Herbs & Oils
~ L ~
LAVENDER: (Lavandula species) Also called
Elf Leaf; Nard; Nardus; Spike. There are 28 species of these
aromatic, evergreen, shrubby, perennials, all with small, linear
leaves and spikes of fragrant, usually purple or blue, two-lipped
flowers. The best-quality essential oil is from L. stoechas
and L. angustifolia. Aromatic oil glands cover all aerial
parts of the plants but are most concentrated in the flowers. The
flowers flavor jams, vinegar, sweets, cream, and Provençal stews,
and are crystallized for decoration. Dried flowers add long-lasting
fragrance to sachets and potpourri. Flower water is a skin toner
useful for speeding cell renewal and is an antiseptic for acne.
Flower tea treats anxiety, headaches, flatulence, nausea,
dizziness, and halitosis. The essential oil is a highly valued
perfume and healer. It is antiseptic, mildly sedative, and
painkilling. It is applied to insect bites, and treats burns, sore
throats and headaches. Queen Elizabeth I is said to have consumed
up to 10 cups of lavender water a day to relieve
The oil is
used for intestinal gas, migraine, and dizziness. Being antiseptic,
lavender is added to healing salves. A tea of the leaf allays
nausea and vomiting. Use two teaspoons per cup of water and steep
for twenty minutes. The dose is one-fourth cup four times a day.
Steep lavender blossoms in white wine and strain to make a natural
antidepressant beverage. Lavender and rose petal vinagar is applied
to the temples and brow to ease headache. Lavender oil is added to
footbaths, eases toothaches and sprains, and is used as a rub for
hysteria and palsy.
Parts Used: Flower and leaf
Magical Uses: Lavender is strewn into bonfires at
Midsummer as an offering to the Gods and Goddesses. An ingredient
of love spells, its scent is said to attract men. Lavender in the
home brings peace, joy and healing. The essential oil is included
in health; love; peace; and conscious mind-oriented formulas. Use
to attract love; to produce sleep by anointing your forehead and
pillow; to purify by adding to baths and to promote chastity and
peace. Attracts elves, burn for purification, peace. Burn at Litha
as an offering. Love; Psychic Awareness; Happiness; Creative Work;
Money and Business; Anointing; Exorcism; Harmony; Peace; Healing.
The odor of lavender is conducive to long life and so should be
smelled as often as possible.
Aromatherapy Uses Abscess; Acne; Allergies;
Athlete's Foot; Boils; Bruises; Burns; Dermatitis; Eczema;
Inflammation; Insect Bites and Stings; Lice; Psoriasis; Ringworm;
Scabies; Spots; Sunburn; Wounds; Lumbago; Rheumatism; Sprains;
Asthma; Bronchitis; Catarrh; Flu; Halitosis; Throat Infections;
Whooping Cough; Colic; Dyspepsia; Flatulence; Nausea; Cystitis;
Dysmenorrhea; Leukorrhea; Depression; Headache; Hypertension;
Insomnia; migraine; Nervous Tension; Stress. Key Qualities:
Soothing; Sedative; Antidepressant; Calming; Relaxing; Balancing;
Restorative; Cephalic; Appeasing; Cleansing;
LEMON: Citrus limon The fruit, juice, and
peel of citrus fruits flavor food and drink and provide vitamin C.
Essential oils from the peel scent food, cosmetics and perfume. The
seed oils are used in soaps.
Magical Uses: Use in Lunar oils. Wear diluted
lemon oil during the Full Moon to attune with its energies. Use in
purification and healing oils. Purification; Love. A Lemon may
serve as a poppet.
Aromatherapy Uses Acne; Anemia; Brittle Nails;
Boils; Chilblains; Corns; Cuts; Greasy Skin; Herpes; Insect bites;
Mouth Ulcers; Spots; Throat Infections; Warts; Arthritis;
Cellulitis; High Blood Pressure; Nosebleeds; Obesity; Poor
Circulation; Varicose Veins; Rheumatism; Asthma; Bronchitis;
Catarrh; Dyspepsia; Colds; Flu; Fever; Infections. Key Qualities:
Refreshing, Mental Stimulant; Cephalic; Purifying; Reviving;
LEMON BALM: Melissa officionalis This
bushy herb has square stems, lemon-scented foliage, and late-summer
flowers that mature from white or yellow to pale blue. Fresh leaves
add a delicate flavor to many dishes, oils, vinegars, and liqueurs,
provide a relaxing bath, soothe insect bites, and make a sedative
and tonic tea.
Parts Used: Leaf and Flower
Magical Uses: Soak in wine for 3 hours, remove
and serve wine to friends and loved ones. Used in spells to ensure
LEMONGRASS: (Cymbopogon citratus) This
aromatic grass has clumped, bulbous stems becoming leaf blades and
a branched panicle of flowers. The stem and leaf, used widely in
Thai cuisine, have a distinct lemon flavor. Leaf tea treats
diarrhea, stomachache, headaches, fevers, and flu, and is
antiseptic. The essential oil is used in cosmetics, food and
Parts Used: Leaf, stem and oil
Magical Uses: The essential oil strengthens
psychic awareness and is also useful in purification
Aromatherapy Uses Acne; Athlete's Foot; Excessive
Perspiration; Open Pores; Pediculosis; Scabies; Tissue Toner;
Muscular Pain; Poor Circulation and Muscle Tone; Slack Tissue;
Colitis; Indigestion; Gastroenteritis; Fevers; Infectious Diseases;
Headaches; Nervous Exhaustion; Stress-Related Conditions; Insect
Repellent (fleas, lice and ticks). Key Qualities: Refreshing;
Active; Stimulating; Soothing.
LEMON VERBENA: (Aloysia triphylla syn.
Lippia citriodora) Lemon Verbena has strongly lemon-scented
whorls of three or four leaves along its stems and panicles of
tiny, pale summer flowers. The leaves are used to flavor drinks and
fruit and sweet dishes, and to make herb tea. The tea is refreshing
and mildly sedative. The leaves also yield a green coloring and
and flowering tops are used to lower fevers and to relieve gas and
indigestion. Lemon Verbena is calming, a sedative for the nerves.
Steep two teaspoons per cup of water for twenty minutes and take
one-fourth cup four times a day. Stimulating to the skin, lemon
verbena makes a good facial scrub for pimples and blemishes. To
make the scrub, grind the dry herb or use the powder and mix in a
little natural clay and ground oatmeal, add water to make a
Parts Used: Leaf and flowering top
Magical Uses: Often sold simply as "Verbena" This
full lemon-scented essential oil is wonderful in love blends. Added
to other mixtures to increase their strength, and is also used to
purify an area or is added to bathwater for protection and
purification purposes. Lemon Verbena is worn to make oneself
attractive to the opposite sex, and is used in love spells and
LILAC: (Syringia vulgaris) Lilac is a
deciduous, twiggy shrub or small tree with a mass of heart-shaped
leaves and showy panicles of small, waxy, spring flowers. The
perfume is extracted from the flowers and used commercially. The
flowers were once used to treat fever. In the language of flowers,
Lilac symbolizes the first emotions of love. If inhaled too deeply,
however, the strong flower fragrance can cause nausea.
Parts Used: Flower
Magical Uses: Lilac drives away evil where it is
planted or strewn. It was originally planted in New England to keep
evil from the property. The fresh flowers can be placed in a
haunted house to clear it. Peace; Clairvoyance; Divination;
Creativity; Happiness; Harmony; Exorcism; Protection: Psychic
LIME: (Citrus limata) A small evergreen
tree, up to 15 feet, with stiff, sharp soines, smooth ovate leaves,
and small white flowers. The bitter fruit is a pale green color,
about half the size of a lemon. The essential oil is extracted from
the fruit peel.
Parts Used: Fruit
Magical Uses: (Peel)Useful in purification and
protection spells. The peel is used in love mixtures and
Aromatherapy Uses: Antirheumatic, antiscorbutic,
antiseptic, antiviral, aperitif, bactericidal, febrifuge,
restorative, tonic. Use for Acne, anemia, brittle nails, boils,
chilblains, corns, cuts, greasy skin, herpes, insect bites, mouth
ulcers, spots, warts, arthritis, cellulitis, high blood pressure,
nosebleeds, obesity, poor circulation, rheumatism, asthma,
bronchitis, catarrh, dyspepsia, colds, flu, fever, throat
infections, and other infections. Key Qualities: Refreshing,
LINDEN: (Tilia spp.) Linden have small
highly fragrant flowers, and can be hard to identify, since they
hybridize freely. The flowers are brewed to make a tea, the classic
digestive end to a continental meal, and a treatment for insomnia,
nervous tension, and overwrought children. The world's most valued
honey is made from Linden blossoms and is used in liqueurs and
medicines. The inner bark treats kidney stones, gout and coronary
Parts Used: Flower, leaf, twigs, bark and
Magical Uses: Bark used for protection, leaves
and flowers or immortality. Good Fortune, Sleep and Love. Hang
branches over the door for protection or grow in the
LOOSESTRIFE: (Lythrum salicaria) Purple
Loosestrife has a creeping rootstock, angled stems with
lance-shaped leaves, and spikes of purple-red flowers. The leaves
are eaten as an emergency vegetable and fermented into a mild
alcohol. The flowering plant is an intestinal disinfectant,
treating diarrhea and food poisoning. It acts as a typhus
antibiotic, a sore throat gargle, and is given for fever and liver
Parts Used: Flower, leaf and stem
Magical Uses: Placed in the corners of each room,
this herb restores harmony and brings peace. Give as a gift to
bring about an accord.
LOTUS: (Nelumbo nucifera or Nymphaea
lotus) This aquatic herb's waxy leaves rise high above the
water its long-stalked fragrant flowers open at dawn and close at
sunset. Lotus stalks, leaves, petals, seeds and rhizome are all
eaten. The flowers are a religious offering in many cultures and
are planted for devotional reasons.
of Nelumbo nucifera is used for fever, sweating,
irritability, dysentery, diarrhea, and scanty urine. It is a
styptic (stops bleeding) and has been used to antidote alcohol and
mushroom poisoning. It affects the liver, heart, and spleen
energies. The nodes of the root are used to stop bleeding and to
break down blood clots. All types of internal bleeding are
affected. The plumule (bud) affects the heart, kidney, and spleen.
It is used to calm mental agitation and worry, relieve insomnia,
and lower fevers. The seed affects the kidney, heart, adn spleen.
It is used for agitation, insomnia, palpitations, dry mouth, dark
urine, and chronic diarrhea. It strengthens the heart and
is steeped, and the bud, root, and seed are simmered, using two
teaspoons of herb per cup of water, for twenty minutes. The dose is
one-fourth cup, four times a day.
Parts Used: Leaf, node of the root, buds, and
Magical Uses: Lotus is an all-purpose spiritual
elixer. Burned as incense, it encourages the dead to seek their
highest possible reincarnation. It reminds the living of their
inner sanctity and divinity. Lotus plants thrive in murky waters.
They float serenely on the stagnant surface and never a drop sticks
to them. Anyone who breathes the scent of the lotus will receive
its protection. It's said that if you place the root of a lotus
under the tongue and say the words "SIGN, ARGIS" toward a
locked door. It will open miraculously. Lotus sees and pods are
used as antidotes to love spells and any part of the lotus carried
or worn ensures blessing by the Gods and Good Luck.
no true Lotus oils. Perfumers simply haven't found a way to capture
the scent of the flower. Use this mix to approximate the odor:
Rose, White Musk, Jasmine and Ylang-Ylang; Mix until the scent is
heavy, floral and warm. Use in spirituality, healing and meditation
Ledum latifolium (JACQ.)
Medicinal Acition and Uses
---Synonyms---St. James's Tea. Ledum
Used---Leaves and tops.
---Habitat---Greenland, Labrador, Nova Scotia, Hudson's
---Description---This evergreen shrub grows to a height of 4 to
5 feet, with irregular, woolly branches. The leaves are alternate,
entire, elliptical or oblong, 1 to 2 inches long, the upper side
smooth and woolly underneath, with the edges rolled back. The
large, white, five-petalled flowers grow in flattened terminal
clusters, opening in June and July. The plant grows in cold bogs
and mountain woods. It is taller, more regularly formed, and has
larger leaves than L. palustre. During the American War of
Independence the leaves were much used instead of tea-leaves. They
should be collected before flowering time, and the tops when the
flowers begin to open.
much attracted by the flowers, but animals do not browse on the
plants, which are said to be slightly poisonous.
among clothes, the leaves will keep away moths, and in Lapland the
branches are placed among grain to keep away mice.
the leaves are used for tanning leather.
---Constituents---There has been found in the leaves tannin,
gallic acid, a bitter substance, wax, resin, and
and Uses---The leaves are tonic, diaphoretic, and pectoral, having
a pleasant odour and rather spicy taste. They yield their virtues
to hot water or to alcohol. It is useful in coughs, dyspepsia, and
irritation of the membranes of the chest. An infusion has been used
to soothe irritation in infectious, feverish eruptions, in
dysentery, leprosy, itch, etc. The strong decoction, as a wash,
will kill lice. The leaves are also used in malignant and inflamed
infusion, 2 to 4 fluid ounces, three to four times a day. Overdoses
may cause violent headache and symptoms of in
PALUSTRE (Marsh Tea, Marsh Cistus,Wild Rosemary, Wild Rosmarin,
Rosmarinus Sylvestris [This species is used in Homeopathy.-
EDITOR.], Porsch, Sumpfporsch, Finne Thé) grows in swamps and wet
places of northern Europe, Asia, and America, and on the mountains
of southern districts. The leaves are reputed to be more powerful
than those of L. latifolium, and to have in addition some narcotic
properties, being used in Germany to make beer more intoxicating.
The leaves contain a volatile oil, including ledum camphor, a
stearopten, with valeric and volatile acids, ericolin, and
ericinol. The tannin is called leditannic acid.
Cytisus Laburnam (LINN.)
Laburnum, indigenous to the higher mountains of Europe, is
cultivated throughout the civilized world for its flowers, which
appear early in the spring, in rich, pendent, yellow
of the plant are probably poisonous and children should be warned
never to touch the black seeds which contain this highly poisonous
alkaloid, as cases of poisoning after eating the seeds have been
Laburnum is a native of the mountains of France, Switzerland, and
southern Germany, where it attains the height of 20 feet and
upwards. It was introduced into England previously to 1597, at
which time Gerard appears to have grown it in his garden under the
names of Anagyris, Laburnum, and Bean Trefoil.
heart-wood is of a dark colour, and though of a coarse grain it is
very hard and durable, will take a polish, and may be stained to
resemble ebony. It is much in demand among turners, and is wrought
into a variety of articles which require strength and
purpurascens (Fr. C. d'Adam), the PURPLE LABURNUM, is a hybrid
between C. Laburnum and C. purpureus. It was originated in Paris in
1828, by M. Adam, and has since been much cultivated in England. A
curious result of hybridizing appears in this variety occasionally.
The branches below the graft produce the ordinary yellow Laburnum
flowers of large size; those above often exhibit a small purple
Laburnum flower, as well as reddish flowers intermediate between
the two in size and colour. Occasionally, the same cluster has some
flowers yellow and some purple (Balfour).
trees should not be allowed to overhang a field used as a pasture,
for when cattle and horses have browsed on the foliage and pods,
the results have proved deadly.
of poisoning by Laburnum root or seeds are intense sleepiness,
vomiting, convulsive movements, coma, slight frothing atthe mouth
and unequally dilated pupils. In some cases, diarrhoea is very
severe and at times the convulsions are markedly
article on the use of insecticides against lice, by A. Bacot,
Entomologist to the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, in the
British Medical Journal of September 30, 1916, the writer records
the results of experiments with various reputedly insecticidal
substances, but mainly with Cytisine, the alkaloid obtained from
the seeds of the Gorse and Laburnum, the physiological properties
of which resemble those of Nicotine. He found that while Cytisine
is quite satisfactory from an experimental point of view, its use
is contraindicated, because the degree of concentration required is
such as to entail risk of absorption over a wide area of the body,
with almost certain toxic consequences.
---Constituents---Cytisine was discovered in 1863 by Husemann
and Marme, as one of the poisonous alkaloids present in the seeds
of the Laburnum. It is a white, crystalline solid, of a bitter,
somewhat caustic taste, with a very poisonous action. It has been
recommended in whooping cough and asthma.
alkaloid has been isolated from the seeds of several leguminous
plants. Plugge, in 1895, stated that he found it in eight species
of the genus Cytisus, two of the genus Genista, two of the genus
Sophara, two of the genus Baptisia, in Anagyris Joetida, and in
other plants. He considered the Ulexine of Gerrard from Ulex
Europaea (Linn.) to be identical with Cytisine.
Lachnanthes tinctoria (ELL.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Gyrotheca capitata. Gyrotheca tinctoria. Wool
Flower. Red Root. Paint Root. Spirit Weed.
---Habitat---The drug Lachnanthes is prepared from the entire
plant, but especially from the rhizome and roots of Lachnanthes
tinctoria, a plant indigenous to the United States of America,
growing in sandy swamps along the Atlantic coast, from Florida to
New Jersey and Rhode Island, and also found in Cuba, blossoming
from June to September, according to locality.
introduced into England as a greenhouse plant in 1812 and then
propagated from seed.
plant is a perennial herb, 1 1/2 to 2 feet high, the upper portion
whitewoolly, hence one of its local names: Woolflower. The rhizome
is about 1 inch in length and of nearly equal thickness, and bears
a large number of long, coarse, somewhat waxy, deep-red roots,
yielding a red dye, to which its popular names of Paintroot and
Redroot are due.
are mostly borne in basal rosettes and are somewhat succulent, 1/5
to 3/5 inch wide and reduced to bracts on the upper part of the
stem. The flowers are in a close, woolly cyme, the ovary inferior,
the perianth sixparted, the sepals narrower than the petals, the
stamens three, alternately with the petals on long filaments; the
style is solitary, threadlike, its stigma slightly lobed; the
fruit, a three-celled, many seeded, rounded capsule.
---Constituents---The root yields a fine red dye and a little
resin, but so far no analysis determining the nature of its
specific constituents has been made: they are, however, quite
active, producing a peculiar form of cerebral stimulation or
has a somewhat acrid taste, but no odour.
root,' says Millspaugh, 'was esteemedan invigorating tonic by the
American aborigines, especially by the Seminole tribe, who use it,
it is said, to cause brilliancy and fluency of speech. A tincture
of the root has been recommended in typhus and typhoid fevers,
pneumonia, severe forms of brain disease,' rheumatic wry-neck and
its narcotic uses among the Indians, it has been used in the United
States for dyeing purposes.
is employed for various nervous disorders. A homoeopathic tincture
is prepared from the whole fresh plant, while flowering. Doses
varying from a few drops of the tincture to a drachm, cause mental
exhilaration, followed by ill-humour, vertigo and
extract, 1 to 5 drops.
the drug is not related to the Solanaceae, the effects of overdoses
are said to resemble those of poisoning by Belladonna and other
countries where it grows, there is a legend that the Paintroot
plant is fatally poisonous to white pigs, but not injurious to
black ones. Darwin, on the authority of Professor I. J. Wyman,
cites the strange effect on albino pigs after eating the roots of
this plant. In Virginia, where it grows abundantly, Professor Wyman
noticed that all the pigs in this district were black, and upon
inquiring of the farmers he found that all the white pigs born in a
litter were destroyed, because they could not be reared to
maturity. The roots of Lachnanthes, when eaten by white pigs,
caused their bones to turn to a pink colour and their hoofs to fall
off, but the black pigs, it was said, could eat the same plant with
impunity. Heusinger has shown that white sheep and pigs are injured
by the ingestion of certain plants, while the pigmented species may
eat them without harm.
See Bedstraw, Lady's.
Alchemilla vulgaris (LINN.)
Part Used Medicinally
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Lion's Foot. Bear's Foot. Nine Hooks.
---Habitat---The Lady's Mantle and the Parsley Piert, two
small, inconspicuous plants, have considerable reputation as herbal
remedies. They both belong to the genus Alchemilla of the great
order Rosaceae, most of the members of which are natives of the
American Andes, only a few being found in Europe, North America and
Northern and Western Asia. In Britain, we have only three species,
Alchemilla vulgaris, the Common Lady's Mantle, A. arvensis, the
Field Lady's Mantle or Parsley Piert, and A. alpina, less frequent
and only found in mountainous districts.
Lady's Mantle is generally distributed over Britain, but more
especially in the colder districts and on high-lying ground, being
found up to an altitude of 3,600 feet in the Scotch Highlands. It
is not uncommon in moist, hilly pastures and by streams, except in
the south-east of England, and is abundant in Yorkshire, especially
in the Dales. It is indeed essentially a plant of the north, freely
found beyond the Arctic circle in Europe, Asia and also in
Greenland and Labrador, and only on high mountain ranges, such as
the Himalayas, if found in southern latitudes.
is of graceful growth and though only a foot high and green
throughout- flowers, stem and leaves alike, and therefore
inconspicuous - the rich form of its foliage and the beautiful
shape of its clustering blossoms make it worthy of
rootstock is perennialblack, stout and short - and from it rises
the slender erect stem. The whole plant is clothed with soft hairs.
The lower, radical leaves, large and handsome, 6 to 8 inches in
diameter, are borne on slender stalks, 6 to 18 inches long and are
somewhat kidneyshaped in general outline, with their margins cut
into seven or mostly nine broad, but shallow lobes, finely toothed
at the edges, from which it has obtained one of its local names:
'Nine Hooks.' The upper leaves are similar and either stalkless, or
on quite short footstalks and are all actually notched and toothed.
A noticeable feature is the leaflike stipules, also toothed, which
embrace the stem.
flowers, which are in bloom from June to August, are numerous and
small, only about 1/8 inch in diameter, yellow-green in colour, in
loose, divided clusters at the end of the freely-branching
flower-stems, each on a short stalk, or pedicle. There are no
petals, the calyx is four-cleft, with four conspicuous little
bracteoles that have the appearance of outer and alternate segments
of the calyx. There are four stamens, inserted on the mouth of the
calyx, their filaments jointed.
rootstock is astringent and edible and the leaves are eaten by
sheep and cattle.
name, Lady's Mantle (in its German form, Frauenmantle), was first
bestowed on it by the sixteenth-century botanist, Jerome Bock,
always known by the Latinized version of his name: Tragus. It
appears under this name in his famous History of Plants, published
in 1532, and Linnaeus adopted it. In the Middle Ages, this plant
had been associated, like so many flowers, with the Virgin Mary
(hence it is Lady's Mantle, not Ladies' Mantle), the lobes of the
leaves being supposed to resemble the scalloped edges of a mantle.
In mediaeval Latin we also find it called Leontopodium (lion's
foot), probably from its spreading root-leaves, and this has become
in modern French, Pied-de-lion. We occasionally find the same idea
expressed in two English local names, 'Lion's foot' and 'Bear's
foot.' It has also been called 'Stellaria,' from the radiating
character of its lower leaves, but this belongs more properly to
quite another group of plants, with star-like blossoms of pure
fungus sometimes attacks the plant known as Uromyces alchemillae,
and has the curious effect of causing abnormal length of the
leaf-stalk and rendering the blade of the leaf smaller and of a
paler green colour; this fungus produces the same effect in other
generic name Alchemilla is derived from the Arabic word, Alkemelych
(alchemy), and was bestowed on it, according to some old writers,
because of the wonder-working powers of the plant. Others held that
the alchemical virtues lay in the subtle influence the foliage
imparted to the dewdrops that lay in its furrowed leaves and in the
little cup formed by its joined stipules, these dewdrops
constituting part of many mystic potions.
Medicinally---The whole herb, gathered in June and July when in
flower and when the leaves are at their best, and
is sometimes also employed, generally fresh.
and Uses---The Lady's Mantle has astringent and styptic properties,
on account of the tannin it contains. It is 'of a very drying and
binding character' as the old herbalists expressed it, and was
formerly considered one of the best vulneraries or wound
Culpepper says of it:
'Lady's Mantle is very proper for inflamed
wounds and to stay bleeding, vomitings, fluxes of all sorts,
bruises by falls and ruptures. It is one of the most singular wound
herbs and therefore highly prized and praised, used in all wounds
inward and outward, to drink a decoction thereof and wash the
wounds therewith, or dip tents therein and put them into the wounds
which wonderfully drieth up all humidity of the sores and abateth
all inflammations thereof. It quickly healeth green wounds, not
suffering any corruption to remain behind and cureth old sores,
though fistulous and hollow.'
herbal treatment, it is employed as a cure for excessive
menstruation and is taken internally as an infusion 1 OZ. of the
dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water) in teacupful doses as
required and the same infusion is also employed as an
decoction of the fresh root, by some considered the most valuable
part of the plant, has also been recommended as excellent to stop
all bleedings, and the root dried and reduced to powder is
considered to answer the same purpose and to be good for violent
a tincture of the leaves has been given in cases of spasmodic or
convulsive diseases, and an old authority states that if placed
under the pillow at night, the herb will promote quiet
extract, dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm.
sheep like the plant, and it has therefore been suggested as a
profitable fodder plant, but the idea has proved unpractical.
Grazing animals will not eat the leaves till the moisture in them
alpine, a mountain variety,found on the banks of Scotch rivulets.
The leaves are deeply divided into five oblong leaflets and are
thickly covered with lustrous silky hairs. A form of this plant in
which the leaflets are connate for one-third of their length is
known as A. conjuncta.
See PARSLEY PIERT.
See American Valerian.
Spiranthes autumnalis (ORICH.)
