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Magic And Wicca - Herbal Encyclopedia - P


Herbs & Oils

~ P ~


(Petroselinum sativum also crispum)

Parsley is a taprooted biennial with solid stems, triangular, toothed and curled leaves divided into three segments, umbels of tiny cream summer flowers, and aromatic "seeds". Grown near roses, it improves their health and scent. Leaf infusions are a tonic for hair, skin and eyes. The leaves, root, and seeds are diuretic, scavenge skin-aging free radicals, and reduce the release of histamine. The second-year roots, the leaf, and the seed are used. Parsley is diuretic and helpful for gravel and stone as well as for edema, jaundice, and kidney problems. The root is the most powerful part. The oil of the seed (five to fifteen drops) has been used to bring on menstruation. The seed, when decocted, has been used for intermittant fevers. Steep one teaspoon of leaf per cup for twenty minutes or simmer one teaspoon of the root or seed for twenty minutes. The dose is one-fourth cup, four times a day. Parsley leaves (with violet leaf and figwort herb when possible) are used in poultices for cancer. A parsley poultice will help insect bites, stings, and sore eyes. Parsley tea is used for asthma and coughs.
CAUTION: Persons with weak kidneys should avoid this herb.
Parts Used: Root, leaf and seed
Magical Uses:
Parsley was used in funeral rites by the Greeks; it was held sacred to Persephone. It was wound into funeral wreaths and used to decorate tombs. Though the plant has associations with death and is often regarded as evil, the Romans tucked a sprig into their togas every morning for protection. It is also placed on plates of food to guard it from contamination. Parsley is used in purification baths, and those to stop all misfortune.
Aromatherapy Uses: Accumulation of toxins; Arthritis; Broken Blood vessels; Cellulitis; Rheumatism; Sciatica; Colic; Flatulence; Indigestion; Hemorrhoids; Amenorrhea; Dysmenorrhea; To aid Labor; Cystitis; Urinary Infection. Key Qualities: Refreshing; Stimulating; Warming. Avoid during Pregnancy.


(Pogostemon patchouli or heyeanus)

This tender, aromatic herb has upright, square stems with soft oval leaves and whorls of whitish flowers on spikes. The leaves, placed among clothes to deter insects, give Indian shawls their characteristic fragrance. Patchouli gave the distinctive scent to original India ink and Chinese red ink paste.
Parts Used: Leaf
Magical Uses:
Patchouli smells like rich earth, and so has been used in money and prosperity mixtures and spells. It is sprinkled onto money, added to purses and wallets, and placed around the base of green candles. Also, owing to its earthiness, Patchouli is used in fertility talismans and is also substituted for 'graveyard dust'. Patchouli is added to love sachets and baths. Patchouli is used to attract people and to promote lust. Burn as incense for: Drawing Money; Fertility; Protection; Defense; Lust; Banishing; Releasing; Love; Earth; Underworld.
Aromatherapy Uses:
Acne; Athlete's Foot; Cracked and Chapped Skin; Dandruff; Dermatitis; Eczema; Fungal Infections; Hair Care; Impetigo; Sores; Oily Hair and Skin; Open Pores; Wounds; Wrinkles; Frigidity; Nervous Exhaustion; Stress Related Conditions. Key Qualities: Stimulant in small amounts; Sedative in large doses; Aphrodisiac; Nerve Tonic; Appeasing; Calming; Uplifting.


(Mentha piperita) See Mint.

Magical Uses:
This familiar scent is excellent when used for purification. Though slow-growing the results are worth the wait. Rub against furniture and walls and floorboards to cleanse them of evil and negativity. Smelled it compels one towards sleep and placed beneath the pillow it sometimes offers one glimpses of the future in dreams. Burn as Incense for: Exorcism; Health; Healing; Lust; Money and Riches; Changes; Psychic Awareness; Purification.
Aromatherapy Uses: See Mint


(Pinus spp.)

Sacred to the Druids, the pine was known as one of the Seven Chieftain Trees of the Irish. Dry distillation of Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris) needles, twigs, and cones gives the best quality pine oil for perfumes and for expectorants in inhalations for bronchitis and colds. The root tar is included in some hair growth stimulation products.
The needles and young twigs of the white pine (Pinus strobus, Pinus alba) are made into infusions fo coughs and as an antiscorbutic; use two teaspoons per cup of water and simmer for twenty minutes. Hight in vitamin C, they helped our ancestors get through the long winters. The knot of the wood is boiled with angelica, acathopanax, quince, and mulberr branches to make a bath for arthritis and rheumatism. Pine needles are simmered into massage oils. The oil is used externally to relieve rheumatic pain, chronic bronchitis, sciatica, pneumonia, and nephritis. Simply cover the needles with a good quality olive oil and simmer at low heat for twenty minutes, or place in a low (180°) oven overnight. The resin heals the kidneys, liver and lungs. The scent is calming to the lungs and nerves.
Parts Used: Needle, twig, and knot of the wood
Magical Uses Pine is the "tree of peace" of the Native American iroquois confederace. Burn pine to purify the home and decorate with its branches to bring healing and joy. Mix with equal parts of Juniper and Cedar, burn to purify the home and ritual area. The cones and nuts can be carried as a fertility charm. Placing pine needles in a loose-woven bag and running bathwater over this makes a good magical cleansing and stimulating bath. To purify and sanctify an outdoor ritual area, brush the ground with a pine branch. The oil is commonly added to purification, protection, money and healing mixtures. Burn as incense for, money, purification, healing and exorcism.
Aromatherapy Uses: (Scotch Pine) Cuts; Lice; Excessive Perspiration; Scabies; Sores; Arthritis; Gout; Muscular aches and pains; Neuralgia; Poor Circulation; Rheumatism; Asthma; Bronchitis; Catarrh; Colds; Coughs; Flu; Sinusitis; Sore Throat; Cystitis; Urinary Infection; Fatigue; Nervous Exhaustion; Stress Related Conditions. Key Qualities: Strengthening; Cleansing; Restorative; Reviving; Refreshing; Stimulant; Soothing.



Botanical: Paeonia officinalis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae
Part Used
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Synonym---Paeonia Corallina.
---Part Used---Root.
The Paeony is not indigenous to Great Britain, and only grows wild on an island called the Steep Holmes, in the Severn, where it was probably introduced some centuries ago.
The varieties Female and Male Paeony have no reference to the sexes of the flowers. The roots of the Female or Common Paeony are composed of several roundish, thick knobs or tubers, which hang below each other, connected by strings. The stems are green (red when quite young) and about 2 1/2 feet high. The leaves are composed of several unequal lobes, which are cut into many segments; they are of a paler green color than those of the so-called Male Paeony, and the flowers are of a deeper purple color. From this variety are derived the double garden Paeonies.
Many of the species have very fragrant flowers.
The roots of the Male Paeony - the kind found wild on the island in the Severn - are composed of several oblong knobs, hanging by strings fastened to the main head. The stems are the same height as in the preceding, and bear large single flowers, composed of five or six large roundish red (or sometimes white) petals. The flowers of both sorts open in May, the seeds ripening in the autumn.
The last-named variety is the kind formerly much cultivated for the roots, which were celebrated for their medicinal value in disorders of the head and nerves. It has been known also as Paeonia Corallina.
The genus is supposed to have been named after the physician Paeos, who cured Pluto and other gods of wounds received during the Trojan War with the aid of this plant.
The superstitions connected with the Pzeony are numerous. In ancient times, it was thought to be of divine origin, an emanation from the moon, and to shine during the night, protecting shepherds and their flocks, and also the harvest from injury, driving away evil spirits and averting tempests. Josephus speaks of the Paeony as a wonderful and curious plant. He says - according to Gerard - that 'to pluck it up by the roots will cause danger to he that touches it, therefore a string must be fastened to it in the night and a hungry dog tied thereto, who being allured by the smell of roasted flesh set towards him may pluck it up by the roots.' Pliny and Theophrastus assert:
'that of necessity it must be gathered in the night, for if any man shall pluck of the fruit in the daytime, being seen of the woodpecker, he is in danger to lose his eyes.'
Gerard adds:
'But all these things be most vainc and frivolous, for the root of Peionne may be removed at any time of the yeare, day, or houre whatsoever.
The seeds used to be strung as a necklace and worn as a charm against evil spirits.
Gerard says:
'The black graines (that is the seed) to the number of fifteene taken in wine or mead is a speciall remedie for those that are troubled in the night with the disease called the Nightmare, which is as though a heavy burthen were laid upon them and they oppressed therewith, as if they were overcome with their enemies, or overprest with some great weight or burthen; and they are also good against melancholie dreames.'
A drink called 'Paeony-water' made from the plant was once much used, and the kernels or seeds were used in cookery as a spice.
'Stick the cream with Paeony kernels,' Mrs. Glasse's Cookery (1796).
Peonies are extremely hardy and will grow in almost any soil or situation, in sun or shade. The best soil, however, is a deep, rich loam, which should be well trenched and manured, previous to planting.
Propagation is by division of roots, which increase very quickly. The best season for transplanting is towards the end of August, or the beginning of September. In dividing the roots, care must be taken to preserve a bud upon the crown of each offset.
Single varieties are generally propagated from seeds, sown in autumn, soon after they are ripe, upon a bed of light soil, covering them with 1/2 inch of soil. Water well in dry weather and keep clear from weeds. Leave the young plants in this bed two years, transplanting in September.
---Part Used---
The root, dried and powdered. It is dug in the autumn, from plants at least two years old. The roots should be cleansed carefully in cold water with a brush and only be allowed to remain in the water as short a time as possible. Then spread out on trays in the sun, or on the floor, or on shelves in a kitchen, or other warm room for ten days or more. When somewhat shrunken, roots may be finished off more quickly in greater heat over a stove or gas fire, or in an open oven, when the fire has just gone out. Dried roots must always be dry to the core and brittle.
Paeony root occurs in commerce in pieces averaging 3 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter, spindle-shaped, strongly furrowed and shrunken longitudinally, of a pinkish grey or dirty white color, generally having been scraped. The transverse section is starchy and radiate, the rays more or less tinged with purple. The root has no odour, but its taste is sweet at first, and then bitter.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Antispasmodic, tonic. Paeony root has beensuccessfully employed in convulsions and spasmodic nervous affections, such as epilepsy, etc.
It was formerly considered very efficacious for lunacy. An old writer tells us: 'If a man layeth this wort over the lunatic as he lies, soon he upheaveth himself whole.'
The infusion of 1 OZ. of powdered root in a pint of boiling water is taken in wineglassful doses, three or four times daily.
An infusion of the powdered root has been recommended for obstructions of the liver, and for complaints arising from such obstructions.
---Other Species---
Paeonia Albiflora, distinguished by its smooth recurved follicles, is a native of Siberia, and the whole of Northern Asia; the roots of this are sometimes boiled by the natives, and eaten in broth; they also grind the seeds and put them into their tea.




