tribes on the Amazon use the seeds of another species, the Acacia
Niopo, for snuff combined with lime and cocculus. Various species
of acacia yield gum; but the best gum arabic used in medicine is an
exudation from the A. Senegal. This species grows abundantly in
East and West tropical Africa, forming forests in Senegambia north
of the River Senegal. Most of the gum acacia collected in Upper
Egypt and the Sudan is produced by the A. verek, and is known
locally as Hachah.
Acacia decurrens, Acacia arabica
Medicinal Action and Uses
Bark, known as Wattle Bark, is obtained from the chief of the
Australian Wattles, A. decurrens (Willd.), the Black Wattle, and,
more recently, A. arabica has been similarly used in East Africa
for its astringency.
is collected from wild or cultivated trees, seven years old or
more, and must be allowed to mature for a year before being used
The bark of A. decurrens is usually in curved pieces, externally
greyish brown, darkening with age, often with irregular
longitudinal ridges and sometimes transverse cracks. Inner surface
longitudinally striated, fracture irregular and coarsely fibrous.
It has a slight tan-like odour and astringent taste.
of A. arabica is hard and woody, rusty brown and tending to divide
into several layers. The outer surface of older pieces is covered
with thick blackish periderm, rugged and fissured. The inner
surface is red, longitudinally striated and fibrous. Taste,
astringent and mucilaginous.
---Constituents---Acacia Bark contains from 24 to 42 per cent.
of tannin and also gallic acid.
powerful astringency causes it to be extensively employed in
and Uses---Medicinally it is employed as a substitute for Oak Bark.
It has special use in diarrhoea, mainly in the form of a decoction,
the British Pharmacopoeia preparation being 6 parts in 100
administered in doses of 1/2 to 2 fluid ounces. The decoction also
is used as an astringent gargle, lotion, or injection.
extract is prepared from the bark of A. arabica, administered in
India for its astringent properties in doses of 1/2 to 1 fluid
drachm, but the use of both gum and bark for industrial purposes is
much larger than their use in medicine. The bark, under the name of
Babul, is used in Scinde for tanning, and also for dyeing various
shades of brown.
Medicinal Action and Used
language, the term Acacia is often applied to species of the genus
Robinia which also belongs to the family Leguminosae, though to a
pseudacacia, the False Acacia or Locust Tree, one of the most
valuable timber trees of the American forest, where it grows to a
very large size, was one of the first trees introduced into England
from America, and is cultivated as an ornamental tree in the milder
parts of Britain, forming a large tree, with beautiful pea-like
is supposed to unite the qualities of strength and durability to a
degree unknown in any other kind of tree, being very hard and
close-grained. It has been extensively used for ship-building,
being superior for the purpose to American Oak, and is largely used
in the construction of the wooden pins called trenails, used to
fasten the planks to the ribs or timber of ships. Instead of
decaying, it acquires an extraordinary degree of hardness with
time. It is also suitable for posts and fencing and other purposes
where durability in contact with the ground is essential, and is
used for axle-trees and other mechanical purposes, though not for
general purposes of construction.
and inner bark have a sweetish, but somewhat offensive and
nauseating taste, and have been found poisonous to foraging
and Uses---The inner bark contains a poisonous proteid substance,
Robin, which possesses strong emetic and purgative properties. It
is capable of coagulating the casein of milk and of clotting the
red corpuscles of certain animals.
emetic and purgative properties have been ascribed to the root and
bark, but the locust tree is rarely, if ever, prescribed as a
cases of poisoning are on record in which boys have chewed the bark
and swallowed the juice: the principal symptoms being dryness of
the throat, burning pain in the abdomen, dilatation of the pupils,
vertigo and muscular twitches; excessive quantities causing also
weak and irregular heart action.
leaves of Robinia have also been stated to produce poisonous
effects careful examination has failed to detect the presence of
any soluble proteid or of alkaloids, and by some the leaves have
been recorded as even affording wholesome food for
flowers contain a glucoside, Robinin, which, on being boiled with
acids, is resolved into sugar and quercetin.
Acacia nilotica (LINN.)
Acacia Nilotica (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Used---Gummy Exudation from stem.
(LINN.) All the gum-yielding Acacias exhibit the same habit and
general appearance, differing only in technical characters. They
are spiny shrubs or small trees, preferring sandy or sterile
regions, with the climate dry during the greater part of the
harvest from the various species lasts about five weeks. About the
middle of November, after the rainy season, it exudes spontaneously
from the trunk and principal branches, but the flow is generally
stimulated by incisions in the bark, a thin strip, 2 to 3 feet in
length and 1 to 3 inches wide being torn off. In about fifteen days
it thickens in the furrow down which it runs, hardening on exposure
to the air, usually in the form of round or oval tears, about the
size of a pigeon's egg, but sometimes in vermicular forms, white or
red, according to whether the species is a white or red gum
middle of December, the Moors commence the harvesting. The masses
of gum are collected, either while adhering to the bark, or after
it falls to the ground, the entire product, often of various
species, thus collected, is packed in baskets and very large sacks
of tanned leather and brought on camels and bullocks to the centres
of accumulation and then to the points of export, chiefly Suakin,
Alexandria, or - in Senegambia - St. Louis. It is then known as
'Acacia sorts,' the term being equivalent to 'unassorted Acacia.'
The unsorted gums show the widest variation as to size of
fragments, whiteness, clearness, freedom from adhering matter, etc.
It is next sorted or 'picked' in accordance with these
many kinds of Acacia Gum in commerce:
CUM, collected in Upper Egypt and the Sudan, in Kordofan, Dafur and
Arabia, and exported from Alexandria, is considered the best and is
the kind generally used in pharmacy. It consists of small,
irregular pieces, commonly whitish, or slightly tinged with yellow,
and is freer from impurities than most other commercial varieties.
But those known in commerce as 'Turkey sorts' and 'Trieste picked,'
which are brought from the Sudan by way of Suakin, are equally
suitable for medicinal use.
GUM, of two varieties, produced by two different trees, one
yielding a white, the other a red gum, is usually in roundish or
oval unbroken pieces of various sizes, larger than those of Turkey
Gum, less brittle and pulverizable, less fissured and often occurs
in long, cylindrical or curved pieces.
'Gum Senegal' is not, strictly speaking, synonymous with Gum
Acacia, though it is commonly so used. Gum Acacia is the name
originally pertaining to Sudan, Kordofan or Egyptian (hashabi) Gum,
which possesses properties rendering it superior and always
preferred to any other known to commerce. During the political and
military disturbances in Egypt between 1880 and 1890, this gum
became so nearly unobtainable that occasional packages only were
seen in the market. Among the many substitutes then offered, the
best was Gum Senegal, which was adopted as the official equivalent
of Gum Acacia. In this way, it came about that the names were
regarded as synonymous. In 1890, the original Acacia again came
into the market and eventually became as abundant as ever, but it
is no longer possible to entirely separate the two names. Most of
the characteristically distinct grades of Acacia Gum are now
referred to particular species of the genus Acacia. Most works
state that both the Kordofan and Senegal Gums are products of A.
Senegal (Willd.), the range of which is thus given as Senegambia in
West Africa, the Upper Nile region in Eastern Africa, with more or
less of the intervening central region.
glaucophylla (Staud.) and A. Abyssinica (Hochst.) are said to yield
an equally good gum, but little of it is believed to reach the
Gum, from A. gummifera (Willd), a tall tree found in Morocco and in
the Isle of Bourbon, occurs in rather large pieces, closely
resembling Kordofan Gum in appearance.
Gum, the product of A. arabica, the Gum Arabic tree of India. The
gum of this and other Indian species of Acacia is there used as a
substitute for the official Gum Acacia, to which it is, however,
inferior. Indian Gum is sweeter in taste than that of the other
varieties, and usually contains portions of a different kind of
is also imported. It is of a pale yellow colour and is considered
of inferior quality.
AUSTRAILIAN GUM, imported from South Australia, is in elongated
or globular pieces, rough and even wrinkled on the surface and of a
violet tint, which distinguishes it from other varieties. It is not
entirely soluble in water, to which it imparts less viscidity than
ordinary Gum Acacia. It frequently contains tannin.
for medicinal purposes should be in roundish 'tears' of various
sizes, colourless or pale yellow, or broken into angular fragments
with a glass-like, sometimes iridescent fracture, often opaque from
numerous fissures, but transparent and nearly colourless in thin
pieces; taste insipid, mucilaginous; nearly inodorous. It should be
almost entirely soluble in water, forming a viscid neutral
solution, or mucilage, which, when evaporated, yields the gum
unchanged. It is insoluble in alcohol and ether, but soluble in
diluted alcohol in proportion to the amount of water present. It
should be slowly but completely soluble in two parts of water: this
solution shows an acid reaction with litmuspaper. The powdered gum
is not coloured blue (indicating absence of starch) or red
(indicating absence of dextrin) by the iodine test solution. It
should not yield more than 4 per cent of ash.
---Adulteration---Adulteration in the crude state is confined
almost wholly to the addition of similar and inferior gums, the
detection of which requires only familiarity with the genuine
ground condition it is adulterated oftenest with starch and
dextrins, tests for which are given in the official description.
Tannin is present in inferior gums and can be detected by the
bluish-black coloration produced on adding ferric chloride. Gums of
a yellow or brown colour usually contain tannin, and these,
together with such as are incompletely soluble in water and which
yield ropy or glairy solutions, should not be used for medicinal
Constituents---Gum Acacia consists principally of Arabin, a
compound of Arabic acid with calcium, varying amounts of the
magnesium and potassium salts of the same acid being present. It is
believed, also, that small amounts of other salts of these bases
occur. (Arabic acid can be obtained by precipitating with alcohol
from a solution of Acacia acidulated with hydrochloric acid.) The
gum also contains 12 to 17 per cent of moisture and a trace of
sugar, and yields 2.7 to 4 per cent of ash, consisting almost
entirely of calcium, magnesium and potassium
and Uses---Gum Acacia is a demulcent and serves by the viscidity of
its solution to cover and sheathe inflamed surfaces.
usually administered in the form of a mucilage - Mucilago Acaciae,
British Pharmacopoeia and United States Pharmacopoeia made from
small pieces of Gum Acacia dissolved in water and strained (1 in
1 to 4 drachms of the gum. Mucilage of Acacia is a nearly
transparent, colourless or scarcely yellowish, viscid liquid,
having a faint, rather agreeable odour and an insipid taste. It is
employed as a soothing agent in inflammatory conditions of the
respiratory, digestive and urinary tract, and is useful in
diarrhoea and dysentery. It exerts a soothing influence upon all
the surfaces with which it comes in contact. It may be diluted and
flavoured to suit the taste. In low stages of typhoid fever, this
mucilage, sweetened, is greatly recommended. The ordinary dose of
the mucilage is from 1 to 4 fluid drachms.
dispensing, Mucilage of Acacia is used for suspending insoluble
powders in mixtures, for emulsifying oils and other liquids which
are not miscible with water, and as an ingredient of many cough
linctures. The British Pharmacopoeia directs it to be used as an
excipient in the preparation of troches. Compound Mucilage of
Acacia - Pill-coating Acacia - is made from Gum Acacia, 1 in 10,
with tragacanth, chloroform and water, and is used for moistening
pills previous to coating.
is an ingredient of the official Pilula Ferri, Pulvis Amygdalae
compositus, Pulvis Tragacanthae compositus, all the official
Trochisci, and various syrups, pastes and pastilles or
Mixture, Mistura Acaciae of the British Pharmacopoeia Codex, is
made from Gum Acacia (6 in 100) with syrup and diluted
orange-flower water, employed as a demulcent in cough syrups and
---Dose---1 to 4 fluid drachms. Syrup of Acacia, British
Pharmacopoeia Codex, used chiefly as a demulcent in cough mixtures,
is freshly prepared as required, from 1 part of Gum Acacia Mucilage
and 3 of syrup, the dose, 1 to 4 fluid drachms.
States Pharmacopoeia Syrup of Acacia, though regarded as a useful
demulcent, is chiefly employed as an agent for suspending powders
Pharmacopoeia has a Syrup of Acacia and a potion gommeuse made from
powdered Acacia, syrup and orange-flower water.
As a dry
excipient, powdered Acacia is employed, mixed in small proportion
with powdered Marsh Mallow root, or powdered Liquorice root. A
variation of this is a mixture of Acacia, 50 parts; Liquorice root,
34 parts; Sugar, 16 parts, all in fine powder. Another compound
Acacia Powder used sparingly as an absorbent pill excipient, is
made of equal parts of Gum Acacia and Tragacanth.
is highly nutritious. During the time of the gum harvest, the Moors
of the desert are said to live almost entirely on it, and it has
been proved that 6 oz. is sufficient to support an adult for
twenty-four hours. It is related that the Bushman Hottentots have
been known in times of scarcity to support themselves on it for
days together. In many cases of disease, it is considered that a
solution of Gum Arabic may for a time constitute the exclusive
drink and food of the patient.
Shorter's Medical Dictionary, Poisons &
Aconitum Napellus (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Poisoning from, and Antidotes
---Synonyms---Monkshood. Blue Rocket. Friar's Cap. Auld Wife's
Used---The whole plant.
---Habitat---Lower mountain slopes of North portion of Eastern
Hemisphere. From Himalayas through Europe to Great
now found wild in a few parts of England, mainly in the western
counties and also in South Wales, but can hardly be considered
truly indigenous. It was very early introduced into England, being
mentioned in all the English vocabularies of plants from the tenth
century downwards, and in Early English medical
plant is a hardy perennial, with a fleshy, spindle-shaped root,
palecoloured when young, but subsequently acquiring a dark brown
skin. The stem is about 3 feet high, with dark green, glossy
leaves, deeply divided in palmate manner and flowers in erect
clusters of a dark blue colour. The shape of the flower is
specially designed to attract and utilize bee visitors, especially
the humble bee. The sepals are purple - purple being specially
attractive to bees - and are fancifully shaped, one of them being
in the form of a hood. The petals are only represented by the two
very curious nectaries within the hood, somewhat in the form of a
hammer; the stamens are numerous and lie depressed in a bunch at
the mouth of the flower. They are pendulous at first, but rise in
succession and place their anthers forward in such a way that a bee
visiting the flower for nectar is dusted with the pollen, which he
then carries to the next flower he visits and thereby fertilizes
the undeveloped fruits, which are in a tuft in the centre of the
stamens, each carpel containing a single seed.
Anglo-Saxon vocabularies it is called thung, which seems to have
been a general name for any very poisonous plant. It was then
called Aconite (the English form of its Greek and Latin name),
later Wolf's Bane, the direct translation of the Greek Iycotonum,
derived from the idea that arrows tipped with the juice, or baits
anointed with it, would kill wolves - the species mentioned by
Dioscorides seems to have been Aconitum lycotonum. In the Middle
Ages it became Monkshood and Helmet-flower, from the curious shape
of the upper sepal overtopping the rest of the flower. This was the
ordinary name in Shakespeare's days.
generic name is said to have been derived from <AKONTION, a
dart, because it was used by barbarous races to poison their
arrows, or from akone, cliffy or rocky, because the species grow in
rocky glens. Theophrastus, like Pliny, derived the name from
Aconae, the supposed place of its origin. The specific name,
Napellus, signifies a little turnip, in allusion to the shape of
chief collecting centres for foreign Aconite root have been the
Swiss Alps, Salzburg, North Tyrol and Vorarlberg. Much was also
formerly collected in Germany. Supplies from Spain and Japan are
imported, so that the demand for English Aconite is somewhat
restricted. The official Aconite is directed by the British
Pharmacopceia to be derived only from plants cultivated in England,
and a certain amount of home-grown Aconite has been regularly
produced by the principal drug-farms, though good crops are grown
with some difficulty in England, and cultivation of Aconite has not
paid very well in recent years.
prefers a soil slightly retentive of moisture, such as a moist
loam, and flourishes best in shade. It would probably grow
luxuriantly in a moist, open wood, and would yield returns with
little further trouble than weeding, digging up and
preparing beds for growing Aconite, the soil should be well dug and
pulverized by early winter frosts - the digging in of rotten leaves
or stable manure is advantageous.
It can be
raised from seed, sown 1/2 inch deep in a cold frame in March, or
in a warm position outside in April, but great care must be
exercised that the right kind is obtained, as there are many
varieties of Aconite- about twenty-four have been distinguished -
and they have not all the same active medicinal properties. It
takes two or three years to flower from seed.
Propagation is usually by division of roots in the autumn. The
underground portion of the plants are dug up after the stem has
died down, and the smaller of the 'daughter' roots that have
developed at the side of the old roots are selected for replanting
in December or January to form new stock, the young roots being
planted about a foot apart each way. The young shoots appear above
ground in February. Although the plants are perennial, each
distinct root lasts only one year, the plant being continued by
official Aconite is also the species generally cultivated in
gardens, though nearly all the species are worth growing as
ornamental garden flowers, the best perhaps being A. Napellus, both
white and blue, A. paniculatum, A. Japonicum and A. autumnale. All
grow well in shade and under trees. Gerard grew four species in his
garden: A. lyocotonum, A. variegatum, A. Napellus and A.
Used---Collection and Drying. The leaves, stem, flowering tops and
root: the leaves and tops fresh, the root dried. The leaves and
flowering tops are of less importance, they are employed for
preparing Extract of Aconitum, and for this purpose are cut when
the flowers are just breaking into blossom and the leaves are in
their best condition, which is in June.
should be collected in the autumn, after the stem dies down, but
before the bud that is to produce the next year's stem has begun to
develop. As this bud grows and forms a flowering stem, in the
spring, some of the lateral buds develop into short shoots, each of
which produces a long, slender, descending root, crowned with a
bud. These roots rapidly thicken, filled with reserve material
produced by the parent plant, the root of which dies as the
'daughter' roots increase in size. Towards the autumn, the parent
plant dies down and the daughter roots which have then reached
their maximum development are now full of starch. If allowed to
remain in the soil, the buds that crown the daughter roots begin to
grow, in the late winter, and this growth exhausts the strength of
the root, and the proportion of both starch and alkaloid it
contains is lessened.
of the extremely poisonous properties of the root, it is considered
desirable that the root should be grown and collected under the
same conditions, so that uniformity in the drug is maintained. The
British Pharmacopceia specifies, therefore, that the roots should
be collected in the autumn from plants cultivated in Britain and
should consist of the dried, full-grown 'daughter' roots: much of
the Aconite root that used to come in large quantities from Germany
was the exhausted parent root of the wild-flowering
roots are dug up, they are sorted over, the smallest laid aside for
replanting and the plumper ones reserved for drying. They are first
well washed in cold water and trimmed of all rootlets, and then
dried, either entire, or longitudinally sliced to hasten
at first be done in the open air, spread thinly, the roots not
touching. Or they may be spread on clean floors or on shelves in a
warm place for about ten days, turning frequently. When somewhat
shrunken, they must be finished more quickly by artificial heat in
a drying room or shed near a stove or gas fire, care being taken
that the heated air can escape at the top of the room. Drying in an
even temperature will probably take about a fortnight or more. It
is not complete till the roots are dry to the core and brittle,
snapping when bent.
Aconite root at its upper extremity, when crowned with an
undeveloped bud, enclosed by scaly leaves, is about 3/4 inch in
diameter, tapering quickly downwards. It is dark brown in colour
and marked with the scars of rootlets. The surface is usually
longitudinally wrinkled, especially if it has been dried entire.
The root breaks with a short fracture and should be whitish and
starchy within. A transverse section shows a thick bark, separated
from the inner portion by a well-marked darker line, which often
assumes a stellate appearance. Aconite root as found in commerce
is, however, often yellowish or brownish internally with the
stellate markings not clearly shown, probably from having been
collected too early. It should be lifted in the autumn of the
root is liable to attack by insects, and after being well dried
should be kept in securely closed vessels.
Constituents---Aconite root contains from 0.3 to 1 per cent
alkaloidal matter, consisting of Aconitine - crystalline, acrid and
highly toxic - with the alkaloids Benzaconine (Picraconitine) and
the only crystallizable alkaloid, is present to the extent of not
more than 0.2 per cent, but to it is due the characteristic
activity of the root. Aconite acid, starch, etc., are also present.
On incineration, the root yields about 3 per cent ash.
Aconitines are a group of highly toxic alkaloids derived from
various species of Aconite, and whilst possessing many properties
in common are chemically distinguishable according to the source
from which they are obtained. The Aconitines are divided into two
groups: (1) the Aconitines proper, including Aconitine,
Japaconitine and Indaconitine, and (2) the Pseudaconitines -
Pseudaconitine and Bikhaconitine.
disparity between Aconites is a very important matter for
investigation, though perhaps not so serious from a pharmaceutical
point of view as might at first appear, since in the roots of
several different species the alkaloid is found to possess similar
physiological action; but this action varies in degree and the
amount of alkaloid may be found to vary considerably. It is
considered that the only reliable method of standardizing the
potency of any of the Aconite preparations is by a physiological
method: the lethal dose for the guinea-pig being considered to be
the most convenient and satisfactory standard. Tinctures vary
enormously as to strength, some proving seven times as powerful as
Aconite which contains the best alkaloid, A. Napellus, is the
old-fashioned, familiar garden variety, which may be easily
recognized by its very much cut-up leaves, which are wide in the
shoulder of the leaf - that part nearest the stem - and also by the
purplish-blue flowers, which have the 'helmet' closely fitting over
the rest of the flower, not standing up as a tall hood. All
varieties of Aconite are useful, but this kind with the close set
in helmet to the flower is the most valuable.
Aconite derived from German root of A. Napellus appears to possess
somewhat different properties to that prepared from English roots.
The German roots may be recognized by the remains of the stem which
crown the root. They are also generally less starchy, darker
externally and more shrivelled than the English root and considered
to be less active, probably because they are generally the
exhausted parent roots.
and Uses---Anodyne, diuretic and diaphoretic. The value of Aconite
as a medicine has been more fully realized in modern times, and it
now rank as one of our most useful drugs. It is much used in
homoeopathy. On account of its very poisonous nature, all medicines
obtained from it come, however, under Table 1 of the poison
schedule: Aconite is a deadly poison.
tincture and liniment of Aconite are in general use, and Aconite is
also used in ointment and sometimes given as hypodermic injection.
Preparations of Aconitc are employed for outward application
locally to the skin to diminish the pain of neuralgia, lumbago and
official tincture taken internelly diminishes the rate and force of
the pulse in the early stages of fevers and slight local
inflammations, such as feverish cold, larnyngitis, first stages of
pneumonia and erysipelas; it relieves the pain of neuralgia,
pleurisy and aneurism. In cardiac failure or to prevent same it has
been used with success, in acute tonsilitis children have been well
treated by a dose of 1 to 2 minims for a child 5 to 10 years old;
the dose for adults is 2 to 5 minims, three times a
---Note---The tincture of Aconite of the British Pharmacopoeia
1914 is nearly double the strength of that in the old Pharmacopoeia
the linament as such or mixed with chloroform or belladonna
liniment is useful in neuralgia or rheumatism.
and Antidotes---The symptons of poisoning are tingling and numbness
of tongue and mouth and a sensation of ants crawling over the body,
nausea and vomiting with epigastric pain, laboured breathing, pulse
irregular and weak, skin cold and clammy, features bloodless,
giddiness, staggering, mind remains clear. A stomach tube or emetic
should be used at once, 20 minims of Tincture of Digitalis given if
available, stimulants should be given and if not retained diluted
brandy injected per rectum, artificial respiration and friction,
patient to be kept lying down.
species contain an active poison Aconitine, one of the most
formidable poisons which have yet been discovered: it exists in all
parts of the plant, but especially in the root. The smallest
portion of either root or leaves, when first put into the mouth,
occasions burning and tingling, and a sense of numbness immediately
follows its continuance. One-fiftieth grain of Aconitine will kill
a sparrow in a few seconds; one-tenth grain a rabbit in five
minutes. It is more powerful than prussic acid and acts with
tremendous rapidity. One hundredth grain will act locally, so as to
produce a well-marked sensation in any part of the body for a whole
day. So acrid is the poison, that the juice applied to a wounded
finger affects the whole system, not only causing pains in the
limbs, but a sense of suffocation and syncope.
species of Aconite were well known to the ancients as deadly
poisons. It was said to be the invention of Hecate from the foam of
Cerberus, and it was a species of Aconite that entered into the
poison which the old men of the island of Ceos were condemned to
drink when they became infirm and no longer of use to the State.
Aconite is also supposed to have been the poison that formed the
cup which Medea prepared for Theseus. (Note---Aconite and
Belladonna were said to be the ingredients in the witches' 'Flying
ointments.' Aconite causes irregular action of the heart, and
Belladonna produces delirium. These combined symptoms might give a
sensation of 'flying.'---EDITOR)
species of Aconite possess the same narcotic properties as A.
Napellus, but none of them equal in energy the A. ferox of the East
Indies, the root of which is used there as an energetic poison
under the name of Bikh or Nabee. Aconite poisoning of wells by A.
ferox has been carried out by native Indians to stop the progress
of an army. They also use it for poisoning spears, darts and
arrows, and for destroying tigers.
children should be warned against Aconite in gardens. It is wiser
not to grow Aconite among kitchen herbs of any sort. The root has
occasionally been mistaken for horse-radish, with fatal results -
it is, however, shorter, darker and more fibrous - and the leaves
have produced similar fatal results. In Ireland a poor woman once
sprinkled powdered Aconite root over a dish of greens, and one man
was killed and another seriously affected by it.
and 1526 it is recorded that two criminals, to whom the root was
given as an experiment, quickly died.
The older herbalists described it as
venomous and deadly. Gerard says: 'There hath beene little
heretofore set down concerning the virtues of the Aconite, but much
might be saide of the hurts that have come thereby.' It was
supposed to be an antidote against other poisons. Gerard tells us
that its power was 'So forcible that the herb only thrown before
the scorpion or any other venomous beast, causeth them to be
without force or strength to hurt, insomuch that they cannot moove
or stirre untill the herbe be taken away.' Ben Jonson, in his
tragedy Sejanus, says:
'I have heard that Aconite
Being timely taken hath a healing
Against the scorpion's
reports Aconite to be fatal to cattle and goats when they eat it
fresh, but when dried it does no harm to horses, a peculiarity in
common with the buttercups, to which the Aconites are related.
Field-mice are well aware of its evil nature, and in hard times,
when they will attack almost any plant that offers them food, they
leave this severely alone.
Varieties---Japanese Aconite - syn. Aconitum Chinense - is
regularly imported in considerable quantities. It used formerly to
be ascribed to A. Fischer (Reichb.), but is now considered to be
derived from A. uncinatum, var. Faponicum (Regel.) and possibly
also from A. volubile (Pallas). It has conical or top-shaped,
gradually tapering tuberous roots, 1 to 2 inches long, 1/3 to 1
inch in thickness at the top, externally covered with a brown,
closely adhering skin internally white. Dried roots do not contain
much alkaloid, if steeped when fresh in a mixture of common salt,
vinegar and water. The poisonous alkaloid present is called
Japaconitine, to distinguish it from the official Aconitine and the
Pseudaconitine of A. laciniatum. Japaconitine is similar in
constituents and properties with the Aconitine of A.
Aconite root or Nepal Aconite consists of the root of A. laciniatum
(Staph.). It is also called Bikh or Bish, and is collected in
Nepal. It is much larger than the English variety, being a conical,
not suddenly tapering root, 2 to 4 inches long and an inch or more
at the top, of a lighter brown than the official variety, the
rootlet scars much fewer than the official root. Internally it is
hard and almost resinous, the taste intensely acrid and is much
shriveiled longitudinally. This root yields a very active alkaloid,
Pseudoaconitine, which is allied to Aconitine and resembles it in
many of its properties; it is about twice as active as Aconitine.
Indian Aconite root was formerly attributed to A. ferox (Wall).
Their large size and less tapering character sufficiently
distinguish these from the official drug.
varieties of Aconite are A. chasmanthum (Staph.), known in India as
Mohri, which contains Indaconitine, and A. spicatum, another Indian
species containing Bikhaconitine, resembling
Aconite, A. orientale, grows abundantly in the Crimea and
Bessarabia. It has a small, compact, greyish-black root with a
transverse section similar to that of A. Napellus. Its taste is hot
and acrid. When treated by a process which gave 0.0526 per cent of
crystalline Aconitine from a sample of powdered root of A.
Napellus, the dried root of A. orientale yielded 2.207 per cent of
total alkaloids, which were, however, amorphous. The total alkaloid
has not yet been investigated further.
heterophyllum (Wall), Atis root, is a plant growing in the Western
temperate Himalayas. This species does not contain Aconitine and is
said to be non-poisonous. Its chief constituent is an intensely
bitter alkaloid - Atisine - possessing tonic and antiperiodic
principles. A. palmatum, of Indian origin, yields a similar
province of Szechwen in West China grows large quantities of
medicinal plants, among them A. Wilsoni, which is worth about 4s.
per cwt., of which 55,000 lb. a year can be produced in this
province; A. Fischeri, about four times the price, of which rather
less are yearly available, and A. Hemsleyan, about the same price
as the latter, of which about 27,000 lb. are available in an
Species---The Anthora, or Wholesome Aconite described by Culpepper,
is a small plant about a foot high, with pale, divided green
leaves, and yellow flowers - a native of the Alps. Its stem is
erect, firm, angular and hairy; the leaves alternate and much cut
into. The flowers are large, hooded with fragrant scent, growing on
top of the branches in spikes of a pale yellow colour, smaller than
the ordinary Monkshood and succeeded by five horn-like, pointed
pods, or achenes, containing five angular seeds. It flowers in July
and the seeds ripen at the end of August. The root is
tells us that the herb was used in his time, but not often. It was
reputed to be very serviceable against vegetable poisons and 'a
decoction of the root is a good lotion to wash the parts bitten by
venomous creatures.' . . . 'The leaves, if rubbed on the skin will
irritate and cause soreness and the pollen is also dangerous if
blown in the eyes .'
matter of fact, this species of Aconite by no means deserves its
reputation of harmlessness, for it is only poisonous in a less
degree than the rest of the same genus, and the theory that it is a
remedy against poison, particularly that of the other Aconites, is
now an exploded one.
Parkinson, speaking of the Yellow
Monkshood, calls it:
'The "counter-poison monkeshood" - the
roots of which are effectual, not only against the poison of the
poisonful Helmet Flower and all others of that kind, but also
against the poison of all venomous beasts, the plague or pestilence
and other infectious diseases, which raise spots, pockes, or markes
in the outward skin, by expelling the poison from within and
defending the heart as a most sovereign cordial.'
so-called Winter Aconite, Aeranthis hyemalis, is not a true
Aconite, though closely allied, being also a member of the
Buttercup family, whose blossoms it more nearly
Erythronium Americanum (KER-GAWL)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Serpent's Tongue. Dog's Tooth Violet. Yellow
---Habitat---Eastern United States of America, from New
Brunswick to Florida, and westwards to Ontario and
American Dog's Tooth Violet or Adder's Tongue, Erythronium
Americanum (Ker Gawl), is a very beautiful early spring flower of
the Eastern United States of America, belonging to the Lily family.
It grows in damp, open woodlands from New Brunswick to Florida and
westwards to Ontario and Arkansas.
plant, which is quite smooth, grows from a small, slender, ovoid,
fawn-coloured corm, 1/3 to 1 inch long which is quite deeply buried
in the soil and is of solid, firm consistence and white and starchy
is slender, a few inches high, and bears near the ground, on
footstalks 2 to 3 inches long, a pair of oblong, dark-green,
purplish-blotched leaves, the blades about 2 1/2 inches long and 1
inch wide, minutely wrinkled, with parallel, longitudinal veins.
The stem terminates in a handsome, large, pendulous, lily-like
flower, an inch across, with the perianth divisions strongly
recurved, bright yellow in colour, often tinged with purple and
finely dotted within at the base, and with six stamen. It flowers
in the latter part of April and early in May.
and Uses---The constituents of the plant have not yet been
analysed. The fresh leaves and corm, and to a lesser degree the
rest of the plant, are emetic.
leaves having emollient and anti-scrofulous properties are mostly
used in the form of a stimulating poultice, applied to swellings,
tumours and scrofulous ulcers.
infusion is taken internally in wineglassful doses. It is reputed
of use in dropsy, hiccough and vomiting.
bulbs have been used as a substitute for colchicum. They are emetic
in doses of 25 to 30 grains.
See HELLERBORE (FALSE).
Cyperus articulatus (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Used---The drug Adrue is the tuberous rhizome of the Guinea Rush
(Cyperus articulatus Linn.), a tall sedge, common in Jamaica, and
on the banks of the Nile.
blackish-red, somewhat top-shaped tubers are 3/4 to 1 inch long,
1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter, sometimes in a series of two or three,
connected by an underground stem 1/8 inch in diameter and 1 to 2
inches long. Internally, the tubers are pale in colour, a
transverse section showing a central column with darker points
indicating vascular bundles. The dried tubers often bear the
bristly remains of former leaves on their upper ends. The drug has
a bitterish, aromatic taste, recalling that of Lavender. The odour
of the fresh tubers has been likened to that of the Sweet Sedge,
and Uses---Carminative, sedative, very useful in vomiting of
aromatic properties of the drug cause a feeling of warmth to be
diffused throughout the whole system and it acts as a sedative in
fluid extract is made from the tubers. Dose, 10 to 30
Gelidium Amansii (KUTZ)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Dosage and Preparations
---Synonyms--- Japanese Isinglass.
Used---The mucilage dried, after boiling the seaweed.
---Habitat---Japan, best variety; Ceylon and
seaweed gathered on the East Indian coast and sent to China, it is
derived from the various species of Sphaerococcus Euchema and
Gelidium. It is brownish-white in colour with thorny projections on
its branches; the best variety, known as Japanese Isinglass,
contains large quantities of mucilage. The seaweed after collection
is spread out on the shore until bleached, and then dried; it is
afterwards boiled in water and the mucilaginous solution strained,
the filtrate being allowed to harden, and then it is dried in the
sun. The time for collection of the Algae is summer and autumn when
the bleaching and drying can take place, but the final preparation
of Agar-Agar is carried out in winter from November to February.
The Japanese variety is derived from several kinds of Algae and
comes into European commerce in two forms: (1) In transparent
pieces 2 feet long, the thickness of a straw, prepared in Singapore
by treating it in hot water. (2) In yellowish white masses about 1
inch wide and 1 foot long. The latter is the form considered the
more suitable for the culture of bacteria.
---Constituents---Agar-Agar contains glose, which is a powerful
gelatinizing agent. It is precipitated from solution by alcohol.
Glose is a carbohydrate. Acetic, hydrochloric and oxalic acids
prevent gelatinization of Agar-Agar.
and Uses---Agar-Agar is widely used as a treatment for
constipation, but is usually employed with Cascara when atony of
the intestinal muscles is present. It does not increase peristaltic
action. Its therapeutic value depends on the ability of the dry
Agar to absorb and retain moisture. Its action is mechanical and
analogous to that of the cellulose of vegetable foods, aiding the
regularity of the bowel movements. It is sometimes used as an
adulterant of jams and jellies.
Preparations---It is usually administered in small shreds mixed
with fruit, milk or any convenient vehicle. It is not wise to give
it in powder, as this gives rise to irritation in some cases. 1/2
to 1 ounce may be taken at a time. 1 ounce to a pint of boiling
water makes a suitable jelly for invalids and may be flavoured with
Species---Ceylon Agar-Agar, or Agal Agal, which is the native name
of Gracillaria lichenoides, is largely used in the East for making
soups and jellies. Gigartina speciosa, a variety found on the Swan
River, was erroneously supposed to have formed the edible swallow's
nest, but it has been ascertained that this delicacy comes from a
peculiar secretion in the birds themselves. Macassar Agar-Agar
comes from the straits between Borneo and Celebes and consists of
impure Euchema Spinolum incrusted with salt.
Agrimonia Eupatoria (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Common Agrimony. Church Steeples. Cockeburr.
---Habitat---The plant is found abundantly throughout England,
on hedge-banks and the sides of fields, in dry thickets and on all
waste places. In Scotland it is much more local and does not
penetrate very far northward.
has an old reputation as a popular, domestic medicinal herb, being
a simple well known to all country-folk. It belongs to the Rose
order of plants, and its slender spikes of yellow flowers, which
are in bloom from June to early September, and the singularly
beautiful form of its much-cut-into leaves, make it one of the most
graceful of our smaller herbs.
---Description---From the long, black and somewhat woody
perennial root, the erect cylindrical and slightly rough stem rises
1 or 2 feet, sometimes more, mostly unbranched, or very slightly
branched in large specimens. The leaves are numerous and very rich
in outline, those near the ground are often 7 or 8 inches long,
while the upper ones are generally only about 3 inches in length.
They are pinnate in form, i.e. divided up to the mid-rib into pairs
of leaflets. The graduation in the size and richness of the leaves
is noticeable: all are very similar in general character, but the
upper leaves have far fewer leaflets than the lower, and such
leaflets as there are, are less cut into segments and have
altogether a simpler outline. The leaflets vary very considerably
in size, as besides the six or eight large lateral leaflets and the
terminal one, the mid-rib is fringed with several others that are
very much smaller than these and ranged in the intervals between
them. The main leaflets increase in size towards the apex of the
leaf, where they are 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. They are oblong-oval
in shape, toothed, downy above and more densely so
flowers, though small, are numerous, arranged closely on slender,
terminal spikes, which lengthen much when the blossoms have
withered and the seed-vessels are maturing. At the base of each
flower, which is placed stalkless on the long spike, is a small
bract, cleft into three acute segments. The flowers, about 3/8 inch
across, have five conspicuous and spreading petals, which are
egg-shaped in form and somewhat narrow in proportion to their
length, slightly notched at the end and of a bright yellow colour.
The stamens are five to twelve in number. The flowers face boldly
outwards and upwards towards the light, but after they have
withered, the calyx points downwards. It becomes rather woody,
thickly covered at the end with a mass of small bristly hairs, that
spread and develop into a burr-like form. Its sides are furrowed
and nearly straight, about 1/5 inch long, and the mouth, about as
wide, is surmounted by an enlarged ring armed with spines, of which
the outer ones are shorter and spreading, and the inner ones longer
plant is deep green and covered with soft hairs, and has a slightly
aromatic scent; even the small root is sweet scented, especially in
spring. The spikes of flowers emit a most refreshing and spicy
odour like that of apricots. The leaves when dry retain most of
their fragrant odour, as well as the flowers, and Agrimony was once
much sought after as a substitute or addition to tea, adding a
peculiar delicacy and aroma to its flavour. Agrimony is one of the
plants from the dried leaves of which in some country districts is
brewed what is called 'a spring drink,' or 'diet drink,' a compound
made by the infusion of several herbs and drunk in spring time as a
purifier of the blood. In France, where herbal teas or tisanes are
more employed than here, it is stated that Agrimony tea, for its
fragrancy, as well as for its virtues, is often drunk as a beverage
is subject to a considerable amount of variation, some specimens
being far larger than others, much more clothed with hairs and with
other minor differences. It has, therefore, by some botanists, been
divided into two species, but the division is now scarcely
maintained. The larger variety, having also a greater fragrance,
was named Agrimonia odorata.
flower-spikes of Agrimony have caused the name of 'Church Steeples'
to be given the plant in some parts of the country. It also bears
the title of 'Cockeburr,' 'Sticklewort' or 'Stickwort,' because its
seed-vessels cling by the hooked ends of their stiff hairs to any
person or animal coming into contact with the plant. It was, Gerard
informs us, at one time called Philanthropos, according to some old
writers, on account of its beneficent and valuable properties,
others saying that the name arose from the circumstance of the
seeds clinging to the garments of passers-by, as if desirous of
accompanying them, and Gerard inclines to this latter
interpretation of the name.
plant yields a yellow dye: when gathered in September, the colour
given is pale, much like that called nankeen; later in the year the
dye is of a darker hue and will dye wool of a deep yellow. As it
gives a good dye at all times and is a common plant, easily
cultivated, it seems to deserve the notice of dyers.
goats will eat this plant, but cattle, horses and swine leave it
---History---The name Agrimony is from
Argemone, a word given by the Greeks to plants which were healing
to the eyes, the name Eupatoria refers to Mithridates Eupator, a
king who was a renowned concoctor of herbal remedies. The magic
power of Agrimony is mentioned in an old English medical
'If it be leyd under mann's
He shal sleepyn as he were
He shal never drede ne wakyn
Till fro under his heed it be
was one of the most famous vulnerary herbs. The Anglo-Saxons, who
called it Garclive, taught that it would heal wounds, snake bites,
warts, etc. In the time of Chaucer, when we find its name appearing
in the form of Egrimoyne, it was used with Mugwort and vinegar for
'a bad back' and 'alle woundes': and one of these old writers
recommends it to be taken with a mixture of pounded frogs and human
blood, as a remedy for all internal haemorrhages. It formed an
ingredient of the famous arquebusade water as prepared against
wounds inflicted by an arquebus, or hand-gun, and was mentioned by
Philip de Comines, in his account of the battle of Morat in 1476.