---Habitat---Dry, hilly fields all over Europe - towards the
Tresses grow on the Sussex downs near Amberley. -
---Description---This orchis takes its name from speira (a
'spiral') and anthos (a flower), inallusion to the spiral
arrangement of the flowers. Rootstock produces every season two or
three oblong tubers and a tuft of spreading, radical, ovate leaves
about 1 inch long, a flowering stem 6 or 8 inches high by the side
of the tuft of leaves. Blooms in autumn, flowers a greenishwhite,
smelling like almonds, in a close spinal spike about 2 inches long,
diverging horizontally to one side - with the bracts erect on
opposite side, in appearance not unlike lilies of the
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Formerly used as an
of the root is used in homeopathy for skin affections, painful
breasts, pain in the kidneys and eye complaints.
diuretica, used in Chile in cases of ischury.
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Lark's Heel. Lark's Toe. Lark's Claw. Knight's
Larkspur grows wild in cornfields throughout Europe. Though a
doubtful native, it is found occasionally in England in
considerable quantities in sandy or chalky cornfields, especially
is an annual, with upright, round stems a foot high or more,
pubescent and divided into alternate, dividing branches. The leaves
are alternate, the lower ones with petioles 1/2 inch long, the
upper ones sessile, or nearly so. The plant closely resembles some
of the species commonly cultivated in gardens.
flowers are in short racemes, pink, purple or blue, followed by
glabrous follicles containing black, flattened seeds with acute
edges and pitted surfaces. The seeds are poisonous, have an acrid
and bitter taste, but are inodorous.
principle of the plant- Delphinine - is the same as in Stavesacre
and is an irritant poison. Children should be warned against
putting any part of this plant, or of its garden representatives,
into their mouths. The seeds are especially dangerous, and cause
vomiting and purging if eaten.
and Uses---As in Stavesacre, the part used medicinally is the seed,
a tincture of which in like manner acts as a parasiticide and
insecticide, being used to destroy lice and nits in the hair.
(During the Great War, when the men in the trenches took the
trouble to use it, the results were said to be quite successful. -
tincture, given in 10-drop doses, gradually increased, is also
employed in spasmodic asthma and dropsy.
expressed juice of the leaves is considered good as an application
to bleeding piles, and a conserve made of the flowers was formerly
held to be an excellent medicine for children when subject to
of the flowers and an infusion of the whole plant was also
prescribed against colic.
expressed juice of the petals with the addition of a little alum
makes a good blue ink.
Delphinium, from Delphin (a dolphin), was given to this genus
because the buds were held to resemble a dolphin. Shakespeare
mentions the plant under the name of Lark's Heel.
Consolida refers to the plant's power of consolidating
Laurus nobilis (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Sweet Bay. True Laurel. Bay. Laurier d'Apollon.
Roman Laurel. Noble Laurel. Lorbeer. Laurier Sauce.
Used---Leaves, fruit, oil.
---Habitat---Shores of the Mediterranean.
Sweet Bay is a small tree, growing in Britain to a height of about
25 feet, but in warmer climates reaching as much as 60 feet. The
smooth bark may be olive-green or of a reddish hue. The luxurious,
evergreen leaves are alternate, with short stalks, lanceolate, 3 to
4 inches long, the margin smooth and wavy. They are thick, smooth,
and of a shining, dark green colour. The flowers are small, yellow
and unisexual, and grow in small clusters. The shrub has been
cultivated in Britain since the sixteenth century. It is the source
of the ancients' crowns and wreaths for heroes and poets, and the
modern term of 'bachelor,' given for degrees, is probably derived
from bacca-laureus, or laurel-berry, through the French
Delphic priestesses are said to have made use of the leaves. It
grows well under the shade of other trees if they are not too
close, and is useful in evergreen plantations. The leaves are much
used in cookery for flavouring. They are often packed with stick
liquorice or dried figs. They are used fresh, and may be gathered
all the year round.
volatile oil is sometimes used in perfumery.
black, aromatic berries come from Provence, Spain, Italy and
Morocco. They are ovoid, and the kernel of the seed is
is sweet-scented, and is used for marqueterie work.
Laurier is prepared from the oil with axonge and the colouring and
scenting principles of the leaves and fruit.
greenish-yellow volatile oil is yielded by distillation from the
leaves which contains a high percentage of oxygenated compounds.
The berries contain both fixed and volatile oils, the former, known
as Oil of Bays, includes laurostearine, the ether of lauric acid.
Laurin can be extracted by alcohol.
substitute for the expressed oil is said to be lard-coloured with
chlorophyll or indigo and turmeric, scented with the berries.
Boiling alcohol, which dissolves the true oil, will detect
volatile oil contains pinene, geraniol, eugenol, cineol,
and Uses---Leaves, berries and oil have excitant and narcotic
properties. The leaves are also regarded as a diaphoretic and in
large doses as an emetic.
a stimulant in veterinary practice the leaves and fruit are very
rarely used internally. They were formerly employed in hysteria,
amenorrhoea, flatulent colic, etc. The berries have been used to
Bays is used externally for sprains, bruises, etc., and sometimes
dropped into the ears to relieve pain. The leaves were formerly
infused and taken as tea, and the powder or infusion of the berries
was taken to remove obstructions, to create appetite, or as an
emmenagogue. Four or five moderate doses were said to cure the
ague. The berries were formerly used in several French carminative
following products are often mistaken for those of Laurus
of Cocculus Indicus or Anamirta paniculata. They are odourless and
The oil of
Pimenta Acris, from which bay rum is distilled in the West Indies,
and which is also called oil of bay.
of Prunus Laurocerasus, or Cherry Laurel, to which the name of
Laurel is now always applied. The margin of these short, strong
serrations at intervals. Caution should be observed in
distinguishing these, owing to their poisonous
Prunus Laurocerasus (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Laurocerasifolia. Cherry-Bay. Common Laurel.
Laurier-armande. Laurier aux Crèmes. Laurier-cérise.
---Habitat---A native of Asia Minor. Largely cultivated in
---Description---This small, evergreen tree, growing to 20 feet
in height, has spreading, slender branches, smooth, shining, and
pale green. The leaves are thick, alternate, on short, thick
stalks, oblong-ovate, from 5 to 7 inches long, growing narrower at
each end, and with a slightly serrate margin. The dark green upper
surface is smooth and shining and the under one much paler, dull,
and the midrib very prominent. There are glandular depressions and
hairs near the base.
five-petalled, small white flowers grow in erect, oblong racemes.
The fruit resembles black cherries, but grows in clusters like
grapes. The leaves are without odour except when bruised and added
to water, when they have the ratafia or almond odour of prussic
acid. The taste is bitter, aromatic, and astringent.
were introduced into Europe about 1580, and shortly afterwards into
are used for flavouring, but should be used with great care, owing
to the risk of poisoning.
Cherry-Laurel Water has been used in Paris fraudulently to
imitate the cordial called Kirsch.
active essence is reserved for perfumery.
difference of opinion as to the best season for gathering the
leaves. Drying destroys the active principle.
bruised leaves, like those of peach or almond, when rubbed within
any vessel will remove the odour left by oil of cloves, balsam of
copaiba, etc., if the grease has first been cleaned away with
---Constituents---The leaves yield a volatile oil in the
proportion of 40.5 grains to 1 lb. of leaves. This resembles oil of
bitter almonds, and in Europe is sometimes sold for it, as
flavouring, but the glucoside decomposes more slowly than
crystallized amygdalin, and is liable to hold hydrocyanic acid,
when it becomes poisonous. This glucoside was called Laurocerasin,
or Amorphous amygdalin, and now Prulaurasin.
emulsin and water, prulaurasin is decomposed, and yields
benzaldehyde, hydrocyanic acid, and dextrose.
Cherry Laurel Water (Aqua Laurocerasi),
according to the British Pharmacopceia, is prepared as
'One pound of fresh leaves of
cherrylaurel, 2 1/2 pints of water. Chop the leaves, crush them in
a mortar, and macerate them in the water for 24 hours; then distil
1 pint of liquid; shake the product, filter through paper, and
preserve it in a stoppered bottle.'
America, oil of Bitter Almonds is often substituted, owing to the
variability of the above.
and Uses---The water is a sedative narcotic, identical in its
properties, to a diluted solution of hydrocyanic acid, but of
B.P., 1/2 to 2 drachms. Used for asthma, coughs, indigestion and
dyspepsia, 1 drop of sulphuric acid added to a pint of Cherry
Laurel Water will keep it unchanged for a year.
Kalmia latifolia (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---Broad-leafed Laurel. Calico Bush. Spoon Wood.
Ledum Floribus Bullates. Cistus Chamaerhodendros.
---Habitat---New Brunswick, Florida, Ohio, Louisiana, New
Hampshire, Massachusetts, Alleghany Mountains.
beautiful evergreen shrub from 4 to 20 feet. When in full flower it
forms dense thickets, the stems are always crooked, the bark rough.
It was called Kalmia by Linnaeus in honour of Peter Kalm, a Swedish
professor. The hard wood is used in the manufacture of various
useful articles. Leaves ovate, lanceolate, acute on each end, on
petioles 2 to 3 inches long. Flowers numerous, delicately tinted a
lovely shade of pink; these are very showy, clammy, interminal,
viscid, pubescent, simple or compound heads, branches opposite,
flowering in June and July. The flowers yield a honey said to be
deleterious. The leaves, shoots and berries are dangerous to
cattle, and when eaten by Canadian pheasants communicate the poison
to those who feed on the birds. The fruit is a dry capsule, seeds
minute and numerous.
---Constituents---Leaves possess narcotic poisoning properties
and contain tannic acid, gum, fatty matter, chlorophyll, a
substance resembling mannite, wax extractive, albumen, an acrid
principle, Aglucosidearbutin, yellow calcium iron.
and Uses---Indians are said to use the expressed juice of the
leaves or a strong decoction of them to commit suicide. The leaves
are the official part; powdered leaves are used as a local remedy
in some forms of skin diseases, and are a most efficient agent in
syphilis, fevers, jaundice, neuralgia and inflammation, but great
care should be exercised in their use. Whisky is the best antidote
to poisoning from this plant. An ointment for skin diseases is made
by stewing the leaves in pure lard in an earthenware vessel in a
hot oven. Taken internally it is a sedative and astringent in
active haemorrhages, diarrhoea and flux. It has a splendid effect
and will be found useful in overcoming obstinate chronic irritation
of the mucous surface. In the lower animals an injection produces
great salivation, lachrymation, emesis, convulsions and later
paralysis of the extremities and laboured respiration. It is
supposed, but not proved, that the poisonous principle of this
plant is Andromedotoxin.
Dosages---A saturated tincture of the leaves taken when plant is in
flower, is the best form of administration, given in doses of 10 to
20 drops every two or three hours. Decoction, 1/2 to 1 fluid ounce
of powdered leaves from 10 to 30 grains. Salve made from juice of
the plant is an efficient local application for
augusfifolia (Sheep's Laurel or Lambkill, or Narrow-leaved Laurel,
so called because it poisons sheep, which feed on its leaves), this
species is said to be the best for medicinal use. A decoction of
its leaves, 1 OZ. to 1 quart of water reduced to a pint, is used by
the negroes as a wash for ulcerations between the toes. A poisonous
glucoside is found in the leaves of this species called asebotoxin,
and also in K. latifolia.
or Swamp Laurel, has similar properties.
Description - Engligh Lavender
Description - Spike Lavender
Description - L. Stoechas
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Habitat---Lavender is a shrubby plant indigenous to the
mountainous regions of the countries bordering the western half of
the Mediterranean, and cultivated extensively for its aromatic
flowers in various parts of France, in Italy and in England and
even as far north as Norway. It is also now being grown as a
perfume plant in Australia.
fragrant oil to which the odour of Lavender flowers is due is a
valuable article of commerce, much used in perfumery, and to a
lesser extent in medicine. The fine aromatic smell is found in all
parts of the shrub, but the essential oil is only produced from the
flowers and flower-stalks. Besides being grown for the production
of this oil, Lavender is widely sold in the fresh state as 'bunched
Lavender,' and as 'dried Lavender,' the flowers are used powdered,
for sachet making and also for pot-pourri, etc., so that the plant
is a considerable source of profit.
species of Lavender are used in the preparation of the commercial
essential oil, but the largest proportion is obtained from the
flowers of Lavandula vera, the narrow-leaved form, which grows
abundantly in sunny, stony localities in the Mediterranean
countries, but nowhere to such perfection as in England. (The
Editor has often come across fields of French Lavender in bloom and
the scent has been poor compared with English Lavender grown under
the worst conditions. -- EDITOR.) English Lavender is much more
aromatic and has a far greater delicacy of odour than the French,
and the oil fetches ten times the price. The principal English
Lavender plantations are at Carshalton and Wallington in Surrey,
Hitchin in Herts, Long Melford in Suffolk, Market Deeping (Lincs)
and in Kent, near Canterbury. Mitcham in Surrey used to be the
centre of the Lavender-growing industry, but with the extension of
London the famous Lavender plantations of Mitcham and surrounding
districts have been largely displaced by buildings, and during the
War the cultivation of Lavender was still further diminished to
give place to food crops, so that in 1920 not more than ten acres
under Lavender cultivation could be stated to be found in the whole
of Surrey, though some of the oil is still distilled in the
neighbourhood, and the finest products continue to be described as
'Mitcham Lavender Oil.'
---Description---ENGLISH LAVENDER (Lavandula vera), the common
narrow-leaved variety, grows 1 to 3 feet high (in gardens,
occasionally somewhat taller), with a short, but irregular,
crooked, much-branched stem, covered with a yellowish-grey bark,
which comes off in flakes, and very numerous, erect, straight,
broom-like, slender, bluntly-quadrangular branches, finely
pubescent, with stellate hairs. The leaves are opposite, sessile,
entire, linear, blunt; when young, white with dense stellate hairs
on both surfaces; their margins strongly revolute; when full grown,
1 1/2 inch long, green with scattered hairs above, smoothly or
finely downy beneath, and the margins only slightly revolute. The
flowers are produced in terminating, blunt spikes from the young
shoots, on long stems. The spikes are composed of whorls or rings
of flowers, each composed of from six to ten flowers, the lower
whorls more distant from one another. The flowers themselves are
very shortly stalked, three to five together in the axils of
rhomboidal, brown, thin, dry bracts. The calyx is tubular and
ribbed, with thirteen veins, purple-grey in colour, five-toothed
(one tooth being longer than the others) and hairy; shining oil
glands amongst the hairs are visible with a lens. The majority of
the oil yielded by the flowers is contained in the glands on the
calyx. The two-lipped corolla is of a beautiful bluish-violet
Lavender oil is distilled from two distinct plants, found in the
mountain districts of Southem France, both included under the name
of L. officinalis by the sixteenth-century botanists, and L. vera
by De Candolle. The French botanist Jordan has separated them under
the name of L. delphinensis, the Lavender of Dauphine, and L.
fragrans. The oils from the two plants are very similar, but the
former yields oils with the higher percentage of
---Description---The SPIKE LAVENDER (L. spica, D.C., or
latifolia, Vill.) is a coarser, broadleaved variety of the Lavender
shrub, also found in the mountain districts of France and Spain,
though preferring alluvial ground which has been brought down by
water from higher levels. In this country it cannot so easily be
cultivated in the open as the common Lavender, to which it has a
very close similarity, but from which it can be distinguished by
the inflorescence, which is more compressed, by the bracts in the
axils of which the flowers are placed being much narrower and by
the leaves which are broader and spatula shaped. The flowers yield
three times as much of the essential oil - known as Spike oil - as
can be got from our narrowleaved plant, but it is of a second-rate
quality, less fragrant than that of the true Lavender, its odour
resembling a mixture of the oils of Lavender and
in his Garden of Pleasure says the L. spica 'is often called the
Lesser Lavender or minor, and is called by some, Nardus Italica.'
Some believe that this is the Spikenard mentioned in the
---History---Dr. Fernie, in Herbal
'By the Greeks the name Nardus is given to
Lavender, from Naarda, a city of Syria near the Euphrates, and many
persons call the plant "Nard." St. Mark mentions this as Spikenard,
a thing of great value.... In Pliny's time, blossoms of the Nardus
sold for a hundred Roman denarii (or L.3 2s. 6d.) the pound. This
Lavender or Nardus was called Asarum by the Romans, because it was
not used in garlands or chaplets. It was formerly believed that the
asp, a dangerous kind of viper, made Lavender its habitual place of
abode, so that the plant had to be approached with great
and L. FRAGRANS often form hybrids, known as 'Bastard Lavender,'
which grow in the mountain districts of France and Spain. Great
care is necessary to avoid admixture in the still during
distillation of Lavender, as Spike and the hybrids both injure the
quality of the essential oil of true Lavender.
Lavender,' which is sometimes found in the Alps at extreme
altitudes, is considered to be a form of L. delphinensis, the white
flowers being a case of albinism. Attempts to propagate this form
in this country rarely meet with much success.
---Description---L. Stoechas Another species of LAVENDER, L.
Stoechas, known also as French Lavender, forms a pretty little
shrub, with narrow leaves and very small, dark violet flowers,
terminated with a tuft of brightcoloured leaflets, which makes it
very attractive. It is an inhabitant of the coast, but only occurs
on sand or other crystalline rocks, and never on limestone. It is
very abundant on the islands of Hyères, which the Ancient Romans
called the 'Stoechades,' after this plant. This was probably the
Lavender so extensively used in classical times by the Romans and
the Libyans, as a perfume for the bath (whence probably the plant
derived its name - from the Latin, lavare, to wash). It is
plentiful in Spain and Portugal and is only used as a rule for
strewing the floors of churches and houses on festive occasions, or
to make bonfires on St. John's Day, when evil spirits are supposed
to be abroad, a custom formerly observed in England with native
plants. The odour is more akin to Rosemary than to ordinary
Lavender. The flowers of this species were used medicinally in
England until about the middle of the eighteenth century, the plant
being called by our old authors, 'Sticadore.' It was one of the
ingredients of the 'Four Thieves' Vinegar' famous in the Middle
Ages. It is not used for distillation, though in France and Spain,
the country people, in a simple manner extract an oil, used for
dressing wounds, by hanging the flowers downwards in a closed
bottle in the sunshine. The Arabs make use of the flowers as an
expectorant and antispasmodic.
Lavender is more compact than the other forms and has flowers of a
deeper colour. It makes a neat edging in the fruit or kitchen
garden, where the larger forms might be in the way, and the
flowers, borne abundantly, are useful for cutting.
forms of Lavender are much visited by bees and prove a good source
was familiar to Shakespeare, but was probably not a common plant in
his time, for though it is mentioned by Spencer as 'The Lavender
still gray' and by Gerard as growing in his garden, it is not
mentioned by Bacon in his list of sweet-smelling plants. It is now
found in every garden, but we first hear of it being cultivated in
England about 1568. It must soon have become a favourite, however,
for among the long familiar gardenplants which the Pilgrim Fathers
took with them to their new home in America, we find the names of
Lavender, Rosemary and Southernwood, though John Josselyn, in his
Herbal, says that 'Lavender Cotton groweth pretty well,' but that
'Lavender is not for the Climate.'
Parkinson has much to say about
'Of Sage and of Lavender, both the purple
and the rare white (there is a kinde hereof that beareth white
flowers and somewhat broader leaves, but it is very rare and seene
but in few places with us, because it is more tender and will not
so well endure our cold Winters).'
'Lavender,' he says, 'is almost wholly spent with us, for to
perfume linnen, apparell, gloves and leather and the dryed flowers
to comfort and dry up the moisture of a cold braine.
usually put among other hot herbs, either into bathes, ointment or
other things that are used for cold causes. The seed also is much
used for worms.'
is of 'especiall good use for all griefes and paines of the head
and brain,' it is now almost solely grown for the extraction of its
essential oil, which is largely employed in perfumery.
Of French Lavender he says:
'The whole plant is somewhat sweete, but
nothing so much as Lavender. It groweth in the Islands Staechades
which are over against Marselles and in Arabia also: we keep it
with great care in our Gardens. It flowreth the next yeare after it
is sowne, in the end of May, which is a moneth before any
was one of the old street cries, and white lavender is said to have
grown in the garden of Queen Henrietta Maria.
---Cultivation---Lavender is of fairly easy culture in almost
any friable, garden soil. Itgrows best on light soil - sand or
gravel - in a dry, open and sunny position. Loam over chalk also
suits it. It requires good drainage and freedom from damp in
flourishes best on a warm, welldrained loam with a slope to the
south or south-west. A loam that is too rich is detrimental to the
oil yield, as excessive nourishment tends to the growth of leaf.
Protection against summer gales by a copse on the southwest is also
of considerable value, as these gales may do great damage to the
crop by causing the tall flower-spikes to break away at their
junction with the stem. Lavender also is liable to injury by frost
and low-lying situations and those prone to become weatherbound in
winter are to be avoided.
founding of a Lavender plantation for the purpose of oil production
is an enterprise which requires very careful consideration. The
land should first be carefully cleaned of weeds in the autumn;
these should be burnt, and the ashes distributed over the ground,
together with some ordinary wood ashes if obtainable. The soil
should then be prepared by 'trenching in' a quantity of shortstraw
and stable refuse, but not much rich dung, and should lie fallow
until the following spring, when any weeds remaining should be
dealt with as before and the whole ploughed over. Towards late
spring, the young plants should be dibbed in in rows running from
north to south. Some growers plant out in rows 2 feet apart,
leaving a foot between each plant. Another mode of planting
favoured is to plant out 18 inches apart each way and when these
plants have occupied the ground for one year, each intervening
plant and those of every other row are taken out, leaving the land
planted 36 inches by 36 inches, the wide spaces being judged to
allow the plant full growth for flower-bearing, room for cutting
flowers and for keeping the ground quite clear of weeds. The plants
removed are utilized for planting up fresh ground, each being
divided into about three.
may be grown from seed, sown in April, but is mainly propagated by
cuttings and layerings. It may also be propagated by division of
roots. Cuttings of the young wood, or small branches, with a root
or heel, pulled off the large plants, may be inserted in free,
sandy soil, under hand-lights in August and September, and planted
out during the following spring. The 'cuttings' are taken by
pulling the small branches down with a quick movement, when they
become detached with the desired 'heel' at their base. Cuttings
root freely in April, also, in the open, protection being given in
cold weather. They should be of young growths. A certain amount of
watering will be required in dry weather until the cuttings are
plants should as far as possible be kept from flowering during the
first year by clipping, so that the strength of the plant is thrown
into the lateral shoots to make it bushy and compact. A full
picking is usually obtained from the second to the fifth year.
After the third year, the bushes are apt to become straggly. They
can be pruned in March and care should be taken to always have
young plants ready to follow on, to take the place of exhausted,
over-straggly bushes. In commercial practice, the bushes are seldom
retained after their fifth year. It follows, therefore, that in
order to keep up a continuous supply of bushes in their prime,
planting and grubbing must, on an established plantation, be done
every year. Most growers plant say a fifth portion of the ultimate
area of Lavender aimed at in the first instance and this is
repeated each year until the fifth year, when the area first
planted is grubbed immediately after flowering, the old plants
burnt, the ashes put upon the ground, and the land ploughed and
manured and left fallow until the following spring, when
re-stocking can commence.
Mitcham, Lavender was grown for even six years in succession by
judiciously removing worn plants and inserting young ones. Severe
frost will often kill rows of plants and their place must be
last few years, plants have been subject to Lavender disease,
caused by the fungus, Phoma lavandulae; this causes a heavy loss, as the
disease spreads rapidly. It can be eradicated, however, by
eliminating and burning the infested plants. English Lavender is
more robust in habit than the French plant.
A parasitic plant, Cuscuta epithymum, one of the
Dodders, will attack and destroy the fine Lavenders,
delphinensis and fragrans, but does not affect the
less valuable 'Bastard' Lavender, which eventually survives by
Insect pests are principally small caterpillars and
similar animals, which feed upon the leaves of the
---Harvesting---The bulk of the flowers are used for the
distillation of the volatile oil, which is commonly distilled from
the flowerstalks and flowers together, the spikes being cut with a
small hook about 6 to 9 inches below the flowers, at the end of
July or August, according to season. It will be necessary to
provide a small distilling plant on the grower's premises, unless
arrangements can be made for the distillation of the crop at a
Cutting for distilling takes place generally about a week later
than for market; the blooms must all be fully developed, because
the oil at this time contains the maximum amount of
Harvesting should be carried out rapidly - the cutting managed
in a week if possible - so long as the weather is dry and there is
no wind, the morning and evening of a fine day being particularly
favourable to the flower gathering, on account of the fact that a
certain amount of the ester portion of the oil is dissipated by a
hot sun, as is easily seen by the fact that the Lavender
plantations, and all fields of aromatic plants, are most highly
perfumed about mid-day. Further, if there is any wind, the mid-day
is the time when it will be hottest and most saturated with
moisture, thus easily taking up the more volatile and more soluble
particles of the essential oil. Very cold weather prevents the
development of esters and rain is fatal for harvesting. If rain or
fog appears, cutting should cease and not be resumed till the sun
shines again. The cut Lavender should be laid on clean dry mats and
covered from sun scorch immediately. There must be no moisture in
the stook, neither must it be dried up by wind or sun. The mats
will be rolled up in the cool of the evening before the dew is
falling and carted to the still. For some purposes, the stalks are
shortened to about 6 inches before stilling, but, generally, the
whole of the contents of the mat are placed carefully in the still
If more flowers are cut than can be dealt with quickly in the
still, the flowers should be stored in a closed shed so as to
prevent them drying and losing a portion of the essential oil.
