MILL.)
Family: N.O. Scrophulariaceae
Part Used Medicinally, Cultivation
Medicinal Action and Uses
Fluellin. Pattens and Clogs. Flaxweed. Ramsted. Snapdragon. Churnstaff. Dragon-bushes. Brideweed. Toad. Yellow Rod. Larkspur Lion's Mouth. Devils' Ribbon. Eggs and Collops. Devil's Head. Pedlar's Basket. Gallwort. Rabbits. Doggies. Calves' Snout. Eggs and Bacon. Buttered Haycocks. Monkey Flower.
---Part Used---Herb.
The genus Linaria, to which it belongs, contains 125 species, native to' the Northern Hemisphere and South America, seven of which are found in England.
The Toadflax grows wild in most parts of Europe, on dry banks, by the wayside, in meadows by hedge sides, and upon the borders of fields. It is common throughout England and Wales, though less frequent in Ireland. In Scotland, it is found, as a rule, only in the southern counties. Having been introduced into North America, probably originally with grain, it has become there a troublesome weed. It is especially abundant in sandy and gravelly soil and in chalk and limestone districts.
From a perennial and creeping root, the Toadflax sends up severalslender stems, erect and not much branched, generally between 1 and 2 feet long, bearing numerous leaves, which are very long and narrow in form. Both stems and leaves are glaucous, i.e. of a pale bluish tint of green, and are quite destitute of hairs.
The stems terminate in rather dense spikes of showy yellow flowers, the corolla in general shape like that of the Snapdragon, but with a long spur, and with the lower lip orange. The Toadflax flowers throughout the summer, from late June to October.
The mouth of the flower is completely closed and never opens until a bee forces its entrance. The only visitors are the large bees - the humble-bee, honey-bee, and several wild bees - which are able to open the flower, and whose tongues are long enough to reach the nectar, which is so placed in the spur that only long-lipped insects can reach it. The closing of the swollen lower lip excludes beetles from the spur. When the bee alights on the orange palate, the color of which is specially designed to attract the desired visitor, acting as a honey-guide, it falls a little, disclosing the interior of the flower, which forms a little cave, on the floor of which are two ridges of orange hairs, a track between them leading straight to the mouth of the long, hollow spur. Above this is the egg-shaped seed-vessel with the stamens. Between the bases of the two longer stamen filaments, nectar trickles down along a groove to the spur, from the base of the ovary where it is secreted. The bee pushes into the flower, its head fitting well into the cavity below the seed-vessel and thrusting its proboscis down the spur, sucks the nectar, its back being meanwhile well coated by the pollen from the stamens, which run along the roof, the stigma being between the short and long stamens. It is reckoned that a humble-bee can easily take the nectar from ten flowers in a minute, each time transferring pollen from a previous flower to the stigma of the one visited, and thus effecting cross-fertilization.
The Toadflax is very prolific. Its fruit is a little rounded, dry capsule, which when ripe, opens at its top by several valves, the many minute seeds being thrown out by the swaying of the stems. The seeds are flattened and lie in the centre of a circular wing, which, tiny as it is, helps to convey the seed some distance from the parent plant.
Sometimes a curiously-shaped Toadflax blossom will be found: instead of only one spur being produced, each of the five petals whose union builds up the toad-like corolla forms one, and the flower becomes of regular, though almost unrecognizable shape. This phenomenon is termed by botanists, 'peloria,' i.e. a monster. As a rule it is the terminal flower that is thus symmetrical in structure, but sometimes flowers of this type occur all down the spike.
The name Toadflax originated in the resemblance of the flower to little toads, there being also a resemblance between the mouth of the flower and the wide mouth of a toad. Coles says that the plant was called Toadflax, 'because Toads will sometimes shelter themselves amongst the branches of it.'
The general resemblance of the plant in early summer to a Flax plant, accounts for the latter part of its name, and also for another of its country names, 'Flaxweed.' The Latin name, Linaria, from linum (flax), was given it by Linnaeus, from this likeness to a flax plant before flowering. The mixture of light yellow and orange in the flowers has gained for it the provincial names of 'Butter and Eggs,' 'Eggs and Bacon,' etc.
Gerard says:
'Linaria being a kind of Antyrrhinum, hath small, slender, blackish stalks, from which do grow many long, narrow leaves like flax. The floures be yellow with a spurre hanging at the same like unto a Larkesspurre, having a mouth like unto a frog's mouth, even such as is to be seene in the common Snapdragon; the whole plant so much resembleth Esula minor, that the one is hardly knowne from the other but by this olde verse: "Esula lactescit, sine lacte Linaria crescit."
' "Esula with milke doth flow,
Toadflax without milke doth grow." '
This Esula is one of the smaller spurge, Euphorbia esula, which before flowering so closely resembles Toadflax that care must be taken not to collect it in error, the milky juice contained in its stems (as in all the Spurges) will, however, at once reveal its identity.
The leaves of the Toadflax also contain an acrid, rather disagreeable, but not milky juice, which renders them distasteful to cattle, who leave them untouched. Among the many old local names given to this plant we find it called 'Gallwort,' on account of its bitterness, one old writer affirming that it received the name because an infusion of the leaves was used 'against the flowing of the gall in cattell.' The larvae of several moths feed on the plant, and several beetles are also found on it.
---Part Used Medicinally---
Cultivation. For medicinal purposes, Toadflax is generally gathered in the wild condition, but it can be cultivated with ease, though it prefers a dry soil. No manure is needed. Seeds may be sown in spring. All the culture needed is to thin out the seedlings and keep them free of weeds. Propagation may also be carried out by division of roots in the autumn.
The whole herb is gathered just when coming into flower and employed either fresh or dried.
When fresh, Toadflax has a peculiar, heavy, disagreeable odour, which is in great measure dissipated by drying. It has a weakly saline, bitter and slightly acrid taste.
Toadflax abounds in an acrid oil, reputed to be poisonous, but no harm from it has ever been recorded. Little or nothing is known of its toxic principle, but its use in medicine was well known to the ancients.
Its constituents are stated to be two glucosides, Linarin and Pectolinarian, with linarosin, linaracin, antirrhinic, tannic and citric acids, a yellow coloring matter, mucilage and sugar.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Astringent, hepatic and detergent. It has some powerful qualities as a purgative and diuretic, causing it to be recommended in jaundice, liver, skin diseases and scrofula; an infusion of 1 OZ. to the pint has been found serviceable as an alterative in these cases and in incipient dropsy. The infusion has a bitter and unpleasant taste, occasioned by the presence of the acrid essential oil. It was at one time in great reputation among herb doctors for dropsy. The herb distilled answers the same purpose, as a decoction of both leaves and flowers in removing obstructions of the liver. It is very effectual if a little Peruvian bark or solution of quinine and a little cinnamon be combined with it. Gerard informs us that 'the decoction openeth the stopping of the liver and spleen, and is singular good against the jaundice which is of long continuance,' and further states that 'a decoction of Toadflax taketh away the yellownesse and deformitie of the skinne, being washed and bathed therewith.'
The fresh plant is sometimes applied as a poultice or fomentation to haemorrhoids, and an ointment of the flowers has been employed for the same purpose, and also locally in diseases of the skin. A cooling ointment is made from the fresh plant - the whole herb is chopped and boiled in lard till crisp, then strained. The result is a fine green ointment, a good application for piles, sores, ulcers and skin eruptions.
The juice of the herb, or the distilled water, has been considered a good remedy for inflammation of the eyes, and for cleansing ulcerous sores.
Boiled in milk, the plant is said to yield an excellent fly poison, and it is an old country custom in parts of Sweden to infuse Toadflax flowers in milk, and stand the infusion about where flies are troublesome.
The flowers have been employed in Germany as a yellow dye.