In France, the eau de arquebusade is still applied for sprains and
bruises, being carefully made from many aromatic herbs. It was at
one time included in the London Materia Medica as a vulnerary herb,
but modern official medicine does not recognize its virtues, though
it is still fully appreciated in herbal practice as a mild
astringent and tonic, useful in coughs, diarrhoea and relaxed
bowels. By pouring a pint of boiling water on a handful of the
dried herb - stem, leaves and flowers - an excellent gargle may be
made for a relaxed throat, and a teacupful of the same infusion is
recommended, taken cold three or four times in the day for
looseness in the bowels, also for passive losses of blood. It may
be given either in infusion or decoction.
---Constituents---Agrimony contains a particular volatile oil,
which may be obtained from the plant by distillation and also a
bitter principle. It yields in addition 5 per cent of tannin, so
that its use in cottage medicine for gargles and as an astringent
applicant to indolent ulcers and wounds is well justified. Owing to
this presence of tannin, its use has been recommended in dressing
and Uses---Astringent tonic, diuretic. Agrimony has had a great
reputation for curing jaundice and other liver complaints. Gerard
believed in its efficacy. He says: 'A decoction of the leaves is
good for them that have naughty livers': and he tells us also that
Pliny called it a 'herb of princely authoritie.' Dioscorides stated
that it was not only 'a remedy for them that have bad livers,' but
also 'for such as are bitten with serpents.' Dr. Hill, who from
1751 to 1771 published several works on Herbal medicine, recommends
'an infusion of 6 oz. of the crown of the root in a quart of
boiling water, sweetened with honey and half a pint drank three
times a day,' as an effectual remedy for jaundice. It gives tone to
the system and promotes assimilation of food.
is also considered a very useful agent in skin eruptions and
diseases of the blood, pimples, blotches, etc. A strong decoction
of the root and leaves, sweetened with honey or sugar, has been
taken successfully to cure scrofulous sores, being administered two
or three times a day, in doses of a wineglassful, persistently for
several months. The same decoction is also often employed in rural
districts as an application to ulcers.
---Preparation---Fluid extract dose, 10 to 60
America, it is said to be used in fevers with great success, by the
Indians and Canadians.
days, it was sometimes given as a vermifuge, though that use; of it
Middle Ages, it was said to have magic powers, if laid under a
man's head inducing heavy sleep till removed, but no narcotic
properties are ascribed to it.
(Universal Herbal, 1832) tells us that 'its root appears to possess
the properties of Peruvian bark in a very considerable degree,
without manifesting any of its inconvenient qualities, and if taken
in pretty large doses, either in decoction or powder, seldom fails
to cure the ague.'
(1652) recommends it, in addition to the uses already enumerated,
for gout, 'either used outwardly in an oil or ointment, or
inwardly, in an electuary or syrup, or concreted juice.' He praises
its use externally, stating how sores may be cured 'by bathing and
fomenting them with a decoction of this plant,' and that it heals
'all inward wounds, bruises, hurts and other distempers.' He
continues: 'The decoction of the herb, made with wine and drunk, is
good against the biting and stinging of serpents . . . it also
helpeth the colic, cleanseth the breath and relieves the cough. A
draught of the decoction taken warm before the fit first relieves
and in time removes the tertian and quartian ague.' It 'draweth
forth thorns, splinters of wood, or any such thing in the flesh. It
helpeth to strengthen members that are out of joint.'
several other plants, not actually related botanically to the
Common Agrimony, that were given the same name by the older
herbalists because of their similar properties. These are the
COMMON HEMP AGRIMONY, Eupatorium Cannabinum (Linn.) called by
Gerard the Common Dutch Agrimony, and by Salmon, in his English
Herbal (1710), Eupatorium Aquaticum mas, the Water Agrimony- also
the plant now called the Trifid Bur-Marigold, Bidens tripartita
(Linn.), but by older herbalists named the Water Hemp, Bastard Hemp
and Bastard Agrimony. The name Bastard Agrimony has also been given
to a species of true Agrimony, Agrimonium Agrimonoides, a native of
Italy, growing in moist woods and among bushes.
Eupatorium Cannabinum (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Holy Rope. St. John's Herb.
Agrimony, Eupatorium Cannabinum, belongs to the great Composite
order of plants. It is a very handsome, tall-growing perennial,
common on the banks of rivers, sides of ditches, at the base of
cliffs on the seashore, and in other damp places in most parts of
Britain, and throughout Europe.
----Description---The root-stock is woody and from it rises the
erect round stems, growing from 2 to 5 feet high with short
branches springing from the axils of the leaves, which are placed
on it in pairs. The stems are reddish in colour, covered with downy
hair and are woody below. They have a pleasant aromatic smell when
root-leaves are on long stalks, but the stem-leaves have only very
short root-stalks. They are divided to their base into three, more
rarely five, lance-shaped toothed lobes, the middle lobe much
larger than the others, the general form of the leaf being similar
to that of the Hemp (hence both the English name and the Latin
specific name, deriven from cannabis, hemp). In small plants the
leaves are sometimes undivided. They have a bitter taste, and their
pungent smell is reminiscent of an umbelliferous rather than of a
composite plant. All the leaves bear distinct, short hairs, and are
sparingly sprinkled with small inconspicuous, resinous
blooms in late summer and autumn, the flower heads being arranged
in crowded masses of a dull lilac colour at the top of the stem or
branches. Each little composite head consists of about five or six
florets. The corolla has five short teeth; though generally light
purple or reddish lilac, it sometimes may be nearly white; it is
covered with scattered resinous points. The anthers of the stamens
are brown, and the very long style is white. The crown of hairs, or
pappus, on the angled fruit is of a dirty white
sometimes find the plant called 'St. John's Herb,' and on account
of the hempen-shaped leaves, it was also formerly called, in some
districts, 'Holy Rope,' being thus named after the rope with which
the Saviour was bound.
---Constituents---The leaves contain a volatile oil, which acts
on the kidneys, and likewise some tannin and a bitter chemical
principle which will cut short the chill of intermittent
and Uses---Alternative and febrifuge. Though now little used
medicinally, herbalists recognize its cathartic, diuretic and
anti-scorbutic properties, and consider it a good remedy for
purifying the blood, either used by itself, or in combination with
other herbs. A homoeopathic tincture is prepared, given in frequent
small well-diluted doses with water, for influenza, or for a
similar feverish chill, and a tea made with boiling water poured on
the dry leaves will give prompt relief if taken hot at the onset of
a bilious catarrh or of influenza.
it was used by the peasants for jaundice with swollen feet, and
given as an alternative or purifier of the blood in the spring and
against scurvy. The leaves have been used in infusion as a tonic,
and in the fen districts where it prevails, such medicines are very
necessary. Country people used to lay the leaves on bread,
considering that they thus prevented it from becoming
---Preparation---Fluid extract, 10 to 60 drops.
to Withering, an infusion of a handful of the fresh herb acts as a
strong purgative and emetic. Boerhaave, the famous Dutch physician
(1668-1738), recommends an infusion of the plant for fomenting
ulcers and putrid sores, and Tournefort (Materia Medica, 1708)
affirmed that the fresh-gathered root, boiled in ale, purges
briskly, but without producing any bad effects, and stated that
there were many instances of its having cured dropsy.
also the reputation of being a good wound herb, whether bruised or
made into an ointment with lard.
said to be the only animals that will eat this plant.
Bidens tripartita (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Agrimony, now called the Bur Marigold is an annual flowering in
late summer and autumn, abounding in wet places, such as the
margins of ponds and ditches, and common in England, but rather
less so in Scotland.
root is tapering, with many fibres attached to it. The erect stem
grows about 2 feet high, sometimes more, and is wiry and nearly
smooth, angular, solid and marked with small brown spots, so as to
almost give it the dark purple appearance described by Culpepper.
It is very leafy and the upper portion branches freely from the
axils of the leaves, which are placed opposite one another and are
of a dark green colour 2 to 3 inches in length. All except the
uppermost are narrowed into winged foot-stalks at the bases, which
are united together across the stem. They are smooth and
sharp-pointed, with coarsely toothed margins, and are divided into
three segments (hence the specific name of the plant), occasionally
into five, the centre lobe much larger and also often deeply
three-cleft. The uppermost leaves are sometimes found
composite flowers are in terminal heads, brownish-yellow in colour
and somewhat drooping, usually without ray florets the disk florets
being perfectly regular. The heads are surrounded by a leafy
involucre, the outer leaflets of which, about eight in number,
pointed and spreading, extend much behind the flower-head. The
fruits have four ribs, which terminate in long, spiky projections,
or awns, two of which, as well as the ribs, are armed with reflexed
prickles, causing them to cling to any rough substance they touch,
such as the coat of an animal, thus helping in the dissemination of
the seeds. From these burr-like fruits, the plant has been given
the name it now universally bears. These burrs, when the plant has
been growing on the borders of a fish-pond, have been known to
destroy gold fish by adhering to their gills. The flower-heads
smell rather like rosin or cedar when burnt.
and Uses---This plant was formerly valued for its diuretic and
astringent properties, and was employed in fevers, gravel, stone
and bladder and kidney troubles generally, and was considered also
a good stypic and an excellent remedy for ruptured blood-vessels
and bleeding of every description, of benefit to consumptive
Culpepper tells us that it was called
Hepatorium 'because it strengthens the liver':
'it healeth and drieth, cutteth and
cleanseth thick and tough humours of the breast and for this I hold
it inferior to few herbs that grow . . . it helpeth the dropsy and
yellow jaundice; it opens the obstruction of the liver, mollifies
the hardness of the spleen, being applied outwardly. . . it is an
excellent remedy for the third day ague; . . . it kills worms and
cleanseth the body of sharp humours which are the cause of itch and
scab; the herb being burnt, the smoke thereof drives away flies,
wasps, etc. It strengthens the lungs exceedingly. Country people
give it to their cattle when they are troubled with cough or are
sometimes been employed on the Continent as a yellow dye, but the
colour yielded is very indifferent. The yarn or thread must be
first steeped in alum water, then dried and steeped in a decoction
of the plant and afterwards boiled in the decoction.
nearly-allied species, Bidens bipinnata (Linn.), popularly called
Spanish Needles, is a native of North America, where the roots and
seeds have been used as emmenagogues and in laryngeal and bronchial
(NODDING). Another species of Bidens, called B. cernua, popularly
known as the Nodding Marigold. The flowers are somewhat larger than
B. tripartita,and have a much more decided droop, hence the name
'Nodding.' The leaves are not made up of three leaflets but are of
lanceolate form, deeply serrated. It is found by streams and
ditches, and flowers during the later summer and
Prinos Verticillatus (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Ilex Verticillata. Black Alder Winterberry.
Deciduous Winterberry. Virginian Winterberry. P. Gronovii. P.
Confertus. Fever Bush. Apalachine a feuilles de
Used---The fresh bark and fruit.
---Habitat---The United States, from western Florida
---Description---This shrub is the most ornamental of the
American deciduous hollies. It grows from 6 to 1O feet in height,
with thin, oval or lanceolate leaves, white flowers and bright
scarlet berries the size of a large pea, causing it to be very
conspicuous in the autumn, when the surrounding vegetation is
is found in thin fragments, the outer surface brownish, with
whitish patches and black dots and lines, the cork layer easily
separating from the pale-greenish or yellowish white inner tissue.
The fracture is short, the odour almost imperceptible, and the
taste bitter and slightly astringent.
widely used by the aborigines of North America for its astringent
---Constituents---The bark contains about 4-8 per cent tannin,
two resins, the one soluble and the other insoluble in alcohol,
albumen, gum, sugar, and a bitter principle and a yellow colouring
matter not yet isolated. There is no berberine.
bark and fruit are gathered before the first autumnal
and Uses---Cathartic, antiseptic, tonic, and astringent bitter. The
decoction of the bark is prepared by boiling 2 ounces of bark in 3
pints of water down to 2 pints, this being given internally in
diarrhoea and malarial disorders, and externally in indolent sores
and chronic skin disease. The berries should not be used as a
substitute for the bark. In intermittent fever it can be used like
Peruvian Bark, and is valuable in jaundice, gangrenous affections,
dropsy, and when the body is devitalized by discharges. The bark is
well known as an ingredient in several alternative
berries are cathartic, and with Cedar apples form a mild
anthelmintic for children.
observed case, after eating twenty-five berries, had a sensation of
nausea, not interfering with appetite, vomiting of bile without
retching, painless and profuse evacuation of the bowels, followed
by a second evacuation in half an hour, and as a result, a feeling
of great lightness and well-being, with appetite and digestion
better than usual.
dyspepsia, 2 drachms of the powdered bark, and 1 drachm of powdered
Golden Seal infused in a pint of boiling water, taken, when cold,
in the course of one day in wine-glassful doses, will be found very
decoction, 2 to 3 fluid ounces. Of the powdered bark, 1/2 to 1
Alnus Glutinosa (GAERTN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Used---The bark and the leaves.
---Habitat---Europe south of the Arctic Circle, including
Britain, Western Asia, North Africa.
English Alder is a moderately-sized tree or large shrub of dark
colour, usually growing in moist woods or pastures or by streams.
The leaves are broadly ovate, stalked, and usually smooth. The
catkins are formed in the autumn, the fruiting ones having scales
rather like a tiny-fir-cone; the flowers appear in early spring,
before the leaves are fully out. The woody, nearly globular female
catkins are the so-called 'berries.' The trees are often grown in
coppices, which afford winter shade for stock on mountain grazings
without appearing to injure the grass beneath, and can be cut down
for poles every nine or ten years.
is much used. When young it is brittle and very easily worked. When
more mature it is tinted and veined; in the Highlands of Scotland
it is used for making handsome chairs, and is known as Scottish
mahogany. It has the quality of long endurance under water, and so
is valuable for pumps, troughs, sluices, and particularly for
piles, for which purpose it is said to have been used in
sixteenth-century Venice and widely in France and Holland. The
roots and knots furnish good material for cabinet-makers, and for
the clogs of Lancashire mill-towns and the south of Scotland the
demand exceeds the supply, and birch has to be used instead. It is
also used for cart and spinning wheels, bowls, spoons, wooden
heels, herring-barrel staves, etc. On the Continent it is largely
used for cigar-boxes, for which its reddish, cedar-like wood is
well adapted. After lying in bogs the wood has the colour but not
the hardness of ebony. The branches make good charcoal, which is
valuable for making gunpowder.
is used by dyers, tanners, leather dressers, and for fishermen's
is used as a foundation for blacks, with the addition of copperas.
Alone, it dyes woollens a reddish colour (Aldine Red). The
Laplanders chew it, and dye leathern garments with their saliva. An
ounce dried and powdered, boiled in three-quarters of a pint of
water with an equal amount of logwood, with solution of copper,
tin, and bismuth, 6 grains of each, and 2 drops of iron vitriol,
will dye a deep boue de Paris.
and young shoots dye yellow, and with a little copper as a
yellowish-grey, useful in the half-tints and shadows of flesh in
tapestry. The shoots cut in March will dye cinnamon, and if dried
and powdered a tawny shade. The fresh wood yields a pinkish-fawn
dye, and the catkins a green.
have been used in tanning leather. They are clammy, and if spread
in a room are said to catch fleas on their glutinous
---Constituents---The bark and young shoots contain from 16 to
20 per cent of tannic acid, but so much colouring matter that they
are not very useful for tanning. This tannin differs from that of
galls and oak-bark, and does not yield glucose when acted upon by
sulphuric acid, which, it is stated, resolves it into almine red
and Uses---Tonic and astringent. A decoction of the bark is useful
to bathe swellings and inflammations, especially of the throat, and
has been known to cure ague.
on the Alps are reported to be frequently cured of rheumatism by
being covered with bags full of the heated leaves.
cows, sheep and goats are said to eat it, but swine refuse it. Some
state that it is bad for horses, as it turns their tongues
Alnus serrulata (WILLD.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Alnus rubra (obsolete). Smooth Alder. Red
---Habitat---United States and Europe.
well-known shrub, growing in clumps and forming thickets on the
borders of ponds or rivers, or in swamps. It bears flowers of a
reddish-green colour in March and April. The bark is blackish grey,
with small, corky warts, the inner surface being orange-brown,
striated. The taste is astringent and somewhat bitter. It is almost
Alnus rubra should no longer be applied to Alnus serrulata, though
some authorities retain it. That is the correct name of the Oregon
and Uses---Alterative, tonic, astringent, emetic. A decoction or
extract is useful in scrofula, secondary syphilis and several forms
of cutaneous disease. The inner bark of the root is emetic, and a
decoction of the cones is said to be astringent, and useful in
haematuria and other haemorrhages.
diarrhoea, indigestion and dyspepsia are caused by debility of the
stomach, it will be found helpful, and also in intermittent
It is said
that an excellent ophthalmic powder can be made as follows: bore a
hole from 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter, lengthwise, through a stout
piece of limb of Tag Alder. Fill the opening with finely-powdered
salt, and close it at each end. Put into hot ashes, and allow it to
remain until the Tag is almost charred (three to four days), then
split it open, take out the salt, powder, and keep it in a vial. To
use it, blow some of the powder upon the eye, through a
extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Infusion of 1 OZ. of bark in 1 pint of
boiling water - in wineglassful doses. Almim, 4 to 10
See (Black) Lovage.
Alkanna tinctoria (TAUSCH.), Lithosfermum tinctorium (VAH
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Anchusa. Dyer's Bugloss. Spanish Bugloss.
Anchusa is derived from the Greek anchousa=paint, from the use of
the root as a dye.
species are hispid or pubescent herbs, with oblong, entire leaves,
and bracteated racemes, rolled up before the flowers expand. The
corolla is rather small, between funnel and salver-shaped; usually
purplish-blue, but in some species yellow or whitish; the calyx
enlarges in fruit. The root, which is often very large in
proportion to the size of the plant, yields in many of the species
a red dye from the rind.
(A. tinctoria) is cultivated in Central and Southern Europe for its
dye, which is readily extracted by oils and spirit of wine. It is
employed in pharmacy to give a red colour to salves, etc., and in
staining wood in imitation of rosewood, or mahogany. This is done
by rubbing it with oil in which the Alkanet root has been soaked.
About 8 to 10 tons were annually imported from France and Germany.
The plant is sometimes also cultivated in Britan, but by far the
greater portion of the Alkanet used here is imported either from
the Levant or from the neighbourhood of Montpellier, in
Alkanet imparts a fine deep red colour to oily substances and to
spirit of wine, it tinges water with a dull brownish hue. Wax
tinged with Alkanet, and applied to the surface of warm marble,
stains it flesh-colour and sinks deep into the stone. It is also
used in colouring spurious 'port-wine,' for which purpose it is
British species, the Common Alkanet (A. officinalis), is a soft,
hairy plant with an angular stem, narrow, lanceolate leaves; and
forked, one-sided cymes of violet flowers; calyx longer than the
funnel-shaped corolla. It is an occasional escape from gardens. It
is a biennial, and flowers from June to July.
Evergreen Alkanet (A. sempervireus) is also found in Great Britain.
This is a stout bristly plant, with deep green, ovate leaves, and
long-stalked axillary, crowded clusters of rather large flowers,
which are of an intense azure blue and have a short tube to the
corolla. It is not generally considered a native, but it is not an
uncommon hedgeplant in Devonshire. It is a perennial and flowers
from May to August.
says that the French ladies of his day coloured their faces with an
ointment containing anchusa and the colour did not last
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Culpepper
'It is an herb under the dominion of
Venus, and indeed one of her darlings, though somewhat hard to come
by. It helps old ulcers, hot inflammations, burnings by common fire
and St. Anthony's fire . . . for these uses your best way is to
make it into an ointment also if you make a vinegar of it, as you
make a vinegar of roses, it helps the morphy and leprosy . . . it
helps the yellow jaundice, spleen, and gravel in the kidneys.
Dioscorides saith, it helps such as are bitten by venomous beasts,
whether it be taken inwardly or applied to the wound, nay, he saith
further, if any that hath newly eaten it do but spit into the mouth
of a serpent, the serpent instantly dies.... It also kills worms.
Its decoction made in wine and drank, strengthens the back, and
easeth the pains thereof. It helps bruises and falls, and is as
gallant a remedy to drive out the smallpox and measles as any is;
an ointment made of it is excellent for green wounds, pricks or
Pimento officinalis (LINDL.)
Medicinal Action and Use
Concentrated Pemento Water of the British Pharmacopoeia Codex
---Synonyms---Pimento. Jamaica Pepper.
Used---Fruit, particularly the shell.
---Habitat---Pimento, or Jamaica Pepper, familiarly called
Allspice, because it tastes like a combination of cloves, juniper
berries, cinnamon and pepper, is the dried full-grown, but immature
fruit of Pimento officinalis (Lindl.), or Eugenia Pimenta, an
evergreen tree about 30 feet high, a member of the natural order
Myrtaceae, indigenous to the West Indian Islands and South America,
and extensively grown in Jamaica, where it flourishes best on
limestone hills near the sea. In this country, it only grows as a
It is also
cultivated in Central America and surrounding states, but more than
half the supply of the spice found in commerce comes from Jamaica,
where the tree is so abundant as to form in the mountainous
districts whole forests, which require little attention beyond
clearing out undergrowth.
tree begins to fruit when three years old and is in full bearing
after four years. The flowers appear in June, July and August and
are quickly succeeded by the berries.
special qualities of the fruit reside in the rind of the berries.
It loses its aroma on ripening, owing to loss of volatile oil, and
the berries are therefore collected as soon as they have attained
their full size, in July and August, but while unripe and
is performed by breaking off the small twigs bearing the bunches;
these are then spread out and exposed to the sun and air for some
days, after which the stalks are removed and the berries are ready
for packing into bags and casks for exportation.
is sometimes dried in ovens (Kiln-dried Allspice), but the method
by evaporation from sun-heat produces the best article, though it
is tedious and somewhat hazardous, requiring about twelve days,
during which the fruit must be carefully guarded against moisture,
being housed at night and during rainy and damp
colour of the fresh fruit changes on drying to reddish brown. If
the fruit is allowed to ripen, it loses almost the whole of its
aromatic properties, becoming fleshy sweet and of a purple-black
colour. Such pimento, to render it more attractive, is then often
artificially coloured with bole or brown ochre, a sophistication
which may be detected by boiling for a few seconds with diluted
hydrochloric acid, filtering and testing with potassium
ferrocyanide; the liquid should assume at most a bluish-green
as found in commerce are small nearly globular berries, about 3/10
inch in diameter, somewhat like black pepper in appearance, with a
rough and brittle surface and crowned by the remains of the calyx
teeth, surrounding the short style. The fruit is two-celled, each
cell containing a single, kidney-shaped seed. The remains of the
calyx crowning the fruit and the presence of two single-seeded
cells are features that distinguish Pimento from Cubebs, the fruit
of which is one-celled, one-seeded and grey and from Black
Peppercorns, which are also one-celled and one-seeded.
derives its name from the Portuguese pimenta, Spanish
pimienta==pepper, which was given it from its resemblance to
---Constituents---The chief constituent of Pimento is from 3 to
4.5 per cent of a volatile oil, contained in glands in the pericarp
of the seeds and obtained by distillation from the
as a yellow or yellowish-red liquid, becoming gradually darker on
keeping and having a pleasant aromatic odour, somewhat similar to
that of oil of cloves, and a pungent, spicy taste. It has a
slightly acid reaction. It is soluble in all proportions of
alcohol. The specific gravity is 1.030 to 1.050. Its chief
constituent is the phenol Eugenol, which is present to the extent
of 60 to 75 per cent, and a sesquiterpene, the exact nature of
which has not yet been ascertained. The specific gravity to some
extent indicates the amount present; if lower than 1.030, it may be
assumed that some eugenol has been removed, or that the oil has
been adulterated with substitutes having a lower specific gravity
than that of eugenol. The eugenol can be determined by shaking the
oil with a solution of potassium hydroxide and measuring the
residual oily layer. The United States Pharmacopoeia specifies that
at least 65 per cent by volume of eugenol should be present. On
shaking the oil with an equal volume of strong solution of ammonia,
it should be converted into a semisolid mass of
clove-like odour of the oil is doubtless due to the eugenol, but
the characteristic odour is due to some other substance or
substances as yet unknown. A certain amount of resin is also
present, but the oil has not yet been fully
obtained from the fruit, a volatile oil, a green fixed oil, a fatty
substance in yellowish flakes, tannin, gum, resin, uncrystallizable
sugar, colouring matter, malic and gallic acids, saline matter and
lignin. The green fixed oil has a burning, aromatic taste of
Pimento and is supposed to be the acrid principle. Upon this,
together with the volatile oil, the medicinal properties of the
berries depend, and as these two principles exist most in the
shell, this part is the most efficient. According to Bonastre, the
shell contains 1O per cent of the volatile and 8 per cent of the
fixed oil; the seeds only 5 per cent of the former and 2.5 of the
latter. Berzelius considered the green fixed oil of Bonastre to be
a mixture of the volatile oil, resin, fixed oil and perhaps a
incineration, the fruits yield from 2.5 to 5 per cent of
impart their flavour to water and all their virtues to alcohol. The
infusion is of a brown colour and reddens litmus
and bark abound in inflammable particles.
and Uses---The chief use of Pimento is as a spice and condiment:
the berries are added to curry powder and also to mulled wine. It
is popular as a warming cordial, of a sweet odour and grateful
inaction resembles that of cloves, and is occasionally used in
medicine and is also employed in perfuming soaps.
formerly official in both the British and United States
Pharmacopoeias. Both Pimento Oil and Pimento Water were official in
the British Pharmacopoeia of 1898, but Oil of Pimento was deleted
from the British Pharmacopceia of 1914, though the Water still has
a place in the British Pharmacopceia Codex.
has also been dropped from the United States Pharmacopoeia, but
admitted to the National Formulary IV. Pimento is one of the
ingredients in the Compound Tincture of Guaic of the National
an aromatic stimulant and carminative to the gastro-intestinal
tract, resembling cloves in its action. It is employed chiefly as
an addition to tonics and purgatives and as a flavouring
Essential Oil, as well as the Spirit and the distilled Water of
Pimento are useful for flatulent indigestion and for hysterical
paroxysms. Two or three drops of the oil on sugar are given to
correct flatulence. The oil is also given on sugar and in pills to
correct the griping tendencies of purgatives: it was formerly added
to Syrup of Buckthorn to prevent griping.
Water (Aqua Pimentae) is used as a vehicle for stomachic and
purgative medicines. It is made by taking 5 parts of bruised
Pimento to 200 parts of water and distilling down to 100, the dose
being 1 to 2 fluid ounces.
---Concentrated Pimento Water of the
British Pharmacopoeia Codex---
Oil of Pimento 1 fl. oz.
Alcohol 12 fl. oz.
Purified Talc 1 oz.
Distilled Water up to 20 fl.
the oil in the alcohol, contained in a suitable bottle, add the
water gradually shaking after each addition; add the talc shake,
allow to stand for a few hours, occasionally shaking, and
of this solution corresponds to about 40 parts of Pimento
Preparations---The powdered fruit: dose, 10 to 30 grains. Fluid
extract: dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Oil: dose, 2 to 5
one of the ingredients of Spice Plaster. An extract made from the
crushed berries by boiling them down to a thick liquor is, when
spread on linen, a capital stimulating plaster for neuralgic or
of four other species of the genus Pimento, found in Venezuela,
Guiana and the West Indies, are employed in their native countries
Rum,' used as a toilet article, is a tincture scented with the oil
of the leaves of an allied species, P. acris, commonly known as the
---Adulterations---Although ground Pimento is sometimes used to
adulterate powdered cloves, it is itself little subject to
adulteration in the entire condition, though the ground article for
household consumption as a spice is subject to the same
adulteration as other similar substances, it is sometimes
adulterated with the larger and less aromatic berries of the
Mexican Myrtus Tobasco, Mocino called Pimienta de
time the fruit of the common American Spice Bush, 'Benzoin ' was
used for this purpose. The powdered berries of this American plant,
a member of the natural order Lauracece, Lindera Benzoin, occurring
in damp woods throughout the Eastern and Central States, were used
during the War of Independence by the Americans as a substitute for
Allspice and its leaves as a substitute for tea, hence the plant
was often called 'Wild Allspice.' All parts of the shrub have a
spicy, agreeable flavour, which is strongest in the bark and
berries. The leaves and berries are also used in decoction in
domestic practice as a febrifuge and are considered to have tonic
and also anthelmintic properties. A tincture prepared from the
fresh young twigs before the buds have burst in the spring, is
still used in homoeopathy, but no preparation is employed
'Carolina Allspice,' or Sweet Bush (Calycanthis foridus, Lindl), is
a shrub 6 to 8 feet high, which inhabits the low, shady woods along
the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina and in Tennessee. The
whole plant is aromatic, having the odour of strawberries when
asserted that the shrub is important as a source of poisoning to
cattle and sheep. The alkaloid it contains exercises a powerfully
depressant action upon the heart.
been used as an antiperiodic, in fluid extract.
---Habitat---The Almond tree is a native of the warmer parts of
western Asia and of North Africa, but it has been extensively
distributed over the warm temperate region of the Old World, and is
cultivated in all the countries bordering on the Mediterranean. It
was very early introduced into England, probably by the Romans, and
occurs in the Anglo-Saxon lists of plants, but was not cultivated
in England before 1562, and then chiefly for its
---History---The tree has always been a
favourite, and in Shakespeare's time, as Gerard tells us, Almond
trees were 'in our London gardens and orchards in great plenty.'
There are many references to it in our early poetry. Spenser
alludes to it in the Fairy Queen:
'Like to an Almond tree ymounted
On top of greene Selinis all
With blossoms brave bedecked
Whose tender locks do tremble every
At everie little breath that under Heaven
Shakespeare mentions it only once, very casually, in Troilus
and Cressida: - 'The parrot will not do more for an Almond' - 'An
Almond for a parrot' being an old simile in his days for the height
English name seems to have been Almande: it thus appears in the
Romaunt of the Rose. Both this old name and its more modern form
came through the French amande, derived from the late Latin
amandela, in turn a form of the Greek amygdalus, the meaning of
which is obscure.
grows freely in Syria and Palestine: it is mentioned in Scripture
as one of the best fruit trees of the land of Canaan, and there are
many other biblical references to it. The Hebrew name, shakad, is
very expressive: it signifies 'hasty awakening,' or 'to watch for,'
hence 'to make haste,' a fitting name for a tree, whose beautiful
flowers appearing in Palestine in January, herald the wakening up
of Creation. The rod of Aaron was an Almond twig, and the fruit of
the Almond was one of the subjects selected for the decoration of
the golden candlestick employed in the tabernacle. The Jews still
carry rods of Almond blossom to the synagogues on great
were reckoned among 'the best fruits of the land' in the time of
Jacob we may infer they were not then cultivated in Egypt. Pliny,
however, mentions the Almond among Egyptian fruit-trees; and it is
not improbable that it was introduced between the days of Jacob and
the period of the Exodus.
as well as the oil pressed from them, were well known in Greece and
Italy long before the Christian era. A beautiful fable in Greek
mythology is associated with the tree. Servius relates that Phyllis
was changed by the gods into an Almond tree as an eternal
compensation for her desertion by her lover Demophoon, which caused
her death by grief. When too late, Demophoon returned, and when the
leafless, flowerless and forlorn tree was shown him, as the
memorial of Phyllis, he clasped it in his arms, whereupon it burst
forth into bloom - an emblem of true love inextinguishable by
Middle Ages, Almonds became an important article of commerce in
Central Europe. Their consumption in medieval cookery was enormous.
An inventory, made in 1372, of the effects of Jeanne d'Evreux,
Queen of France, enumerates only 20 lb. of sugar, but 500 lb. of
ancients attributed many wonderful virtues to the Almond, but it
was chiefly valued for its supposed virtue in preventing
intoxication. Plutarch mentions a great drinker of wine, who by the
use of Bitter Almonds escaped being intoxicated, and Gerard says:
'Five or six, being taken fasting, do keepe a man from being
drunke.' This theory was probably the origin of the custom of
eating salted Almonds through a dinner.
Almond belongs to the same group of plants as the rose, plum,
cherry and peach, being a member of the tribe Prunae of the natural
order Rosaceae. The genus Amygdalus to which it is assigned is very
closely allied to Prunus (Plum) in which it has sometimes been
merged; the distinction lies in the fruit, the succulent pulp
attached to the stone in the plum (known botanically as the
mesocarp) being replaced by a leathery separable coat in the almond
which is hard and juiceless, of a dingy green tinged with dull red,
so that when growing it looks not unlike an unripe apricot. When
fully ripe, this green covering dries and splits, and the Almond,
enclosed in its rough shell (termed the endocarp) drops out. The
shell of the Almond is a yellowish buff colour and flattened-ovoid
in shape, the outer surface being usually pitted with small holes;
frequently it has a more or less fibrous nature. Sometimes it is
thin and friable (soft-shelled Almond), sometimes extremely hard
and woody (hard-shelled Almond). The seed itself is rounded at one
end and pointed at the other, and covered with a thin brown, scurfy
coat. The different sorts of Almonds vary in form and size, as well
as in the firmness of the shell. The fruit is produced chiefly on
the young wood of the previous year, and in part on small spurs of
two and three years growth.
is of moderate size, usually from 20 to 30 feet high, with
spreading branches the leaves lance-shaped, finely toothed (or
serrated) at the edges. The flowers are produced before the leaves
- in this country early in March; and in great profusion. There are
two principal forms of the Almond the one with entirely pink
flowers, Amygdalus communis, var. dulcis, producing Sweet Almonds;
the other, A. communis, var. amara, with flowers slightly larger,
and the petals almost white towards the tips, deepening into rose
at the base, producing Bitter Almonds. Botanically, they are
considered merely variations of the one type, and the difference in
variety has been supposed originally to be mainly owing to climate,
the Bitter Almond being a native of Barbary. The Sweet Almond is
the earliest to flower, and is cultivated more largely than the
Bitter Almond. It is valuable as a food and for confectionery
purposes, as well as in medicine, being rich in a bland oil, and
sustaining as a nutriment: the staying power conferred by a meal of
Almonds and raisins is well known. It is only the Bitter Almond in
the use of which caution is necessary, especially with regard to
children, as it possesses dangerous poisonous
early, delicate flowers of the Almond give it a unique position
among ornamental trees, and it should have a place in every
shrubbery, for it will flourish in any ordinary, well-drained soil,
both in open and somewhat sheltered situations, and does well in
several varieties, differing in colour and size of the flowers: one
dwarf variety, A. nana, a native of the Lower Danube, is especially
decorative, and is often planted in the forefront of shrubberies.
All the species are deciduous.
Southern Italy are the chief Almond-producing countries; Spain,
Portugal, the South of France, the Balearic Islands and Morocco
also export considerable quantities.
southern counties of England it is not uncommon for the tree to
produce a fair crop of fruit, though it is mostly very inferior to
that which is imported, but in less favoured districts in this
country the production of fruit is rare.
is liable to destruction by frosts in many parts of Central Europe.
In France and Belgium, when grown in gardens for its fruit, the
tender-shelled varieties are preferred, and the cultivation is the
same as for the peach.
Amygdalus communis (LINN.) var. dulcis
Medicinal Action and Uses
numerous varieties of the Sweet Almond in commerce, the chief
being: (1) the Jordan Almonds, the finest and best of the Sweet
variety. These, notwithstanding their Oriental name (derived really
from the French jardin), we receive from Malaga, imported without
their shells. They are distinguished from all other Almonds by
their large size, narrow, elongated shape and thin skin; (2)
Valentia Almonds, which are broader and shorter than the Jordan
variety, with a thicker dusty brown, scurfy skin, usually imported
in their shell, and sometimes called in consequence, 'Shell
Almonds'; (3) and (4) Sicilian and Barbary Almonds, which closely
resemble the Valentia Almonds but are rather smaller and of an
inferior quality. They occasionally contain an admixture of Bitter
import of Sweet Almonds into this country is normally over 500
Almonds have a bland taste, and the white emulsion formed when they
are bruised with water is characterized by no marked odour, the
seeds being thus distinguished from Bitter Almonds.
and Uses---Fresh Sweet Almonds possess demulcent and nutrient
properties, but as the outer brown skin sometimes causes irritation
of the alimentary canal, they are blanched by removal of this skin
when used for food. Though pleasant to the taste, their nutritive
value is diminished unless well masticated, as they are difficult
of digestion, and may in some cases induce nettlerash and
feverishness. They have a special dietetic value, for besides
containing about 20 per cent of proteids, they contain practically
no starch, and are therefore often made into flour for cakes and
biscuits for patients suffering from diabetes.
Almonds are used medicinally, the official preparations of the
British Pharmacopoeia being Mistura Amygdalae, Pulvis Amygdalae
Compositus and Almond Oil.
expression they yield nearly half their weight in a bland fixed
oil, which is employed medicinally for allaying acrid juices,
softening and relaxing solids, and in bronchial diseases, in
tickling coughs, hoarseness, costiveness, nephritic pains,
Almonds are pounded in water, the oil unites with the fluid,
forming a milky juice - Almond Milk - a cooling, pleasant drink,
which is prescribed as a diluent in acute diseases, and as a
substitute for animal milk: an ounce of Almonds is sufficient for a
quart of water, to which gum arabic is in most cases a useful
addition. The pure oil mixed with a thick mucilage of gum arabic,
forms a more permanent emulsion; one part of gum with an equal
quantity of water being enough for four parts of oil. Almond
emulsions possess in a certain degree the emollient qualities of
the oil, and have this advantage over the pure oil, that they may
be given in acute or inflammatory disorders without danger of the
ill effects which the oil might sometimes produce by turning
rancid. Sweet Almonds alone are employed in making emulsions, as
the Bitter Almond imparts its peculiar taste when treated in this
and beaten into an emulsion with barley-water, Sweet Almonds are of
great use in the stone, gravel, strangury and other disorders of
the kidneys, bladder and biliary ducts.
oily character, Sweet Almonds sometimes give immediate relief in
heartburn. For this, it is recommended to peel and eat six or eight
are also useful in medicine for uniting substances with water.
Castor oil is rendered palatable when rubbed up with pounded
Almonds and some aromatic distilled water.
Oil of Almonds is extracted from both Bitter and Sweet Almonds. If
intended for external use, it must, however, be prepared only from
are ground in a mill after removing the reddish-brown powder
adhering to them and then subjected to hydraulic pressure, the
expressed oil being afterwards filtered and bleached, preferably by
exposure to light.
