Herbs & Oils
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OAK: (Quercus alba or spp.) Also known as
Tanner's Bark, White Oak, and Common Oak. A Druid Holy tree,
the oak was the King of trees in a grove. Oak bark and galls are
astringent and antiseptic. Oak bark provides tannin and as leather
tanners seemed immune to tuberculosis, the bark was used for
treatment of the disease.
oak (Q. alba) is the best for internal use. Infuse the inner
bark or young leaf (before Midsummer) for douches and enemas.
Internal rectal problems, hemorrhoids, leukorrhea, menstrual
irregularities, and bloody urine are also benefitted. Take
internally as a tea a appl externally in fomentation, to shrink
varicose veins. The tea brings down fevers, treats diarrhea, and
makes a wash for sores. Up to three cups a day may be safely taken.
As a gargle, it treats mouth sores and sore throats. Being an
astringent, it stops internal bleeding. Black oak (Q.
tinctoria) and red oak (Q. rubra) can be used
externally. English oak (Q. robur) can be used both
externally and internally.
are prepared in infusion for douches to treat vaginal infections;
gather them before Midsummer. To prepare, steep one
tablespoon per quart of water for thirty minutes. A tea of the buds
is a valuable tonic for the liver; steep two teaspoons per cup of
water for twenty minutes. Simmer the bark in salves to make a
remedy for hemorrhoids.
Parts Used: Inner bark (cambium) and young leaf;
for the leaf, use two teaspoons per cup and steep for twenty
minutes; for the bark, use one tablespoon per cup and simmer for
Magical Uses: The Oak is a tree of the sun, and
sacret to Brighid and the Dagda. Druids do not celebrate unless in
the presence of an oak, yew, ash, or other sacred tree. Oak
symbolized abundance, fertility, longevity, protection, and the
ability to withstand the lightening blasts of spiritual awareness
while remaning firmly rooted in the material. All parts of the tree
are powerful protective charms, which bring healing. Magic wands
are made of Oak Wood (Mine Is!). A tree as long-lived and strong as
the oak naturally offers magical protection. Oak Galls, known as
Serpent's Eggs, were used in magical charms. Acorns bring fertility
and acundance to any edeavor. Carry one for luck. Acorns gathered
at night hold the most fertility powers. The Druids and priestesses
listened to the rustling oak leaves and the wrens in the trees for
divinitory messages. Burning oak leaves purifies the atmosphere.
Represents the God. Use galls in chars. Acorns draw money, burn the
wood for good health, energy, strength, power, protection, defense,
money and business.
OAKMOSS: (Pseudevernia prunastri) Oak Moss
is a whitish blue to green, shrubby lichen. A lichen is an alga
(which photosynthesizes) and a fungus operating together in a
symbiotic relationship. The Arabs use ground Oak Moss to leaven
bread. It is collected as a violet-scented fixative and an
oleo-resin, extracted for perfumes and soap. Native Americans used
it when binding wounds; it is a stomach tonic and an expectorant,
and soothes coughs. Oak Moss yields a purple wool dye, but air
pollution has made it scarce.
Parts Used: Whole Plant
Magical Uses: Use to attract money.
ORANGE, SWEET: (Citrus sinensis) See
Magical Uses Use Peels in incense for love, good
fortune, divination, balance, healing, harmony, peace, money and
riches, Psychic awareness, Luck. A highly Solar scent, add
essential oil to purification blends.
Aromatherapy Uses: Dull and oily complexions;
Obesity; Palpitations; Water Retention; Bronchitis; Chills; Colds;
Flu; Constipation; Dyspepsia; Spasm; Nervous Tension;
Stress-Related Conditions; Used to treat Mouth Ulcers. Key
Qualities: Tonic; Refreshing; Warming; Uplifting; soothing;
ORRIS ROOT: (Iris germanica
var.florentina Orris root has a stout rhizome, swordlike
leaves, and large, scented flowers in early summer that range in
color from pale blue to white.
Parts Used: Root
Magical Uses: The orris root has long been used
to find and hold love. The whole orris root is carried, the powder
is added to sachets, sprinkled on sheets, clothing and the body as
well as around the house. Orris root powder is sometimes known as
"Love Drawing Powder". Use for: Divination; Protection; Psychic
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparation and Dosage
Common, or British Oak, for many centuries the chief forest tree of
England, is intimately bound up with the history of these islands
from Druid times. A spray of oak was for long engraved on one side
of our sixpences and shillings, but is now superseded by the
British lion. The Oak, although widely distributed over Europe, is
regarded as peculiarly English.
Quercus comprises numerous species, distributed widely over the
Northern Hemisphere, and found also in Java, and the Mountains of
Mexico and South America. One species from Guatemala, Quercus
Skinneri, is remarkable for its resemblance to the Walnut (Juglans)
in its lobed and wrinkled seed-leaves or cotyledons.
The Oak is
subject to a good deal of variation; many species have been defined
and many oaks of foreign origin are grown in our parks, the longest
established being the Evergreen or Holm Oak (Q. ilex). There are
two principal varieties of Q. robur, often regarded as separate
species: Q. pedunculata, the Common Oak, which is distinguished by
having acorns in ones and twos attached to the twigs by long stems,
the leaves having scarcely any stalk at all; and Q. sessiliflora,
the Durmast Oak, often included with the former, but distinct, the
leaves being borne on long stalks, while the acorns 'sit' on the
bough. This variety of oak is more generally found in the lower
parts of Britain and in North Wales. It is not so long-lived as the
Common Oak, and the wood, which has a straighter fibre and a finer
grain, is generally thought less tough and less
pedunculata and Q. sessiliflora make good timber, the latter being
darker, heavier and more elastic. The wood of these trees when
stained green by the growth of a peculiar fungus known as Peziza
oeriginosa is much valued by cabinet-makers.
shape of the oak leaves is too familiar to need description. The
flowers are of two kinds; the male, or barren, in long drooping
catkins, 1 to 3 inches long, appearing with the leaves, and the
leaves and the fertile flowers in distant clusters, each with a
cup-shaped, scaly involucre, producing, as fruit, an acorn 1/2 to 1
The Oak is
noted for the slowness of its growth, as well as for the large size
to which it attains. In eighty years the trunk is said not to
exceed 20 inches in diameter, but old trees reach a great girth.
The famous Fairlop Oak in Hainault Forest measured 36 feet in
girth, the spreading boughs extending above 300 feet in
circumference. The Newland Oak in Gloucestershire measures 46 feet
4 inches at 1 foot from the ground, and is one of the largest and
oldest in the kingdom, these measurements being exceeded, however,
by those of the Courthorpe Oak in Yorkshire, which Hooker reports
as attaining the extraordinary girth of 70 feet. King Arthur's
Round Table was made from a single slice of oak, cut from an
enormous bole, and is still shown at Winchester.
refers to an oak in the Département de la Charente-Inférieure
measuring nearly 90 feet in circumference near the base; near
Breslau an oak fell in 1857 measuring 66 feet in circumference at
the base. These large trees are for the most part decayed and
hollow in the interior, and their age has been estimated at from
one to two thousand years.
Oak of Mamre, Abram's Oak, was illustrated formerly in the
Transactions of the Linnean Society, by Dr. Hooker. It is a fine
specimen of the species Q. Coccifera, the prickly evergreen or
Kermes Oak, a native of the countries bordering on the
Mediterranean; the insect (coccus) from which it derives its name
yielding the dye known as 'Turkey red.' Abram's Oak is 22 feet in
circumference; it is popularly supposed to represent the spot where
the tree grew under which Abraham pitched his tent. There is a
superstition that any person who cuts or maims this oak will lose
his firstborn son.