Every effort should be taken to prevent the slightest fermentation
of the flowers before distillation. Fermentation means a smaller
yield and a poorer quality of oil.
In making the most refined Lavender oil, the blossoms are
carefully stripped off the stalk previous to distillation and
distilled alone, but this is necessarily a more expensive way of
proceeding. The oil in the stalks has a much coarser odour. The
British Pharmacopoeia directs that Lavender oil for medicinal use
should be thus distilled from the flowers after they have been
separated from their stalks, and the oil distilled in Britain is
alone official, as it is very superior to foreign oil of
---Distillation---The stills usually employed by growers
are of simple construction, any fault in the distillate being
subsequently rectified by fractional distillation. The stills are
constructed of copper, and generally built to take a charge of
about 5 cwt. of flowers at a time. It is important to avoid
burning, and the practice is to provide the stills with two
chambers, with a perforated false bottom between, the lower chamber
being filled with water which should be as soft as possible.
Distillation is conducted by boiling the water beneath the charge
with steam brought from a boiler to a coil, the top of which must
be at least 1 foot beneath the bottom of the charge chamber. The
oilflow from the condenser must be watched for, and complete
distillation of the charge usually takes about six hours from
commencement of the flow.
The yield of the oil is apt to vary considerably from season to
season, as the age of the bushes and the weather will affect both
the quantity and quality of the product. The amount of sunlight in
the weeks before distillation has a great influence: the best oil
is obtained after a hot, droughty season, heavy rains detract from
An acre of Lavender in its prime would in a favourable year
yield from 15 to 20 lb. of oil, but taking the whole of the area
planted as described above, an average yield of 12 lb. to the area
would be a fair estimate.
The distillate should be left for several months to become
quite clear and transparent before it is offered for
At Hitchin, it has been calculated that 60 lb. of good flowers
will yield on the average 16 fluid ounces of oil.
Growers not doing their own distilling, but preparing the
flowers dry for market, should spread the stalks out in the open,
on trays or sieves, in a cool, shady position, out of the sun, so
that they may dry slowly. The trays should be raised a few feet
from the ground, to ensure a warm current of air, and the stems
must not be allowed to touch, or the flowers will be spoilt by the
moist heat engendered. They must be taken indoors before there is
any risk of them getting damp either by dew or showers. When dry,
they should be stored in a dry place and made up into bundles. The
flowers may also be stripped from the stalks and dried by a
moderate heat. They have a greyish-blue colour when
---Constituents---The principal constituent of Lavender
is the volatile oil, of which the dried flowers contain from 1.5 to
3 per cent fresh flowers yielding about 0.5 per cent. It is pale
yellow, yellowish-green or nearly colourless, with the fragrant
odour of the flowers and a pungent, bitter taste. The chief
constituents of the oil are linalool and its acetic ester, linalyl
acetate, which is also the characteristic ingredient of oil of
bergamot and is present in English oil of Lavender to the extent of
7 to 10 per cent. Other constituents of the oil are cineol (in
English oil, only a trace in French oils), pinene, limonene,
geraniol, borneol and some tannin. Lavender oil is soluble in all
proportions of alcohol.
It is principally to the esters that Lavender oil owes its
delicate perfume. In the oil there are two esters which practically
control the odour, of these the principal is linalyl acetate, the
second is linalyl butyrate, and Lavender oil nowadays is very
largely valued by chemical analysis, involving a determination of
the esters. Many things influence the ester value of Lavender oil.
In the first place, the preponderance of one or other of the
varieties of Lavender used for distillation makes an appreciable
difference; in cultivated material, the use of artificial manures
not only increases the ester value of the oil, but also increases
the yield. The gathering of the flowers when fully expanded and
their rapid transport to the stills has considerable influence and
the rapid distillation by steam shows a very marked advantage over
water distillation. The proportion of esters in Lavender also
depends on the period of development of the flower. In June, the
estersare found disseminated throughout all the green parts of the
plant. From this time onwards, as the plants develop, the esters
commence to concentrate in the flowering spikes: the accumulation
of oil in these spikes can be distinctly seen by the naked eye in
brilliant sunshine, the tiny oil globules shining like little
diamonds. The delicacy is completed by the concentration of the
esters during the following month, in an ordinary year, the maximum
odour is developed by the end of July. About the middle of August,
the perfume commences to deteriorate. Oil distilled from the
earliest flowers is pale and contains a higher proportion of the
more valuable esters, oil distilled from the later flowers has a
preponderance of the less valuable esters and is darker in colour.
It is evident from these facts that the correct time of gathering
is directly flowering is at the full, and English Lavender is
always entirely harvested in under a week, and the flowers are
distilled on the spot.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Lavender was used in
earlier days as a condiment and for flavouring dishes 'to comfort
the stomach.' Gerard speaks of Conserves of Lavender being served
It has aromatic, carminative and nervine properties. Though
largely used in perfumery, it is now not much employed internally,
except as a flavouring agent, occurring occasionally in pharmacy to
cover disagreeable odours in ointments and other
Red Lavender lozenges are employed both as a mild stimulant and
for their pleasant taste.
The essential oil, or a spirit of Lavender made from it, proves
admirably restorative and tonic against faintness, palpitations of
a nervous sort, weak giddiness, spasms and colic. It is agreeable
to the taste and smell, provokes appetite, raises the spirits and
dispels flatulence. The dose is from 1 to 4 drops on sugar or in a
spoonful or two of milk.
A few drops of the essence of Lavender in a hot footbath has a
marked influence in relieving fatigue. Outwardly applied, it
relieves toothache, neuralgia, sprains, and rheumatism. In
hysteria, palsy and similar disorders of debility and lack of nerve
power, Lavender will act as a powerful stimulant.
'It profiteth them much,' says Gerard, 'that have the palsy if
they be washed with the distilled water from the Lavender flowers,
or are annointed with the oil made from the flowers and olive oil
in such manner as oil of roses is used.'
'a decoction made with the
flowers of Lavender, Horehound, Fennel and Asparagus root, and a
little Cinnamon, is very profitably used to help the
falling-sickness (epilepsy) and the giddiness or turning of the
Salmon in his Herbal
(1710) says that:
'it is good also against the
bitings of serpents, mad-dogs and other venomous creature, being
given inwardly and applied poultice-wise to the parts wounded. The
spirituous tincture of the dried leaves or seeds, if prudently
given, cures hysterick fits though vehement and of long
In some cases of mental depression and delusions, oil of
Lavender proves of real service, and a few drops rubbed on the
temple will cure nervous headache.
Compound Tincture of Lavender, sold under the name of Lavender
drops, besides being a useful colouring and flavouring for
mixtures, is still largely used for faintness. This tincture of red
Lavender is a popular medicinal cordial, and is composed of the
oils of Lavender and Rosmary, with cinnamon bark, nutmeg and red
sandle wood, macerated in spirit of wine for seven days. A
teaspoonful may be taken as a dose in a little water after an
indigestible meal, repeating after half an hour if
It has been officially
recognized in the successive British Pharmacopceia for over 200
years. In the eighteenth century, this preparation was known as
'palsy drops' and as 'red hartshorn.' The formula which first
appeared in the London Pharmacopceia at the end of the seventeenth
century was a complicated one. It contained nearly thirty
ingredients, and was prepared by distilling the fresh flowers of
lavender, sage, rosemary, betony, cowslips, lily of the valley,
etc., with French brandy; in the distillate such spices as
cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cardamoms were digested for twenty-four
hours, and then musk, ambergris, saffron, red roses and red
sanders-wood were tied in a bag and suspended in the spirit to
perfume and colour it. The popularity of this remedy for two
hundred and fifty years may be understood by referring to the
statements made concerning its virtues when it was first made
official. It was said to be useful:
Falling-sickness, and all cold Distempers of the Head, Womb,
Stomach and Nerves; against the Apoplexy, Palsy, Convulsions,
Megrim, Vertigo, Loss of Memory, Dimness of Sight, Melancholy,
Swooning Fits and Barrenness in Women. It was given in canary, or
the Syrup of the Juice of Black-cherries, or in Florence wine.
Country people may take it in milk or fair water sweetened with
sugar.... It is an excellent but costly medicine.'
In the London Pharmacopceia of 1746 a very drastic change was
made in the recipe and practically no change has been made since
A tea brewed from Lavender tops, made in moderate strength, is
excellent to relieve headache from fatigue and exhaustion, giving
the same relief as the application of Lavender water to the
temples. An infusion taken too freely, will, however, cause griping
and colic, and Lavender oil in too large doses is a narcotic poison
and causes death by convulsions.
'The chymical oil drawn from Lavender,' to quote Culpepper,
'usually called Oil of Spike, is of so fierce and piercing a
quality, that it is cautiously to be used, some few drops being
sufficient to be given with other things, either for inward or
Lavender oil is found of service when rubbed externally for
stimulating paralysed limbs. Mixed with 3/4 spirit of turpentine or
spirit of wine it made the famous Oleum Spicae, formerly much
celebrated for curing old sprains and stiff joints. Fomentations
with Lavender in bags, applied hot, will speedily relieve local
A distilled water made from Lavender has been used as a gargle
and for hoarseness and loss of voice.
Its use in the swabbing of wounds obtained further proof during
the War, and the French Academy of Medicine is giving attention to
the oil for this and other antiseptic surgical purposes. The oil is
successfully used in the treatment of sores, varicose ulcers, burns
and scalds. In France, it is a regular thing for most households to
keep a bottle of Essence of Lavender as a domestic remedy against
bruises, bites and trivial aches and pains, both external and
Lavender oil is also used in veterinary practice, being very
efficacious in killing lice and other parasites on animals. Its
germicidal properties are very pronounced. In the south-east of
France it is considered a useful vermifuge.
The oil is used in the embalming of corpses to a steadily
---Preparations and Dosages---Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1
drachm. Compound Tincture, B.P., and U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Oil,
1 to 3 drops. Spirit, B.P. and U.S.P., 5 to 30 drops.
Adulteration of Lavender Oil. French oils containing
less than 30 per cent of esters are very often mixed with Spike or
Bastard Lavender oils. Formerly adulteration used to be with oil of
Turpentine, often mixed with coco-nut oil, but this has given place
to various artificial esters prepared chemically, which are
practically odourless and only added to make the oil appear to have
a higher ester percentage than it really has. Recently, crude
mixtures of Lavender oil with Petitgrain oil have been noticed on
Spanish Lavender Oil, distilled in Spain and sold
largely to England as Lavender oil, is not a genuine Lavender oil
at all, but an oil practically free from esters, having the general
character of Spike Lavender oil. The production of this oil now
reaches about 40,000 kilos per annum.
Spike Lavender Oil is of a penetrating, camphoraceous
odour and is never worth more than about one-fifth of the value of
genuine Lavender oil. The oil is used in veterinary practice in
considerable quantities, as a prophylactic in cases of incipient
paralysis. It is also employed (together with that from L.
Stoechas) in the manufacture of certain types of fine varnishes
and lacquers, with oil of turpentine, and used by painters on
porcelain. It is used to a very great extent in cheap perfumery and
for scenting soaps, especially in England and the United States.
The annual production of Spike Lavender oil in France is about
This oil of Latifolia or Spica is said to admirably promote the
growth of the hair when weakly or falling off. A decoction - Spike
Water - can be made from the plant.
Dried Lavender flowers are still greatly used to perfume
linen, their powerful, aromatic odour acting also as a preventative
to the attacks of moths and other insects. In America, they find
very considerable employment for disinfecting hotrooms and keeping
away flies and mosquitoes, who do not like the scent. Oil of
Lavender, on cotton-wool, tied in a little bag or in a perforated
ball hung in the room, is said to keep it free from all
Not only are insects averse to the smell of Lavender, so that
oil of Lavender rubbed on the skin will prevent midge and mosquito
bites, but it is said on good authority that the lions and tigers
in our Zoological Gardens are powerfully affected by the scent of
Lavender Water, and will become docile under its
The flowers and leaves were formerly employed as a sternutatory
and probably stillenter into the composition of some
In the East, especially in Turkey and Egypt, they are used, as
of old, for perfuming the bath.
The 'straw,' completely freed from the flowers, is sold and
used as litter and also for making ointment. If burnt, for
deodorizing purposes, the stalks diffuse a powerful, but agreeable
Lavender Water can
easily be prepared at home. Into a quart bottle are put 1 OZ.
essential oil of Lavender, one drop of Musk and 1 1/2 pint spirits
of wine. These three ingredients are well mixed together by
shaking. The mixture is left to settle, shaken again in a few days,
then poured into little perfume bottles fitted with air-tight
stoppers. This is another recipe from an old family
'Put into a bottle half a
pint of spirit of wine and two drachms of oil of lavender. Mix it
with rose-water, five ounces, orange-flower water, two ounces, also
two drachms of musk and six ounces of distilled
This is stated to be 'a pleasant and efficacious cordial and
very useful in languor and weakness of the nerves, lowness of
spirits, faintings, etc.'
Another recipe is to mix 2 oz. of refined essence of Lavender
with 3/4 pint of good brandy. This Lavender Water is so strong that
it must be diluted with water before it is used.
Lavender Vinegar. A refreshing toilet preparation is
made by mixing 6 parts of Rosewater, 1 part of spirits of Lavender
and 2 parts of Orleans vinegar.
It can also be prepared from freshly gathered flower-tops.
These are dried, placed in a stoppered bottle and steeped for a
week in Orleans vinegar. Every day the bottle must be shaken, and
at the end of the week the liquid is drained off and filtered
through white blotting paper.
Another delicious and aromatic toilet vinegar is made as
follows: Dry a good quantity of rose leaves, lavender flowers and
jasmine flowers. Weigh them, and to every 4 oz. of rose leaves
allow 1 OZ. each of lavender and jasmine. Mix them well together,
pour over them 2 pints of white vinegar, and shake well, then add
1/2 pint of rose-water and shake again. Stand aside for ten days,
then strain and bottle.
Botanical: Santolina Chamaecyparissus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Lavender Cotton (also sometimes called French Lavender, like
L. Stoechas) is botanically known as Santolina
Chamaecyparissus. It is not a true Lavender at all, buthas
yellow, clustered buttons of composite flowers and finely-cut,
grey, rather disagreeably-scented leaves, whose odour somewhat
resembles Chamomile. It is used as a vermifuge for children. This
plant was once also esteemed for its stimulant properties, and the
twigs have been used for placing amongst linen, etc., to keep away
moths. All the species of Santolina have a strong
resemblance to one another, except S. fragrantissima, which
differs in having the flowerheads in flat inflorescences termed
corymbs, the flowers all being at the same level, instead of singly
at the apex of the twigs.
The Arabs are said to use the juice of this plant for bathing
the eyes. Culpepper tells us that Lavender Cotton 'resists poison,
putrefaction and heals the biting of venomous beasts.' It is now
chiefly used as an edging to borders, spreading like a silvery
carpet close to the ground.
A perfume oil is also extracted from it.
Lavender, Sea, American
Botanical: Statice Caroliniana (WALT.)
Family: N.O. Plumbaginaceae
---Synonyms---Statice Limonium. Ink Root. Sea Lavender.
---Habitat---America, Europe and England. A perennial
maritime plant with a large, fleshy, fusiform, brownish-red root;
limnal leaves in tufts - obovate, entire, obtuse, mucronate,
smooth, and on long foot-stalks. Flowers, pale bluish-purple. Fruit
an oblong utricle, one-seeded, enclosed in calyx, usually called
Marsh Rosemary. It is common in the salt marshes of the Atlantic
shore. Flowers August to October.
---Part Used---is the root. This is large, heavy,
blackish, inodorous, with a bitter, saltish and very astringent
---Constituents---Volatile oil, resin, gum, albumen,
tannic acid, caoutchouc, extractive and colouring matter, woody
fibre, and various salts. It has long been in use as a domestic
remedy for diarrhoea, dysentery, etc., but is only used as an
astringent tonic after the acute stage has passed. It is also very
useful as a gargle or wash in ulcerations of mouth and throat,
scarlatina, anguinosa, etc. The powdered root is applied to old
ulcers, or made with a soothing ointment for piles. As an injection
the decoction is very useful in chronic gonorrhoea, gleet,
leucorrhoea, prolapsus of womb and anus, and in some ophthalmic
affections. It can otherwise be used where astringents are
indicated and may be applicable to all cases where kino and catechu
are given. It is said to be a valuable remedy for internal and
local use in cynanche maligna. Decoction is 1 ounce of powdered
root to 1 pint, in wineglassful doses.
Botanical: Citrus Limonum (RISSO.)
Family: N.O. Rutaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
Substitutes and Adulterations
---Synonyms---Citrus medica. Citrus Limonum. Citronnier.
Neemoo. Leemoo. Limoun. Limone.
---Parts Used---Rind, juice, oil.
---Habitat---Indigenous to Northern India. Widely
cultivated in Mediterranean countries.
---Description---The name Limonum is derived from
the Arabic Limun or Limu, which in its turn probably
comes from the Sanscrit Nimbuka. There are several varieties
of Citrus medica, only differing in the character of their
fruits. The principal ones are the lemon, citron or cedrat, and
lime. The Bergamot is also closely related. The trees reached
Europe by way of Persia or Media and were grown first in Greece and
then in Italy in the second century.
The Lemon is a small, straggling tree about 11 feet high,
irregularly branched, the bark varying in colour from clear grey on
the trunk, green on the younger branches to a purplish colour on
the twigs. The evergreen leaves are ovate-oval, about two inches
long, the margin serrate with sharp spines in the axils of the
stalks. The solitary, fivepetalled flowers, white inside and tinged
with deep pink outside, grow on stems in the axils. The well-known
fruit is an ovoid berry, about three inches long, nipple-shaped at
the end, smooth, bright yellow, indented over the oil-glands,
having an acid, paleyellow pulp. About forty-seven varieties are
said to have been developed during the centuries of
The finest fruits arrive wrapped separately in paper, cases of
the Messina lemons containing 360, and of Murcia lemons 200. Those
from Naples and Malaga are thought to be less fine. Inferior
fruits, preserved in salt water, are packed in barrels. It is
stated that they can be kept fresh for months if dipped in melted
paraffin or varnished with shellac dissolved in
The peel, Limonis Cortex, is white and spongy inside,
varying much in thickness, and the yellow outer layer, formerly
called the flavedo, has a fragrant odour and aromatic,
bitter taste. Only the fresh rind is official.
Candied lemon peel may be prepared by boiling the peel in syrup
and then exposing it to the air until the sugar is
The juice, L. succus, is largely imported as a source of
citric acid, but is mixed with that of lime and bergamot. It does
not keep well, and several methods are tried for preserving it,
such as covering it with a layer of almond oil, mixing with alcohol
and filtering, or adding sulphur dioxide, but none appear to be
very satisfactory. The juice should be pressed fresh for
pharmaceutical purposes, the amount of citric acid being greatest
in December and January and least in August.
In Sicily, the pulp left after the production of the volatile
oil is pressed for juice in large quantities and the solid matter
left is used as cattle food.
The oil, Oleum Limonis, is more fragrant and valuable if
obtained by expression than by distillation. It is usually prepared
in Sicily and Calabria, and sometimes at Nice and Mentone, where
the 'Essence de Citron distillée' is prepared by rubbing fresh
lemons on a coarse, tin grater, and distilling the grated peel with
water. The better 'Essence de Citron au zeste' is prepared with the
aid of a saucer-shaped, pewter dish with a pouring lip at one side
and a closed funnel sunk from the middle. In the bottom are sharp,
strong brass pins on which the peel is rubbed. This vessel is
called an écuelle à piquer, but a machine called
scorzetta is gradually coming into use.
The method of expression in Sicily is that of squeezing large
slices of peel against sponges fixed in the hand, the sponges when
soaked being wrung into an earthen bowl with a spout, in which the
oil separates from the watery liquid. The peel is afterwards
pickled in brine and sold to manufacturers for
The roots and wood are cut in winter. The latter takes a
beautiful polish and is nicely veined.
The dried flowers and leaves are used in pharmacy in
The Lemon is widely used in cookery and confectionery. A
thousand lemons yield between 1 and 2 lb. of oil. The immature
fruit yields less and the quality is inferior.
Messina alone exported 155,000 kilos of oil in
---Constituents---Lemon Peel yields its virtues to
alcohol, water, or wine. It contains an essential oil and a bitter
principle. Crystals of the glucoside Hesperidin are deposited by
the evaporation of the white pulpy portion boiled in water. Diluted
acids decompose it into Hesperitin and glucose.
Lemon Juice contains from 6.7 to 8.6 per cent of citric
acid. It is officially described as 'a slightly turbid yellowish
liquor, possessing a sharp, acid taste and grateful odour.
It contains also sugar, gum, and a very little potash. An
imitation lemon juice has been made by dissolving tartaric acid in
water, adding sulphuric acid and flavouring with oil of Lemon. It
is useless therapeutically.
Oil of Lemon is dextrogyre. It contains 7 to 8 per cent
of citral, an aldehyde yielding geraniol upon reduction, a
small amount of pinene and citronellal, etc. It is stated that
citral, citronellal, and an ester of geraniol are all necessary for
the true odour.
The oil is not very active, and is used chiefly for
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Lemon juice is probably
the best of all antiscorbutics, being almost a specific in scurvy.
English ships are required by law to carry sufficient lemon or
limejuice for every seaman to have an ounce daily after being ten
days at sea. Its value in this direction has been stated to be due
to its vitamines.
It is valuable as a cooling drink in fevers, and for allaying
thirst. When unobtainable, a solution of 8 drachms of crystallized
citric acid in 16 OZ. of water, flavoured with oil of lemon, may be
The juice may be used in diaphoretic and diuretic draughts. It
is highly recommended in acute rheumatism, and is sometimes given
to counteract narcotic poisons, especially opium.
Locally, it is a good astringent, whether as a gargle in sore
throat, in pruritis of the scrotum, in uterine haemorrhage after
delivery, or as a lotion in sunburn. It is said to be the best cure
for severe, obstinate hiccough, and is helpful in jaundice and
hysterical palpitation of the heart. The decoction has been found
to be a good antiperiodic, useful as a substitute for quinine in
malarial conditions, or for reducing the temperature in
It is probable that the lemon is the most valuable of all fruit
for preserving health.
The oil, externally, is a strong rubefacient, and taken
internally in small doses has stimulating and carminative
Preparations of the rind are used as an aromatic addition to
tonics, and also the syrup of the fresh peel, and the
---Preparations and Dosages---Fresh juice (for
rheumatism), 4 to 6 fluid ounces. Oil, B.P., 3 to 5 minims. Juice,
B.P., 1/2 to 4 drachms. Tincture, B.P. and U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm.
Syrup, B.P., 1/2 to 4 drachms.
---Substitutes and Adulterations---The most dangerous
adulterant of the oil is citrene, the terpene left after
extracting citral from oil of lemon which has been used in making
Fixed oils, alcohol, and purified oil of turpentine are
sometimes found, the last causing a terebinthinate odour if
evaporated from heated paper.
The pure oil should show scarcely any
Artificial lemon juice should not be used as an
Lime juice, the product of C. medica acida, is
recognized by the National Formulary under the name of Succus
Cedrat Lemon, or C. medica cedra, yields the essential
oils of citron and cedra used in perfumery.
Lippia citriodora, yielding verbena oil, is commonly
known as Lemon Verbena.
Java Lemon is C. Javanica. Median Lemon is a variety of
C. medica. Pear Lemon is a variety of C. Limetta.
Pearl Lemon is C. margarita. Sweet Lemon is C. Lumia.
Water Lemon is Passiflora laurifolia. Wild Lemon or Ground
Lemon is Podophyllum peltatum. Lemon Yellow is the name of
Chrome Yellow, a neutral lead-chromate.
Botanical: Lactuca virosa (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Lactucarium. Strong-scented Lettuce. Green
Endive. Lettuce Opium. Laitue vireuse. Acrid Lettuce.
---Parts Used---The dried milk-juice (Lactuarium), the
---Habitat---Western and Southern Europe, including
---Description---The name lactuca is derived from
the classical Latin name for the milky juice, virosa, or
It is a biennial herb growing to a maximum height of 6 feet.
The erect stem, springing from a brown tap-root, is smooth and pale
green, sometimes spotted with purple. There are a few prickles on
the lower part and short horizontal branches above. The numerous,
large, radical leaves are from 6 to 18 inches long, entire, and
obovate-oblong. The stem leaves are scanty, alternate, and small,
clasping the stem with two small lobes. The heads are numerous and
shortly-stalked, the pale-yellow corolla being strap-shaped. The
rough, black fruit is oval, with a broad wing along the edge, and
prolonged above into a long, white beak carrying silvery tufts of
hair. The whole plant is rich in a milky juice that flows freely
from any wound. This has a bitter taste and a narcotic odour. When
dry, it hardens, turns brown, and is known as
---Habitat---The Wild Lettuce grows on banks and waste
places, flowering in July and August. It is cultivated in Austria,
France, Germany and Scotland. Collectors cut the heads of the
plants and scrape the juice into china vessels several times daily
until it is exhausted. By slightly warming and tapping, it is
turned out of its cup mould, is cut into quarters and
In the United States, after importation from Germany via
England it is said to be used as an adulterant for opium. It is
usually found in irregular, reddish-brown lumps the size of a large
pea, frequently mouldy on the outside. In the United States the
German and French lactucarium is considered inferior to the
All lettuces possess some of this narcotie juice, Lactuca
virosa having the most, and the others in the following order:
L. scariola, or Prickly Lettuce, L. altissima, L.
Canadensis, or Wild Lettuce of America, and L. sativa,
or Garden Lettuce. Cultivation has lessened the narcotic properties
of the last, but it is still used for making a lotion for the skin
useful in sunburn and roughness. The Ancients held the lettuce in
high esteem for its cooling and refreshing properties. The Emperor
Augustus attributed his recovery from a dangerous illness to it;
built an altar to it, and erected a statue in its
Lactucarium is not easily powdered, and is only slightly
soluble in boiling water, though it softens and becomes
Thridace, or the inspissated juice of L. capitata, is
now regarded as inert.