---Constituents---Almond oil is a clear, pale yellow, odourless
liquid, with a bland, nutty taste. It consists chiefly of Olein,
with a small proportion of the Glyceride of Linolic Acid and other
Glycerides, but contains no Stearin. It is thus very similar in
composition to Olive Oil (for which it may be used as a pleasant
substitute), but it is devoid of Chlorophyll, and usually contains
a somewhat larger proportion of Olein than Olive Oil.
It is used
in trade, as well as medicinally, being most valuable as a
lubricant for the delicate works of watches, and is much employed
as an ingredient in toilet soap, for its softening action on the
skin. It forms a good remedy for chapped hands.
'The oil newly pressed out of Sweet
Almonds is a mitigator of pain and all manner of aches, therefore
it is good in pleurisy and colic. The oil of Almonds makes smooth
the hands and face of delicate persons, and cleanseth the skin from
all spots and pimples.'
And Culpepper writes:
'The oil of both (Bitter and Sweet)
cleanses the skin, it easeth pains of the chest, the temples being
annointed therewith, and the oil with honey, powder of liquorice,
oil of roses and white wax, makes a good ointment for dimness of
Culpepper also tells us of Almond butter,
'This kind of butter is made of Almonds
with sugar and rose-water, which being eaten with violets is very
wholesome and commodious for students, for it rejoiceth the heart
and comforteth the brain, and qualifieth the heat of the
Amygdalus communis (LINN.) var. amara
Adulterations and Substitutes
several varieties of the Bitter Almond, the best being imported
from the south of France, and others from Sicily and Northern
Africa (Barbary), where it forms a staple article of trade. The
annual imports of Bitter Almonds to this country amount normally to
about 300 tons.
are used chiefly as a source of Almond Oil, but also yield a
volatile oil, which is largely employed as a flavouring
Almonds are usually shorter, proportionately broader and smaller,
and less regular than the Sweet Almonds. They contain about 50 per
cent of the same fixed oil which occurs in the Sweet Almond, and
are also free from starch. The bitter taste is
---Constituents---The Bitter Almond differs from the Sweet
Almond in containing a colourless, crystalline glucoside,
Amygdalin, of which the Sweet are entirely destitute. This
substance is left in the cake obtained after the oil has been
expressed, and can be extracted from it by digestion with alcohol.
Many other Rosaceous plants contain Amygdalin, such as the peach,
apricot, plum, etc., not only in the seed, but also in the young
shoots and flower-buds.
Almond seed also contains a ferment Emulsin, which in presence of
water acts on the soluble glucoside Amygdalin yielding glucose,
prussic acid and the essential oil of Bitter Almonds, or
Benzaldehyde, which is not used in medicine. Bitter Almonds yield
from 6 to 8 per cent of Prussic Acid. About 5 lb. of the seeds
yield on the average half an ounce of the essential
'prussic acid' owes its origin to the fact of its having been first
obtained from Prussian blue. This acid is contained in small
quantities in the leaves and seeds of some of our commonest fruits,
especially in applepips. While it is a valuable remedy for some
diseases, it is also a deadly poison and its action is extremely
of the Cherry-laurel (Prunus lauro-cerasus) owe their activity to
the prussic acid they contain. The laurel water made by
distillation is a dangerous poison, and is so variable in strength,
that it is unsuited for administration as a medicinal agent.
Several fatal cases have occurred from its injudicious
famous 'Macassor Oil' consisted chiefly of Oil of Almonds, coloured
red with Alkanet root, and scented with Oil of Cassia.
essential volatile oil of Bitter Almonds, under the name of 'Almond
flavouring' and 'Spirit of Almonds,' is used in confectionery and
as a culinary flavouring, but on account of its poisonous nature,
great care ought to be exercised in its use, and for the same
reason, Bitter Almonds and ratifia biscuits and Marchpane (made
largely of Bitter Almonds) should be eaten sparingly.
Almonds and their poisonous properties were well known to the
ancients, who used them in intermittent fevers and as a vermifuge,
and they were also employed by them, and in the Middle Ages as an
aperient and diuretic, and as a cure for hydrophobia, but from the
uncertainty of their operation and the risk attending it, we seldom
see them administered now. Taken freely in substance they occasion
sickness and vomiting, and to dogs, birds and some other animals,
they are poisonous. A simple water, strongly impregnated by
distillation with the volatile oil, will cause giddiness, headache
and dimness of sight, and has been found also poisonous to animals,
and there are instances of cordial spirits flavoured by them being
poisonous to man.
several varieties under which they exist, none in size and form
resembles the long, sweet Jordan Almond, and it is to avoid Bitter
Almonds being used instead of Sweet that the British Pharmacopoeia
directs that Jordan Almonds alone shall be employed when Sweet
Almonds are used medicinally.
Culpepper says that Bitter
'do make thin and open, they remove
stoppings out of the liver and spleen, therefore they be good
against pain in the sides.... The same doth likewise kill tetters
in the outward parts of the body (as Dioscorides addeth) if it be
dissolved in vinegar.'
tells us that mixed with honey, these Almonds 'are good for bitings
of a mad dog.'
Substitutes---The adulteration of Bitter Almonds with Sweet Almonds
is a frequent source of loss and annoyance to the pressers of
Almond Oil, whose profit largely depends on the amount of volatile
oil they are able to extract from the residual cake.
and peach kernels contain constituents similar to those of the
Bitter Almonds. They are imported in large quantities from Syria
and California, and are often used by confectioners in the place of
Bitter Almonds. (A very large proportion of the so-called ground
Almonds sold are prepared from peach kernels, and this is the
reason why in good cookery the whole Almonds are used, though the
pounding is along and tedious business.)
oil expressed from them is known as Peach Kernel Oil (0l. Amygdae
Pers.). From the cake, an essential oil is distilled (0l. Amygdae
Essent. Pers.), as from Bitter Almond cake.
of Almonds is frequently distinguished from these by being
described as 'English,' since the bulk of it has hitherto been
pressed in this country. The kernels of the peach and apricot are
with difficulty distinguished from those of the Almond, and the
oils obtained from them closely resemble the so-called English, and
much more expensive oil.
---To make Almond
pound of Jordan almonds, Blanch ym into cold water, and dry ym in a
clean cloth: pick out these that are nought and rotten: then beat
ym very fine in a stone mortar, puting in now and then a little
rose water to keep ym from oyling: then put it out into a platter,
and half a pound of loaf sugar beaten fine and mixt with ye
almonds, ye back of a spoon, and set it on a chafing dish of coals,
and let it stand till it be hott: and when it is cold then have
ready six whites of eggs beaten with too spoonfuls of flower to a
froth, and mix it well with ye almonds: bake ym on catt paper first
done over with a feather dipt in sallet oyle.'
little French Barly with a whole mace and some anniseeds to sweeten
but not to give any sensible tast: then blanch and beat the almonds
with some of the clearest of the liquor to make the milke the
thicker, and strain them, getting forth by often beating what milk
you can: seeth the milke till it thicken and bee ready to rise, and
turne it with the juice of a lemon or salt dissolved in rose water:
spread the curd on a linnen cloath that the whey may run out, and
let it hang till it leave dropping: then season the butter that is
left with rose water, and sugar to your liking.'
---To make Almond
pints of running water, a handfull of Raisins of the Sun stoned,
halfe a handfull of Sorrell as much violet and strawberry leaves,
halfe a handfull of the topps and flowers of burrage (borage), as
much of Buglass, halfe a handfull of Endive, as much Succory, some
Pauncys (Pansies), a little broad time and Orgamen (Marjoram), and
a branch or two of Rosemary, lett all these boyle well together;
then take a good handfull of French Barley, boyling it in three
waters, put it to the rest, and lett them boyle till you think they
are enough, then pour the liquor into a basin, and stampe the
barley and reasons, straining them thereto; then take a quarter of
a pound of Sweet Almonds, blanch them and pound them thrice,
straining them to the other liquor; then season it with damask
rosewater to your liking.'
---A Paste for ye
pound of sun raysens, stone and take a pound of bitter Almonds,
blanch ym and beat ym in stone morter, with a glass of sack take ye
peel of one Lemond, boyle it tender; take a quart of milk, and a
pint of Ale, and make therewith a Possett; take all ye Curd and
putt it to ye Almonds: yn putt in ye Rayson: Beat all these till
they come to a fine Past, and putt in a pott, and keep it for ye
Aloe Perryi (J. G. BAKER), Aloe vera (LINN)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Habitat---Aloes are indigenous to East and South Africa, but
have been introduced into the West Indies (where they are
extensively cultivated) and into tropical countries, and will even
flourish in the countries bordering on the
Aloes consists of the liquid exuded from the transversely-cut bases
of the leaves of various species of Aloes, evaporated to
---Description---They are succulent plants belonging to the
Lily family, with perennial, strong and fibrous roots and numerous,
persistent, fleshy leaves, proceeding from the upper part of the
root, narrow, tapering, thick and fleshy, usually beset at the
edges with spiney teeth. Many of the species are woody and
branching. In the remote districts of S.W. Africa and in Natal,
Aloes have been discovered 30 to 60 feet in height, with stems as
much as 1O feet in circumference.
flowers are produced in erect, terminal spikes. There is no calyx,
the corolla is tubular, divided into six narrow segments at the
mouth and of a red, yellow or purplish colour. The capsules contain
numerous angular seeds.
Aloe is in flower during the greater part of the year and is not to
be confounded with another plant, the Agave or American Aloe (Agave
Americana), which is remarkable for the long interval between its
periods of flowering. This is a succulent plant, without stem, the
leaves being radical, spiney, and toothed. There is a variety with
variegated foliage. The flower-stalk rises to many feet in height,
bearing a number of large and handsome flowers. In cold climates
there is usually a very long interval between the times of its
flowering, though it is a popular error to suppose that it happens
only once in a hundred years for when it obtains sufficient heat
and receives a culture similar to that of the pineapple, it is
found to flower much more frequently. Various species of Agave, all
of which closely resemble each other, have been largely grown as
ornamental plants since the first half of the sixteenth century in
the south of Europe, and are completely acclimatized in Spain,
Portugal and Southern Italy, but though often popularly called
Aloes all of them are plants of the New World whereas the true
Aloes are natives of the Old World. From a chemical point of view
there is also no analogy at all between Aloes and
the Agave is not employed medicinally, the leaves have been used in
Jamaica as a substitute for soap, the expressed juice (a gallon of
the juice yields about 1 lb. of the soft extract), dried in the
sun, being made into balls with wood ash. This soap lathers with
salt water as well as fresh. The leaves have also been used for
scouring pewter and kitchen utensils. The inner spongy substance of
the leaves in a decayed state has been employed as tinder and the
fibres may be spun into a strong, useful thread.
leaves of the true Aloe contain near the epidermis or outer skin, a
row of fibrovascular bundles, the cells of which are much enlarged
and filled with a yellow juice which exudes when the leaf is cut.
When it is desired to collect the juice, the leaves are cut off
close to the stem and so placed that the juice is drained off into
tubs. This juice thus collected is concentrated either by
spontaneous evaporation, or more generally by boiling until it
becomes of the consistency of thick honey. On cooling, it is then
poured into gourds, boxes, or other convenient receptacles, and
require two or three years' standing before they yield their juice.
In the West Indian Aloe plantations they are set out in rows like
cabbages and cutting takes place in March or April, but in Africa
the drug is collected from the wild plants.
---Constituents---The most important constituents of Aloes are
the two Aloins, Barbaloin and Isobarbaloin, which constitute the
so-called 'crystalline' Aloin, present in the drug at from 1O to 30
per cent. Other constituents are amorphous Aloin, resin and
Aloe-emodin. The proportion in which the Aloins are present in the
respective Aloes is not accurately known.
in which the evaporation is conducted has a marked effect on the
appearance of the Aloes, slow and moderate concentration tending to
induce crystallization of the Aloin, thus causing the drug to
appear opaque. Such Aloes is termed 'livery' or hepatic, and
splinters of it exhibit minute crystals of Aloin when examined
under the microscope. If, on the other hand, the evaporation is
carried as far as possible, the Aloin does not crystallize and
small fragments of the drug appear transparent; it is then termed
'glassy,' 'vitreous,' or 'lucid' Aloes and exhibits no crystals of
Aloin under the microscope.
chief varieties of Aloes are Curacao or Barbados, Socotrine
(including Zanzibar) and Cape. Other varieties of Aloes, such as
black 'Mocha' Aloes, occasionally find their way to the London
market. Jafferabad Aloes, supposed to be the same as 'Mocha' Aloes,
is of a black, pitch-like colour and a glassy, somewhat porous
fracture; it is the product of Aloe Abyssinica and is imported to
Bombay from Arabia. It does not enter into English commerce.
Musambra Aloes is made in India from A. vulgaris. Uganda Aloes,
imported from Mossel Bay, not from Uganda, is a variety of Cape
Aloes produced by careful evaporation. Natal Aloes, another South
African variety, is no longer a commercial article in this country.
The A. Purificata of the United States Pharmacopoeia is prepared by
adding Alcohol to melted Aloes, stirring thoroughly, straining and
evaporating the strained liquid. The product occurs in irregular,
brittle, dull- brown or reddish pieces and is almost entirely
soluble in Alcohol.
Aloes is obtained from A. chinensis (Staud.) A. vera (Linn.) and
probably other species. It was formerly produced on the island of
Barbados, where it was largely cultivated, having been introduced
at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and is still frequently,
but improperly called Barbados Aloes. It is now almost entirely
made on the Dutch islands of Curacoa, Aruba and Bonaire by boiling
the Aloe juice down and pouring the viscid residue into empty
spirit cases, in which it is allowed to solidify. Formerly gourds
of various sizes were used (usually containing from 60 to 70 lb.)
but Aloes in gourds is now seldom seen. It is usually opaque and
varies in colour from bright yellowish or rich reddish brown to
black. Sometimes it is vitreous and small fragments are then of a
deep garnet-red colour and transparent. It is then known as 'Capey
Barbados' and is less valuable, but may become opaque and more
valuable by keeping. Curacoa Aloes possesses the nauseous and
bitter taste that is characteristic of all Aloes and a
disagreeable, penetrating odour. It is almost entirely soluble in
60 per cent alcohol and contains not more than 30 per cent of
substances insoluble in water and 12 per cent of moisture. It
should not yield more than 3 per cent of ash.
Aloin is obtained usually from Curacoa Aloes.
of Curacoa and other Aloes gradually undergo change, and may after
a month no longer react normally, and may also lose the bitterness
natural to Aloes.
Aloes is prepared to a certain extent on the island of Socotra, but
probably more largely on the African and possibly also on the
Arabian mainland, from the leaves of A. Perryi (Baker). It is
usually imported in kegs in a pasty condition and subsequent drying
is necessary. It may be distinguished principally from Curacoa
Aloes by its different odour. Much of the dry drug is characterized
by the presence of small cavities in the fractured surface, but the
variety of Socotrine Aloes distinguished as Zanzibar Aloes often
very closely resembles Curacoa in appearance and is usually
imported in liver-brown masses which break with a dull, waxy
fracture, differing from that of Socotrine Aloes in being nearly
smooth and even. When it is prepared, it is commonly poured into
goat skins, which are then packed into cases.
---Constituents---The name 'Socotrine' Aloes is officially
applied to both Socotrine and Zanzibar Aloes. Its chief
constituents are Barbaloin (formerly called Socaloin and Zanaloin)
and B. Barbaloin, no Isobarbaloin being present in this variety of
Aloes. Resin water-soluble substances other than Aloin and
Aloe-emodin are also present.
Aloes should be of a dark, reddish-brown colour, and almost
entirely soluble in alcohol. Not more than 50 per cent should be
insoluble in water and it should yield not more than 3 per cent of
ash. Garnet-coloured, translucent Socotrine Aloes is not now found
in commerce, though fine qualities of Zanzibar Aloes are sometimes
slightly translucent. Samples of the drug which are nearly black
are unfit for pharmaceutical purposes. The odour of Zanzibar Aloes
is strong and characteristic, and its taste nauseous and
is prepared in Cape Colony from A. ferou (Linn.), A. spicata
(Thumb.) A. Africana, A. platylepia and other species of Aloe. It
possesses more powerfully purgative properties than any other
variety of the drug and is preferred to other varieties on the
Continent, but is chiefly employed in this country for veterinary
purposes only though for this purpose the Curacoa Aloes is as a
rule preferred. Another form of the drug used for veterinary
purposes, called Caballine or Horse Aloes, usually consists of the
residue from the purification of the more valuable
almost invariably occurs in the vitreous modification; it forms
dark coloured masses which break with a clean glassy fracture and
exhibit in their splinters a yellowish, reddish-brown or greenish
tinge. Its translucent, glossy appearance and very characteristic,
red-currant like odour sufficiently distinguish it from all other
varieties of Aloes.
Aloes is also obtained from A. ferox. It occurs in bricks or
fragments of hepatic, yellowish-brown colour, with a bronze gold
fracture and its odour resembles that of Cape Aloes.
contains 9 per cent or more of Barbaloin (formerly known as
Capaloin) and B. Barbaloin. Only traces of Capalores not annol
combined with paracumaric acid. Cape Aloes should not contain more
than 12 per cent of water; it should yield at least 45 per cent of
aquoeus extract but not more than 2 per cent of ash Uganda Aloes
yields about 6 per cent of Aloin, part of which is B. Barbaloin.
The leaves of the plants from which Cape Aloes is obtained are cut
off near the stem and arranged around a hole in the ground, in
which a sheepskin is spread, with smooth side upwards. When a
sufficient quantity of juice has drained from the leaves it is
concentrated by heat in iron cauldrons and subsequently poured into
boxes or skins in which it solidifies on cooling. Large quantities
of the drug are exported from Cape Town and Mossel
Aloes. The source of this variety which is seldom imported, is not
yet definitely ascertained, but it is probably prepared from one or
more species of Aloe, probably including A. ferox. Natal Aloes is
prepared with greater care than Cape Aloes the leaves being cut
obliquely into slices and the juice allowed to exude in the hot
sunshine, after which it is boiled down in iron pots the liquid
being stirred until it becomes thick and then poured into wooden
cases to solidify. Natal Aloes is much weaker than any other
variety, having little purgative action on human beings, apparently
because it contains no Emodin. It is no longer of commercial
importance. It resembles Cape Aloes in odour and occurs in
irregular pieces which are almost always opaque and have a
characteristic, dull greenish-black or brown colour. It is much
less soluble than Cape Aloes. It has not a glassy fracture like
that of Cape Aloes and when powdered is of a greenish
should yield 40 per cent of soluble matter to cold
Curacoa and Cape Aloes in powder give a crimson colour with nitric
acid, Socratine Aloes powder touched with nitric acid does not give
a crimson colour.
Mahometans, especially those in Egypt, regard the Aloe as a
religious symbol, and the Mussulman who has made a pilgrimage to
the shrine of the Prophet is entitled to hang the Aloe over his
doorway. The Mahometans also believe that this holy symbol protects
a householder from any malign influence.
the Jews also adopt the practice of hanging up the
neighbourhood of Mecca, at the extremity of every grave, on a spot
facing the epitaph, Burckhardt found planted a low shrubby species
of Aloe whose Arabic name, saber, signifies patience. This plant is
evergreen and requires very little water. Its name refers to the
waiting-time between the burial and the resurrection
of Aloes are admirably provided by their succulent leaves and stems
against the drought of the countries where they flourish. The
cuticle which covers every part of the plant is, in those which
contain a great quantity of pulpy material, formed so as to imbibe
moisture very easily and to evaporate it very slowly. If the leaf
of an Aloe be separated from the parent plant, it may be laid in
the sun for several weeks without becoming entirely shrivelled; and
even when considerably dried by long exposure to heat, it will, if
plunged into water, become in a few hours plump and
and Uses---The drug Aloes is one of the safest and best warm and
stimulating purgatives to persons of sedentary habits and
phlegmatic constitutions. An ordinary small dose takes from 15 to
18 hours to produce an effect. Its action is exerted mainly on the
large intestine, for which reason, also it is useful as a
vermifuge. Its use, however, is said to induce Piles.
From the Chemist and Druggist (July 22,
'Aloes, strychnine and belladonna in pill
form was criticized by Dr. Bernard Fautus in a paper read before
the Chicago branch of the American Pharmaceutical Society. He
pointed out that when given at the same time they cannot possibly
act together because of the different speed and duration of the
three agents. Aloin is slow in action, requiring from 10 to 12
hours. Strychnine and Atropine, on the other hand, are rapidly
absorbed, and have but a brief duration of action.'
Preparations of Aloes are rarely prescribed alone, they require
the addition of carminatives to moderate the tendency to griping.
The compound preparations of Aloes in use generally contain such
correctives, but powdered Aloes and the extracts of Aloes represent
the crude drug.
one form or another is the commonest domestic medicine and is the
basis of most proprietary or so-called 'patent' pills.
little to choose medicinally between the Curacoa and Socotrine
varieties, but the former is somewhat more powerful, 2 grains of
Curacoa Aloes being equal to 3 grains of Socotrine Aloes in
purgative action. The latter is more expensive, but varies much in
the purgative in general uses for horses, it is also used in
veterinary practice as a bitter tonic in small doses, and
externally as a stimulant and desiccant.
employed by the ancients and was known to the Greeks as a
production of the island of Socotra as early as the fourth century
B.C. The drug was used by Dioscorides, Celsus and Pliny, as well as
by the later Greek and Arabian physicians, though it is not
mentioned either by Hippocrates or Theophrastus.
notices of it in the Anglo-Saxon leech-books and a reference to it
as one of the drugs recommended to Alfred the Great by the
Patriarch of Jerusalem, we may infer that its use was not unknown
in Britain as early as the tenth century. At this period the drug
was imported into Europe by way of the Red Sea and Alexandria. In
the early part of the seventeenth century, there was a direct trade
in Aloes between England and Socotra, and in the records of the
East Indian Company there are notices of the drug being bought of
the King of Socotra, the produce being a monopoly of the Sultan of
Aloes, in Latin Lignum Aloes, is used in the Bible and in many
ancient writings to designate a substance totally distinct from the
modern Aloes, namely the resinous wood of Aquilaria agallocha, a
large tree growing in the Malayan Peninsula. Its wood constituted a
drug which was, down to the beginning of the present century,
generally valued for use as incense, but now is esteemed only in
beautiful violet colour is afforded by the leaves of the Socotrine
Aloe, and it does not require a mordant to fix it.
---Preparations---Fluid extract: dose, 5 to 30 drops. Powdered
extract: dose, 1 to 5 grains. Comp decoc., B.P.: dose, 1/2 to 2 OZ.
Tincture B.P.: dose, 1/4 to 2 drachms. Tincture aloes myrrh,
U.S.P.: dose, 30 drops.
Alstonia scholaris (R. BR.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---Echites scholaris (Linn.). Dita Bark. Bitter
Bark. Devil Tree. Pale Mara.
---Habitat---India and the Philippines.
tree grows from 50 to 80 feet high, has a furrowed trunk, oblong
stalked leaves up to 6 inches long and 4 inches wide, dispersed in
four to six whorls round the stem, their upper side glossy, under
side white, nerves running at right angles to the mid-rib. The bark
is almost odourless and very bitter, in commerce it is found in
irregular fragments 1/8 to 1/2 inch thick, texture spongy, fracture
coarse and short, outside layer rough uneven fissured brownish grey
and sometimes blackish spots; inside layer bright buff, transverse
section shows a number of small medullary rays in inner
contains three alkaloids, Ditamine, Echitamine or Ditaine, and
Echitenines, and several fatty and resinous substances- the second
is the strongest base and resembles ammonia in chemical
and Uses---The bark is used in homoeopathy for its tonic bitter and
astringent properties; it is particularly useful for chronic
diarrhoea and dysentry.
Dosages---Infusion of Alstonia, 5 parts to 100 parts water. Dose, 1
fluid ounce. Powdered bark, 2 to 4 grains.
the natives use the bark for bowel complaints. In Ceylon its light
wood is used for coffins. In Borneo the wood close to the root of
the same species is very light and of white colour and is used for
net floats, household utensils, trenchers, corks, etc.
bark called Poele is obtained from Alstonia spectabilis, habitat
Java; it contains the same alkaloids as dita and an additional
Alstonia constricta (F. MUELL.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---Fever Bark. Australian Quinine.
Used---The dried bark.
---Habitat---New South Wales and Australia.
name is derived from Alston, a professor of botany in Edinburgh. In
commerce the bark is usually in curved pieces or quills 2 1/2
inches wide and 1/2, inch thick. Periderm 1/10 to 1/4 of an inch;
rusty brown, rugose, deeply fissured recticulations; internally the
bark is cinnamon brown with strong coarse longitudinal stripes.
Transverse section shows dark brown periderm covering the inner
orange-brown tissues. Fracture short granular in outer layers and
fibrous inner ones, slight aromatic odour, very bitter
---Constituents---Contains three alkaloids Alstonine, Porphrine
and Astonidine, and traces of others.
and Uses---Used for chronic diarrhoea, dysentery and in
intermittent fever; also as an anthelmintic. Scientific
investigation has failed to show why it is of such service in
malaria, but herbalists consider it superior to quinine and of
great use in convalescence, also much used by
Dosages---Powdered bark 2 to 8 grains. Fluid extract, 4 to 40
Amaranthus hypochondriacus (LINN.)
Medicial Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Love-Lies-Bleeding. Red Cockscomb. Velvet
---Habitat---The Amaranths are met with most abundantly in the
tropics, especially in tropical America, but are not plentiful in
species are widely distributed as pernicious weeds. Their economic
importance is slight, their properties chiefly proteid nutrient.
Many abound in mucilage and sugar and many species are used as
pot-herbs, resembling those of Chenopodiaceae. Many, also, are
excellent fodder-plants, though not cultivated.
---Constituents---Their constituents are indefinite; none are
poisonous, none possess very distinct medicinal properties, though
many have use in native practice as alteratives, and as antidotes
to snake-bite, etc.
and Uses---Some species have slightly astringent properties, others
are diaphoretics and diuretics, and a few are tonics and
Greece, the Amaranth was sacred to Ephesian Artemis: it was
supposed to have special healing properties and as a symbol of
immortality was used to decorate images of the gods and tombs. The
name, from the Greek signifying unwithering, was applied to certain
plants which from their lasting for ever, typified
the species are old favourites as garden flowers, viz., Amaranthus
hypochondriacus, known as Prince's Feather, an Indian annual - with
deeply-veined, lance-shaped leaves, purple on the under side with
deep crimson flowers, densely packed on erect spikes, and A.
caudatus (Jacq.) (Love-lies-bleeding), a native of Africa and Java,
a vigorous hardy annual with dark purplish flowers crowded in
handsome drooping spikes. It is considered astringent and a
decoction of the flowers has been administered in spitting of blood
and various haemorrhages and has been said to be so energetic that
it may be used in cases of menorrhagia. With several other species
belonging to the closely allied genus Aeva, natives of India, it
has also been used as an anthelmintic.
(Linn.), A. campestris (Willd.) and many others are used in India
as diuretics. A. oleraceus (Linn.) is used in India in diarrhoea
and menstrual disorders and the young leaves and shoots are also
eaten as a vegetable, similarly to spinach. A. polygonoides, a
common garden weed in India, is also used as a pot-herb and
considered so wholesome that convalescents are ordered it in
preference to all other kinds.
Amaranthum blitum (LINN.)
blitum (Linn.), the wild Amaranth admitted to the list of British
plants, is an inconspicuous weed, often mistaken for an Orache or
Goosefoot, sometimes found on rubbish-heaps near towns and probably
a remnant of ancient cultivation as a pot-herb.
It is an
annual, with trailing stems a foot or two in length and more or
less oval leaves with long stalks. The numerous green flowers are
clustered in the angles between leaf and stem and are unisexual,
without petals, both male and female flowers occurring on the same
flower develops into a juicy, crimson capsule containing a single
seed. The clusters of these fruits have in some localities
suggested the name of Strawberry Blite for the plant.
its leaves are still eaten in the same way as spinach.
Culpepper, speaking of the garden
Amaranths and especially of the Love-lies-bleeding, which he calls
Flower Gentle, Flower Velure, Floramor and Velvet flower,
'The flowers dried and beaten into powder
stops the terms in women, and so do almost all other red things.
And by the icon or image of every herb, the ancients at first found
out their virtues. Modern writers laugh at them for it- but I
wonder how the virtues of herbs came at first to be known, if not
by their signatures, the moderns have them from the writings of the
ancients; the ancients had no writings to have them from. -The
flowers stop all fluxes of blood, whether in man or woman, bleeding
either at the nose or wound.'
Uses---In modern herbal medicine, a fluid extract is employed, the
dose being 1/2 to 1 drachm and also a decoction taken in
wineglassful doses, which is used externally as an application in
ulcerated conditions of the throat and mouth and as an injection in
leucorrhoea, and as a wash for ulcers, sores, etc. For its
astringency it is much recommended in diarrhoea, dysentery and
haemorrhages from the bowels.
Dorema ammoniacum (D. DON.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
Used---The gum resin exuding from the flowering and fruiting stem
of Dorema ammoniacum and probably other species.
---Habitat---Persia, extending into Southern
plant grows to height of about 7 feet and in spring and early
summer contains a milky juice. It is visited by numbers of beetles
which puncture the stem and thus cause an exudation, part of which
dries on the stem, the rest falling to the ground where it becomes
mixed with stones and other impurities found in the gum collected
by the natives. The gum resin is found in special cavities in the
tissues of the stem, root and petioles of the leaves. The name of
the drug is said to be derived from the Temple of Jupiter Ammon in
the Libyan Desert where it was collected by the ancients. The gum
resin occurs in commerce in two forms, tear ammoniacum and lump or
block ammoniacum. The former alone is official in England and
consists of pale yellow nodular masses varying in size from a pea
to a walnut, brittle when cold but softens on warming, fractured
surface, milky white or pale brown in colour. The lump ammoniacum,
which is that collected from the ground, is used sometimes but is
not official in medicine. The odour of the drug is slight, taste
acrid and persistent.
---Constituents---The drug contains volatile oil resin and gum.
The resin consists of an indifferent resene associated with
ammoresinotannol combined with salicylic acid.
and Uses---Taken internally, it acts by facilitating expectoration
and is of value in chronic bronchitis, especially in the aged when
the secretion is tough and viscid. The resin has a mild diuretic
action. It is antispasmodic and stimulant and is given sometimes as
a diaphoretic and emmenagogue, used as a plaster for white
swellings of the joints and for indolent tumours. Its use is of
great antiquity and is mentioned by Hippocrates.
Dosages---Ammoniacum mixture, B.P. 4 to 8 drachms. Ammoniacum in
powder, 1 part; syrup of balsam of tolu, 2 parts; distilled water,
30 parts. Dose, 1/2 to 1 fluid ounce. Dose of the powdered gum, 5
to 15 grains, B.P.C. Dose of the powdered gum, 10 to 30 grains,
Species---African Ammoniacum or 'feshook,' from Ferula Communis is
not a commercial article. The Mahommedans use if for incense; this
variety grows well in the author's garden at Chalfont St.
Anemones are represented in our native British flora by only two
species, the dainty little Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) and the
Pasque Flower (A. pulsatilla), both possessing medicinal
properties, though the former is little used now.
however, about seventy species in the genus Anemone, including the
subgenus Hepatica, now also reckoned as Anemones, though formerly
ranking as a separate genus, the chief representative of which, A.
hepatica, is of some considerable medicinal value. A. pratensis, a
continental species, is employed medicinally for the same purposes
as A. pulsatilla, and the number of species familiar to us as
garden flowers is very great, the most popular among these being,
perhaps, the Poppy or Garden Anemone, A. coronavria a native of the
Levant and Southern Europe, introduced here in 1596, and the Star
Anemone, A. hortensis, a native of Italy, brought to England from
Holland about the same time. A. apennina and A. blanda are also
particularly charming the latter with large flowers of various
shades of blue being the earliest to open.
distinguishing characteristics of the genus Anemone are the
presence of three entire leaflets arranged in a whorl just under
the flowers, forming an involucre, and the fact that the flowers
themselves have no real petals, but a calyx of six to eight
petal-like sepals. All species share the acrid and bitter nature of
almost all plants of the Ranunculus order to which they belong, and
the leaves and flowers should not be eaten. The toxic principle has
been extracted from three species: the two British species and one
foreign one, though no actually fatal results have been recorded. A
yellow-flowered foreign species, A. ranunculoides, found in almost
all parts of the Continent, has been used for poisoning arrows, and
in France, swelling and blistering of the hands has resulted from
using the juice as a stimulant to ulceration.
---Cultivation---Anemones flourish best in a rich, sandy loam,
but will thrive in any garden soil which is well-drained and
tolerably light, it should also be enriched with decayed manure.
Sea sand, or a little salt mixed with the soil is a good preventive
Propagation is by division of the rootstocks and cuttings of
the root in autumn and early spring - from October to the end of
March - and also from seed, which should be sown within a month of
ripening, as it deteriorates with keeping. Sow thinly in lines on
the surface and merely rake the seeds in with a very light hand.
Germination is slow. Thin the plants to 6 inches apart. Thinnings
will bear transplanting if carefully handled and helped with water
afterwards. The first flowers are generally produced the first
spring after sowing, but soil and situation have always a great
effect on them.
persons take up Anemone tubers as soon as the leaf has died down,
and replant in the early part of the year, but this is not
necessary: those that have been two or three years in the ground
attain a large size - they are solid, flattened masses, not unlike
ginger. When planting, cover with soil to the depth of 3
garden Anemones can be treated in this way. The best time for
transplanting A. pulsatilla is considered to be directly after it
has flowered, or at any rate during the summer, while it is in
growth; autumn is a bad time and early spring not much
Anemone pulsatilla (LINN.)
Part used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Pasque Flower. Wind Flower. Meadow Anemone. Passe
Flower. Easter Flower.
---Habitat---Anemone pulsatilla is found not in woods, but in
open situations. It grows wild in the dry soils of almost every
Central and Northern country of Europe, but in England is rather a
local plant, abounding on high chalk downs and limestone pastures,
mostly in Yorkshire, Berkshire, Oxford and Suffolk, but seldom
found in other situations and other districts in this
has a thick and somewhat woody root-stock, from which arises a
rosette of finely-divided, stalked leaves, covered with silky
hairs, especially when young, the foot-stalk often being purplish.
The flowers, which are about 1 1/2 inches across, are borne singly
on stalks 5 to 8 inches in height, with an involucre of three
sessile (i.e stalkless) deeply-cut leaflets or bracts. The sepals
are of a dull violet-purple colour, very silky on the under
surfaces. The seed- vessels are small, brown hairy achenes, with
long, feathery tails, like those of the Traveller's Joy or Wild
plant, especially the bases of the foot-stalks, is covered with
silky hairs. It is odourless, but possesses at first a very acrid
taste, which is less conspicuous in the dried herb and gradually
diminishes on keeping. The majority of the leaves develop after the
flowers; they are two to three times deeply three-parted or
pinnately cleft to the base, in long, linear, acute
of the purple sepals gives a green stain to paper and linen, but it
is not permanent. It has been used to colour the Paschal eggs in
some countries, whence it has been supposed the English name of the
plant is derived. Gerard, however, expressly informs us that he
himself was 'moved to name' this the Pasque Flower, or Easter
Flower, because of the time of its appearance, it being in bloom
from April to June. The specific name, pulsatilla, from pulsc, I
beat, is given in allusion to its downy seeds being beaten about by
of pulsatilla when cultivated in this country like a well-drained,
light, but deep soil, and will flourish in a peat or leaf soil,
with the addition of lime rubble.
Medicinally---The drug Pulsatilla, which is of highly valuable
modern curative use as a herbal simple, is obtained not only from
the whole herb of A. pulsatilla, but also from A. pratensis, the
Meadow Anemone, which is closely allied to the Pasque Flower,
differing chiefly in having smaller flowers with deeper purple
sepals, inflexed at the top. It grows in Denmark, Germany and
Italy, but not in England. It is recommended for certain diseases
of the eye, like Pulsatilla, and is used in homoeopathy, but has
been considered somewhat dangerous. The whole plant has a strong
acrid taste, but is eaten by both sheep and goats, though cows and
horses will not touch it. The leaves when bruised and applied to
the skin raise blisters. A. patens, var. Nutalliana is also used
for the same purpose as A. pulsatilla.
case, the whole herb is collected, soon after flowering, and should
be carefully preserved when dried; it deteriorates if kept longer
than one year.
---Constituents---The fresh plant yields by distillation with
water an acrid, oily principle, with a burning, peppery taste, Oil
of Anemone. A similar oil is obtained from Ranunculus bulbosus, R.
flammula and R. sceleratus, which belong to the same order of
plants. Its therapeutic value is not considered great. When kept
for some time,this oily substance becomes decomposed into Anemonic
acid and Anemonin. Anemonin is crystalline, tasteless and odourless
when pure and melts at 152ø. The action of Pulsatilla is virtually
that of this crystalline substance Anemonin, which is a powerful
irritant, like cantharides, in overdoses causing violent
gastro-enteritis. It is volatile in water vapour and is then
irritative to the eyes and mouth. The Oil acts as a vescicant when
applied to the skin. Anemonicacid appears to be inert. Anemonin
sometimes causes local inflammation and gangrene when
subcutaneously injected, vomiting and purging when given
internally. It is, however, uncertain whether these symptoms are
due to Anemonin itself or to some impurity in it. The chief action
of pure Anemonin is a depressant one on the circulation,
respiration and spinal cord, to a certain extent resembling that of
Aconite. The symptoms are slow and feeble pulse, slow respiration,
coldness, paralysis and death without convulsions. In poisoning by
extract of Pulsatilla, convulsions are always present. Their
absence in poisoning by pure Anemonin appears to be due to its
paralysing action on motor centres in the brain.
and Uses---Nervine, antispasmodic, alterative and diaphoretic.The
tincture of Pulsatilla is beneficial in disorders of the mucous
membrane, of the respiratory and of the digestive passages. Doses
of 2 to 3 drops in a spoonful of water will allay the spasmodic
cough of asthma, whooping-cough and bronchitis.
catarrhal affection of the eyes, as well as for catarrhal
diarrhoea, the tincture is serviceable. It is also valuable as an
emmenagogue, in the relief of headaches and neuralgia, and as a
remedy for nerve exhaustion in women.
specially recommended for fair, blue-eyed women.
been employed in the form of extract in some cutaneous diseases
with much success; it is included in the British Pharmacopoeia and
was formerly included in the United States
homoeopathy it is considered very efficacious and even a specific
in measles. It is prescribed as a good remedy for nettlerash and
also for neuralgic toothache and earache, and is administered in
indigestion and bilious attacks.
---Preparation---Fluid extract, 5 to 10 drops. Parkinson says
of this species: 'There are five different kinds of Pulsatilla,
which flower in April: they are sometimes used for tertian ague and
to help obstructions.'
---Habitat---The bed of the Mississippi.
---Description---Flowers pale purple; odour of flowers
camphoraceous; taste sweetish; of leaves, sweetish and
---Constituents---Grape sugar, gum resin, an alkaloid and
anemonic acid, sulphate of potash, carbonate of potash, chlorate of
potassium, carbonate of lime, magnesia and 'proto salt of
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Amenorrhoea; has also proved
successful in warding off colds, and in rheumatism of the
Anemone nemorosa (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Crowfoot. Windflower. Smell Fox.
Used---Root, leaves, juice.