Toadflax, Ivy-Leaved

Botanical: Linaria Cymbalaria
Family: N.O. Scrophulariaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Ivywort. Aaron's Beard. Climbing Sailor. Creeping Jenny. Mother of Millions. Mother of Thousands. Thousand Flower. Oxford-weed. Pedlar's Basket. Pennywort. Rabbits. Roving Jenny. Wandering Jew.
---Part Used---Herb.
Ivy-leaved Toadflax (Mill.) (Linaria Cymbalaria). This little trailing plant, with ivylike leaves and small lilac flowers, was not originally a British plant, but a native of the Mediterranean region, but it has become naturalized over almost the whole of Europe, from Holland southwards, except in Turkey, and is now thoroughly at home in England, having first been introduced into the Chelsea Botanic Gardens from Italy.
It is mostly found near houses, on old garden walls, where it hangs down from the interstices between the stones, the roots being thin and fibrous, and finding their way into crevices The stems are purple in color and very numerous, slender and stringy, rooting at intervals and very long, growing to a length of 2 or 3 feet.
The ivy-like leaves, some what thick in texture, and smooth, are cutup into five prominent, rounded lobes or divisions, and are on long stalks. The backs of the leaves are of a reddish-purple. The flower-stalks, about equal in length to the leaf-stalks, arise singly from the axils of the leaves and bear small flowers similar in form to those of the common Toadflax, of a delicate lilac color, the palate being bright yellow and each blossom ending in a spur, which in this case is only as long as the calyx. Before fertilization each flower pushes itself out into the light and sun, standing erect, but when the seeds are mature, it bends downward, buries the capsule in the dark crannies between the stones on which it grows, the seeds being thus dispersed by direct action of the plant itself.
This little Toadflax is in flower from May right up to November, and is visited only by bees. It has become a favourite garden flower for planting on rockeries.
Gerard illustrates the plant in his Herbal, springing from brickwork, but the block of his illustration was incorrectly placed upside down, so that the plant instead of being represented as growing downwards, stands erect. Parkinson, in 1640, also figures this plant in the same way, and names it Cymbalaria hederacea.
In Italy it is the 'plant of the Madonna.'
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The Ivy-leaved Toadflax has anti-scorbutic properties, and has been eaten as a salad in southern Europe, being acrid and pungent like Cress.
It is reported to have been successfully administered in India for diabetes.
The flowers yield a clear but not permanent yellow dye.


Botanical: Nicotiana Tabacum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Solanaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Steadman Shorter's Medical Dictionary, 1942, Poisons & Antidotes: Tobacco
Tabacca. Tabaci Folia (B.P.C.).
---Part Used---
Leaves, cured and dried.
Virginia, America; and cultivated with other species in China, Turkey, Greece, Holland, France, Germany and most sub-tropical countries.
The genus derives its name from Joan Nicot, a Portuguese who introduced the Tobacco plant into France. The specific name being derived from the Haitian word for the pipe in which the herb is smoked. Tobacco is an annual, with a long fibrous root, stem erect, round, hairy, and viscid; it branches near the top and is from 3 to 6 feet high. Leaves large, numerous, alternate, sessile, somewhat decurrent, ovate, lanceolate, pointed, entire, slightly viscid and hairy, pale-green color, brittle, narcotic odour, with a nauseous, bitter acrid taste. Nicotine is a volatile oil, inflammable, powerfully alkaline, with an acrid smell and a burning taste. By distillation with water it yields a concrete volatile oil termed nicotianin or Tobacco camphor, which is tasteless, crystalline, and smells of Tobacco; other constituents are albumen, resin, gum, and inorganic matters.
The most important constituent is the alkaloid Nicotine, nicotianin, nicotinine, nicoteine, nicoteline. After leaves are smoked the nicotine decomposes into pyridine, furfurol, collidine, hydrocyanic acid, carbon-monoxide, etc. The poisonous effects of Tobacco smoke are due to these substances of decomposed nicotine.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A local irritant; if used as snuff it causes violent sneezing, also a copious secretion of mucous; chewed, it increases the flow of saliva by irritating the mucous membrane of the mouth; injected into the rectum it acts as a cathartic. In large doses it produces nausea, vomiting, sweats and great muscular weakness.
The alkaloid nicotine is a virulent poison producing great disturbance in the digestive and circulatory organs. It innervates the heart, causing palpitation and cardiac irregularities and vascular contraction, and is considered one of the causes of arterial degeneration.
Nicotine is very like coniine and lobeline in its pharmacological action, and the pyridines in the smoke modify very slightly its action.
Tobacco was once used as a relaxant, but is no longer employed except occasionally in chronic asthma. Its active principle is readily absorbed by the skin, and serious, even fatal, poisoning, from a too free application of it to the surface of the skin has resulted.
The smoke acts on the brain, causing nausea, vomiting and drowsiness.
Medicinally it is used as a sedative, diuretic, expectorant, discutient, and sialagogue, and internally only as an emetic, when all other emetics fail. The smoke injected into the rectum or the leaf rolled into a suppository has been beneficial in strangulated hernia, also for obstinate constipation, due to spasm of the bowels, also for retention of urine, spasmodic urethral stricture, hysterical convulsions, worms, and in spasms caused by lead, for croup, and inflammation of the peritoneum, to produce evacuation of the bowels, moderating reaction and dispelling tympanitis, and also in tetanus. To inject the smoke it should be blown into milk and injected, for croup and spasms of the rima glottides it is made into a plaster with Scotch snuff and lard and applied to throat and breast, and has proved very effectual. A cataplasm of the leaves may be used as an ointment for cutaneous diseases. The leaves in combination with the leaves of belladonna or stramonium make an excellent application for obstinate ulcers, painful tremors and spasmodic affections. A wet Tobacco leaf applied to piles is a certain cure. The inspissated juice cures facial neuralgia if rubbed along the tracks of the affected nerve. The quantity of the injection must never exceed a scruple to begin with; half a drachm has been known to produce amaurosis and other eye affections, deafness, etc.
The Tobacco plant was introduced into England by Sir Walter Raleigh and his friends in 1586, and at first met with violent opposition.
Kings prohibited it, Popes pronounced against it in Bulls, and in the East Sultans condemned Tobacco smokers to cruel deaths. Three hundred years later, in 1885, the leaves were official in the British Pharmacopoeia.
Externally nicotine is an antiseptic. It is eliminated partly by the lungs, but chiefly in the urine, the secretion of which it increases. Formerly Tobacco in the form of an enema of the leaves was used to relax muscular spasms, to facilitate the reduction of dislocations.
A pipe smoked after breakfast assists the action of the bowels.
The pituri plant contains an alkaloid, Pitarine, similar to nicotine, and the leaves are used in Australia instead of Tobacco. An infusion of Tobacco is generally used in horticulture as an insecticide.
In cases of nicotine poisoning, the stomach should be quickly emptied, and repeated doses of tannic acid given, the person kept very warm in bed, and stimulants such as caffeine, strychnine, or atropine given, or if there are signs of respiratory failure, oxygen must be given at once.
---Other Species---
Tobacco (Nicotiana rustica). Turkish Tobacco is grown in all parts of the globe.
N. quadrivalis, affording Tobacco to the Indians of the Missouri and Columbia Rivers, has, as the name implies, four-valved capsules.
N. fruticosa - habitat, China - is a very handsome plant and differs from the other varieties in its sharp-pointed capsules.
N. persica. Cultivated in Persia; is the source of Persian Tobacco.
N. repandu. Cultivated in Central and southern North America. Havannah is used in the manufacture of the best cigars.
Latakria Tobacco (syn. N. Tabacum) is the only species cultivated in Cuba.
N. latissima yields the Tobacco known as Orinoco.
N. multivulvis has several valved capsules.