The oak of
Libbeiya in the Lebanon measures 37 feet in girth, and its branches
cover an area whose circumference measured over 90 yards. The Arab
name is Sindian.
held the Oak sacred, the Romans dedicated it to Jupiter, and the
Druids venerated it.
the name Gospel Oak is still retained in many counties, relating to
the time when Psalms and Gospel truths were uttered beneath their
shade. They were notable objects as resting-places in the 'beating
of the parish bounds,' a practice supposed to have been derived
from the feast to the god Terminus.
The following is a quotation from
'That every man might keep his own
Our fathers used, in reverent
With zealous prayers, and with praiseful
To walk their parish limits once a
And well-known marks (which sacrilegious
Now cut or breake) so bordered out their
That every one distinctly knew his
And brawles now rife were then
The ceremony was performed by the
clergyman and his parishioners going the boundaries of the parish
and choosing the most remarkable sites (oak-trees being specially
selected) to read passages from the Gospels, and ask blessings for
'Dearest, bury me
Under that holy oke, or Gospel
Where, though thou see'st not, thou may'st
Me, when you yearly go'st
these Gospel trees are still alive five in different parts of
An old proverb relating to the oak is
still a form of speculation on the weather in many country
'If the Oak's before the Ash,
Then you'll only get a
If the Ash before the Oak,
Then you may expect a soak.'
technical name of the Oak is said to be derived from the Celtic
quer (fine) and cuez (tree).
custom in connexion with wearing an oak-leaf (or preferably an
oak-apple) on May 29, still exists in some villages in South Wilts.
Each one has the right to collect fallen branches in a certain
large wood in the district. To claim this privilege each villager
has to bring them home shouting 'Grovely, Grovely, and all
Grovely!' (this being the name of the large wood).
Oak has passed its century, it increases by less than an inch a
year, but the wood matured in this leisurely fashion is practically
indestructible. Edward the Confessor's shrine in Westminster Abbey
is of oak that has outlasted the changes of 800 years. Logs have
been dug from peat bogs, in good preservation and fit for rough
building purposes, that were submerged a thousand years ago. In the
Severn, breakwaters are still used as casual landing-places, where
piles of oak are said to have been driven by the
the particular and most valued qualities of the Oak are hardness
and toughness; Box and Ebony are harder, Yew and Ash are tougher
than Oak, but no timber is possessed of both these requisites in so
great a degree as the British Oak. Its elasticity and strength made
it particularly advantageous in shipbuilding, and the oaks of the
Forest of Dean provided much material for the 'wooden walls of
England.' We read that Philip of Spain gave special orders to the
Armada to burn and destroy every oak in that forest, and a century
later, during a period of twenty-five years, nearly 17,000 loads of
oak timber, of the value of L. 30,000 (pounds sterling), were
despatched to naval dockyards from this forest. Nelson drew up a
special memorial to the Crown on the desirability of replanting
this forest with oak trees, and at that time no forester dared to
cut down a crooked tree before maturity, because its knees and
twisted elbows were so desirable in shipbuilding. A tree should be
winter felled, if perfection of grain is desired. Although not
employed as of old, for building ships of war, it is in great
request for peaceful land transit, sharing with Ash in the making
of railway carriages and other rolling stock. The roots were
formerly used to make hafts for daggers and knives.
the American kinds also furnish valuable timber. Such are Q. alba,
the White or Quebec Oak, the wood of which is used in shipbuilding,
and by wheelwrights and coopers. Q. virens, the Live Oak, also
yields excellent timber for naval purposes. The wood of Q. ilex, a
Mediterranean species, is said to be as good as that of the Common
Oak. Q. cerris, the Turkey Oak, supplies a wood much in favour with
wheelwrights, cabinet-makers, turners, etc. There are also several
Japanese oaks, used for their excellent timber.
Sandalwood of Crete is the produce of Q. abelicea. This wood is of
a reddish colour, and has an agreeable perfume. The less valuable
oaks furnish excellent charcoal and firewood.
is universally used to tan leather, and for this purpose strips
easily in April and May. An infusion of it, with a small quantity
of copperas, yields a dye which was formerly used in the country to
dye woollen of a purplish colour, which, though not very bright,
was said to be durable. The Scotch Highlanders used it to dye their
yarn. Oak sawdust used also to be the principal indigenous
vegetable used in dyeing fustian, and may also be used for tanning,
but is much inferior to the bark for that purpose. Oak apples have
also been occasionally used in dyeing as a substitute for the
imported Oriental galls, but the black obtained from them is not
Brittany, tan compressed into cakes is used as fuel. Oak-bark is
employed for dyeing black, in conjunction with salts of iron. With
alum, oak-bark yields a brown dye; with a salt of tin, a yellow
colour; with a salt of zinc, Isabelia yellow. Q. tinctoria, a North
American species, yields Quercitron Bark, employed for dyeing
yellow; the American Indians are said to dye their skins red with
the bark of Q. prinus. After the oakbark has been used for
leather-tanning, it is still serviceable to gardeners for
the-warmth it generates and is largely used by them under the name
of Tan; it sometimes, however, favours the growth of certain fungi,
which are harmful to plants. Refuse tan is also employed in the
adulteration of chicory and coffee.
were of considerable importance formerly for feeding swine. About
the end of the seventh century, special laws were made relating to
the feeding of swine in woods, called pawnage, or pannage. In Saxon
times of famine, the peasantry were thankful for a share of this
nourishing, but somewhat indigestible food. The Board of
Agriculture has lately issued a pamphlet, pointing out the use as
fodder, which might be made both of the Acorn and of the Horse
Chestnut. The analysis of the Acorn given by the Lancet is: water,
6.3 per cent; protein, 5.2 per cent; fat, 43 per cent;
carbohydrates, 45 per cent. The most important constituent of both
the Acorn and the Horse Chestnut is the carbohydrate in the form of
starch, while the Acorn should have further value on account of the
substantial proportion of fat which it contains. The flavour of
Acorns is improved if they are dried, and a flour with nourishing
properties can be obtained by grinding the dried
country districts acorns are still collected in sacks and given to
pigs; but these must be mixed with other vegetable food to
counteract their binding properties.
are more persistently attacked by insects than any other
and Uses---The astringent effects of the Oak were well known to the
Ancients, by whom different parts of the tree were used, but it is
the bark which is now employed in medicine. Its action is slightly
tonic, strongly astringent and antiseptic. It has a strong
astringent bitter taste, and its qualities are extracted both by
water and spirit. The odour is slightly aromatic.
astringents, it has been recommended in agues and haemorrhages, and
is a good substitute for Quinine in intermittent fever, especially
when given with Chamomile flowers.
useful in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, either alone or in
conjunction with aromatics. A decoction is made from 1 OZ. of bark
in a quart of water, boiled down to a pint and taken in
wineglassful doses. Externally, this decoction has been
advantageously employed as a gargle in chronic sore throat with
relaxed uvula, and also as a fomentation. It is also serviceable as
an injection for leucorrhoea, and applied locally to bleeding gums
Dosage---Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm.
when finely powdered and inhaled freely, has proved very beneficial
in consumption in its early stages. Working tanners are well known
to be particularly exempt from this disease. A remedial snuff is
made from the freshly collected oak bark, dried and reduced to a
is collected in the spring from young trees, and dried in the sun.
It is greyish, more or less polished externally and brownish
internally. The fracture is fibrous and the inner surface rough,
with projecting medullary rays.
herbalists considered the thin skin that covers the acorn effectual
in staying spitting of blood, and the powder of the acorn taken in
wine was considered a good diuretic. A decoction of acorns and oak
bark, made with milk, was considered an antidote to poisonous herbs
distilled water of the oak bud was also thought 'to be good used
either inwardly or outwardly to assuage inflammation.'
applied the bruised leaves to heal wounds.