Botanical: Carica Papaya (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Cucurbitaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Melon Tree. Mamaeire. Papaya Vulgaris (D.C.).
---Parts Used---
Fruit juice, seeds, leaves - pawpain.
South America, West Indies, and cultivated in most tropical countries.
A small tree seldom above 20 feet high, 1 foot in diameter, tapering to about 4 or 5 inches at its summit. It has a spongy soft wood, hollow in centre; leaves are as large as 2 feet in diameter, deeply cut into seven lobes, ending in sharp points and margins irregularly waived; foot-stalks 2 feet long, diverge horizontally from the stem; fruit oblong, dingy green yellow color, about 10 inches long, 3 or 4 broad with projecting angles, a rind like a gourd, thick and fleshy; the central cavity contains a quantity of black wrinkled seeds.
The seeds of the Papaw tree contain a glucoside, Caricin, which resembles Sinigrin, also the ferment Myrosin, and by reaction of the two a volatile, pungent body suggestive of mustard oil. From the leaves an alkaloid called carpaine has been obtained; physiologically this alkaloid has the same effect on the heart as digitalis. Papain is often adulterated with starch; in cases of acidity it is said to be much superior to pancreatin because its action is not affected to any extent by its contact with the acid. This plant must not be confounded with the custard apple, which is often called Papaw and botanically known as Uvaria triloba.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The juice of the tree or an infusion of the leaves and fruit makes the toughest meat tender when rubbed with it or cooked in the leaves; if chickens and pigs are fed on the leaves it will make their flesh tender. The ripe fruit is refreshing and palatable; it is sometimes used as a sauce; the seeds cannot be detected from capers; it is sometimes preserved in sugar or boiled like turnips. The juice is used to remove freckles; it is also a strong vermifuge. The leaves are used as a substitute for soap; when the unripe fruit is pierced with a bone knife a milky juice exudes which is collected in a basin and allowed to coagulate; this is dried in the sun and contains a propeolytic enzyme which acts as a neutral or alkaline solution, and is given for impaired digestion. Pawpain is the dried white powdered unripe juice of Papaw, a ferment, and strongly suggests pepsin in odour, taste and appearance. It is said to dissolve the fibrinous membrane in croup and diphtheria, a solution over the pharynx painted every five minutes, when injected into the circulation in large doses it paralyses the heart; it is recommended to destroy warts and epithelioma, tubercules, etc.; is not caustic or astringent, but has the virtue of dissolving muscular and connective tissue.
The fresh leaves have been used as a dressing for foul wounds; internally the juice is useful in dyspepsia and catarrh of the stomach; the juice has a tendency to deteriorate by undergoing butyric fermentation, but this can be overcome by the addition of glycerine, which preserves it without impairing its digestive power.

Papaw Seeds

Botanical: Asimina triloba
Family: N.O. Anonaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Custard Apple. Uvaria triloba.
---Parts Used---
Seeds, bark, and leaves.
Middle, Southern and Western States, also India, Africa, Asia.
A small beautiful tree, growing up to 20 feet. The young shoots and leaves are at first clothed in a rusty down which soon becomes glabrous. The leaves are thin, smooth, entire, ovate, oblong, acuminate, 8 to 12 inches long by 3 broad, and tapering to very short petioles. Flowers dull purple, axillary, solitary; petals veiny, round, ovate, outer one orbicular, three or four times as large as the calyx. Flowers appear same time as leaves, March to June, and are about 1 1/2 inches wide. Fruit, yellowish ovoid oblong, pulpy pod about 3 inches long and 1 inch diameter, fragrant, sweet, ripe in autumn and contains about eight seeds; before fruit is ripe it has an unpleasant smell and when ripe after frost it is luscious and similar to custard, it is considered healthy to eat, being sedative and laxative; the seeds are the part used; these have a foetid smell like straminium; they are covered with an exterior coat which is tough and hard, light brown color and smooth externally, wrinkled and lighter inside. It encloses a white kernel, deeply fissured on both sides and compressed, almost scentless slightly bitter and sweet and dry and powdery when chewed; it leaves a faint, persistent, unpleasant sensation of sickness; seeds vary inshape, being flat ovoid, sometimes circular and somewhat reniform, with a depression along the centre of each flat surface, and frequently a ridge in place of the furrow.
Fixed oil, a resin, a resin in soluble in ether, glucose and extractive.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Emetic, for which a saturated tincture of the bruised seeds is employed, dose, 10 to 60 drops. The bark is a bitter tonic and is said to contain a powerful acid, the leaves are used as an application to boils and ulcers.
---Other Species---
Uvaria Natrum. Root aromatic and fragrant, used in India in intermittent fevers and liver complaints. Bruised in salt water is used as an application to certain skin diseases. A fragrant greenish oil is distilled from it.
U. tripelaloidea. When incised, gives a fragrant gum.
U. febrifuga, so called by the Indians of Orinoco, who use its flowers for fevers.
U. longifolia. A perfume oil is extracted from the flowers in Bourbon and several other species are also fragrant.
U. Zeylandica and U. cordata have edible fruits.

Paradise Grains
See Pepper, Hungarian.

Paraguay Tea

Botanical: Ilex Paraguayensis (A. ST. HIL).
Family: N.O. Aauifoliaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Paraguay Herb. Paraguay. Maté. Ilex Maté. Yerba Maté. Houx Maté. Jesuit's Tea. Brazil Tea. Gón gouha.
---Part Used---Leaves.
Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay.
This large, white-flowered shrub grows wild near streams, but is largely cultivated in South America for the drink obtained by infusing the leaves. The leaves are alternate, large, oval or lanceolate and broadly toothed. The fruit is a red drupe the size of pepper grains. Its name of Yerba signifies the herb par excellence, and the consumption in South America is vast, as it is drunk at every meal and hour. 'Maté' is derived from the name of the vessel in which it is infused in the manner of tea, burnt sugar or lemon-juice being added. It is sucked through a tube, usually of silver, with a bulb strainer at the end, and the cup is passed round.
If the powder is dropped into water and stirred the mixture is called cha maté.
Large sums are paid to the Government for permission to gather the leaves, which are dried by heat and powdered. The season is from December to August. Paraguay exports 5 to 6 million pounds annually.
The tea is very sustaining, and sometimes it is the only refreshment carried for a journey of several days.
The odour is not very agreeable, but is soon unnoticed. The taste is rather bitter.
Fresh leaves dried at Cambridge were found to contain caffeine, tannin, ash and insoluble matter.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Tonic, diuretic, diaphoretic, and powerfully stimulant. In large doses it causes purging and even vomiting. Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm.
---Other Species---
In South America the infusion of leaves ofdifferent species are used, such as Cassina paragua, Psoralea glandulosa and a Luxemburgia.
Ilex vomitoria and I. Dahoon, Apalachin or Cassena and Dahoon holly, have emetic properties. A decoction is used by the North Carolina Indians as Yaupon, or ceremonial black drink, as well as in medicine.


Botanical: Chondrodendron tomentosum (RUIZ and P.)
Family: N.O. Menispermaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Pereira Brava. Cissampelos Pareira. Velvet Leaf. Ice Vine.
---Parts Used---
Dried root, bark, bruised leaves.
West Indies, Spanish Main Brazil, Peru.
A woody vine, climbing a considerable height over trees; very large leaves, often 1 foot long with a silky pubescence, on the inner side grey color; flowers dioecious in racemes; in the female plant the racemes are longer than the leaves, bearing the flowers in spike fascicles; the berries, first scarlet, then black, are oval, size of large grapes in commerce. The root is cylindrical in varying lengths from 1/2 inch to 5 inches in diameter and from 2 or 3 inches to several feet long; externally blackish brown, longitudinally furrowed, transversed knotty ridges; it is hard, heavy, tough, and when freshly cut has a waxy lustre; interior woody, reddy yellow; transversed section shows several successive eccentric and distinctly radiate concentric zones of projecting secondary bundles fibro-vascular. Stem deeply furrowed; color grey and covered with patches of lichen; odour, slight, aromatic, sweetish flavour, succeeded by an intense nauseating bitterness, yielding its bitterness and active properties to water or alcohol.
A soft resin, yellow bitter principle, brown coloring, a nitrogenous substance, fecula, acid calcium malate, various salts and potassium nitrate.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Tonic, diuretic, aperient; acts as an antiseptic to the bladder, chiefly employed for the relief of chronic inflammation of the urinary passages, also recommended for calculus affections, leucorrhoea, rheumatism, jaundice, dropsy, and gonorrhoea. In Brazil it is used for poisonous snake bites; a vinous infusion of the root is taken internally, while the bruised leaves of the plant are applied externally.
Infusion, 1 to 4 fluid ounces. Solid extract, 10 to 20 grains. Fluid extract, 1/4 to 2 drachms.
---Other Species---
Cissampelos Glaberrima, growing in Brazil, appears to possess similar properties, Beberine chondrodine, some stearic acid, tannin and starch.
C. convolulaceum, called by the Peruvians the Wild Grape with reference to the form of the fruit and their acid and not unpleasant flavour; the bark is used as a febrifuge.
Arbuta rufescens, or White Pareira Brava, has a thick woody root which exhibits concentric layers, transversed by very distinct dark medullary rays, interradial spaces being white and rich in starch.
The COMMON FALSE PAREIRA, botanical origin unknown. The arrangement of the woody zones is eccentric and the wavy appearance of true Pareira is absent. It contains no starch, and the root is much lighter and less waxy than the genuine variety.

Parilla, Yellow

Botanical: Menispermum Canadense (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Menispermaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
Other Species
Canadian Moonseed. Texas Sarsaparilla. Moonseed Sarsaparilla. Vine Maple.
---Parts Used---The rhizome and roots.
Canada and United States of America. Cultivated in Britain as a hardy, deciduous, ornamental shrub. A closely allied species is indigenous to the temperate parts of Eastern Asia.
A climbing, woody plant, with a very long root of a fine yellow color, and a round, striate stem, bright yellowgreen when young; leaves, roundish, cordate, peltate, three to seven angled, lobed. Flowers small, yellow, borne in profusion in axillary clusters. Drupes, round, black, with a bloom on them, one-seeded. Seed, crescent-shaped, compressed, the name Moonseed being derived from this lunate shape of the seed. The rhizome is wrinkled longitudinally and has a number of thin, brittle roots; fracture, tough, woody; internally reddish; a thick bark encloses a circle of porous, short, nearly square wood wedges and a large central pith. The root is the official part; it has a persistent bitter, acrid taste and is almost inodorous.
Berberine and a white amorphous alkaloid termed Menispermum, which has been used as a substitute for Sarsaparilla, some starch and resin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---In small doses it is a tonic, diuretic, laxative and alterative. In larger doses it increases the appetite and action of the bowels; in full doses, it purges and causes vomiting. It is a superior laxative bitter; considered very useful in scrofula, cutaneous, rheumatic, syphilitic, mercurial and arthritic diseases; also for dyspepsia, chronic inflammation of the viscera and in general debility. Externally, the decoction has been applied as an embrocation in cutaneous and gouty affections.
---Preparations and Dosages---
Powdered root, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Saturated tincture, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Menispermum, 1 to 4 grains. Decoction, 1 to 4 fluid ounces, three times daily. Menisperine in powder is recommended as a nervine and is considered superior to Sarsaparilla, taken in doses of 1 to 3 grains, three times daily.
---Other Species---
Some of the species closely allied to Menispermum have narcotic properties and are very poisonous: Anamirta paniculata yields Cocculus Indicus, illegally used to impart bitterness to malt liquor; Jateorhiza palmata supplies bitter Columba root, used as a tonic; and Cissampelos Pareira is the tonic Pareira Brava.
COLUMBA, (no listing)