A mild oil, used in cooking, is said to be obtained from the
seeds in Egypt.
---Constituents---L. virosa has been found to
contain lactucic acid, lactucopicrin, 50 to 60 per cent lactucerin
(lactucone) and lactucin. Lactucarium treated with boiling water
and filtered is clear, but on cooling the filtrate becomes turbid.
It is not coloured blue by iodine test solution. The usual
constituents of latex are albumen, mannite, and
The fresh juice reddens litmus paper.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The drug resembles a
feeble opium without its tendency to upset the digestive system. It
is used to a small extent as a sedative and narcotic.
Dissolved in wine it is said to be a good anodyne.
Dr. Collins stated that twenty-three out of twenty-four cases
of dropsy were cured by taking doses of 18 grains to 3 drachms of
extract in twenty-four hours. It is used in Germany in this
complaint, but combined with more active drugs. It is said to be
also a mild diaphoretic and diuretic, easing colic, inducing sleep
and allaying cough.
Water distilled from lettuce (eau de laitre) is used in
France as a mild sedative in doses of 2 to 4 OZ., and the fresh
leaves boiled in water are sometimes used as a
Moderate doses given to the lower animals act as a narcotic
poison, an injection having even caused death.
---Dosages---Of powder, 10 to 20 grains or more. Of
tincture, 30 to 60 drops. Of alcoholic extract, 1 to 5 grains. Of
Lactucarium, 5 to 20 grains. Of fluid extract leaves, 1/4 to 1
drachm. Of syrup, U.S.P., 2 drachms. Tincture, U.S.P., 30
Life Everlasting (Pearl-Flowered)
Botanical: Antennaria Margaritaceum
Family: N.O. Compositae
---Parts Used---Leaves, flowers, stalks.
---Habitat---North America, Kamschatka and in English
gardens. Grows wild in Essex, near Bocking, and in Wales.
Cultivated in Whin's Cottage garden by the writer.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Anodyne, astringent,
pectoral, useful in diarrhoea, dysentery, pulmonary affections, as
a poultice for sprains, bruises, boils, painful swellings. Said to
produce sleep. When hops have failed, applied externally to the
head, a decoction of the flowers and stalks used in America as a
fomentation for pained and bruised limbs, and for
Leaves linear, lanceolate, acuminate; alternate stalk branched
at top; corymbs fastigiate; root perennial, creeping, spreading,
becoming almost a troublesome weed; stalks very downy, and white
flowering branches form a flat broad bunch, each branch with
numerous crowded heads, on short branched downy peduncles, the
middle ones sessile; calyx scales bluntly ovate and white, but not
downy, flowers July to September. Easily propagated by creeping
roots. The plant is slightly fragrant.
Lilacs (White and Mauve)
Botanical: Syringa vulgaris
Family: N.O. Oleaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Parts Used---Leaves, fruit.
---Habitat---Persia, mountainous regions of Eastern
---Description---A shrub or small tree up to 20 feet in
height producing a crowd of erect stems, occasionally a trunk over
2 feet in girth, clothed with spirally arranged flakes of bark.
Shoots and leaves smooth, leaves heart-shape or ovate, 2 to 6
inches long, from 3/4 to almost as much wide near the base; stalk
3/4 to 1 1/2 inch long. Panicles pyramidal, 6 to 8 inches long,
usually in pairs from the terminal buds, flowers fragrant; corolla
tube 1/3 to 1/2 inch long; lobes concave; calyx and flower-stalks
have gland tipped down; seed vessels smooth, 5/8 inch long,
Introduced to Britain during time of Henry VIII, mentioned in
an inventory taken at Norwich by Oliver Cromwell.
Syringa Baccifera is a synonym of Mitchella
repens or Partridge Berry and must not be confused with
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Used as a vermifuge in
America and as a tonic anti-periodic and febrifuge; may be used as
a substitute for aloes and in the treatment of
Family: N.O. Liliaceae
The Lilies belong to a genus consisting of less than 100 known
species, occurring in all parts of the Northern Hemisphere. They
are mostly found growing in fairly good soil in association with
shrubs and other plants which shade their roots and help to keep
the bulbs cool and in a uniform state as regards
---Cultivation---With some exceptions, Lilies grown as
garden plants in this country are fairly hardy, especially if
planted deep enough and in doubtful cases given protection with
ashes or dry litter. The majority of Lilies require a soil fairly
rich in humus or vegetable mould, and if it is desirable to plant
Lilies in poor soil or in chalky districts, an area must be dug out
2 feet deep and filled in with kitchen garden soil mixed with
fibrous loam and sand. Plant the bulbs fully 3 inches deep in most
cases and surround them with an envelope of sand 1/2 inch thick;
this allows excessive moisture to pass away freely; it acts also as
a guard against the attacks of slugs, and, by reason of its
sterility, as a barrier against the spread of such fungoid diseases
as may infest the surrounding soil and which would be likely to
destroy the bulbs if they gained access to them. The bulbs of all
Lilies root quicker and with greater freedom if a few pieces of
peat are placed beneath them when planted. Many cases of failure
can be traced to the condition of the soil, as the bulbs rot during
winter owing to the presence of stagnant moisture: it is useless to
plant Lilies in very poor ground or in any position which is
waterlogged in winter. In their native countries they enjoy more
sunshine in their growing season than we usually get and wet at the
root during winter often proves fatal to many of them. When
growing, however, all Lilies require plenty of moisture. If they
are neglected in this respect they will not produce the glorious
spikes of flowers they are capable of; moreover, a Lily once
drought-stricken or in any way seriously checked in growth so as to
produce debility, rarely recovers its health. Disappointment with
Lilies is due often also to late planting, but if good home-grown
bulbs of the different kinds are planted before the end of
September, to give them time to make their natural autumn growth,
they should, in suitable soil, flower well the next
A large number of varieties produce two distinct sets of root -
those from the base of the bulb and others from the base of the
stem, above the bulb. These are termed 'stem-rooting.'
In planting Lily bulbs, two points are essential to bear in
mind: (1) Does the species relish lime or detest it? (2) Is it a
stem-rooter, demanding in consequence to be deeply planted, or is
it provided with basal roots only, requiring less depth in
Lilium candidum, L. Martagon and L.
tigrinum succeed in well-drained sandy loam and may with
advantage be planted in the herbaceous border, all except
candidum being planted at least 6 to 8 inches in
The best manure for all Lilies is wood ash, provided it has
been carefully stored in a dry place, because its virtue consists
in the potash it contains, which a single shower suffices to
dissolve and wash to waste. The ash of twigs and leaves contains a
larger percentage of potash than that of large branches and
---Propagation---Lilies are propagated by means of
division or offsets, which as such increase freely, but increase by
seed and bulbscales are the more usual methods.
L. tigrinum and some others produce little bulbs in the
axils of the leaves, which form a ready means of increase and only
need growing on under suitable conditions to produce flowering
bulbs. L. candidum produces plenty of small bulbs around the
parent bulb and thus affords a ready means of increase. For those
that do not produce seeds or offsets readily, propagation by
bulb-scales is resorted to, each healthy scale being capable of
producing a new bulb at its base. The scales are pulled off and
inserted in pans and boxes of sandy soil and stood in cold frames,
when in about six months small bulbs are produced at the base of
All Lilies that do not afford a ready means of increase by
bulbils or division, or bulbscales should be grown by seeds, which
is the only way to attain success in this country with many of
them. Imported bulbs as a rule only grow for one or two years and
then die; although immense consignments of beautiful Asiatic
species of Lilies are annually imported, less than 50 per cent of
them survive to a second season, flowering, if at all, only once
from nutriment stored within the bulb, the cause being probably
want of care in raising and packing the bulb and the fact, also,
that the great majority of bulbs on arrival are found to be
infested with mites or fungus.
Lilies grown from seed take from two to six years to produce
flowers. When raising from seed, a regular rotation should be
maintained by sowing a quantity of seed each year. Many Lilies
germinate exceedingly well in cold frames when sown in March, April
or May. When the young seedlings have made their second or third
leaf, they may be planted outdoors in a sheltered border during the
spring, to get well-established before winter, the less hardy ones
being grown in frames.
The mould Botrytis cinerea, which attacks so many garden
plants, often attacks Lilies, especially L. candidum: it is
usually the foliage that is attacked. On the first signs, the
plants should be sprayed with a solution of sulphide of potassium,
using an ounce to a gallon of warm water (temperature 100 degrees
to 120 degrees F.), at the same time removing any affected leaves
and burning them. If a little soft soap is dissolved with the
mixture, it adheres muchbetter to the foliage and is not so easily
washed off by rain. In bad cases, the bulbs may be affected, in
which case they should be thoroughly dusted with flowers of
sulphur. Cut off and burn the diseased stems, lift the bulbs, place
them in a large paper bag containing flowers of sulphur, give a
good shaking to work the sulphur well into the scales and then
replant in a fresh site. This precaution has often proved
successful in warding off a subsequent attack of the
The disease is a more or less mysterious one: it often appears
in a virulent form in one garden, whereas in a neighbouring one the
plants may be quite free from it. Once it finds foothold in the
soil of a garden it remains there, potent for evil whenever the
atmospheric conditions are favourable. In dull, chilly, damp
summers, the disease becomes epidemic, and does widespread harm to
many plants besides Lilies. The sun is the most powerful antidote
against the fungus, which is spread by spores too minute for the
eye to see.
It is often said that white Lilies in cottage gardens are
exempt from attacks of the disease, but in an epidemic they are
spared no more than are those in manor gardens. Spraying the
foliage with a solution of potassium sulphide helps to keep the
disease in check, but it is not a cure; no absolute remedy has yet
been discovered, and those who plant this lily must not expect to
have it in full beauty every year. This country has relied too much
on other nations for its supply of bulbs in the past, and
quantities of infected bulbs of L. candidum are imported
annually from Central and Southern France, where la Toile -
as the French call B. cinerea - has even more of a grip than
it has here; and the rapid spread of the disease may well be due in
some measure to that tainted source. All the bulbs needed in Great
Britain could be grown here. The wild Grecian form of L.
candidum seems more resistant to Botrytis than the
Lilies are on the whole singularly free from insect and other
pests, though wood-lice sometimes prove troublesome. On some soils,
slugs are the chief menace; the grey slug attacks the stem and
leaves, but the black slug is the more insidious, as it attacks the
bulbs and working underground is difficult to deal with. The best
means of keeping slugs in check are good cultivation and trapping.
One mode of trapping that is much recommended is, to place on the
ground in the evening boards smeared on their under sides with a
mixture of flour and stale beer.Examine the boards every morning
and destroy the catch. Dry bran also catches many. Coarse, clean
sand and small sifted cinders placed round the bulbs will also ward
Mice will eat bulbs, especially L. tigrinum, and the
edible Lilies of Japan.
In China, the dried scales of L. japonicum are
considered nourishing and useful in diseases of the chest, as a
substitute for Salep, the product of Orchis tubers.
L. Martagon (Linn.), the PURPLE TURK'S CAP LILY, is
occasionally found growing wild in this country, but is rare,
though it has been met with on chalk hills and in woody places in
the south of England. It is, however, much cultivated, and is the
hardiest of all Lilies, doing well in full sunshine, or in partial
shade. It is a lime-lover, very easy to cultivate, usually
increases very freely, and is easily raised from seed. It is
strong-growing, but very graceful, producing twenty to thirty light
spotted, purple flowers, on a tall stem, having reflexed petals,
forming a sort of turban, the stamens appearing like a tuft of
feathers at the top. The flowers give off their scent at
The Martagon group of Lilies, the form of whose flowers has led
to their being called Turk's Cap, comprises many of our best known
garden species whose habitats are in widely distant portions of the
globe. From America have been introduced the so-called Swamp
Lilies, L. pardalinum, the Panther Lily, L. canadense
and L. superbum. L. Hansoni hails from Japan, and
these with the Martagons proper carry their leaves in whorls, while
in the best known of the remaining species the leaves are scattered
on the stem. Of these may be mentioned the scarlet Turk's Cap
(L. chalcedonicum) from Greece; L. pyrenaicum
(straw-coloured) from the Pyrenees; L. monadelphum from the
Caucasus; L. pomponium verum (yellow) from
The old Martagon is the commonest European species, being
distributed throughout the whole of the southern and central
portions of the Continent. It was mentioned by Gerard in his list
of garden plants in 1596, and, though now out of favour, owing to
its dull purple colour, has remained in cultivation, especially in
cottage plots, ever since. Though interesting for its old
associations, it is now superseded by the more striking forms.
Although the purple Martagon bulbs are eaten in their native
countries, they are too local here to be reckoned as one of our
Lily, Crown Imperial
Botanical: Fritillaria imperialis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Liliaceae
Fritillaria imperialis (Linn.), the Crown Imperial Lily
of Persia, is said to be there cultivated as a food plant, its bulb
possessing poisonous properties when raw, but being wholesome when
There are two kinds of this handsome plant, associated with the
earliest type of English gardens. They bear a circle of pendulous
flowers - one blooms pure lemon yellow, the other deep orange red -
and have a crown of foliage above them. The same name is given to
this Lily in all European languages.
The bulbs have a foetid odour, described as being like that of
a fox, and are powerfully acrid and poisonous. Even honey from the
flowers is said to be emetic.
Imperialine was isolated by Fragner in 1888, on
extracting the bulbs with chloroform. This alkaloid and its salts
are intensely bitter and are heart poisons.
No medicinal use is made of the plant.
Botanical: Convallaria magalis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Liliaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---May Lily. Convallaria. Our Lady's Tears.
Convall-lily. Lily Constancy. Ladder-to-Heaven. Jacob's Ladder.
---Parts Used---Flowers, leaves, whole
---Habitat---It is a native of Europe, being distributed
also over North America and Northern Asia, but in England it is
very local as a wild flower. In certain districts it is to be found
in abundance, but in many parts it is quite unknown. It is rare in
Scotland and doubtfully native and only naturalized in Ireland. It
grows mostly in the dryer parts of woods - especially ash woods -
often forming extensive patches, and is by no means peculiar to
valleys, though both the English and botanical names imply that it
Culpepper reports that in his time these little Lilies grew
plentifully on Hampstead Heath, but Green, writing about 100 years
ago, tells us that 'since the trees on Hampstead Heath, near
London, have been destroyed, it has been but sparingly found
The Lily-of-the-Valley, with its broad leaves and fragrant
little, nodding, white, bell-shaped flowers, is familiar to
---Description---In early spring days, the creeping
rhizome, or underground stem, sends up quill-like shoots emerging
from a scaly sheath. As they lengthen and uncoil, they are seen to
consist of two leaves, their stalks sheathing one within the other,
rising directly from the rhizome on long, narrowing foot-stalks,
one leaf often larger than the other. The plain, oval blades, with
somewhat concave surfaces, are deeply ribbed and slant a little
backwards, thus catching the rain and conducting it by means of the
curling-in base of the leaf, as though in a spout, straight down
the foot-stalk to the root. At the back of the leaves, lightly
enclosed at the base in the same scaly sheath, is the flower-stalk,
quite bare of leaves itself and bearing at its summit a number of
buds, greenish when young, each on a very short stalk, which become
of the purest white, and as they open turn downwards, the flowers
hanging, like a pearl of fairy bells, each bell with the edges
turned back with six small scallops. The six little stamens are
fastened inside the top of the bell, and in the centre hangs the
ovary. There is no free honey in the little flowers, but a sweet,
juicy sap is stored in a tissue round the base of the ovary and
proves a great attraction to bees, who also visit the flower to
collect its pollen and who play an important part in the
fertilization of the flowers.
By September, the flowers have developed into scarlet berries,
each berry containing vermilion flesh round a pale, hard seed.
Though the plant produces fruit freely under cultivation, its
propagation is mainly effected by its quickly-creeping underground
stem, and in the wild state its fruit rarely comes to maturity. Its
specific name, Majalis, or Maialis, signifies 'that
which belongs to May,' and the old astrological books place the
plant under the dominion of Mercury, since Maia, the daughter of
Atlas, was the mother of Mercury or Hermes.
There is an old Sussex legend that St. Leonard fought against a
great dragon in the w woods near Horsham, only vanquishing it after
a mortal combat lasting many hours, during which he received
grievous wounds, but wherever his blood fell, Lilies-of-theValley
sprang up to commemorate the desperate fight, and these woods,
which bear the name of St. Leonard's Forest to this day, are still
thickly carpeted with them.
Legend says that the fragrance of the Lilyof-the-Valley draws
the nightingale from hedge and bush, and leads him to choose his
mate in the recesses of the glade.
The Lily-of-the-Valley is one of the British-grown plants
included in the Pharmacopoeia, and its medicinal virtues have been
tested by very long experience. Although not in such general use as
the Foxglove, it is still prescribed by physicians with success.
Its use dates back to ancient times, for Apuleius in his
Herbal written in the fourth century, declares it was found
by Apollo and given by him to Æsculapius, the leech.
In recent years it has been largely employed in experiments
relating to the forcing of plants by means of anaesthetics such as
chloroform and ether. It has been found that the winter buds,
placed in the vapour of chloroform for a few hours and then
planted, break into leaf and flower considerably before others not
tested in this manner, the resulting plants being, moreover,
The leaves yield a green dye, with lime water.
---Cultivation---Lily-of-the-Valley is fairly easy to
cultivate, preferring well-drained, rich, sandy loam, in moist
Plant towards the end of September. The ground for
Lily-of-the-Valley should be thoroughly stirred to a depth of 15
inches, early in September, laying it up rough for a few weeks,
then breaking it down and adding some rotten manure, or if that
cannot be obtained, some kind of artificial manure must be used,
but this is better applied later on, hoeing it in just as growth
appears. Plant the crowns about 6 inches apart and work fine, rich
soil, with some leaf mould if possible, in between. Leave at least
9 inches between the rows. Keep the crowns well below the surface
and above all plant firmly.
In some soils the plants will last longer in the best form than
in others, but should be transplanted about every fourth year and
in light, porous soils it may be necessary to do so every third
year. Periodic transplanting, deep culture and liberal feeding
produce fine blooms. Autumn is the best time for remaking beds,
which are best done in entirely fresh soil. Cut the roots from the
old bed out into tufts 6 inches or 9 inches square, and divide into
pieces 3 inches square. Replant the tufts the original 6 inches
apart. It is best to prepare the entire beds before replanting.
Replanted by October, the crowns will be well settled in by winter
rains, and the quality of the spikes will show a marked difference
in early spring.
---Parts Used Medicinally---The whole plant, collected
when in flower and dried, and also the root, herb and flowers
separately. The inflorescence is said to be the most active part of
the herb, and is preferred on that account, being the part usually
The flowers are dried on the scape or flower-stalk, the whole
stalk being cut before the lowermost flowers are faded. A good
price is obtainable for the flowers, and in Lincolnshire,
Derbyshire, Westmorland and other counties, where the plant grows
freely wild, they would pay for collecting. During the process of
drying, the white flowers assume a brownish-yellow tinge, and the
fragrant odour almost entirely disappears, being replaced by a
somewhat narcotic scent, the taste of the flowers is
If Lily-of-the-Valley flowers are thrown into oil of sweet
almonds or olive oil, they impart to it their sweet smell, but to
become really fragrant the infusion has to be repeated a dozen
times with the same oil, using fresh flowers for each
---Constituents---The chief constituents of
Lily-of-the-Valley are two glucosides, Convallamarin, the active
principle, a white crystalline powder, readily soluble in water and
in alcohol, but only slightly in ether, which acts upon the heart
like Digitalin, and has also diuretic action, and Convallarin,
which is crystalline in prisms, soluble in alcohol, slightly
soluble in water and has a purgative action. There are also present
a trace of volatile oil, tannin, salts, etc.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Lily-of-the-Valley is
valued as a cardiac tonic anddiuretic. The action of the drug
closely resembles that of Digitalis, though it is less powerful; it
is used as a substitute and strongly recommended in valvular heart
disease, also in cases of cardiac debility and dropsy. It slows the
disturbed action of a weak, irritable heart, whilst at the same
time increasing its power. It is a perfectly safe remedy. No harm
has been known to occur from taking it in full and frequent doses,
it being preferable in this respect to Digitalis, which is apt to
accumulate in the blood with poisonous results.
It proved most useful in cases of poisonous gassing of our men
at the Front.
It is generally administered in the form of a tincture. The
infusion of 1/2 OZ. of herb to 1 pint of boiling water is also
taken in tablespoonful doses. Fluid extracts are likewise prepared
from the rhizome, whole plant and flowers and the flowers have been
used in powdered form.
A decoction of the flowers is said to be useful in removing
obstructions in the urinary canal, and it has been also recommended
as a substitute for aloes, on account of its purgative
---Preparations and Dosages---Fluid extract, herb, 10 to
30 drops. Fluid extract, whole plant, 10 to 30 drops. Fluid
extract, flowers, 1/2 to 1 drachm.
Russian peasants have long employed the Lily-of-the-Valley for
certain forms of dropsy proceeding from a faulty
Special virtues were once
thought to be possessed by water distilled from the flowers, which
was known as Aqua aurea (Golden Water), and was deemed
worthy to be preserved in vessels of gold and silver. Coles (1657)
gives directions for its preparation:
'Take the flowers and steep
them in New Wine for the space of a month; which being finished,
take them out again and distil the wine three times over in a
Limbeck. The wine is more precious than gold, for if any one that
is troubled with apoplexy drink thereof with six grains of Pepper
and a little Lavender water they shall not need to fear it that
Dodoens (1560) pointed out
how this water 'doth strengthen the Memorie and comforteth the
Harte,' and about the same time, Joachim Camerarius [Culpepper says
it was Gerard who said this. - EDITOR.], a renowned
physician of Nuremberg, gave a similar prescription, which Gerard
quotes, saying that:
'a Glasse being filled with
the flowers of May Lilies and set in an Ant Hill with the mouth
close stopped for a month's space and then taken out, ye shall find
a liquor in the glasse which being outwardly applied helps the gout
This spirit was also considered excellent as an embrocation for
sprains, as well as for rheumatism.
We are told by old writers that a decoction of the bruised
root, boiled in wine, is good for pestilential fevers, and that
bread made of barley meal mixed with the juice is an excellent cure
for dropsy, also that an ointment of the root and lard is good for
ulcers and heals burns and scalds without leaving a
Culpepper said of the
'It without doubt strengthens
the brain and renovates a weak memory. The distilled water dropped
into the eyes helps inflammations thereof. The spirit of the
flowers, distilled in wine, restoreth lost speech, helps the palsy,
and is exceedingly good in the apoplexy, comforteth the heart and
The powdered flowers have been said to excite sneezing, proving
serviceable in the relief of headache and earache; but to some sick
people the scent of the flowers has proved harmful.
In some parts of Germany, a wine is still prepared from the
flowers, mixed with raisins.
Botanical: Lilium candidum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Liliaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Part Used---The bulb.
---History---When found in Palestine, Lilium
candidum is sometimes pointed out as the 'Lily of the Field,'
but this more probably was L. chalcedonicum, the brilliantly
scarlet Martagon Lily, which is specially abundant about the Lake
of Gennesaret on the plains of Galilee. The Shushan, or Lily
of Scripture, had probably a very broad meaning and might refer to
any striking blossom.
This white Lily was a popular favourite with the ancient Greeks
and Romans. In the early days of Christianity it was dedicated by
the Church to the Madonna (hence its popular name), probably
because its delicate whiteness was considered a symbol of purity.
It is employed on the 2nd July, in connection with the celebration
of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin.
It has been cultivated in this country for over three
centuries, and no cottage garden was considered complete without
this old favourite. Gerard, the famous apothecary, botanist and
gardener of that period, says, 'Our English white lilie groweth in
most gardens of England.'
It produces stiff, erect stems, 3 to 5 feet high, clothed with
lance-shaped leaves. The flowers appear in June, flowering into
July, and have a strong, sweet, penetrating perfume, so powerful as
to be even annoying to some people. The honey is secreted in long
grooves at the base of the white, floral leaves. There are several
varieties, that with black stems, var. peregrinum, being the
best for the garden.
---Cultivation---The Madonna Lily, when it is immune
from disease, to which it is very prone, has a vigorous
constitution, being so hardy that frost does not injure it. It will
thrive in almost any soil and situation and is easily cultivated.
Though it will do well in ordinary garden soil - especially in
raised beds - one of the chief causes of disease is planting in
low, badly-drained soil. It produces the finest flowers when
growing in a rich, deep, moist loam, where its roots remain
undisturbed for years. It is a limelover and failures to grow it
can often be ascribed to absence of lime in the soil. No plant
dislikes removal or digging near the roots more than this lily.
This really is the secret of its thriving so well in cottage
gardens. It should, therefore, be assigned a home where it can be
left, so to speak, to the care of itself (if grown from the
horticultural point of view), when it will flower and flourish for
a number of years, but the bulbs should be dug up and replanted as
soon as they show signs of deteriorating. So long as the plants
continue to thrive, it is not advisable to disturb them, for cases
have been known where they failed entirely after being
transplanted, although they were in a perfect condition previous to
shifting them, and they should never be moved more frequently than
once in three years.