Medicinal Action and Uses
excrescences produced in plants by the presence of the larvae of
different insects. The forms that they assume are many, and the
changes produced in the tissues various. They occur in all parts of
the plant and sometimes in great quantities.
galls used in commerce and medicine are excrescences on the Q.
infectoria, a small oak, indigenous to Asia Minor and Persia, and
result from the puncture of the bark of the young twigs by the
female Gallwasp, Cynips Gallae-tinctoriae, who lays its eggs
inside. This species of oak seldom attains the height of 6 feet,
the stem being crooked, with the habit of a shrub rather than a
Oaks of this country are much affected by galls. They occur
sometimes on the leaves, where they form the socalled 'Oak-apples,'
sometimes on the shoots, where they do great mischief by checking
and distorting the growth of the tree.
larva that hatches from the eggs feeds upon the tissues of the
plant and secretes in its mouth a peculiar fluid, which stimulates
the cells of the tissues to a rapid division and abnormal
development, resulting in the formation of a gall.
thus becomes completely enclosed in a nearly spherical mass, which
projects from the twig, furnishing it with a supply of starch and
other nutritive material.
of the gall continues only so long as the egg or larva lives or
reaches maturity and passes into a chrysalis, from which the
fully-developed gall-wasp emerges and escapes into the air through
a hole bored with its mandibles in the side of the
Aleppo galls, collected in Asiatic Turkey, principally in the
province of Aleppo, are collected before the insects
also largely imported from Persia and to a lesser extent from
Galls of good quality are hard and heavy, without perforations,
dark bluish-green or olive green, nearly spherical in shape, 12 to
18 mm. in diameter (about 2/5 to 4/5 inch), and known in commerce
as blue or green galls.
galls (from Q. infectoria) sometimes also called 'Mecca Galls,' are
supposed to be the Dead Sea or Sodom Apples, 'the fruit that never
comes to ripeness' - the fruit so pleasant to the eye, so bitter to
collected after the insects have escaped, galls are of a pale,
yellowish-brown hue, spongy and lighter in weight, perforated near
the centre with a small hole. These are known in commerce as white
breaking a gall, it appears yellowish or brownish-white within,
with a small cavity containing the remains of a larva of the
no marked odour, but an intensely astringent taste, and slightly
---Constituents---The chief constituents of Aleppo or Turkey
Galls are 50 to 70 per cent of gallotannic acid, 2 to 4 per cent of
gallic acid, mucilage, sugar, resin and an insoluble matter,
galls contain less gallotannic acid than 'blue' or
Oak Galls, or Oak Apples, are smooth, globular, brown, usually
perforated and much less astringent than Aleppo Galls, containing
only 15 to 20 per cent of gallotannic acid. They have no commercial
Galls - produced by a species of Aphis on Rhus semialata - are used
mainly for the manufacture of tannic and gallic acids, pyrogallol,
ink, etc. They are not spherical, but of extremely diverse and
irregular form, with a thick, grey, velvety down, making them a
reddish-brown colour. They contain about 70 per cent of gallotannic
Galls, from Bassorah, known as 'mala nisana,' are spherical in
shape and surrounded about the centre by a circle of horned
protuberances. They are not official.
and Uses---Galls are much used commercially in the preparation of
gallic acid and tannic acid, and are extensively employed in
tanning and dyeing, in the manufacture of ink, etc.
Medicinally, they are a powerful astringent, the most powerful
of all vegetable astringents, used as a tincture internally, in
cases of dysentery, diarrhoea, cholera, and as an injection in
gonorrhoea, leucorrhoea, etc.
Preparations of gall are usually applied as a local astringent
externally, mainly in Gall ointment ( 1 OZ. powdered galls and 4
OZ. benzoated lard), applied to painful haemorrhoids, and also to
arrest haemorrhage from the nose and gums.
infusion may be used also as a gargle in relaxed throat, inflamed
Dosages---Powdered gall, 5 to 20 grains. Fluid extract, 5 to 20
drops. Tincture, U.S.P., 1 drachm. Ointment, B.P. Compound
Avena sativa (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Habitat---It is unknown when Oats were first introduced into
---Description---There are about twenty-five varieties
cultivated. The nutritive quality of Oats is less in a given weight
than that of any other cereal grain. In the best Oats it does not
exceed 75 per cent. Avena sativa, the Common Oat, has a smooth
stem, growing up to 4 feet high, with linear lanceolate, veined
rough leaves; loose striate sheaves; stipules lacerate; panicle
equal, loose; spikelets pedunculate, pendulous, twoflowered, both
perfect, lower one mostly awned; paleae cartilaginous, embracing
the caryopsis; root fibrous, annual. The Naked or Pilcorn Oat
differs slightly from the other: calyces three-flowered, receptacle
exceeding the calyx; petals awned at the back; the third floscule
awnless; and the chief difference lies in the grains, which when
ripe quit the husk and fall naked. The grains as found in commerce
are enclosed in their pales and these grains divested of their
paleae are used for medicinal and dietary purposes; the grains when
separated from their integuments are termed groats, and these when
crushed are called Embden groats. Oatmeal is ground
---Constituents---Starch, gluten, albumen and other protein
compounds, sugar, gum oil, and salts.
and Uses---Nervine, stimulant, antispasmodic. Oats are made into
gruel. This is prepared by boiling 1 OZ. of oatmeal or groats in 3
pints of water till reduced to 1 quart, then straining it, sugar,
lemons, wine, or raisins being added as flavouring. Gruel thus is a
mild nutritious aliment, of easy digestion in inflammatory cases
and fevers; it is very useful after parturition, and is sometimes
employed in poisoning from acid substances. It is found useful also
as a demulcent enema and boiled into a thick paste makes a good
emollient poultice. Oatmeal is unsoluble in alcohol, ether, and the
oils, but the two first move an oleoresinous matter from it. It is
to be avoided in dyspepsia accompanied with acidity of the stomach.
The pericarp of Oats contains an amorphous alkaloid which acts as
astimulant of the motor ganglia, increasing the excitability of the
muscles, and in horses causes excitement. A tincture is made by
permeating 4 OZ. of ground oatmeal to 1 pint diluted alcohol,
keeping the first 5 1/2 OZ. (fluid), and evaporating the remainder
down to 1/2 fluid ounce, and adding this to the first 5 1/2 fluid
ounces. The extract and tincture are useful as a nerve and uterine
extract, 10 to 30 drops in hot water. (The last dose at night
should be taken in cold water instead of hot, or it may induce
sleeplessness. - EDITOR.)
version of A Modern Herbal incorrectly references Oleander to Periwinkle.
following addition is not part of the the original version of A
---Synonyms---Oleander, Rose Bay, Rose Bay Tree
evergreen ornamental shrub to 12 feet high and as wide with white,
pink or red flowers in spring and summer. The leaves resemble olive
and bay trees. The flowers have five petals and resemble a tiny
rose. It thrives in hot, mild climates and tolerates considerable
drought, poor drainage and high salt content in the soil. Since
deer will not eat this plant and it is so tolerant of a variety of
poor soils, it is commonly used as a decorative freeway median in
California and other mild-winter states in the USA.
of the plant are poisonous to humans and other animals. Children
should be cautioned against eating the leaves and flowers. Prunings
and dead leaves should be kept away from hay or other animal feed.
The wood should not be used for barbecue fires or skewers. The
smoke can cause severe irritation.
John Gerard says (from "The Herbal, or
General History of Plants", 1633 edition),
"This tree being outwardly applied, as
Galen saith, hath a digesting faculty; but if it be inwardly taken
it is deadly and poisonsome, not only to men, but also to most
kinds of beasts."
The flowers and leaves kill dogs, asses,
mules, and very many of other four footed beasts: but if men drink
them in wine they are a remedy against the bitings of Serpents, and
the rather if Rue be added.
The weaker sort of cattle, as sheep and
goats, if they drink the water wherein the leaves have been
steeped, are sure to die."
Olea Europaea (LINN.)
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Synonyms---Olea Oleaster. Olea lancifolia. Olea gallica.
Used---The oil of the fruit, leaves, bark.