Paris, Herb

Botanical: Paris quadrifolia (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Trilliaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Herba Paris. Solanum quadrifolium. Aconitum pardalianches. True Love. One Berry.
(French) Parisette.
(German) Einbeere.
---Part Used---
The entire plant, just coming into bloom.
Europe, Russian Asia, and fairly abundant in Britain, but confined to certain places.
This singular plant gets its generic name of Paris from par (paris), equal on account of the regularity of its leaves. In olden times it was much esteemed and used in medicine, but to-day its use is almost confined to homoeopathy. It is a herbaceous perennial plant found in moist places and damp shady woods. It has a creeping fleshy rootstock, a simple smooth upright stem about 1 foot high, crowned near its top with four pointed leaves, from the centre of which rises a solitary greeny-white flower, blooming May and June with a foetid odour; the petals and sepals remain till the purply-blackberry (fruit) is ripe, which eventually splits to discharge its seeds.
A glucoside called Paradin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Narcotic, in large doses producing nausea, vomiting, vertigo, delirium convulsions, profuse sweating and dry throat. The drug should be used with great caution; overdoses have proved fatal to children and poultry. In small doses it has been found of benefit in bronchitis; spasmodic coughs, rheumatism; relieves cramp, colic, and palpitation of the heart; the juice of the berries cures inflammation of the eyes. A cooling ointment is made from the seeds and the juice of the leaves for green wounds and for outward application for tumours and inflammations. The powdered root boiled in wine is given for colic. One or 2 scruples acts as an emetic in place of Ipecacuanha.
It has been used as an aphrodisiac - the seeds and berries have something of the nature of opium. The leaves in Russia are prescribed for madness. The leaves and berries are more actively poisonous than the root.
Herb Paris is useful as an antidote against mercurial sublimate and arsenic. A tincture is prepared from the fresh plant.
---Other Species---Paris polyphylla, which grows in Nepaul.


Botanical: Carum petroselinum (BENTH.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
Prearation for Market
Apium petroselinum (Linn.). Petroselinum lativum (Hoffm.). Petersylinge. Persely. Persele.
---Parts Used---Root, seeds.
The Garden Parsley is not indigenous to Britain: Linnaeus stated its wild habitat to be Sardinia, whence it was brought to England and apparently first cultivated here in 1548. Bentham considered it a native of the Eastern Mediterranean regions; De Candolle of Turkey, Algeria and the Lebanon. Since its introduction into these islands in the sixteenth century it has been completely naturalized in various parts of England and Scotland, on old walls and rocks.
Petroselinum, the specific name of the Parsley, from which our English name is derived, is of classic origin, and is said to have been assigned to it by Dioscorides. The Ancients distinguished between two plants Selinon, one being the Celery (Apium graveolens) and called heleioselinon - i.e. 'Marsh selinon,' and the other - our parsley - Oreoselinon, 'Mountain selinon'; or petroselinum, signifying 'Rock selinon.' This last name in the Middle Ages became corrupted into Petrocilium - this was anglicized into Petersylinge, Persele, Persely and finally Parsley.
There is an old superstition against transplanting parsley plants. The herb is said to have been dedicated to Persephone and to funeral rites by the Greeks. It was afterwards consecrated to St. Peter in his character of successor to Charon.
In the sixteenth century, Parsley was known as A. hortense, but herbalists retained the official name petroselinum. Linnaeus in 1764 named it A. petroselinum, but it is now assigned to the genus Carum.
The Greeks held Parsley in high esteem, crowning the victors with chaplets of Parsley at the Isthmian games, and making with it wreaths for adorning the tombs of their dead. The herb was never brought to table of old, being held sacred to oblivion and to the dead. It was reputed to have sprung from the blood of a Greek hero, Archemorus, the forerunner of death, and Homer relates that chariot horses were fed by warriors with the leaves. Greek gardens were often bordered with Parsley and Rue.
Several cultivated varieties exist, the principal being the common plain-leaved, the curled-leaved, the Hamburg or broadleaved and the celery-leaved. Of the variety crispum, or curled-leaved, there are no less than thirty-seven variations; the most valuable are those of a compact habit with close, perfectly curled leaves. The common sort bears close leaves, but is of a somewhat hardier nature than those of which the leaves are curled; the latter are, however, superior in every way. The variety crispum was grown in very early days, being even mentioned by Pliny.
Turner says, 'if parsley is thrown into fishponds it will heal the sick fishes therein.'
The Hamburg, or turnip-rooted Parsley, is grown only for the sake of its enlarged fleshy tap-root. No mention appears to have been made by the Ancients, or in the Middle Ages, of this variety, which Miller in his Gardeners' Dictionary (1771) calls 'the largerooted Parsley,' and which under cultivation develops both a parsnip-like as well as a turnip-shaped form. Miller says:
'This is now pretty commonly sold in the London markets, the roots being six times as large as the common Parsley. This sort was many years cultivated in Holland before the English gardeners could be prevailed upon to sow it. I brought the seeds of it from thence in 1727; but they refused to accept it, so that I cultivated it several years before it was known in the markets.'
At the present day, the 'long white' and the 'round sugar' forms are sold by seedgrowers and are in esteem for flavouring soups, stews, etc., the long variety being also cooked and eaten like parsnips.
Neapolitan, or celery-leaved, parsley is grown for the use of its leafstalks, which are blanched and eaten like those of celery.
The plain-leaved parsley was the first known in this country, but it is not now much cultivated, the leaves being less attractive than those of the curled, of a less brilliant green, and coarser in flavour. It also has too close a resemblance to Fool's Parsley (Anthriscus cynapium), a noxious weed of a poisonous nature infesting gardens and fields. The leaves of the latter, though similar, are, however, of a rather darker green and when bruised, emit an unpleasant odour, very different to that of Parsley. They are, also, more finely divided. When the two plants are in flower, they are easily distinguished, Anthriscus having three tiny, narrow, sharp-pointed leaflets hanging down under each little umbellule of the white umbel of flowers, whereas in the Garden Parsley there is usually only one leaflet under the main umbel, the leaflets or bracts at the base of the small umbellules only being short and as fine as hairs. Anthriscus leaves, also, are glossy beneath. Gerard called Anthriscus 'Dog's Parsley,' and says 'the whole plant is of a naughty smell.' It contains a peculiar alkaloid called Cynapium.
Stone Parsley (Sison), or Breakstone, is an allied plant, growing in chalky districts.
S. Amomum is a species well known in some parts of Britain, with cream-colored flowers and aromatic seeds. The name is said to be derived from the Celtic sium (running stream), some of the species formerly included growing in moist localities.
Of our Garden Parsley (which he calls Parsele) Gerard says, 'It is delightful to the taste and agreeable to the stomache,' also 'the roots or seeds boiled in ale and drank, cast foorth strong venome or poyson; but the seed is the strongest part of the herbe.'
Though the medicinal virtues of Parsley are still fully recognized, in former times it was considered a remedy for more disorders than it is now used for. Its imagined quality of destroying poison, to which Gerard refers, was probably attributed to the plant from its remarkable power of overcoming strong scents, even the odour of garlic being rendered almost imperceptible when mingled with that of Parsley.
The plant is said to be fatal to small birds and a deadly poison to parrots, also very injurious to fowls, but hares and rabbits will come from a great distance to seek for it, so that it is scarcely possible to preserve it in gardens to which they have access. Sheep are also fond of it, and it is said to be a sovereign remedy to preserve them from footrot, provided it be given them in sufficient quantities.
Parsley requires an ordinary, good well-worked soil, but a moist one and a partially-shaded position is best. A little soot may be added to the soil.
The seed may be sown in drills, or broadcast, or, if only to be used for culinary purposes, as edging, or between dwarf or shortlived crops.
For a continuous supply, three sowings should be made: as early in February as the weather permits, in April or early in May, and in July and early August - the last being for the winter supply, in a sheltered position, with a southern exposure. Sow in February for the summer crop and for drying purposes. Seed sown then, however, takes several weeks to germinate, often as much as a full month. The principal sowing is generally done in April; it then germinates more quickly and provides useful material for cutting throughout the summer. A mid-August sowing will furnish good plants for placing in the cold frames for winter use.
An even broadcast sowing is preferable, if the ground is in the condition to be trodden which appears to fix the seed in its place, and after raking leaves a firm even surface.
The seed should be but slightly covered, not more than 1/2 inch deep and thinly distributed; if in drills, these should be 1 foot apart.
It is not necessary, however (though usual), to sow the seed where the plants are to be grown, as when large enough, the seedlings can be pricked out into rows.
When the seedlings are well out of the ground - about an inch high - adequate thinning is imperative, as the plants dislike being cramped, and about 8 inches from plant to plant must be allowed: a well-grown plant will cover nearly a square foot of ground.
The rows should be liberally watered in dry weather; a sheltered position is preferred, as the plants are liable to become burnt up in very hot and dry summers. The rows should be kept clean of weeds, and frequent dressings may be applied with advantage.
If the growth becomes coarse in the summer, cut off all the leaves and water well. This will induce a new growth of fine leaves, and may always be done when the plants have grown to a good size, as it encourages a stocky growth.
Soon after the old or last year's plants begin to grow again in the spring, they run to flower, but if the flower stems are promptly removed, and the plants top dressed and watered, they will remain productive for some time longer. Renew the beds every two years, as the plant dies down at the end of the second season.
When sowing Parsley to stand the winter, a plain-leaved variety will often be found superior to the curled or mossy sorts, which are, perhaps, handsomer, but the leaves retain both snow and rain, and when frost follows, the plants soon succumb. A plainleaved Parsley is far hardier, and will survive even a severe winter and is equally good for cooking, though not so attractive for garnishing. Double the trouble is experienced in obtaining a supply of Parsley during the winter, when only the curled-leaved varieties are given.
Where curled Parsley is desired and is difficult to obtain, because there is no sufliciently sheltered spot in the garden for it, it may often be saved by placing a frame-light over the bed during severe weather to protect the plants, or they may be placed altogether in cold frames. Care must be taken with all Parsley plants grown thus in frames, to pick off all decaying leaves directly noticed, and the soil should be stirred occasionally with a pointed stick between the plants, to prevent its becoming sour. Abundance of air should be given on all favourable occasions, removing the light altogether on fine days.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The uses of Parsley are many and are by no means restricted to the culinary sphere. The most familiar employment of the leaves in their fresh state is, of course, finely-chopped, as a flavouring to sauces, soups, stuffings, rissoles, minces, etc., and also sprinkled over vegetables or salads. The leaves are extensively cultivated, not only for sending to market fresh, but also for the purpose of being dried and powdered as a culinary flavouring in winter, when only a limited supply of fresh Parsley is obtainable.
In addition to the leaves, the stems are also dried and powdered, both as a culinary coloring and for dyeLg purposes. There is a market for the seeds to supply nurserymen, etc., and the roots of the turnip-rooted variety are used as a vegetable and flavouring.
Medicinally, the two-year-old roots are employed, also the leaves, dried, for making Parsley Tea, and the seeds, for the extraction of an oil called Apiol, which is of considerable curative value. The best kind of seed for medicinal purposes is that obtained from the Triple Moss curled variety. The wholesale drug trade generally obtains its seeds from farmers on the East coast, each sample being tested separately before purchases are made. It has been the practice to buy secondyear seeds which are practically useless for growing purposes: it would probably hardly pay farmers to grow for Apiol producing purposes only, as the demand is not sufficiently great.
Parsley Root is faintly aromatic and has a sweetish taste. It contains starch, mucilage, sugar, volatile oil and Apiin. The latter is white, inodorous, tasteless and soluble in boiling water.
Parsley fruit or 'seeds' contain the volatile oil in larger proportion than the root (2.6 per cent); it consists of terpenes and Apiol, to which the activity of the fruit is due. There are also present fixed oil, resin, Apiin, mucilage and ash. Apiol is an oily, nonnitrogenous allyl compound, insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol and crystallizable when pure into white needles. The British Pharmacopceia directs that Apiol be prepared by extracting the bruised fresh fruits with ether and distilling the solvent. The residue is the commercial liquid Apiol. It exercises all the virtues of the entire plant. Crystallized Apiol, or Parsley Camphor, is obtained by distilling the volatile oil to a low temperature. The value of the volatile oil depends on the amount of Apiol it contains. Oil obtained from German fruit contains this body in considerable quantity and becomes semi-solid at ordinary temperature, that from French fruit is much poorer in Apiol. In France, only the crystalline Apiol is official, but three different varieties, distinguished as green, yellow and white, are in use.
Apiol was first obtained in 1849 by Drs. Joret and Homolle, of Brittany, and proved an excellent remedy there for a prevailing ague. It is greatly used now in malarial disorders. The name Apiol has also been applied to an oleoresin prepared from the plant, which contains three closely-allied principles: apiol, apiolin and myristicin, the latter identical with the active principle of oil of Nutmeg. The term 'liquid Apiol' is frequently applied to the complete oleoresin. This occurs as a yellowish liquid with a characteristic odour and an acrid pungent taste. The physiological action of the oleoresin of Parsley has not been sufficiently investigated, it exercises a singular influence on the great nerve centres of the head and spine, and in large doses produces giddiness and deafness, fall of blood-pressure and some slowing of the pulse and paralysis. It is stated that the paralysis is followed by fatty degeneration of the liver and kidney, similar to that caused by myristicin.
Parsley has carminative, tonic and aperient action, but is chiefly used for its diuretic properties, a strong decoction of the root being of great service in gravel, stone, congestion of the kidneys, dropsy and jaundice. The dried leaves are also used for the same purpose. Parsley Tea proved useful in the trenches, where our men often got kidney complications, when suffering from dysentery.
A fluid extract is prepared from both root and seeds. The extract made from the root acts more readily on the kidneys than that from other parts of the herb. The oil extracted from the seeds, the Apiol, is considered a safe and efficient emmenagogue, the dose being 5 to 15 drops in capsules. A decoction of bruised Parsley seeds was at one time employed against plague and intermittent fever.
In France, a popular remedy for scrofulous swellings is green Parsley and snails, pounded in a mortar to an ointment, spread on linen and applied daily. The bruised leaves, applied externally, have been used in the same manner as Violet leaves (also Celandine, Clover and Comfrey), to dispel tumours suspected to be of a cancerous nature. A poultice of the leaves is said to be an efficacious remedy for the bites and stings of poisonous insects.
Culpepper tells us:
'It is very comfortable to the stomach . . . good for wind and to remove obstructions both of the liver and spleen . . . Galen commendeth it for the falling sickness . . . the seed is effectual to break the stone and ease the pains and torments thereof.... The leaves of parsley laid to the eyes that are inflamed with heat or swollen, relieves them if it be used with bread or meat.... The juice dropped into the ears with a little wine easeth the pains.'
Formerly the distilled water of Parsley was often given to children troubled with wind, as Dill water still is.
---Preparations and Dosages---
Fluid extract root, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Fluid extract seeds, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Apiol (oil), 5 to 15 drops in capsule.
---Preparation for Market---
The roots are collected for medicinal purposes in the secondyear, in autumn or late summer, when the plant has flowered.
To dry Parsley towards the close of the summer for culinary use, it may be put into the oven on muslin trays, when cooking is finished, this being repeated several times till thoroughly dry and crisp, when the leaves should be rubbed in the hands or through a coarse wire sieve and the powder then stored in tins, so that neither air nor light can reach it, or the good color will not be preserved. In the trade, there is a special method of drying which preserves the color.
The oil is extracted from the 'seeds' or rather fruits, when fresh, in which condition they are supplied to manufacturing druggists.