Tolu Balsam

Tonka Beans
See Tonquin.

Tonquin Bean

Botanical: Dipteryx odorata (WILLD.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Tonka Bean. Coumarouna odorata.
---Part Used---
A forest tree native to Brazil and British Guiana and called there 'Rumara'.
The odour of coumarin, which distinguishes the Tonka Bean, is found in many plants, especially in Melilotus, sweet vernal grass, and related grasses.
One pound of the beans has yielded 108 grains of coumarin, which is the anhydride of coumaric acid. In addition to its use in perfurnery as a fixative, coumarin is used to flavour castor-oil and to disguise the odour of iodoform.
The fatty substance of the beans is sold in Holland as Tonquin butter.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Aromatic, cardiac, tonic, narcotic. The fluid extract has been used with advantage in whooping cough, but it paralyses the heart if used in large doses.
For children of five years' old, 5 to 8 grains.


Botanical: Potentilla Tormentilla (NECK.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
Chemical Constituents
Medicinal Action and Uses
Septfoil. Thormantle. Biscuits. Bloodroot. Earthbank. Ewe Daisy. Five Fingers. Flesh and Blood. Shepherd's Knapperty. Shepherd's Knot. English Sarsaparilla.
---Parts Used---
Root, herb.
In Potentilla Tormentilla the flowers are yellow as in P. reptans, but smaller, and have four petals instead of five, and eight sepals, not ten so separated as to form a Maltese cross when regarded from above.
From the root-stock come leaves on long stalks, divided into three or five oval leaflets (occasionally, but rarely, seven, hence the names Septfoil and Seven Leaves), toothed towards their tips. The stem-leaves, in this species, are stalkless with three leaflets.
A small-flowered form is very frequent on heaths and in dry pastures, a larger-flowered, in which the slender stems do not rise, but trail on the ground, is more general in woods, and on hedge-banks. From the ascending form, 6 to 12 inches high, this species has been called P. erecta, but even in this case the long stems are more often creeping and ascending rather than actually erect.
The name Tormentil is said to be derived from the Latin tormentum, which signifies such gripings of the intestines as the herb will serve to relieve, likewise the twinges of toothache.
The plant is very astringent, and has been used in some places for tanning.
It has been official in various Pharmacopoeias and was formerly in the Secondary List of the United States Pharmacopoeia.
It is considered one of the safest and most powerful of our native aromatic astringents, and for its tonic properties has been termed 'English Sarsaparilla.'
All parts of the plant are astringent, especially the red, woody rhizome.
The rhizome is 1 to 2 inches long, as thick as the finger, or smaller, tapering to one end, usually with one to three short branches near the larger end, ridged, with several strong, longitudinal wrinkles between them, bearing numerous blunt indentations. It is brown or blackish externally; internally, light brownish red; the fracture short and somewhat resinous, showing a thin bark, one or two circles of small, yellowish wood-wedges, broad medullary rays and a large pith. It has a peculiar faint, slightly aromatic odour and a strongly astringent taste.
---Chemical Constituents---
It contains 18 to 30 per cent of tannin, 18 per cent of a red coloring principle - Tormentil Red, a product of the tannin and yielding with potassium hydroxide, protocatechuic acid and phloroglucin. It is soluble in alcohol, but insoluble in water. Also some resin and ellagic and kinovic acids have been reported.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
There is a great demand for the rhizome, which in modern herbal medicine is used extensively as an astringent in diarrhoea and other discharges, operating without producing any stimulant effects. It also imparts nourishment and support to the bowels.
It is employed as a gargle in sore, relaxed and ulcerated throat and also as an injection in leucorrhoea.
It may be given in substance, decoction or extract. The dose of the powdered root or fluid extract is 1/2 to 1 drachm.
The fluid extract acts as a styptic to cuts, wounds, etc.
A strongly-made decoction is recommended as a good wash for piles and inflamed eyes. The decoction is made by boiling 2 OZ. of the bruised root in 50 OZ. of water till it is reduced one-third. It is then strained and taken in doses of 1 1/2 OZ. It may be used as an astringent gargle.
If a piece of lint be soaked in the decoction and kept applied to warts, they will disappear.
The decoction for internal use should be made with 4 drachms to 1/2 pint of water, boiled for 10 minutes, adding 1/2 drachm of cinnamon stick at the end of boiling. Dose, 1 or 2 tablespoonsful.
Compound Powder of Tormentil. (A very reliable medicine in diarrhoea and dysentery.) Powdered Tormentil, 1 OZ; Powdered Galangal, 1 OZ.; Powdered Marshmallow root, 1 OZ.; Powdered Ginger, 4 drachms.
An infusion is made of the powdered ingredients by pouring 1 pint of boiling water upon them, allowing to cool and then straining the liquid. Dose, 1 or 2 fluid drachms, every 15 minutes, till the pain is relieved - then take three or four times a day.
A simple infusion is made by scalding 1 OZ. of the powdered Tormentil with 1 pint of water and taking as required in wineglassful doses for chronic diarrhcea, fluxes, etc.
A continental recipe for an astringent decoction is equal parts of Tormentilla, Bistort and Pomegranate.
Dr. Thornton declared that in fluxes of blood, 1 drachm of Tormentil given four times a day in an infusion of Hops did wonders.
Thornton tells of a poor old man who made wonderful cures of ague, smallpox, whooping cough, etc., from an infusion of this herb and became so celebrated locally that Lord William Russell gave him a piece of ground in which to cultivate it, which he did, keeping it a secret for long.
It was much given for cholera, and also sometimes in intermittent fevers, and used in a lotion for ulcers and long-standing sores. The juice of the fresh root, or the powder of the dried, was used in compounding ointments and plasters for application to wounds and sores.
The fresh root, bruised, and applied to the throat and jaws was held to heal the King's Evil.
Culpepper says:
'Tormentil is most excellent to stay all fluxes of blood or humours, whether at nose, mouth or belly. The juice of the herb and root, or the decoction thereof, taken with some Venice treacle and the person laid to sweat, expels any venom or poison, or the plague, fever or other contagious disease, as the pox, measles, etc., for it is an ingredient in all antidotes or counterpoisons.'. . . 'It resisteth putrefaction.' . . . 'The root taken inwardly is most effectual to help any flux of the belly, stomach, spleen or blood and the juice wonderfully opens obstructions of the spleen and lungs and cureth yellow jaundice. Tormentil is no less effectual and powerful a remedy against outward wounds, sores and hurts than for inward and is therefore a special ingredient to be used in wound drinks, lotions and injections. . . . It is also effectual for the piles. . . . The juice or powder of the root, put into ointments, plasters and such things that are applied to wounds or sores is very effectual.'
In the Western Isles of Scotland and in the Orkneys the roots were used for tanning leather and considered superior even to oak bark, being first boiled in water and the leather steeped in the cold liquor. The Laplanders employed the thickened red juice of the root for staining leather red.
The Americans use the name Tormentil for Geranium maculatum, the Spotted Cranesbill, which has similar properties.
Many other of the 150 species of Potentilla have been similarly used in medicine.