---Habitat---Asia Minor and Syria. Cultivated in Mediterranean
countries, Chile and Peru, and South Australia.
high position held by the Olive tree in ancient as in modern days
may be realized when it is remembered that Moses exempted from
military service men who would work at its cultivation, and that in
Scriptural and classical writings the oil is mentioned as a symbol
of goodness and purity, and the tree as representing peace and
happiness. The oil, in addition to its wide use in diet, was burnt
in the sacred lamps of temples, while the victor in the Olympic
games was crowned with its leaves.
---Description---Olea europaea is a small, ever green tree,
averaging 20 feet or more inheight. It has many thin branches with
opposite branchlets and shortly-stalked, opposite, lanceolate
leaves about 2 1/4 inches long, acute, entire and smooth, pale
green above and silvery below. The bark is pale grey and the
flowers numerous, small and creamywhite in colour.
purple fruit is a drupe about 3/4 inch long, ovoid and often
pointed, the fleshy part filled with oil. The thick, bony stone has
a blunt keel down one side. It contains a single seed.
hardier than the lemon, the Olive may sometimes produce fruit in
England. The largest of the varieties under cultivation is produced
in Spain, but probably Italy prepares most oil, the annual average
being 33 million gallons.
beautifully-veined wood not only takes a fine polish, but is
faintly fragrant, and is much valued for small cabinet-work. It was
in olden days carved into statues of gods.
For use as
a dessert fruit the unripe olives are steeped in water to reduce
their bitterness. Olives à la Picholine are steeped in a solution
of lime and wood ashes. They are bottled in an aromatic solution of
countries the bark exudes a substance called Gomme d'Olivier, which
was formerly used in medicine as a vulnerary.
'Queen Olives' grown near Cadiz are chiefly exported to the United
States; the smaller 'Manzanillo' is principally consumed in Spain
and Spanish America.
bear fruit in their second year; in their sixth will repay
cultivation, and continue as a source of wealth even when old and
hollow, though the crop varies greatly from year to
are cut until the beauty of the trees is lost.
fruits are pressed to extract the oil, the methods varying in the
Oil, greenish in tint, is obtained by pressing crushed fruit in
coarse bags and skimming the oil from the tubs of water through
which it is conducted. The cake left in the bags is broken up,
moistened, and repressed. Sometimes the fruit is allowed to reach
fermenting point before pressure, the quantity of oil being
increased and the quality lessened. The product is called Huile
ordinaire is made by expression and mixture with boiling
oil is the most valued and the most refined.
Olive soap is made from olive oil and sodium
---Constituents---The exuding gum-resin contains benzoic acid
and olivile. Mannite is found in the green leaves and unripe fruit.
The oil, Oleum Olivce, non-drying, fixed, solidifies on treatment
with nitrous acid or mercuric nitrate, is slightly soluble in
alcohol, miscible with ether, chloroform or carbon disulphide. The
specific gravity is 0.910 to 0.915 at 25 degrees C. or 77 degrees
F. It is pale yellow or greenish-yellow, with a faint odour and
bland taste, becoming slightly acrid. At a lower temperature than
10 degrees C. or 50 degrees F. it may become a soft, granular mass.
Tripalmitin crystallizes and the remaining fluid is chiefly
triolein. There are also arachidic esters and a little free oleic
and Uses---The leaves are astringent and antiseptic. Internally, a
decoction of 2 handsful boiled in a quart of water until reduced to
half a pint has been used in the Levant in obstinate fevers. Both
leaves and bark have valuable febrifugal qualities.
The oil is
a nourishing demulcent and laxative. Externally, it relieves
pruritis, the effects of stings or burns, and is a good vehicle for
liniments. With alcohol it is a good hair-tonic. As a lubricant it
is valuable in skin, muscular, joint, kidney and chest complaints,
or abdominal chill, typhoid and scarlet fevers, plague and
dropsies. Delicate babies absorb its nourishing properties well
through the skin. Its value in worms or gallstones is
Internally, it is a laxative and disperser of acids, and a
mechanical antidote to irritant poisons. It is often used in
enemas. It is the best fat for cooking, and a valuable article of
diet for both sick and healthy of all ages. It can easily be taken
with milk, orange or lemon juice, etc.
laxative, 1 to 2 fluid ounces.
---Adulterants---Cotton-seed, rape, sesame, arachis and
poppy-seed oils are the many adulterants found, and several
official chemical tests are practised for their
Species---The flowers of Olea fragrans or Lanhoa give its odour to
the famous Chulan or Schoulang tea of China.
Allium cepa, (LINN.)
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Antiseptic, diuretic. A roasted
Onion is a useful application to tumours or earache.
made into a syrup is good for colds and coughs. Hollands gin, in
which Onions have been macerated, is given as a cure for gravel and
Allium cepa, var. aggregatum
---Synonyms---The Underground Onion. Egyptian
Onion, also known as the Underground Onion, from its habit of
increasing its bulbs beneath the surface, is very prolific. It is a
valuable vegetable because it furnishes sound, tender, full-sized
bulbs at midsummer, three months before the ordinary Onion crop is
harvested. The bulbs are rather large, of irregular shape, from 2
to over 3 inches in diameter and about 2 inches thick. The flesh of
the bulb is agreeable to the taste and of good quality. The skin is
thickish and of a coppery yellow colour.
Lindley's Treasury of Botany this Potato Onion is called the
'Egyptian Onion,' and is stated to have been introduced from Egypt
about the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is much
cultivated in the West of England, being quite hardy, productive,
and as mild in quality as the Spanish Onion.
variety of Onion produces no seeds and is propagated by the lateral
bulbs, which it throws out underground in considerable numbers. It
requires a well-worked, moderately rich soil, and is largely grown
in Devon shire, where in view of the mildness of theclimate, the
rule is to plant it in warm, sheltered situations in mid-winter,
generally on the shortest day, with the hope of taking up the crop
at mid-summer. In colder parts, however, the planting must be
deferred until late winter, or early spring, yet the earlier it can
be effected the better. The bulbs should be planted almost on the
surface, in ground that has been previously well prepared and
manured, and in rows 15 inches apart, with 6 to 10 inches space
between the bulbs in the rows.
will throw out a number of offsets all round it, which grow and
develop into full-sized bulbs, which are taken up and dried when
ready for pulling, and then stored for use and for future
propagation. If the plants attain full maturity each bulb will
produce seven or eight bulbs of various sizes. The strongest of
these will in their turn produce a number of bulbs, while the
weaker ones generally grow into a single, large bulb. The largest
bulbs do not always keep so well as the medium-sized
Alliurn cepa, var. proliferum
Used---Bulb. (Onions are a valuable disinfectant. Country people
hang up a string of Onions as a protection against an infectious
disease, and it has constantly been observed that the Onions will
take the disease while the inmates remain immune. For this reason
it is important to examine Onions before they are cooked, and to
discard any which are imperfect.
Onion is a peculiar kind of Onion that produces at the top of a
strong stem about 2 feet high, instead of seeds, a cluster of small
bulblets, green at first, but becoming of a brownish-red colour,
and about the size of hazel nuts, the stems bearing so heavily that
they often require some support.
singular variety of Onion was introduced into this country from
Canada in 1820. The French call it 'l'oignon d'Egypte,' but there
is no proof that it is a native of that country. It is quite
probable that it is the common Onion introduced from France into
Canada by the early colonists and changed by the climate. Besides
the stem Onions, a few effects are also produced
Onion is propagated from the little stem bulbs alone, which are set
in February, 2, inches deep and 4 inches apart, in rows 8 inches
asunder. When planted in spring, these small bulbs form large ones
by the end of the year, but do not produce any bulblets until the
following year. When the bulbs are matured, they can be preserved
in a cool place after they have been allowed to dry in the sun for
a brief period. They are flat and of a coppery colour, their flesh
being considered tolerably agreeable to the taste, but rather
deficient in flavour. The bulblets are excellent for pickling and
keep very well, though the large bulbs do not always keep very
variety of the Tree Onion, called the Catawissa Onion, or Perennial
Tree Onion, was introduced from America thirty or forty years ago.