Parsley, Fool's

Botanical: Æthusa cynapium (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Lesser Hemlock. Smaller Hemlock. Dog Parsley. Dog Poison.
---Part Used---Herb.
This annual plant is not unlike both Parsley and Hemlock. Its leaves, which are very similar to those of Parsley, are more acute, of a darker green and when bruised emit a disagreeable odour. When in flower it is easily distinguished because it has no general involucre and the partial involucre is composed of three to five long pendulous bracts which are drawn to one side, also the flowers, instead of being yellow, are white. It differs from Hemlock in being smaller, having its stem unspotted and the ridges of its fruit not wavy, also in the odour of the leaves, which is less unpleasant than that of Hemlock.
The active principle is an alkaloid, Cynopine.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Though poisonous, the plant is less so than hemlock. Poisoning from Fool's Parsley showed symptoms of heat in the mouth and throat and a post-mortem examination showed redness of the lining membrane of the gullet and windpipe and slight congestion of the duodenum and stomach.
It is used medicinally as a stomachic and sedative for gastro-intestinal troubles in children, for summer diarrhoea and cholera infantum.

Parsley Piert

Botanical: Alchemilla arvensis (SCOP.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
Part Used
Medicial Action and Uses
Parsley Breakstone. Parsley Piercestone. Field Lady's Mantle.
---Part Used---Herb.
Parsley Piert is common in Great Britain everywhere, especially in dry soil, being abundant in fields and waste places, on the tops of walls and in gravel-pits.
It is widely distributed throughout Europe and North Africa and has been introduced into North America. Unlike the Common Lady's Mantle, it is not found in this country above an altitude of 1,600 feet.
Parsley Piert is a smaller and even more inconspicuous plant than the Common Lady's Mantle. The stem is sometimes prostrate, but generally erect, and much branched from the base. It is rarely more than 4 inches high.
The leaves are of a dusky green color, wedge-shaped, three-cleft, the lobes deeply cut, the whole leaf less than 1/2 inch wide, narrowed into a short foot-stalk with leafy, palmately-cut stipules, sheathing and cleaving to the footstalk. The whole plant is downy with slender, scattered hairs.
The greenish, minute and stalkless flowers are crowded together in tufts almost hidden by the leaves and their large stipules. There is no corolla, the stamens, which have jointed filaments, being inserted at the mouth of the calyx, which is usually four-cleft, as in the preceding species. The plant is in bloom from May to August. It is an annual.
This species is still in high repute with herbalists, and has been used for many centuries for its action on stone in the bladder, on account of which it was given the name of 'Parsley Breakstone' and 'Parsley Piercestone,' which has been corrupted into Parsley Piert, the 'parsley' referring to the form of its cut-into leaves, not to any relationship to the true Parsley.
---Part Used---
The whole herb, either fresh or dried. It has an astringent taste, but no odour.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Diuretic, demulcent and refrigerant. Its chief employment is in gravel, stone, dropsy and generally for complaints of the bladder and kidneys. Acting directly on the parts affected, it is found very valuable, even in apparently incurable cases. It operates violently, but safely, by urine and also removes obstructions of the liver, being therefore useful in jaundice.
Fluid extract: dose, 1 drachm.
It is prescribed in the form of an infusion a handful of the herb to a pint of boiling water - taken daily in half-teacupful doses, three or four times daily. When used alone, it forms a useful remedy in all these complaints, its best action is seen, however, when compounded with other diuretics, such as Broom, Buchu leaves, Wild Carrot, Juniper Berries, Parsley Root and Pellitory-of-the-Wall. To soothe and help the passage of the irritating substance, it is also often combined with a demulcent such as Comfrey, Marshmallow or Sweet Flagroot, Hollyhock or Mullein flowers, Gum Arabic, or Slippery Elm Bark.
Some of the older herbalists considered it best when fresh gathered. Culpepper, after telling us of its powers in expelling stone, tells us that:
'it is a very good salad herb and it were well that the gentry would pickle it up as they pickle up Samphire for their use all the winter because it is a very wholesome herb, and may be kept either dried or in a syrup. You may take a drachm of the powder of it in sherry wine: it will bring away gravel from the kidneys insensibly and without pain. It cures strangury.