Botanical: Astragalus gummifer (LABILL.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Gum Tragacanth. Syrian Tragacanth. Gum Dragon (known in commerce as Syrian Tragacanth).
---Part Used---
Gummy exudation.
Asia Minor, Persia and Kurdistan.
The plant is a small branching thorny shrub, the stem of which exudes a gum, vertical slits giving flat ribbon-shaped pieces and punctures giving tears; these have a horny appearance, are nearly colorless or faintly yellow, marked with numerous concentric ridges; the flakes break with a short fracture, are odourless and nearly tasteless; soaked in cold water, they swell and form a gelatinous mass 8 or 10 per cent only dissolving.
The portion soluble in water contains chiefly polyarabinan-trigalaetangeddic acid; the insoluble part is called bassorin. Tragacanth also contains water, traces of starch, cellulose, and nitrogenous substances, yielding about 3 per cent ash.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Demulcent, but owing to its incomplete solubility is not often used internally. It is much used for the suspension of heavy, insoluble powders to impart consistence to lozenges, being superior to gum arabic, also in making emulsions, mucilago, etc. Mucilage of Tragacanth has been used as anapplication to burns; it is also employed by manufacturers for stiffening calico, crape, etc.
Mucilage, B.P. and U.S.P. Comp. Powder, B.P., 20 to 60 grains.
The Indian gum, the product of Coplospermum gossypium, also acacia, dextrin wheat and corn starch.

Travellers' Joy
See Clematis.

Tree of Heaven

Botanical: Ailanthus glandulosa (DESF.)
Family: N.O. Simarubeae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Chinese Sumach. Vernis de Japon. Ailanto. (Trans. as Tree of the Gods. - Götterbaum.).
---Parts Used---
Inner bark of tree, root.
---Habitat---China and India. Cuitivated throughout Europe and the United States.
A large, handsome tree of rapid growth, bearing leaves from 1 to 2 feet long, and greenish flowers of a disagreeable odour. Was introduced into England in 1751 and is frequently found in gardens as a shade tree.
The Ailanthus imberiflora occurs in Australia, and in India the A. excelsa has a bark used as a bitter tonic.
In France it is cultivated for its leaves, on which the caterpillar of the silk-spinning Ailanthus Moth (Bombyx Cynthia) is fed, yielding a silk more durable and cheaper than Mulberry silk, though inferior to it in fineness and gloss. Its name of Japan Varnish shows that it was mistaken for the true Japanese Varnish Tree, a species of Sumach. At one time it was classed as a Rhus.
The wood is satiny, yellowish-white, and well suited for cabinet-making when climates permit of adequate growth.
The bark has a nauseating, bitter taste, and, when fresh, a sickening odour.
The leaves have been found in commerce adulterated with those of senna.
Lignin, chlorophyll, a yellow coloring matter, a gelatinous substance (pectin), quassin, an odorous resin, traces of a volatile oil, a nitrogenous, fatty matter, and several salts. A later analysis found starch, tannin, albumen, gum, sugar, oleoresin, and a trace of volatile oil, potash, phosphoric acid, sulphuric acid, iron, lime, and magnesia.
All the characteristic properties of eitherthe fresh or carefully dried bark can be exhausted by alcohol, to which a deep, green color will be imparted, changing to yellowish-brown with age and more quickly if exposed to air.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Antispasmodic, cardiac depressant, astringent. The effect produced by Hetet when experimenting on dogs, was copious stools and the discharge of worms. The resin purges, but rarely acts as an anthelmintic. In China the bark is popular for dysentery and other bowel complaints. A smaller dose of the oleoresin produces similar results, and keeps better than the bark.
The vapours of the evaporating extract have a prostrating effect, as have the emanations from the blossoms, while the action upon patients of powder or extract is disagreeable and nauseating, though they have been successfully used in dysentery and diarrhoea, gonorrhoea, leucorrhoea, prolapsus ani, etc., and also as a taenifuge.
The infusion may be given in sweetened orange-flower or other aromatic water, to lessen the bitterness and resultant sickness. Though it produces vomiting and great relaxation, it is stated not to be poisonous.
A tincture of the root-bark has been used successfully in cardiac palpitation, asthma and epilepsy.
The action of the trees in malarial districts is considered to resemble that of the Eucalyptus.
The statement that the resin is purgative has been disputed, some asserting that it is inert.
From 7 to 20 grains. Of the tincture, 5 to 60 drops from two to four times aday. Of the infusion, a teaspoonful, night and morning, cold. (50 grams of the rootbark infused for a short time in 75 grams of hot water, then strained.)

Turkey Corn

Botanical: D
icentra Canadensis (D.C.)
Family: N.O. Furnariaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Turkey Pea. Squirrel Corn. Staggerweed. Bleeding Heart. Shone Corydalis. Corydalis. Corydalis Canadensis (Goldie). Bicuculla Canadensis (Millsp.).
---Part Used---Dried tubers.
Westward and south of New York to North Carolina.
This plant is essentially indigenous to America, a perennial 6 to 10 inches high, with a tuberous root, flowering in early spring (often in March) having from six to nineteen nodding, greenish-white, purple-tinged flowers, the root or tuber small and round. It should be collected only when the plant is in flower. It grows in rich soil on hills and mountains. The tubers are tawny yellow-colored, the color being a distinctive character. The plant must not be confounded with Corydalis (Dicentra) Cuccularia (Dutchman's Breeches), which flowers at the same time and very much resembles it (though smaller), except in the root, the rind of which is black with a white inside, and when dried, turns brownish-yellow, and under the microscope is full of pores. It has also a peculiar faint odour, the taste at first slightly bitter, then followed by a penetrating taste, which influences the bowels and increases the saliva; the differences in the color after drying may be caused by the age of the root. Under the microscope, it is porous, spongy, resinous, with a glistening fracture. Another Corydalis also somewhat like Turkey Corn is C. Formosa, the fresh root of which is darkish yellow throughout and has a fracture much resembling honeycomb. The true Turkey Corn is much used by American eclectic practitioners. It is slightly bitter in taste and almost odourless. Tannic acid and all vegetable astringents are incompatible with preparations containing Turkey Corn, or with its alkaloid, Corydalin.
The amount of alkaloids in the dried tubers is about 5 per cent; they have been found to contain corydalin, fumaric acid, yellow bitter extractive, an acrid resin and starch. The constituents of the drug have not been exactly determined, but several species of the closely allied genus Corydalis have been carefully studied and C. tuberosa, cava and bulbosa have been found to yield the following alkaloids: Corycavine, Bulbocapnine and Corydine; Corydaline is a tertiary base, Corycavine is a difficult soluble base; Bulbocapnine is present in largest amount and was originally called Corydaline. Corydine is a strong base found in the mother liquor of Bulbocapnine and several amorphous unnamed bases have been found in it. All these alkaloids have narcotic action. Protopine, first isolated from opium, has been found in several species of Dicentra and in C. vernyim, ambigua and tuberosa.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Tonic, diuretic and alterative; useful in chroniccutaneous affections, syphilis and scrofula and in some menstrual complaints. The corydalin sold by druggists is often impure.
Turkey Corn is often combined with other remedies, such as Stillingia, Burdock or Prickly Ash.
An infusion is prepared of 5 grams of the powdered Corydalin in 100 c.c. of hot distilled water stirred for 10 minutes and then filtered. This gives a light amber fluid and a precipitate with mercuric-potassium iodide T.S. and a dark blue color with Iodine T.S.
Infusion, 1/2 OZ. in 1 pint of boiling water, in wineglassful doses three or four times daily. Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Corydalin, in 1/2 grains, three or four times daily. Saturated tincture, 1/2 drachm to 2 fluid drachms.
---Other Species---
Dicentra pusilla (Sieb et Zuce), of Japan, is there popularly used for dysentery.
C. ambigua, used by the Chinese in medicine. A number of the same alkaloids are found in it and others closely allied.
As commonly understood in medicine, the name Corydalis applies to the tubers of Turkey Corn, but several others of the genus Dicentra and Corydalis are used.