Anemone is one of the earliest spring flowers.
has a long, tough, creeping root-stock, running just below the
surface; it is the quick growth of this root-stock that causes the
plant to spread so rapidly, forming large colonies in the moist
soil of wood and thicket. The deeply-cut leaves and star-like
flowers rise directly from it on separate unbranched stems. Some
distance below the flower are the three leaflets, often so deeply
divided as to appear more than three in number and very similar to
the true leaves. They wrap round and protect the flower-bud before
it unfolds, but as it opens, its stalk lengthens and it is carried
far above them.
has no honey and little scent, and apparently relies little on the
visits of insects for the fertilization of its one-celled
seed-vessels, which are in form like those of the butter-cup,
arranged in a mass in the centre of the many stamens, and are
termed achenes. As in all the Anemones, there are no true petals,
what seem so are really the sepals, which have assumed the
colouring and characteristics of petals. They are six in number,
pure white on the upper surfaces and pale rose-coloured
sunshine, the flower is expanded wide, but at the approach of
night, it closes and droops its graceful head so that the dew may
not settle on it and injure it. If rain threatens in the daytime,
it does the same, receiving the drops upon its back, whence they
trickle of harmlessly from the sepal tips. The way the sepals then
fold over the mass of stamens and undeveloped seed-vessels in their
centre has been likened to a tent, in which, as used fancifully to
be said by country-folk, the fairies nestled for protection, having
first pulled the curtains round them.
is very liable to attack from certain fungi: at times, a species of
Puccinia settles on it, the result being that the stalks of
infected leaves grow rapidly, high above the others, though the
leaves themselves dwindle and lose their divisions. A species of
Sclerotinia attacks the swollen tubers of the root, doing still
more harm, for in the spring there arise not the delicate white
flowers, but the ugly fructifications of the fungus.
innocent in appearance, the Wood Anemone possesses all the acrid
nature of its tribe and is bitter to the tongue and poisonous.
Cattle have been poisoned, Linnaeus tells us, by eating it in the
fresh state after having been underfed and kept on dry food during
the winter, so that they were ready to browse on the first leaves
they saw. A vinegar made from the leaves retains all the more acrid
properties of the plant, and is put in France to many domestic
purposes: its rubifacient effects have caused it to be used
externally in the same way as mustard.
Egyptians held the Anemone as the emblem of sickness, perhaps from
the flush of colour upon the backs of the white sepals. The Chinese
call it the 'Flower of Death.' In some European countries it is
looked on by the peasants as a flower of ill-omen, though the
reason of the superstition is obscure. The Romans plucked the first
Anemones as a charm against fever, and in some remote districts
this practice long survived, it being considered a certain cure to
gather an Anemone saying, 'I gather this against all diseases,' and
to tie it round the invalid's neck.
Greek legends say that Anemos, the Wind,
sends his namesakes the Anemones, in the earliest spring days as
the heralds of his coming. Pliny affirmed that they only open when
the wind blows, hence their name of Windflower, and the unfolding
of the blossoms in the rough, windy days of March has been the
theme of many poets:
'Coy anemone that ne'er
Her lips until they're blown on by the
Culpepper also uses the word 'windflower.'
In Greek mythology it sprang from the tears of Venus, as she
wandered through the woodlands weeping for the death of Adonis
'Where streams his blood there blushing
springs a rose
And where a tear has dropped, a
herbalists called the Wood Anemone the Wood Crowfoot, because its
leaves resemble in shape those of some species of Crowfoot. We also
find it called Smell Fox. The specific name of nemorosa refers to
its woodland habits.
nemorosa, Varieties in,' by E. J. Salisbury (Ann. Bot., October
1916, Vol. XXXX, No. CXX: figs.) - Two varieties distinct from the
common form are mentioned as being fairly numerous in some of the
Hertfordshire woodlands, and for which the author has proposed the
names A. nemorosa, var. robusta and A. nemorosa, var. apetala. The
former differs from the normal type in the lighter green colour and
larger size of the vegetative organs and in the perianth segments,
which are broadest above the middle and rounded towards the apex.
The latter bears inconspicuous flowers, which are small
purplish-green structures, and it is noted that these plants are
usually associated with the more deeply shaded situations, but as
this character is maintained when the coppice in which the variety
grows is felled, it is not considered a mere effect of inadequate
illumination. - G.D.L.]
and Uses---Though this species of Anemone has practically fallen
out of use, the older herbalists recommended application of various
parts of the plant for headaches, tertian agues and rheumatic gout.
Culpepper practically copies verbatim the some half-dozen uses of
the Anemone that Gerard gives, saying:
being bathed with the decoction of the leaves cures the leprosy:
the leaves being stamped and the juice snuffed up the nose purgeth
the head mightily; so doth the root, being chewed in the mouth, for
it procureth much spitting and bringeth away many watery and
phlegmatic humours, and is therefore excellent for the lethargy....
Being made into an ointment and the eyelids annointed with it, it
helps inflammation of the eyes. The same ointment is excellent good
to cleanse malignant and corroding ulcers.'
also advises the roots to be chewed because it 'purgeth the head
mightily'; he adds, 'And when all is done let physicians prate what
they please, all the pills in the dispensary purge not the head
like to hot things held in the mouth.'
'there is little use of these (the
Anemones) in physic in our days, either for inward or outward
diseases; only the leaves are used in the ointment called
Marciatum, which is composed of many other hot herbs.... The root
by reason of the sharpness is apt to draw down rheum if it be
tasted or chewed in the mouth.'
authorities would, however, hesitate to recommend the chewing of
the root on account of the acrid, irritant poison known to be
present in it.
noticed that in Sweden the Wood Anemone flowered at the same time
as the return of the swallow, and that the Marsh Marigold was
contemporaneous with the cuckoo. A British naturalist in this
country has also remarked this. Another naturalist who took an
annual account of the days on which various flowers came into bloom
in spring, found that the Wood Anemone never blossomed earlier than
March 16, and never later than April 22. His observations were made
each spring during thirty years.
English name is derived from its Greek signification (wind) and is
due to the fact that so many of its species grow on elevated places
exposed to high winds; other writers attribute the name to the
trembling of the flower before the blasts of spring.
Angelica Archangelica (LINN.)
Medicinal Actions and Uses
---Synonyms---Garden Angelica. Archangelica
Used---root, leaves, seeds.
---Habitat---By some botanists, this species of Angelica is
believed to be a native of Syria from whence it has spread to many
cool European climates, where it has become naturalized. It is
occasionally found native in cold and moist places in Scotland, but
is more abundant in countries further north, as in Lapland and
Iceland. It is supposed to have come to this country from northern
latitudes about 1568, There are about thirty varieties of Angelica,
but this one is the only one officially employed in
in his Paradise in Sole, 1629, puts Angelica in the forefront of
all medicinal plants, and it holds almost as high a place among
village herbalists to-day, though it is not the native species of
Angelica that is of such value medicinally and commercially. but an
allied form, found wild in most places in the northern parts of
Europe. This large variety, Angelica Archangelica (Linn.), also
known as Archangelica officinalis, is grown abundantly near London
in moist fields, for the use of its candied stems. It is largely
cultivated for medicinal purposes in Thuringia, and the roots are
also imported from Spain.
virtues are praised by old writers, and the name itself, as well as
the folk-lore of all North European countries and nations, testify
to the great antiquity of a belief in its merits as a protection
against contagion, for purifying the blood, and for curing every
conceivable malady: it was held a sovereign remedy for poisons
agues and all infectious maladies. In Couriand, Livonia and the low
lakelands of Pomerania and East Prussia, wild-growing Angelica
abounds; there, in early summer-time, it has been the custom among
the peasants to march into the towns carrying the Angelica
flower-stems and to offer them for sale, chanting some ancient
ditty in Lettish words, so antiquated as to be unintelligible even
to the singers themselves. The chanted words and the tune are
learnt in childhood, and may be attributed to a survival of some
Pagan festival with which the plant was originally associated.
After the introduction of Christianity, the plant became linked in
the popular mind with some archangelic patronage, and associated
with the spring-time festival of the Annunciation. According to one
legend, Angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the
plague. Another explanation of the name of this plant is that it
blooms on the day of Michael the Archangel (May 8, old style), and
is on that account a preservative against evil spirits and
witchcraft: all parts of the plant were believed efficacious
against spells and enchantment. It was held in such esteem that it
was called 'The Root of the Holy Ghost.'
may be termed a perennial herbaceous plant. It is biennial only in
the botanical sense of that term, that is to say, it is neither
annual, nor naturally perennial: the seedlings make but little
advance towards maturity within twelve months, whilst old plants
die off after seeding once, which event may be at a much more
remote period than in the second year of growth. Only very advanced
seedlings flower in their second year, and the third year of growth
commonly completes the full period of life. There is another
species, Angelica heterocarpa, a native of Spain, which is credited
as truly perennial; it flowers a few weeks later than the biennial
species, and is not so ornamental in its foliage.
roots of the Common Angelica are long and spindle-shaped, thick and
fleshy - large specimens weighing sometimes as much as three pounds
- and are beset with many long, descending rootlets. The stems are
stout fluted, 4 to 6 feet high and hollow. The foliage is bold and
pleasing, the leaves are on long stout, hollow footstalks, often 3
feet in length, reddish purple at the much dilated, clasping bases;
the blades, of a bright green colour, are much cut into, being
composed of numerous small leaflets, divided into three principal
groups, each of which is again subdivided into three lesser groups.
The edges of the leaflets are finely toothed or serrated. The
flowers, small and numerous, yellowish or greenish in colour, are
grouped into large, globular umbels. They blossom in July and are
succeeded by pale yellow, oblong fruits, 1/6 to a 1/4 inch in
length when ripe, with membraneous edges, flattened on one side and
convex on the other, which bears three prominent ribs. Both the
odour and taste of the fruits are pleasantly aromatic.
form, A. sylvestris (Linn.), is hairy in stalk and stem to a degree
which makes a well-marked difference. Its flowers differ, also, in
being white, tinged with purple. The stem is purple and furrowed.
This species is said to yield a good, yellow dye.
is unique amongst the Umbelliferae for its pervading aromatic
odour, a pleasant perfume, entirely differing from Fennel, Parsley,
Anise, Caraway or Chervil. One old writer compares it to Musk,
others liken it to Juniper. Even the roots are fragrant, and form
one of the principal aromatics of European growth- the other parts
of the plant have the same flavour, but their active principles are
considered more perishable.
London squares and parks, Angelica has continued to grow,
self-sown, for several generations as a garden escape; in some
cases it is appreciated as a useful foliage plant, in others, it is
treated rather as an intruding weed. Before the building of the
London Law Courts and the clearing of much slum property between
Holywell Street and Seven Dials, the foreign population of that
district fully appreciated its value, and were always anxious to
get it from Lincoln's Inn Fields, where it abounded and where it
still grows. Until very recent years, it was exceedingly common on
the slopes bordering the Tower of London on the north and west
sides; there, also, the inhabitants held the plant in high repute,
both for its culinary and medicinal use.
---Cultivation---Cultivate in ordinary deep, moist loam, in a
shady position, as the plant thrives best in a damp soil and loves
to grow near running water. Although the natural habitat is in damp
soil and in open quarters, yet it can withstand adverse environment
wonderfully well, and even endure severe winter frost without harm.
Seedlings will even successfully develop and flower under trees,
whose shelter creates an area of summer dryness in the surface
soil, but, of course, though such conditions may be allowable when
Angelica is grown merely as an ornamental plant, it must be given
the best treatment as regards suitable soil and situation when
grown for its use commercially. Insects and garden pests do not
attack the plant with much avidity: its worst enemy is a small
twowinged fly, of which the maggots are leafminers, resembling
those of the celery plant and of the spinach leaf.
---Propagation---should not be attempted otherwise than by the
sowing of ripe, fresh seed, though division of old roots is
sometimes recommended, and also propagation by offshoots, which are
thrown out by a two-yearold plant when cut down in June for the
sake of the stems, and which transplanted to 2 feet or more apart,
will provide a quick method of propagation, considered inferior,
however, to that of raising by seed. Since the germinating capacity
of the seeds rapidly deteriorates, they should be sown as soon as
ripe in August or early September. If kept till March, especially
if stored in paper packets, their vitality is likely to be
seriously impaired. In the autumn, the seeds may be sown where the
plants are to remain, or preferably in a nursery bed, which as a
rule will not need protection during the winter. A very slight
covering of earth is best. Young seedlings, but not the old plants,
are amenable to transplantation. The seedlings should be
transplanted when still small, for their first summer's growth, to
a distance of about 18 inches apart. In the autumn they can be
removed to permanent quarters, the plants being then set 3 feet
roots and leaves for medicinal purposes, also the
and seeds for use in confectionery and flavouring and the
preparation of liqueurs.
leaves, on account of their aromatic qualities, are used in the
preparation of hop bitters.
plant is aromatic, but the root only is official in the Swiss,
Austrian and German Pharmacopoeias.
roots should be dried rapidly and placed in air-tight receptacles.
They will then retain their medicinal virtues for many
should be dug up in the autumn of the first year, as it is then
least liable to become mouldy and worm-eaten: it is very apt to be
attacked by insects. Where very thick, the roots should be sliced
longitudinally to quicken the drying process.
root has a yellowish-grey epidermis, and yields when bruised a
honeycoloured juice, having all the aromatic properties of the
plant. If an incision is made in the bark of the stems and the
crown of the root at the commencement of spring, this resinous gum
will exude. It has a special aromatic flavour of musk benzoin, for
either of which it can be substituted.
root, as it appears in commerce, is greyish brown and much wrinkled
externally, whitish and spongy within and breaks with a starchy
fracture, exhibiting shining, resinous spots. The odour is strong
and fragrant, and the taste at first sweetish, afterwards warm,
aromatic, bitterish and somewhat musky. These properties are
extracted by alcohol and less perfectly by water.
plants are well grown, the leaves may be cut for use the summer
after transplanting. Ordinarily, it is the third or fourth year
that the plant develops its tall flowering stem, of which the
gathering for culinary or confectionery use prolongs the lifetime
of the plant for many seasons. Unless it is desired to collect
seed, the tops should be cut at or before flowering time. After
producing seed, the plants generally die, but by cutting down the
tops when the flower-heads first appear and thus preventing the
formation of seed, the plants may continue for several years
longer, by cutting down the stems right at their base, the plants
practically become perennial, by the development of side shoots
around the stool head.
herb, if for medicinal use, should be collected in June and cut
shortly above the root.
stems are already too thick, the leaves may be stripped off
separately and dried on wire or netting trays.
which is in great demand when trimmed and candied, should be cut
about June or early July.
seeds are required, they should be gathered when ripe and dried.
The seedheads should be harvested on a fine day, after the sun has
dried off the dew, and spread thinly on sailcloth in a warm spot or
open shed, where the air circulates freely. In a few days the tops
will have become dry enough to be beaten out with a light flail or
rod, care being taken not to injure the seed. After threshing, the
seeds (or fruits) should be sieved to remove portions of the stalks
and allowed to remain for several days longer spread out in a very
thin layer in the sun, or in a warm and sunny room, being turned
every day to remove the last vestige of moisture. In a week to ten
days they will be dry. Small quantities of the fruits can be shaken
out of the heads when they have been cut a few days and finished
ripening, so that the fruits divide naturally into the half-fruits
or mericarps which shake off readily when quite ripe, especially if
rubbed out of the heads between the palms of the hands. It is
imperative that the seeds be dry before being put into storage
packages or tins.
---Constituents---The chief constituents of Angelica are about
1 per cent. of volatile oil, valeric acid, angelic acid, sugar, a
bitter principle, and a peculiar resin called Angelicin, which is
stimulating to the lungs and to the skin. The essential oil of the
roots contains terebangelene and other terpenes; the oil of the
'seeds' contains in addition methyl-ethylacetic acid and
balsam is obtained by extracting the roots with alcohol,
evaporating and extracting the residue with ether. It is of a dark
brown colour and contains Angelica oil Angelica wax and
is largely used in the grocery trade, as well as for medicine, and
is a popular flavouring for confectionery and liqueurs. The
appreciation of its unique flavour was established in ancient times
when saccharin matter was extremely rare. The use of the sweetmeat
may probably have originated from the belief that the plant
possessed the power of averting or expelling
preparation of Angelica is a small but important industry in the
south of France, its cultivation being centralized in
ClermontFerrand. Fairly large quantities are purchased by
confectioners and high prices are easily obtainable. The flavour of
Angelica suggests that of Juniper berries, and it is largely used
in combination with Juniper berries, or in partial substitution for
them by gin distillers. The stem is largely used in the preparation
of preserved fruits and 'confitures' generally, and is also used as
an aromatic garnish by confectioners. The seeds especially, which
are aromatic and bitterish in taste, are employed also in alcoholic
distillates, especially in the preparation of Vermouth and similar
preparations, as well as in other liqueurs, notably Chartreuse.
From ancient times, Angelica has been one of the chief flavouring
ingredients of beverages and liqueurs, but it is not a matter of
general knowledge that the Muscatel grape-like flavour of some
wines, made on both sides of theRhine, is (or is suspected to be)
due to the secret use of Angelica. An Oil of Angelica, which is
very expensive, was prepared in Germany some years ago: it is
obtained from the seeds by distillation with steam, the vapour
being condensed and the oil separated by gravity. One hundred
kilograms of Angelica seeds yield one kilolitre of oil, and the
fresh leaves a little less, the roots yielding only 0.15 to 0.3
kilograms. Like the seeds themselves, the oil is used for
flavouring. Besides being employed as a flavouring for beverages
and medicinally, Angelica seeds are also used to a limited extent
and Uses---The root stalks, leaves and fruit possess carminative,
stimulant, diaphoretic, stomachic, tonic and expectorant
properties, which are strongest in the fruit, though the whole
plant has the same virtues.
is a good remedy for colds, coughs, pleurisy, wind, colic,
rheumatism and diseases of the urinary organs, though it should not
be given to patients who have a tendency towards diabetes, as it
causes an increase of sugar in the urine.
generally used as a stimulating expectorant, combined with other
expectorants the action of which is facilitated, and to a large
extent diffused, through the whole of the pulmonary
It is a
useful agent for feverish conditions, acting as a
infusion may be made by pouring a pint of boiling water on an ounce
of the bruised root, and two tablespoonsful of this should be given
three or four times a day, or the powdered root administered in
doses of 1O to 30 grains. The infusion will relieve flatulence, and
is also of use as a stimulating bronchial tonic, and as an
emmenagogue. It is used much on the Continent for indigestion,
general debility and chronic bronchitis. For external use, the
fresh leaves of the plant are crushed and applied as poultices in
lung and chest diseases.
The following is extracted from an old
family book of herbal remedies:
'Boil down gently for three hours a
handful of Angelica root in a quart of water; then strain it off
and add liquid Narbonne honey or best virgin honey sufficient to
make it into a balsam or syrup and take two tablespoonsful every
night and morning, as well as several times in the day. If there be
hoarseness or sore throat, add a few nitre drops.'
A somewhat similar drink, much in use on
the Continent in the treatment of typhus fever, is thus
'Pour a quart of boiling water upon 6 oz.
of Angelica root cut up in thin slices, 4 oz. of honey, the juice
of 2 lemons and 1/2 gill of brandy. Infuse for half an
preparation of the roots was much used as a specific for
stems are also grateful to a feeble stomach, and will relieve
flatulence promptly when chewed. An infusion of Angelica leaves is
a very healthful, strengthening tonic and aromatic stimulant, the
beneficial effect of which is felt after a few days'
juice yielded by the stem and root becomes, when dry, a valuable
medicine in chronic rheumatism and gout.
medicinal form, Angelica is said to cause a disgust for spirituous
It is a
good vehicle for nauseous medicines and forms one of the
ingredients in compound spirit of Aniseed.
among its many virtues that he extols, says 'it cureth the bitings
of mad dogs and all other venomous beasts.'
herb: dose, 1 drachm. Fluid extract, root: dose, 1/4 to 1
Preserve Angelica. Cut in pieces 4 inches long. Steep for 12 hours
in salt and water. Put a layer of cabbage or cauliflower leaves in
a clean brass pan, then a layer of Angelica, then another layer of
leaves and so on, finishing with a layer of leaves on the top.
Cover with water and vinegar. Boil slowly till the Angelica becomes
quite green, then strain and weigh the stems. Allow 1 lb. loaf
sugar to each pound of stems. Put the sugar in a clean pan with
water to cover; boil 10 minutes and pour this syrup over the
Angelica. Stand for 12 hours. Pour off the syrup, boil it up for 5
minutes and pour it again over the Angelica. Repeat the process,
and after the Angelica has stood in the syrup 12 hours, put all on
the fire in the brass pan and boil till tender. Then take out the
pieces of Angelica, put them in a jar and pour the syrup over them,
or dry them on a sieve and sprinkle them with sugar: they then form
Another recipe (from Francatelli's Cook's
'Cut the tubes or stalks of Angelica into
sixinch lengths; wash them, then put them into a copper
preserving-pan with hot syrup; cover the surface with vine-leaves,
and set the whole to stand in the larder till next day. The
Angelica must then be drained on a sieve, the vine-leaves thrown
away, half a pint of water added to the syrup, in which, after it
has been boiled, skimmed, and strained into another pan, and the
copper-pan has been scoured clean, both the Angelica and the
boiling syrup are to be replaced and the surface covered with fresh
vine-leaves, and again left to stand in this state till the next
day- this process must be repeated 3 or 4 days running: at the end
of which time the Angelica will be sufficiently green and done
through, and should be put in jars without breaking the tubes.
After the syrup has been boiled and skimmed, fill up the jars, and
when they are become cold, cover them over with bladder and paper,
and let them be kept in a very cool temperature.'
Another way of preserving
Choose young stems, cut them into suitable
lengths, then boil until tender. When this stage is reached, remove
from the water, and strip off the outer skin, then return to the
water and simmer slowly until the whole has become very green. Dry
the stems and weigh them, allowing one pound of white sugar to
every pound of Angelica. The boiled stalks should be laid in an
earthenware pan and the sugar sprinkled over them, allowing the
whole to stand for a couple of days- then boil all together. When
well boiling, remove from the fire and turn into a colander to
drain off the superfluous syrup. Take a little more sugar and boil
to a syrup again, then throw in the Angelica, and allow it to
remain for a few minutes, and finally spread on plates in a cool
oven to dry.
If a small
quantity of the leaf-stalks of Angelica be cooked with 'sticks' of
rhubarb, the flavour of the compound will be acceptable to many who
do not relish plain rhubarb. The quantity of Angelica used may be
according to circumstances, conditions and individual taste. If the
stems are young and juicy, they may be treated like rhubarb and cut
up small, the quantity used being in any proportion between 5 and
25 per cent. If the stalks are more or less fully developed, or
even rather old and tough, they can be excellently used in
economically small quantities for flavouring large quantities of
stewed rhubarb, or of rhubarb jam, being added in long lengths
before cooking and removed before sending to table. The
confectioner's candied Angelica may be similarly utilized, but is
expensive and not so good, whilst the home-garden growth in
spring-time of fresh Angelica, with thick, stout leaf-stalks, and
of still stouter flowering stems, is very easy to use and cheap. If
this flowering stem be cut whilst very tender, early in May, later
leafstalks will be plentifully available for use with the latter
part of the rhubarb crop.
well-known jam maker and confectioner, the late Mr. Robertson, of
Chelsea, won considerable reputation by reason of his judicious
blending of Angelica in jam-making and its combination in other
confections, including temperance beverages. A pleasant form of Hop
Bitters is made by taking 1 OZ. of dried Angelica herb, combined
with 1 OZ. of Holy Thistle, and 1/2 oz. of hops, infused with 3
pints of boiling water and strained off when cold, a wineglassful
being taken several times a day before meals, forming a good
delicious liqueur which is also a digestive, preserving all the
virtues of the plant, is made in this way: 1 OZ. of the freshly
gathered stem of Angelica is chopped up and steeped in 2 pints of
good brandy during five days 1 OZ. of skinned bitter almonds
reduced to a pulp being added. The liquid is then strained through
fine muslin and a pint of liquid sugar added to it.
is used in the preparation of Vermouth and Chartreuse.
tender leaflets of the blades of the leaves have sometimes been
recommended as a substitute for spinach, they are too bitter for
the general taste, but the blanched mid-ribs of the leaf, boiled
and used as celery, are delicious, and Icelanders eat both the stem
and the roots raw, with butter. The taste of the juicy raw stems is
at first sweetish and slightly bitter in the mouth and then gives a
feeling of glowing warmth. In Lapland, the inhabitants regard the
stalks of Angelica as a great delicacy. These are gathered before
flowering, the leaves being stripped off and the peel removed, the
remainder is eaten with much relish. The Finns eat the young stems
baked in hot ashes, and an infusion of the dried herb is drunk
either hot or cold: the flavour of the decoction is rather bitter,
the colour is a pale greenish grey and the odour greatly resembles
China Tea. It was formerly a practice in this country to put a
portion of the fresh herb into the pot in which fish is
Norwegians make bread of the roots.
may be made much use of in the garden by cutting the hollow stalks
into convenient lengths and placing them amongst shrubs as traps
much in use on the Continent for typhus fever: Pour a quart of
boiling water on 6 oz. of Angelica root sliced thin, infuse for
half an hour, strain and add juice of 2 lemons, 4 oz. of honey and
1/2 gill of brandy.
ANGELICA or Masterwort (A. atropurpurea, Linn.), also used in
herbal medicine in North America, grows throughout the eastern
United States. The root has a strong odour and a warm aromatic
taste. The juice of the fresh root is acrid and said to be
poisonous, but the acridity is dissipated by drying.
though lighter and less branched, is similar in appearance to that
of A. Archangelica, with nearly allied constituents and properties,
and the medicinal virtues of the whole plant are similar, so that
it has been employed as a substitute, but it is inferior to the
European Angelica, being less aromatic.
ANGELICA (A. sylvestris, Linn.), yields a yellow dye.
Angelica Tree of America (Xanthoxylum Americanum, Mill), the
Prickly Ash, as it is more generally named, is not allied to the
umbelliferous Angelicas. Its berries and bark are employed to
prepare a tonic, and it is used in the treatment of rheumatism and
(SWEET), listed under CICELY,
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Hercules Club. Toothache Tree. Prickly Elder.
Prickly Ash, though not to be confused with the better-known
Used---Bark, root and berries.
---Habitat---Virginia and Japan.
---Description---Grows from 8 to 12 feet high stem and leaves
prickly, leaves doubly and triply pinnate, ovate, serrated
leaflets, panicles much branched, downy, numerous umbels of white
flowers, blooming in August and September, berries juicy and
is used officially (is thin and ashcoloured), but other parts of
the plant possess medical properties- odour fragrant and peculiar,
slightly bitter taste.
---Constituents---Aralia spinosa contains a glucoside
and Uses---Fresh bark causes/vomiting and purging, but dried is a
stimulating alterative. A tincture made from the bark is used for
rheumatism, skin diseases and syphilis. The berries in tincture
form, lull pain in decayed teeth and in other parts of the body,
violent colic and rheumatism, useful in cholera when a cathartic is
required in the following compound: 1 drachm compound powdered
Jalap, 1 drachm Aralia spinosa, 2 drachms compound rhubarb powder
or infused in 1/2, pint boiling water and when cold taken in
tablespoonful doses every half-hour. This does not produce choleric
discharges. Also a powerful sialogogue and valuable in diseases
where mouth and throat get dry, and for sore throat; will relieve
difficult breathing and produce moisture if given in very small
doses of the powder. The bark, root, and berries can all be
Cusparia febrifuga (D. C.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Dosages and Preparations
---Synonyms---Cusparia Bark. Galipea officinalis.
Used---The dried bark.
---Habitat---Tropical South America.
small tree with straight stem irregularly branched, covered with a
smooth grey bark, leaves alternate, petiolate and composed of three
leaflets oblong and pointed, smooth, glossy and vivid green,
sometimes with small white spots on them and in their first state
having a tobacco-like aroma, this odour is one of the
characteristics distinguishing the true Angostura from the false
which is odourless. The flowers also have a peculiar nauseous
smell; salver-shaped corollas and arranged in axillary, terminal,
peduncled racemes. Fruit has five two-valved capsules, two or three
of which are often abortive; two seeds in each capsule, round and
black, one only is generally fertile. The tree was given the name
of Galipea officinalis to denote the true variety of Angostura and
thus distinguish it from the very dangerous substitute and
adulterant. The characteristics of the true commercial bark are
flattened curved pieces or quills 4 to 5 inches long, 1 inch wide
and 1/12 of an inch thick. The outer layer of bark is a
yellowishgrey cork which is easily removed, often being soft, the
inner surface is lighter brown and sometimes laminated, fracture
short and resinous white, points being visible on broken surface;
the transverse section shows numerous cells filled with circular
crystals of Calcium Oxalate, small oil glands, small groups of bast
fibres with a musty smell and bitte taste.
---Constituents---The chief bitter principle of Angostura bark
is Angosturin, a colourless crystalline substance readily soluble
in water alcohol or ether. The bark also contains about 2.4 per
cent of the bitter crystalline alkaloids Galipine, Cusparine,
Galipidine Cusparidine and Cuspareine, about 1.5 per cent. of
volatile oil and a glucoside which yields a fluorescent substance
when hydrolysed by heating with dilute sulphuric acid.
and Uses---The bark has long been known and used by the natives of
South America and West Indies as a stimulant tonic. In large doses
it causes diarrhoea and is often used as a purgative. Most useful
in bilious diarrhoea, dysentery, and diseases which require a
tonic. Commercially it is an ingredient of bitter liqueurs. The
natives also employ it to stupefy fish in the same manner as
Cinchona is used by the Peruvians. Some doctors prefer Angostura
Bark to Cinchona for use in fever cases; it is also used in
Preparations---Infusion Cuspariae, B.P.: Angostura Bark in powder,5
parts; distilled water, boiling, 100 parts; infuse for 15 minutes
in a covered vessel and strain. Dose, 1 to 2 fluid ounces. This
infusion is the most satisfactory way of taking the bark, but to
obviate nausea it should be combined with aromatics. It may be
given in powder, tincture or fluid extract. Dose of the powder, 5
to 15 grains. Fluid extract, 5 to 30 minims.
Species---Dangerous substitutions are: The bark of the Nux Vomica
Tree; this is known as False Angostura Bark; it is much more
twisted and bent than the true, has no unpleasant smell, is not so
heavy, and is more easily broken.
Bark from Mexico, composition similar to Cascarilla Esenbeckia
febrifuga (N.O. Rutaceae), contains Ovodine.
Pimpinella anisum (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Habitat---It is a native of Egypt, Greece, Crete and Asia
Minor and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians. It was well
known to the Greeks, being mentioned by Dioscorides and Pliny and
was cultivated in Tuscany in Roman times. In the Middle Ages its
cultivation spread to Central Europe.
---Description---Anise is a dainty, white-flowered
urnbelliferous annual, about 18 inches high, with secondary
feather-like leaflets of bright green, hence its name (of mediaeval
origin), Pimpinella, from dipinella, or twicepinnate, in allusion
to the form of the leaves.
country Anise has been in use since the fourteenth century, and has
been cultivated in English gardens from the middle of the sixteenth
century, but it ripens its seeds here only in very warm summers,
and it is chiefly in warmer districts that it is grown on a
commercial scale, Southern Russia, Bulgaria, Germany, Malta, Spain,
Italy, North Africa and Greece producing large quantities. It has
also been introduced into India and South America. The cultivated
plant attains a considerably larger size than the wild
East Anise was formerly used with other spices in part payment of
taxes. 'Ye pay tithe of Mint, Anise and Cummin,' we read in the
23rd chapter of St. Matthew, but some authorities state that Anise
is an incorrect rendering and should have been translated
Virgil's time, Anise was used as a spice. Mustacae, a spiced cake
of the Romans introduced at the end of a rich meal, to prevent
indigestion, consisted of meal, with Anise, Cummin and other
aromatics. Such a cake was sometimes brought in at the end of a
marriage feast, and is, perhaps, the origin of our spiced wedding
Continent, especially in Germany, many cakes have an aniseed
flavouring, and Anise is also used as a flavouring for
largely employed in France, Spain Italy and South America in the
preparation of cordial liqueurs. The liqueur Anisette added to cold
water on a hot summer's day, makes a most refreshing
one of the herbs that was supposed to avert the Evil
extracted from the seed is said to prove a capital bait for mice,
if smeared on traps. It is poisonous to pigeons.
Herbal, 1551, says that 'Anyse maketh the breth sweter and swageth
payne.' 'The seeds,' says Delamer, Kitchen Garden, 1861, 'are much
used by distillers to give flavour to cordial liqueurs.' Anisette
is a liqueur flavoured with aniseed. Langham, Garden Health, 1683,
says: 'For the dropsie, fill an old cock with Polipody and Aniseeds
and seethe him well, and drink the broth.' The leaves are useful
for seasoning some dishes. The essential oil of Anise is a good
preventive of mould in paste. The ground seeds form an ingredient
of sachet powders.
---Cultivation----Sow the seed in dry, light soil, on a warm,
sunny border, early in April, where the plants are to remain. When
they come up, thin them and keep them clean from weeds. Allow about
a foot each way. The seeds may also be sown in pots in heat and
removed to a warm site in May.
will ripen in England in good seasons if planted in a warm and
favourable situation, though they are not successful everywhere,
and can hardly be looked upon as a remunerative crop. The plant
flowers in July, and if the season prove warm, will ripen in
autumn, when the plants are cut down and the seeds threshed
fruit, or so-called seeds. When threshed out, the seeds may be
easily dried in trays, in a current of air in half-shade,
out-of-doors, or by moderate heat. When dry, they are greyish
brown, ovate, hairy, about one-fifth of an inch long, with ten
crenate ribs and often have the stalk attached. They should be free
from earthy matter. The taste is sweet and spicy, and the odour
aromatic and agreeable.
commercial varieties differ considerably in size, but the larger
varieties alone are official. The Spanish Anise, sold as Alicante
Anise, are the largest and the best adapted for pharmaceutical use,
yielding about 3 per cent. of oil. Russian and German fruits are
smaller and darker and are the variety generally used for
distillation of the volatile oil. Italian Anise is frequently
adulterated with Hemlock fruit.
---Constituents---Anise fruit yields on distillation from 2.5
to 3.5 per cent. of a fragrant, syrupy, volatile oil, of which
anethol, present to about 90 per cent., is the principal aromatic
constituent. It has a strong Anise odour and separates in the form
of shining white crystalline scales on cooling the oil. Other
constituents of the fruit are a fixed oil, choline, sugar and
Anise, distilled in Europe from the fruits of Pimpinella anisum,
Anise, and in China from the fruits of Illicium anisatum, Star
Anise, a small tree indigenous to China, is colourless, or very
pale yellow, with taste and odour like the fruit. The oils
obtainable from these two fruits are identical in composition, and
nearly the same in most of their characters, but that from Star
Anise fruit congeals at a lower temperature. The powdered drug from
Star Anise is administered in India as a substitute for the
official fruit, and the oil is employed for its aromatic,
carminative and stimulant properties. The bulk of the oil in
commerce is obtained from the Star Anise fruit in China. The fruits
are also often imported into France and the oil extracted there.
Chinese Anise oil is harsh in taste.
and Uses---Carminative and pectoral. Anise enjoys considerable
reputation as a medicine in coughs and pectoral affections. In
hard, dry coughs where expectoration is difficult, it is of much
value. It is greatly used in the form of lozenges and the seeds
have also been used for smoking, to promote
volatile oil, mixed with spirits of wine forms the liqueur
Anisette, which has a beneficial action on the bronchial tubes, and
for bronchitis and spasmodic asthma, Anisette, if administered in
hot water, is an immediate palliative.
infantile catarrh, Aniseed tea is very helpful. It is made by
pouring half a pint of boiling water on 2 teaspoonsful of bruised
seed. This, sweetened, is given cold in doses of 1 to 3
'Aniseed helpeth the yeoxing or hicket
(hiccough) and should be given to young children to eat, which are
like to have the falling sickness (epilepsy), or to/such as have it
by patrimony or succession.'
stimulant and carminative properties of Anise make it useful in
flatulency and colic. It is used as an ingredient of cathartic and
aperient pills, to relieve flatulence and diminish the griping of
purgative medicines, and may be given with perfect safety in
convulsions. For colic, the dose is 10 to 30 grains of bruised or
powdered seeds infused in distilled water, taken in wineglassful
doses, or 4 to 20 drops of the essential oil on sugar. For the
restlessness of languid digestion, a dose of essence of aniseed in
hot water at bedtime is much commended.
Paregoric Elixir (Compound Tincture of Camphor), prescribed as a
sedative cordial by doctors, oil of Anise is also included - 30
drops in a pint of the tincture.
is a good antiseptic and is used, mixed with oil of Peppermint or
Gaultheria (Wintergreen) to flavour aromatic liquid
Anise is used also against insects especially when mixed with oil
of Sassafras and Carbolic oil.
Illicuim verum (HOOK, F.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Chinese Anise. Aniseed Stars.
is so named from the stellate form of its fruit. It is often chewed
in small quantities after each meal to promote digestion and
sweeten the breath.
and Uses---Carminative, stimulant, diuretic.
is used in the East as a remedy for colic and rheumatism, and in
China for seasoning dishes, especially sweets.
Japanese plant the tree in their temples and on tombs; and use the
pounded bark as incense.
homoeopaths prepare a tincture from the seeds.
Bixa orellana (LINN.)
---Synonyms---Annotta Orellana Orleana.
Used---The dried pulp of the fruit.
---Habitat---Tropical America, East and West Indies. Widely
cultivated in Asia and Africa.
---Synonyms---Wild Apple. Malus communis.
Used---The fruit and the bark.
---Habitat---Temperate regions of the Northern
Apple is a fruit of the temperate zones and only reaches perfection
in their cooler regions. It is a fruit of long descent and in the
Swiss lake-dwellings small apples have been found, completely
charred but still showing the seed-valves and the grain of the
flesh. It exists in its wild state in most countries of Europe and
also in the region of the Caucasus: in Norway, it is found in the
lowlands as far north as Drontheim.
Crab-tree or Wild Apple (Pyrus malus), is native to Britain and is
the wild ancestor of all the cultivated varieties of apple trees.
It was the stock on which were grafted choice varieties when
brought from Europe, mostly from France. Apples of some sort were
abundant before the Norman Conquest and were probably introduced
into Britain by the Romans. Twenty-two varieties were mentioned by
Pliny: there are now about 2,000 kinds cultivated. In the Old Saxon
manuscripts there are numerous mentions of apples and cider.
Bartholomeus Anglicus, whose Encyclopedia was one of the earliest
printed books containing botanical information (being printed at
Cologne about 1470), gives a chapter on the Apple. He
Appyll tree is a tree yt bereth apples and is a grete tree in
itself. . . it is more short than other trees of the wood wyth
knottes and rinelyd Rynde. And makyth shadowe wythe thicke bowes
and branches: and fayr with dyurs blossomes, and floures of
swetnesse and Iykynge: with goode fruyte and noble. And is gracious
in syght and in taste and vertuous in medecyne . . . some beryth
sourysh fruyte and harde, and some ryght soure and some ryght
swete, with a good savoure and mery.'
Crab-tree is a small tree of general distribution in Britain south
of Perthshire. In most respects it closely resembles the cultivated
Apple of the orchard differing chiefly only in the size and flavour
of the fruit. Well-grown specimens are not often met with, as in
woods and copses it is cramped by other trees and seldom attains
any considerable height, 30-foot specimens being rare and many
being mere bushes. Those found in hedgerows have often sprung from
the seeds of orchard apples that have reverted to ancestral type.
The branches of the Crab-tree become pendant, with long shoots
which bear the leaves and flowers. The leaves are dark green and
glossy and the flowers, in small clusters on dwarf shoots are
produced in April and May. The buds are deeply tinged with pink on
the outside the expanded flowers an inch and a half across, and
when the trees are in full bloom, they are a beautiful
blossoms, by their delightful fragrance and store of nectar,
attract myriads of bees, and as a result of the fertilization
effected by these visitors in their search for the buried nectar,
the fruit develops and becomes in autumn the beautiful little Crab
Apple, which when ripe is yellow or red in colour and measures
about an inch across. It has a very austere and acid juice, in
consequence of which it cannot be eaten in the raw condition, but a
delicious jelly is made from it, which is always welcome on the
table, and the fruit can also be used for jammaking, with
blackberries, pears or quinces. In Ireland, it is sometimes added
to cider, to impart a roughness. The fruit in some varieties is
less acid than in others: in the variety in which the fruit hangs
down from the shoots, the little apples are exceedingly acid, but
in another kind, they stand more or less erect on their stalks and
these are so much less acid as to give almost a suggestion of
sweetness. The fruit of the Siberian Crab, or Cherry-apple, grown
as an ornamental tree, makes also a fine preserve.