Planting or replanting should not be delayed beyond the end of
August. The bulbs should not be planted more than 4 inches deep and
not less than 6 inches apart, as the plants grow tall and spread
very fast, being increased by offsets, which the bulbs send out in
such plenty, as to make it necessary to take them off every other,
or at most every third year, to prevent them weakening the
principal bulb. The time for removing them, to ensure flowering
next year, is the end of July to August, soon after the stalks
Besides wood ash, an annual top dressing of decayed manure and
a dusting of bonemeal in autumn have been found most beneficial to
The bulbs are collected in August, and used both dry and fresh.
Each bulb is composed of imbricated, fleshy scales, lanceolate and
curved, about 1 1/2 inch long and rather less than an inch broad at
the widest part. It is odourless, with a slightly bitter and
disagreeable taste. The scales should be stripped off separately
for drying, and spread on shelves in a warm room for about ten
days, then finished off by artificial heat.
The flowers of the Lily were formerly considered anti-epileptic
and anodyne: a distilled water was employed as a cosmetic, and oil
of Lilies was supposed to possess anodyne and nervine powers. But
their odorous matter, though very powerful, is totally dissipated
in drying and entirely carried off in distillation, either with
spirit or water, so no essential oil can be obtained from them in
The petals communicate their fragrance to almond and olive oil,
and also to lard, and have thus been employed in the past by
---Uses---The bulb, only, is now employed for
medicinal purposes, having highly demulcent and also somewhat
Bulbs are collected in August, and used both dried and
Each bulb is composed of imbricated, fleshy scales, lanceolate
and curved, about 1 1/2 inch long and rather less than 1/2 inch
broad in the centre. It is without odour, but has a peculiar,
disagreeable, somewhat bitter and mucilaginous taste.
To dry the scales, strip them off separately and spread them on
shelves in a kitchen or other warm room for about ten days, then
finish off more quickly in greater heat over a stove or gas fire,
or in oven when the fire has just gone out.
The bulb contains a great deal of mucilage and a small
proportion of an acrid principle, but the latter it loses by
drying, roasting, or boiling; when cooked, the bulb is viscid,
pulpy, sweet and sugary and is eaten by many people in the East.
The Japanese are said to specially esteem the bulb of this species
served with white sauce.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Demulcent, as tringent.
Owing to their highly mucilaginous properties, the bulbs are
chiefly employed externally, boiled in milk or water, as emollient
cataplasms for tumours, ulcers and external inflammation and have
been much used for this purpose in popular practice. The fresh
bulb, bruised and applied to hard tumours, softens and ripens them
sooner than any other application.
Made into an ointment, the bulbs take away corns and remove the
pain and inflammation arising from burns and scalds, which they
cure without leaving any scar.
The ointment also had the
reputation of being an excellent application to contracted tendons.
Gerard tells us:
'The root of the Garden Lily
stamped with honey gleweth together sinewes that be cut asunder. It
bringeth the hairs again upon places which have been burned or
scalded, if it be mingled with oil or grease. . . The root of a
white Lily, stamped and strained with wine, and given to drink for
two or three days together, expelleth the poison of the
In the fresh state, the bulb is also said to have been employed
with advantage in dropsy, for Culpepper (1652), besides confirming
the uses of the Lily bulb which Gerard gives, tells us 'the juice
of it being tempered with barley meal baked is an excellent cure
for the dropsy.'
Combined with Life Root (Senecio aureus), it is
recommended in modern herbal practice for healing female complaints
---Dosage---Of infusion, in water or milk, 3
Country people sometimes steep the fresh blooms in spirit and
use the liquid as a lotion for bruises in the same manner as
Arnica or Calendula.
The bulbs of several other species of Lilies besides those of
L. candidum are eaten, as those of L. Kamschatcense,
L. Martagon, the Turk's Cap, and L. Pomponium, the
Turban or Yellow Martagon, in Siberia. The Chinese and Japanese eat
regularly the bulbs of L. tigrinum, the Tiger Lily and the
Goldenrayed Lily of Japan, L. auratum.
Botanical: Lilium tigrinum
Family: N.O. Liliaceae
---Parts Used---Leaves, stalks, flowers, collected when
the plant is in full maturity.
---Habitat---China and Japan.
---Description---The plant flowers in July and August;
the bloom is orange colour and spotted. The upper leaves cordate
and oval. It does not ripen seed in this country, but is propagated
from the bulbils produced in the axils of the leaves which should
yield flowering bulbs in three years from the time of
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A tincture is made from
the fresh plant and has proved of great value in uterine-neuralgia,
congestion and irritation, also in the nausea and vomiting of
It relieves the bearing down pain accompanying uterine
It is an important remedy in ovarian neuralgia. Poisoning by
the pollen of the plant has produced vomiting, drowsiness and
---Dosage---1/8 to 5 drops of the tincture.
Lily, White Pond
Botanical: Nymphaea odorata (SOLAND)
Family: N.O. Nymphaeaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Sweet Water Lily. Sweet-scented Water
Lily. Water Nymph. Large White Water Lily.
---Part Used---The fresh root.
---Habitat---Sluggish streams, ponds and marshes, in
most parts of the United States, near the coast.
---Description---Perennial aquatic herb, grows to the
surface of the water from a thick horizontal root-stock, stem
absent, flowers growing on long peduncles and the leaves on
separate petioles. Stipules deltoid or nearly reniform, emarginate;
leaves always floating orbicular, smooth, and shining, dark green
above, wine-colour beneath. Flowers large white, showy and
fragrant, often 6 inches in diameter; sepals four elliptical
scaphoid, nearly free; petals numerous; stamens indefinite; ovary
large globular, depressed, eighteen to twenty-four-celled. Fruit a
depressed globular, fleshy body; seeds oblong, stipulate. The
flowers open as the sun rises, after a few hours gradually closing,
being entirely closed during the midday heat and at
---Constituents---The roots contain tannin, gallic acid
and mucilage, starch, gum, resin, sugar, ammonia, tartaric acid,
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The root is astringent,
demulcent, anodyne, and antiscrofulous, used in dysentery,
diarrhoea,gonorrhoea, and leucorrhoea externally. The leaves and
roots have been used in form of poultice to boils, tumours,
scrofulous ulcers and inflamed skin; the infusion is used as a
gargle for ulcers in the mouth and throat.
---Dosage---The powdered root, 1/2 drachm. Infusion up
to 2 fluid ounces.
The virtues of the root are quickly imparted to
A poultice of leaves and roots relieves boils, tumours, ulcers,
and inflamed skin. A complete cure of uterine cancer by a decoction
and a vaginal injection is recorded.
The dose of the powdered root is 1/2 drachm in milk or
sweetened water; but the best form is an infusion of 1 OZ. in a
pint of boiling water, macerated for thirty minutes, of which 2 to
4 fluid ounces may be given three or four times a day.
The EUROPEAN YELLOW POND-LILY (Nuphar Advena or
Nuphar luteum - Spatterdock or Frog-lily) may be used as a
substitute. It contains much nuphar-tannic acid.
Botanical: Citrus acida (ROXB.)
Family: N.O. Rutaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Citrus acris. Limettae
---Parts Used---The juice, the fruit.
---Habitat---West Indies, especially Montserrat. A
native of Asia.
---Description---The Lime is a small tree, crooked and
prickly, only reaching as a rule a height of 8 feet. The leaves are
ovateoblong, and the stalk is not winged like that of the orange
and lemon tree. The flowers are small and white and the fruit about
half the size of a lemon, with a smoother, thinner rind, having a
greenish tinge in its yellow. In Jamaica it is often planted for
In London nurseries several varieties are found, the principal
ones being the Chinese spreading, the West Indian, the Common, the
broad-leaved and the weeping.
The juice is principally used in the manufacture of citric
acid, and for medicinal purposes is often used indiscriminately
with that of the lemon, although its flavour is not so
Oil of Limes is used for flavouring purposes, especially in
mineral waters and artificial lime-juice cordials, consisting of
sweetened solutions of tartaric acid.
---Constituents---The National Formulary IV of America
has defined and standardized Lime Juice as follows: the expressed
juice of the ripe fruit of Citrus medica acida, containing
in each one hundred mils not less than 5 gm. nor more than
10 gm. of total acids, calculated as crystallized citric acid
(H3C6H5O7 plus H2O: 210.08). It is clear or slightly turbid, pale
yellow or greenish-yellow, with the characteristic odour and taste
of limes. Specific gravity 1.025 to 1.040 at 25 degrees
It must be free from sulphuric acid, and may contain 0.04 gm.
of SO2 in each 100 mils, but no other preservatives nor artificial
The rind contains a volatile oil including the terpene
limonene and citral.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Antiscorbutic. Used in
dyspepsia with glycerine of pepsin.
---Dosage---Of 40 per cent glycerite of pepsin and 60
per cent. Lime juice, 2 fluid drachms.
C. Limetta, grown in Italy, yields an oil resembling oil
of Bergamot, called Italian Limette oil. It contains 26 per cent
ling acetate. After standing it forms the yellow deposit
limettin. It differs from the distilled West Indian oil of
Botanical: Tilia Europoea (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Tiliaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Tilia vulgaris. Tilia intermedia. Tilia
cordata. Tilia platyphylla. Linden Flowers. Linn Flowers. Common
Lime. Flores Tiliae. Tilleul.
---Parts Used---The flowers, the charcoal.
---Habitat---Northern Temperate Zone, especially British
---Description---This tree will grow to 130 feet in
height and when in bloom perfumes its whole neighbourhood. The
leaves are obliquely heart-shaped, dark green above, paler below,
from 2 1\2 to 4 inches long and sharply toothed. The
yellowish-white flowers hang from slender stalks in flattened
clusters. They have five petals and five sepals. The original five
stamens have each developed a cluster, and there is a spoon-shaped
false petal opposite each true one.
Linden Tea is much used on the Continent, especially in France,
where stocks of dried lime-flowers are kept in most households for
The honey from the flowers is regarded as the best flavoured
and the most valuable in the world. It is used exclusively in
medicine and in liqueurs.
The wood is useful for small articles not requiring strength or
durability, and where ease in working is wanted: it is specially
valuable for carving, being white, close-grained, smooth and
tractable in working, and admits of the greatest sharpness in
minute details. Grinley Gibbons did most of his flower and figure
carvings for St. Paul's Cathedral, Windsor Castle, and Chatsworth
in Lime wood.
It is the lightest wood produced by any of the broad-leaved
European trees, and is suitable for many other purposes, as it
never becomes worm-eaten. On the Continent it is much used for
turnery, sounding boards for pianos, in organ manufacture, as the
framework of veneers for furniture, for packingcases, and also for
artists' charcoal making and for the fabrication of
The inner bark or bast when detached from the
outer bark in strands or ribands makes excellent fibres and coarse
matting, chiefly used by gardeners, being light, but strong and
elastic. Fancy baskets are often made of it. In Sweden, the inner
bark, separated by maceration so as to form a kind of flax, has
been employed to make fishing-nets.
The sap, drawn off in the spring, affords a considerable
quantity of sugar.
The foliage is eaten by cattle, either fresh or dry. The
leaves and shoots are mucilaginous and may be employed in poultices
---Constituents---The flowers contain a fragrant,
volatile oil, with no colour, tannin, sugar, gum and
The bark contains a glucoside, tilicin, and a
neutral body, tiliadin.
The leaves exude a saccharine matter having the same
composition as the manna of Mount Sinai.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Lime-flowers are only
used in infusion or made into a distilled water as household
remedies in indigestion or hysteria, nervous vomiting or
palpitation. Prolonged baths prepared with the infused flowers are
also good in hysteria.
In the Pyrenees they are used to soothe the temporary
excitement caused by the waters, and M. Rostan has used them with
success against spasms. The flowers of several species of Lime are
Some doctors prefer the light charcoal of lime wood to that of
the poplar in gastric or dyspeptic disturbances, and its powder for
burns or sore places.
If the flowers used for making the tisane are too old they may
produce symptoms of narcotic intoxication.
Botanical: Lippia dulcis (TREV.)
Family: N.O. Verbenaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Yerba dulce. Mexican Lippia.
A dozen species of Lippias are utilized in medicine and
in perfumery for their fragrant oils.
The drug Lippia Mexicana consists of the leaves and
flowers of L. dulcis, an evergreen shrub, about 18 feet
high, with rough bark, the branches and leaves in pairs, the
flowerstalks in the axils of the leaves, bearing many pyramidal,
scaly heads about the size of a small grey pea, in which are many
small yellow flowers between the scales. The leaves are 1 to 1 1/2
inch long, ovate, narrowed into the petiole, acute, finely-toothed
above, veiny and glandular-hairy. They have a peculiar, sweet and
very delightful, aromatic odour and taste.
---Constituents---In 1886, Podwisrotzki separated an
essential oil from the leaves,resembling that of fennel, as well as
a camphor-like substance which he named Lippiol. (According to
Maish, however, the plant used was probably the Cedronella
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The drug finds employment
as a stimulating expectorant, the tincture, in doses of 1/2 to 1
fluid drachm, is given as a respiratory sedative in coughs. It acts
as an alterative on the mucous membranc.
Lippiol, in doses of 4 1/2 grains, causes warmth, flushing,
diaphoresis and drowsiness.
L. GRAVEOLENS (H. B.) is similarly employed in Mexico, where it
is known as Yerba dulce.
L. ORIGANOIDES (Kunth) is used as a substitute for
The yellowish-green leaves of L. CYMOSA of Jamaica are scented
L. NODIELORA (Mx.) is employed in India under the names of
Buccar, Vakhar, Ratolia; and in Chile it is called Yerba de la
In Brazil, L. PSEUDO-THEA (Schauer) is used as a substitute for
tea and its fruit is eaten.
L. SCABERRIMA (Souder) is the South African shrub Benkess Boas,
and its leaves yield about 0.25 per cent of volatile oil, somewhat
resembling lavender in its odour. It contains the crystalline
The Lemon-scented Verbena of gardens (the Verveine
odorante of the French), so much valued for the fragrance of
its leaves, was once referred to the genus Verbena, under
the name of Verbena triphylla. Lyons subsequently assigned
it to the genus Aloysia (hence a gardener's popular name for
it: Herb Louisa, a corruption of the Latin name, Aloysia),
but it is now classed in the genus Lippia and named L.
CITRIODORA (Kunth). It differs from Verbena in having two,
not four, nutlets in the fruit.
Botanical: Glycyrrhiza glabra (LINN.) and Other
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---Liquiritia officinalis. Lycorys
---Habitat---The Liquorice plants are shrubs, natives of
South-east Europe and South-west Asia, as far as Persia, the G.
glabra ranging more especially to the westward, the G.
glandulifera more to the eastward and being the source of the
Eastern Liquorice root of commerce.
The Liquorice of medicine and commerce is derived from the
sweet root of various species of Glycyrrhiza, a genus which
contains about fourteen species, natives of warmer temperate
countries in both the New and Old Worlds, ten of them having roots
more or less sweet, but most of them not sufficiently so to be of
Hundreds of tons of Liquorice for commercial and medicinal
purposes are imported annually from Spain, Russia, Germany, France
and the East, most of our supply coming from Spain and
There are several well-marked species: G. glabra,
glandulifera, echinata, etc. The chief source of the
drug is G. glabra, which is cultivated in England, but is
imported chiefly from Spain and Italy. There are several other
varieties in commerce - Russian and Persian Liquorice - but these
are not recognized by the British Pharmacopceia as suitable for
The use of the Liquorice plant was first learnt by the Greeks
from the Scythians. Theophrastus (third century B.C.), in
commenting on the taste of different roots (Hist. Plant.
lib. IX. c. 13), instances the sweet Scythian root which grows
in the neighbourhood of the Lake Maeotis (Sea of Azov), and is good
for asthma, dry cough and all pectoral diseases.
Dioscorides, who names the plant Glyrrhiza (Greek
glukos, sweet, and riza, a root), from his
description of the plant possibly had in view G. echinata,
as well as G. glabra.
The plant is often found under the name Liquiritia
officinalis. The Latin name Liquiritia, whence is derived the
English name Liquorice (Lycorys in the thirteenth century), is a
corruption of Glycyrrhiza, as shown in the transitional form
Gliquiricia. The Italian Regolizia, the German Lacrisse or Lakriz,
the Welsh Lacris and the French Reglisse have the same
The Roman writers, Celsus and Scribonius Largus, mention
Liquorice as Radix dulcis. Pliny who describes it as a
native of Cilicia, and Pontus makes no allusion to its growing in
Liquorice Extract was known in the times of Dioscorides and
appears to have been in common use in Germany during the Middle
Ages. In 1264, Liquorice (apparently the extract, not the root) is
charged in the Wardrobe Accounts of Henry IV. Saladinus, who wrote
about the middle of the fifteenth century, names it among the wares
kept by the Italian apothecaries and it is enumerated in a list of
drugs of the City of Frankfurt, written about the year
A writer in the first half of the sixteenth century notices the
Liquorice plant as abundant in many parts of Italy, and describes
the manner of making the Succus or Extract by crushing and boiling
the fresh root.
The plant is described as being cultivated in Italy by Piero de
Cresenzi of Bologna, who lived in the thirteenth century. As a
medicine, the drug was well known in Germany in the eleventh
century, and an extensive cultivation of the plant was carried on
in Bavaria in the sixteenth century, but it is not mentioned in
mediaeval lists of plants.
Cultivation on a small scale has existed in England for a very
long time. It appears from Turner's Herbal that it was
cultivated in England in 1562, and Stow says 'the planting and
growing of licorish began about the first year of Queen Elizabeth
(1558).' Gerard, in 1597, tells us that he has plenty in his
garden. It was known to and described by Culpepper who says: 'It is
planted in fields and gardens, in divers places of this land and
thereof good profit is made.'
John Parkinson grew Liquorice in his Holborn garden and John
Josselyn gives the recipe for a beer which he used to brew for the
Indians when they had bad colds. It was strongly flavoured with
elecampane, liquorice, aniseed, sassafras and fennel.
'The English liquorice root
shoots up several woody stalks, whereon are set, at several
distances, many narrow, long green leaves, set together on both
sides of the stalks and an odd one at the end, nearly resembling a
young ash tree sprung up from the seed. . . . This, by many years
of continuance in a place without removal, and not else, will bring
forth numerous flowers, standing together spike fashion, one above
another upon the stalks in the form of pea-blossoms, but of a very
pale blue colour, which turn into long, somewhat flat and smooth
pods, wherein is contained small, round, hard seed. The root
runneth down exceeding far into the ground, with divers smaller
roots . . . they shoot out suckers in every direction, by which
means the product is greatly increased.'
Liquorice is official in all pharmacopoeias, which differ as to
the variety or varieties recognized, as to the botanical name
employed and as to the drug being peeled or unpeeled, dried
Liquorice root being supplied in commerce either with or without
the thin brown coat. In the latter state it is known as peeled or
decorticated. The British Pharmacopoeia requires that it be peeled,
but others require that it be unpeeled.
---Description---The plants are graceful, with light,
spreading, pinnate foliage, presenting an almost feathery
appearance from a distance. The leaflets (like those of the False
Acacia) hang down during the night on each side of the midrib,
though they do not meet beneath it. From the axils of the leaves
spring racemes or spikes of papilionaceous small pale-blue, violet,
yellowish-white or purplish flowers, followed by small pods
somewhat resembling a partly-grown peapod in form. In the type
species glabra, the pods are smooth, hence the specific
name; in others they are hairy or spiny.
The underground system, as in so many Leguminosae, is double,
the one part consisting of a vertical or tap root, often with
several branches penetrating to a depth of 3 or 4 feet, the other
of horizontal rhizomes, or stolons, thrown off from the root below
the surface of the ground, which attain a length of many feet.
These runners are furnished with leafbuds and throw up stems in
their second year. The perennial downward-running roots as well as
the long horizontal stolons are equally preserved for
Various indications point to the habit of this plant of fixing
atmospheric nitrogen, as do many others of the family.
In the species glandulifera (W. and K.) the pods are
covered with thick, glandular spines, and the whole plant is
pubescent or roughly glandular. The underground portion is not so
spreading and produces a carrot-shaped root larger than the Spanish
root derived from G. glabra. This species is indigenous to
South-east Europe, Syria and Western Asia, and is both wild and
cultivated in Russia. Both the Russian and Persian Liquorice of
commerce is derived from G. glandulifera, the Russian
reaching this country is peeled or unpeeled: its taste although
sweet, is accompanied by a more or less perceptible bitterness. It
consists chiefly of roots, not runners.
Persian Liquorice root, collected in the valley of the Tigris
and Euphrates, from G. glandulifera, and exported in bales
from Bussorah, is usually unpeeled, and is in rather large, coarse
pieces, closely resembling the Russian root. Both the Russian and
Persian varieties are largely consumed in the United States the
root of G. glandulifera is equally official in the United
States Pharmacopaeia with that of G. glabra.
G. echinata, a native of Hungary, south Russia and Asia
Minor, is the official German species. It has short globular heads
of flowers and a small, ovoid pod with long spines. Probably a
portion of the root from Italy and Sicily is the product of G.
echinata, which grows wild in Apulia. The root is also somewhat
bitter and there are contradictory statements concerning its
quality, due perhaps to its having been confused with G.
Asiatic Liquorice is obtained from G. uralensis (Fisch.), found
in Turkestan, Mongolia and Siberia, and little inferior to the best
G. lepidota (Pursh), American Liquorice, is a species of
the north-western United States. The rhizome is said to resemble
that of Spanish Liquorice, but is smaller.
It is only grown now to a very limited extent in this country,
being cultivated on a small scale near Pontefract in Yorkshire,
though formerly it was extensively grown at Mitcham in Surrey, also
at Godalming, and at Worksop (Notts).
The English Extract of Liquorice, made from the fresh
home-grown root, sold in the lozenge form and known as Pontefract
or Pomfrey cakes, is said to have a more delicate flavour than that
imported, and it is considered that the cultivation of English
Liquorice might well be extended, Essex and Surrey being suitable
districts for its growth.
In southern Italy, large quantities of Liquorice root are
grown, but it is chiefly converted into Extract, though some of the
root is exported.
Spain and the south of France furnish quantities of carefully
dried Liquorice root. Up to the year 1890, the cultivation of
Spanish Liquorice was small or moderate in comparison with the wild
collection. Owing, however, to the depletion of the natural
supplies of root of good quality, this cultivation has grown
rapidly in South and South-central Europe, where the climate is
Liquorice grows best on sandy soil near streams, usually not
being found in the wild condition more than 50 yards from
It will not flourish on clay and prefers the rich, fine soil of
bottom lands in river valleys, where there is an abundance of
moisture during the growing period, but where the ground bakes hard
during the hot, late summer months, when the dry heat is very
favourable for the formation of the sweet
The plant succeeds most in a warm climate; not only can it not
endure severe freezing, but cool weather interferes with the
formation of its useful juice and renders it woody. It has been
found that a climate particularly favourable to the production of
the orange is favourable to that of Liquorice.
Owing to the depth to which the root penetrates and its ready
propagation from detached pieces, the plant is a most persistent
weed in cultivated grounds where it is indigenous and exceedingly
difficult of extirpation. It is very healthy and robust and very
little subject to disease, at the same time successfully occupying
the ground to the exclusion of other plants. For this reason, the
continuation of the natural supply may be considered as assured,
though it is liable to suffer severe reduction from
The supply of natural root has suffered severe fluctuations
owing to the exhaustion of supplies in the districts previously
worked, alternating with over-production from newlyopened
districts. This fact, coupled with the operations of speculators,
has resulted in equally great fluctuations in quality, the new
districts yielding full-grown root of good quality, the older ones
that which has not been allowed to develop properly.
The cultivation of Liquorice is easy, sure and profitable and,
if properly conducted, conducive to the betterment of the
On account of the depth to which the root strikes when the
plant has room to flourish, the soil should have a good staple of
mould 2 or 3 feet in depth and be manured if
The planting season is either October, or February and March;
the latter is preferred. The plants are procured from old
plantations, being waste from the harvesting process, consisting of
those side roots or runners which have eyes or buds, cut into
sections about 6 inches long. They are dibbled in, in rows 3 or 4
feet apart, about 4 inches underneath the surface and about 18
inches apart in the rows. In the autumn, the ground is dressed with
farmyard manure, about 40 tons to the acre.
During the first two years the growth is slight, the plants not
rising above a foot the first season, and in Calabria the
intervening space is generally utilized for the production of
potatoes, cabbages and similar crops. The soil being heavily
fertilized for the production of Liquorice, these crops are usually
very luxuriant. After the second year, the growing Liquorice plants
cover the entire soil to the exclusion of other
---Harvesting and Preparation for Market---
Not until the end of the third season will the roots be ready
to take up for use, but harvesting generally occurs only in the
autumn of the fourth year. The soil is carefully removed from the
space between the rows to a depth of 2 or 3 feet as required, thus
exposing the roots and rhizomes at the side, the whole being then
removed bodily. The earth from the next space is then removed and
thrown into the trench thus formed and these operations are
Every portion of the subterranean part of the plant is
carefully saved, the drug consisting of both runners and roots, the
former constituting the major part. The roots proper are washed,
trimmed and sorted, and either sold in their entire state or cut
into shorter lengths and dried, in the latter case the cortical
layer being sometimes removed by scraping. The older or 'hard'
runners are sorted out and sold separately; the young, called
'soft,' are reserved for propagation.
The average yield per acre is from 4 to 5 tons. The same ground
yields a crop every three or four years, the fourth-year growth
being the best. That of the third year and earlier is deficient in
sweet substances, but immediately after the fourth year the texture
begins to take on a tough, coarse and woody character. It is
desirable also to collect the roots of those plants which have
never borne fruit since that process exhausts the sweet substance
of the sap.