It is distinguished from the Ordinary Tree Onion by the great
vigour of its growth and the rapidity with which the bulblets
commence to grow without being detached from the top of the stem.
They have hardly attained their full size when they emit stems,
which also produce bulblets, and in favourable seasons this second
tier of bulblets will emit green shoots, leaves and barren stems,
bringing the height of the plant up to over 2 1/2 feet. Only a
small number of bulblets, generally two or three on each stem, are
thus proliferous. The rest do not sprout in the first year and can
be used for propagation. The plant is perennial, with long fibrous
roots, and may be propagated by division of the tufts, in the same
manner as Chives. No offsets are produced underground. A small bed
of these is growing at the Whins: (the author's house at Chalfont
St Peter. - Editor) they are very hardy, having lived outdoors in
open ground all through the severe weather experienced in the early
part of 1917. Moles greatly dislike the smell of Onions, and if one
is planted in each mole run as it shows up, the mole will leave the
Medicinal Action and Uses
Used---Concrete juice from the base of stem.
---Habitat---Levant, Persia, South France, Italy, Greece,
perennial, with a thick, fleshy root, yellowish in colour. It has a
branching stem growing about 1 to 3 feet high, thick and rough near
the base. Leaves pinnate, with long petioles and large serrate
leaflets, the terminal one cordate, the rest deficient at the base,
hairy underneath. The flowers, yellowish, are in large, flat umbels
at the top of the branches. The oleo resin is procured by cutting
into the stem at the base. The juice that exudes, when sun-dried,
forms the Opoponax of commerce. A warm climate is necessary to
produce an oleo gum resin of the first quality; that from France is
inferior, for this reason. In commerce it is sometimes found in
tears, but usually in small, irregular pieces. Colour,
reddish-yellow, with whitish specks on the outside, paler inside.
Odour, peculiar, strongly unpleasant. Taste, acrid and bitter. It
is inflammable, burning brightly.
---Constituents---Gum-resin, starch, wax, gum, lignin, volatile
oil, malic acid, a slight trace of caoutchouc.
and Uses---Antispasmodic, deobstruent. It is now regarded as a
medium of feeble powers, but was formerly considered of service as
an emmenagogue also in asthma, chronic visceral affections,
hysteria and hypochondriasis. It is employed in
---Dose---10 to 30
Species---From some species of Mulinum, and Bolax Gillesii and B.
clebaria (belonging to same order), a gum-resin similar to Opopanax
is obtained, which is employed by the native Chilian
Citrus vulgaris (RISSO.), var. Bigaradia
See Orange, Sweet, for more
Citrus Aurantium (LINN.), var. dulcis
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations of Bitter Orange
Preparations of Sweet Orange
---Synonyms---Citrus vulgaris. Citrus Bigaradia. Citrus
aurantium amara. Bigaradier. Bigarade Orange. Bitter Orange.
Seville Orange. (Sweet) Portugal Orange. China Orange. Citrus
Used---Fruit, flowers, peel.
---Habitat---India, China. Cultivated in Spain, Madeira,
---Description---Both common and official names are derived
from the Sanskrit nagaranga through the Arabic naranj.
It is a
small tree with a smooth, greyishbrown bark and branches that
spread into a fairly regular hemisphere. The oval, alternate,
evergreen leaves, 3 to 4 inches long, have sometimes a spine in the
axil. They are glossy, dark green on the upper side, paler beneath.
The calyx is cup-shaped and the thick, fleshy petals, five in
number, are intensely white, and curl back.
is earth-shaped, a little rougher and darker than the common, sweet
orange: the flowers are more strongly scented and the glands in the
rind are concave instead of convex.
mention of oranges appears in the writings of Arabs, the time and
manner of their first cultivation in Europe being
immature fruits are sometimes used under the name of Orange berries
for flavouring Curaçoa. They are the size of a cherry and dark
greyish-brown in colour. Formerly an essence was extracted from
is used both fresh and dried. Much is imported from Malta, cut more
thinly than that prepared in England.
the blossoms are candied in large quantities.
petit grain is made from the leaves and young shoots.
volatile oil of the bitter Orange peel is known as Oil of Bigarade,
and Sweet Orange oil as Oil of Portugal. For methods of extraction,
is one of the most difficult to preserve, the most satisfactory
method being to add 10 per cent of its volume of olive
flowers yield by distillation an essential oil known as 'Neroli,'
which forms one of the chief constituents of Eau-de-Cologne. A
pomade and an oil are also obtained from them by
from Sweet Orange blossoms is found in commerce under the name of
'Neroli petalae.' Being far less fragrant it only fetches half the
price of neroli oil and on that account is frequently used to
adulterate the true neroli oil.
largest Bigarade-tree plantations are to be found in the South of
France, in Calabria and in Sicily. The centre of the industry of
neroli oil is the South of France, where the bitter Orange is
extensively cultivated for that purpose alone. The tree requires a
dry soil with a southern aspect. It bears flowers three years after
grafting, increasing every year until it reaches its maximum, when
it is about twenty years old. The quantity depends on the age and
situation, a full-grown tree yielding on an average 50 to 60 lb. of
blossoms. One hundred Orange trees, at the age of ten years, will
occupy nearly an acre of land, and will produce during the season
about 2,200 lb. of Orange flowers. The flowering season is in May
and the flowers are gathered two or three times a week, after
sunrise. When the autumn is mild and atmospheric conditions are
favourable, flowering takes place in October, and this
supplementary harvest lasts until January, or till a frosty morning
stops the flowering. These autumn flowers have much less perfume
than those of the spring and the custom is to value them at only
one-half the price of May flowers. The Bitter Orange and Edible
Orange trees bear a great resemblance to each other, but their
leaf-stalks show a marked difference, that of the Bitter Orange
being broadened out in the shape of a heart. The yield of oil is
greatly influenced by the temperature and atmospheric conditions
prevailing at the time of gathering. In warm weather it may amount
to as much as 1,400 grams per 100 kilogrammes of flowers, but under
adverse conditions, such as damp, cool and changeable weather,
considerable diminution is experienced. Generally the largest
yields are obtained at the end of the flowering season, on account
of the warmer temperature.
most followed for extraction of the oil is by distillation, which
yields a higher percentage of oil from the flowers than maceration
or absorption in fats and volatile solvents. The flowers are
distilled immediately after gathering, the essential oil rising to
the surface of the distillate is drawn off, while the aqueous
portion is sold as 'Orange Flower Water.' Orange flower water is
being increasingly used in France by biscuit-makers to give
crispness to their products, and some of the English biscuit-makers
have also adopted it for this purpose.
There is a
marked difference in the scent of the oils obtained by the
different processes. Neroli obtained by distillation has quite a
different odour from the fresh Orange flower; the oils obtained by
solvents and by maceration and enfleurage are truest to the scent
of the natural flower. From 100 kilogrammes of flowers 1,000 grams
of oil are obtained; by volatile solvents, 600 grams; by
maceration, 400 grams; and by enfleurage, only about 100 grams of
Flower Oil as obtained from pomatum, slightly modified with other
extracts, can be employed to make 'Sweet Pea' and 'Magnolia'
perfumes, the natural odours of which it slightly
The use of
Orange-blossom as a bridal decoration is neither long-established
nor indigenous, as it was introduced into this country from France
only about a hundred years ago.
---Constituents---The peel of var. Bigaradia contains volatile
oil, three glucosides, hesperidin, isohesperidin, an amorphous
bitter principle, Aurantiamarin, aurantiamaric acid, resin,
ether of -naphthol, under the name of nerolin, is an artificial oil
of neroli, said to be ten times as strong.