Apples may be considered as a step in development from the Wild
Apple to the Dessert Apple. Formerly every farmhouse made its
cider. The apples every autumn were tipped in heaps on the
straw-strewn floor of the pound house, a building of cob, covered
with thatch, in which stood the pounder and the press and vats and
all hands were busy for days preparing the golden beverage. This
was the yearly process - still carried out on many farms of the
west of England, though cider-making is becoming more and more a
product of the factories. One of the men turned the handle of the
pounder, while a boy tipped in the apples at the top. A pounder is
a machine which crushes the apples between two rollers with teeth
in them. The pulp and juice are then taken to the press in large
shovels which have high sides and are scored bright by the acid.
The press is a huge square tray with a lip in the centre of the
front side and its floor slopes towards this opening. On either
side are huge oaken supports on which rests a square baulk of the
same wood. Through this works a large screw. Under the timber is
the presser Directly the pulp is ready, the farmer starts to
prepare the 'cheese.' First of all goes a layer of straw, then a
layer of apples, and so on until the 'cheese' is a yard high, and
sometimes more. Then the ends of straw which project are turned up
to the top of the heap. Now the presser is wound down and
compresses the mound until the clear juice runs freely. Under the
lip in the front of the cider press is put a vat. The juice is
dipped from this into casks. In four months' time the cider will be
ready to drink.
for cider has increased rapidly of late years, chiefly on account
of the dry varieties being so popular with sufferers from
rheumatism and gout. As very good prices have been paid in recent
seasons for the best cider apples, and as eight tons per acre is
quite an average crop from a properly-managed orchard in full
bearing, it is obvious to all progressive and up-to-date farmers
and apple-growers that this branch of agriculture is well worthy of
attention. In the last few years, with the object of encouraging
this special Applegrowing industry, silver cups have been awarded
to the owners of cider-apple orchards in Devon who make the
greatest improvement in the cultivation of their orchards during
the year, and it is hoped this will still further stimulate the
planting of new orchards and the renovation of the old
peculiar winy odour is stimulating to many. Pliny, and later, Sir
John Mandeville, tell of a race of little men in 'Farther India'
who 'eat naught and live by the smell of apples.' Burton wrote that
apples are good against melancholy and Dr. John Caius, physician to
Queen Elizabeth, in his Boke of Counseille against the Sweatynge
Sicknesse advises the patient to 'smele to an old swete apple to
recover his strengthe.' An apple stuck full of cloves was the
prototype of the pomander, and pomatum (now used only in a general
sense) took its name from being first made of the pulp of apples,
lard and rosewater.
Shakespeare's time, apples when served at dessert were usually
accompanied by caraway, as we may read in Henry IV, where Shallow
invites Falstaff to 'a pippin and a dish of caraway,' In a still
earlier Booke of Nurture, it is directed 'After mete pepyns,
caraway in comfyts.' The custom of serving roast apples with a
little saucerful of Carraways is still kept up at Trinity College,
Cambridge, and at some of the old-fashioned London Livery dinners,
just as in Shakespeare's days.
for apples is one of the earliest and most natural of inclinations;
all children love apples, cooked or uncooked. Apple pies, apple
puddings, apple dumplings are fare acceptable in all ages and all
cookery is very early English: Piers Ploughman mentions 'all the
povere peple' who 'baken apples broghte in his lappes' and the ever
popular apple pie was no less esteemed in Tudor times than it is
to-day, only our ancestors had some predilections in the matter of
seasonings that might not now appeal to all of us, for they put
cinnamon and ginger in their pies and gave them a lavish colouring
Moyse is an old English confection, no two recipes for which seem
to agree. One Black Letter volume tells us to take a dozen apples,
roast or boil them, pass them through a sieve with the yolks of
three or four eggs, and as they are strained temper them with three
or four spoonfuls of damask (rose) water; season them with sugar
and half a dish of sweet butter, and boil them in a chafing dish
and cast biscuits or cinnamon and ginger upon them.
says, upon one authority, that apple moyse was made from apples
after they had been pressed for cider, and seasoned with
the American confection, Apple Butter, is an evolution of the old
English dish? Apple butter is a kind of jam made of tart apples,
boiled in cider until reduced to a very thick smooth paste, to
which is added a flavouring of allspice, while cooking. It is then
placed in jars and covered tightly.
The once-popular custom of wassailing the
orchard-trees' on Christmas Eve, or the Eve of the Epiphany, is not
quite extinct even yet in a few remote places in Devonshire. More
than three centuries ago Herrick mentioned it among his 'Ceremonies
of Christmas Eve':
'Wassaile the trees, that they may
You many a Plum and many a
For more or lesse fruits they will
As you do give them
The ceremony consisted in the farmer, with
his family and labourers, going out into the orchard after supper,
bearing with them a jug of cider and hot cakes. The latter were
placed in the boughs of the oldest or best bearing trees in the
orchard, while the cider was flung over the trees after the farmer
had drunk their health in some such fashion as the
'Here's to thee, old
Whence thou may'st bud, and whence thou
Hats full! Caps full!
Bushel - bushel-bags full!
And my pockets full too!
was repeated thrice, the men and boys often firing off guns and
pistols, and the women and children shouting loudly.
apples were usually placed in the pitcher of cider, and were thrown
at the trees with the liquid. Trees that were bad bearers were not
honoured with wassailing but it was thought that the more
productive ones would cease to bear if the rite were omitted. It is
said to have been a relic of the heathen sacrifices to Pomona. The
custom also prevailed in Somersetshire and
Roast apples, or crabs, formed an
indispensable part of the old-fashioned 'wassailbowl,' or 'good
brown bowl," of our ancestors.
'And sometime lurk I in a gossip's
In very likeness of a roasted
relates in Midsummer's Night's Dream.
mixture of hot spiced ale, wine or cider, with apples and bits of
toast floating in it was often called 'Lamb's wool,' some say from
its softness, but the word is really derived from the Irish 'la mas
nbhal,' 'the feast of the apple-gathering' (All Hallow Eve), which
being pronounced somewhat like 'Lammas-ool,' was corrupted into
'lamb's wool.' It was usual for each person who partook of the
spicy beverage to take out an apple and eat it, wishing good luck
to the company.
---Constituents---Various analyses show that the Apple contains
from 80 to 85 per cent. of water, about 5 per cent. of proteid or
nitrogenous material, from 10 to 15 per cent. of carbonaceous
matter, including starch and sugar, from 1 to 1.5 per cent. of
acids and salts. The sugar content of a fresh apple varies from 6
to 10 per cent., according to the variety. In spite of the large
proportion of water, the fresh Apple is rich in vitamins, and is
classed among the most valuable of the anti-scorbutic fruits for
relieving scurvy. All apples contain a varying amount of the
organic acids, malic acid and gallic acid, and an abundance of
salts of both potash and soda, as well as salts of lime, magnesium,
been calculated that in 100 grams of dried apples, there are
contained 1.7 milligrams of iron in sweet varieties and 2.1
milligrams in sour varieties. It has also been proved by analysis
that the Apple contains a larger quantity of phosphates than any
other vegetable or fruit.
valuable acids and salt of the Apple exist to a special degree in
and just below the skin, so that, to get the full value of an
apple, it should be eaten unpeeled.
of the Apple-tree which is bitter, especially the root-bark,
contains a principle called Phloridzin, and a yellow colouring
matter, Quercetin, both extracted by boiling water. The seeds give
Amygdaline and an edible oil.
is Amyl Valerate or Amylvaleric Ester. An alcoholic solution has
been used as a flavouring liquid, called Apple
apple-juice is employed for the N.F. Ferrated Extract of
Uses---The chief dietetic value of apples lies in the malic and
tartaric acids. These acids are of signal benefit to persons of
sedentary habits, who are liable to liver derangements, and they
neutralize the acid products of gout and indigestion. 'An apple a
day keeps the doctor away' is a respectable old rhyme that has some
reason in it.
of the Apple not only make the fruit itself digestible, but even
make it helpful in digesting other foods. Popular instinct long ago
led to the association of apple sauce with such rich foods as pork
and goose, and the old English fancy for eating apple pie with
cheese, an obsolete taste, nowadays, is another example of
instinctive inclination, which science has approved.
of a sweet apple, like most fruit sugars, is practically a
predigested food, and is soon ready to pass into the blood to
provide energy and warmth for the body.
A ripe raw
apple is one of the easiest vegetable substances for the stomach to
deal with, the whole process of its digestion being completed in
of apples, without sugar, will often reduce acidity of the stomach;
it becomes changed into alkaline carbonates, and thus corrects sour
stated on medical authority that in countries where unsweetened
cider is used as a common beverage, stone or calculus is unknown,
and a series of inquiries made of doctors in Normandy, where cider
is the principal drink, brought to light the fact that not a single
case of stone had been met with during forty years.
Ripe, juicy apples eaten at bedtime every
night will cure some of the worst forms of constipation. Sour
apples are the best for this purpose. Some cases of sleeplessness
have been cured in this manner. People much inclined to biliousness
will find this practice very valuable. In some cases stewed apples
will agree perfectly well, while raw ones prove disagreeable. There
is a very old saying:
'To eat an apple going to bed
Will make the doctor beg his
will also act as an excellent dentifrice, being a food that is not
only cleansing to the teeth on account of its juices, but just hard
enough to mechanically push back the gums so that the borders are
cleared of deposits.
apples used as a poultice is an old Lincolnshire remedy for sore
eyes, that is still in use in some villages.
It is no
exaggeration to say that the habitual use of apples will do much to
prolong life and to ameliorate its conditions. In the Edda, the old
Scandinavian saga, Iduna kept in a box, apples that she gave to the
gods to eat, thereby to renew their youth.
physician has found that the bacillus of typhoid fever cannot live
long in apple juice, and therefore recommends doubtful drinking
water to be mixed with cider.
glucoside in small crystals is obtainable from the bark and root of
the apple, peach and plum, which is said to induce artificial
diabetes in animals, and thus can be used in curing it in human
original pomatum seems to date from Gerard's days, when an ointment
for roughness of the skin was made from apple pulp, swine's grease,
astringent verjuice, rich in tannin, of the Crab, is helpful in
may be used in decoction for intermittent and bilious
which horse-radish has been steeped has been found helpful in
apples make a good local application for sore throat in fevers,
inflammation of the eyes, erysipelas, etc.
apples are laxative; raw ones not invariably so.
infusion of the bark, 1 to 4 fluid ounces. Of phloridzin, 5 to 20
SODOM (Solanum sosomeum). This is a prickly species found near the
Dead Sea, full of dust when ripe, the result of insects' eggs
deposited in the young fruit. Some regard the name as referring to
Colocynth, and others again to Calatropis procera.
APPLE is a variety of the Lime (Citrus limetta). Superstition
relates that a piece of the forbidden apple stuck in Adam's throat,
and his descendants ever after had the lump in the front of the
neck which is so named.
American Mandrake, Racoonberry, Hog-apple, Devil's Apple, Indian
Apple, or Wild Lemon, a purgative used in liver
THORN-APPLE. Datura stramonium, Jamestown Weed, Stinkweed, or
Apple of Peru has narcotic, anodyne leaves and seeds.
APPLES, or Annonas, grow in hotter countries than common apples.
Several species are edible, especially Annona tripetela, A.
squamosa and A. glabra. A. palustris of Jamaica, also called
Shiningleaved Custard Apple or Alligator Apple, is said to be a
strong narcotic. The wood is so soft that it is used for
is the fruit of Bromelia ananas, deriving its name from its
APPLE, or Tomato Plant, is the fruit of Solanum lycopersicum or
JEW'S APPLE is the fruit of S. esculentum.
ASTRACEIAN APPLE is var. Astracanica of P. malus. Var. Paradisiaca
and var. Pendula are also well-known.
of Crabs are Dartmouth or Hyslop, Fairy, John Downie, Orange,
Transcendent and Transparent.
APPLE is the fruit of Eugenia malaccensis.
APPLE, or Jamrosade, is the fruit of E. jambos. The bark and seeds
arc employed in diarrhoea and diabetes. Dose, of fluid extract, 10
minims or more, in hot water.
APPLE (Chrysophyllum cainito) of the West Indies has an astringent,
ACAJOU is a name of Anacardium occidentale, which yields a caustic
oil used like croton oil. It is used in marking-ink. It also
supplies a gum like gum-arabic.
APPLES are excrescences on the trunk of Juniperus virginiana, used
as an anthelmintic in the dose of from 10 to 20 grains three times
APPLE is the fruit of Feronia elephantum.
APPLE is the fruit of S. laciniatum.
KEL APPLE is the South African name for the fruit of Abaria
APPLE is the fruit of Mammea americana.
APPLE is the fruit of Mandragora officinalis.
APPLE is the West Indian name for Clusia flava.
are spongy excrescences on the branches of oak-trees.
APPLE is the fruit of Spondias dulcis.
APPLE is the name by which the peach was first known in
APPLE is Psoralea esculenta.
BALSAM APPLE is Ehinocystis lobata.
Marmalade, unspiced, is made by peeling, and coring and cutting up
12 lb. of apples and cooking very gently with 6 lb. of sugar and 1
quart of cider till the fruit is very soft. Then pour through a
sieve and place in glass jars. This is delicious with cream as a
It is also
possible to make a very delicious preserve called Apple Honey, by
boiling apples slowly for a very long time without any addition of
sugar. The people of Denmark make this in hayboxes, thus saving
fuel. When cooked long enough it is thick and brown, and very
sweet, and will keep any length of time.
nice-shaped firm apples, and for every 3 lb. allow 1 quart of
vinegar, 4 lb. of sugar, 1 OZ. of stick cinnamon, and 1/2 oz. of
cloves. Boil sugar, vinegar, and spices together, then put in the
apples, and let them cook until tender. Put them into a jar; boil
down the syrup quite thick, and pour it over. Cover and keep for a
few months in a cool place.
apples. 3 pt. water.
sugar. 2 OZ. essence of ginger.
and water until they form a syrup. Add ginger. Pare, core and
quarter apples, boil them in the syrup until transparent. Place in
warm, clean, dry jars. Tie down at once.
recipe. 3 lb. of apples, 1/4 lb. of preserved ginger. Pare apples
and cut up in small pieces. Put in a basin of water till required;
then put skins and cores into preserving pan, cover with water and
boil till tender; strain and measure juice. To 3 pints of juice
allow 2 lb. of sugar. Take next the cut apples and weigh them. To
every 3 lb. allow 2 lb. of sugar. Put apples, juice, sugar and
ginger all together into pan, and boil till ready.
apples (any kind).
cut apples in four, remove bad parts. Place in preserving pan with
lemon, well cover with water. Boil to a pulp. Place in a bag, allow
to drip into a clean basin all night. Return to pan, adding 1 lb.
sugar to each pint of juice. Boil for 3/4 hour or until jelly will
set. Pour into clean, dry, warm jar. Tie down at once.
Crab-apples with 6 cloves and an inch of ginger until the fruit is
soft. Strain, boil again and add 3/4 lb. of sugar to a pint of
liquid. Let boil until it jells. To make a successful jelly, the
fruit should not be cooked too long, and the sugar should be added
just before the strained liquid boils.
large Red apples, wash carefully and put in a fruit kettle, with
just enough boiling water to cover. Cover the kettle, and cook
slowly until the apples are soft, with the skins broken and the
juice a rich red colour. After removing the apples, boil the juice
to a syrup, sweeten, and pour over the apples. A better plan is to
make a syrup with sugar and water in which apples are stewed whole
or sliced. Some add a clove, others the rind of lemon to improve
core, and quarter a dozen or more medium-sized apples. Clean
thoroughly one fourth the weight of apples in raisins, and pour
over them a quart of boiling water. Let them steep until well
swollen, then add the apples, and cook until tender. Sugar to
sweeten may be added if desired, although little will be needed
unless the apples are very tart. Dried apples soaked overnight may
be made much more palatable by stewing with raisins or English
currants in the same way for about 40 minutes.
into very thin slices, and lay between slices of bread and
Apple and Egg
strain 1 large tart apple, when cold add the well-beaten white of
an egg. Serve with cream.
following is an excellent recipe for a suitable drink for all
fevers and feverish conditions:
thinly 3 or 4 apples without peeling. Boil in a saucepan with a
quart of water and a little sugar until the slices become soft. The
apple water must then be strained and taken cold.
Mutton Baked with
Apples and Onions
2 lb. of
mutton cutlets from neck, salt,1 onion, 4 medium-sized apples.
Prepare the meat by removing the bone and superfluous fat. Season
with salt and lay in a baking dish. Cover the meat with
finely-sliced sour apples and finely-chopped onions. Bake in a
moderate oven until the meat is tender, which will be about 1
an old recipe for Apple Bread, wherein to the sponge was added
one-third as much grated apple, which is perhaps worth
years, especially in a drought, the number of windfalls in the
orchard is unusually large. They should never be allowed to lie on
the ground, as most of them contain grubs which will hatch out into
insect pests that ruin the fruit trees. But not a single windfall
need be wasted. Those which are big enough to peel can be used for
puddings or tarts. The small fruit can be used for making jelly, by
cutting each in half so as to remove any grub that may be present,
and then proceeding in the usual manner, as given above. The jelly
will be a brilliant red colour, equal to Crab-apple Jelly in taste
chutneys, syrups, and jams can also be made from windfalls, which
curiously enough so many housewives use only for stewing and
baking, neglecting less humdrum methods, of which there are quite a
number, of using the fruit. We give a few recipes:
2 lb. of
windfall apples, 4 oz. of brown sugar, 1 gill of water, a strip of
lemon peel or z or 3 cloves or an inch of stick cinnamon, 1/2 pint
of custard or cream.
wipe the fruit, remove any damaged portions, and cut into quarters
without peeling or coring. Put it into a pan with the sugar, water,
and flavouring, bring to the boil, and simmer until the fruit is
soft. If too dry add a little more water. Rub through a sieve, and
mix the puree with custard or cream.
(windfall) or plums of any kind may be used in the same way, or
apples and pears mixed.
Apple, Pear and Plum
8 lb. of
each fruit, 1/2, pint of cider, 1/4 oz. of powdered cloves (no
sugar is required).
windfall apples and pears in quarters (do not peel or core), put
into a preserving pan with the plums, and add enough water to cover
the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer until soft.
Press out all the juice by pouring the fruit on to a fine hair
sieve. Strain the juice through muslin, and boil it quickly in an
uncovered pan until thick like a syrup. Put the syrup into bottles
and cork well. Tie bladder or run sealing wax over the corks, and
store in a dry, cool place.
windfall apples, 2 OZ. of salt, 3/4 Ib. of brown sugar, 4 oz. of
onions, 1 clove of garlic, 3 oz. of powdered ginger, 1/2 oz. of
dried chillies, 1 OZ. of mustard seeds, 4 oz. of raisins, 1 quart
and slice the apples, put them into a pan with the sugar and
vinegar and simmer until the apples are soft. Wash the mustard seed
with vinegar and dry in a cool oven. Stone and chop the raisins.
Peel and slice the garlic and onions, slice the chillies and pound
them all in a mortar with the ginger and mustard seeds. When the
apples are soft add the rest of the ingredients and let the mixture
become cold. Mix well and put into bottles. Cork and cover like
Some prefer not to pound the chillies, but to add them just before
putting the chutney into the bottles.
Medicinal Action and Uses
Dosage and Preparation
Poisons and Antidotes
Used---The fruit deprived of the seeds.
climbing annual plant cultivated in gardens for the sake of its
ornamental fruit, which is of a rich orange red colour, ovate
attenuated towards each extremity, angular, warty, not unlike a
cucumber. The name is derived from Mordio, to bite, so called from
the bitten appearance.
---Constituents---Has not been examined
and Uses---A liniment is made by adding the pulped fruit (without
the seeds) to almond oil. This is useful for piles, burns, chapped
hands, etc. The pulp is also used as a poultice. The fluid extract
is used for dropsy.
required in administering - large doses resulting in
Preparation---Dose, 6 to 15 grains.
Antidotes---As for Bitter Apple.
Species---Momordica charantia and East Indian species with bright
orange yellow oblong fruits. Momordica mixta has fruit shaped like
a bullock's heart, bright red in colour.
Citrullus colocynthis (SCHRAD.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Dosage and Preperation
Poison and Antidotes
---Synonyms---Colocynth Pulp. Bitter Cucumber.
Used---The dried pulp.
---Habitat---Native of Turkey abounding in the Archipelago;
also found in Africa (Nubia especially), Asia, Smyrna and
Colocynth collected from the Maritime Plain between the mountains
of Palestine and the Mediterranean, is mainly shipped from Jaffa
and known as Turkish Colocynth. This is the best variety. It is an
annual plant resembling the common watermelon. The stems are
herbaceous and beset with rough hairs; the leaves stand alternately
on long petioles. They are triangular, manycleft, variously
sinuated, obtuse, hairy, a fine green on upper surface, rough and
pale under. Flowers yellow, appearing singly at axils of leaves;
fruit globular, size of an orange, yellow and smooth, when ripe
contains within a hard coriaceous rind, a white spongy pulp
enclosing numerous ovate compressed white or brownish
---Constituents---The pulp contains Colocynthin, extractive, a
fixed oil, a resinous substance insoluble in ether, gum, pectic
acid or pectin, calcium and magnesium phosphates, lignin and
and Uses---It is a powerful drastic hydragogue cathartic producing,
when given in large doses, violent griping with, sometimes, bloody
discharges and dangerous inflammation of the bowels. Death has
resulted from a dose of 1 1/2 teaspoonsful of the powder. It is
seldom prescribed alone. It is of such irritant nature that severe
pain is caused if the powdered drug be applied to the nostrils; it
has a nauseous, bitter taste and is usually given in mixture form
with the tinctures of podophylum and belladonna. Colocynth fruits
broken small are useful for keeping moth away from furs, woollens,
Preparation---Dose of the powder, 2 to 5 grains.
It is an
important ingredient in Extractum Colocynthidis Compositum, Pilula
Colocynthidis Composita, and Pilula Colocynthidis et
Antidotes---In case of poisoning by Colocynth the stomach should be
emptied, opium given by mouth or rectum followed by stimulants and
See (FALSE) DAMIANA.
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Description---Bixa orillana is a small tree 20 to 30 feet
high, leaves broad, heartshape, pointed, flowers in bunches,
rosecoloured fruit, heart-shaped, 1 1/4 inches long, reddish brown,
covered with stiff prickles. Annatto is obtained by pulping the
seeds, allowing the pulp to dry spontaneously and pressing it into
cakes, or the seeds are soaked in water, allowed to ferment, and
when the colouring matter subsides are collected and formed into
cakes. There are two forms of Annatto used in commerce, the Spanish
made in Brazil, which is hard, brittle, odourless, and is usually
sent over in rolls; and the French, or flag, Annatto which comes
from Cayenne, and is bright yellow in colour, firm, sort, and
evil-smelling, owing to the fermentive process used in which urine
is utilized. The French is superior as a dye. Annatto has a dull
fracture, a sweetish odour and a very disagreeable saline bitterish
taste. It is inflammable, but does not melt with heat; insoluble in
water, though it colours it yellow.
---Constituents---The chief constituent is a red resinous
substance named Bixin.
and Uses---In the past it was used internally as medicine, but is
now only employed as a colouring agent for ointments and plasters,
and sometimes as a substitute for saffron. In South America it is
largely used by the Caribs and other Indian tribes to paint their
bodies. South American Indians are said to produce directly from
the seeds, without fermentation, a brilliant carmine-like
country it is used for colouring cheese, inferior chocolate, etc.,
and by the Dutch as a butter colouring. It is also used as a dye
for fabrics and in the manufacture of varnishes and
---Adulterants---Annatto is adulterated with ochre, sand
gypsum, and a farinaceous matter.
See Hemp (Canadian).
Prunus Armeniaca (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Apricock. Armeniaca vulgaris.
---Habitat---Although formerly supposed to come from Armenia,
where it was long cultivated, hence the name Armeniaca, there is
now little doubt that its original habitat is northern China, the
Himalaya region and other parts of temperate Asia. It is cultivated
generally throughout temperate regions. Introduced into England,
from Italy, in Henry VIII's reign.
hardy tree, bearing stone fruit, closely related to the peach. The
leaves are broad and roundish, with pointed apex; smooth; margin,
finely serrated; petiole 1/2 inch to an inch long, generally tinged
with red. The flowers are sessile, white, tinged with the same
dusky red that appears on the petiole, with five regular sepals and
petals and many stamens, and open very early in the spring. The
fruit, which ripens end of July to mid-August, according to
variety, is a drupe, like the plum, with a thin outer, downy skin
enclosing the yellow flesh (mesocarp), the inner layers becoming
woody and forming the large, smooth, compressed stone, the ovule
ripening into the kernel, or seed. As a rule in Britain, the fruit
rarely ripens unless the tree is trained against a wall; when
growing naturally, it is a medium-sized tree. It is propagated by
budding on the musselplum stock. A great number of varieties are
distinguished by cultivators. Large quantities of the fruit are
imported from France. The kernels of several varieties are edible
and in Egypt, those of the Musch-musch variety form a considerable
article of commerce. Like those of the peach, apricot kernels
contain constituents similar to those of the bitter almond: they
are imported in large quantities from Syria and California and are
oftenused by confectioners in the place of bitter almonds, which
they so closely resemble as to be with difficulty
liqueur Eau de Noyaux is prepared from bitter apricot
---Constituents---Apricot kernels yield by expression 40 to 50
per cent. of a fixed oil, similar to that which occurs in the sweet
almond and in the peach kernel, consisting chiefly of Olein, with a
small proportion of the Glyceride of Linolic acid, and commonly
sold as Peach Kernel oil (Ol. Amygdae Pers.). From the cake is
distilled, by digestion with alcohol, an essential oil (0l. Amygdae
Essent. Pers.) which contains a colourless, crystalline glucoside,
Amygdalin, and is chemically identical with that of the bitter
almond. The essential oil is used in confectionery and as a
and Uses---Apricot oil is used as a substitute for Oil of Almonds,
which it very closely resembles. It is far less expensive and finds
considerable employment in cosmetics, for its softening action on
the skin. It is often fraudulently added to genuine Almond oil and
used in the manufacture of soaps, cold creams and other
preparations of the perfumery trade.
Andira araroba (AGUIAR.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Goa Powder. Crude Chrysarobin. Bahia Powder.
Brazil Powder. Ringworm Powder. Chrysatobine. Goa. Araroba Powder.
Used---The medullary matter of the stem and branches, dried and
powder is named Goa, after the Malabar port, and it was not
realized until 1875 that the drug was Brazilian Araroba, and
reached the East Indies through Portugal and her colonies. The tree
from which it is obtained, Andira Araroba, is large, smooth, and
quite commonly found in Bahia, Brazil. The yellowish wood has
longitudinal canals and interspaces in which the powder is
deposited in increasing quantity as the tree ages. It is probably
due to a pathological condition. It is scraped out with an axe,
after felling, sawing, and splitting the trunk, and is thus
inevitably mixed with splinters and debris, so that it needs
sifting, and is sometimes ground, dried, boiled, and
irritates the eyes and face of the woodmen.
darkens quickly, the crude chrysarobin is changed from primrose
yellow to shades of dark brown before it is met with in commerce,
when it often contains a large percentage of water, added to
prevent the dust from rising.
skin-varnish is made with 20 parts of amber to 1 of chrysarobin in
---Constituents---The powder is insoluble in water, but yields
up to 80 per cent. of its weight to solutions of caustic alkalies
and to benzene. It contains 80 to 84 per cent. of chrysarobin
(easily convertible into chrysophanic acid), resin, woody fibre,
and bitter extractive. Goa Powder is usually regarded as crude
chrysarobin, while the purified chrysarobin, or Araroba, is a
mixture extracted by hot benzene, which melts when heated, and
leaves not more than 1 per cent. of ash when it finally
Chrysarobin is a reduced quinone, and chrysophanic acid (also
found in rhubarb yellow lichen, Buckthorn Berries, Rumox
Eckolianus, a South African dock, etc., etc.), is a
Chrysarobin contains at least five substances, and owes its
power to one of these, chrysophanol-anthranol.
a tetracetate,, and eurobin, a triacetate, are recommended as
substitutes for chrysarobin, as they do not stain linen indelibly.
(Benzin helps to remove the stains of chrysarobin.)
of chrysarobin on the skin is not due to germicidal properties, but
to its chemical affinity for the keratin elements of the skin. The
oxygen for its oxidation is abstracted from the epithelium by the
chrysarobin, obtained by boiling chrysarobin in water with sodium
peroxide, can be used as an ointment for forms of eczema which
chrysarobin would irritate too much.
and Uses---The internal dose in pill or powder is a
gastro-intestinal irritant, producing large, watery stools and
vomiting. It is used in eczema, psoriasis, aene, and other skin
and South Ameriea it has been esteemed for many years for ringworm,
psoriasis, dhobi's itch, etc., as ointment, or simply moistened
with vinegar or saliva. The application causes the eruption to
become whitish, while the skin around it is stained
crude form it should never be applied to the head, as it may cause
erythema and oedema of the face. The 2 per cent. ointment is good
in ecezema (after exudation has ceased), fissured nipples, and
tylosis of the palms and soles after the skin has been removed by
salicylic acid plaster, etc.
of chrysarobin may be dissolved in a fluid ounce of official
flexible collodion, painted over the parts with a camel's-hair
brush, and the part coated with plain collodion to avoid staining
the clothing; or chrysarobin may be dissolved in chloroform and the
solution painted on the skin. For haemorrhoids, an ointment mixed
with iodoform, belladonna, and petrolatum is
It is said
to have been used as a taenifuge.
Species---A. Inermis, or Cabbage Tree of South America and
Senegambia, has a narcotic, anthelmintic bark, known as Bastard
Cabbage Bark or Worm Bark. The powder, in doses of 3 to 4 grains,
purges like jalap. The decoction is usually preferred.
symptoms of an overdose are feverish delirium and vomiting, which
should be counteracted with lime-juice or castor oil.
It is no
longer officially used in England.
---Habitat---In the woods at Killarney and Bantry is found
growing wild the beautiful evergreen shrub, known as the Arbutus,
or Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unede), which for its attractiveness
should gain a place in every well-planted garden. It would, indeed,
be hard to find any other ornamental shrub or tree that has such a
cheerful appearance throughout the autumn and early winter, when
its dense mass of greenery is mingled with a profusion of flower
clusters and ruddy, round fruit resembling small strawberries. The
creamy-white, bell-shaped flowers, often tinged with pink, are
intermixed with the orange-scarlet rough fruit, which owing to the
length of time it takes to ripen, remains on the tree for twelve
months, not maturing until the autumn succeeding that in which the
flower is produced.
native of South Europe, and only growing wild here in the South of
Ireland on the rocks at Killarney, the Arbutus will thrive almost
anywhere in this country, especially in warm and coast regions,
where it will grow 20 feet high, making huge, globular masses of
green, though ordinarily its height is only from 8 to 10 feet. In
inland districts it is liable to be cut down during exceptionally
severe winters, but this rarely happens, and if large bushes are
apparently killed by cold, they almost invariably send up strong
shoots again. When young, it requires in order to get it
established, a slight protection during winter. It grows quickly in
sheltered places but dislikes shade, and seems to be most at home
in a deep, light soil, flourishing best in a sandy
in quantities this fruit is said to be narcotic, and the wine made
from it in Spain has the same property.
is common in the Mediterranean region, and the fruit was known to
the ancients, but according to Pliny (who gave the tree the name of
Arbutus) was not held in much esteem, as the name implies (un
ede=one 1 eat), the fruits being considered so unpalatable, that no
one tasting them for the first time would be tempted to repeat the
experiment. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that at one time
the fruit was an article of diet with the ancients. Horace praises
the tree for its shade and Ovid for its loads of 'blushing fruit.'
Virgil recommends the young shoots as winter food for goats and for
speaks of it in his time as growing in 'some few gardens,' and
says, 'the fruit being ripe is of a gallant red colour, in taste
somewhat harsh, and in a manner without any relish, of which
thrushes and blackbirds do feed in winter .'
a sugar and spirit have been extracted from the fruit and a wine
made from it in Corsica.
neighbourhood of Algiers it forms hedges, and in Greece and Spain
the bark has been used for tanning. The wood of the tree makes good
Epigaea repens (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Mountain Pink. May Flower. Gravel Plant. Ground
Laurel. Winter Pink.
Used---The leaves, used dried to make an infusion, and fresh to
make a tincture.
---Habitat---The Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens, Linn.) is a
small evergreen creeping shrub, found in sandy soil in many parts
of North America, in the shade of pines. Its natural home is under
trees, and it will thrive in this country only in moist, sandy peat
in shady places. It has long been known in cultivation here as an
ornamental plant, having been introduced into Great Britain in
1736. Like the common Arbutus, or the Strawberry Tree and the
Bearberry, it belongs to the order Ericacece, the family of the
grows but a few inches high, with a trailing, shrubby stalk, which
puts out roots at the joints, and when in a proper soil and
situation multiplies very fast. The evergreen leaves are stalked,
broadly ovate, 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, rough and leathery, with
entire, wavy margins and a short point at the apex. Branches,
leaf-stalks and nerves of the leaves are very hairy. The flowers
are produced at the end of the branches in dense clusters. They are
white, with a reddish tinge and very fragrant, divided at the top
into five acute segments, which spread open in the form of a star.
The plant flowers in April and May, but rarely produces fruit in
England. It is stated to be injurious to cattle when eaten by
of the genus, Epigaea, derived from Greek words signifying 'upon
the ground,' expresses the mode of growth and trailing habit of the
Trailing Arbutus generally does not do well when attempts are made
to take it from its natural surroundings and place it under garden
conditions. It needs partial shade and very free soil, composed
mainly of decayed leaves, and perfect shelter from cold winds. In
short grass, just within the shelter of oak trees, the overhanging
boughs of which give a certain amount of shade, it will do well and
is usually found at its best in sandy loam, on a gravelly,
removing it from its native haunts, dense tufts of low-growing and
apparently young plants should be selected. These should be lifted
intact, and to such a depth, that the roots are not disturbed, and
placed in conditions in the home garden exactly similar to those
from which they are taken. To plant in an ordinary herbaceous
border means failure. They must not be choked out with long grass
or coarse weeds. In dry weather water the plants occasionally, and
in winter give a little mulching of leaves .
It may be
increased by seeds, but they are slow in sprouting. By carefully
dividing the well-established tufts in autumn, or by layering the
branches, good plants are sometimes obtained. The trailing stalks,
which put out roots at the joints, may be cut off from the old
plant and placed in a shady situation and a moist soil. If done in
autumn, the plants may be well rooted before the spring. Cuttings
of previous year's wood are more successful inserted in sandy soil,
under a glass in gentle heat in spring. As soon as rooted, plants
should be grown on in pots until well established, and then
transferred in early autumn, or spring, to their permanent
positions outside, but they will never grow so well in the open
(where they will always be more or less stunted specimens), as they
will under conditions which closely imitate those which the plant
enjoys in the woods of New England.
and Uses---Astringent and diuretic. Used in the same way as Buchu
and Uva ursi for bladder and urinary troubles: of special value
when the urine contains blood or pus, and when there is
infusion of 1 OZ. of the leaves to a pint of boiling water may be
Areca catechu (LINN.)
Medicinal Actions and Uses
Dosages and Preparations
---Synonyms---Betel Nut. Pinang.
---Habitat---East Indies, cultivated in India and
handsome tree cultivated in all the warmer parts of Asia for its
yellowish-red fruits the size of a hen's egg, containing the seed
about the size of an acorn, conical shape with flattened base and
brownish in colour externally; internally mottled like a nutmeg.
The seeds are cut into narrow pieces and rolled inside Betel Pepper
leaf, rubbed over with lime and chewed by the natives. They stain
the lips and teeth red and also the excrement, they are hot and
acrid when chewed.
---Constituents---Areca Nut contains a large quantity of
tannin, also gallic acid, a fixed oil gum, a little volatile oil,
lignin, and various saline substances. Four alkaloids have been
found in Areca Nut - Arecoline, Arecain, Guracine, and a fourth
existing in very small quantity. Arecoline resembles Pilocarpine in
its effects on the system. Arecaine is the active principle of the
and Uses---Areca Nut is aromatic and astringent and is said to
intoxicate when first taken. The natives chew these nuts all day.
Whole shiploads are exported annually from Sumatra, Malacca, Siam
and Cochin China. In this country Areca Nut is made into a
dentrifrice on account of its astringent properties. Catechu is
often made by boiling down the seeds of the plant to the
consistency of an extract, but the proper Catechu used in Britain
is produced from the Acacia catechu. The flowers are very
sweet-scented and in Borneo are used in medicines as charms for the
healing of the sick. In India the nut has long been used as a
taenifuge for tapeworm. The action of Arecain resembles that of
Muscarine and Pilocarpine externally, internally used it contracts
Hydrobromide, a commercial salt, is a stronger stimulant to the
salivary glands than Pilocarpine and a more energetic laxative than
Eserine. It is used for colic in horses.
Preparations---Of the powdered nut for tapeworm 1 to 2
teaspoonsful. Of the Fluid Extract of Areca Nut, 1 drachm. Of the
Arecoline Hydrobromide, for colic in horses, 1 to 1 1/2 grains. Of
the Arecoline Hydrobromide, for human use, 1/15 to 1/10 grains
Species---In Malabar Areca Dicksoni is found growing wild and is
used by the poor as a substitute for the true Betel Nut (A.
aleraceae). The Cabbage Palm, which grows profusely in the West
Indies, derives its name from the bud topping the tall stem; this
consists of leaves wrapped round each other as in the cabbage, the
heart of which is white inside. It has a delicate taste and is cut
and cooked as a vegetable, many of these beautiful palms being
destroyed in this way. It is said that in the empty cavity a beetle
lays its eggs. These turn into maggots which are eaten with great
relish by the negroes of Guiana.
Arnica montana (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Mountain Tobacco. Leopard's Bane.
---Habitat---Arnica montana or Leopard's Bane is a perennial
herb, indigenous to Central Europe, in woods and mountain pastures.
It has been found in England and Southern Scotland. but is probably
leaves form a flat rosette, from the centre of which rises a flower
stalk, 1 to 2 feet high, bearing orange-yellow flowers. The rhizome
is dark brown, cylindrical, usually curved, and bears brittle wiry
rootlets on the under surface.
---Cultivation---Arnica thrives in a mixture of loam, peat, and
sand. It may be propagated by root division or from seed. Divide in
spring. Sow in early spring in a cold frame, and plant out in
flowers are collected entire and dried, but the receptacles are
sometimes removed as they are liable to be attacked by
is collected in autumn after the leaves have died
bitter yellow crystalline principle, Arnicin, and a volatile oil.
Tannin and phulin are also present. The flowers are said to contain
more Arnicin than the rhizome, but no tannin.
and Uses---In countries where Arnica is indigenous, it has long
been a popular remedy. In the North American colonies the flowers
are used in preference to the rhizome. They have a discutient
property. The tincture is used for external application to sprains,
bruises, and wounds, and as a paint for chilblains when the skin is
unbroken. Repeated applications may produce severe inflammation. It
is seldom used internally, because of its irritant effect on the
stomach. Its action is stimulant and diuretic, and it is chiefly
used in low fevers and paralytie affections.
flowers are sometimes adulterated with other composite flowers,
especially Calendula officinalis, Inula brittanica, Kragapogon
pratensis, and Scorzonera humilis.
homoeopathic tincture, X6, has been used successfully in the
treatment of epilepsy; also for seasickness, 3 X before sailing,
and every hour on board till comfortable.
feet a foot-bath of hot water containing 1/2 oz. of the tineture
has brought great relief. Applied to the scalp it will make the
must be exercised though, as some people are particularly sensitive
to the plant and many severe cases of poisoning have resulted from
its use, especially if taken internally.