English-grown Liquorice is dug up in late autumn and sold
mostly in the fresh state for making extract, only a small amount
Fresh Liquorice (English) when washed is externally of a bright
yellowish brown. It is very flexible, easily cut with a knife,
exhibiting a light-yellow, juicy internal substance, which consists
of a thick bark surrounding a woody column. Both bark and wood are
extremely tough, readily tearing into long, fibrous strings. The
root has a peculiar earthy odour and a strong, characteristic,
Most of the dried Liquorice root imported into this country
comes from Spain and Russia, supplies of the official drug being
drawn chiefly from Spain, the better quality of which comes from
Tortosa and Alicante. Both Spanish and Russian Liquorice are
usually exported in large bales or bundles, or rarely, in the case
of the Spanish variety derived from Alicante, loose, or in bags.
Spanish Liquorice root is in long, straight, nearly cylindrical,
unpeeled pieces, several feet in length, varying in thickness from
1/4 inch to about 1 inch, longitudinally wrinkled, externally
greyish brown to dark brown, warty; internally tawny yellow;
pliable, tough; texture coarsely fibrous; bark rather thick; wood
porous, but dense, in narrow wedges; taste sweet, very slightly
acrid. The underground stem which is often present has a similar
appearance, but contains a thin pith. That from Alicante is
frequently untrimmed and dirty in appearance, but that from Tortosa
is usually clean and bright looking. When peeled, the pieces of
root (including runners) are shorter, a pale yellow, slightly
fibrous externally, and exhibit no trace of the small dark buds
seen on the unpeeled runners here and there. Otherwise it resembles
Nearly all the Russian Liquorice reaching this country has been
peeled. It attains a much larger size than the Spanish, and the
taste, although sweet, is accompanied by a more or less perceptible
but not strong bitterness or acridity. It consists chiefly of
roots, not runners, in long often crooked pieces, about 2 inches in
thickness, pale yellow externally and internally of a lighter
yellow than the Spanish and softer. The size of all cells (when
examined microscopically) is seen to be much larger than in the
---Extract---The manufacture of Liquorice Juice, or
Extract, is conducted on a liberal scale in Spain, southern
France, Sicily, Calabria, Austria, southern Russia, Greece and Asia
Minor, but the Extract with which England is supplied is almost
exclusively the produce of Calabria, Sicily and Spain; Calabrian
Liquorice is generally preferred. By far the larger part of the
Italian and Sicilian crop is now manufactured there and exported in
the form of Extract.
Spain formerly yielded most of the supply, hence the Extract is
still termed 'Spanish Juice,' but that of the first grade has long
since depleted to the point of scarcity.
The roots and runners of both wild and cultivated plants are
taken up in late autumn and stacked through the winter in the
cellars and yards of the factories. When required, they are crushed
under millstones to a pulp, then transferred to boilers and boiled
in water over a naked fire, the decoctions are run off and then
evaporated in copper vessels over direct heat, till a suitable
consistency is obtained, being constantly stirred to prevent
burning. While warm, the mass is taken out and rolled into sticks,
stamped and stacked on boards to dry. Vacuum pans and steam power
have in some factories replaced the more simple
The sticks vary in size, but are commonly about 1 inch in
diameter and 6 or 7 inches in length and when imported are usually
wrapped in bay leaves. At one end they are stamped with the maker's
name or mark.
Stick Liquorice is very commonly impure, either from
carelessness in its preparation, or from the fraudulent addition of
other substances, such as starch, sand, carbonaceous matter, etc.
Small particles of copper are also sometimes found in
Several varieties of Stick Liquorice are met with in English
commerce, the most famous is the Solazzi Juice, manufactured at
Corigliano, a small town of Calabria in the Gulf of
The juice is also imported in a black form, having while warm
and soft been allowed to run into the wooden cases of about 2 cwts.
each, in which it is exported. This juice, known as Liquorice
Paste, is largely imported from Spain and Asia Minor, but on
account of a certain bitterness is unsuited for its use as a
sweetmeat or in medicine, and is principally employed in the
preparation of tobacco for chewing and smoking.
Extract of Liquorice in rolls has a black colour, is somewhat
glossy and has a sharp and shining fracture. Some small cavities
are found in the interior. The product of the different
manufacturers of Stick Liquorice differ from one another not only
in size, but often in the odour and taste; while some specimens are
almost purely sweet, others are persistently acrid, rendering them
unsuitable for medicinal purposes, for which they must be almost
devoid of acridity.
Hard Extract of Liquorice, as described, is essentially
different in composition and properties to the Extract of Liquorice
of the British Pharmacopceia, which is entirely soluble in cold
water, whereas the so-called Spanish Juice, when treated with cold
water, leaves a large residue undissolved, retaining the shape of
the stick. The amount soluble in cold water varies considerably and
reaches in the best brands about 70 or 75 per cent. The United
States and nearly all other Pharmacopoeias recognize the commercial
Extract of the root of G. glabra, but the British
Pharmacopoeia does not, and gives a process for making an extract
which somewhat resembles the purified Extract of Liquorice of the
United States Pharmacopoeia. For the Liquid Extract of Liquorice,
the British Pharmacopceiadirects the exhaustion of the Liquorice
root with two successive portions of cold water, using each time 50
fluid ounces for 20 OZ. of the drug and allowing the mixture to
macerate for 24 hours before expressing. The mixed infusions are
heated to boiling point, strained through flannel and evaporated
until the liquid has acquired, when cold, a specific gravity of
1.2, one-fourth of its volume of alcohol is added, and the mixture
is set aside for 12 hours, after which it is filtered. It has a
yellowish-brown colour and a pure sweet taste, free from all
---Constituents---The chief constituent of Liquorice
root, to which its sweet taste is due, is Glycyrrhizin (6 to 8 per
cent), obtainable in the form of a sweet, white crystalline powder,
consisting of the calcium and potassium salts of glycyrrhizic acid.
The drug also contains sugar, starch (29 per cent), gum, protein,
fat (0.8 per cent), resin, asparagin (2 to 4 per cent), a trace of
tannin in the outer bark of the root, yellow colouring matter, and
0.03 of volatile oil.
The amount of Glycyrrhizin present in Extract of Liquorice
varies from 5 to 24 per cent, and the amount of moisture from 8 to
17 per cent. Upon ignition, the extract yields from 5 to 9 per cent
The roots of G. glandulifera and echinata also
contain in addition, Glycyrmarin, a bitter principle occurring
mostly in the bark.
Glycyrrhizin, or a similar substance, has been obtained from
other plants, viz. from the rhizome of Polypodium vulgare,
the leaves of Myrrhis odorata, and the bark of Lucuma
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The action of Liquorice
is demulcent, moderately pectoral and emollient.
It is a popular and well-known remedy for coughs, consumption
and chest complaints generally, notably bronchitis, and is an
ingredient in almost all popular cough medicines on account of its
valuable soothing properties.
The Extract enters into the composition of cough lozenges and
pastilles, with sedatives and expectorants. It is largely used in
conjunction with infusion of linseed in the treatment of irritable
cough, sore throat and laryngitis, and an infusion made by boiling
1 OZ. of the bruised root deprived of its bark, with 1 pint of
water for a few minutes, may be employed in the treatment of sore
throat and in catarrhal conditions of the urinary intestinal
Beach mentions the following
recipe as being used by the late Dr. Malone, of London, and speaks
most highly of its efficacy:
'Take a large teaspoonful of
Linseed, 1 ounce of Liquorice root, and 1/4 lb. of best raisins.
Put them into 2 quarts of soft water and simmer down to 1 quart.
Then add to it 1/4 lb. of brown sugar candy and a tablespoonful of
white wine vinegar or lemon juice. Drink 1/2 pint when going to bed
and take a little whenever the cough is troublesome.'
(N.B. - It is best to add the vinegar to that quantity which is
required for immediate use.)
Fluid Extract of Liquorice is employed almost exclusively as a
vehicle for disguising the taste of nauseous medicines, having a
remarkable power of converting the flavour of acrid or bitter
drugs, such as Mezereon, Quinine or Cascara.
The powdered root is useful in pill-making on account of its
absorbent qualities, being used to impart stiffness to pill masses
and to prevent the adhesion of pills.
As a remedial agent, powdered Liquorice root has been almost
entirely replaced by the extract, though it is used in the
well-known Compound Liquorice Powder, the mild laxative in which
Senna and Fennel are the other ingredients. It is added mainly on
account of its sweetness and emollient qualities, the action of the
powder being mainly due to the Senna contained.
Liquorice was prescribed by early physicians from the time of
Hippocrates, in cases of dropsy, to prevent thirst, for which it is
an excellent thing, though probably the only sweet substance that
has this effect. It is thought, however, that the property does not
actually belong to the saccharine juice, but that if a piece of the
root be chewed till all the juice is extracted, there remains a
bitter, which acts on the salivary glands, and this may contribute
to remove thirst.
The sugar of Liquorice may safely be taken by diabetic
On the whole, Liquorice as a domestic medicine is far more
largely used on the Continent than in Great Britain. It is much
used in China and largely produced (both L. glabra and L.
echinata) in some of the northern provinces, a variety of
medicinal preparations being employed, not only as possessing
tonic, alterative and expectorant properties, but also for the
rejuvenating and highly nutritive qualities attributed to
It was recommended by Gervase Markham, a noted authority on
husbandry and farriery in the early part of the seventeenth
century, for the treatment of certain horses'
---Preparations and Dosages---Powdered root, 1/2 to 1
drachm. Fluid extract, 1 to 4 drachms. Comp. powder, B.P., 1 to 2
drachms. Solid extract, 1 drachm. Comp. lozenges, U.S.P. Solid
extract in stick form, known as Liquorice Juice.
Liquorice is also largely used by brewers, being added to
porter and stout to give thickness and blackness.
Block Liquorice is employed in the manufacture of tobacco for
smoking and chewing.
According to the United States press, a new use for Liquorice
Root has lately been discovered, the waste root being now utilized
for the manufacture of boards for making boxes. After extraction of
the Liquorice, the crushed root was formerly considered a waste
product and destroyed by burning, but under a recently discovered
process this refuse can now be made into a chemical wood pulp and
pressed into a board that is said to have satisfactory resisting
qualities and strength.
Botanical: Abrus precatorius (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
---Synonyms---Jequirity. Wild Liquorice. Prayer
(Indian) Gunga. (Indian) Goonteh. (Indian)
---Parts Used---Root, seeds.
The root of an Indian leguminous plant, Abrus
precatorius (Linn.), under the native names of Gunga or
Goonteh, has been used as a demulcent. It contains Glycyrrhizin,
and has been termed Indian Liquorice and used as a substitute for
true Liquorice. Acrid resins, however, render the root irritant and
An infusion and a paste of the seeds are included in the
British Pharmacopoeia. It has a strongly irritating effect upon the
eyes and has been used both to produce and to allay certain
The hard, red, glossy seeds, nearly globular, with a large,
black spot at one end, are known as Prayer Beads, or Jequirity
seeds. The seeds, weighing about 1 carat each, have been used in
India from very ancient times for the purpose of weighing gold,
under the name of Rati. They are largely employed also for the
making of rosaries and for ornamental purposes.
The weight of the famous Koh-i-noor diamond was ascertained by
means of these seeds.
There is also a variety with perfectly white
Their medical importance is not great, but they have a
notorious history in India as an agent in criminal poisoning. This
practice has been directed chiefly against cattle and other live
stock, but the poisoning of human beings has been not infrequent.
That the attractive seeds form dangerous playthings for children
has been proved by the records of a number of cases of poisoning
which have occurred in this way.
The name Wild Liquorice has also been given to Aralia
nudicaulis (Linn.), indigenous to Canada and the United States,
and to the root of Cephalanthus occidentalis, a member of
the Madder family, a large shrub, with rich, glossy foliage,
growing in swamps almost throughout the United States and extending
into Southern Canada, the bark and stem of which is used
Rest-Harrow has also been called Wild Liquorice.
Botanical: Roccella tinctoria (D. C.)
Family: N.O. Lichenes
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Lacmus. Orchella Weed. Dyer's Weed. Lacca
caerulea. Lacca musica. Orseille. Persio. Rock Moss. Lichen
Roccella. Roccella phycopsis. Roccella Pygmaea. Turnsole. Touresol.
---Part Used---The whole plant, for its
---Habitat---Seashore rocks on all warm coasts and some
---Description---Various origins are ascribed to the
name Roccella. It may be derived from rocca (a rock),
or from the red colour produced by the plants. It occurs in an
Italian Natural History of 1599.
Roccella tinctoria is a small, dry, perennial lichen, in
appearance a bunch of wavy, tapering branched, drab-coloured stems
from 2 to 6 inches high, springing from a narrow base. These bear
nearly black warts at intervals, the apothecia or means of
fructification peculiar to lichens. It is found principally on the
Mediterranean coasts but other species from other localities are
also sources of commercial Litmus.
Blue and Red Orchil or Archil are used for
dyeing, colouring and staining. The red is prepared by steeping the
lichen in earthen jars and heating them by steam. The blue is
similarly treated in a covered wooden vessel. They are used as a
thickish liquid for testing purposes.
Cudbear, prepared in a similar way, is also used as a
dye. It is dried and pulverized, and becomes a purplish-red in
The preparation of Litmus is almost exclusively carried on in
Holland, the details being kept a secret. About nineteen kinds seem
to be there, varying very much in value.
The lichens are coarsely ground with pearlashes, and macerated
for weeks in wooden vessels in a mixture of urine, lime and potash
or soda, with occasional stirring. In fermentation the mass becomes
red and then blue, and is then moulded into earthy, crumbling cakes
of a purplish-blue colour. The scent is like violets and indigo and
the taste is slightly saline and pungent. Indigo is mixed with
inferior kinds to deepen the colour.
Blue Litmus Paper is prepared by steeping unsized white
paper in an infusion or Test Solution of Litmus, or by brushing the
infusion over the paper, which must be carefully dried in the open
Red Litmus Paper is similarly prepared with an infusion
faintly reddened by the addition of a small percentage of sulphuric
or hydrochloric acid.
Vegetable red, much used in colouring foods, is a
sulphonated derivative of orchil.
---Constituents---The lichen contains a brown resin,
wax, insoluble and lichen starches, yellow extractive, gummy and
glutinous matters, tartrate and oxalate of lime and chloride of
sodium. The colouring principles are acids or acid anhydrides,
themselvescolourless but yielding colour when acted upon by
ammonia, air and moisture.
The chief of these are Azolitmin and Erythro-litmin, sometimes
called leconoric, orsellic and erythric acids.
The dye is tested by adding a solution of calcium hypochlorite
to the alcoholic tincture, when a deep blood-red colour, quickly
fading, should appear, or the plants can be macerated in a weak
solution of ammonia, which should produce a rich
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Demulcent and emollient.
A decoction is useful in coughs and catarrhs.
Litmus is used officially as a test for acids and alkalis.
Acids impart a red colour to blue Litmus and alkaloids cause
reddened Litmus to return to its original blue. It may be used in
solid or liquid forms as well as on the papers.
---Adulterations---Orchil is often adulterated
with extracts of coloured woods, especially logwood and sappan
Two of the chief sources of Litmus are now R. Montagnei
of Mozambique and Dendrographa leucophoea of
Lecanora Tartare, or Tartarean Moss, was formerly much
used in Northern Europe.
R. pygmaea is found in Algeria\.
R. fuciformis is larger, with flatter, paler
R. phycopsis is smaller and more branched.
Inferior kinds of Litmus are prepared from species of
Variolaria, Lecanora and
Botanical: Anemone hepatica (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Hepatica triloba. Hepatica triloba, var.
americana or obtusa. Round-leaved Hepatica. Noble Liverwort.
Liverleaf. Liverweed. Trefoil. Herb Trinity. Kidneywort.
---Parts Used---Leaves and flowers.
---Habitat---Cooler latitudes of the North Temperate
---Description---The name of the genus may be derived
from epatikos (affecting the liver) or from epar (the
liver), from a likeness in its appearance to that organ. The
Hepaticas are distinguished by having carpels without feathery
tails and by the involucre of three simple leaves being so close to
the flower as to resemble a calyx.
The leaves are broad kidney or heart shaped, about 2 inches
long and broad, with three broad, angular lobes, leathery, smooth
and dark green above, almost evergreen, placed on long, slender
foot-stalks growing direct from the root. In the wild state the
flowers are generally blue, more rarely rose or white, but in
cultivation many other tints are to be found. There are numerous
garden varieties, growing best in deep loam or clay, several having
The leaves should be gathered during flowering time in
---Constituents---Liverwort contains tannin, sugar,
mucilage, etc.; its value is due to its astringent principle. A
full analysis has not been made.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Demulcent, tonic,
astringent, vulnerary. It has been described as 'an innocent herb
which may be taken freely in infusion and in syrup.' It is a mild
remedy in disorders of the liver, indigestion, etc., and possessing
pectoral properties it is employed in coughs, bleeding of the lungs
and diseases of the chest generally.
The infusion, made from 1 OZ. of the dried herb to 1 pint of
boiling water, is slightly astringent and mucilaginous. Frequent
doses of 1/2 teacupful have been recommended in the early stages of
consumption. In some countries the whole plant is regarded as a
vulnerary and astringent. In cataplasms it is valued in hernia,
affections of the urinary passages and skin diseases.
A distilled water is used for freckles and sunburn. Though in
use from ancient days, its mild character has caused it to be
---Dosage---30 to 120 grains. Fluid extract, 1/2 to 2
Marchantia polymorpha is the true
The lichen Pettigora canina is known as English or
Ground Liverwort. It was formerly regarded as a remedy for
---Cultivation---Hepaticas are hardy, longlived plants
of a deep-rooting nature, preferring a rich, porous soil and a
sheltered situation. They flourish best in a deep loam, but will
thrive in clay: one condition of success is good drainage. It is
not advisable to transplant them frequently; when left undisturbed
for a few years, they form fine clumps.
The double varieties are propagated by division of roots. The
strongest clumps should be lifted immediately after flowering and
carefully divided into separate crowns, each division to have as
many roots as can be secured to it. These must be at once planted
in fresh soil and carefully closed in, and then lightly covered
with some very fine earth. They will become established in the
course of the season if the soil is well drained, care being taken
to water when necessary. Being by nature woodside plants, they
should not be exposed to long-continued sunshine.
The single varieties are raised by seed, which must be sown as
soon as ripe in pans or shallow boxes, which should be filled with
light rich, sandy loam, kept moist, and sheltered in a frame
throughout the winter. Germination is very slow and the young
plants will not appear till the end of September. Keep the
seedlings in their seed-boxes, freely ventilated to prevent damping
off, and in April remove them to a sheltered shady border. As the
young plants make their proper leaves, carefully lift them out with
a thin slip of wood and plant them in a border prepared for the
purpose, where the soil must be sweet and sandy, without manure and
a little shaded.
Botanical: Peltigera Canina (HOFFM.)
Family: N.O. Lichenes
---Synonyms---Lichen Caninus. Lichen Cinereus Terrestis.
Ash-coloured Ground Liverwort.
---Habitat---Britain where the drainage is good; on
mudwalls and molehills.
---Description---The marginal disks of this lichen are
at first veiled and project from the thallus, retaining fragments
of the veil of the margin. The fronds are foliaceous, coriaceous,
ascending, soft, underside is veined and attached to the ground or
to whatever substance it grows upon - where they make handsome
plants, especially when in fruit or studded with the little red
parasite to which they are subject. The plant was formerly
considered of great value in hydrophobia.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Deobstruent, slightly
purgative and held in esteem as a remedy for liver
---Preparations and Dosages---Infusion, 1 OZ. to 1 pint
of boiling water, take 4 OZ. daily. Fluid extract, 1/2 to 2,
Botanical: Lobelia inflata (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Lobeliaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Poisonous, if any, with Antidotes
Steadman Shorter's Medical Dictionary,
1942, Poisons & Antidotes:
---Synonyms---Rapuntium inflatum. Indian-Tobacco.
Pukeweed. Asthma Weed. Gagroot. Vomitwort. Bladderpod.
---Parts Used---The dried flowering herb, and
---Habitat---Dry places in the northern United States,
Canada and Kamchatka. Grown in English gardens.
---Description---The herb is named after the botanist
Matthias de Lobel, a native of Lille, who died in London in 1616.
It is an erect annual or biennial herb, 1 to 2 feet high; lower
leaves and also flower are stalked, the latter being pale
violet-blue in colour, tinted pale yellow within. Commercially, it
is usually prepared in compressed, oblong packages, by the Shakers
of New Lebanon for importation into England. The colour is a
yellowish green, the odour irritating, the taste, after chewing,
very like that of tobacco, burning and acrid, causing a flow of
saliva. The powder has a greenish colour, but that of the seeds is
brown, and stains paper with grease.
Several species are cultivated in English gardens for the
splendour of their flowers, in every shade of scarlet, purple, and
blue. Lobelia Dortmanna and L. Urens are British. The
fixed oil, with constituents rather like that of linseed oil,
possesses the drying qualities common to the fixed oils together
with all the medicinal properties of the seed.
The plant was known to the Penobscot Indians and was widely
used in New England long before the time of Samuel Thomson, who is
credited with its discovery. It was brought into general
professional use by Cutler of Massachusetts.
---Constituents---The activity of Lobelia is dependent
upon a liquid alkaloid first isolated by Proctor in 1838 and named
Lobeline. Pereira found a peculiar acid which he named Lobelic
acid. Also, gum, resin, chlorophyl, fixed oil, lignin, salts of
lime and potassium, with ferric oxide. Lobelacrine, formerly
considered to be the acrid principle, is probably lobelate of
lobeline. The seeds contain a much higher percentage of lobeline
than the rest of the plant.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Expectorant, diaphoretic,
anti-asthmatic. It should not be employed as an emetic.
(Herbalists, who use lobelia far more than the ordinary
practitioners, nearly always prescribe it in doses large enough to
prove emetic, and regard it as of greater value thus used. -
EDITOR.) Some authorities attach great value to it as an
expectorant in bronchitis, others as a valuable counterirritant
when combined with other ingredients in ointment form. It is
sometimes given in convulsive and inflammatory disorders such as
epilepsy, tetanus, diphtheria and tonsilitis. There is also
difference of opinion with regard to its narcotic properties. Where
relaxation of the system is required, as, for instance, to subdue
spasm, Lobelia is invaluable. Relaxation can be counteracted by the
stimulating and tonic infusion of capsicum. It may be used as an
Externally, an infusion has been found useful in ophthalmia,
and the tincture can be used as a local application for sprains,
bruises, or skin diseases, alone, or in powder combined with an
equal part of slippery elm bark and weak lye-water in a poultice.
The oil of Lobelia is valuable in tetanus. One drop of oil
triturated with one scruple of sugar, and divided into from 6 to 12
doses, is useful as an expectorant, nauseant, sedative, and
diaphoretic, when given every one or two hours.
---Preparations and Dosages---Powdered bark, 5 to 60
grains. Fluid extract, 10 to 20 drops. Acid tincture, 1 to 4
drachms. Tincture, U.S.P., 1 to 4 drachms. Etherial tincture, B.P.,
5 to 15 drops. Syrup, 1 to 4 drachms. Solid extract, 2 to 4 grains.
Oil of seed, 1 drop rubbed up with 20 grains of ginger and divided
into 6 to 12 doses. Lobelin, 1/4 to 3 grains.
Acetum Lobellae (Vinegar of Lobelia). Lobelia seed
powder, 4 OZ. Diluted acetic acid, 2 pints. Macerate in a close
glass vessel for seven days, then express the liquor, filter, and
add to the filtered product alcohol, or concentrated acetic acid, 1
fluid ounce. The whole should measure 2 pints. This medicated
vinegar may also be prepared by percolation. It is an emetic,
nauseant, and expectorant, and a valuable relaxant in spasmodic
affections. A good application in such skin diseases as salt-rheum,
erysipelas, poisoning by rhus, etc. As an expectorant, 5 to 30
drops every half-hour in elm or flaxseed infusion. One part of
Vinegar of Lobelia to 1 part of syrup forms a pleasant preparation
---Poisonous, if any, with Antidotes---In excessive
doses the effects are those of apowerful acro-narcotic poison,
producing great depression, nausea, cold-sweats, and possibly
death. (Herbalists also deny that it has poisonous properties and
that it has ever caused death. - EDITOR.) Poisonous symptoms may
occur from absorption of it through the epidermis.
L. Dortmanna. This is indigenous toGreat Britain, and is
rather similar in action to L. inflata. A tincture of the
fresh plant cures headaches and noises in the ears.
L. Erinus. A tincture of the plant has been used in
cancer and has produced absolute freedom from pain; is also used as
a remedy in syphilis.
LOBELIA, BLUE (L. Syphilitica) and LOBELIA RED (L.
Cardinalia). Both used in homeopathy. The first is diaphoretic,
emetic and cathartic and has been used in dropsy, diarrhoea,
syphilis and dysentery, the root being the part used. The Red
Lobelia is said to be anthelmintic, nervine and
L. Kalmit. Said to be used by the Indians in the cure of
L. purpurascens. A tincture of the whole plant is used
in paralysis of the lungs and tongue.
Botanical: Haematoxylon Campeachianum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
---Synonyms---Haematoxylon Lignum. Lignum Campechianum.
Lignum Coeruleum. Peachwood. Bois de Campechey de Sang or d'Inde.
---Part Used---The heart-wood, or duramen,
---Habitat---Tropical America, especially the shores of
the Gulf of Campeachy. Naturalized in West Indies and
---Description---The name of the genus comes from the
Greek and refers to the blood-red colour of the heart-wood.