Oil of Orange Flowers is:
'soluble in an equal volume of alcohol,
the solution having a violet fluorescence and a neutral reaction to
litmus paper. The specific gravity is 0.868 to 0.880 at 25 degrees
C. (77 degrees F.). When agitated with a concentrated solution of
sodium bisulphate it assumes a permanent purple-red
not be coloured by sulphuretted hydrogen.
Sweet Orange Peel contains at least 90 per cent o-limonene, the
remaining 10 per cent being the odorous constituents, citral,
citronellal, etc. It is a yellow liquid with the specific gravity
0.842 to 0.846 at 25 degrees C. (77 degrees F.).
Bitter Orange Peel, a pale yellow liquid, is soluble in four
volumes of alcohol, the solution being neutral to litmus paper. The
specific gravity is 0.842 to 0.848 at 25 degrees C. (77 degrees
F.). The odour is more delicate than that of the Sweet
nitric acid gives a dark green colour to sweet peel and a brown to
and Uses---The oil is used chiefly as a flavouring agent, but may
be used in the same way as oil of turpentine in chronic bronchitis.
It is non-irritant to the kidneys and pleasant to
Continent an infusion of dried flowers is used as a mild nervous
powdered Bitter Orange peel should be dried over freshly-burnt
lime. For flavouring, the sweet peel is better, and as a tonic,
that of the Seville or Bigaradia is preferred.
and an elixir are used for flavouring, and a wine as a vehicle for
compound wine is too dangerous as an intoxicant, being mixed with
absinthium, to be recommended as a tonic.
Bitter Orange---Syrup, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Tincture, B.P. and
U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Infusion of Orange, B.P., 4 to 8 drachms.
Infusion of Orange Compound, B.P., 4 to 8 drachms. Compound spirit,
U.S.P., 1 to 2 drachms. Syrup, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Wine, B.P., a
Sweet Orange---Syrup, B.P. and U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm. Tincture,
U.S.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm.
Orchis maculata, Orchis latifolia, Orchis mascula, Orchis Morio,
Orchis militaris, Orchis saccifera, Orchis pyrimidalis, Orchis
coriphora, Orchis conopea
Collection and Preparation
Consitituents and Uses
---Synonyms---Salep. Saloop. Sahlep. Satyrion. Levant
the Orchids native to this country have tuberous roots full of a
highly nutritious starch-like substance, called Bassorin, of a
sweetish taste and with a faint, somewhat unpleasant smell, which
replaces starch as a reserve material. In Turkey and Persia this
has for many centuries been extracted from the tubers of various
kinds of Orchis and exported under the name of Sahlep (an Arabian
word, corrupted into English as Saloop or Salep), which has long
been used, especially in the East, for making a wholesome and
nutritious drink of the same name. Before coffee supplanted it, it
used to be sold at stalls in the streets of London, and was held in
great repute in herbal medicine, being largely employed as a
strengthening and demulcent agent. The best English Salep came from
Oxfordshire, but the tubers were chiefly imported from the
Lamb refers to a 'Salopian shop' in Fleet Street, and says that to
many tastes it has 'a delicacy beyond the China luxury,' and adds
that a basin of it at three-halfpence, accompanied by a slice of
bread-and-butter at a halfpenny, is an ideal breakfast for a
chimney-sweep. Though Salep is no longer a popular London beverage,
before the war it was regularly sold by street merchants in
Constantinople as a hot drink during the winter.
collected in central and southern Europe and Asia. Most, if not
all, of the species of Orchis and some allied plants found in
Europe and Northern Asia, are provided with tubers which when duly
prepared are capable of furnishing Salep. The varieties represent
two forms, the one with branched, the other, and preferable one,
with rounded and unbranched tubers. The tubers occur in pairs, one
a little larger than the other.
species actually used the following are the more important: Orchis
mascula (Linn.), O. Morio (Linn.), O. militaris (Linn.), O.
ustulata (Linn.), O. pyramidalis (Linn.), O. coriophora (Linn.) O.
longieruris (Link.). These species, which have the tubers entire,
are natives of the greater part of Central and Southern Europe,
Turkey, the Caucasus and Asia Minor. The following species, with
palmate or lobed tubers, are equally widely distributed: O.
maculata (Linn.), O. saccifera (Brong.), O. conopea (Linn.), and O.
East, Salep is mostly obtained from O. morio, which is of frequent
occurrence in this country in chalky soils, but it can be made here
equally well from O. mascula, the Early Purple Orchis, O. maculata
and O. latifolia, which are more common and very widely distributed
throughout the country.
(Linn.), the Early Purple Orchis, common in English woods, is in
flower from mid-April to mid-June. A single flower-stem rises from
the tuberous root, bearing flowers that as a rule are of a rich
purple colour, mottled with lighter and darker shades, though often
found of every tint from purple to pure white. Each flower has a
long spur which turns upwards. The leaves are lance-shaped and do
not rise far from the ground, giving a rosette-like effect, and are
irregularly blotched with dark purple markings, which help to
render the plant conspicuous. In woods and meadowland, the plant
often attains a height of a foot or more, while on exposed and
breezy downs it is seldom more than 6 inches high.
blossoms are practically odourless in some specimens, whilst those
of others are faintly fragrant, but in most cases the smell is not
only strong, but offensive, especially in the evening. There is no
honey in the flowers, but a sweet juice in the walls of the spur,
which insects pierce with their probosces and suck out. The plant
is provided with two fleshy, egg-shaped tubers, one serving to
provide the necessities of the plant, shrinking as the plant
reaches maturity, the other receiving the leaves' surplus supplies
of foodstuffs to store for use in the following
were supposed to use the tubers in their philtres, the fresh tuber
being given to promote true love, and the withered one to check
wrong passions. Culpepper speaks of them as 'under the dominion of
Venus,' and tells us among other things, that 'being bruised and
applied to the place' they heal the King's Evil.
Purple Orchis in Northants is called 'Cuckoos,' because it comes
into flower about the time when the cuckoo first calls. In Dorset
it has the name of 'Granfer Griggles,' and the wild Hyacinth, which
often flowers by its side, bears the name of 'Granny
(Linn.), the Green-winged Meadow Orchis, is in flower about the
same time as the Early Purple Orchis and resembles it in habit. It
grows in meadows and is often very abundant. It is, however, a
shorter plant, bearing fewer flowers in the spike, and is best
distinguished by its two lateral sepals, which are bent upwards to
form a kind of hood, being strongly marked with parallel green
maculata (Linn.), the Spotted Orchis, receives its name from the
blotches of reddish-brown, which mark the upper surfaces of the
leaves similarly to those of O. mascula. The flowers, massed in
spikes, about 3 inches long, on a stem about a foot high, with the
leaves springing from it at distant intervals, vary in hue from
pale lilac to rich purple, are curiously marked with dark lines and
spots, and are very similar in structure to those of the Early
Purple Orchis. It grows abundantly on heaths and commons, flowering
inJune and July.
species, the tubers are divided into two or three finger-like
lobes, hence the plant has been known as 'Dead Men's Fingers'
(Hamlet, IV, vii), Hand Orchis, or Palma Christi. Gerard calls it
the 'Female Satyrion,' orchids being known in his time as
Satyrions, from a legend that they were specially connected with
the Satyrs. The plants were believed to be the food of the Satyrs,
and to have incited them to excesses. Orchis, in the old mythology,
was the son of a Satyr and a nymph, who, when killed by the
Bacchanalians for his insult to a priestess of Bacchus, was turned,
on the prayer of his father, into the flower that bears his
latifolia (Linn.), the March Orchis, is a taller plant than the
last, but has also palmate roots. The broad leaves are very erect,
the flowers rose-coloured or purple, the finelytapering bracts
being longer than the flowers. This species, in common with the
three preceding ones, sometimes bears white flowers. It is very
frequent in marshes and damp pastures, and will be found in bloom
in June and July.