Botanical: Curcuma longa (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Zingiberaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Curcuma. Curcuma rotunda (LINN.). Amomum curcuma (Jacq.).
---Part Used---
Dried rhizome.
Southern Asia. Cultivated in China, Bengal and Java.
A perennial plant with roots or tubers oblong, palmate, and deep orange inside; root-leaves about 2 feet long, lanceolate, long, petioled, tapering at each end, smooth, of a uniform green; petioles sheathing spike, erect, central, oblong, green; flowers dull yellow, three or five together surrounded by bracteolae. It is propagated by cuttings from the root, which when dry is in curved cylindrical or oblong tubers 2 or 3 inches in length, and an inch in diameter, pointed or tapering at one end, yellowish externally, with transverse, parallel rings internally deep orange or reddish brown, marked with shining points, dense, solid, short, granular fracture, forming a lemon yellow powder. It has a peculiar fragrant odour and a bitterish, slightly acrid taste, like ginger, exciting warmth in the mouth and coloring the saliva yellow. It yields its properties to water or alcohol.
An acrid, volatile oil, brown coloring matter, gum, starch, chloride of calcium, woody fibre and a yellowish coloring matter named curcumin; this is obtained by digesting tumeric in boiling alcohol, filtering and evaporating the solution to dryness, the residue being digested in ether, filtered and evaporated.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Tumeric is a mild aromatic stimulant seldom used in medicine except as a coloring. It was once a cure for jaundice. Its chief use is in the manufacture of curry powders. It is also used as an adulterant of mustard and a substitute for it and forms one of the ingredients of many cattle condiments. Tincture of Turmeric is used as a coloring agent, but the odour is fugitive. It dyes a rich yellow. Turmeric paper is prepared by soaking unglazed white paper in the tincture and then drying. Used as a test for alkaloids and boric acid.


Botanical: Ipomoea Turpethum
Family: N.O. Convolvulaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Turpeth Root. Indian Jalap. Trivrit. Nisoth. Operculina Turpethum.
---Parts Used---
Dried root, stem.
India. Ceylon, Pacific Islands, China, Australia.
There are two varieties of this convolvulaceous plant, the Sveta, or White Turpeth, preferred as a mild cathartic, and the black or Kirshna, a powerful drastic. The pieces of root are cylindrical, somewhat twisted, and dull grey outside. The drug has a faint odour, and the taste becomes nauseous after it has been in the mouth for some time, though less so than the true jalap. The genus Ipomoea are closely related to the Batatas.
Resin, a fatty substance, volatile oil, albumen, starch, a yellow coloring matter, lignin, salts, and ferric oxide. The root contains 10 per cent of resin, which is a glucoside, Turpethin, insoluble in ether, but soluble in alcohol, to which it gives a brown color not removable by animal charcoal. To obtain pure, the alcoholic solution is concentrated; the resin is precipitated by, and afterwards boiled with, water, then dried, reduced to powder, digested with ether, and finally redissolved by absolute alcohol and deposited by ether. After being treated several times in this way, it is obtained in the state of a brownish resin, yielding on pulverization a grey powder, which irritates the mucous membrane of the nostrils and mouth. It is inflammable, burning with a smoky flame and emitting irritant vapours. With strong bases it acts like jalapin, takes up water, and is transferred into a soluble acid, while with dilute acids it is decomposed into turpetholic acid, and glucose.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Cathartic and purgative. It is rather slow in its action, less powerful and less unpleasant than jalap.
---Dosage---5 to 20 grains.
Bindweed, Greater
Bindweed, Jalap
Bindweed, Sea
Bindweed, Syrian


Descript :
This rises up with a round thick stalk, about two feet high, whereon do grow thick, flat green leaves, nothing so large as the other Indian kind, somewhat round pointed also, and nothing dented about the edges. The stalk branches forth, and bears at the tops divers flowers set on great husks like the other, but nothing so large: scarce standing above the brims of the husks, round pointed also, and of a greenish yellow color. The seed that follows is not so bright, but larger, contained in the like great heads. The roots are neither so great nor woody; it perishes every year with the hard frosts in Winter, but rises generally from its own sowing.
Place :
This came from some parts of Brazil, as it is thought, and is more familiar in our country than any of the other sorts; early giving ripe seed, which the others seldom do.
Time :
It flowers from June, sometimes to the end of August, or later, and the seed ripens in the mean time.
Government and virtues :
It is a martial plant. It is found by good experience to be available to expectorate tough phlegm from the stomach, chest, and lungs. The juice thereof made into a syrup, or the distilled water of the herb drank with some sugar, or without, if you will, or the smoak taken by a pipe, as is usual, but fainting, helps to expel worms in the stomach and belly, and to ease the pains in the head, or megrim, and the griping pains in the bowels. It is profitable for those that are troubled with the stone in the kidneys, both to ease the pains by provoking urine, and also to expel gravel and the stone engendered therein, and hath been found very effectual to expel windiness, and other humours, which cause the strangling of the mother. The seed thereof is very effectual to expel the tooth ache, and the ashes of the burnt herb to cleanse the gums, and make the teeth white. The herb bruised and applied to the place grieved with the king's evil, helps it in nine or ten days effectually. Monardus saith, It is a counter poison against the biting of any venomous creature, the herb also being outwardly applied to the hurt place. The distilled water is often given with some sugar before the fit of an ague, to lessen it, and take it away in three or four times using. If the distilled fæces of the herb, having been bruised before the distillation, and not distilled dry, be set in warm dung for fourteen days, and afterwards be hung in a bag in a wine cellar, the liquor that distills therefrom is singularly good to use in cramps, aches, the gout and sciatica, and to heal itches, scabs, and running ulcers, cankers, and all foul sores whatsoever. The juice is also good for all the said griefs, and likewise to kill lice in children's heads. The green herb bruised and applied to any green wounds, cures any fresh wound or cut whatsoever: and the juice put into old sores, both cleanses and heals them. There is also made hereof a singularly good salve to help imposthumes, hard tumours, and other swellings by blows and falls.