Botanical: Pastinaca sativa
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
(French) Le Panais. (German) Die Pastinake.
---Part Used---Root.
The Wild Parsnip is a native of most parts of Europe, growing chiefly in calcareous soils, by the wayside and on the borders of fields.
The food value of Parsnips exceeds that of any other vegetable except potatoes. It is easy of production and should be more extensively grown.
The Parsnip, together with the carrot, was cultivated by the Ancients, but the Roman horticulturists evidently knew nothing of the advantage of selecting seeds, by means of which the best existing variety has been developed. Pliny tells us it was grown either from the root transplanted or else from seed, but that it was impossible to get rid of the pungent flavour. The finest strain raised by Professor Buckrnan, between 1848 and 1850, as a result of his experiments in selection, was named by him the 'Student,' and having been further improved, still takes thefirst rank. It differs in several respects from the wild plant.
According to Pliny, Parsnips were held in such repute by the Emperor Tiberius that he had them annually brought to Rome from the banks of the Rhine, where they were then successfully cultivated. They are dressed in various ways and are much eaten with saltfish during Lent.
In Holland, Parsnips are used in soups, whilst in Ireland cottagers make a beer by boiling the roots with water and hops, and afterwards fermenting the liquor. A kind of marmalade preserve has also been made from them, and even wine which in quality has been said to approach the famed Malmsey of Madeira.
It has a tough, wiry root, tapering somewhat from the crown, from which arises the erect stem, 1 to 2 feet high, tough and furrowed. The leaf-stalks are about 9 inches long, the leaves divided into several pairs of leaflets, each 1 to 2 inches long, the larger, terminal leaflet, 3/4 inch broad. All the leaflets are finely toothed at their margins and softly hairy, especially on the underside. The sheath at the base of the leaf-stalk is about 1 1/2 inch long, the first pair of leaflets being 4 inches above it.
The modern cultivated Parsnip has developed a leaf-stalk 2 feet long, the first pair of leaflets being several inches above the sheath. The leaflets are oblong, about 2 inches across at the basal part and 4 1/2 inches in length (more than double the size of those of the wild plant), and are entirely smooth and somewhat paler in color. The flowers in each case are yellow and in umbels at the ends of the stems, like the carrot, though the umbels do not contract in seeding, like those of the carrot. The flowers of the cultivated Parsnip are of a deeper yellow color than those of the wild plant. The Parsnip is a biennial, flowering in its second year, throughout June and August. The fruit is flattened and of elliptical form, strongly furrowed. Parsnip 'seeds' as the fruit is commonly called, are pleasantly aromatic, and were formerly collected for their melicinal value and sold by herbalists. They contain an essential oil that has the reputation of curing intermittent fever. A strong decoction of the root is a good diuretic and assists in removing obstructions of the viscera. It has been employed as a remedy for jaundice and gravel.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Culpepper wrote:
'The wild Parsnip differeth little from the garden, but groweth not so fair and large, nor hath so many leaves, and the root is shorter, more woody and not so fit to be eaten and, therefore, more medicinal. The Garden Parsnip nourisheth much and is good and wholesome, but a little windy, but it fatteneth the body if much used. It is good for the stomach and reins and provoketh urine. The wild Parsnip hath a cutting, attenuating, cleansing and opening quality therein. It easeth the pains and stitches in the sides and expels the wind from the stomach and bowels, or colic. The root is often used, but the seed much more, the wild being better than the tame.'
Gerard, speaking of its uses as a vegetable, observes:
'The Parsneps nourish more than do the Turneps or the Carrots, and the nourishment is somewhat thicker, but not faultie nor bad.... There is a good and pleasant foode or bread made of the rootes of Parsneps, as my friend Master Plat hath set foorth in his booke of experiments.'
Tournefort, in The Compleat Herbal (1730), wrote of Parsnips, that:
'they are commonly boiled and eaten with butter in the time of Lent; for that they are the sweetest, by reason the juice has been concocted during the winter, and are desired at that season especially, both for their agreeable Taste and their Wholesomeness. For they are not so good in any respect, till they have been first nipt with Cold. It is likewise pretty common of late to eat them with salt-fish mixed with hard-boiled eggs and butter . . . and much the wholesomer if you eat it with mustard.'
John Wesley, in his Primitive Physic, says:
'Wild parsnips both leaves and stalks, bruised, seem to have been a favorite application; and a very popular internal remedy for cancer, asthma, consumption and similar diseases.'
The roots are sweeter than carrots. They contain both sugar and starch, and for this reason beer and spirits are sometimes prepared from them. In the north of Ireland, they have been often brewed with malt instead of hops and fermented with yeast, the result being a pleasant drink, and Parsnip wine, when properly made, is esteemed by many people.
Parsnips are not only a valuable item of human food, but equal, if not superior to carrots for fattening pigs, making the flesh white, and being preferred by pigs to carrots. Washed and sliced and given with bran, horses eat them readily and thrive on them. In Brittany and the Channel Islands, they are largely given to cattle and pigs, and milch cows fed on them in winter are said to give as much and as good milk, and yield butter as well-flavoured as when feeding on grass in May and June.
Parsnips require a long period of growth, and should be started, if possible, the latter part of February. In choosing the seed, the older varieties should be avoided, as there is no comparison between them and the newer and better kinds. The 'Student,' already mentioned, is suited in every way for the average small garden.
No specially good soil is required, though a strong soil is preferable to a sandy one; poorish or partially exhausted soil is no drawback, as there should be no recent manure in the top spit, for in common with carrots, its presence tends to form forked roots. The ground, however, should be deeply trenched and a slight dressing of manure may be buried deeply. Roots will be poor if grown in soil which has hardly been turned over, but if the land is deeply dug, plenty of lime, old mortar rubbish or wood ashes being mixed in, fine roots will be produced.
One ounce of Parsnip seed will sow a row 300 feet long. The seed is best sown in drills about 1 inch deep, as soon as the land is anything like dry enough to work. Drop three seeds together, 8 inches apart, and let the rows stand 15 inches asunder. After the plants appear, there is very little to do except to thin them and hoe, at intervals; no stimulants are needed. Thinning may be done as soon as they are well in their second leaf.
As the Parsnip is hardy, there is no need to lift the roots in autumn. The crop will be ready for use in September, but it may be left in the ground and be dug throughout the winter as required, and the remainder not finally raised till the middle or end of February, when the site the roots occupy has to be prepared for the crop of the ensuing summer.


To prepare Parsnip Soup, scrape and cut Up 2 large Parsnips or 4 small ones, and wash them carefully. Peel 6 large potatoes and boil them with the Parsnips in a quart of water. When soft, mash and pass through a sieve. Boil up again in the water and pour on to slices of bread in the tureen, adding 2 OZ. of butter. The addition of a little cream, in more favourable times, of course makes the soup more savoury.

---Stewed Parsnips----
Wash, peel and cut 3 Parsnips into slices, then boil them till they are nearly done, drain them and let them cool. Melt 2 or 3 OZ. bacon fat in a stewpan; when hot, fry the Parsnips to a light brown color. Next add a tablespoonful of flour and moisten with sufficient brown stock just to cover the Parsnips. Season with salt and pepper, and 1 or 2 tablespoonsful of tomato sauce. Bring to the boil and let the Parsnips simmer slowly for another 20 minutes. Dish up and serve with the prepared sauce.

---Parsnip Cakes---
Parsnips mashed with a little butter and pepper and salt, and then dipped into flour and formed into small, round cakes, are nice if fried in lard, dripping or bacon fat.

---Parsnip Salad---
Plainly-boiled Parsnips, when cold, make an excellent salad. Slice the Parsnips, not too thinly, and season with salt and pepper, and mix with a simple French oil and vinegar salad dressing.

---Parsnip Wine---
Take 15 lb. of sliced Parsnips, and boil until quite soft in 5 gallons of water; squeeze the liquor well out of them, run it through a sieve and add 3 lb. of coarse lump sugar to every gallon of liquor. Boil the whole for 3/4 hour. When it is nearly cold, add a little yeast on toast. Let it remain in a tub for 10 days, stirring it from the bottom every day; then put it into a cask for a year. As it works over, fill it up every day.

Parsnip, Water

Botanical: Sium latifolium
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Water Hemlock.
Sium latifolium, the Broad-leaved Water Parsnip, is another of the umbelliferous plants sometimes called Water Hemlock. It occurs in watery places all over the British Isles. The long creeping root-stock of this and the somewhat smaller, closely allied species S. angustifolium is poisonous, but pigs and oxen eat the stem and leaves without harm. However, cows in milk should not be allowed to eat it, as it communicates a disagreeable taste to the milk.
Both species are easily recognized by their pinnate leaves, the leaf-stalks carrying about six to eight pairs of ovate, toothed leaflets. The umbels of white flowers are flat and have a general involucre composed of broadish or lance-shaped bracts, and there is also an in volucel. The fruit bears slender ribs. Theerect, furrowed stems are from 3 to 6 feet high.

Passion Flower

Botanical: Passiflora incarnata (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Passifloraceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Passion Vine. Granadilla. Maracoc. Maypops.
---Part Used---
The dried herb, collected after some of the berries have matured.
The Passion Flowers are so named from the supposed resemblance of the finely-cut corona in the centre of the blossoms to the Crown of Thorns and of the other parts of the flower to the instruments of the Passion of Our Lord. Passiflora incarnata has a perennial root, and the herbaceous shoots bear three-lobed, finelyserrated leaves and flesh-colored or yellowish, sweet-scented flowers, tinged with purple. The ripe, orange-colored, ovoid, many-seeded berry is about the size of a small apple; when dried, it is shrivelled and greenish-yellow. The yellow pulp is sweet and edible.
There appears to be no detailed analysis of this species, but its active principle, which has been called Passiflorine, would appear to be somewhat similar to morphine.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The drug is known to be a depressant to the motor side of the spinal cord, slightly reducing arterial pressure, though affecting circulation but little, while increasing the rate of respiration. It is official in homoeopathic medicine and used with bromides, it is said to be of great service in epilepsy. Its narcotic properties cause it to be used in diarrhoea and dysentery, neuralgia, sleeplessness and dysmenorrhoea.
3 to 10 grains. Of Fluid extract, 10 to 20 minims.
---Other Species---
Many species yield edible fruits or are cultivated for their beauty and fragrance.
P. caerulea, the familiar Blue Passion Flower, hardy in southern districts of this country as a wall-climber, was introduced into England from Brazil in 1699.
P. quadrangularis, the Common Granadilla, a native of Jamaica and South America grown for its large edible fruit, the purple, succulent pulp of which is eaten with wine and sugar, has a root said to be very poisonous and a powerful narcotic; in small doses it is anthelmintic. It is used in Mauritius as a diuretic and emetic.
The fruit of P. edulis in color and flavour resembles that of the orange, with a mixture of acid.
P. macrocarpa bears a gourd-like, oblong fruit, much larger than any of the other species, attaining a weight of 7 to 8 lb.
P. maliformis, the Apple-fruited Granadilla, the Sweet Calabash of the West Indies, has a fruit 2 inches in diameter, full of a pleasant gelatinous pulp. The juice of the leaves, and also of those of P. pallida, is used by the Brazilians against intermittent fevers.
P. laurifolia, the Water Lemon of the West Indies, is much cultivated throughout South America for its fruit, the aromatic juice of which quenches thirst, allays heat and induces appetite. Its bitter and astringent leaves are employed as an anthelmintic.
The roots of P. contrayerva and P. normalis are reputed to have counter-poison properties.
P. foetida is used in hysteria, female complaints and as an expectorant, and the leaves as a poultice in skin inflammations.
The flowers of P. rubra yield a narcotic tincture.
P. capsularia is said to possess emmenagogue properties.


Botanical: Pogostemon patchouli (PILL.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species and Adultertions
---Part Used---
The herb, yielding a volatile oil by distillation.
East and West Indies and Paraguay.
This fragrant herb, with soft, opposite, egg-shaped leaves and square stems, grows from 2 to 3 feet in height, giving out the peculiar, characteristic odour of patchouli when rubbed. Its whitish flowers, tinged with purple, grow in both axillary and terminal spikes. The crop is cut two or three times a year, the leaves being dried and packed in bales and exported for distillation of the oil. The best oil is freshly distilled near the plantations. That obtained from leaves imported into Europe, often damaged and adulterated even up to 80 per cent, is inferior. It is used in coarser perfumes and in 'White Rose' and 'Oriental' toilet soaps. Although the odour is objectionable to some, it is widely-used both in Asia and India. Sachets are made of the coarsely-powdered leaves, and before its common use in Europe, genuine Indian shawls and Indian ink were distinguished by the odour, which has the unusual quality of improving with age. Hence the older oil is preferred by perfumers and used to confer more lasting properties upon other scents.
Oil of Patchouli is thick, the color being brownish-yellow tinted green. It contains coerulein, the vivid blue compound found in matricaria, wormwood and other oils. It deposits a solid, or stearoptene, patchouli alcohol, leaving cadinene.
It is laevorotatory, with the specific gravity of 0.970 to 0.990 at 15 degrees C. (59 degrees F.).
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Its use is said to cause sometimes loss of appetite and sleep and nervous attacks. The Chinese, Japanese and Arabs believe it to possess prophylactic properties.
---Other Species and Adulterations---
Java patchouli, often grown in Indian gardens for home use, is a product of Pogostemon Heyneanus.
The inferior oil of Assam is from Microtoena cymosa.
Cubeb and cedar oils are said to be usual adulterants.

See Sedges.