of commerce is prepared chiefly in the Levant, being largely
collected in Asia Minor, but to some extent also in Germany and
other parts of Europe. The European Salep is always smaller than
the Oriental Salep. The drug found in English trade is mostly
imported from Smyrna. That sold in Germany is partly obtained from
plants growing wild in the Taunus Mountains, the Odenwald and other
districts. Salep is also collected in Greece and used in that
country and in Turkey in the form of a decoction, which is
sweetened with honey and taken as an early morning drink. The Salep
of India is mostly produced on the hills of Afghanistan,
Beluchistan, Kabul and Bokhara, and also from the Nilgiri Hills and
was known to Dioscorides and the Arabians, as well as to the
herbalists and physicians of the Middle Ages, by whom it was mostly
prescribed in the fresh state. Gerard (1636 edition) gives
excellent figures of the various orchids, whose tubers, he says,
'our age useth.' Geoffrey (1740), having recognized the salep
imported from the Levant to be the tubers of an Orchis, pointed out
how it might be prepared from the species indigenous to
Salep, as occurring in commerce, consists of tubers 1/2 inch to 1
inch in length, oblong in form, often pointed at the lower end and
rounded at the upper, where is a depressed scar left by the stem;
palmate tubers are infrequent. They are generally shrunken and
contorted, covered with a roughly granular skin, pale brown,
translucent, very hard and horny, practically inodorous and with an
insipid, mucilaginous taste. After maceration in water for several
hours the tubers regain their original form and size.
branched or palmate Salep tubers (Radix palmae Christi) are
somewhat flattened and palmately two to five branched. The
elongated mucilage cells are not so large as in the other
Salep is more translucent and gummy-looking than that of the
Levant, and more carefully prepared.
Oriental Royal Salep, said to be much used as a food in
Afghanistan, has been identified as the product of a bulbous plant
related to the onion, Allium Macleanii (Pharm. Journal, Sept.,
of the Indian bazaars, known as Salib misri, for fine qualities of
which great prices are paid, is derived from certain species of
Preparation---Tubers required for making Salep are taken up at the
close of the summer, when the seed-vessels are fully formed, as the
next year's tubers then contain the largest amount of starchy
matter and are full and fleshy.
shrivelled ones having been thrown aside, those which are plump are
washed and then immersed for a short time in boiling water, this
scalding process destroying their vitality and removing the
bitterness of their fresh state and making them dry more readily.
The outer skins are then rubbed off and the tubers are dried,
either by exposure to the sun, or to a gentle artificial heat in an
oven for ten minutes and heated to about bread-making temperature.
On removing from the oven, their milky appearance will have changed
to an almost transparent and horny state, though the bulk will not
be reduced. They are then placed in the fresh air to dry and harden
for a few days, when they are ready for use, or to be stored for as
long as desired, as damp does not affect them. The dried tubers are
generally ground to powder before using; it has a yellowish
Uses---The constituents of Salep are subject to great variation,
according to the season of collection. Raspail found the old tuber,
collected in autumn, to be free from starch, while the young one
was richly supplied with it.
important constituent is mucilage, amounting to 48 per cent. It
also contains sugar 1 per cent), starch (2.7 per cent), nitrogenous
substance (5 per cent), and when fresh a trace of volatile oil. It
yields 2 per cent of ash, consisting chiefly of phosphates and
chlorides of potassium and calcium.
very nutritive and demulcent, for which properties it has been used
from time immemorial. It forms a diet of especial value to
convalescents and children, being boiled with milk or water,
flavoured and prepared in the same way as arrowroot. A decoction
flavoured with sugar and spice, or wine, is an agreeable drink for
invalids. Sassafras chips were sometimes added, or cloves, cinnamon
large quantity of farinaceous matter contained in a small bulk, it
was considered so important an article of diet as to constitute a
part of the stores of every ship's company in the days of sailing
ships and long voyages, an ounce, dissolved in 2 quarts of boiling
water, being considered sufficient subsistence for each man per
day, should provisions run short. In this form it is employed in
some parts of Europe and Asia as an article of diet. It is to the
mucilage contained in the tuber that Salep owes its power of
forming jelly, only 1 part of Salep to 50 parts of boiling water
being needed for the purpose.
irritation of the gastro-intestinal canal, it is used in mucilage
made by shaking 1 part of powdered Salep with 10 parts of cold
water, until it is uniformly diffused, when 90 parts of boiling
water are added and the whole well agitated. It has thus been
recommended as an article of diet for infants and invalids
suffering from chronic diarrhoea and bilious fevers. In the German
Pharmacopoeia, a mucilage of Salep appears as an official
Cornus sericea (LINN.)
---Synonyms---Swamp's Dogwood. Red Willow. Silky Cornel. Female
Dogwood. Blueberry. Kinnikinnik. Rose Willow.
Used---Root-bark and bark.
---Habitat---North America, Florida to
---Description---A water-loving shrub, growing from 6 to 12
feet high. Branches spreading, dark purplish; branchlets silky
downy; leaves narrowly ovate or elliptical, pointed, smooth above,
silky downy below and often hairy upon ribs on petioles from half
an inch to an inch long. Flowers yellowish white, small, disposed
in large terminal, depressed and woolly cymes or corymbs. Berries
globose, bright blue, stone compressed. It is found in moist woods
and on the margins of rivers, flowering in June and
---Constituents---The active properties are similar to those
found in Peruvian Bark, except that there is more gum mucilage and
extractive matter and less resin quinine and tannin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---It is tonic astringent and
slightly stimulant, used in periodical and typhoid fever. Taken
internally it increases the strength and frequency of the pulse,
elevating the temperature of the body. It should be used in the
dried state, the fresh bark being likely to upset the
powdered bark has been used as toothpowder, to preserve the gums
and make the teeth white; the flowers have been used in place of
homoeopathic tincture of the fresh bark is administered in
ulcerated conditions of the ucous membranes and in liver complaints
allied to the Sow Thistles and somewhat resembling them in general
appearance is the Bristly Ox Tongue (Helminthia echioides),
frequently met with in England on hedgebanks and on waste ground,
especially on clay soil, but less common in Ireland and rare in
is somewhat stout and coarse, the sturdy stems attaining a height
of from 2 to 3 feet, branching freely and covered with short, stiff
hairs, each of which springs from a raised spot and is hooked at
leaves are much longer than the upper, of lanceolate or spear-head
form, with their margins coarsely and irregularly toothed and
waved. The upper leaves are small and stalkless, heart-shaped and
clasping the stem with their bases. All the leaves are of a
greyish-green hue and very tough to the touch.
flower-heads are ordinarily somewhat clustered together on short
stalks and form an irregular, terminal mass at the ends of the main
stems. The involucre, or ring of bracts from which the florets
spring, is doubled outside the ring of eight to ten narrow and
nearly erect scales, simple in form and thin in texture, is an
outer ring composed of a smaller number of spiny bracts of a broad
heart-shape, in their roughness of surface and general character
resembling the leaves of the plant. The combination of the inner
and outer bracts may be roughly compared to a cup and saucer, and
gives the plant a singular appearance.
Tongue is in blossom during June and July; all the florets of the
flower-heads, as in the Dandelion, are of a rich golden
generic name, Helminthia, is Greek in origin and signifies a small
kind of worm. It is suggested that the name was bestowed from the
form of the fruit, but it seems more likely that the name may have
been applied to the plant from some former belief in its power as a
vermifuge. It has by some botanists been assigned to the genus
Picris. The specific name, echioides, refers to the rough, prickly
character of the stems and leaves.
of its spiny character, the Ox Tongue was used as a pot-herb in the
same manner as the Sow Thistles, but can only be eaten when young,
when it is said to have a pleasant taste. The juice is milky,
bitter, but not extremely acrid.