Garden Tansy is so well known, that it needs no description.
Time :
It flowers in June and July.
Government and virtues :
Dame Venus was minded to pleasure women with child by this herb, for there grows not an herb, fitter for their use than this is; it is just as though it were cut out for the purpose. This herb bruised and applied to the navel, stays miscarriages. I know no herb like it for that use. Boiled in ordinary beer, and the decoction drank, doth the like; and if her womb be not as she would have it, this decoction will make it so. Let those women that desire children love this herb, it is their best companion, their husbands excepted. Also it consumes the phlegmatic humours, the cold and moist constitution of Winter most usually affects the body of man with, and that was the first reason of eating tansies in the Spring. The decoction of the common Tansy, or the juice drank in wine, is a singular remedy for all the griefs that come by stopping of the urine, helps the stranguary and those that have weak reins and kidneys. It is also very profitable to dissolve and expel wind in the stomach, belly, or bowels, to procure women's courses, and expel windiness in the matrix, if it be bruised and often smelled unto, as also applied to the lower part of the belly. It is also very profitable for such women as are given to miscarry. It is used also against the stone in the reins, especially to men. The herb fried with eggs (as it is the custom in the Spring-time) which is called a Tansy, helps to digest and carry downward those bad humours that trouble the stomach. The seed is very profitably given to children for the worms, and the juice in drink is as effectual. Being boiled in oil, it is good for the sinews shrunk by cramps, or pained with colds, if thereto applied.


This is also so well known, that it needs no description.
Place :
It grows in every place.
Time :
It flowers in June and July.
Government and virtues :
Now Dame Venus hath fitted women with two herbs of one name, the one to help conception, and the other to maintain beauty, and what more can be expected of her? What now remains for you, but to love your husbands, and not be wanting to your poor neighbours? Wild Tansy stays the lask, and all the fluxes of blood in men and women, which some say it will do, if the green herb be worn in the shoes, so it be next the skin; and it is true enough, that it will stop the terms, if worn so, and the whites too, for ought I know. It stays also spitting or vomiting of blood. The powder of the herb taken in some of the distilled water, helps the whites in women, but more especially if a little coral and ivory in powder be put to it. It is also recommended to help children that are bursten, and have a rupture, being boiled in water and salt. Being boiled in water and drank, it eases the griping pains of the bowels, and is good for the sciatica and joint-aches. The same boiled in vinegar, with honey and allum, and gargled in the mouth, eases the pains of the tooth-ache, fastens loose teeth, helps the gums that are sore, and settles the palate of the mouth in its place, when it is fallen down. It cleanses and heals ulcers in the mouth, or secret parts, and is very good for inward wounds, and to close the lips of green wounds, and to heal old, moist, and corrupt running sores in the legs or elsewhere. Being bruised and applied to the soles of the feet and hand wrists, it wonderfully cools the hot fits of agues, be they never so violent. The distilled water cleanses the skin of all discolorings therein, as morphew, sun-burnings, &c. as also pimples, freckles, and the like; and dropped into the eyes, or cloths wet therein and applied, takes away the heat and inflammations in them.


Of these are many kinds growing here in England which are so well known, that they need no description. Their difference is easily known on the places where they grow, viz.
Place :
Some grow in fields, some in meadows, and some among the corn; others on heaths, greens, and waste grounds in many places.
Time :
They flower in June and August, and their seed is ripe quickly after.
Government and virtues :
Surely Mars rules it, it is such a prickly business. All these thistles are good to provoke urine, and to mend the stinking smell thereof; as also the rank smell of the arm-pits, or the whole body; being boiled in wine and drank, and are said to help a stinking breath, and to strengthen the stomach. Pliny saith, That the juice bathed on the place that wants hair, it being fallen off, will cause it to grow speedily.


Descript :
It rises up with tender single hoary green stalks, bearing thereon four or five green leaves, dented about the edges; the points thereof are little or nothing prickly, and at the top usually but one head, yet sometimes from the bosom of the uppermost leaves there shoots forth another small head, scaly and prickly, with many reddish thrumbs or threads in the middle, which being gathered fresh, will keep the color a long time, and fades not from the stalk a long time, while it perfects the seed, which is of a mean bigness, lying in the down. The root hath many strings fastened to the head, or upper part, which is blackish, and perishes not.
There is another sort little differing from the former, but that the leaves are more green above, and more hoary underneath, and the stalk being about two feet high, bears but one scaly head, with threads and seeds as the former.
Place :
They grow in many moist meadows of this land, as well in the southern, as in the northern parts.
Time :
They flower about July or August, and their seed ripens quickly after.
Government and virtues :
It is under Capricorn, and therefore under both Saturn and Mars, one rids melancholy by sympathy, the other by antipathy. Their virtues are but few, but those not to be despised; for the decoction of the thistle in wine being drank, expels superfluous melancholy out of the body, and makes a man as merry as a cricket; superfluous melancholy causes care, fear, sadness, despair, envy, and many evils more besides; but religion teaches to wait upon God's providence, and cast our care upon him who cares for us. What a fine thing were it if men and women could live so! And yet seven years' care and fear makes a man never the wiser, nor a farthing richer. Dioscorides saith, The root borne about one doth the like, and removes all diseases of melancholy. Modern writers laugh at him. Let them laugh that win: my opinion is, that it is the best remedy against all melancholy diseases that grows; they that please may use it.


Descript :
Our Lady's Thistle hath divers very large and broad leaves lying on the ground cut in, and as it were crumpled, but somewhat hairy on the edges, of a white green shining color, wherein are many lines and streaks of a milk white color, running all over, and set with many sharp and stiff prickles all about, among which rises up one or more strong, round, and prickly stalks, set full of the like leaves up to the top, where at the end of every branch, comes forth a great prickly Thistle-like head, strongly armed with prickles, and with bright purple thumbs rising out of the middle; after they are past, the seed grows in the said heads, lying in soft white down, which is somewhat flattish in the ground, and many strings and fibres fastened thereunto. All the whole plant is bitter in taste.
Place :
It is frequent on the banks of almost every ditch.
Time :
It flowers and seeds in June, July, and August.
Government and virtues :
Our Lady's Thistle is under Jupiter, and thought to be as effectual as Carduus Benedictus for agues, and to prevent and cure the infection of the plague: as also to open the obstructions of the liver and spleen, and thereby is good against the jaundice. It provokes urine, breaks and expels the stone, and is good for the dropsy. It is effectual also for the pains in the sides, and many other inward pains and gripings. The seed and distilled water is held powerful to all the purposes aforesaid, and besides, it is often applied both outwardly with cloths or spunges to the region of the liver, to cool the distemper thereof, and to the region of the heart, against swoonings and the passions of it. It cleanses the blood exceedingly: and in Spring, if you please to boil the tender plant (but cut off the prickles unless you have a mind to choak yourself) it will change your blood as the season changes, and that is the way to be safe.


Descript :
This has many large leaves lying upon the ground, somewhat cut in, and as it were crumpled on the edges, of a green color on the upper side, but covered over with a long hairy wool or cotton down, set with most sharp and cruel pricks; from the middle of whose heads of flowers come forth many purplish crimson threads, and sometimes white, although but seldom. The seed that follow in those white downy heads, is somewhat large and round, resembling the seed of Lady's Thistle, but paler. The root is great and thick, spreading much, yet usually dies after seed time.
Place :
It grows in divers ditch-banks, and in the corn-fields, and highways, generally throughout the land, and is often growing in gardens.
Government and virtues :
It is a plant of Mars. Dioscorides and Pliny write, That the leaves and roots hereof taken in drink, help those that have a crick in their neck, that they cannot turn it, unless they turn their whole body. Galen saith, That the roots and leaves hereof are good for such persons that have their bodies drawn together by some spasm or convulsion, or other infirmities; as the rickets (or as the college of physicians would have it, Rachites, about which name they have quarrelled sufficiently) in children, being a disease that hinders their growth, by binding their nerves, ligaments, and whole structure of their body.