Botanical: Prunus Persica (STOKES)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Amygdalis Persica (Linn.). Persica vulgaris Null.
(Chinese and Japanese) 'Too'.
---Parts Used---Bark, leaves.
The Peach is included by Hooker and other botanists in the genus Prurnus, its resemblance to the plum being obvious. Others have classed it with the Almond as a distinct genus, Amygdalus, and others again have considered it sufficiently distinct to constitute it a separate genus, Persica.
As we now know it, the Peach has been nowhere recognized in the wild state. De Candolle attributes all cultivated varieties to a distinct species, probably of Chinese origin. Other naturalists, among them Darwin, look on the Peach as a modification of the Almond.
It has been cultivated from time immemorial in most parts of Asia, and appears to have been introduced into Europe from Persia, as its name implies. At what period it was introduced into Greece is uncertain. The Romans seem to have brought it direct from Persia during the reign of the Emperor Claudius.
When first introduced it was called Malus persica, or Persian Apple. The expedition of Alexander probably made it known to Theophrastus, 392 B.C., who speaks of it as a Persian fruit. It has no name in Sanskrit; nevertheless, the people speaking that language came into India from the Northwest, the country generally assigned to the species.
In support of the supposed Chinese origin, it may be added that the Peach-tree was introduced from China into Cochin-China, and that the Japanese call it by the Chinese name, Too.
The Peach is mentioned in the books of Confucius, fifth century before the Christian era, and the antiquity of the knowledge of the fruit in China is further proved by representations of it in sculpture and on porcelain.
It is said to have been first cultivated in England in the first half of the sixteenth century. Gerard describes several varieties as growing in his garden, and speaks of a 'double-flowered peach,' as a rarity, in his garden.
It is always cultivated here trained against walls or under glass. When growing naturally, it is a medium-sized tree, with spreading branches of quick growth and not longlived. The leaves are lance-shaped, about 4 inches long and 1 1/2 inch broad, tapering to a sharp point, borne on long, slender, relatively unbranched shoots, and with the flowers arranged singly, or in groups of two or more at intervals along the shoots of the previous year's growth. The blossoms come out before the leaves are fully expanded, and are of a delicate, pink color. They have a hollow tube at the base, bearing at its free edge five sepals, and an equal number of petals, usually concave, and a great number of stamens. They have very little odour.
The fruit is a drupe, like the plum, having a delicate, thin outer downy skin enclosing the flesh of the Peach, the inner layers becoming woody to form the large, furrowed, rugged stone, while the ovule ripens into the kernel or seed. This is exactly the structure of the plum and apricot, and differs from that of the almond, which is identical in the first instance, only in that the fleshy part of the latter eventually becomes dry and leathery, and cracks along a line called the suture, which is merely represented in the Peach by a furrow on one side.
In the South of France, and in other Continental countries possessing a similar climate, Peach-trees ripen their fruit very well as standards in the open air. In America, the Peach grows almost without any care - extensive orchards containing from 10,000 to 20,000 trees, being raised from the stones. At first, the trees there make rapid and healthy growth, and in a few years bear in great abundance; but they soon decay, their leaves becoming tinged with yellow even in summer, when they should be green. This is owing to their being grown on their own roots, for when that is the case in Britain the trees present a similar appearance. They require, therefore, to be budded on the plum or on the almond.
In America, the Peach is chiefly used for feeding pigs, and for making Peach Brandy.
The soil best suited for the Peach is three parts mellow, unexhausted loam, mixed with vegetable mould or manure. Peaches require a lighter soil than pears or plums.
To perpetuate and multiply the choicer varieties, both the Peach and the newly-allied nectarine are budded upon plums or almond stocks. For dry soil, the almond stocks are preferable; for damp or clayey loam, it is better to use certain kinds of plums.
The fruit is produced on the ripened shoots of the preceding year, and the formation of young shoots in sufficient abundance, and of requisite strength, is the great object of peach training and pruning.
In cold soils and bleak situations, it is considered best to cover the walls upon which the trees are trained with a casing of glass, so that the trees may be under shelter during uncongenial spring weather.
Various kinds of Aphis and the Acarus, or Red Spider, infest the leaves of the Peach.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The fruit is wholesome and seldom disagrees if eaten ripe, though the skin is indigestible. The quantity of sugar is only small.
All Peaches have in the kernel a flavour resembling that of noyau, which depends on the presence of prussic or hydrocyanic acid. Not only the kernels, but also the young branches and flowers, after maceration in water, yield a volatile oil, which is chemically identical with that of bitter almonds, and is the cause of this flavour. Infused in white brandy, sweetened with barley sugar, Peach leaves have been said to make a fine cordial, similar to noyau, and the flowers when distilled furnish a white liquor, which communicates a flavour resembling the kernels of the fruit.
The leaves, bark, flowers and kernels have medicinal virtue. Both the leaves and bark are still employed for their curative powers. They have demulcent, sedative, diuretic and expectorant action. An infusion of 1/2 OZ. of the bark or 1 OZ. of the dried leaves to a pint of boiling water has been found almost a specific for irritation and congestion of the gastric surfaces. It is also used in whooping cough, ordinary coughs and chronic bronchitis, the dose being from a teaspoonful to a wineglassful as required.
The fresh leaves were stated by the older herbalists to possess the power of expelling worms, if applied outwardly to the body as a poultice. An infusion of the dried leaves was also recommended for the same purpose.
Culpepper informs us that a powder of the leaves 'strewed on fresh bleeding wounds stayeth their bleeding and closeth them.'
In Italy, at the present day, there is a popular belief that if fresh Peach leaves are applied to warts and then buried, the warts will fall off by the time the buried leaves have decayed.
A syrup and infusion of Peach flowers was formerly a preparation recognized by apothecaries, and praised by Gerard as a mildly acting efficient purgative. The syrup was considered good for children and those in weak health, and to be good against jaundice.
A tincture made from the flowers has been said to allay the pain of colic caused by gravel.
Culpepper recommends the milk or cream of the kernels applied to the forehead and temples as a means of procuring 'rest and sleep to sick persons,' and says 'the oil drawn from the kernels and the temples annointed therewith doth the like.' He tells us that 'the liquor that drops from the tree, being wounded,' added to coltsfoot, sweet wine and saffron, is 'good for coughs, hoarseness and loss of voice,' and that it 'clears and strengthens the lungs and relieves those who vomit and spit blood.' He concludes:
'If the kernels be bruised and boiled in vinegar until they become thick and applied to the head, it marvellously causes the hair to grow again upon any bald place or where it is too thin.'
'Peach cold' is an affection which prevails in some parts where Peach trees are largely cultivated, just as rose fever and rose catarrh are caused by roses in parts of America.
---Collection---The bark for medicinal purposes is stripped from the tree in thespring and taken from young trees. It is best dried in a moderate sun-heat, being taken indoors at night. The pieces of bark if thin are often threaded on strings and hung up in a warm current of air. They must not touch each other. Peach bark occurs in commerce in small, thin, pale-brown fragments, rarely exceeding 1 1/2 inch in length, and 1/4 inch in thickness, having a smooth, dark brown skin and an inner surface with a faint network of fibres. It has a bitter, very astringent taste and slight odour.
Peach leaves should be collected for drying purposes in June and July, when at their best.
PEACH WOOD, known also as Nicaragua Wood, is in no way related to the fruit-tree, but is a much-used dyewood that dyes a delicate peach and cherry color. It is obtained from the tree CAESALPINIA ECHINATA, belonging to the Pea and Bean tribe, Leguminosae, and is imported into this country in blocks about 4 feet in length and 8 inches in diameter. We receive annually about 8,000 tons in normal times. That which comes from Peru yields the finest shades of color, mainly tints of red and orange.


Botanical: Pelargonium antidysentericum, and other Species
Family: N.O. Geraniaceae
---Part Used---Root.
---Habitat---Cape of Good Hope.
This is a very extensive genus, and the greater number are natives of the Cape of Good Hope, most species possess astringent properties, and have been found valuable in dysentery (particularly Pelargonium antidysentericum), also for ulcerations of the stomach and upper part of the intestines.
---Other Species---
P. triste, native also of the Cape. This has yellow flowers with a purple spot, always open, but only fragrant after the sun has left them. The tuberous roots are eaten by the natives.
Others are cultivated for the distillation of a volatile oil (from the leaves) which is not unlike that from rose petals; P. roseum has very fragrant foliage; P. capitatum gives a good essential oil and yields Pelargonic fatty acid, this specie is often called rose geranium.
The oil of P. odoratissimum is much used as an adulterant to oil of Roses.
See MONSONIA. (no listing found)


Botanical: Anacyclus pyrethrum (D.C.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Anthemis Pyrethrum. Pyrethrum officinarum. Pyrethrum. Pyrethri Radix. Roman Pellitory. Pellitory of Spain. Spanish Chamomile. Pyrethre. Matricaria Pyrethrum.
---Part Used---Root.
Algeria. Cultivated in Mediterranean countries.
This perennial plant, in habit and appearance like the chamomile, has stems that lie on the ground for part of their length, before rising erect. Each bears one large flower, the disk being yellow and the rays white, tinged with purple beneath. The leaves are smooth, alternate, and pinnate, with deeply-cut segments.
The root is almost cylindrical, very slightly twisted and tapering and often crowned with a tuft of grey hairs. Externally it is brown and wrinkled, with bright black spots. The fracture is short, and the transverse section, magnified, presents a beautiful radiate structure and many oleoresin glands. The taste is pungent and odour slight.
Planting may be done in autumn, but the best time is about the end of April. Any ordinary good soil is suitable, but better results are obtained when it is well-drained, and of a stiff loamy character, enriched with good manure. Propagation is done in three ways, by seed, by division of roots and by cuttings. If grown by seed, sow in February or March, thin out to 2 to 3 inches between the plants, and plant out early in June to permanent quarters, allowing a foot or more between the plants and 2 feet between the rows, selecting, if possible, a showery day for the operation. The seedlings will quickly establish themselves. Weeding should be done by hand, the plants when first put out being small, might be injured by hoeing. To propagate by division, lift the plants in March, or whenever the roots are in an active condition, and with a sharp spade, divide them into three or five fairly large pieces. Cuttings should be made from the young shoots that start from the base of the plant, and should be taken with a heel of the old plant attached, which will greatly assist their rooting. They may be inserted at any time from October to May. The foliage should be shortened to about 3 inches, when the cuttings will be ready for insertion in a bed of light, sandy soil. Plant very firmly, surface the bed with sand, and water in well. Shade is necessary while the cuttings are rooting.
Analysis has shown a brown, resinous, acrid substance, insoluble in potassium hydroxide and probably containing pelletonin, two oils soluble in potassium hydroxide - one dark brown and acrid, the other yellow - tannin, gum, potassium sulphate and carbonate, potassium chloride, calcium phosphate and carbonate, silica, alumina, lignin, etc.
An alkaloid, Pyrethrine, yielding pyrethric acid, is stated to be the active principle.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Pellitory root is widely used because of its pungent efficacy in relieving toothache and in promoting a free flow of saliva. The British Pharmacopoeia directs that it be used as a masticatory, and in the form of lozenges for its reflex action on the salivary glands in dryness of the mouth and throat. The tincture made from the dried root may be applied to relieve the aching of a decayed tooth, applied on cotton wool, or rubbed on the gums, and for this purpose may with advantage be mixed with camphorated chloroform. It forms an addition to many dentifrices.
A gargle of Pellitory infusion is prescribed for relaxed uvula and for partial paralysis of the tongue and lips. To make a gargle, two or three teaspoonsful of Pellitory should be mixed with a pint of cold water and sweetened with honey if desired. Patients seeking relief from rheumatic or neuralgic affections of the head and face, or for palsy of the tongue, have been advised to chew the root daily for several months.
Being a rubefacient and local irritant, when sliced and applied to the skin, it induces heat, tingling and redness.
The powdered root forms a good snuff to cure chronic catarrh of the head and nostrils and to clear the brain, by exciting a free flow of nasal mucous and tears.
Culpepper tells us that Pellitory 'is one of the best purges of the brain that grows' and is not only 'good for ague and the falling sickness' (epilepsy) but is 'an excellent approved remedy in lethargy.' After stating that 'the powder of the herb or root snuffed up the nostrils procureth sneezing and easeth the headache,' he goes on to say that 'being made into an ointment with hog's lard it taketh away black and blue spots occasioned by blows or falls, and helpeth both the gout and sciatica,' uses which are now obsolete.
In the thirteenth century we read in old records that Pellitory of Spain was 'a proved remedy for the toothache' with the Welsh physicians. It was familiar to the Arabian writers on medicine and is still a favourite remedy in the East, having long been an article of export from Algeria and Spain by way of Egypt to India.
In the East Indies the infusion is used as a cordial.
20 grains. Tincture, B.P. and U.S.P., 20 to 30 drops.
---Other Species---
Anacyclus officinarum is indigenous to Africa, cultivated in Germany, and formerly official in the German Pharmacopceia. The roots are smaller and very pungent. It is also known as A. pyrethrum, Pyrethrum germanicum and German Pellitory.
P. umbelliferum is said to be used also, the Pyrethrum of Dioscorides being an Umbellifer.
Though dandelion and other roots, especially Corrigiola littoralis (Illecebraceae), are named as adulterants, it is stated by French authorities that the roots of A. pyrethrum are often old when found in commerce, but are never mixed with others.