HAWKWEED OX-TONGUE (Picris hieracioides), a closely allied plant,
has been similarly employed as a pot-herb. It is a rather slender
plant, 2 to 3 feet high, the stems rough with hooked bristles, the
stalkless leaves narrow, rough and toothed; flowers numerous and
yellow. It is abundant on the edges of fields, especially in a
gravelly or calcareous soil, and flowers from July to September.
The name of the genus is derived from the Greek picros (bitter),
from the bitter taste of the plant.
It is so
well known (the timber thereof being the glory and safety of this
nation by sea) that it needs no description.
and virtues : Jupiter owns the tree. The leaves and bark of the
Oak, and the acorn cups, do bind and dry very much. The inner bark
of the tree, and the thin skin that covers the acorn, are most used
to stay the spitting of blood, and the bloody-flux. The decoction
of that bark, and the powder of the cups, do stay vomitings,
spitting of blood, bleeding at the mouth, or other fluxes of blood,
in men or women; lasks also, and the nocturnal involuntary flux of
men. The acorn in powder taken in wine, provokes urine, and resists
the poison of venomous creatures. The decoction of acorns and the
bark made in milk and taken, resists the force of poisonous herbs
and medicines, as also the virulency of cantharides, when one by
eating them hath his bladder exulcerated, and voids bloody urine.
Hippocrates saith, he used the fumes of Oak leaves to women that
were troubled with the strangling of the mother; and Galen applied
them, being bruised, to cure green wounds. The distilled water of
the Oaken bud, before they break out into leaves is good to be used
either inwardly or outwardly, to assuage inflammations, and to stop
all manner of fluxes in man or woman. The same is singularly good
in pestilential and hot burning fevers; for it resists the force of
the infection, and allays the heat. It cools the heat of the liver,
breaking the stone in the kidneys, and stays women's courses. The
decoction of the leaves works the same effects. The water that is
found in the hollow places of old Oaks, is very effectual against
any foul or spreading scabs. The distilled water (or concoction,
which is better) of the leaves, is one of the best remedies that I
know of for the whites in women.
well known that they need no description.
and virtues : Oats fried with bay salt, and applied to the sides,
take away the pains of stitches and wind in the sides or the belly.
A poultice made of meal of Oats, and some oil of Bays put
thereunto, helps the itch and the leprosy, as also the fistulas of
the fundament, and dissolves hard imposthumes. The meal of Oats
boiled with vinegar, and applied, takes away freckles and spots in
the face, and other parts of the body.
This small plant never bears more than one leaf, but only when it
rises up with his stalk, which thereon bears another, and seldom
more, which are of a blueish green colour, pointed, with many ribs
or veins therein, like Plantain. At the top of the stalk grow many
small white flowers, star fashion, smelling somewhat sweet; after
which come small red berries, when they are ripe. The root is
small, of the bigness of a rush, lying and creeping under the upper
crust of the earth, shooting forth in divers places.
Place : It
grows in moist, shadowy and grassy places of woods, in many parts
of this land.
Time : It
flowers about May, and the berries are ripe in June, and then
quickly perishes, until the next year it springs from the same root
and virtues : It is a precious herb of the Sun. Half a dram, or a
dram at most, in powder of the roots hereof taken in wine and
vinegar, of each equal parts, and the party laid presently to sweat
thereupon, is held to be a sovereign remedy for those that are
infected with the plague, and have a sore upon them, by expelling
the poison and infection, and defending the heart and spirits from
danger. It is a singularly good wound herb, and is thereupon used
with other the like effects in many compound balms for curing of
wounds, be they fresh and green, or old and malignant, and
especially if the sinews be burnt.
almost as many several names attributed to the several sorts of it,
as would almost fill a sheet of paper; as dog-stones, goat-stones,
fool-stones, fox-stones, satiricon, cullians, together with many
others too tedious to rehearse.
To describe all the several sorts of it were an endless piece of
work: therefore I shall only describe the roots because they are to
be used with some discretion. They have each of them a double root
within, some of them are round, in others like a hand; these roots
alter every year by course, when the one rises and waxes full, the
other waxes lank, and perishes. Now, it is that which is full which
is to be used in medicines, the other being either of no use at
all, or else, according to the humour of some, it destroys and
disannuls the virtues of the other, quite undoing what that
Time : One
or other of them may be found in flower from the beginning of April
to the latter end of August.
and virtues : They are hot and moist in operation, under the
dominion of Dame Venus, and provoke lust exceedingly, which, they
say, the dried and withered roots do restrain. They are held to
kill worms in children; as also, being bruised and applied to the
place, to heal the king's evil.
so well known, that I need not spend time about writing a
description of them.
and virtues : Mars owns them, and they have gotten this quality, to
draw any corruption to them, for if you peel one, and lay it upon a
dunghill, you shall find it rotten in half a day, by drawing
putrefaction to it; then, being bruised and applied to a plague
sore, it is very probable it will do the like. Onions are
flatulent, or windy; yet they do somewhat provoke appetite,
increase thirst, ease the belly and bowels, provoke women's
courses, help the biting of a mad dog, and of other venomous
creatures, to be used with honey and rue, increase sperm,
especially the seed of them. They also kill worms in children if
they drink the water fasting wherein they have been steeped all
night. Being roasted under the embers, and eaten with honey or
sugar and oil, they much conduce to help an inveterate cough, and
expectorate the tough phlegm. The juice being snuffed up into the
nostrils, purges the head, and helps the lethargy, (yet the often
eating them is said to procure pains in the head). It hath been
held by divers country people a great preservative against
infection to eat Onions fasting with bread and salt. As also to
make a great Onion hollow, filling the place with good treacle, and
after to roast it well under the embers, which, after taking away
the outermost skin thereof, being beaten together, is a sovereign
salve for either plague or sore, or any other putrefied ulcer. The
juice of Onions is good for either scalding or burning by fire,
water, or gunpowder, and used with vinegar, takes away all
blemishes, spots and marks in the skin: and dropped in the ears,
eases the pains and noise of them. Applied also with figs beaten
together, helps to ripen and break imposthumes, and other
as like them in quality, as the pome-water is like an apple. They
are a remedy against a surfeit of mushrooms, being baked under the
embers and taken, and being boiled and applied very warm, help the
piles. In other things they have the same property as the Onions,
although not so effectual.
Common Orpine rises up with divers rough brittle stalks, thick set
with fat and fleshy leaves, without any order, and little or
nothing dented about the edges, of a green colour. The flowers are
white, or whitish, growing in tufts, after which come small chaffy
husks, with seeds like dust in them. The roots are divers thick,
round, white tuberous clogs; and the plant grows not so big in some
places as in others where it is found.
Place : It
is frequent in almost every county of this land, and is cherished
in gardens with us, where it grows greater than that which is wild,
and grows in shadowy sides of fields and woods.
Time : It
flowers about July, and the seed is ripe in August.
and virtues : The Moon owns the herb, and he that knows but her
exaltatation, knows what I say is true. Orpine is seldom used in
inward medicines with us, although Tragus saith from experience in
Germany, that the distilled water thereof is profitable for
gnawings or excoriations in the stomach or bowels, or for ulcers in
the lungs, liver, or other inward parts, as also in the matrix, and
helps all those diseases, being drank for certain days together. It
stays the sharpness of humours in the bloody-flux, and other fluxes
in the body, or in wounds. The root thereof also performs the like
effect. It is used outwardly to cool any heat or inflammation upon
any hurt or wound, and eases the pains of them; as, also, to heal
scaldings or burnings, the juice thereof being beaten with some
green sallad oil, and anointed. The leaf bruised, and laid to any
green wound in the hand or legs, doth heal them quickly; and being
bound to the throat much helps the quinsy; it helps also ruptures
and burstenness. If you please to make the juice thereof into a
syrup with honey or sugar, you may safely take a spoonful or two at
a time, (let my author say what he will) for a quinsy, and you
shall find the medicine pleasant, and the cure speedy.