Pharmacopoeia Tincture, root, 10 to 30 drops. United States
Pharmacopoeia Tincture, flowers, 10 to 30 drops.
Chenopodium olidum (LINN.)
Chenopodium vulvaria (S. WATS.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Stinking Motherwort. Wild Arrach. Stinking
Arrach. Stinking Goosefoot. Netchweed. Goat's Arrach.
---Habitat---The Wild Arrach, or Netchweed (Chenopodium olidum,
Linn.), (syn. C. vulvaria S. Wats.), one of the common Goosefoots,
is an annual herb, found on roadsides and dry waste ground near
houses, from Edinburgh southward.
stem is not erect, but partly Iying, branched from the base, the
opposite branches spreading widely, a foot or more in
stalked leaves are oval, wedge-shaped at the base, about 1/2 inch
long, the margins entire.
insignificant green flowers are borne in spikes from the axils of
the leaves and consist of five sepals, five stamens and a pistil
with two styles. There are no petals and the flowers are
wind-fertilized. They are in bloom from August to
plant is covered with a white, greasy mealiness, giving it a
grey-green appearance which when touched, gives out a very
objectionable and enduring odour, like that of stale salt fish, and
accounts for its common popular name: Stinking
and Uses---The name of 'Stinking Motherwort' refers to the use of
its leaves in hysteria and nervous troubles connected with women's
ailments: it has emmenagogue and anti-spasmodic properties. In
former days, it was supposed even to cure barrenness and in certain
cases, the mere smelling of its foetid odour was held to afford
infusion of 1 OZ. of the dried herb in a pint of boiling water is
taken three or four times daily in wineglassful doses as a remedy
for menstrual obstructions. It is also sometimes used as a
fomentation and injection, but is falling out of use, no doubt on
account of its unpleasant odour and taste.
infusion has been employed in nervous debility and also for
extract is prepared, the dose being 1/2, to 1 drachm.
have also been made into a conserve with sugar. Dr. Fuller's famous
Electuarium hystericum was compounded by adding 48 drops of oil of
Amber (Oleum Succini) to 4 oz. of the conserve of this Chenopodium.
A piece of the size of a chestnut was prescribed to be taken when
needed and repeated as often as required.
---Constituents---Chemical analysis has proved Trimethylamine
to be a constituent, together with Osmazome and Nitrate of
Potash.The plant gives off free Ammonia.
speaks of two kinds of 'Arrach.' One he calls Garden Arrach,
'called also Orach; and Arage,' giving its Latin name as Atriplex
hortensis. The other kind he calls 'Wild and Stinking Arrach' (A.
olida), 'called also Vulvaria, Dog's Arrach, Goat's Arrach and
Stinking Motherwort.' He is emphatic in his commendation of this
'Stinking Arrach' for every kind of women's diseases and troubles,
though he describes its odour in his usual unvarnished language,
saying: 'It smells like rotten fish, or something
'Dog's Arrach,' 'Goat's Arrach' and 'Dog's Orache' point to a
contemptuous scorn of its unfitness as a pot-herb compared with the
true Orache (Atriplex), closely allied to it.
---Synonyms---Mountain Spinach. Garden Orache.
Orache, or Mountain Spinach (Atriplex hortensis), is a tall,
erect-growing hardy annual, a native of Tartary, introduced into
this country in 1548. It is not much cultivated here now, but is
grown a good deal in France, under the name of Arroche, for its
large and succulent leaves, as a substitute for Spinach and to
correct the acidity of Sorrel.
quality of the spinach yielded by Orache is, however, far inferior
to that of Common Spinach, or even of the New Zealand
several varieties of Orache of various colourings. The White and
the Green are the most desirable kinds.
should be grown quickly, in rich soil. They may be sown in rows, 2
feet apart, and thinned out to the same distance apart in the rows,
sowings being in May, and for succession, again in June. If dry,
water must be freely given so as to maintain a rapid
cooling,' says Evelyn, 'and allays the pituit humours.' Being set
over the fire, neither this nor the lettuce needs any other water
than their own moisture to boil them in.
Orache, given to this Goosefoot and others of the same tribe, is a
corruption of aurum, gold, because their seeds, mixed with wine,
were supposed to cure the ailment known popularly as the 'yellow
jaundice.' They excite vomiting.
with vinegar, honey and salt and applied, the Orache was considered
efficacious to cure an attack of gout.
Halberd-leaved Wild Orache (Atriplex hastata) closely resembles the
Spreading Orache and is often regarded merely as a sub-species, but
is, however, of a more erect character and the lower leaves are
broadly triangular, the lobes widely spread.
It is a
troublesome weed in gardens and cultivated ground.
have been frequently eaten instead of spinach, but Culpepper says
its chief virtues lie in the seed, employed in the same manner as
that of the Garden Orache.
Orache (Atriplex patula) is a common native weed on clays and heavy
ground. It has spreading stems, 2 to 3 feet long, sometimes
prostrate, only occasionally erect (hence often called the
are triangular in outline, rather narrow, the lower ones in
opposite pairs. The very small, green flowers are in dense
plant is more or less covered with a powdery meal, often tinged
red. It is distinguished from the Goosefoot genus Chenopodium, by
the solitary seeds being enclosed between two triangular leaf-like
to be gathered when just ripe for if suffered to stand longer, they
lose part of their virtue. A pound of these bruised, and put into
three quarts of spirit, of moderate strength, after standing six
weeks, afford a light and not unpleasant tincture; a tablespoonful
of which, taken in a cup of water-gruel, has the same effect as a
dose of ipecacuanha, only that its operation is milder and does not
bind the bowels afterwards.... It cures headaches, wandering pains,
and the first attacks of rheumatism.'
Sagittaria sagittifolia (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Alismaceae group of plants in general contain acrid juices, on
account of which, a number of species, besides the Water Plantain,
have been used as diuretics and antiscorbutic.
species of Sagittaria, natives of Brazil, are astringent and their
expressed juice has been used in making ink.
rhizome of Sagittaria sagittifolia (Linn.), the Arrowhead, Wapatoo,
and S. Chinensis (Is'-ze-kn) are used respectively by the North
American Indians and the Chinese as starchy foods, as are some
Arrowhead is a water plant widely distributed in Europe and
Northern Asia, as well as North America, and abundant in many parts
of England, though only naturalized in Scotland.
is swollen at the base and throws out creeping stolons or runners,
which produce globose winter tubers, 1/2 inch in diameter, composed
almost entirely of starch.
are borne on triangular stalks that vary in length with the depth
of the water in which the plant is growing. They do not lie on the
water, like those of the Water Lily, but stand boldly above it.
They are large and arrow-shaped and very glossy. The early,
submerged leaves are ribbonlike.
flower-stem rises directly from the root and bears several rings of
buds and blossoms, three in each ring or whorl, and each flower
composed of three outer sepals and three large, pure white petals,
with a purple blotch at their base. The upper flowers are
stamen-bearing, the lower ones generally contain the seed vessels
The root tubers are about the size of a
small walnut. They grow just below the surface of the mud. The
Chinese and Japanese cultivate the plant for the sake of these
tubercles, which are eaten as an article of wholesome food. Bryant,
in Flora Dietetica, writes of them:
'I cured some of the bulbs of this plant
in the same manner that saloop is cured, when they acquired a sort
of pellucidness, and on boiling afterwards, they broke into a
gelatinous meal and tasted like old peas boiled.'
tubers, it has been stated, may also be eaten in the raw
and Uses---Diuretic and antiscorbutic.
Maranta arundinaceae (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Indian Arrowroot. Maranta Indica. Maranta
ramosissima. Maranta Starch or Arrowroot. East or West Indian
Arrowroot. Araruta. Bermuda Arrowroot.
Used---The fecula or starch of the rhizome.
---Habitat---Indigenous in the West Indian Islands and possibly
Central America. Grows in Bengal, Tava. Philippines, Mauritius.
Natal. West Africa.
name of the genus was bestowed by Plumier in memory of Bartommeo
Maranto (d. 1559, Naples), a physician of Venosa in Basilicata. The
popular name is a corruption of the Aru-root of the Aruac Indians
of South America, or is derived from the fact that the plant is
said to be an antidote to arrow-poison.
product is usually distinguished by the name of the place from
which it is imported. Bermuda Arrowroot was formerly the finest,
but it is now rarely produced, and the name is applied to others of
introduced into England about 1732 though it will only grow as a
stove plant, with tanners' bark. The plant is an herbaceous
perennial, with a creeping rhizome with upward-curving, fleshy,
cylindrical tubers covered with large, thin scales that leave rings
of scars. The flowering stem reaches a height of 6 feet, and bears
creamy flowers at the ends of the slender branches that terminate
the long peduncles. They grow in pairs. The numerous, ovate,
glabrous leaves are from 2 to 10 inches in length, with long
sheaths often enveloping the stem.
is extracted from rhizomes not more than a year old. They are
washed, pulped in wooded mortars, stirred in clean water, the
fibres wrung out by hand, and the milky liquor sieved, allowed to
settle, and then drained. Clean water is again added, mixed, and
drained, after which the starch is dried on sheets in the sun, dust
and insects being carefully excluded. The starch yield is about
one-fifth of the original weight of the rhizomes. It should be
odourless and free from unpleasant taste, and when it becomes
mouldy, should be rejected. It keeps well if quite dry. The powder
creaks slightly when rubbed, and feels firm. Microscopical
examination of the starch granules is necessary for certainty of
purity. Potato starch, which corresponds in chemical and nutritive
qualities, is sometimes substituted, but it has a somewhat
unpleasant taste, and a test with hydrochloric acid brings out an
odour like French beans. Sago, rice and tapioca starches are also
found occasionally as substitutes.
is more tenacious than that of any other starch excepting
is often used simply in the form of pudding or blanc-mange. The
roots could be candied like Eryngo.
1887 analysis of the root of the St. Vincent Arrowroot gave starch
27.17 per cent, fibre, fat, albumen, sugar, gum, ash, and 62.96 per
starch was given: starch 83'70 per cent., fibre, fat, sugar, gum,
ash and sand, and water 15.87 per cent.
official granules, according to Pereira, are 'rarely oblong,
somewhat ovate-oblong, or irregularly convex, from 10 to 70 microns
in diameter, with very fine lamellae, a circular hilium which is
fissured in a linear or stellate manner.'
and Uses---Arrowroot is chiefly valuable as an easily digested,
nourishing diet for convalescents, especially in bowel complaints,
as it has demulcent properties. In the proportion of a
tablespoonful to a pint of water or milk, it should be prepared by
being first made into a smooth paste with a little cold milk or
water, and then carefully stirred while the boiling milk is added.
Lemon-juice, sugar, wine, or aromatics may be added. If thick, it
will cool into a jelly that usually suits weaning infants better
than other farinaceous foods.
It is said
that the mashed rhizomes are used for application to wounds from
poisoned arrows, scorpion and black spider bites, and to arrest
freshly-expressed juice, mixed with water, is said to be a good
antidote, taken internally, for vegetable poisons, such as
ramosissima is the M. arundinaceae of the East Indies.
and M. nobilis are also West Indian species. The term arrowroot is
applied to other starches.
ARROWROOT, or Tapioca Meal, is obtained from Manihot utilissima
(bitter) and M. palmata (sweet) . It is also called Bahia Rio, or
Para-Arrowroot. See MANDIOCA.
ARROWROOT is from Tacca oceanica (pinnatifida). It is a favourite
article of diet in the tropics, being found in the Sandwich and
South Sea Islands, and is said to be the best arrowroot for
INDIAN ARROWROOT is from Curcuma augustifolia, or
TOUS-LES-MOIS is from Canna edulis and C. achiras, of the West
Indies, called Indian Shot, from their hard, black seeds, used as
beads, and Balisier, from the use of their leaves for packing, in
ARROWROOT, used in America, is from Zea Mays, Indian
ARROWROOT is from the seeds of Dion edule.
ARROWROOT is said to be from the tubers of Nelumbium
ARROWROOT was formerly obtained from Arum maculatum, but it was
acrid and not very satisfactory.
dichotoma has stems used, when split, for making shade mats in
Malaccensis has poisonous roots used as an ingredient in a Borneo
---Habitat---The Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus,
Linn.), now commonly cultivated in England for its edible tubers,
another of the numerous Sunflowers, is a native of the North
American plains, being indigenous in the lake regions of Canada, as
far west as Saskatchewan, and from thence southward to Arkansas and
the middle parts of Georgia.
rarely blossoms in England, it flowers profusely in its native
country (blooming also freely in South Africa), the flowers,
however, being small and inconspicuous, produced just above the
last leaves. Its name, Jerusalem Artichoke, does not, as it seems,
imply that it grows in Palestine, but is a corruption of the
Italian Girasola articiocco, the Sunflower Artichoke, Girasola
meaning 'turning to the sun,' an allusion to the habit it is
supposed to have in common with many of the Sunflower tribe. The
North Italian word articiocco - modern carciofo - comes through the
Spanish, from the Arabic Al-Kharshuf. False etymology has corrupted
the word in many languages: it has been derived (though wrongly) in
English from 'choke' and 'heart,' or the Latin hortus, a garden,
and in French, the form artichaut has been connected with chaud,
hot, and chou, a cabbage.
---History---It appears to have been
cultivated as an article of food by the Indians of North America
before the settlement in that country of Europeans, and very soon
attracted the attention of travellers. Sir J. D. Hooker, in the
Botanical Magazine, July, 1897, gives the following account of its
'In the year 1617, Mr. John Goodyer, of
Mapledurham, Hampshire, received two small roots of it from Mr.
Franqueville of London, which, being planted, enablel him before
1621 "to store Hampshire." In October of the same year, Mr. Goodyer
wrote an account of it for T. Johnson, who printed it in his
edition of Gerard's "Herball," which appeared in 1636, where it is
called Jerusalem Artichoke. Previous to which, in 1629, it had been
figured and described under that name by Parkinson in his
"Paradisus," and he also mentions it in his "Theatrum" in 1640.
From the lastgiven date to the present time, the Jerusalem
Artichoke has been extensively cultivated in Europe, but rather as
a garden vegetable than a field crop, and has extended into India,
where it is making its way amongst the natives under Hindoo,
Bengali, and other native names.'
speaks of it as 'a dainty for a queen.' When first introduced, the
mode of preparation of the tubers was to boil them till tender, and
after peeling, they were eaten sliced and stewed with butter, wine
and spices. They were also baked in pies, with marrow, dates,
ginger, raisins, sack, etc. Parkinson called them 'Potatoes of
Canada,' because the French brought them first from Canada. Their
flavour is somewhat sooty when cooked and not agreeable to everyone
but they are very nutritious, and boiled in milk form an excellent
accompaniment to roast beef.
instead of containing starch like the potato, has the allied
substance Inulin. The chief ingredients are water, 80 per cent.
albuminoids, 2 per cent.; gum, known as Laevulin, 9.1 per cent.;
sugar, 4.2 per cent.; inulin, 1.1 per cent.
any odd bit of ground shaded or open, that is unsuitable for other
vegetables, a crop of the tubers of Jerusalem Artichoke will always
be obtained, though like other things, it pays for a good position
and generous culture and the largest tubers will be produced in a
light, rich soil.
should be well dug over and if at all heavy, or poor, should be
lightened by incorporating some sand with it enriched with
planting, which may be done in February, but not later than March,
small tubers should be chosen and indeed reserved for this purpose
when the crop is taken up, but almost any part of a tuber will grow
and form a plant. The sets should be planted in rows, 3 feet apart
and at a distance of 18 inches from each other in the rows, they
should be set at least 6 inches deep. As a rule, a great number of
plants is produced from one tuber.
should be kept clean by hoeing and as the plants grow in height, a
little earth should be drawn up around the stem.
plants down when the leaves are decayed, but not before, otherwise
the tubers will cease to grow. The tubers may be left in the ground
till wanted for use. If taken up towards the end of November, they
may be stored in sand or earth, but they must be covered, so that
the light and air may be effectually excluded, otherwise they will
be of a dark colour when cooked.
white-skinned variety, 'New White Mammoth,' is to be recommended.
The tubers have a clean, white skin, instead of the purplish-red
tint of the old variety. They are also rounder in shape and not so
irregular in form as the tubers of the red sort. This variety is
equally hardy, being in no way liable to injury from
Artichokes afford a useful screen for a wooden fence, when planted
along the foot of it, but the more open the spot, the more likely
they are to prosper. When once planted, the difficulty is to get
the ground clear of them again, for the smallest tuber will grow.
It is desirable to change the ground allotted to their culture
about once in three years, for when they are permitted to remain
too long on the same spot, the tubers deteriorate in size and
Artichoke (Cynara Scolymus, Linn.) also has a tuberous root, but it
is the large flower-buds that form the edible portion of the plant,
and it is from a similarity in the flavour of the tuber of the
Jerusalem Artichoke to that of the fleshy base of this flower that
the Jerusalem Artichoke has obtained its name.
expanded flower has much resemblance to a large thistle- the
corollas are of a rich blue colour.
It is one
of the world's oldest cultivated vegetables, grown by the Greeks
and the Romans in the heyday of their power. It was introduced into
this country in the early sixteenth century both as a vegetable and
an ornamental plant in monastery gardens.
(1597) gives a good figure of the Artichoke. Parkinson (1640)
alludes to a statement of Theophrastus (fourth century B.C.) that
'the head of Scolymus is most pleasant, being boyled or eaten raw,
but chiefly when it is in flower, as also the inner substance of
the heads is eaten.' Though this 'inner substance' - botanically
the 'receptacle' - has a delicate flavour, it contains little
Tournefort (1730) says:
'The Artichoke is well known at the table.
What we call the bottom is the thalamus on which the embryos of the
seeds are placed. The leaves are the scales of the empalement. The
Choak is the florets, with a chaffy substance intermixt (the
pappus). The French and Germans boil the heads as we do, but the
Italians generally eat them raw with salt, oil and
the receptacles, dried, are also largely used in
plant has a peculiar smell and a strong bitter taste. It was
reputed to be aperient.
is grown either from seed sown in March, in a deep, moist, rich
soil which may be greatly aided by wood-ashes and seaweed (for it
is partial to saline manures, its home being the sandy shores of
Northern Africa); or by planting suckers in April; the latter is
preferable for a permanent plantation. Strong plants may be ensured
by inserting them 4 feet each way, but market growers usually put
out suckers in rows 4 1/2, feet apart, and 2 feet distant in the
rows. Suckers should be planted when about 9 inches high; put in
rather deep in soil and planted firmly and covered with rough
mulch. If the weather be dry, they will need watering, and during
hot weather water and liquid manure should be given freely to
ensure a good supply of large heads.
that are started well in a suitable bed do better than plants from
suckers, especially in a dry season.
seedlings send down their roots to a great depth. To get large
heads, all lateral heads should be removed when they are about the
size of a large egg. After the heads are used, the plant should be
Artichoke is hardy on dry soils in winters of only average
severity. But on moist soils - so favourable to fine heads - a
severe winter will kill the plantations unless they have some kind
of protection. This is usually ensured by cutting down the stems
and large leaves without touching the smaller central leaves, and
when severe frost threatens, to partially earth up the rows with
soil taken from between, also adding dry, light litter loosely
thrown over; the latter is removed in the spring and the earth dug
back, and a liberal supply of manure dug in. At the end of five
years a plantation is worn out; the best method being to sow a bed
annually and allow it to stand for two years.
flower-stems grow erect and attain the height of 4 to 6 feet. They
are each terminated by a large globular head of imbricated oval
spiny scales of a purplish-green colour. These envelop a mass of
flowers in the centre. These flowerheads in an immature state
contain the parts that are eatable, which comprise the fleshy
receptacle usually called the 'bottom,' freed from the bristles and
seed-down, commonly called the 'choke,' and the thick lower part of
the imbricated scales or leaves of the involucre.
Artichokes are a common vegetable, they are not so much in request
with us as on the Continent.
the bottoms are often fried in paste, and enter largely into
ragouts. They are occasionally used for pickling, but for this
purpose the smaller heads which are formed on the lateral shoots
that spring in succession from the main stem, are generally
preferred when about the size of a large egg.
of Artichokes, or the tender central leaf-stalks, blanched, is by
some considered to be equal to the Cardoon.
flowers are very handsome, and are said to possess the property of
Chinese Artichoke (Stachys Sieboldii), is a comparatively new
variety of vegetable of which the edible portion is the
has nothing to do with either of the well-known Artichokes both of
which belong to the Compositae family, whereas this belongs to the
Mint family, Labiatae, and to the same genus that is represented
here by the Woundworts and Wood Betony. This species occurs wild in
Northern China, where it is also cultivated, its native name being
Tsanyungtzu, while in Japan it is called Chorogi. It was introduced
as a culinary vegetable by the late Dr. M. T. Masters, F.R.S., in
1888. The tubers are eaten more in France than in this
dietetic value resides especially in a carbonaceous substance,
which reaches 16.6 per cent.; the nitrogenous ingredients amount to
3.2 per cent.; water forming 78.3 per cent. of the
is perfectly hardy and may be left in the ground until required for
use. Planting should take place in the spring and the tubers dug
through the winter as required. The plants are perfectly easily
grown and extraordinarily productive.
Cardoon (Scolymus Cardunculus, Linn.) is by some botanists regarded
as merely a variety of this plant, but by others as a distinct
species. The blanched inner leafstalks and the top of the stalk,
the receptacle, are the only parts eaten, used in soups, stews and
salads. It is more cultivated on the Continent than here.
Dioscorides refers to its cultivation on a large scale near Great
Carthage, and Pliny speaks of its medicinal virtues. Dodoens, in
his History of Plants (1559), describes it as much more spinescent
than the Articoca of Italy and less used as food.
requires so much room that it is little grown in small gardens, and
as a crop can hardly pay for the enormous extent of ground that it
culture is very similar to that of celery, only on a rather larger
scale, the trenches being made wider and slightly deeper than those
for the latter, and the plants being placed about 18 inches to 2
feet apart in the rows and 6 feet between the rows. The trenches
are prepared in just the same way as those for celery.
or four seeds in a 'large sixty' pot, in April, placing the pots in
a gentle warmth, or in a cold frame, when the seed will soon
germinate. Mice are very fond of the seed, consequently the frame
must be kept close enough to prevent their entry, or the whole will
little plants appear, select the strongest plant in each pot and
pull out all the others. In due course the plants are hardened off
and planted out, usually in July, before they become potbound, in
the previously prepared trenches, which have been well manured,
about 18 inches or more apart, keeping them well supplied with
water. Occasionally forking or hoeing between the plants to
encourage growth and destroy weeds will be all that is required
besides watering, until September or October, when they will be
ready to earth up in order to blanch them.
doing this, it is usual to arrange the stalks upright and wind a
hay-band round them closely, to within about a foot of the tops.
This soil must then be earthed up nearly as high as the hay-bands.
It is important that this operation should be performed on a dry
day, when the hearts are free from water, or they will probably
decay. No earth, also, must be allowed to fall between the leaves.
When the plants have grown still further, the earthing up should be
will be fit for use in about a month after earthing up and may be
taken up as required. Should Cardoons be in great demand, an
earlier or later sowing may be made for successional crops; for
spring crop, sow at midsummer. If the plants have to be kept for
any length of time during winter, they must be protected from rain
and frost by means of a covering of litter, or may be dug up and
stored in a cool, dry place, the hay-bands being allowed to
taking up, remove the earth carefully and take up the plants by the
roots, which must be cut off. The points of the leaves are also cut
off to where they are solid and blanched. These latter are washed,
the parts of the leaf-stalks remaining on the stem are tied to it,
and they are ready for cooking.
SPANISH CARDOON, with large solid ribs and spineless leaves, is the
one most generally grown. It is not so liable to run to seed as the
the TOURS CARDOON is much cultivated, but, on account of the long,
sharp spines on the leaves, great care has to be exercised in
working amongst them.
are said to yield a good yellow dye, and in some parts of Spain
they substitute the down of this plant for rennet in making cheese;
a strong infusion is made overnight and the next morning, when the
milk is warm from the cow, they put nearly half a pint of the
infusion to about 14 gallons of milk.
they must be soaked, then stewed in weak gravy, and served with or
without forcemeat in each. Or they may be boiled in milk, and
served with cream sauce; or added to ragouts, French pies,
Trim a few
of the outside leaves off, and cut the stalk even. If young, half
an hour will boil them. They are better for being gathered two or
three days, first. Serve them with melted butter, in as many small
cups as there are Artichokes, to help with each.
Artichokes for the Winter---
bottoms, slowly dried, should be kept in paper bags.
---Artichokes à la
small Artichokes, and with the handle of an iron tablespoon scoop
out all the fibrous part inside, Put about a pound of clean
hog's-lard into a frying-pan on the fire, and when quite hot, fry
the bottom of the Artichokes in it for about 3 minutes; then turn
them upside down, and fry the tips of the leaves also, drain them
upon a cloth to absorb all the grease, and fill them with a similar
preparation to that directed for tomatoes a la Provencale; tie them
up with a string, and place them in a large stewpan or
fricaudeaupan; moisten with a little good stock; put the lid on;
place them in the oven to simmer for about an hour; remove the
strings, fill the centre of each Artichoke with some Italian sauce;
dish them up with some of the sauce, and serve.
---Artichokes à la
the lower leaves without damaging the bottoms of the Artichokes,
which must be turned smooth with a sharp knife; cut the Artichokes
into quarters, remove the fibrous parts, trim them neatly, and
parboil them in water with a little salt. Then put them in a
saucepan on a slow fire to simmer very gently for about
three-quarters of an hour, taking care that they do not burn; when
done they should be of a deep yellow colour and nicely glazed. Dish
them up in the form of a dome, showing the bottom of the Artichokes
only; remove any leaves that may have broken off in the sautapan;
add a spoonful of brown gravy or sauce, 2 pats of butter and some
lemon-juice, simmer this over the fire, stirring it meanwhile with
a spoon; and when the butter has been mixed in with the sauce, pour
it over the Artichokes, and serve.
Ferula foetida (REGEL.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Dosages and Preparations
---Synonyms---Food of the Gods. Devil's Dung.
Used---An oleogum-resin obtained by incision of root.
---Habitat---Afghanistan and Eastern Persia.
coarse umbelliferous plant growing up to 7 feet high, large fleshy
root covered with bristly fibres, has been for some time
successfully cultivated in Edinburgh Botanical Gardens; stem 6 to
10 feet, numerous stem leaves with wide sheathing petioles; flowers
pale greeny yellow, fruit oval, flat thin, foliaceous, reddish
brown with pronounced vittae, it has a milky juice and a strong
foetid odour; was first found in the sandy desert of Aral in 1844,
but has been known since the twelfth century. Several species of
Ferula yield Asafetida. The bulk of the drug comes from the
official plant, which is indigenous to Afghanistan and grows from
two to four thousand feet above sealevel. These high plains are
arid in winter but are thickly covered in summer with a luxuriant
growth of these plants. The great cabbage-like folded heads are
eaten raw by the natives. June is the month the juice is collected
from plants about four years old. The roots of plants which have
not flowered are exposed and slashed, then shaded from the sun for
five or six weeks and left for the gummy oleoresin to leak out and
harden. It is then scraped off in reddish lumps and put into
leather bags and sent to Herat, where it is adulterated before
being placed on the market. The fruit is sent to India for
medicinal use. A very fine variety of Asafetida is obtained from
the leaf bud in the centre of the root, but this does not come into
European commerce, and is only used in India, where it is known in
the Bazaars as Kandaharre Hing. It appears in reddish-yellow flakes
and when squeezed gives out an oil.
---Constituents---Its chief constituent is about 62 per cent of
resin, 25 per cent. of gum and 7 per cent oil. The drug also
contains free ferulic acid, water, and small quantities of various
and Uses---The odour of Asafetida is stronger and more tenacious
than that of the onion, the taste is bitter and acrid; the odour of
the gum resin depends on the volatile oil. It is much used in India
and Persia in spite of its offensive odour as a condiment and is
thought to exercise a stimulant action on the brain. It is a local
stimulant to the mucous membrane, especially to the alimentary
tract, and therefore is a remedy of great value as a carminative in
flatulent colic and a useful addition to laxative medicine. There
is evidence that the volatile oil is eliminated through the lungs,
therefore it is excellent for asthma bronchitis, whooping-cough,
etc. Owing to its vile taste it is usually taken in pill form, but
is often given to infants per rectum in the form of an emulsion.
The powdered gum resin is not advocated as a medicine, the volatile
oil being quickly dissipated.
Preparations---Emulsion, Asafetida 4 parts, water 100 parts.
Tincture, 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. In pills, 3 grains of the
oleogum-resin to a pill
---Adulterants---Asafetida is admittedly the most adulterated
drug on the market. Besides being largely admixed with inferior
qualities of Asafetida, it has often red clay, sand, stones and
gypsum added to it to increase the weight.
Species---The Thibetan Asafetida (Narthex Asafetida) is closely
allied to the Ferulas. The umbels have no involucre, the limb of
the calyx is suppressed, the stylopods depressed and cup-shaped,
styles recurved, fruit compressed at back, dilated at margin. This
variety produces some of the Asafetida used in
foetida, another gigantic umbelliferous plant found on the sandy
steppes of the Caspian, also supplies the market. The Persian
Sagapenum, or Serapinum, a species of Ferula which was formerly
imported from Bombay, is in appearance very similar to Asafetida,
but does not go pink when freshly fractured, and in smell is less
disagreeable than Asafetida. This species is an ingredient of
Confection Rutea, British Pharmacopceia Codex.
Asarum Europaeum (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Hazelwort. Wild Nard.
Used---Root and Herb.
is the only British species of the Birthwort family (and perhaps
not indigenous). It is a curious plant consisting of a very short
fleshy stem, bearing two large, dark-green, kidney-shaped evergreen
leaves, and a solitary purplish-green drooping flower.
woods and very rare. Flowering in May - Perennial.
belonging to this order are chiefly plants or shrubs of a tropical
habitat, very abundant in South America; but rare
and Uses---Tonic and stimulant, sometimes acrid or aromatic. The
dried and powdered leaves of Asarabacca (Asarum Europaeum) are used
in the preparation of cephalic snuffs, exciting sneezing and giving
relief to headache and weak eyes.
Ribwort, this herb is used to remove mucous from the respiratory
Snake-root (Aristolochia serpentaria) and other allied species are
used as antidotes to the bite of venomous snakes.
extracted from a South American species is said to have the power
of stupefying serpents if placed in their mouths; and African
species are used by Egyptian jugglers for this
British variety is said to be found wild in Westmorland and other
places in the north of England.
Culpepper says of the European
'This herb, being drunk, not only
provoketh vomiting but purgeth downward . . . both choler and
phlegm. If you add to it some spikenard, with the whey of goat's
milk, or honeyed water, it is made more strong; but it purgeth
phlegm more manifestly than choler, and therefore doth much help
pains in the hips and other parts; being boiled in whey they
wonderfully help the obstructions of the liver and spleen, and are
therefore profitable for the dropsy and jaundice: being steeped in
wine and drank it helps those continual agues that come by the
plenty of stubborn tumours; an oil made thereof by setting in the
sun, with some laudanum added to it, provoketh sweating (the ridge
of the back anointed therewith) and thereby driveth away the
shaking fits of the ague. It will not abide any long boiling, for
it loseth its chief strength thereby; nor much beating, for the
finer powder doth provoke vomit and urine, and the coarser purgeth
downwards. The common use hereof is to take the juice of five or
seven leaves in a little drink to cause vomiting; the roots have
also the same virtue, though they do not operate forcibly, they are
very effectual against the biting of serpents, and therefore are
put in as an ingredient both into Mithridate and Venice treacle.
The leaves and root being boiled in Iye, and the head often washed
therewith while it is warm, comforteth the head and brain that is
ill affected by taking cold, and helpeth the memory.
'I shall desire ignorant people to forbear
the use of the leaves- the roots purge more gently, and may prove
beneficial to such as have cancers, or old putrefied ulcers, or
fistulas upon their bodies, to take a dram of them in powder in a
quarter of a pint of white wine in the morning. The truth is, I
fancy purging and vomiting medicines as little as any man breathing
doth, for they weaken nature, nor shall ever advise them to be used
unless upon urgent necessity. If a physician be nature's servant,
it is his duty to strengthen his mistress as much as he can and
weaken her as little as may be.'
---Constituents---The root and leaves are acrid and contain a
volatile oil, a bitter matter, and a substance like camphor.
Asarabacca was formerly used as a purgative and emetic also to
promote sneezing - but it is now rarely used, having been
supplanted by safer and more certain remedies.
Medicinal Action and Uses
consists of herbaceous plants with a milky juice, which are for the
most part natives of America. Several species are cultivated for
the sake of their showy flowers. All of them are more or less
poisonous. Asclepias curassavica is employed in the West Indies as
an emetic, and goes by the name of Ipecacuanha: the drug known in
medicine by that name is derived from quite a different plant and
must not be confused with it. A. tuberosa, the Butterfly-weed, has
mild purgative properties, and promotes perspiration and
expectoration. A. syriaca, a plant misnamed, as it is a native of
America and Canada, is frequently to be met with in gardens; its
dull red flowers are very fragrant, and the young shoots are eaten
as asparagus in Canada, where a sort of sugar is also prepared from
the flowers, while the silk-like down of the seeds is employed to
stuff pillows. Some of the species furnish excellent fibre, which
is woven into muslins, and in certain parts of India is made into
mythology, Soma - the Indian Bacchus- and one of the most important
of the Vedic gods, is a personification of the Soma plant, A.
acida, from which an intoxicating milky juice is squeezed. All the
114 hymns of the ninth book of the Rig Veda are in his praise. The
preparation of the Soma juice was a very sacred ceremony and the
worship of the god is very old. The true home of the plant was
fabled to be in heaven, Soma being drunk by gods as well as men,
and it is under its influence that Indra is related to have created
the universe and fixed the earth and sky in their place. In
postVedic literature, Soma is a regular name for the moon, which is
regarded as being drunk by the gods and so waning, till it is
filled up again by the Sun. In both the Rig Veda and Zend Avesta,
Soma is the king of plants; in both, it is a medicine which gives
health, long life and removes death.
species of Asclepias most used in medicine are the Calotropis
procera, A. tuberosa (Pleurisy root) and A. Incarnata (Swamp
It is a
very common roadside weed in the eastern and central states of
North America, where it is called 'Silkweed,' from the silky down
which surmounts the seed, being an inch or two in length, and which
has been used for making hats and for stuffing beds and pillows.
Attempts have been made to use it as a cotton substitute. Both in
France and Russia it has had textile use. The fibres of the stem,
prepared in the same manner as those of hemp and flax, furnish a
very long, fine thread, of a glossy whiteness.
and Uses---The plant is used medicinally in the United States for
the anodyne properties of its root and its rhizome and root have
been employed successfully, like those of A. tuberosa, both in
powder and infusion, in cases of asthma and typhus fever attended
with catarrh, producing expectoration and relieving cough and pain.
It has also been used in scrofula with great success.
has a very milky juice, which is used as a domestic application to
warts. The juice has a faint smell and subacid taste and an acid
reaction. It contains a crystalline substance of a resinous
character, closely allied to lactucone and called Asclepione; also
wax-like, fatty matter, caoutchouc, gum, sugar, salts of acetic
acid and other salts.
the above-named species, various other species of the genus have
been used medicinally.
indigenous North American species A. verticillata (Linn.), is used
in the Southern States as a remedy in snake bites and the bites of
venomous insects. Twelve fluid ounces of a saturated decoction are
said to cause an anodyne and sudorific effect, followed by gentle
vincetoxicum (Linn.), 'TamePoison,' besides the glucoside
Asclepiadin said closely to resemble emetine in its physiological
properties, the glucoside Vincetoxir has been isolated. The root of
this species sometimes occurs in commercial Senega Root (Polygala
infusion of its root was formerly recommended in dropsical cases
and disorders peculiar to women, as well as for promoting
perspiration in fevers, measles and other eruptive complaints, but
is now much less used.
curas-savica (Blood-weed and Redhead) is also called in the West
Indies 'Bastard Ipecacuanha.'
It is a
native of the West Indies, abounding especially in Nevis and St.
and expressed juice are emetic, the former in the dose of 20 to 40
grains, the latter in that of a fluid ounce.
also cathartic and vermifuge in somewhat smaller doses (Amer.
Journ. Ph. XIX, 19). The juice, made into a syrup, is given as a
powerful anthelmintic to children in the West Indies. The plant is
used by the negroes as an emetic and the root as a purgative
to the Kew Bulletin, 1897 this plant has insecticidal properties,
being especially obnoxious to fleas. The rooms infected are
thoroughly swept with rough brooms made from the weed and the pests
are said to disappear. D. St. Cyr commends it in phthisis (Ph.
Journ., 1903, 714).
(Ehrh.), by many regarded as a variety of incarnata, from which it
is distinguished by its hairiness, the other being nearly smooth,
is indiscriminately used under the same names.
(Willd.) (A. Cornuti, Decaisne), found abundantly in Syria,
cultivated in some parts of Europe.
Fraxinus excelsior (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Common Ash. Weeping Ash.
Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior, Linn.), a tall, handsome tree,
common in Britain, is readily distinguished by its light-grey bark
(smooth in younger trees, rough and scaly in older specimens) and
by its large compound leaves, divided into four to eight pairs of
lance-shaped leaflets, tipped by a single one, an arrangement which
imparts a light feathery arrangement to the foliage. The leaflets
have sharply-toothed margins and are about 3 inches
or May, according to season, and before the appearance of the
leaves, the black flower-buds on the previous year's shoots expand
into small dense clusters of a greenish white or purplish colour,
some of the minute flowers having purple stamens, others pistil
only, and some both, but all being devoid of petals and sepals,
which, owing to the pollen being wind-borne, are not needed as
protection, or as attraction to insect visitors.
fertilization, the oblong ovary develops into a thick seed-chamber,
with a long, strap-shaped wing which is known as an Ash-key
(botanically: a samara). The bunches of 'keys' hang from the twigs
in great clusters, at first green and then brown as the seeds
ripen. They remain attached to the tree until the succeeding
spring, when they are blown off and carried away by the wind to
considerable distances from the parent tree. They germinate
vigorously and grow in almost any soil.