It is so well known, that it needs no description, being used with the cloth-workers.
The wild Teasle is in all things like the former, but that the prickles are small, soft, and upright, not hooked or stiff, and the flowers of this are of a fine blueish, or pale carnation color, but of the manured kind, whitish.
Place :
The first grows, being sown in gardens or fields for the use of clothworkers. The other near ditches and rills of water in many places of this land.
Time :
They flower in July, and are ripe in the end of August.
Government and virtues :
It is an herb of Venus. Dioscorides saith, That the root bruised and boiled in wine, till it be thick, and kept in a brazen vessel, and after spread as a salve, and applied to the fundament, doth heal the cleft thereof, cankers and fistulas therein, also takes away warts and wens. The juice of the leaves dropped into the ears, kills worms in them. The distilled water of the leaves dropped into the eyes, takes away redness and mists in them that hinder the sight, and is often used by women to preserve their beauty, and to take away redness and inflammations, and all other heat or discolorings.


Descript :
It rises up with a hard round stalk, about a foot high, parted into some branches, having divers soft green leaves long and narrow, set thereon, waved, but not cut into the edges, broadest towards the ends, somewhat round pointed; the flowers are white that grow at the tops of the branches, spike-fashion, one above another; after which come round pouches, parted in the middle with a furrow, having one blackish brown seed on either side, somewhat sharp in taste, and smelling of garlick, especially in the fields where it is natural, but not so much in gardens. The roots are small and thready, perishing every year.
Give me leave here to add Mithridate Mustard, although it may seem more properly by the name to belong to M, in the alphabet.


Descript :
This grows higher than the former, spreading more and higher branches, whose leaves are smaller and narrower, sometimes unevenly dented about the edges. The flowers are small and white, growing on long branches, with much smaller and rounder vessels after them, and parted in the same manner, having smaller brown seeds than the former, and much sharper in taste. The root perishes after seed time, but abides the first Winter after springing.
Place :
They grow in sundry places in this land, as half a mile from Hatfield, by the river side, under a hedge as you go to Hatfield, and in the street of Peckham on Surrey side.
Time :
They flower and seed from May to August.
Government and virtues :
Both of them are herbs of Mars. The Mustards are said to purge the body both upwards and downwards, and procure women's courses so abundantly, that it suffocates the birth. It breaks inward imposthumes, being taken inwardly; and used in clysters, helps the sciatica. The seed applied, doth the same. It is an especial ingredient in mithridate and treacle, being of itself an antidote resisting poison, venom and putrefaction. It is also available in many cases for which the common Mustard is used, but somewhat weaker.


It is so well known, that it needs no description.
Place :
It grows in every country in the hedges and borders of fields.
Time :
It flowers in April, and sometimes in March, but the fruit ripens after all other plums whatsoever, and is not fit to be eaten until the Autumn frost mellow them.
Government and virtues :
All the parts of the Sloe-Bush are binding, cooling, and dry, and all effectual to stay bleeding at the nose and mouth, or any other place; the lask of the belly or stomach, or the bloody flux, the too much abounding of women's courses, and helps to ease the pains of the sides, and bowels, that come by overmuch scouring, to drink the decoction of the bark of the roots, or more usually the decoction of the berries, either fresh or dried. The conserve also is of very much use, and more familiarly taken for the purposes aforesaid. But the distilled water of the flower first steeped in sack for a night, and drawn therefrom by the heat of Balneum and Anglico, a bath, is a most certain remedy, tried and approved, to ease all manner of gnawings in the stomach, the sides and bowels, or any griping pains in any of them, to drink a small quantity when the extremity of pain is upon them. The leaves also are good to make lotions to gargle and wash the mouth and throat, wherein are swellings, sores, or kernels; and to stay the defluctions of rheum to the eyes, or other parts; as also to cool the heat and inflammations of them, and ease hot pains of the head, to bathe the forehead and temples therewith. The simple distilled water of the flowers is very effectual for the said purposes, and the condensate juice of the Sloes. The distilled water of the green berries is used also for the said effects


Descript :
Common Thorough-Wax sends forth a strait round stalk, two feet high, or better, whose lower leaves being of a bluish color, are smaller and narrower than those up higher, and stand close thereto, not compassing it; but as they grow higher, they do not encompass the stalks, until it wholly pass through them, branching toward the top into many parts, where the leaves grow smaller again, every one standing singly, and never two at a joint. The flowers are small and yellow, standing in tufts at the heads of the branches, where afterwards grow the seed, being blackish, many thick thrust together. The root is small, long and woody, perishing every year, after seed-time, and rising again plentifully of its own sowing.
Place :
It is found growing in many corn-fields and pasture grounds in this land.
Time :
It flowers in July, and the seed is ripe in August.
Government and virtues :
Both this and the former are under the influence of Saturn. Thorough-Wax is of singular good use for all sorts of bruises and wounds either inward or outward; and old ulcers and sores likewise, if the decoction of the herb with water and wine be drank, and the place washed therewith, or the juice of the green herb bruised, or boiled, either by itself, or with other herbs, in oil or hog's grease, to be made into an ointment to serve all the year. The decoction of the herb, or powder of the dried herb, taken inwardly, and the same, or the leaves bruised, and applied outwardly, is singularly good for all ruptures and burstings, especially in children before they be too old. Being applied with a little flour and wax to children's navels that stick forth, it helps them.


It is in vain to describe an herb so commonly known.
Government and virtues :
It is a noble strengthener of the lungs, as notable a one as grows; neither is there scarce a better remedy growing for that disease in children which they commonly call the Chin-cough, than it is. It purges the body of phlegm, and is an excellent remedy for shortness of breath. It kills worms in the belly, and being a notable herb of Venus, provokes the terms, gives safe and speedy delivery to women in travail, and brings away the after birth. It is so harmless you need not fear the use of it. An ointment made of it takes away hot swellings and warts, helps the sciatica and dullness of sight, and takes away pains and hardness of the spleen. Tis excellent for those that are troubled with the gout.It eases pains in the loins and hips. The herb taken any way inwardly, comforts the stomach much, and expels wind.


Wild Thyme also is so well known, that it needs no description.
Place :
It may be found commonly in commons, and other barren places throughout the nation.
Government and virtues :
It is under the dominion of Venus, and under the sign Aries, and therefore chiefly appropriated to the head. It provokes urine and the terms, and eases the griping pain of the belly, cramps, ruptures, and inflammation of the liver. If you make a vinegar of the herb, as vinegar of roses is made (you may find out the way in my translation of the London Dispensatory) and anoint the head with it, it presently stops the pains thereof. It is excellently good to be given either in phrenzy or lethargy, although they are two contrary diseases. It helps spitting and voiding of blood, coughing, and vomiting; it comforts and strengthens the head, stomach, reins, and womb, expels wind, and breaks the stone.