Haematoxylon Campeachianum is a crookedly-branched, small
tree, the branches spiny and the bark rough and dark. The leaves
have four pairs of small, smooth leaflets, each in the shape of a
heart with the points towards the short stem. The flowers, small
and yellow, with five petals, grow in axillary
The tree was introduced into Jamaica and other countries in
1715 and has been grown in England since 1730.
The average yearly import of logwood into the United Kingdom is
about 50,000 tons, the four kinds recognized in the market, in
order of value, being Campeachy, Honduras, St. Domingo and
The trees are felled in their eleventh year, the red heartwood,
in 3-foot logs, being exported.
The principal value of logwood is in dyeing violet, blue, grey
and black. For dyeing, the wood is chipped and fermented, thus
rendering it unsuitable for medicinal use.
The many disputes and difficulties that arose over the rights
of growing and cutting logwood are a matter of history. It is used
also as a microscopical stain. The odour is faint and pleasant, the
taste astringent and sweetish. It gives a reddish-violet tinge to
water made alkaline with a solution of sodium
---Constituents---A volatile oil, an oily or resinous
matter, two brown substances, quercitin, tannin, a nitrogenous
substance, free acetic acid, salts, and the colouring principle
Haematoxylin or Haematin (not the haematin of the blood). The
crystals are colourless, requiring oxygen from the air and an
alkaline base to produce red, blue, and purple.
Haematein, produced by extraction of two equivalents of
hydrogen, is found in dark violet crystalline scales, showing the
rich, green colour often to be seen outside chips of logwood for
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A mild astringent,
especially useful in the weakness ofthe bowels following cholera
infantum. It may be used in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, in
haemorrhages from uterus, lungs, or bowels, is agreeable to take,
and suitable whether or not there is fever. It imparts a blood-red
colour to urine and stools. It is incompatible with chalk or
limewater. The patient should be warned of these two
In large doses haematoxylin can produce fatal gastro-enteritis
in lower animals.
The infusion, internally, combined with a spray or lotion, is
said to have cured obstinate cases of foetid polypus in the
---Preparations and Dosages---Decoction, 2 to 4 fluid
ounces. Decoction, B.P. 1895, 1/2 to 2 OZ. Solid extract, B.P.
1885, 10 to 30 grains. Solid extract, U.S.P., 2 to 5
'BASTARD LOGWOOD' from Acacia Berteriana and other
species, contains no haematoxylin. It does not form a violet colour
with alkalies, but yields a pure, yellowish-grey dye.
BRAZIL WOOD, a product of Caesalpinia, is distinguished
by forming a red colour with alkalis. It is now used only as a
WEST INDIAN LOGWOOD is Ceanothus
Botanical: Lythrurn salicaria
Family: N.O. Lythraceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Lythrum. Purple Willow Herb. Spiked
Loosestrife. Salicaire. Braune or Rother Weiderich. Partyke.
Lysimaque rouge. Flowering Sally. Blooming Sally.
---Parts Used---Herb, root.
---Habitat---Europe, including Britain. Russian and
Central Asia. Australia. North America.
---Description---This handsome perennial, 2 to 4 feet in
height, has a creeping rhizome, four to six angled, erect,
reddish-brown stems, lanceolate leaves from 3 to 6 inches long,
entire, sometimes opposite, sometimes in whorls clasping the stem,
with reddishpurple or pink flowers in whorls forming terminal
spikes. It grows in wet or marshy places, varying in different
districts in the comparative lengths of stamens and styles, colour
of flowers and pollen grains. It is odourless, with an astringent
taste. It has been used in tanning leather.
The name Lythrum is from the Greek luthron, meaning
'gore,' from the colour of the flowers.
---Constituents---Mucilage and an astringent principle,
but it has not been analysed.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Although scarcely used at
present, Loosestrife has been highly esteemed by many herbalists.
It is well established in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, and is
used in leucorrhoea and blood-spitting. In Switzerland the
decoction was used successfully in an epidemic of dysentery. It has
also been employed in fevers, liver diseases, constipation and
cholera infantum, and for outward application to wounds and
It has been stated to be superior to Eyebright for preserving
the sight and curing sore eyes, the distilled water being applied
for hurts and blows on the eyes and even in blindness if the
crystalline humour is not destroyed.
An ointment may be made with the water 1 OZ. to 2 drachms of
May butter without salt, and the same quantity of sugar and wax
boiled gently together. It cleanses and heals ulcers and sores, if
washed with the water, or covered with the leaves, green or dry
according to the season.
A warm gargle and drink cures quinsy or a scrofulous
---Dosages---Of powder, a drachm two to three times a
day. Of decoction of root, 2 fluid ounces.
Lythrum hyssopifolia has similar
L. verticillatum (Decodon or Swamp Willow-herb) has
similar properties, and is said to cure abortion in mares and cows
who browse on it.
A Mexican Salicaria, Apanxaloa, is regarded as an
astringent and vulnerary.
Loosestrife is the common name of many members of the
Botanical: Lysimachia vulgaris (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Primulaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Yellow Willow Herb. Herb Willow.
Willow-wort. Wood Pimpernel.
The Yellow Loosestrife is a tall, handsome plant, from 2 to 3
or even 4 feet high, found as a rule on shady banks or crowning the
herbage of the stream-side vegetation. It has a creeping root,
which persists year after year, and every spring throws up afresh
the tall, golden-topped stems, whose flowers are at their best in
July and August.
---Description---Its stems are slightly branched and
covered with a soft, fine down. Closely set upon them are a number
of nearly stalkless leaves, sometimes in pairs, sometimes three or
four springing from the same spot. They are rather large and broad,
3 to 6 inches long by about 1 1/4 inches broad, oblong or
lance-shaped and sharply tapering at the top. Their edges are
unbroken. The undersurfaces are downy with soft, spreading hairs,
especially on the veins, and the upper surfaces are marked with
black dots which are glands. Whatever arrangement we find in any
given plant holds throughout: we do not find in the same plant some
of the leaves in pairs and others in three. When the leaves are in
pairs, the stem is quadrangular and the angles increase as the
leaves increase in number.
At the top of the stem arise the flower-buds, in the axils of
the leaves. Each becomes a short stalk carrying a terminal flower,
below which other flowers on smaller stalks arise - the ends of the
main stem thus becoming covered with a mass of golden blossoms. The
flower stalks are somewhat viscid, or sticky, to the
Each flower is about 3/4 inch in diameter, forming a cup of
five petals, quite distinct at their tips, but joined together near
the base. When the flowers droop, the five-pointed calyx, whose
edges are fringed with fine red hairs, are seen at the back of the
petals. The five stamens look quite separate, but are joined
together at the bottom by a fleshy band attached to the petals, so
that they seem to stand on a little glandular tube. This tube has
not, as one would expect, any honey, and, in fact, there is neither
honey nor scent in any part of the flower. Nevertheless, the plant
is visited by one particular kind of bee, Macropsis labiata,
which will visit no other flower, hence where the Loosestrife does
not grow the Macropsis does not seem to exist. Self- fertilization
also takes place in smaller, less attractive-looking flowers,
sometimes found among the others. As a result of fertilization,
whether self or effected by insects, the ovary develops into a
rounded capsule, which when dried opens at the top by five valves.
The swaying of the stems by the wind jerks out the minute
The Yellow Loosestrife, which is in no way related to the
Purple Loosestrife, has often been known as the Yellow Willow Herb,
Herb Willow, or Willow Wort, as if it belonged to the true Willow
Herbs (which are quite a different family - Onagraceae). There is a
superficial resemblance between them, especially with regard to the
leaves. The Yellow Loosestrife belongs, however, to the same family
as the Primrose and the Pimpernel.
The Purple Loosestrife, on the other hand, is more nearly
allied to the Willow herbs.
---Other Species---Four species of Lysimachia are native
in this country - the Yellow Loosestrife; the Moneywort - our
familiar Creeping Jenny; the Yellow Pimpernel (or 'Wood
Loosestrife'), which is remarkably like the Scarlet Pimpernel in
general habit and in form, and the Tufted Lysimachia, a rare plant
confined to the northern portions of this island.
Both the scientific and popular names o the Loosestrife have
interesting origins. The name Lysimachia is supposed to have been
given in memory of King Lysimachus of Sicily, who, as Pliny tells
us, first discovered its medicinal properties and then introduced
it to his people. A belief in these properties persisted for many
centuries; it was 'a singular good wound herb for green wounds,'
says one old herbalist, and it had a great reputation for stanching
bleeding of any sort. It had the credit of being so excellent a
vulnerary, that the young leaves bound about a fresh wound are said
to immediately check the bleeding and perform a cure in a very
Its common name of Loosestrife is a very old one, and refers to
the belief that the plant would quieten savage beasts, and that in
particular it had a special virtue 'in appeasing the strife and
unruliness which falleth out among oxen at the plough, if it be put
about their yokes.' The plant appears to be obnoxious to gnats and
flies, and so, no doubt, placing it under the yoke, relieved the
beasts of their tormentors, thus making them quiet and tractable.
For the same reason, the dried herb used to be burnt in houses, so
that the smoke might drive away gnats and flies. It was
particularly valuable in marshy districts. Snakes and serpents were
said to disappear immediately the fumes of the burning herb came
Gerard speaks of the 'yellow pimpernel growing in abundance
between Highgate and Hampstead.'
Coles's Art of
Simpling, the only herbal which devotes a chapter to herbs
useful for animals, refers to the belief that:
'if loosestrife is thrown
between two oxen when they are fighting they will part presently,
and being tied about their necks it will keep them from
Even in Pliny's days, it was suggested that the plant did not
really derive its name from a more or less mythical king, but that
it was compounded from the Greek words, signifying 'dissolving
strife' - it being held that not only cattle at the plough, but
also restive horses could be subdued by it.
The plants can be transferred to the garden if the soil be
somewhat moist, and especially if a stream or a piece of water is
available. They will grow and thrive, then, in their new quarters,
creeping by their perennial roots, so that when once fairly
established, they will flourish permanently.
---Part Used---The whole herb, collected from wild
plants in July and dried.
The taste of the dried herb is astringent and slightly acid,
but it has no odour.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Astringent, expectorant.
Loosestrife proves useful inchecking bleeding of the mouth, nose
and wounds, restraining profuse haemorrhage of any
It has demulcent and astringent virtues which render it useful
in obstinate diarrhoea, and as a gargle it finds use in relaxed
throat and quinsy.
For the cure of sore eyes,
this herb has been considered equal, if not superior to Eyebright.
'This herb has some peculiar
virtue of its own, as the distilled water is a remedy for hurts and
blows on the eyes, and for blindness, so as the crystalline humours
be not perished or hurt. It cleareth the eyes of dust or any other
particle and preserveth the sight.'
For wounds, an ointment was used in his days, made of the
distilled water of the herb, boiled with butter and sugar. The
distilled water was also recommended for cleansing ulcers and
reducing their inflammation, and also, applied warm, for removing
'spots, marks and scabs in the skin.'
YELLOW PIMPERNEL - only listing is SCARLET PIMPERNEL
Botanical: Levisticum officinale (KOCH.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Ligusticum Levisticum (Linn.). Old English
Lovage. Italian Lovage. Cornish Lovage.
---Parts Used---Root, leaves, seeds, young
---Habitat---It is not considered to be indigenous to
Great Britain, and when occasionally found growing apparently wild,
it is probably a garden escape. It is a native of the Mediterranean
region, growing wild in the mountainous districts of the south of
France, in northern Greece and in the Balkans.
The Garden Lovage is one of the old English herbs that was
formerly very generally cultivated, and is still occasionally
cultivated as a sweet herb, and for the use in herbal medicine of
its root, and to a less degree, the leaves and seeds.
It is a true perennial and hence is very easy to keep in garden
cultivation; it can be propagated by offsets like Rhubarb, and it
is very hardy. Its old-time repute has suffered by the substitution
of the medicinally more powerful Milfoil and Tansy, just as was the
case when 'Elecampane' superseded Angelica in medical use. The
public-house cordial named 'Lovage,' formerly much in vogue,
however, owed such virtue as it may have possessed to Tansy.
Freshly-gathered leafstalks of Lovage (for flavouring purposes)
should be employed in long split lengths.
---Description---This stout, umbelliferous plant has
been thought to resemble to some degree our Garden Angelica, and it
does very closely resemble the Spanish Angelica heterocarpa
in foliage and perennial habit of growth. It has a thick and fleshy
root, 5 or 6 inches long, shaped like a carrot, of a greyish-brown
colour on the outside and whitish within. It has a strong aromatic
smell and taste. The thick, erect hollow and channelled stems grow
3 or 4 feet or even more in height. The large, dark green radical
leaves, on erect stalks, are divided into narrow wedge-like
segments, and are not unlike those of a coarse-growing celery;
their surface is shining, and when bruised they give out an
aromatic odour, somewhat reminiscent both of Angelica and Celery.
The stems divide towards the top to form opposite whorled branches,
which in June and July bear umbels of yellow flowers, similar to
those of Fennel or Parsnip, followed by small, extremely aromatic
fruits, yellowish-brown in colour, elliptical in shape and curved,
with three prominent winged ribs. The odour of the whole plant is
very strong. Its taste is warm and aromatic, and it abounds with a
yellowish, gummy, resinous juice.
It is sometimes grown in gardens for its ornamental foliage, as
well as for its pleasant odour, but it is not a striking enough
plant to have claimed the attention of poets and painters, and no
myths or legends are connected with it. The name of the genus,
Ligusticum, is said to be derived from Liguria, where this
---Cultivation---Lovage is of easy culture. Propagation
is by division of roots or by seeds. Rich moist, but well-drained
soil is required and a sunny situation. In late summer, when the
seed ripens, it should be sown and the seedlings transplanted,
either in the autumn or as early in spring as possible, to their
permanent quarters, setting 12 inches apart each way. The seeds may
also be sown in spring, but it is preferable to sow when just ripe.
Root division is performed in early spring.
The plants should last for several years, if the ground be kept
well cultivated, and where the seeds are permitted to scatter the
plants will come up without care.
---Parts Used---The root, leaves and
seeds for medicinal purposes.
The young stems, treated like Angelica, for flavouring
---Constituents---Lovage contains a volatile oil,
angelic acid, a bitter extractive, resins, etc. The colouring
principle has been isolated by M. Niklis, who gives it the name of
Ligulin, and suggests an important application of it that may be
made in testing drinking water. If a drop of its alcoholic or
aqueous solution is allowed to fall into distilled water, it
imparts to the liquid its own fine crimson-red colour, which
undergoes no change; but if limestone water be substituted, the red
colour disappears in a few seconds and is followed by a beautiful
blue, due to the alkalinity of the latter.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Formerly Lovage was used
for a variety of culinary purposes, but now its use is restricted
almost wholly to confectionery, the young stems being treated like
those of Angelica, to which, however, it is inferior, as its stems
are not so stout nor so succulent.
The leafstalks and stem bases were formerly blanched like
celery, but as a vegetable it has fallen into disuse.
A herbal tea is made of the leaves, when previously dried, the
decoction having a very agreeable odour.
Lovage was much used as a drug plant in the fourteenth century,
its medicinal reputation probably being greatly founded on its
pleasing aromatic odour. It was never an official remedy, nor were
any extravagant claims made, as with Angelica, for its efficacy in
The roots and fruit are aromatic and stimulant, and have
diuretic and carminative action. In herbal medicine they are used
in disorders of the stomach and feverish attacks, especially for
cases of colic and flatulence in children, its qualities being
similar to those of Angelica in expelling flatulence, exciting
perspiration and opening obstructions. The leaves eaten as salad,
or infused dry as a tea, used to be accounted a good
An infusion of the root was recommended by old writers for
gravel, jaundice and urinary troubles, and the cordial, sudorific
nature of the roots and seeds caused their use to be extolled in
'pestilential disorders.' In the opinion of Culpepper, the working
of the seeds was more powerful than that of the root; he tells us
that an infusion 'being dropped into the eyes taketh away their
redness or dimness.... It is highly recommended to drink the
decoction of the herb for agues.... The distilled water is good for
quinsy if the mouth and throat be gargled and washed therewith....
The decoction drunk three or four times a day is effectual in
pleurisy.... The leaves bruised and fried with a little hog's lard
and laid hot to any blotch or boil will quickly break
Several species of this umbelliferous genus are employed as
domestic medicines. The root of LIGUSTICUM SINENSE, under the name
of KAO-PÂU, is largely used by the Chinese, and in the
north-western United States the large, aromatic roots of LIGUSTICUM
FILICINUM (OSHA COLORADO COUGH-ROOT) are used to a considerable
extent as stimulating expectorants.
The old-fashioned cordial, 'Lovage,' now not much in vogue,
though still occasionally to be found in public-houses, is brewed
not only from the Garden Lovage, Ligusticum levisticum, but
mainly from a species of Milfoil or Yarrow, Achillea
ligustica, and from Tansy, Tanacetum vulgare, and
probably owes its merit more to these herbs than to Lovage itself.
From its use in this cordial, Milfoil has often been mistakenly
called Lovage, though it is in no way related to the Umbellifer
Several other plants have been termed Lovage besides the true
Lovage, and this has frequently caused confusion. Thus we have the
SCOTCH LOVAGE, known also as Sea Lovage, or Scotch Parsley, and
botanically as Ligusticum scoticum; the BLACK LOVAGE, or
Alexanders, Smyrnium Olusatrum; BASTARD LOVAGE, a species of
the allied genus, Laserpitum, and WATER LOVAGE, a species of
the genus Cenanthe.
Laserpitum may be distinguished from its allies by the
fruit having eight prominent, wing-like appendages. The species are
perennial herbs, chiefly found in south-eastern Europe. Some of
them are employed as domestic remedies, on account of their
The scent of the root of MEUM ATHAMANTICUM (Jacq.), SPIGNEL
(also called Spikenel or Spiknel), MEU or BALD-MONEY,
has much in common with that of both Lovage and Angelica, and the
root has been eaten by the Scotch Highlanders as a vegetable. It is
a perennial, smooth and very aromatic herb. The elongated root is
crowned with fibres, the leaves, mostly springing from the root,
are divided into leaflets which are further cut into numerous
thread-like segments, which gives them a feathery appearance. The
stem is about 6 or 8 inches high, and bears umbels of white or
purplish flowers. The aromatic flavour of the leaves is somewhat
like Melilot, and is communicated to milk and butter when cows feed
on the herbage in the spring. The peculiar name of this plant,
'Baldmoney,' is said to be a corruption of Balder, the
Apollo of the northern nations, to whom the plant was
Botanical: Laserpitum latifolia (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Bastard Lovage is not a native of Great Britain. The species
respectively comprised in the genera Laserpitum and
Ligusticum, have much in common regarding foliage, manner of
growth and aromatic odour.
Botanical: Smyrnium Olisatrum (LINN.)
---Synonyms---Alexanders. Alisanders. Black
Black Lovage is in leaf and flower not unlike an Angelica, and
amateur collectors have sometimes mistaken it for Wild
Alexanders, to use its more common name, is a large perennial
herb, growing 3 or 4 feet in height, with very large leaves, doubly
and triply divided into three (ternate), with broad leaflets; the
sheaths of the footstalks are very broad and membraneous in
texture. The yellowish-green flowers are produced in numerous
close, rounded umbels without involucres (the little leaves that
are placed often at the spot where the various rays of the umbel
spring). The whole herb is of a yellowish-green tint. The fruit is
formed of two, nearly globular halves, with prominent ridges. When
ripe, it is almost black, whence the plant received from the old
herbalists the name of 'Black Pot-herb,' the specific name
signifying the same. (Olus, a pot-herb, and atrum,
Botanical: Ligusticum Scoticum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
The Scotch Lovage grows on cliffs and rocky shores in Scotland
and Northumberland. It has a stout, branched rootstock, which is
aromatic and pungent; a sparingly branched, erect, grooved stem, 1
to 3 feet high, and much cut-into dark green, shiny leaves, with
three-lobed leaflets. The umbels of flowers, in bloom in July, are
white or pink.
The leaves have been used in the Hebrides as a green vegetable,
either boiled as greens, or eaten raw as salad, under the name of
Shunis. The taste is strong and not very
An infusion of the leaves in whey is used in Scotland as a
purgative for calves, much valued, Green states in the Universal
Herbal in the Isle of Skye.
The root possesses aromatic and carminative properties; it has
been applied in hysterical and uterine disorders.
When treated like celery, Sea Lovage proves quite inferior,
though Angelica and Lovage have been thus used with a certain
measure of success, even to the more fastidious modern
This is one of the many cultivated plants that, escaping from
gardens, have become apparently wild. It is now found rather
abundantly in some parts of the sea-coast, on waste places near the
mouth of rivers, especially in Scotland, and inland is occasionally
seen in the neighbourhood of towns, or about the ruins of
monasteries and other places where it was grown in olden times as a
potherb and salad. It was formerly cultivated in the same manner as
celery, which has now supplanted it, and boiled, was eaten by
sailors returning from long voyages and suffering from scurvy. The
young shoots and leafstalks eaten raw, have a rather agreeable
taste, not very unlike that of celery, but more pungent. They were
likewise used to flavour soups and stews, and some years ago were
still so employed by the country people in parts where the plant
The seeds are sweetly aromatic and were formerly used as a
carminative and stimulant medicine, and are still valued by
herbalists for pleasantly flavouring confections of Senna and
disguising the taste of other medicinal preparations.
Botanical: Cenanthe fistulosa (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Water Lovage is closely allied to Hemlock Water Dropwort
(Cenanthe crocata, Linn.) and is by no means to be regarded
as an edible plant. All the species of Water Dropwort are regarded
as poisonous, and the Hemlock Water Dropwort should not be allowed
to grow in places where cattle are kept, as instances are numerous
in which cows have been poisoned by eating the roots, and it is
equally poisonous to horses.
The genus Cenanthe is scattered throughout the whole of
the Northern Hemisphere, but are rare in America; some of them are
to be met with in Britain, and certain of them are very poisonous.
C. crocata has been used with beneficial effect in certain
skin-diseases; also in the form of poultices to ulcers, etc., as
well as for the purpose of poisoning rats and moles.
DROPWORT, HEMLOCK WATER
Love Lies Bleeding
Botanical: Medicago sativa
Family: N.O. Papilionaceae
---Synonyms---Purple Medicle. Cultivated
---Part Used---Whole herb in flower.
---Habitat---Originally Medea, then old Spain, Italy,
France; and cultivated in Persia and Peru.
---Description---A deep-rooting perennial plant with
nurnerous small clover-like spikes of blue or violet flowers of
upright growth. Its herbage is green, succulent, and being an early
crop is in a sense of some value as an agricultural plant. It
yields two rather abundant green crops in the year - of a quality
greatly relished by horses and cattle - it fattens them quickly and
was much esteemed for increasing the milk of cows. One of the
objections to growing it as a crop is the three to four years
required before it attains full growth. When this plant is found in
Britain growing wild it is merely an escape from cultivation. It
may possibly have been a native of Europe; it is of great
antiquity, having been imported into Greece from the East after
Darius had discovered it in Medea, hence its name. It is referred
to by Roman writers, and is cultivated in Persia and Peru, where it
is mown all the year round. It first came into notice in 1757 in
Britain. Its chief characteristics are: herb, 1 1/2 to 2 feet high;
peduncled racemed; legumes contorted, twisted spirally, hairy; stem
upright, smooth; leaves trifoliate; flowers in thick spikes,
To increase weight, an infusion of 1 OZ. to the pint is given
in cupful doses.
The root of Lucerne has sometimes been found as an adulterant
of Belladonna root.
Botanical: Sticta pulmonaria (LINT.)
Family: N.O. Lichenes
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Jerusalem Cowslip. Oak Lungs. Lung
Lungwort, a member of the Borage tribe, is found in woods and
thickets, but is not common, and is by some only regarded as an
escape from gardens, where it is cultivated now mostly for the sake
of its ornamental leaves, which are curiously spotted with
---Description---The stem grows about a foot high,
bearing rough, alternate, egg-shaped leaves, the lower ones
stalked, and the flowers in a terminal inflorescence, red before
expanding and pale purple when fully open.
The leaves of this plant, which are the part that has been used
in medicine, have no peculiar smell, but when fresh have a slight
astringent and mucilaginous taste, hence they have been supposed to
be demulcent and pectoral, and have been used in coughs and lung
catarrhs in the form of an infusion.
Its popular and Latin names seem to have been derived from the
speckled appearance of the leaves resembling that of the lungs, and
their use in former days was partly founded on the doctrine of
The Lungwort sold by druggists to-day is not this species, but
a Moss, known also as Oak Lungs and Lung Moss.
The Lungwort formerly held a place in almost every garden,
under the name of 'Jerusalem Cowslip'; and it was held in great
esteem for its reputed medicinal qualities in diseases of the
Sir J. E. Smith says
'every part of the plant is
mucilaginous, but its reputation for coughs arose not from this
circumstance, but from the speckled appearance of the leaves,
resembling the lungs!'
---Medicinal Action and Uses---An infusion of 1
teaspoonful of the dried herb to a cup of boiling water is taken
several times a day for subduing inflammation, and for its healing
effect in pulmonary complaints.
Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm.
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---(French) Lupin. (German)
---Parts Used---Seeds, herb.
The Lupinus are a large genus of handsome plants,
represented in Europe, Asia and North and South America, the
poisonous properties of which are apparently very irregularly and
A number of the species are cultivated only as ornamental
plants, but others are grown for fodder, and if not over-fed, are
found highly nutritive and wholesome. If the seeds of certain
species are eaten in a more or less mature condition, poisoning is
liable to occur, great numbers of animals sometimes being affected.