Ash and the Privet are the only representatives in England of the
Olive tribe: Oleaceae.
about fifty species of the genus Fraxinus, and cultivation has
produced and perpetuated a large number of distinct varieties, of
which the Weeping Ash and the Curl-leaved Ash are the best
timber tree, the Ash is exceedingly valuable, not only on account
of the quickness of its growth, but for the toughness and
elasticity of its wood, in which quality it surpasses every
European tree. The wood is heavy strong, stiff and hard and takes a
high polish; it shrinks only moderately in seasoning and bends well
when seasoned. It is the toughest and most elastic of our timbers
(for which purpose it was used in olden days for spears and bows
and is still used for otter-spears) and can be used for more
purposes than the wood of other trees.
known that Ash timber is so elastic that a joist of it will bear
more before it breaks than one of any other tree. It matures more
rapidly than Oak and as sapling wood is valuable. Ash timber always
fetches a good price, being next in value to Oak and surpassing it
for some purposes, being in endless demand in railway and other
waggon works for carriage building. From axe-handles and
spade-trees to hop-poles, ladders and carts, Ash wood is probably
in constant handling on every countryside - for agricultural
plenishings it cannot be excelled. It makes the best of oars and
the toughest of shafts for carriages. In its younger stages, when
it is called Ground Ash, it is much used, as well as for hop-poles
(for which it is extensively grown), for walking-sticks, hoops,
hurdles and crates, and it matures its wood at so early an age that
an Ash-pole 3 inches in diameter is as valuable and durable for any
purpose to which it can be applied as the timber of the largest
tree. Ash also makes excellent logs for burning, giving out no
smoke, and the ashes of the wood afford very good
Ash is that grown in the Midlands, but so little first-class Ash
has been of late years obtained in England that in I 90 I the
Coachbuilders' Association appealed to the President of the Board
of Agriculture to try and stimulate landowners to grow more of this
valuable timber, as English Ash is better in quality than that
imported from other European countries or from America. Any owner
of a devastated woodland or other suitable ground may demand a
grant of L. 2 (pounds sterling) an acre if he is planting pine, and
L. 4 (pounds sterling)if he is planting hard woods, such as Ash.
The supply of standing Ash timber is also becoming limited in
Ash is the
second most important wood used in aeroplanes, and a study of the
spacious afforestation scheme now in force over the Crown Lands of
the New Forest reveals the fact that especial trouble has been
taken to find suitable homes for the Ash. The great bulk of the
wood used in aeroplanes is Spruce from the Pacific
is astringent and has been employed for tanning nets.
and the leaves have medicinal use and fetch prices which should
repay the labour of collecting them, especially the
is collected from the trunk and the root, the latter being
occurs in commerce in quills which are grey or greenish-grey
externally, with numerous small grey or brownishwhite warts, the
inner surface yellowish or yellowish brown and nearly smooth;
fracture smooth, fibrous in the inner layer, odourslight; taste
bitter and astringent.
---Constituents---The bark contains the bitter glucoside
Fraxin, the bitter substance Fraxetin, tannin, quercetin, mannite,
a little volatile oil, gum, malic acid, free and combined with
and Uses---Ash bark has been employed as a bitter tonic and
astringent, and is said to be valuable as an antiperiodic. On
account of its astringency, it has been used, in decoction,
extensively in the treatment of intermittent fever and ague, as a
substitute for Peruvian bark. The decoction is odourless, though
its taste is fairly bitter. It has been considered useful to remove
obstructions of the liver and spleen, and in rheumatism of an
A ley from
the ashes of the bark was used formerly to cure scabby and leprous
have diuretic, diaphoretic and purgative properties, and are
employed in modern herbal medicine for their laxative action,
especially in the treatment of gouty and rheumatic complaints,
proving a useful substitute for Senna, having a less griping
effect. The infusion of the leaves, 1 OZ. to the pint, may be given
in frequent doses during the twenty-four hours.
distilled water of the leaves, taken every morning, was considered
good for dropsy and obesity.
decoction of the leaves in white wine had the reputation of
dissolving stone and curing jaundice.
should be gathered in June, well dried, powdered and kept in
have been gathered to mix with tea and in some parts of the country
are used to feed cattle, when grass is scarce in autumn, but when
cows eat the leaves or shoots, the butter becomes
of the different species of Ash are regarded as somewhat more
active than the bark and leaves. Ash Keys were held in high
reputation by the ancient physicians, being employed as a remedy
for flatulence. They were also in more recent times preserved with
salt and vinegar and sent to table as a pickle. Evelyn tells us:
'Ashen keys have the virtue of capers,' and they were often
substituted for them in sauces and salads.
will keep all the year round if gathered when ripe.
the bark and leaves of F. nigra (Marsh), the Black Swamp, Water
Hoop or Basket Ash, are similarly employed to those of the Common
Ash. In Mexico, also, the bark and leaves of F. lanceolata
(Borch.), the Green or Blue Ash, are employed as a bitter tonic and
the root as a diuretic.
United States, the bark of the American White Ash (F. Americana,
Linn.) (F. acuminata, Lam.) finds similar employment. It has
numerous small circular depressions externally and a slightly
Gerard tell us:
'The leaves and bark of the Ash tree are
dry and moderately hot . . . the seed is hot and dry in the second
degree. The juice of the leaves or the leaves themselves being
applied or taken with wine cure the bitings of vipers, as
Dioscorides saith, "The leaves of this tree are of so greate virtue
against serpents as that they dare not so much as touch the morning
and evening shadows of the tree, but shun them afar off as Pliny
many old superstitions concerning the tree. The ancient couplets
connecting the flowering precedence of the Oak and Ash with the
rainfall of the following summer, 'Oak choke, Ash splash,' etc.,
have no basis on fact.
to another superstition, if the trunk of a sapling Ash were split
and a ruptured child passed through, the sufferer would be
The Ash had the reputation of magically
curing warts: each wart must be pricked with a new pin that has
been thrust into the tree, the pins are withdrawn and left in the
tree, and the following charm is repeated:
'Ashen tree, ashen tree,
Pray buy these warts of me.'
was another superstition that if a live shrew mouse were buried in
a hole bored in an Ash trunk and then plugged up a sprig of this
Shrew Ash would cure the paralysis supposed to have been caused by
a shrew creeping over the sick person's limbs.
Picraena excelsa (SWARTZ)
Bitter Ash (Picraena excelsa, Swartz), a native of the West Indies,
a lofty tree somewhat resembling the Ash Tree, the wood of which is
the Jamaica Quassia of commerce, is employed in the place of the
original Quassia amara of Surinam and Trinidad.
in a peculiar extractive substance of great bitterness which, as a
drug, is purely tonic, invigorating the digestive organs with
little excitement of the circulation or increase of bodily
is generally sold in small chips, yellowish white, about an inch
wide and 1 to 4 inches long and 1/8 to 1/12 inch thick. Their taste
is extremely bitter, but there is no odour.
Quassia chips having hardly any bitterness are sometimes met with
in commerce and also chips with greyish markings due to a fungus.
Neither of these are, of course, suitable for an
cups turned out of the wood are made. These are sold as Bitter
Cups, and water standing in them for a short time acquires the
bitterness of the wood.
of Quassia, made with molasses, a harmless fly-poison is prepared,
with which cloth or filtering-papers are moistened.
has been used by brewers as a substitute for hops and is in general
use by gardeners, mixed with soft soap, for spraying plants
affected with green-fly.
infusion of Quassia, 2 oz. in a pint of water, affords a valuable
and safe injection for seat-worms.
of the fluid extract is 15 to 30 drops; of the tincture, official
in the B.Ph. and U.S.Ph., 1/2 to 1 drachm; of the U.S.Ph. powdered
extract the dose is 1 grain. Of the concentrated solution of the
B.Ph. the dose is 1/2 drachm. The dose of the solid extract is 1/2
to 2 grains.
Fraxinus ornus (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Definitions of Manna In Italy
foreign species of Ash (Fraxinus ornus, Linn.), the South European
Flowering Ash, a small tree indigenous to the coasts of the
Mediterranean from Spain to Smyrna, yields from its bark a sugary
sap called Manna, used in pharmacy.
blossoms early in summer, producing numerous clusters of whitish
flowers; in this country it only attains a height of 15 or 16
the Manna of commerce is collected exclusively in Sicily, from
cultivated trees, exported from Palermo. The trees are grown in
plantations placed about 7 feet apart. When from eight to ten years
old, when the trunk is at least 3 inches in diameter, the
collection of Manna is begun. In July and August, when the trees
have ceased to put forth leaves freely, a vertical series of
oblique incisions are made in the bark on alternate sides of the
trunk. Dry, warm weather is essential for a good crop of the Manna
which exudes. The larger pieces of incrustation that form, and
which are collected in September and October, when the heat has
begun to moderate, are known as Flake Manna, and this is the best.
It is put on the market in long pieces or granulated fragments of a
whitish and pale yellow colour, irregular on one side and smoother
and curved on the other, rarely more than 1 inch broad and 2 to 3
inches or more long.
adhering to the stem after the finer pieces have been gathered are
scraped off and form part of the small Manna of commerce. The
pieces that form on the lowest incisions, or the pieces that are
collected on tiles placed under the tree, and known as 'gerace,'
are less crystalline, more glutinous, and are in moist adhesive
masses of a dark brown colour. These are less
and Uses---Manna has a peculiar odour and a sweetish
formerly used in medicine as a gentle laxative, but is now chiefly
used as a children's laxative or to disguise other
It is a
nutritive and a gentle tonic, usually operating mildly, but in some
cases produces flatulence and pain.
still largely consumed in South America and is official in the
United States Pharmacopoeia.
generally given dissolved in water or some aromatic infusion, but
the best Flake Manna may be administered in substance, in doses of
a teaspoonful up to 1 or 2 oz.
is prescribed with other purgatives, particularly senna, rhubarb,
magnesia and the neutral salts, the taste of which it conceals
while it adds to the purgative effect.
infants, a piece about the size of a hazel-nut is dissolved in a
little warm water and added to the food. To children, 30 to 60
grams may be given dissolved in warm milk or a mixture prepared
with syrup, or syrup of senna and dill water.
Manna are prepared with or without other purgatives.
sometimes used as a pill excipient, especially for
name of Dulcinol, a mixture of Manna and common salt has been
recommended by Steinberg in 1906 as a sweetening agent in diabetes,
the dose 1/2 to 1 OZ.
of the British Pharmacopceia contains a Syrup of Manna to be
prescribed as a mild laxative for children, in the proportion of 1
part of Manna to 10 of water.
Compound Syrup of Manna of the B.P. Codex is stronger than the
Syrup of Manna and contains Senna and fennel in addition, the dose
being 1 to 4 fluid drachms.
---Constituents---Manna of the best quality dissolves in about
6 parts of water, forming a clear liquid. It has no bitterness or
constituent of Manna is a peculiar, crystallizable, sweet principle
called Mannite or Manna Sugar, present to the extent of about 70
per cent. It also contains a fluorescent body named Fraxin, which
occasionally gives a greenish colour to Manna and on which is
thought to depend its purgative property. Some true sugar and a
small quantity of mucilage are also present.
white, inodorous, crystallizable in semi-transparent needles of a
sweetish taste, soluble in 5 parts of cold water, scarcely soluble
in cold alcohol, but readily dissolved by alcohol when hot and
deposited when cool. Unlike sugar, it is incapable of undergoing
Manna in Italy---An Italian Decree-law, dated August 12, 1927,
dealing with the repression of fraud and adulteration in the
preparation and trade in substances of vegetable origin, states
that the name 'Manna' is reserved for the product obtained by
incision into the cortex of the flowering or Manna Ash (F. ornus or
F. excelsior). It is forbidden to prepare, sell, or expose for sale
or introduce into trade Manna containing milk sugar, starchy
matter, or containing foreign substances of whatever nature, other
than those bodies which are present naturally as impurities in the
normal proportions existing in the various types of
Mannite is prepared for sale in the shape of small cones,
resembling loaf sugar in shape, and is frequently prescribed in
medicine instead of Manna.
'Manna' is extremely old and is applied to the saccharine exudence
of a number of plants, e.g. Quercus Vallones and persica (Oak
Manna); Alhagi maurorum (Alhagi Manna), Tamarix gallica, var.
mannifera (Tamarisk Manna); Larix Europaea (Briancon
of the present day appears to have been unknown before the
fifteenth century. In the sixteenth century, it was collected in
Calabria, but none is now brought into commerce from this part of
the name Manna, at first applied to the Manna of the Scriptures,
has (as stated) also been applied to various saccharine substances
of different origin, none of these corresponds in any way to the
Manna of Scripture, inasmuch as they are saccharine substances and
do not become corrupt in a night.
of the biblical narrative answers otherwise in its description to
the Tamarisk Manna, exuded in June and July from the slender
branches of Tamarisk gallica, var. mannifera, in the form of
honey-like drops, which in the cool temperature of the early
morning are found in the solid state. This secretion is caused by
the puncture of an insect, Coccus manniparus. In the valleys of the
peninsula of Sinai, this Manna is collected by the Arabs and sold
by them to the monks of St. Catherine, who dispose of it to the
pilgrims visiting the convent, under the name of 'gazangabin,'
which means 'Tamarisk Honey.' It appears to consist of cane sugar,
inverted sugar, and dextrin.
issued in 1927 by an expedition of entomologists from the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem declares that Manna is not an exudation
from the Tamarisk tree, as is popularly supposed, but an excretion
from the bodies of the coccid insects themselves. Clear, syrup-like
drops (the report states) come from the abdomen of the insects and
fall to the ground, where they form grains of sugar, ranging from
the size of a pinhead to that of a pea. The amount varies with the
abundance or scarcity of the winter rains and the Bedouins assert
that during a good season a man can collect nearly 3 1/2 lb. in a
day. The expedition, which was led by Dr. Fritz Bodenheimer of the
Zionist experimental agricultural station, observed Manna deposits
throughout the long stretch of country which was covered by its
journey. The report goes on to state that 'modern science, it
seems, was equally ignorant of the true nature of manna till now,
and it has been revealed by descendants of those wanderers in the
substance which in all respects seems to agree with the Manna of
the Israelites is that described a few years ago by Mr. A. J.
Swann, in his book on Fighting the Slave Driver in Central Africa.
The Manna which he saw on the plateaux between the lakes Tanganyika
and Nyasa occupied by the Ananbwi tribe Mr. Swann describes as
possessing all the characters of the Manna which is said to have
fallen for the benefit of the Israelites. In appearance it
resembled coriander seed, was white in colour like hoar-frost and
sweet to taste, melted in the sun, and if kept overnight was full
of worms in the morning. It required to be baked to keep it any
length of time. A cake of this Manna was baked and sent to England,
but no one seemed able to identify it, though there can be little
doubt that it is a small fungus. The baking process would, of
course, destroy its structure, and it is evident that to determine
its nature, some of the Manna should be sent home in formaldehyde
or corrosive sublimate, when it would be quite possible to make out
its structure and classification and to describe it, if new. It
does not appear to be regular in its occurrence, as travellers have
reported its appearance only at long intervals.
Pyrus Aucuparia (GAERTN.), Sorbus Aucuparia (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
American Mountain Ash
Mountain Ash (Pyrus Aucuparia, Gaertn.) is not related to the true
Ashes, but has derived its name from the similarity of the
comparison to the true Ash, it is but a small tree, rarely more
than 30 feet high. It belongs to the order Rosacece and is
distinguished from its immediate relations the Pear, Crab Apple,
White Beam and Wild Service Tree by its regularly pinnate, Ashlike
leaves. It is generally distributed over the country in its wild
state, but is also much cultivated as an ornamental
of the tree are astringent and may be used in tanning and dyeing
black. When cut, the Mountain Ash yields poles and hoops for
bark and fruit have medicinal properties.
is rather globose, with teeth at the apex and two to three seeded
cells. They are used medicinally in either the fresh or the dried
---Constituents---The fruit contains tartaric acid before,
citric and malic acids after ripening; two sugars, sorbin and
sorbit, the latter after fermentation; parasorbic acid, which is
aromatic and is converted into isomeric sorbic acid by heating
under pressure with potassa; bitter, acrid and colouring matters. A
crystalline saccharine principle, Sorbitol, which does not undergo
the vinous fermentation, has also been found in the
contain 22 per cent. of fixed oil. It has been claimed that these
seeds killed a child, apparently by prussic acid
has a soft, spongy, yellowishgrey outer layer and an inner thicker
portion, with many layers of a light brown colour. It has a
bitterish taste, but is odourless.
astringent and also yields amygdalin.
and Uses---In herbal medicine, a decoction of the bark is given for
diarrhoea and used as a vaginal injection in leucorrhoea,
berries furnish an acidulous and astringent gargle for sore throats
and inflamed tonsils. For their anti-scorbutic properties, they
have been used in scurvy. The astringent infusion is used as a
remedy in haemorrhoids and strangury.
is a favourite food of birds. A delicious jelly is made from the
berries, which is excellent with cold game or wild fowl, and a
wholesome kind of perry or cider can also be made from
Northern Europe they are dried for flour, and when fermented yield
a strong spirit. The Welsh used to brew an ale from the berries,
the secret of which is now lost .
Mountain Ash bark is derived from Pyrus Americana (D.C.), which has
many local names.
similar properties to the bark of the European species and was
formerly used as a tonic in fevers of supposed malarial type, where
it was often substituted for cinchona bark.
analysis of the bark of the American species has been made, though
the fruit has been found to yield 4.92 to 6.6 of malic
Xanthoxylum Americanum (MILL.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Toothache Tree. Yellow Wood.
Prickly Ash (Xanthoxylum Americanum, Mill., X. fraxineum Willd.; X.
Carolinianum, Lamb.) is a small North American tree growing in the
open air in this country. It has pinnate leaves and alternate
branches, which are covered with sharp and strong prickles: the
common footstalk is also sometimes prickly, and also the
to the Yellow Wood family (Rutaceae), which all possess aromatic
and pungent properties.
berries, growing in clusters on the top of the branches, are black
or deep blue and enclosed in a grey shell.
and berries have an aromatic odour similar to that of oil of
Lemons, and the berries and bark have a hot, acrid
root-bark and berries are used medicinally, being official in the
United States Pharmacopoeia.
---Constituents---The barks of numerous species of Xanthoxylum
and the allied genus Fagara have been used medicinally. There are
two principal varieties of Prickly Ash in commerce: X. Americanum
(Northern Prickly Ash) and Fagara Clava-Herculis (Southern Prickly
Ashj, which is supposed to be more active. Although not absolutely
identical, the two Prickly Ash barks are very similar in their
active constituents. Both contain small amounts of volatile oil,
fat, sugar, gum, acrid resin, a bitter alkaloid, believed to be
Berberine and a colourless, tasteless, inert, crystalline body,
Xanthoxylin, slightly different in the two barks. Both yield a
large amount of Ash: 12 per cent. or more. The name Xanthoxylin is
also applied to a resinous extractive prepared by pouring a
tincture of the drug into water.
of both the species are used similarly to the barks. Their
constituents have not been investigated, but they apparently agree
in a general way with those of the bark.
is practically never adulterated. The Northern bark occurs in
commerce in curved or quilled fragments about 1/24 inch thick,
externally brownish grey, with whitish patches, faintly furrowed,
with some linearbased, two-edged spines about 1/4 inch long. The
fracture is short, green in the outer, and yellow in the inner
part. The Southern bark, which is more frequently sold, is 1/12
inch thick and has conical, corky spines, sometimes 4/5, inch in
Xanthoxcylin is included in the United States Pharmacopceia for
the preparation of a fluid extract, the dose of which is 1/2 to 1
and Uses---It acts as a stimulant - resembling guaiacum resin and
mezereon bark in its remedial action and is greatly recommended in
the United States for chronic rheumatism, typhoid and skin diseases
and impurity of the blood, administered either in the form of fluid
extract or in doses of 10 grains to 1/2 drachm in the powdered
form, three times daily.
following formula has also become popular in herbal medicine: Take
1/2 oz. each of Prickly Ash Bark, Guaiacum Raspings and Buckbean
Herb, with 6 Cayenne Pods. Boil in 1 1/2 pint of water down to 1
pint . Dose: a wineglassful three or four times daily.
of the energetic stimulant properties of the bark, it produces when
swallowed a sense of heat in the stomach, with more or less general
arterial excitement and tendency to perspiration and is a useful
tonic in debilitated conditions of the stomach and digestive
organs, and is used in colic, cramp and colera, in fever, ague,
lethargy, for cold hands and feet and complaints arising from a bad
decoction made by boiling an ounce in 3 pints of water down to a
quarter may be given in the quantity of a pint, in divided doses,
during the twenty-four hours. As a counter-irritant, the decoction
may be applied on compresses. It has also been used as an
powdered bark forms an excellent application to indolent ulcers and
old wounds for cleansing, stimulating, drying up and healing the
wounds. The pulverized bark is also used for paralytic affections
and nervous headaches and as a topical irritant the bark, either in
powdered form, or chewed, has been a very popular remedy for
toothache in America, hence the origin of a common name of the tree
in the States: Toothache Tree.
berries are considered even more active than the bark, being
carminative and antispasmodic, and are used as an aperient and for
dyspepsia and indigestion; a fluid extract of the berries being
given, in doses of 10 to 30 drops.
Xanthoxylin. Dose, 1 to 2 grains.
berries and bark are used to make a good bitter.
Prickly Ash has also been given to Aralia spinosa (Linn.), the
Prickly Elder, or Angelica Tree, the bark, roots and berries of
which are used as alteratives.
See ANGELICA TREE.
Ptelea trifoliata (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Swamp Dogwood. Shrubby Trefoil. Wingseed. Hop
Wafer Ash is a shrub growing 6 to 8 feet high, a native of North
America, but cultivated here, having been introduced in 1714. In
America it is also called the Swamp Dogwood, Wingseed, and Hop
root-bark is employed medicinally, both in herbal medicine and in
homoeopathy, but it has never been an official drug, though
formerly it was employed to a certain extent by physicians in the
western United States.
It has a
peculiar, somewhat aromatic odour and a bitter, persistently
pungent and slightly acrid, but not disagreeable
---Constituents---The bark contains at least three active
constituents, a powerful volatile oil, a salt, acrid resin, and an
alkaloid: Berberine. The alkaloid Arginine is also stated to be
present in the root.
and Uses---The bark has tonic, antiperiodic and stomachic
properties, and has been employed in dyspepsia and debility, and
also in febrile diseases, especially in those requiring a mild,
non-irritating bitter tonic, as it has a soothing influence upon
the mucous membrane and promotes appetite, being tolerated when
other tonics cannot be retained.
It is also
useful in chronic rheumatism.
of the powdered bark is 10 to 30 grains. The infusion of the bark
is taken in tablespoonful doses three or four times
occurs in commerce in quilled or curved pieces, 1 1/2 to 3 inches
long and 1 to inch in diameter, 1/8 to 3/4 inch thick, transversely
wrinkled, with a whitish brown surface of thin, papery layers, the
inner surface being smooth, with faintly projecting medullary
layers. It breaks with a short fracture, yellowish white, the
papery layer pale buff.
Medicinal Action and Uses
well-known table delicacy may be found wild on the sea-coast in the
South-west of England, especially near the Lizard, in the Isle of
Anglesea, otherwise it is a rare native. In the southern parts of
Russia and Poland the waste steppes are covered with this plant,
which is there eaten by horses and cattle as grass. It is also
common in Greece, and was formerly much esteemed as a vegetable by
the Greeks and Romans. It appears to have been cultivated in the
time of Cato the Elder, 200 years B.C., and Pliny mentions a
species that grew near Ravenna, of which three heads would weigh a
is noticed by Gerard in 1597, and in 1670 forced Asparagus was
supplied to the London market.
and Uses---The virtues of Asparagus are well known as a diuretic
and laxative; and for those of sedentary habits who suffer from
symptoms of gravel, it has been found very beneficial, as well as
in cases of dropsy. The fresh expressed juice is taken medicinally
in tablespoonful doses.
Asparagus, which is brought to some English markets, is not a
species of Asparagus at all, but consists of the spikes of
Ornithogalum pyrenaicum, which grows abundantly in hedges and
pastures (especially in the locality of Bath). See STAR OF BETHLEHEM.
tells us 'The decoction of the roots (Asparagus) boiled in wine,
and taken is good to clear the sight, and being held in the mouth
easeth the toothache.' He also tells us it helps those sinews that
'are shrunk by cramps and convulsions, and helpeth the sciatica
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---White Asphodel. Asphodele Rameux. Royal Staff.
Branched Asphodel. King's Spear.
---Habitat---Middle Europe. The shores of the
plant is about 3 feet high, with large, white, terminal flowers,
and radical, long, numerous leaves. It is only cultivated in
botanical and ornamental gardens, though it easily grows from seeds
or division of roots.
must be gathered at the end of the first year.
ancients planted the flowers near tombs, regarding them as the form
of food preferred by the dead, and many poems refer to this custom.
The name is derived from a Greek word meaning sceptre.
dried and boiled in water, yield a mucilaginous matter that in some
countries is mixed with grain or potato to make Asphodel bread. In
Spain and other countries they are used as cattle fodder,
especially for sheep. In Barbary the wild boars eat them
glue is made with the bulbs, which are first dried and then
pulverized. When mixed with cold water, the powder swells and forms
a strong glue.
Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Pliny said the roots were cooked
in ashes and eaten. The Greeks and Romans used them in several
diseases, but they are not employed in modern
acrid principle separated or destroyed by boiling water, and a
matter resembling inuline have been found. An alcohol of excellent
flavour has been obtained from plants growing abundantly in
and Uses---Acrid, heating, and diuretic. Said to be useful
inmenstrual obstructions and as an antispasmodic. The bruised root
has been recommended for rapidly dissolving scrofulous
or Yellow Asphodel, Jacob'sStaff, is a native of
fistulosus, or Onion-leaved Asphodel, of Southern France and Crete,
is also employed.
LACASHIRE ASPHODEL is a common name of Narthecium ossifragum. The
name of 'bone-breaker' was unfortunately given, because, as It
grows on wet moors and mountains, sheep pasturing there frequently
suffered from foot rot, and this was attributed to their browsing
on the plants.
ASPHODEL is an American name for Tofieldia.
ASPHODEL is a common name of Tofieldia palustris.
Geum urbanum (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Colewort. Herb Bennet. City Avens. Wild Rye. Way
Bennet. Goldy Star. Clove Root.
---Habitat---The Avens (Geum urbanum, Linn.), belonging to the
order Rosacece, its genus being nearly related to the Potentilla
genus, is a common wayside plant in Great Britain, abundant in
woods and hedges in England, Ireland and southern Scotland, though
becoming scarcer in the north. It is common in the greater part of
Europe, Russia and Central Asia.
has thin, nearly upright, wiry stems, slightly branched, from 1 to
2 feet in height, of a reddish brown on one side. Its leaves vary
considerably in form, according to their position. The radical
leaves are borne on long, channelled foot-stalks, and are
interruptedly pinnate, as in the Silverweed the large terminal
leaflet being wedge-shaped and the intermediate pairs of leaflets
being very small. The upper leaves on the stem are made up of three
long, narrow leaflets: those lower on the stems have the three
leaflets round and full. The stem-leaves are placed alternately and
have at their base two stipules (leaf-like members that in many
plants occur at the junction of the base of the leaf with the
stem). Those of the Avens are very large, about an inch broad and
long, rounded in form and coarsely toothed and lobed. All the
leaves are of a deep green colour, more or less covered with
spreading hairs, their margins toothed.
rhizomes are 1 to 2 inches long terminating abruptly, hard and
rough with many light brown fibrous roots. The flowers, rather
small for the size of the plant, are on solitary, terminal stalks.
The corolla is composed of five roundish, spreading, yellow petals,
the calyx cleft into ten segments - five large and five small - as
in the Silverweed. The flowers, which are in bloom all the summer
and autumn, often as late as December, are less conspicuous than
the round fruitheads, which succeed them, which are formed of a
mass of dark crimson achenes, each terminating in an awn, the end
of which is curved into a hook.
plant derives its name of Avens from the Latin Avencia, Mediaeval
Latin, avantia or avence, a word of obscure origin and which in
varieties of spelling has been applied to the plant from very early
botanical name, Geum, originated from the Greek geno, to yield an
agreeable fragrance, because, when freshly dug up, the root has a
clove-like aroma. This gives rise to another name, Radix
caryophylata, or Clove Root, and its corruption,
many names in the fourteenth century, such as Assarabaccara,
Pesleporis, or Harefoot, and Minarta.
called 'the Blessed Herb' (Herba benedicta), of which a common name
still extant - Herb Bennet - is a corruption, because in former
times it was believed that it had the power to ward off evil
spirits and venomous beasts. It was worn as an amulet. The Ortus
Sanitatis, printed in 1491, states: 'Where the root is in the
house, Satan can do nothing and flies from it, wherefore it is
blessed before all other herbs, and if a man carries the root about
him no venomous beast can harm him.' Dr. Prior (Popular Names of
English Plants) considers the original name to have probably been '
St . Benedict's Herb,' that name being assigned to such as were
supposed to be antidotes, in allusion to a legend respecting the
saint. It is said that on one occasion a monk presented him with a
goblet of poisoned wine, but when the saint blessed it, the poison,
being a sort of devil, flew out of it with such force that the
glass was shivered to atoms, the crime of the monk being thus
exposed. Hemlock is also known as Herb Bennet, probably for the
of the Earth, City Avens, Wild Rye and Way Bennet are other local
names for the plant.
mediaeval days, the graceful trefoiled leaf and the five golden
petals of the blossoms symbolized the Holy Trinity and the five
wounds of Our Lord, and towards the end of the thirteenth century
the plant frequently occurs as an architectural decoration in the
carved leafage on the capitals of columns and in wall
should be dug up in spring; some of the old physicians were so
particular on this point that the 25th March was fixed for
procuring the root (and it was specified that the soil should be
dry). At this time the root was said to be most fragrant. It loses
much of its odour in drying, so must be dried with great care, and
gradually, then sliced and powdered as required, as they are less
likely to lose their properties in this form than when kept in
Externally, the rhizome, when dried, is of a brownish to a
brownish-yellow colour. The fracture is short. Internally, it is of
a light purplish-brown when dried. In transverse section, it shows
a large pith, a narrow woody ring, with thin bark. The taste of the
drug is astringent, slightly bitter and clove-like.
---Constituents---The principal constituent is a volatile oil,
which is mainly composed of Eugenol, and a glucoside, Gein,
geum-bitter, tannic acid, gum and resin. It imparts its qualities
to water and alcohol, which it tinges red. Distilled with water, it
yields 0.04 per cent. of thick, greenish, volatile
has been found by Milandi and Moretti to contain one-eleventh of
its weight of tannin.
and Uses---Astringent, Styptic, febrifuge, sudorific, stomachic,
antiseptic, tonic and aromatic.
days the roots were not only used medicinally, as at present, but
to flavour ale, and to put among linen to preserve from moths and
to impart a pleasant odour.
Augsburg Ale is said to owe its peculiar flavour to the addition of
a small bag of Avens in each cask. The fresh root imparts a
pleasant clove-like flavour to the liquor, preserves it from
turning sour, and adds to its wholesome properties.
against the plague was made by boiling the roots in wine. Gerard
recommends a 'decoction made in wine against stomach ills and bites
of venomous beasts.' On account of its stomachic properties,
chewing of the root was recommended for foul breath.
'It is governed by Jupiter and that gives
hopes of a wholesome healthful herb. It is good for the diseases of
the chest or breath, for pains and stitches in the sides, it
dissolveth inward congealed blood occasioned by falls and bruises
and the spitting of blood, if the roots either green or dried be
boiled in wine and drunk. The root in the spring-time steeped in
wine doth give it a delicate flavour and taste and being drunk
fasting every morning comforteth the heart and is a good
preservative against the plague or any other poison. It is very
safe and is fit to be kept in every body's house.'
herbal medicine Avens is considered useful in diarrhoea,
dysenteries, leucorrhoea, sore throat, ague, chills, freshcatarrh,
intermittent fevers, chronic and passive haemorrhages, gastric
irritation and headache.
infusion or decoction is made from 1/2 oz. of the powdered root or
herb to 1 pint of boiling water, strained and taken cold. The
infusion is the most grateful, but the decoction may be made much
stronger by boiling it down to half.
tincture is made by pouring a pint of proof spirit on an ounce of
the bruised root and macerating it for fourteen days and then
filtering through paper. Two or three teaspoonsful of this tincture
in any watery vehicle, or in a glass of wine, are a sufficient
excellent compound tincture may be made as follows: Take of Avens
root 1 1/2 OZ.; Angelica root, bruised, and Tormentil root bruised,
of each 1 OZ.; Raisins, stoned, 2 OZ.; French brandy, 2 pints.
Macerate for a month in a warm place. Filter then through paper.
Dose, 1/2 oz.
ingredients infused in a quart of wine will form an excellent
infusion is considered an excellent cordial sudorific at the
commencement of chills and catarrh, cutting short the paroxysm, and
the continued use of it has restorative power in weakness,
astringency makes it useful in diarrhoea, sore throat, etc. It is
taken, strained and cold, in wineglassful doses, three or four
times a day.
infusion is also used in some skin affections. When used externally
as a wash, it will remove spots, freckles or eruptions from the
decoction in the spring, Avens acts as a purifier and removes
obstructions of the liver.
powdered root has been used both in America and Europe as a
substitute for Peruvian bark and has frequently been found to cure
agues when the latter has failed, a drachm of powder being given
every two hours.
of the fluid extract of the herb is 1 drachm, of the fluid extract
of the root, 1/2 to 1 drachm. As a tonic, the usual dose of the
powdered herb or root is 15 to 30 grains.
adulterant, the rhizome is sometimes present in the imported
Dryas octopetala (LINN,)
Mountain Avens (Dryas octopetala, Linn.) is a small plant, 2 to 3
inches high, distinguished from all other plants of the order
Rosaceae by its oblong deeply-cut leaves, which are white with a
woolly down beneath, and by its large, handsome, anemone-like,
white flowers, which have eight petals. It blooms in the spring. It
is not uncommon in the mountainous parts of the British Isles,
especially on limestone.
cultivated, it likes a sunny spot, not too dry, and prefers a
little lime in the soil. It is propagated by layers or seeds,
layers being the easiest method.
our native species are not striking enough to be made use of by the
horticulturist, there are many garden varieties of Geum which are
easily grown in fairly rich, loamy soil and are mostly propagated
by dividing the roots in early autumn or in spring as growth
commences. Seeds can be sown in the spring, either in the open or
in well-drained pots or shallow boxes in cold frames.
favourite varieties are the Scarlet Avens of Chile, Geum coccineum,
the red G. sylvaticum, and the yellow-flowered G. montanum and G.
elatum of the Himalayas, and G. reptans of the Alps.
Geum rivale (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Nodding Avens. Drooping Avens. Cure All. Water
Flower. Indian Chocolate.
---Habitat---The Water Avens (Geum rivale, Linn.) flourishes
freely in the northern parts of Europe, in Canada and Siberia, and
in Britain is more common in the northern counties and in Scotland
than in the southern counties.
It is a
lover of moist situations, found chiefly in damp woods and in
ditches and among the coarse herbage fringing canals.
is a much stouter plant than the Common Avens, the stem 1 foot high
or more, scarcely branching and with few leaves, of a simpler form.
The lower part of the stem is clothed with bent-back hairs and is
very downy above. The radical leaves, in the form of a rosette, as
in the Common Avens, are long-stalked, lobed, the terminal leaflet
larger, with more numerous segments than in Geum
flowers are larger than those of the Common Avens, fewer in number,
not a widely-spreading star, but drooping, the petals forming
together a compact and belllike corolla, of a dull purplish hue
with darker veins, the calyces brownish, deeply tinged with purple.
The awns feathery, not hooked.
and Uses---The Water Avens has similar properties to those of the
Common Avens and is employed in the same way, the root having tonic
and powerfully astringent action and being beneficial in passive
haemorrhage and diarrhoea.
eastern states of North America (where it is called Indian
Chocolate, Cure All and Water Flower) it is much used as a popular
remedy in pulmonary consumption, simple dyspepsia and diseases of
the bowels consequent on disorders of the stomach, and is valued as
a febrifuge and tonic.
Medicinal Action and Uses
Dosages and Preparations
---Synonyms---Bead Tree. Pride of China. Nim. Margosa. Neem.
Holy Tree. Indiar. Lilac Tree.
Used---The bark of the root and trunk; the seed.
---Habitat---Widely distributed through Tropics.
---Description---Under the name of Neem it grows luxuriantly in
Bengal, where it was known to the author. It grows from 30 to 50
feet high, leaves bipinnate, large bunches of lilac flowers
agreeably perfumed. In Southern France and Spain it is found
growing in avenues. It is said to be a native of China. The bark
should be new and is a rusty grey colour, inside yellow and
foliated, coarsely fibrous, no odour, powerfully bitter and less
astringent than the outer coarser bark, if taken from old roots the
outer crust must be taken off.
---Constituents---Margosin, a crystalline principle, and tannic
and Uses---The oil obtained from the fruit is used for burning,
that from the bark is used medicinally and is anthelmintic and
emetic; it is applied externally for rheumatism. The decoction of
Azadirachta is said to be cathartic and in large doses slightly
narcotic; it is also supposed to have febrifuge properties, it is
used as a remedy for hysteria. The Hindu considers it a stomachic
and taps it for toddy. The name Bead Tree is derived from the hard
nuts which are used for making rosaries. An ointment to destroy
lice is made from the pulp and is also used for scald head and
other skin diseases. The oil from the nuts is useful for cramps,
obstinate ulcers, etc.
Preparations---The decoction is made from 2 OZ. of bark to 1 pint
of water boiled down to 1/2 pint, one tablespoonful every two or
three hours for a dose. This, or 20 grains of the powdered bark, is
an effective dose for worms if followed by a
name Azadarach implies a poisonous plant and the fruit is
considered to be so.
CONSIDERING divers shires in this nation give divers names to
one and the same herb, and that the common name which it bears in
one county, is not known in another; I shall take the pains to set
down all the names that I know of each herb: pardon me for setting
that name first, which is most common to myself. Besides Amara
Dulcis, some call it Mortal, others Bitter-sweet; some Woody
Night-shade, and others Felon-wort.
It grows up with woody stalks even to a man's height, and sometimes
higher. The leaves fall off at the approach of winter, and spring
out of the same stalk at spring-time: the branch is compassed about
with a whitish bark, and has a pith in the middle of it: the main
branch branches itself into many small ones with claspers, laying
hold on what is next to them, as vines do: it bears many leaves,
they grow in no order at all, at least in no regular order; the
leaves are longish, though somewhat broad, and pointed at the ends:
many of them have two little leaves growing at the end of their
foot-stalk; some have but one, and some none. The leaves are of a
pale green colour; the flowers are of a purple colour, or of a
perfect blue, like to violets, and they stand many of them together
in knots: the berries are green at first, but when they are ripe
they are very red; if you taste them, you shall find them just as
the crabs which we in Sussex call Bitter-sweet, viz. sweet at first
and bitter afterwards.
They grow commonly almost throughout England, especially in moist
and shady places.
Time : The
leaves shoot out about the latter end of March, if the temperature
of the air be ordinary; it flowers in July, and the seeds are ripe
soon after, usually in the next month.
and virtues : It is under the planet Mercury, and a notable herb of
his also, if it be rightly gathered under his influence. It is
excellently good to remove witchcraft both in men and beasts, as
also all sudden diseases whatsoever. Being tied round about the
neck, is one of the most admirable remedies for the vertigo or
dizziness in the head; and that is the reason (as Tragus saith) the
people in Germany commonly hang it about their cattle's necks, when
they fear any such evil hath betided them. Country people commonly
take the berries of it, and having bruised them, apply them to
felons, and thereby soon rid their fingers of such troublesome
now showed you the external use of the herb; we shall speak a word
or two of the internal, and so conclude. Take notice, it is a
Mercurial herb, and therefore of very subtile parts, as indeed all
Mercurial plants are; therefore take a pound of the wood and leaves
together, bruise the wood (which you may easily do, for it is not
so hard as oak) then put it in a pot, and put to it three pints of
white wine, put on the pot-lid and shut it close; and let it infuse
hot over a gentle fire twelve hours, then strain it out, so have
you a most excellent drink to open obstructions of the liver and
spleen, to help difficulty of breath, bruises and falls, and
congealed blood in any part of the body, it helps the yellow
jaundice, the dropsy, and black jaundice, and to cleanse women
newly brought to bed. You may drink a quarter of a pint of the
infusion every morning. It purges the body very gently, and not
churlishly as some hold. And when you find good by this, remember
think the use of these medicines is too brief, it is only for the
cheapness of the book; let them read those books of mine, of the
last edition, viz. Reverius, Veslingus, Riolanus, Johnson,
Sennertus, and Physic for the Poor.
called All-heal, Hercules's All-heal, and Hercules's Woundwort,
because it is supposed that Hercules learned the herb and its
virtues from Chiron, when he learned physic of him. Some call it
Panay, and others Opopane-wort.