Descript :
This hath reddish, slender, weak branches rising from the root, lying on the ground, rather leaning than standing upright, with many short leaves that stand closer to the stalk than cinquefoil (to which this is very like) with the foot-stalk compassing the branches in several places; but those that grow to the ground are set upon long foot stalks, each whereof are like the leaves of cinquefoil, but somewhat long and lesser dented about the edges, many of them divided into five leaves, but most of them into seven, whence it is also called Septfoil; yet some may have six, and some eight, according to the fertility of the soil. At the tops of the branches stand divers small yellow flowers, consisting of five leaves, like those of cinquefoil, but smaller. The root is smaller than bistort, somewhat thick, but blacker without, and not so red within, yet sometimes a little crooked, having blackish fibres thereat.
Place :
It grows as well in woods and shadowy places, as in the open champain country, about the borders of fields in many places of this land, and almost in every broom field in Essex.
Time :
It flowers all the Summer long.
Government and virtues :
This is a gallant herb of the Sun. Tormentil is most excellent to stay all kind of fluxes of blood or humours in man or woman, whether at nose, mouth, or belly. The juice of the herb of the root, or the decoction thereof, taken with some Venice treacle, and the person laid to sweat, expels any venom or poison, or the plague, fever, or other contagious diseases, as pox, measles, &c. for it is an ingredient in all antidotes or counter poisons. Andreas Urlesius is of opinion that the decoction of this root is no less effectual to cure the French pox than Guiacum or China; and it is not unlikely, because it so mightily resists putrefaction. The root taken inwardly is most effectual to help any flux of the belly, stomach, spleen, or blood; and the juice wonderfully opens obstructions of the liver and lungs, and thereby helps the yellow jaundice. The powder or decoction drank, or to sit thereon as a bath, is an assured remedy against abortion, if it proceed from the over flexibility or weakness of the inward retentive faculty; as also a plaster made therewith, and vinegar applied to the reins of the back, doth much help not only this, but also those that cannot hold their water, the powder being taken in the juice of plaintain, and is also commended against the worms in children. It is very powerful in ruptures and burstings, as also for bruises and falls, to be used as well outwardly as inwardly. The root hereof made up with pellitory of Spain and allum, and put into a hollow tooth, not only assuages the pain, but stays the flux of humours which causes it. Tormentil is no less effectual and powerful a remedy against outward wounds, sores and hurts, than for inward, and is therefore a special ingredient to be used in wound drinks, lotions and injections, for foul corrupt rotten sores and ulcers of the mouth, secrets, or other parts of the body. The juice or powder of the root put in ointments, plaisters, and such things that are to be applied to wounds or sores, is very effectual, as the juice of the leaves and the root bruised and applied to the throat or jaws, heals the king's evil, and eases the pain of the sciatica; the same used with a little vinegar, is a special remedy against the running sores of the head or other parts; scabs also, and the itch or any such eruptions in the skin, proceeding of salt and sharp humours. The same is also effectual for the piles or hæmorrhoids, if they be washed or bathed therewith, or with the distilled water of the herb and roots. It is found also helpful to dry up any sharp rheum that distills from the head into the eyes, causing redness, pain, waterings, itching, or the like, if a little prepared tutia, or white amber, be used with the distilled water thereof. And here is enough, only remember the Sun challengeth this herb.


Descript :
The greater Turnsole rises with one upright stalk, about a foot high, or more, dividing itself almost from the bottom,into divers small branches, of a hoary color; at each joint of the stalk and branches grow small broad leaves, somewhat white and hairy. At the tops of the stalks and branches stand small white flowers, consisting of four, and sometimes five small leaves, set in order one above another, upon a small crooked spike, which turns inwards like a bowed finger, opening by degrees as the flowers blow open; after which in their place come forth cornered seed, four for the most part standing together; the root is small and thready, perishing every year, and the seed shedding every year, raises it again the next spring.
Place :
It grows in gardens, and flowers and seeds with us, notwithstanding it is not natural to this land, but to Italy, Spain, and France, where it grows plentifully.
Government and virtues :
It is an herb of the Sun, and a good one too. Dioscorides saith, That a good handful of this, which is called the Great Turnsole, boiled in water, and drank, purges both choler and phlegm; and boiled with cummin, helps the stone in the reins, kidneys, or bladder, provokes urine and women's courses, and causes an easy and speedy delivery in child-birth. The leaves bruised and applied to places pained with the gout, or that have been out of joint and newly set, and full of pain, do give much ease; the seed and juice of the leaves also being rubbed with a little salt upon warts and wens, and other kernels in the face, eye-lids, or any other part of the body, will, by often using, take them away.


It is so well known, especially by the name of Honeysuckles, white and red, that I need not describe them.
Place :
They grow almost every where in this land.
Government and virtues :
Mercury hath dominion over the common sort. Dodoneus saith, The leaves and flowers are good to ease the griping pains of the gout, the herb being boiled and used in a clyster. If the herb be made into a poultice, and applied to inflammations, it will ease them. The juice dropped in the eyes, is a familiar medicine, with many country people, to take away the pin and web (as they call it) in the eyes; it also allays the heat and blood shooting of them. Country people do also in many places drink the juice thereof against the biting of an adder; and having boiled the herb in water, they first wash the place with the decoction, and then lay some of the herb also to the hurt place. The herb also boiled in swine's grease, and so made into an ointment, is good to apply to the biting of any venomous creature. The herb also bruised and heated between tiles, and applied hot to the share, causes them to make water who had it stopt before. It is held likewise to be good for wounds, and to take away seed. The decoction of the herb and flowers, with the seed and root, taken for some time, helps women that are troubled with the whites. The seed and flowers boiled in water, and afterwards made into a poultice with some oil, and applied, helps hard swellings and imposthumes.


BESIDES the ordinary sort of Trefoil, here are two more remarkable, and one of which may be properly called Heart Trefoil, not only because the leaf is triangular, like the heart of a man, but also because each leaf contains the perfection of a heart, and that in its proper color, viz. a flesh color.
Place :
It grows between Longford and Bow, and beyond Southwark, by the highway and parts adjacent.
Government and virtues :
It is under the dominion of the Sun, and if it were used, it would be found as great a strengthener of the heart, and cherisher of the vital spirits as grows, relieving the body against fainting and swoonings, fortifying it against poison and pestilence, defending the heart against the noisome vapours of the spleen.


It differs not from the common sort, save only in this particular, it hath a white spot in the leaf like a pearl. It is particularly under the dominion of the Moon, and its icon shews that it is of a singular virtue against the pearl, or pin and web in the eyes.


Descript :
It hath brownish shining round stalks, crested the length thereof, rising two by two, and sometimes three feet high, branching forth even from the bottom, having divers joints, and at each of them two fair large leaves standing, of a dark blueish green color on the upper side, and of a yellowish green underneath, turning reddish toward Autumn. At the top of the stalks stand large yellow flowers, and heads with seed, which being greenish at the first and afterwards reddish, turn to be of a blackish purple color when they are ripe, with small brownish seed within them,and they yield a reddish juice or liquor, somewhat resinous, and of a harsh and stypick taste, as the leaves also and the flowers be, although much less, but do not yield such a clear claret wine color, as some say it doth, the root is brownish, somewhat great, hard and woody, spreading well in the ground.
Place :
It grows in many woods, groves, and woody grounds, as parks and forests, and by hedge-sides in many places in this land, as in Hampstead wood, by Ratley in Essex, in the wilds of Kent, and in many other places needless to recite.
Time :
It flowers later than St. John's or St. Peter's-wort.
Government and virtues :
It is an herb of Saturn, and a most noble anti-venerean. Tustan purges choleric humours, as St. Peter's-wort is said to do, for therein it works the same effects, both to help the sciatica and gout, and to heal burning by fire; it stays all the bleedings of wounds, if either the green herb be bruised, or the powder of the dry be applied thereto. It hath been accounted, and certainly it is, a sovereign herb to heal either wound or sore, either outwardly or inwardly, and therefore always used in drinks, lotions, green wounds, ulcers, or old sores, in all balms, oils, ointments, or any other sorts of which the continual experience of former ages hath confirmed the use thereof to be admirably good, though it be not so much in use now, as when physicians and surgeons were so wise as to use herbs more than now they do.



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