Pellitory, Dalmatian
Botanical: Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium (VIS.)

Pellitory, Persian

Botanical: Chrysanthemum roseum (ADAM), Pyrethrum roseum (BIEB.), Chrysanthemum carneum
Family: N.O. Compositae
Insect Flowers. Insect Plants.
---Part Used---
Closed flowers.
The Insect Powder of commerce, used to stupefy and kill various small insects, especially the larvae of Cochylis, which attacks the vine, was first known as Persian Insect Powder, or Persian Pellitory, being prepared from the closed flowers of Pyrethrum roseum and P. carneum, plants native to the north of Persia, where they flourish on the mountain slopes up to a height of 6,500 feet, and also in the Caucasus. These two species are familiar in this country as garden flowers, of which there are many varieties in cultivation, blossoming freely in May, the tufts of foliage of a dark green, much cut into, and the flowers of all shades of rose and crimson.
Some years ago, a Dalmatian species, Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium, was found to be more active, and the Persian or Caucasian Insect Powder Plants are now seldom imported, being superseded by the Dalmatian species, which has white flowers, smaller than our Ox-Eye Daisy. It is cultivated both in Dalmatia and in California.
The cultivation of the Insect Powder plants has not yet been taken up on a commercial scale, either in Great Britain or the colonies, but it could be grown successfully in certain districts in this country.
There is a great demand for the flowers in commerce, and the flowers received from their usual source are so frequently adulterated by the addition of other composite flowers which are lacking in stupefying power, that the cultivation of the plant would be most desirable, either here or in our colonies. It can be profitably grown on dry, stony soil.
The conditions suiting the Dalmatian variety are sunny, pebbly, calcareous hillsides, dry, without irrigation, and in a fairly dry atmosphere. In ordinary garden soil, it does not flourish in shade and often dies off after flowering. All three species grown experimentally at Berne often succumbed during moist summers.
On the warmer southern and western coasts of Great Britain, the plant could easily be cultivated. It might be grown with success on the hilly slopes of oolite and limestone and chalk and on sandhills on the shore in Cornwall, Devon and Lancashire, or on the pebbly beach of Lydd, in Kent. In Jersey, on the pebbly and sandy shores, it would grow luxuriantly.
Attempts have already been made to cultivate the plant in Australia and South Africa.
Insect Powder is harmless to human beings. Besides being used as an insecticide in the form of a powder, it is also used as a lotion, a tincture of the flowers being prepared and used, diluted with 10 parts of water, to dab on the exposed skin to keep away insects. It is also employed as a fumigator. The smoke of the burnt flowers is as effective as the powder in keeping down insects, and might be valuable in Africa as a means against the tsetse-flies, and in sleeping sickness districts, if grown on the shores where they breed, and burnt when the flies emerge from the chrysalis.
In Dalmatia, the plant grows on the seashore, but it also grows well in the inland, mountainous districts of Herzegovina and Montenegro, the wild Montenegrin flowers being very highly esteemed. In the Adriatic islands, its cultivation is very remunerative.
Sow seeds at the end of March on rich, light soil, in sunny situation and cover with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of fine soil and then with dry leaves. If the autumn be mild, the seeds may also be sometimes sown in August, or early September, as soon as the seed is ripe, but then they need shading with canvas, placed about 6 inches above the soil, or more. Prick out the seedlings in the following March, or later, if sown in September. On the average only about half of the seedlings are fit for pricking out.
It is difficult to obtain seed that will germinate, the Dalmatian growers apparently dry the seeds by heat before disposing of them, to prevent germination.
Arrange the plants in deep furrows, prepared the previous autumn, about 15 to 20 inches apart, the seedlings 15 inches apart in the furrows. Of every 100 plants pricked out, fifteen to thirty generally die off and have to be replaced.
Weed several times during growth.
The plants begin to flower about the third week in May. The flower-buds are collected in the middle of May, or if it should then be damp, not till June. They must always be collected in dry weather.
A second gathering is made in August and September. The unopened flower-buds are kept separately, as they obtain the best price. The flower-heads are collected at different stages of development, the commercial varieties being known as 'closed,' 'half-closed' and 'open' flowers respectively. They are most active if collected when fully developed, but before they have expanded. They are cut off just below the involucre of bracts.
The flowers retain their insecticidal properties for an indefinite period, if kept under suitable condition, even if in the state of dry powder. It is the flowers alone that are active; the leaves have no insecticidal properties whatever.
The powder prepared from the Dalmatian flowers is distinguished from that of Persian flowers by numerous hairs. The better the quality of the powder, the larger will be the proportion of pollen and the smaller the proportion of stem issue.
One of the best tests of the quality of the powder is to keep a few house-flies under a tumbler with a little of the powder; they should be stupefied within a minute. Adulterated or less active powder will take about twenty minutes to effect this.
Each plant yields 80 to 100 flowers, and in one day 1,500 to 2,500 flowers can be gathered by one person. One hundred flowers weigh about 50 grammes (1 5/3 OZ.). One hundred kilos (220 lb.) of fresh flowers yield 25 to 33 kilos (55 to 72 lb.) of dried flowers.
In Dalmatia the flowers are dried in the shade on frames of cloth, in layers 1 to 1 1/2 inch deep, turned over two or three times daily. The Persian flowers are dried first in the sun and then in the shade.
After harvesting, the land is tilled in the autumn and again in the spring, the soil being forked between the rows to keep it porous. Being a mountain plant, it requires a dry surface, well drained below. Sunlight and heat are necessary for luxuriant growth.
The plants live on the average for six years, but sometimes will remain healthy and strong for as much as twenty years.


Botanical: Parietaria officinalis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Urticaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Part Used---Herb.
Pellitory-of-the-Wall is a humble, inconspicuous plant belonging to the same group as the Stinging Nettle and the Hop. It is the only representative of its genus in Britain. The name of this genus, Parietaria, is derived from the Latin word paries (a wall), for it is very commonly found growing from crannies in dry walls, as its popular English name also tells us, and will frequently luxuriate in the midst of stony rubbish.
It is a much-branched, bushy, herbaceous, perennial plant, 1 to 2 feet high, with reddish, brittle stems and narrow, stalked leaves 1 to 2, inches long. The stems and veins of the under surface of the leaves are furnished with short, soft hairs, the upper surface of the leaves is nearly smooth, with sunken veins. The small, green stalkless flowers grow in clusters in the axils of the leaves and are in bloom all the summer. The filaments of their stamens are curiously jointed and so elastic that if touched before the expansion of the flower, they suddenly spring from their incurved position and scatter their pollen broadcast.
All parts of the plant contain nitre abundantly.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Diuretic, laxative, refrigerant and slightly demulcent.
Pellitory-of-the-Wall is a most efficacious remedy for stone in the bladder, gravel, dropsy, stricture and other urinary complaints. Its action upon the urinary calculus is perhaps more marked than any other simple agent at present employed.
It is given in infusion or decoction, the infusion - the most usual form - 1 OZ. to 1 pint of boiling water being taken in wineglassful doses. Frequently it is combined with Wild Carrot and Parsley Piert.
Fluid extract: dose, 1 drachm.
The decoction, says Gerard, 'helpeth such as are troubled with an old cough,' and 'the decoction with a little honey is good to gargle a sore throat.' He gives us many other uses:
'The juice held awhile in the mouth easeth pains in the teeth; the distilled water of the herb drank with sugar worketh the same effect and cleanseth the skin from spots, freckles, pimples, wheals, sunburn, etc.... 'The juice dropped into the ears easeth the noise in them and taketh away the pricking and shooting pains therein.'
In the form of an ointment he tells us it is capital for piles and a remedy for gout and fistula.
The leaves may be usefully applied as poultices.
The juice of the fresh herb, made into a thin syrup will stimulate the kidneys in the same way as the infusion of the dried herb.
Ben Jonson says:
'A good old woman . . . did cure me
With sodden ale and pellitorie o' the wall.'