Its root is long, thick, and exceeding full of juice, of a hot and
biting taste, the leaves are great and large, and winged almost
like ash-tree leaves, but that they are something hairy, each leaf
consisting of five or six pair of such wings set one against the
other upon foot-stalks, broad below, but narrow towards the end;
one of the leaves is a little deeper at the bottom than the other,
of a fair yellowish fresh green colour: they are of a bitterish
taste, being chewed in the mouth; from among these rises up a
stalk, green in colour, round in form, great and strong in
magnitude, five or six feet in altitude, with many joints, and some
leaves thereat; towards the top come forth umbels of small yellow
flowers, after which are passed away, you may find whitish, yellow,
short, flat seeds, bitter also in taste.
Having given you a description of the herb from bottom to top, give
me leave to tell you, that there are other herbs called by this
name; but because they are strangers in England, I give only the
description of this, which is easily to be had in the gardens of
Although Gerrard saith, that they flower from the beginning of May
to the end of December, experience teaches them that keep it in
their gardens, that it flowers not till the latter end of the
summer, and sheds its seeds presently after.
and virtues : It is under the dominion of Mars, hot, biting, and
choleric; and remedies what evils Mars inflicts the body of man
with, by sympathy, as vipers' flesh attracts poison, and the
loadstone iron. It kills the worms, helps the gout, cramp, and
convulsions, provokes urine, and helps all joint-aches. It helps
all cold griefs of the head, the vertigo, falling-sickness, the
lethargy, the wing cholic, obstructions of the liver and spleen,
stone in the kidneys and bladder. It provokes the terms, expels the
dead birth: it is excellent good for the griefs of the sinews,
itch, stone, and toothache, the biting of mad dogs and venomous
beasts, and purges choler very gently.
the common name, it is called Orchanet, and Spanish Bugloss, and by
Of the many sorts of this herb, there is but one known to grow
commonly in this nation; of which one take this description. It
hath a great and thick root, of a reddish colour, long, narrow,
hairy leaves, green like the leaves of Bugloss, which lie very
thick upon the ground; the stalks rise up compassed round about,
thick with leaves, which are less and narrower than the former;
they are tender, and slender, the flowers are hollow, small, and of
a reddish colour.
Place : It
grows in Kent near Rochester, and in many places in the West
Country, both in Devonshire and Cornwall.
They flower in July and the beginning of August, and the seed is
ripe soon after, but the root is in its prime, as carrots and
parsnips are, before the herb runs up to stalk.
and virtues : It is an herb under the dominion of Venus, and indeed
one of her darlings, though somewhat hard to come by. It helps old
ulcers, hot inflammations, burnings by common fire, and St.
Anthony's fire, by antipathy to Mars; for these uses, your best way
is to make it into an ointment; also, if you make a vinegar of it,
as you make vinegar of roses, it helps the morphew and leprosy; if
you apply the herb to the privities, it draws forth the dead child.
It helps the yellow jaundice, spleen, and gravel in the kidneys.
Dioscorides saith it helps such as are bitten by a venomous beast,
whether it be taken inwardly, or applied to the wound; nay, he
saith further, if any one that hath newly eaten it, do but spit
into the mouth of a serpent, the serpent instantly dies. It stays
the flux of the belly, kills worms, helps the fits of the mother.
Its decoction made in wine, and drank, strengthens the back, and
eases the pains thereof. It helps bruises and falls, and is as
gallant a remedy to drive out the small pox and measles as any is;
an ointment made of it, is excellent for green wounds, pricks or
ADDER'S TONGUE OR SERPENT'S
This herb has but one leaf, which grows with the stalk a finger's
length above the ground, being flat and of a fresh green colour;
broad like Water Plantain, but less, without any rib in it; from
the bottom of which leaf, on the inside, rises up (ordinarily) one,
sometimes two or three slender stalks, the upper half whereof is
somewhat bigger, and dented with small dents of a yellowish green
colour, like the tongue of an adder serpent (only this is as useful
as they are formidable). The roots continue all the
Place : It
grows in moist meadows, and such like places.
Time : It
is to be found in May or April, for it quickly perishes with a
and virtues : It is an herb under the dominion of the Moon and
Cancer, and therefore if the weakness of the retentive faculty be
caused by an evil influence of Saturn in any part of the body
governed by the Moon, or under the dominion of Cancer, this herb
cures it by sympathy. It cures these diseases after specified, in
any part of the body under the influence of Saturn, by
temperate in respect of heat, but dry in the second degree. The
juice of the leaves, drank with the distilled water of Horse-tail,
is a singular remedy for all manner of wounds in the breast,
bowels, or other parts of the body, and is given with good success
to those that are troubled with casting, vomiting, or bleeding at
the mouth or nose, or otherwise downwards. The said juice given in
the distilled water of Oaken-buds, is very good for women who have
their usual courses, or the whites flowing down too abundantly. It
helps sore eyes. Of the leaves infused or boiled in oil, omphacine
or unripe olives, set in the sun four certain days, or the green
leaves sufficiently boiled in the said oil, is made an excellent
green balsam, not only for green and fresh wounds, but also for old
and inveterate ulcers, especially if a little fine clear turpentine
be dissolved therein. It also stays and refreshes all inflammations
that arise upon pains by hurts and wounds.
of the body are under each planet and sign, and also what disease
may be found in my astrological judgment of diseases; and for the
internal work of nature in the body of man; as vital, animal,
natural and procreative spirits of man; the apprehension, judgment,
memory; the external senses, viz. seeing, hearing, smelling,
tasting and feeling; the virtuous, attractive, retentive,
digestive, expulsive, &c. under the dominion of what planets
they are, may be found in my Ephemeris for the year 1651. In both
which you shall find the chaff of authors blown away by the fame of
Dr. Reason, and nothing but rational truths left for the ingenious
to feed upon.
avoid blotting paper with one thing many times, and also to ease
your purses in the price of the book, and withal to make you
studious in physic; you have at the latter end of the book, the way
of preserving all herbs either in juice, conserve, oil, ointment or
plaister, electuary, pills, or troches.
This has divers long leaves (some greater, some smaller) set upon a
stalk, all of them dented about the edges, green above, and greyish
underneath, and a little hairy withal. Among which arises up
usually but one strong, round, hairy, brown stalk, two or three
feet high, with smaller leaves set here and there upon it. At the
top thereof grow many small yellow flowers, one above another, in
long spikes; after which come rough heads of seed, hanging
downwards, which will cleave to and stick upon garments, or any
thing that shall rub against them. The knot is black, long, and
somewhat woody, abiding many years, and shooting afresh every
Spring; which root, though small, hath a reasonable good
Place : It
grows upon banks, near the sides of hedges.
Time : It
flowers in July and August, the seed being ripe shortly
and virtues : It is an herb under Jupiter, and the sign Cancer; and
strengthens those parts under the planet and sign, and removes
diseases in them by sympathy, and those under Saturn, Mars and
Mercury by antipathy, if they happen in any part of the body
governed by Jupiter, or under the signs Cancer, Sagitarius or
Pisces, and therefore must needs be good for the gout, either used
outwardly in oil or ointment, or inwardly in an electuary, or
syrup, or concerted juice: for which see the latter end of this
It is of a
cleansing and cutting faculty, without any manifest heat,
moderately drying and binding. It opens and cleanses the liver,
helps the jaundice, and is very beneficial to the bowels, healing
all inward wounds, bruises, hurts, and other distempers. The
decoction of the herb made with wine, and drank, is good against
the biting and stinging of serpents, and helps them that make foul,
troubled or bloody water.
also helps the cholic, cleanses the breast, and rids away the
cough. A draught of the decoction taken warm before the fit, first
removes, and in time rids away the tertian or quartan agues. The
leaves and seeds taken in wine, stays the bloody flux; outwardly
applied, being stamped with old swine's grease, it helps old sores,
cancers, and inveterate ulcers, and draws forth thorns and
splinters of wood, nails, or any other such things gotten in the
flesh. It helps to strengthen the members that be out of joint: and
being bruised and applied, or the juice dropped in it, helps foul
and imposthumed ears.
distilled water of the herb is good to all the said purposes,
either inward or outward, but a great deal weaker.
It is a
most admirable remedy for such whose livers are annoyed either by
heat or cold. The liver is the former of blood, and blood the
nourisher of the body, and Agrimony a strengthener of the
stand to give you a reason in every herb why it cures such
diseases; but if you please to pursue my judgment in the herb
Wormwood, you shall find them there, and it will be well worth your
while to consider it in every herb, you shall find them true
throughout the book.
called in some countries, Water Hemp, Bastard Hemp, and Bastard
Agrimony, Eupatorium, and Hepatorium, because it strengthens the
The root continues a long time, having many long slender strings.
The stalk grows up about two feet high, sometimes higher. They are
of a dark purple colour. The branches are many, growing at
distances the one from the other, the one from the one side of the
stalk, the other from the opposite point. The leaves are fringed,
and much indented at the edges. The flowers grow at the top of the
branches, of a brown yellow colour, spotted with black spots,
having a substance within the midst of them like that of a Daisy.
If you rub them between your fingers, they smell like rosin or
cedar when it is burnt. The seeds are long, and easily stick to any
woollen thing they touch.
They delight not in heat, and therefore they are not so frequently
found in the Southern parts of England as in the northern, where
they grow frequently. You may look for them in cold grounds, by
ponds and ditches' sides, and also by running waters; sometimes you
shall find them grow in the midst of waters.
They all flower in July or August, and the seed is ripe presently
and virtues : It is a plant of Jupiter, as well as the other
Agrimony, only this belongs to the celestial sign Cancer. It heals
and dries, cuts and cleanses thick and tough humours of the breast,
and for this I hold it inferior to but few herbs that grow. It
helps the cachexia or evil disposition of the body, the dropsy and
yellow-jaundice. It opens obstructions of the liver, mollifies the
hardness of the spleen, being applied outwardly. It breaks
imposthumes away inwardly. It is an excellent remedy for the third
day ague. It provokes urine and the terms; it kills worms, and
cleanses the body of sharp humours, which are the cause of itch and
scabs; the herb being burnt, the smoke thereof drives away flies,
wasps, &c. It strengthens the lungs exceedingly. Country people
give it to their cattle when they are troubled with the cough, or
ALEHOOF, OR GROUND-IVY
counties give it different names, so that there is scarcely any
herb growing of that bigness that has got so many. It is called
Cat's-foot, Ground-ivy, Gill-go-by-ground, and
Gill-creep-by-ground, Turnhoof, Haymaids, and Alehoof.
This well known herb lies, spreads and creeps upon the ground,
shoots forth roots, at the corners of tender jointed stalks, set
with two round leaves at every joint somewhat hairy, crumpled and
unevenly dented about the edges with round dents; at the joints
likewise, with the leaves towards the end of the branches, come
forth hollow, long flowers of a blueish purple colour, with small
white spots upon the lips that hang down. The root is small with
Place : It
is commonly found under hedges, and on the sides of ditches, under
houses, or in shadowed lanes, and other waste grounds, in almost
every part of this land.
They flower somewhat early, and abide a great while; the leaves
continue green until Winter, and sometimes abide, except the Winter
be very sharp and cold.
and virtues : It is an herb of Venus, and therefore cures the
diseases she causes by sympathy, and those of Mars by antipathy;
you may usually find it all the year long except the year be
extremely frosty; it is quick, sharp, and bitter in taste, and is
thereby found to be hot and dry; a singular herb for all inward
wounds, exulcerated lungs, or other parts, either by itself, or
boiled with other the like herbs; and being drank, in a short time
it eases all griping pains, windy and choleric humours in the
stomach, spleen or belly; helps the yellow jaundice, by opening the
stoppings of the gall and liver, and melancholy, by opening the
stoppings of the spleen; expels venom or poison, and also the
plague; it provokes urine and women's courses; the decoction of it
in wine drank for some time together, procures ease to them that
are troubled with the sciatica, or hip-gout: as also the gout in
hands, knees or feet; if you put to the decoction some honey and a
little burnt alum, it is excellently good to gargle any sore mouth
or throat, and to wash the sores and ulcers in the privy parts of
man or woman; it speedily helps green wounds, being bruised and
bound thereto. The juice of it boiled with a little honey and
verdigrease, doth wonderfully cleanse fistulas, ulcers, and stays
the spreading or eating of cancers and ulcers; it helps the itch,
scabs, wheals, and other breakings out in any part of the body. The
juice of Celandine, Field-daisies, and Ground-ivy clarified, and a
little fine sugar dissolved therein, and dropped into the eyes, is
a sovereign remedy for all pains, redness, and watering of them; as
also for the pin and web, skins and films growing over the sight,
it helps beasts as well as men. The juice dropped into the ears,
wonderfully helps the noise and singing of them, and helps the
hearing which is decayed. It is good to tun up with new drink, for
it will clarify it in a night, that it will be the fitter to be
drank the next morning; or if any drink be thick with removing, or
any other accident, it will do the like in a few
called Alisander, Horse-parsley, and Wild-parsley, and the Black
Pot-herb; the seed of it is that which is usually sold in
apothecaries' shops for Macedonian Parsley-seed.
It is usually sown in all the gardens in Europe, and so well known,
that it needs no farther description.
Time : It
flowers in June and July; the seed is ripe in August.
and virtues : It is an herb of Jupiter, and therefore friendly to
nature, for it warms a cold stomach, and opens a stoppage of the
liver and spleen; it is good to move women's courses, to expel the
afterbirth, to break wind, to provoke urine, and helps the
stranguary; and these things the seeds will do likewise. If either
of them be boiled in wine, or being bruised and taken in wine, is
also effectual against the biting of serpents. And you know what
Alexander pottage is good for, that you may no longer eat it out of
ignorance but out of knowledge.
THE BLACK ALDER-TREE
This tree seldom grows to any great bigness but for the most part
abideth like a hedge-bush, or a tree spreading its branches, the
woods of the body being white, and a dark red colet or heart; the
outward bark is of a blackish colour, with many whitish spots
therein; but the inner bark next the wood is yellow, which being
chewed, will turn the spittle into a saffron colour. The leaves are
somewhat like those of an ordinary Alder-tree, or the Female
Cornet, or Dogberry-tree, called in Sussex Dog-wood, but blacker,
and not so long. The flowers are white, coming forth with the
leaves at the joints, which turn into small round berries, first
green, afterwards red, but blackish when they are thorough ripe,
divided, as it were, into two parts, wherein is contained two small
round and flat seeds. The root runneth not deep into the ground,
but spreads rather under the upper crust of the earth.
This tree or shrub may be found plentifully in St. John's Wood by
Hornsey, and the woods upon Hampstead Heath; as also a wood called
the Old Park, in Barcomb, in Essex, near the brook's
Time : It
flowers in May, and the berries are ripe in September.
and virtues : It is a tree of Venus, and perhaps under the
celestial sign Cancer. The inner yellow bark hereof purges
downwards both choler and phlegm, and the watery humours of such
that have the dropsy, and strengthens the inward parts again by
binding. If the bark hereof be boiled with Agrimony, Wormwood,
Dodder, Hops, and some Fennel, with Smallage, Endive, and
Succory-roots, and a reasonable draught taken every morning for
some time together, it is very effectual against the jaundice,
dropsy, and the evil disposition of the body, especially if some
suitable purging medicines have been taken before, to void the
grosser excrements. It purges and strengthens the liver and spleen,
cleansing them from such evil humours and hardness as they are
afflicted with. It is to be understood that these things are
performed by the dried bark; for the fresh green bark taken
inwardly provokes strong vomitings, pains in the stomach, and
gripings in the belly; yet if the decoction may stand and settle
two or three days, until the yellow colour be changed black, it
will not work so strongly as before, but will strengthen the
stomach, and procure an appetite to meat. The outward bark
contrariwise doth bind the body, and is helpful for all lasks and
fluxes thereof, but this also must be dried first, whereby it will
work the better. The inner bark thereof boiled in vinegar is an
approved remedy to kill lice, to cure the itch, and take away
scabs, by drying them up in a short time. It is singularly good to
wash the teeth, to take away the pains, to fasten those that are
loose, to cleanse them, and to keep them sound. The leaves are good
fodder for kine, to make them give more milk.
If in the
Spring-time you use the herbs before mentioned, and will take but a
handful of each of them, and to them add an handful of Elder buds,
and having bruised them all, boil them in a gallon of ordinary
beer, when it is new; and having boiled them half an hour, add to
this three gallons more, and let them work together, and drink a
draught of it every morning, half a pint or thereabouts; it is an
excellent purge for the Spring, to consume the phlegmatic quality
the Winter hath left behind it, and withal to keep your body in
health, and consume those evil humours which the heat of Summer
will readily stir up. Esteem it as a jewel.
THE COMMON ALDER-TREE
This grows to a reasonable height, and spreads much if it like the
place. It is so generally known to country people, that I conceive
it needless to tell that which is no news.
Time : It delights to grow in moist woods, and watery places;
flowering in April or May, and yielding ripe seed in
and virtues : It is a tree under the dominion of Venus, and of some
watery sign or others, I suppose Pisces; and therefore the
decoction, or distilled water of the leaves, is excellent against
burnings and inflammations, either with wounds or without, to bathe
the place grieved with, and especially for that inflammation in the
breast, which the vulgar call an ague.
cannot get the leaves (as in Winter it is impossible) make use of
the bark in the same manner.
and bark of the Alder-tree are cooling, drying, and binding. The
fresh leaves, laid upon swellings, dissolve them, and stay the
inflammation. The leaves put under the bare feet galled with
travelling, are a great refreshing to them. The said leaves,
gathered while the morning dew is on them, and brought into a
chamber troubled with fleas, will gather them thereunto, which
being suddenly cast out, will rid the chamber of those troublesome
To write a
description of that which is so well known to be growing almost in
every garden, I suppose is altogether needless; yet for its virtue
it is of admirable
In time of
Heathenism, when men had found out any excellent herb, they
dedicated it to their gods; as the bay-tree to Apollo, the Oak to
Jupiter, the Vine to Bacchus, the Poplar to Hercules. These the
idolators following as the Patriarchs they dedicate to their
Saints; as our Lady's Thistle to the Blessed Virgin, St. John's
Wort to St. John and another Wort to St. Peter, &c. Our
physicians must imitate like apes (though they cannot come off half
so cleverly) for they blasphemously call Phansies or Heartsease, an
herb of the Trinity, because it is of three colours; and a certain
ointment, an ointment of the Apostles, because it consists of
twelve ingredients. Alas I am sorry for their folly, and grieved at
their blasphemy. God send them wisdom the rest of their age, for
they have their share of ignorance already. Oh! Why must ours be
blasphemous, because the Heathens and infidels were idolatrous?
Certainly they have read so much in old rusty authors, that they
have lost all their divinity; for unless it were amongst the
Ranters, I never read or heard of such blasphemy. The Heathens and
infidels were bad, and ours worse; the idolators give idolatrous
names to herbs for their virtues sake, not for their fair looks;
and therefore some called this an herb of the Holy Ghost; others,
more moderate, called it Angelica, because of its angelical
virtues, and that name it retains still, and all nations follow it
so near as their dialect will permit.
and virtues : It is an herb of the Sun in Leo; let it be gathered
when he is there, the Moon applying to his good aspect; let it be
gathered either in his hour, or in the hour of Jupiter, let Sol be
angular; observe the like in gathering the herbs, of other planets,
and you may happen to do wonders. In all epidemical diseases caused
by Saturn, that is as good a preservative as grows: It resists
poison, by defending and comforting the heart, blood, and spirits;
it doth the like against the plague and all epidemical diseases, if
the root be taken in powder to the weight of half a dram at a time,
with some good treacle in Carduus water, and the party thereupon
laid to sweat in his bed; if treacle be not to be had take it alone
in Carduus or Angelica-water. The stalks or roots candied and eaten
fasting, are good preservatives in time of infection; and at other
times to warm and comfort a cold stomach. The root also steeped in
vinegar, and a little of that vinegar taken sometimes fasting, and
the root smelled unto, is good for the same purpose. A water
distilled from the root simply, as steeped in wine, and distilled
in a glass, is much more effectual than the water of the leaves;
and this water, drank two or three spoonfuls at a time, easeth all
pains and torments coming of cold and wind, so that the body be not
bound; and taken with some of the root in powder at the beginning,
helpeth the pleurisy, as also all other diseases of the lungs and
breast, as coughs, phthysic, and shortness of breath; and a syrup
of the stalks do the like. It helps pains of the cholic, the
stranguary and stoppage of the urine, procureth womens' courses,
and expelleth the afterbirth, openeth the stoppings of the liver
and spleen, and briefly easeth and discusseth all windiness and
inward swellings. The decoction drank before the fit of an ague,
that they may sweat (if possible) before the fit comes, will, in
two or three times taking, rid it quite away; it helps digestion
and is a remedy for a surfeit. The juice or the water, being
dropped into the eyes or ears, helps dimness of sight and deafness;
the juice put into the hollow teeth, easeth their pains. The root
in powder, made up into a plaster with a little pitch, and laid on
the biting of mad dogs, or any other venomous creature, doth
wonderfully help. The juice or the waters dropped, or tent wet
therein, and put into filthy dead ulcers, or the powder of the root
(in want of either) doth cleanse and cause them to heal quickly, by
covering the naked bones with flesh; the distilled water applied to
places pained with the gout, or sciatica, doth give a great deal of
Angelica is not so effectual as the garden; although it may be
safely used to all the purposes aforesaid.
its common name, by which it is best known by the florists of our
days, it is called Flower Gentle, Flower Velure Floramor, and
It being a garden flower, and well known to every one that keeps
it, I might forbear the description; yet, notwithstanding, because
some desire it, I shall give it. It runs up with a stalk a cubit
high, streaked, and somewhat reddish towards the root, but very
smooth, divided towards the top with small branches, among which
stand long broad leaves of a reddish green colour, slippery; the
flowers are not properly flowers, but tuffs, very beautiful to
behold, but of no smell, of reddish colour; if you bruise them,
they yield juice of the same colour, being gathered, they keep
their beauty a long time; the seed is of a shining black
They continue in flower from August till the time the frost nips
and virtues : It is under the dominion of Saturn, and is an
excellent qualifier of the unruly actions and passions of Venus,
though Mars also should join with her. The flowers, dried and
beaten into powder, stop the terms in women, and so do almost all
other red things. And by the icon, or image of every herb, the
ancients at first found out their virtues. Modern writers laugh at
them for it; but I wonder in my heart, how the virtues of herbs
came at first to be known, if not by their signatures; the moderns
have them from the writings of the ancients; the ancients had no
writings to have them from: but to proceed. The flowers stop all
fluxes of blood; whether in man or woman, bleeding either at the
nose or wound. There is also a sort of Amaranthus that bears a
white flower, which stops the whites in women, and the running of
the reins in men, and is a most gallant antivenereal, and a
singular remedy for the French pox.
also Wind flower, because they say the flowers never open but when
the wind blows. Pliny is my author; if it be not so, blame him. The
seed also (if it bears any at all) flies away with the
Time : They are sown usually in the gardens of the curious, and
flower in the Spring-time. As for description I shall pass it,
being well known to all those that sow them.
and virtues : It is under the dominion of Mars, being supposed to
be a kind of Crow-foot. The leaves provoke the terms mightily,
being boiled, and the decoction drank. The body being bathed with
the decoction of them, cures the leprosy. The leaves being stamped
and the juice snuffed up in the nose, purges the head mightily; so
does the root, being chewed in the mouth, for it procures much
spitting, and brings away many watery and phlegmatic humours, and
is therefore excellent for the lethargy. And when all is done, let
physicians prate what they please, all the pills in the
dispensatory purge not the head like to hot things held in the
mouth. Being made into an ointment, and the eye-lids anointed with
it, it helps inflammations of the eyes, whereby it is palpable,
that every stronger draws its weaker like. The same ointment is
excellently good to cleanse malignant and corroding
also Orach, and Arage; it is cultivated for domestic
It is so commonly known to every housewife, it were labour lost to
Time : It
flowers and seeds from June to the end of August.
and virtues : It is under the government of the Moon; in quality
cold and moist like unto her. It softens and loosens the body of
man being eaten, and fortifies the expulsive faculty in him. The
herb, whether it be bruised and applied to the throat, or boiled,
and in like manner applied, it matters not much, it is excellently
good for swellings in the throat: the best way, I suppose, is to
boil it, apply the herb outwardly: the decoction of it, besides, is
an excellent remedy for the yellow jaundice.
ARRACH, WILD AND STINKING
also Vulvaria, from that part of the body upon which the operation
is most; also Dog's Arrach, Goat's Arrach, and Stinking
This has small and almost round leaves, yet a little pointed and
without dent or cut, of a dusky mealy colour, growing on the
slender stalks and branches that spread on the ground, with small
flowers set with the leaves, and small seeds succeeding like the
rest, perishing yearly, and rising again with its own sowing. It
smells like rotten fish, or something worse.
Place : It
grows usually upon dunghills.
They flower in June and July, and their seed is ripe quickly
and virtues : Stinking Arrach is used as a remedy to women pained,
and almost strangled with the mother, by smelling to it; but
inwardly taken there is no better remedy under the moon for that
disease. I would be large in commendation of this herb, were I but
eloquent. It is an herb under the dominion of Venus, and under the
sign Scorpio; it is common almost upon every dunghill. The works of
God are freely given to man, his medicines are common and cheap,
and easily to be found. I commend it for an universal medicine for
the womb, and such a medicine as will easily, safely, and speedily
cure any disease thereof, as the fits of the mother, dislocation,
or falling out thereof; cools the womb being over-heated. And let
me tell you this, and I will tell you the truth, heat of the womb
is one of the greatest causes of hard labour in child-birth. It
makes barren women fruitful. It cleanseth the womb if it be foul,
and strengthens it exceedingly; it provokes the terms if they be
stopped, and stops them if they flow immoderately; you can desire
no good to your womb, but this herb will affect it; therefore if
you love children, if you love health, if you love ease, keep a
syrup always by you, made of the juice of this herb, and sugar (or
honey, if it be to cleanse the womb), and let such as be rich keep
it for their poor neighbours; and bestow it as freely as I bestow
my studies upon them, or else let them look to answer it another
day, when the Lord shall come to make inquisition for
To put a
gloss upon their practice, the physicians call a herb (which
country people vulgarly know by the name of Dead Nettle) Archangel;
whether they favour more of superstition or folly, I leave to the
judicious reader. There is more curiosity than courtesy to my
countrymen used by others in the explanation as well of the names,
as description of this so well known herb; which that I may not
also be guilty of, take this short description: first, of the Red
Archangel. This is likewise called Bee Nettle.
This has divers square stalks, somewhat hairy, at the joints
whereof grow two sad green leaves dented about the edges, opposite
to one another to the lowermost, upon long foot stalks, but without
any toward the tops, which are somewhat round, yet pointed, and a
little crumpled and hairy; round about the upper joints, where the
leaves grow thick, are sundry gaping flowers of a pale reddish
colour; after which come the seeds three or four in a husk. The
root is small and thready, perishing every year; the whole plant
hath a strong smell but not stinking.
Archangel hath divers square stalks, none standing straight upward,
but bending downward, whereon stand two leaves at a joint, larger
and more pointed than the other, dented about the edges, and
greener also, more like unto Nettle leaves, but not stinking, yet
hairy. At the joints, with the leaves, stand larger and more open
gaping white flowers, husks round about the stalks, but not with
such a bush of leaves as flowers set in the top, as is on the
other, wherein stand small roundish black seeds; the root is white,
with many strings at it, not growing downward but lying under the
upper crust of the earth, and abides many years increasing; this
has not so strong a scent as the former.
Archangel is like the White in the stalks and leaves; but that the
stalks are more straight and upright, and the joints with leaves
are farther asunder, having longer leaves than the former, and the
flowers a little larger and more gaping, of a fair yellow colour in
most, in some paler. The roots are like the white, only they creep
not so much under the ground.
They grow almost everywhere (unless it be in the middle of the
street), the yellow most usually in the wet grounds of woods, and
sometimes in the dryer, in divers counties of this
They flower from the beginning of the Spring all the Summer
and virtues : The Archangels are somewhat hot and drier than the
stinging Nettles, and used with better success for the stopping and
hardness of the spleen, than they, by using the decoction of the
herb in wine, and afterwards applying the herb hot into the region
of the spleen as a plaister, or the decoction with spunges. Flowers
of the White Archangel are preserved or conserved to be used to
stay the whites, and the flowers of the red to stay the reds in
women. It makes the head merry, drives away melancholy, quickens
the spirits, is good against quartan agues, stancheth bleeding at
mouth and nose, if it be stamped and applied to the nape of the
neck; the herb also bruised, and with some salt and vinegar and
hog's-grease, laid upon a hard tumour or swelling, or that vulgarly
called the king's evil, do help to dissolve or discuss them; and
being in like manner applied, doth much allay the pains, and give
ease to the gout, sciatica, and other pains of the joints and
sinews. It is also very effectual to heal green wounds, and old
ulcers; also to stay their fretting, gnawing, and spreading. It
draws forth splinters, and such like things gotten into the flesh,
and is very good against bruises and burnings. But the Yellow
Archangel is most commended for old, filthy, corrupt sores and
ulcers, yea although they grow to be hollow, and to dissolve
tumours. The chief use of them is for women, it being a herb of
Arssmart is called also Waterpepper, or Culrage. The mild Arssmart
is called dead Arssmart Persicaria, or Peachwort, because the
leaves are so like the leaves of a peach-tree; it is also called
Description of the mild : This has broad leaves set at the
great red joint of the stalks; with semicircular blackish marks on
them, usually either bluish or whitish, with such like seed
following. The root is long, with many strings thereat, perishing
yearly; this has no sharp taste (as another sort has, which is
quick and biting) but rather sour like sorrel, or else a little
drying, or without taste.
Place : It
grows in watery places, ditches, and the like, which for the most
part are dry in summer.
Time : It
flowers in June, and the seed is ripe in August.
and virtues : As the virtue of both these is various, so is also
their government; for that which is hot and biting, is under the
dominion of Mars, but Saturn, challenges the other, as appears by
that leaden coloured spot he hath placed upon the
It is of a
cooling and drying quality, and very effectual for putrefied ulcers
in man or beast, to kill worms, and cleanse the putrefied places.
The juice thereof dropped in, or otherwise applied, consumes all
colds, swellings, and dissolveth the congealed blood of bruises by
strokes, falls, &c. A piece of the root, or some of the seeds
bruised, and held to an aching tooth, takes away the pain. The
leaves bruised and laid to the joint that has a felon thereon,
takes it away. The juice destroys worms in the ears, being dropped
into them; if the hot Arssmart be strewed in a chamber, it will
soon kill all the fleas; and the herb or juice of the cold
Arssmart, put to a horse or other cattle's sores, will drive away
the fly in the hottest time of Summer; a good handful of the hot
biting Arssmart put under a horse's saddle, will make him travel
the better, although he were half tired before. The mild Arssmart
is good against all imposthumes and inflammations at the beginning,
and to heal green wounds.
authors chop the virtues of both sorts of Arssmart together, as men
chop herbs for the pot, when both of them are of contrary
qualities. The hot Arssmart grows not so high or tall as the mild
doth, but has many leaves of the colour of peach leaves, very
seldom or never spotted; in other particulars it is like the
former, but may easily be known from it, if you will but be pleased
to break a leaf of it cross your tongue, for the hot will make your
tongue to smart, but the cold will not. If you see them both
together, you may easily distinguish them, because the mild hath
far broader leaves.
Asarabacca appears like an evergreen, keeping its leaves all the
Winter, but putting forth new ones in the time of Spring. It has
many heads rising from the roots, from whence come many smooth
leaves, every one upon his foot stalks, which are rounder and
bigger than Violet leaves, thicker also, and of a dark green
shining colour on the upper side, and of a pale yellow green
underneath, little or nothing dented about the edges, from among
which rise small, round, hollow, brown green husks, upon short
stalks, about an inch long, divided at the brims into five
divisions, very like the cups or heads of the Henbane seed, but
that they are smaller; and these be all the flower it carries,
which are somewhat sweet, being smelled to, and wherein, when they
are ripe, is contained small cornered rough seeds, very like the
kernels or stones of grapes, or raisins. The roots are small and
whitish, spreading divers ways in the ground, increasing into
divers heads; but not running or creeping under the ground as some
other creeping herbs do. They are somewhat sweet in smell,
resembling Nardus, but more when they are dry than green; and of a
sharp and not unpleasant taste.
Place : It
grows frequently in gardens.
They keep their leaves green all Winter; but shoot forth new in the
Spring, and with them come forth those heads or flowers which give
ripe seed about Mid-summer, or somewhat after.
and virtues : It is a plant under the dominion of Mars, and
therefore inimical to nature. This herb being drank, not only
provokes vomiting, but purges downwards, and by urine also, purges
both choler and phlegm: If you add to it some spikenard, with the
whey of goat's milk, or honeyed water, it is made more strong, but
it purges phlegm more manifestly than choler, and therefore does
much help pains in the hips, and other parts; being boiled in whey,
it wonderfully helps the obstructions of the liver and spleen, and
therefore profitable for the dropsy and jaundice; being steeped in
wine and drank, it helps those continual agues that come by the
plenty of stubborn humours; an oil made thereof by setting in the
sun, with some laudanum added to it, provokes sweating (the ridge
of the back being anointed therewith), and thereby drives away the
shaking fits of the ague. It will not abide any long boiling, for
it loseth its chief strength thereby; nor much beating, for the
finer powder provokes vomits and urine, and the coarser purgeth
use hereof is, to take the juice of five or seven leaves in a
little drink to cause vomiting; the roots have also the same
virtue, though they do not operate so forcibly; they are very
effectual against the biting of serpents, and therefore are put as
an ingredient both into Mithridite and Venice treacle. The leaves
and roots being boiled in lye, and the head often washed therewith
while it is warm, comforts the head and brain that is ill affected
by taking cold, and helps the memory.
desire ignorant people to forbear the use of the leaves; the roots
purge more gently, and may prove beneficial to such as have
cancers, or old putrefied ulcers, or fistulas upon their bodies, to
take a dram of them in powder in a quarter of a pint of white wine
in the morning. The truth is, I fancy purging and vomiting
medicines as little as any man breathing doth, for they weaken
nature, nor shall ever advise them to be used, unless upon urgent
necessity. If a physician be nature's servant, it is his duty to
strengthen his mistress as much as he can, and weaken her as little
as may be.
ASPARAGUS, SPARAGUS, OR
It rises up at first with divers white and green scaly heads, very
brittle or easy to break while they are young, which afterwards
rise up in very long and slender green stalks of the bigness of an
ordinary riding wand, at the bottom of most, or bigger, or lesser,
as the roots are of growth; on which are set divers branches of
green leaves shorter and smaller than fennel to the top; at the
joints whereof come forth small yellowish flowers, which turn into
round berries, green at first and of an excellent red colour when
they are ripe, showing like bead or coral, wherein are contained
exceeding hard black seeds; the roots are dispersed from a
spongeous head into many long, thick, and round strings, wherein is
sucked much nourishment out of the ground, and increaseth
PRICKLY ASPARAGUS, OR SPERAGE
This grows usually in gardens, and some of it grows wild in
Appleton meadows in Gloucestershire, where the poor people gather
the buds of young shoots, and sell them cheaper than our garden
Asparagus is sold in London.
Time : For
the most part they flower, and bear their berries late in the year,
or not at all, although they are housed in Winter.
and virtues : They are both under the dominion of Jupiter. The
young buds or branches boiled in ordinary broth, make the belly
soluble and open, and boiled in white wine, provoke urine, being
stopped, and is good against the stranguary or difficulty of making
water; it expelleth the gravel and stone out of the kidneys, and
helpeth pains in the reins. And boiled in white wine or vinegar, it
is prevalent for them that have their arteries loosened, or are
troubled with the hip-gout or sciatica. The decoction of the roots
boiled in wine and taken, is good to clear the sight, and being
held in the mouth easeth the toothache. The garden asparagus
nourisheth more than the wild, yet hath it the same effects in all
the aforementioned diseases. The decoction of the root in white
wine, and the back and belly bathed therewith, or kneeling or lying
down in the same, or sitting therein as a bath, has been found
effectual against pains of the reins and bladder, pains of the
mother and cholic, and generally against all pains that happen to
the lower parts of the body, and no less effectual against stiff
and benumbed sinews, or those that are shrunk by cramp and
convulsions, and helps the sciatica.
THIS is so
well known, that time would be misspent in writing a description of
it; therefore I shall only insist upon the virtues of
and virtues : It is governed by the Sun: and the young tender tops,
with the leaves, taken inwardly, and some of them outwardly
applied, are singularly good against the bitings of viper, adder,
or any other venomous beast; and the water distilled therefrom
being taken, a small quantity every morning fasting, is a singular
medicine for those that are subject to dropsy, or to abate the
greatness of those that are too gross or fat. The decoction of the
leaves in white wine helps to break the stone, and expel it, and
cures the jaundice. The ashes of the bark of the Ash made into lye,
and those heads bathed therewith which are leprous, scabby, or
scald, they are thereby cured. The kernels within the husks,
commonly called Ashen Keys, prevail against stitches and pains in
the sides, proceeding of wind, and voideth away the stone by
justly except against none of all this, save only the first, viz.
That Ash-tree tops and leaves are good against the bitings of
serpents and vipers. I suppose this had its rise from Gerrard or
Pliny, both which hold that there is such an antipathy between an
adder and an Ash-tree, that if an adder be encompassed round with
Ash-tree leaves, she will sooner run through the fire than through
the leaves. The contrary to which is the truth, as both my eyes are
witnesses. The rest are virtues something likely, only if it be in
Winter when you cannot get the leaves, you may safely use the bark
instead of them. The keys you may easily keep all the year,
gathering them when they are ripe.
AVENS, CALLED ALSO COLEWORT, AND HERB
The ordinary Avens hath many long, rough, dark green, winged
leaves, rising from the root, every one made of many leaves set on
each side of the middle rib, the largest three whereof grow at the
end, and are snipped or dented round about the edges; the other
being small pieces, sometimes two and sometimes four, standing on
each side of the middle rib underneath them. Among which do rise up
divers rough or hairy stalks about two feet high, branching forth
with leaves at every joint not so long as those below, but almost
as much cut in on the edges, some into three parts, some into more.
On the tops of the branches stand small, pale, yellow flowers
consisting of five leaves, like the flowers of Cinquefoil, but
large, in the middle whereof stand a small green herb, which when
the flower is fallen, grows to be round, being made of many long
greenish purple seeds, (like grains) which will stick upon your
clothes. The root consists of many brownish strings or fibres,
smelling somewhat like unto cloves, especially those which grow in
the higher, hotter, and drier grounds, and in free and clear
They grow wild in many places under hedge's sides, and by the
pathways in fields; yet they rather delight to grow in shadowy than
They flower in May or June for the most part, and their seed is
ripe in July at the farthest.
and virtues : It is governed by Jupiter, and that gives hopes of a
wholesome healthful herb. It is good for the diseases of the chest
or breast, for pains, and stiches in the side, and to expel crude
and raw humours from the belly and stomach, by the sweet savour and
warming quality. It dissolves the inward congealed blood happening
by falls or bruises, and the spitting of blood, if the roots,
either green or dry, be boiled in wine and drank; as also all
manner of inward wounds or outward, if washed or bathed therewith.
The decoction also being drank, comforts the heart, and strengthens
the stomach and a cold brain, and therefore is good in the spring
time to open obstructions of the liver, and helps the wind cholic;
it also helps those that have fluxes, or are bursten, or have a
rupture; it takes away spots or marks in the face, being washed
therewith. The juice of the fresh root, or powder of the dried
root, has the same effect with the decoction. The root in the
Spring-time steeped in wine, gives it a delicate savour and taste,
and being drank fasting every morning, comforts the heart, and is a
good preservative against the plague, or any other poison. It helps
indigestion, and warms a cold stomach, and opens obstructions of
the liver and spleen.
It is very
safe: you need have no dose prescribed; and is very fit to be kept
in every body's house.