These poisoning accidents have occurred in Europe and in the United
The species best known - as fodder - is the WHITE LUPIN of
cultivation, Lupinus albus (Linn.) (French, Lupin;
German, Wolfsbohne), native of Southern Europe and adjacent
Asia, a plant of about 2 feet high, with leaves cut palmately into
five or seven divisions, 1 to 2 inches long, smooth above, and
white, hairy, beneath. The flowers are in terminal racemes, on
short footstalks, white and rather large, the pod 3 to 4 inches
long, flattish, containing three to six white, circular, flattened
seeds, which have a bitter taste.
---History---It is probably of Egyptian or East
Mediterranean origin, and has been cultivated since the days of the
ancient Egyptians. It is now very extensively used in Italy and
Sicily, for forage, for ploughing-in to enrich the land, and for
John Parkinson attributed wonderful virtues to the
Many women, he says 'doe use the meale of Lupines mingled with
the gall of a goate and some juyce of Lemons to make into a forme
of a soft ointment.' He says that the burning of Lupin seeds drives
Culpepper says they are
governed by Mars in Ares:
'The seeds, somewhat bitter
in taste, opening and cleansing, good to destroy worms. Outwardly
they are used against deformities of the skin, scabby ulcers, scald
heads, and other cutaneous distempers.'
This Lupin was cultivated by
the Romans as an article of food. Pliny says:
'No kind of fodder is more
wholesome and light of digestion than the White Lupine, when eaten
dry. If taken commonly at meals, it will contribute a fresh colour
and a cheerful countenance.'
Virgil, however, Dr. Fernie
tells us (Herbal Simples, 1897), designated it 'tristis
Lupinus,' the sad Lupine. Dr. Fernie further
'The seeds were used as
pieces of money by Roman actors in their plays and comedies, whence
came the saying "nummus lupinus" - a spurious bit of
The YELLOW LUPIN, also a native of Southern Europe and Western
Asia, is called Lupin luteus from its yellow flowers. The
BLUEFLOWERED SPECIES of the North-eastern United States is
Lupinus perennis (Linn.), the WILD or BLUE BEAN. In the
Western United and southward into the Andes, the species are very
---Cultivation---If grown from seed, Lupins do not often
come true to type, but if propagated, they will remain true. They
must be isolated, owing to insects which might cross the
Lupins cross readily, hence isolation for propagation is
To intensify their colouring, sulphate of ammonia and sulphate
of iron may both be employed.
Climatic conditions also more or less affect their
In a recent note in The Western Gazette (May 18, 1923)
Lupins were spoken of as probably the best crop for light land,
such as the poor land on the Suffolk coast, where Lupin growing is
extending, as also on similar land in the northern part of
In Suffolk the Blue Lupin is the local variety, and anyone
travelling through that country in July will see whole fields
devoted to it.
The great value of the plant lies in its capacity for growing
luxuriantly on land which is so light and sandy that hardly
anything else will thrive. Being a leguminous crop, it assimilates
the free nitrogen of the air, greatly enriching the soil; and on
light land it is probably quite the best plant we have for green
---Constituents---The bitter principle Lupinin is a
glucoside occurring in yellowish needles. On boiling with dilute
acids, it is decomposed into Lupigenin and a fermentable
Willstatter described the following alkaloids as occurring in
the different species: Lupinine, a crystalline powder and
Lupinidine, a syrupy liquid in LUPINUS LUTEUS and L. NIGER.
Lupanine in L. ALBUS, L. ANGUSTIFOLIUS and L. PERENNIS, a pale
yellow, syrupy fluid of an intensely bitter taste. E. Schmidt
affirmed that the alkaloid of the seeds of L. albus is not
the same as that of the herbage. A carbohydrate analogous to
dextrin has been discovered in L. luteus.
According to Schwartz (1906) the seeds of LUPINUS ARABICUS
contain a crystalline substance to which he gave the name of
Magolan, which is a useful remedy in diabetes
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The bruised seeds of
White Lupine, after soaking in water, are sometimes used as an
external application to ulcers, etc., and internally are said to be
anthelmintic, diuretic and emmenagogue.
In 1917 a 'Lupin' banquet was given in Hamburg at a botanical
gathering, at which a German Professor, Dr. Thoms, described the
multifarious uses to which the Lupin might be put. At a table
covered with a tablecloth of Lupin fibre, Lupin soup was served;
after the soup came Lupin beefsteak, roasted in Lupin oil and
seasoned with Lupin extract, then bread containing 20 per cent of
Lupin, Lupin margarine and cheese of Lupin albumen, and finally
Lupin liqueur and Lupin coffee. Lupin soap served for washing the
hands, while Lupin-fibre paper and envelopes with Lupin adhesive
were available for writing.
L. arboreus (the Tree Lupin), from California and
Oregon, will, when well trained, produce a branching stem several
feet in height that will live through four or five years, forming a
trunk of light soft wood of the thickness of a man's
L. polyphyllus and a few allied species from the same
country are tall, erect, herbaceous perennials with very handsome
richlycoloured spikes of flowers, which have become permanent
inmates of our gardens.
Correction/Update - 2/16/01
the commercial cropping of lupins is very new, lupin seed has been
used as a food since ancient times. According to Gladstones (1977),
the Mediterranean white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) has been used as a
subsistence crop for three thousand years or more and the pearl
lupin (L. mutabilis Sweet.) has been cultivated for thousands of
years in the Andean Highlands of South America. Gladstones (1977)
also observed that yellow lupin (L. luteus L.), narrow-leafed lupin
(L. angustifolius L.) and the white lupin (L. albus L.) are used as
green manure crops in traditional agricultural systems in Morocco
and Iberia (Gladstones, 1974), which indicates that the cultivation
of these species may have ancient origins. Bitter (high alkaloid)
narrow-leafed lupins were first introduced into Northern Europe
around 1850 and quickly became the basis of the Saxony Merino
Industry. A severe outbreak of lupinosis in 1870 limited their use
for grazing (Gladstones, 1977).
was first recognised in Germany in 1872, when many sheep died from
grazing mature lupin stems, and a few years later it was suggested
by German scientists that a mycotoxin may be responsible (Allen,
1986). Since then, lupinosis has been reported in the United States
of America (Ostazeski and Wells, 1962), Poland (Kochman, 1957), New
Zealand (Allen, 1986), Australia (Gardiner et al., 1967) and South
Africa (Van Warmelo, 1970). Although many animals have been
diagnosed with lupinosis, sheep are particularly susceptible and
are responsible for almost all of the economic losses caused by the
disease in Western Australia (Allen, 1986).
it had been suggested, a century earlier, that a fungal toxin might
be implicated in the disease, it was not until 1966 that Dr.
Gardiner demonstrated that non-toxic lupins could be made toxic by
inoculating and incubating them with a mixture of fungal cultures
from toxic lupins (Gardiner et al., 1967). Gardiner (1966) had
previously suggested that lupinosis was caused by a species of
Cytospora. This report was followed by studies that showed the
fungus responsible was a species of Phomopsis (Gardiner and
Petterson,1972). In 1993, the complete life cycle of this fungus
was discovered and the perfect state described as a new species,
Diaporthe toxica, the cause of lupinosis in sheep (Williamson,
1993; Williamson et al, 1994)
Williamson, PM. 1993. Processes Involved in the Infection of
Narrow-Leafed Lupins by Phomopsis leptostromiformis. PhD Thesis,
The University of Western Australia.
Descript : It has many leaves rising from the
root standing upon long hairy foot-stalks, being almost round, and
a little cut on the edges, into eight or ten parts, making it seem
like a star, with so many corners and points, and dented round
about, of a light green colour, somewhat hard in handling, and as
it were folded or plaited at first, and then crumpled in divers
places, and a little hairy, as the stalk is also, which rises up
among them to the height of two or three feet; and being weak, is
not able to stand upright, but bended to the ground, divided at the
top into two or three small branches, with small yellowish green
heads, and flowers of a whitish colour breaking out of them; which
being past, there comes a small yellowish seed like a poppy seed.
The root is somewhat long and black, with many strings and fibres
Place : It grows naturally in many pastures and
wood sides in Hertfordshire, Wiltshire, and Kent, and other places
of this land.
Time : It flowers in May and June, abides after
seedtime green all the Winter.
Government and virtues : Venus claims the herb as
her own. Ladies' Mantle is very proper for those wounds that have
inflammations, and is very effectual to stay bleeding, vomitings,
fluxes of all sorts, bruises by falls or otherwise, and helps
ruptures; and such women as have large breasts, causing them to
grow less and hard, being both drank and outwardly applied; the
distilled water drank for 20 days together helps conception, and to
retain the birth; if the women do sometimes also sit in a bath made
of the decoction of the herb. It is one of the most singular wound
herbs that is, and therefore highly prized and praised by the
Germans, who use it in all wounds inward and outward, to drink a
decoction thereof, and wash the wounds therewith, or dip tents
therein, and put them into the wounds, which wonderfully dries up
all humidity of the sores, and abates inflammations therein. It
quickly heals all green wounds, not suffering any corruption to
remain behind, and cures all old sores, though fistulous and
inhabitant almost in every garden, it is so well known, that it
needs no description.
Time : It flowers about the end of June, and
beginning of July.
Government and virtues : Mercury owns the herb;
and it carries his effects very potently. Lavender is of a special
good use for all the griefs and pains of the head and brain that
proceed of a cold cause, as the apoplexy, falling-sickness, the
dropsy, or sluggish malady, cramps, convulsions, palsies, and often
faintings. It strengthens the stomach, and frees the liver and
spleen from obstructions, provokes women's courses, and expels the
dead child and after-birth. The flowers of Lavender steeped in
wine, helps them to make water that are stopped, or are troubled
with the wind or cholic, if the place be bathed therewith. A
decoction made with the flowers of Lavender, Hore-hound, Fennel and
Asparagus root, and a little Cinnamon, is very profitably used to
help the falling-sickness, and the giddiness or turning of the
brain: to gargle the mouth with the decoction thereof is good
against the tooth-ache. Two spoonfuls of the distilled water of the
flowers taken, helps them that have lost their voice, as also the
tremblings and passions of the heart, and faintings and swooning,
not only being drank, but applied to the temples, or nostrils to be
smelled unto; but it is not safe to use it where the body is
replete with blood and humours, because of the hot and subtile
spirits wherewith it is possessed. The chymical oil drawn from
Lavender, usually called Oil of Spike, is of so fierce and piercing
a quality, that it is cautiously to be used, some few drops being
sufficient, to be given with other things, either for inward or
It being a
common garden herb, I shall forbear the description, only take
notice, that it flowers in June and July.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion
of Mercury. It resists poison, putrefaction, and heals the biting
of venomous beasts. A dram of the powder of the dried leaves taken
every morning fasting, stops the running of the reins in men, and
whites in women. The seed beaten into powder, and taken as
worm-seed, kills the worms, not only in children, but also in
people of riper years; the like doth the herb itself, being steeped
in milk, and the milk drank; the body bathed with the decoction of
it, helps scabs and itch.
This is a
very pretty ornament to the sides of most meadows.
Descript : The root is composed of many small
white threads from whence spring up divers long stalks of winged
leaves, consisting of round, tender, dark, green leaves, set one
against another upon a middle rib, the greatest being at the end,
amongst which arise up divers tender, weak, round, green stalks,
somewhat streaked, with longer and smaller leaves upon them; on the
tops of which stand flowers, almost like the Stock Gilliflowers,
but rounder, and not so long, of a blushing white colour; the seed
is reddish, and grows to small branches, being of a sharp biting
taste, and so has the herb.
Place : They grow in moist places, and near to
Time : They flower in April and May, and the
lower leaves continue green all the Winter.
Government and virtues : They are under the
dominion of the Moon, and very little inferior to Water Cresses in
all their operations; they are excellently good for the scurvy,
they provoke urine, and break the stone, and excellently warm a
cold and weak stomach, restoring lost appetite, and help
It is so
well known, being generally used as a Sallad-herb, that it is
altogether needless to write any description thereof.
Government and virtues : The Moon owns them, and
that is the reason they cool and moisten what heat and dryness Mars
causeth, because Mars has his fall in Cancer; and they cool the
heat because the Sun rules it, between whom and the Moon is a
reception in the generation of men, as you may see in my Guide for
Women. The juice of Lettuce mixed or boiled with Oil of Roses,
applied to the forehead and temples procures sleep, and eases the
headache proceeding of an hot cause. Being eaten boiled, it helps
to loosen the belly. It helps digestion, quenches thirst, increases
milk in nurses, eases griping pains in the stomach or bowels, that
come of choler. Applied outwardly to the region of the heart, liver
or reins, or by bathing the said places with the juice of distilled
water, wherein some white Sanders, or red Roses are put; not only
represses the heat and inflammations therein, but comforts and
strengthens those parts, and also tempers the heat of urine. Galen
advises old men to use it with spice; and where spices are wanting,
to add Mints, Rocket, and such like hot herbs, or else Citron
Lemon, or Orange seeds, to abate the cold of one and heat of the
other. The seed and distilled water of the Lettuce work the same
effects in all things; but the use of Lettuce is chiefly forbidden
to those that are short-winded, or have any imperfection in the
lungs, or spit blood.
there are two principally noted kinds, viz. the White and
Descript : The White Lily has very large and
thick dark green leaves lying on the water, sustained by long and
thick foot-stalks, that arise from a great, thick, round, and long
tuberous black root spongy or loose, with many knobs thereon, green
on the outside, but as white as snow within, consisting of divers
rows of long and somewhat thick and narrow leaves, smaller and
thinner the more inward they be, encompassing a head with many
yellow threads or thrums in the middle; where, after they are past,
stand round Poppy-like heads, full of broad oily and bitter
kind is little different from the former, save only that it has
fewer leaves on the flowers, greater and more shining seed, and a
whitish root, both within and without. The root of both is somewhat
sweet in taste.
Place : They are found growing in great pools,
and standing waters, and sometimes in slow running rivers, and
lesser ditches of water, in sundry places of this
Time : They flower most commonly about the end of
May, and their seed is ripe in August.
Government and virtues : The herb is under the
dominion of the Moon, and therefore cools and moistens like the
former. The leaves and flowers of the Water Lilies are cold and
moist, but the roots and seeds are cold and dry; the leaves do cool
all inflammations, both outward and inward heat of agues; and so
doth the flowers also, either by the syrup or conserve; the syrup
helps much to procure rest, and to settle the brain of frantic
persons, by cooling the hot distemperature of the head. The seed as
well as the root is effectual to stay fluxes of blood or humours,
either of wounds or of the belly; but the roots are most used, and
more effectual to cool, bind, and restrain all fluxes in man or
woman. The root is likewise very good for those whose urine is hot
and sharp, to be boiled in wine and water, and the decoction drank.
The distilled water of the flowers is very effectual for all the
diseases aforesaid, both inwardly taken, and outwardly applied; and
is much commended to take away freckles, spots, sunburn, and
morphew from the face, or other parts of the body. The oil made of
the flowers, as oil of Roses is made, is profitably used to cool
hot tumours, and to ease the pains, and help the
LILY OF THE VALLEY
also Conval Lily, Male Lily, and Lily Confancy.
Descript : The root is small, and creeps far in
the ground, as grass roots do. The leaves are many, against which
rises up a stalk half a foot high, with many white flowers, like
little bells with turned edges of a strong, though pleasing smell;
the berries are red, not much unlike those of
Place : They grow plentifully upon
Hampstead-Heath, and many other places in this nation.
Time : They flower in May, and the seed is ripe
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion
of Mercury, and therefore it strengthens the brain, recruits a weak
memory, and makes it strong again. The distilled water dropped into
the eyes, helps inflammations there; as also that infirmity which
they call a pin and web. The spirit of the flowers distilled in
wine, restores lost speech, helps the palsy, and is excellently
good in the apoplexy, comforts the heart and vital spirits. Gerrard
saith, that the flowers being close stopped up in a glass, put into
an ant-hill, and taken away again a month after, ye shall find a
liquor in the glass, which, being outwardly applied, helps the
It were in
vain to describe a plant so commonly known in every one's garden;
therefore I shall not tell you what they are, but what they are
Government and virtues : They are under the
dominion of the Moon, and by antipathy to Mars expel poison; they
are excellently good in pestilential fevers, the roots being
bruised and boiled in wine, and the decoction drank; for it expels
the venom to the exterior parts of the body. The juice of it being
tempered with barley meal, baked, and so eaten for ordinary bread,
is an excellent cure for the dropsy. An ointment made of the root,
and hog's grease, is excellently good for scald heads, unites the
sinews when they are cut, and cleanses ulcers. The root boiled in
any convenient decoction, gives speedy delivery to women in
travail, and expels the afterbirth. The root roasted, and mixed
with a little hog's grease, makes a gallant poultice to ripen and
break plague-sores. The ointment is excellently good for swellings
in the privities, and will cure burnings and scaldings without a
scar, and trimly deck a blank place with hair.
Descript : Our English Liquorice rises up with
divers woody stalks, whereon are set at several distances many
narrow, long, green leaves, set together on both sides of the
stalk, and an odd one at the end, very well resembling a young ash
tree sprung up from the seed. This by many years continuance in a
place without removing, and not else, will bring forth flowers,
many standing together spike fashion, one above another upon the
stalk, of the form of pease blossoms, but of a very pale blue
colour, which turn into long, somewhat flat and smooth cods,
wherein is contained a small round, hard seed. The roots run down
exceeding deep into the ground, with divers other small roots and
fibres growing with them, and shoot out suckers from the main roots
all about, whereby it is much increased, of a brownish colour on
the outside, and yellow within.
Place : It is planted in fields and gardens, in
divers places of this land, and thereof good profit is
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion
of Mercury. Liquorice boiled in fair water, with some Maiden-hair
and figs, makes a good drink for those that have a dry cough or
hoarseness, wheezing or shortness of breath, and for all the griefs
of the breast and lungs, phthisic or consumptions caused by the
distillation of salt humours on them. It is also good in all pains
of the reins, the stranguary, and heat of urine. The fine powder of
Liquorice blown through a quill into the eyes that have a pin and
web (as they call it) or rheumatic distillations in them, doth
cleanse and help them. The juice of Liquorice is as effectual in
all the diseases of the breast and lungs, the reins and bladder, as
the decoction. The juice distilled in Rose-water, with some Gum
Tragacanth, is a fine licking medicine for hoarseness, wheezing,
according to some botanists, upwards of three hundred different
kinds of Liverwort.
Descript : Common Liverwort grows close, and
spreads much upon the ground in moist and shady places, with many
small green leaves, or rather (as it were) sticking flat to one
another, very unevenly cut in on the edges, and crumpled; from
among which arise small slender stalks, an inch or two high at
most, bearing small star-like flowers at the top; the roots are
very fine and small.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion
of Jupiter, and under the sign Cancer. It is a singularly good herb
for all the diseases of the liver, both to cool and cleanse it, and
helps the inflammations in any part, and the yellow jaundice
likewise. Being bruised and boiled in small beer, and drank, it
cools the heat of the liver and kidneys, and helps the running of
the reins in men, and the whites in women; it is a singular remedy
to stay the spreading of tetters, ringworms, and other fretting and
running sores and scabs, and is an excellent remedy for such whose
livers are corrupted by surfeits, which cause their bodies to break
out, for it fortifies the liver exceedingly, and makes it
Descript : Common yellow Loosestrife grows to be
four or five feet high, or more, with great round stalks, a little
crested, diversly branched from the middle of them to the tops into
great and long branches, on all which, at the joints, there grow
long and narrow leaves, but broader below, and usually two at a
joint, yet sometimes three or four, somewhat like willow leaves,
smooth on the edges, and of a fair green colour from the upper
joints of the branches, and at the tops of them also stand many
yellow flowers of five leaves a-piece, with divers yellow threads
in the middle, which turn into small round heads, containing small
cornered seeds: the root creeps under ground, almost like
couchgrass, but greater, and shoots up every Spring brownish heads
which afterwards grow up into stalks. It has no scent or taste, and
is only astringent.
Place : It grows in many places of the land in
moist meadows, and by water sides.
Time : It flowers from June to
Government and virtues : This herb is good for
all manner of bleeding at the mouth, nose, or wounds, and all
fluxes of the belly, and the bloody-flux, given either to drink or
taken by clysters; it stays also the abundance of women's courses;
it is a singular good wound-herb for green wounds, to stay the
bleeding, and quickly close together the lips of the wound, if the
herb be bruised, and the juice only applied. It is often used in
gargles for sore mouths, as also for the secret parts. The smoak
hereof being bruised, drives away flies and gnats, which in the
night time molest people inhabiting near marshes, and in the fenny
LOOSESTRIFE, WITH SPIKED HEADS OF
likewise called Grass-polly.
Descript : This grows with many woody square
stalks, full of joints, about three feet high at least; at every
one whereof stand two long leaves, shorter, narrower, and a greener
colour than the former, and some brownish. The stalks are branched
into many long stems of spiked flowers half a foot long, growing in
bundles one above another, out of small husks, very like the spiked
heads of Lavender, each of which flowers have five round-pointed
leaves of a purple violet colour, or somewhat inclining to redness;
in which husks stand small round heads after the flowers are
fallen, wherein is contained small seed. The root creeps under
ground like unto the yellow, but is greater than it, and so are the
heads of the leaves when they first appear out of the ground, and
more brown than the other.
Place : It grows usually by rivers, and
ditch-sides in wet ground, as about the ditches at and near
Lambeth, and in many places of this land.
Time : It flowers in the months of June and
Government and virtues : It is an herb of the
Moon, and under the sign Cancer; neither do I know a better
preserver of the sight when it is well, nor a better cure for sore
eyes than Eyebright, taken inwardly, and this used outwardly; it is
cold in quality. This herb is nothing inferior to the former, it
having not only all the virtues which the former hath, but more
peculiar virtues of its own, found out by experience; as, namely,
The distilled water is a present remedy for hurts and blows on the
eyes, and for blindness, so as the Christalline humours be not
perished or hurt; and this hath been sufficiently proved true by
the experience of a man of judgment, who kept it long to himself as
a great secret. It clears the eyes of dust, or any thing gotten
into them, and preserves the sight. It is also very available
against wounds and thrusts, being made into an ointment in this
manner: To every ounce of the water, add two drams of May butter
without salt, and of sugar and wax, of each as much also; let them
boil gently together. Let tents dipped into the liquor that remains
after it is cold, be put into the wounds, and the place covered
with a linen cloth doubled and anointed with the ointment; and this
is also an approved medicine. It likewise cleanses and heals all
foul ulcers, and sores whatsoever, and stays their inflammations by
washing them with the water, and laying on them a green leaf or two
in the Summer, or dry leaves in the Winter. This water, gargled
warm in the mouth, and sometimes drank also, doth cure the quinsy,
or king's evil in the throat. The said water applied warm, takes
away all spots, marks, and scabs in the skin; and a little of it
drank, quenches thirst when it is extreme.
Descript : It has many long and green stalks of
large winged leaves, divided into many parts, like Smallage, but
much larger and greater, every leaf being cut about the edges,
broadest forward, and smallest at the stalk, of a sad green colour,
smooth and shining; from among which rise up sundry strong, hollow
green stalks, five or six, sometimes seven or eight feet high, full
of joints, but lesser leaves set on them than grow below; and with
them towards the tops come forth large branches, bearing at their
tops large umbels of yellow flowers, and after them flat brownish
seed. The roots grow thick, great and deep, spreading much, and
enduring long, of a brownish colour on the outside, and whitish
within. The whole plant and every part of it smelling strong, and
aromatically, and is of a hot, sharp, biting taste.
Place : It is usually planted in gardens, where,
if it be suffered, it grows huge and great.
Time : It flowers in the end of July and seeds in
Government and virtues : It is an herb of the
Sun, under the sign Taurus. If Saturn offend the throat (as he
always doth if he be occasioner of the malady, and in Taurus is the
Genesis) this is your cure. It opens, cures and digests humours,
and mightily provokes women's courses and urine. Half a dram at a
time of the dried root in powder taken in wine, doth wonderfully
warm a cold stomach, helps digestion, and consumes all raw and
superfluous moisture therein; eases all inward gripings and pains,
dissolves wind, and resists poison and infection. It is a known and
much praised remedy to drink the decoction of the herb for any sort
of ague, and to help the pains and torments of the body and bowels
coming of cold. The seed is effectual to all the purposes aforesaid
(except the last) and works more powerfully. The distilled water of
the herb helps the quinsy in the throat, if the mouth and throat be
gargled and washed therewith, and helps the pleurisy, being drank
three or four times. Being dropped into the eyes, it takes away the
redness or dimness of them; it likewise takes away spots or
freckles in the face. The leaves bruised, and fried with a little
hog's lard, and put hot to any blotch or boil, will quickly break
Descript : This is a kind of moss, that grows on
sundry sorts of trees, especially oaks and beeches, with broad,
greyish, tough leaves diversly folded, crumpled, and gashed in on
the edges, and some spotted also with many small spots on the
upper-side. It was never seen to bear any stalk or flower at any
Government and virtues : Jupiter seems to own
this herb. It is of great use to physicians to help the diseases of
the lungs, and for coughs, wheezings, and shortness of breath,
which it cures both in man and beast. It is very profitable to put
into lotions that are taken to stay the moist humours that flow to
ulcers, and hinder their healing, as also to wash all other ulcers
in the privy parts of a man or woman. It is an excellent remedy
boiled in beer for brokenwinded horses.