Botanical: Mentha Pulegium (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Labiatae
Harvesting Constituents
Medicinal Action and Uses
Preparations and Dosages
Pulegium. Run-by-the-Ground. Lurk-in-the-Ditch. Pudding Grass. Piliolerial.
---Part Used---Herb.
This species of Mint, a native of most parts of Europe and parts of Asia, is the Pulegium of the Romans, so named by Pliny from its reputed power of driving away fleas - pulex being the Latin for flea, hence the Italian pulce and the French puce. This name given the plant in ancient times has been retained as its modern specific name. It is sometimes known to the country-people as 'Run by the Ground' and 'Lurk in the Ditch,' from its manner of growth.
It was formerly much used in medicine, the name Pennyroyal being a corruption of the old herbalists' name 'Pulioll-royall' (Pulegium regium), which we meet also in the Middle Ages as 'Piliole-rial.' It has been known to botanists since the time of Linnaeus as Mentha Pulegium.
One of its popular names is 'Pudding Grass,' from being formerly used in stuffings for hog's puddings ('grass' being, like 'wort,' a word simply meaning 'herb'). It is still used abroad in various culinary preparations, but in this country it is now in disuse, as its taste and odour is too pronounced.
A famous stuffing was once made of Pennyroyal, pepper and honey.
Pennyroyal is the smallest of the Mints and very different in habit from any of the others. Two forms of the plant are met with in Great Britain: the commonest, the variety decumbens, has weak, prostrate stems, bluntly quadrangular, 3 inches to a foot long, which readily take root at the lower joints or nodes. The leaves are opposite, shortly stalked, more or less hairy on both sides, roundish oval, greyish green, about 1 to 1 1/2 inch long and 1/2 inch broad. The flowers are in whorled clusters of ten or a dozen, rising in tiers one above the other at the nodes, where the leaves spring in pairs, beginning about the middle of the stem, their color reddish purple to lilac blue, and in bloom during July and August. The seed is light brown, oval and very small. The other variety, erecta, has much stouter stems, not rooting at the nodes and not decumbent, but erect or sub-erect, 8 to 12 inches high. It is rarer, but the best for cultivation, as it can be reaped and tied up in bundles easily, whereas the stems of decumbens form a dense green turf, the flowering stems, sparingly produced, Iying on the leafy cushions of the plant. There are other varieties on the Continent. The plant has been introduced into North and South America. It is mentioned in the Herbals of the New World as one of the plants the Pilgrim Fathers introduced.
It is found wild and naturalized throughout the civilized world in strong, moist soil on the borders of ponds and streams, and near pools on heaths and commons. Gerard speaks of it as found abundantly:
'on a common at Mile End, near London, about the holes and ponds thereof, in sundrie places, from whence poore women bring plenty to sell in London markets.'
Turner says:
'It crepeth much upon the ground and hath many little round leves not unlyke the leves of mesierum gentil, but that they are a little longer and sharper and also little indented rounde about, and grener than the leves of mariurum ar. The leves grow in little branches even from the roote of certayn ioyntes by equall spaces one devyded from an other. Whereas the leves grow in little tuftes upon the over partes of the braunches.... Pennyroyal groweth much, without any setting, besyd hundsley (Hounslow) upon the heth beside a watery place.'
Like most of its near relatives, Pennyroyal is highly aromatic, perhaps even more so than any other Mint, containing an essential oil resembling in properties that of other mints, though less powerful. The flavour is more pungent and acrid and less agreeable than that of Spearmint or Peppermint.
Pennyroyal was in high repute among the Ancients. Both Pliny and Dioscorides described its numerous virtues. In Northern Europe it was also much esteemed, as may be inferred from the frequent references to it in the Anglo-Saxon and Welsh works on medicine.
'The boke of Secretes of Albertus Magnus of the vertues of Herbes, Stones and certaine Beastes' states that, by putting drowning flies and bees in warm ashes of Pennyroyal 'they shall recover their Iyfe after a little tyme as by ye space of one houre' and be revived.
Pennyroyal is often found in cottage gardens, as an infusion of the leaves, known as Pennyroyal Tea, is an old-fashioned remedy for colds and menstrual derangements.
Locally, Pennyroyal grows abundantly, but being required by the hundredweight it has been cultivated to a certain extent in this country, on account of the difficulty of obtaining sufficient quantities from the widely separated localities in which it is found.
As a crop, it presents uncertainty, being diminished by drought, its natural habitat being on moist heaths and commons by the sides of pools. It is easily grown from seed and succeeds best in loamy soil, in a moist situation, but propagation is commonly by division of old roots in autumn or spring, March or April, like Spearmint, or more rarely by cuttings. The roots may be divided up in September where the winters are mild, in April where the winters are frosty.
In planting, allow a space of 12 inches between the rows and 6 inches between the plants in the row. Water shortly afterwards should the weather be at all dry. When a good stock of healthy roots has been obtained, Pennyroyal may be forced with advantage. The creeping underground roots grow in horizontal masses, as with the other mints and if some of these are taken up at any time during the winter and laid out on a bed of good soil, covering them with 2 or 3 inches of the same, they will soon push up fresh shoots in quantity. They can be put in boxes in a moderately warm house or pit. If all the tops are not wanted they may be made into cuttings, each with four or five joints, and, inserted in boxes of light, sandy soil, will soon form roots in the same temperature, and after being duly hardened off, may be planted out in the open, in due course, and a healthy, vigorous stock thus be maintained. Towards the close of autumn all the stalks that remain should be cut down to the ground and the bed covered with fresh soil to the depth of 1 inch.
Plantations generally last for four or five years when well managed and on favourable soil, but frosts may cause the crop to die off in patches, so it is a safe plan to make new plantings yearly.
Pennyroyal is mostly sold in the dry state for making tea, the stems being cut when the plant is just about to flower and dried in the usual manner.
The fresh herb yields about 1 per cent of a volatile oil, oil of Pulegium, a yellow or greenish-yellow liquid, obtained by distillation, and having a strong aromatic odour and taste. The chief constituent is ketone pulegone.
A yield of 12 lb. of oil to the acre of crop is considered good.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Pliny gives a long list of disorders for which Pennyroyal was a supposed remedy, and especially recommends it for hanging in sleeping rooms, it being considered by physicians as more conducive to health even than roses.
It was likewise thought to communicate its purifying qualities to water, and Gerard tells us: 'If you have Pennyroyale in great quantity dry and cast it into corrupt water, it helpeth it much, neither will it hurt them that drink thereof.' As a purifier of the blood, it was highly spoken of: 'Penny-royale taken with honey cleanseth the lungs and cleareth the breast from all gross and thick humours.'
It was deemed by our ancestors valuable in headaches and giddiness. We are told: 'A garland of Penny-royale made and worn about the head is of great force against the swimming in the head and the pains and giddiness thereof.'
Pennyroyal Water was distilled from the leaves and given as an antidote to spasmodic, nervous and hysterical affections. It was also used against cold and 'affections of the joints.'
Culpepper says of Pennyroyal:
'Drank with wine, it is good for venomous bites, and applied to the nostrils with vinegar revives those who faint and swoon. Dried and burnt, it strengthens the gums, helps the gout, if applied of itself to the place until it is red, and applied in a plaster, it takes away spots or marks on the face; applied with salt, it profits those that are splenetic, or liver grown.... The green herb bruised and putinto vinegar, cleanses foul ulcers and takes away the marks of bruises and blows about the eyes, and burns in the face, and the leprosy, if drank and applied outwardly.... One spoonful of the juice sweetened with sugar-candy is a cure for hooping-cough.'
Its action is carminative, diaphoretic, stimulant and emmenagogic, and is principally employed for the last-named property in disorders caused by sudden chill or cold.
It is also beneficial in cases of spasms, hysteria, flatulence and sickness, being very warming and grateful to the stomach.
The infusion of 1 OZ. of herb to a pint of boiling water is taken warm in teacupful doses, frequently repeated, and the oil is also given on sugar, as well as being made up into pills and other preparations.
In France and Germany oil of Pennyroyal is also used commercially.
---Preparations and Dosages---
Fluid extract, 1/4 to 1 drachm. Essence, 5 to 20 drops. Oil, 1/2 to 3 drops.
The following is reprinted by special permission from Punch:
'Far away in Sicily!'
A home-come sailor sang this rhyme,
Deep in an ingle, mug on knee,
At Christmas time.
In Sicily, as I was told,
The children take them Pennyroyal,
The same as lurks on hill and wold
In Cotsall soil.
The Pennyroyal of grace divine
In little cradles they do weave
Little cradles therewith they line
On Christmas Eve.
And there, as midnight bells awake
The Day of Birth, as they do tell,
All into bud the small buds break
With sweetest smell.
All into bud that very hour;
And pure and clean, as they do say,
The Pennyroyal's full in flower
On Christmas Day.
Far away in Sicily!
Hark, the Christmas bells do chime!
So blossom love in thee and me
This Christmas time!
---W. B.
December 19, 1917.


Botanical: Piper nigrum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Piperaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Adulteration of Pepper
Other Species Uses
Black Pepper. Piper (United States Pharmacopceia).
---Part Used---
Dried unripe fruit.
In South India wild, and in Cochin-China; also cultivated in East and West Indies, Malay Peninsula, Malay Archipelago, Siam, Malabar, etc.
---Description---The best Pepper of commerce comes from Malabar. Pepper is mentioned by Roman writers in the fifth century. It is said that Attila demanded among other items 3,000 lb. of Pepper in ransom for the city of Rome. Untrained, the plant will climb 20 or more feet, but for commercial purposes it is restricted to 12 feet. It is a perennial with a round, smooth, woody stem, with articulations, swelling near the joints and branched; the leaves are entire, broadly ovate, acuminate, coriaceous, smooth, with seven nerves; color dark green and attached by strong sheath-like foot-stalks to joints of branches. Flowers small, white, sessile, covering a tubular spadix; fruits globular, red berries when ripe, and surface coarsely wrinkled. The plant is propagated by cuttings and grown at the base of trees with a rough, prickly bark to support them. Between three or four years after planting they commence fruiting and their productiveness ends about the fifteenth year. The berries are collected as soon as they turn red and before they are quite ripe; they are then dried in the sun. In England, for grinding they mix Peppers of different origin. Malabar for weight, Sumatra for color, and Penang for strength. Pepper has an aromatic odour, pungent and bitterish taste.
Piperine, which is identical in composition to morphia, volatile oil, a resin called Chavicin. Its medicinal activities depends mainly on its pungent resin and volatile oil, which is colorless, turning yellow with age, with a strong odour, and not so acrid a taste as the peppercorn; it also contains starch, cellulose and coloring.
The concrete oil is a deep green color and very acrid.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Aromatic, stimulant, carminative; is said to possess febrifuge properties. Its action as a stimulant is specially evident on the mucous membrane of the rectum, and so is good for constipation, also on the urinary organs; externally it is a rubefacient, useful in relaxed conditions of the rectum when prolapsed; sometimes used in place of cubebs for gonorrhoea; given in combination with aperients to facilitate their action, and to prevent griping. As a gargle it is valued for relaxed uvula, paralysis of the tongue. On account of its stimulant action it aids digestion and is specially useful in atonic dyspepsia and torbid condition of the stomach. It will correct flatulence and nausea. It has also been used in vertigo, paralytic and arthritic disorders. It is sometimes added to quinine when the stomach will not respond to quinine alone. It has also been advised in diarrhoea, cholera, scarlatina, and in solution for a wash for tinea capititis. Piperine should not be combined with astringents, as it renders them inert.
Black Pepper, 5 to 15 grains in powder. Piperine, 1 to 8 grains.
The root of the Pepper plant in India has been used by the natives as a cordial tonic and stimulant.
B.P. dose of Pepper, 1 to 2 drachms.
Oleoresin, U.S.P.: dose, 1/2 grain.
Heliotropin is recommended medicinally as an antiseptic and antipyretic. It is obtained by the oxidation of piperic acid and is used in perfumery. From the time of Hippocrates Pepper has been used as a medicine and condiment.
---Adulteration of Pepper---Linseed mustard seed, wheat and pea-flour, sago, ground rice. At one time when the duty levied on Pepper was very high, fictitious peppercorns were made of oil-cake, clay, with a little cayenne added.

---Other Species Used---
Piper trioicum
White Pepper
Long Pepper
Piper Betel
Piper Amalago
Piper Pellucidum
Piper Rotundifolium
Piper Umbellatum

Piper trioicum

Piper trioicum, nearly allied to P. nigrum, is also used in commerce.
The female plant does not ripen properly, and is deficient in pungency, but the Peppers on plants with hermaphrodite flowers on same spike are very pungent, and equal to the best Malabar Pepper.


(Piper album)
From the same plant as P. nigrum, White Pepper is ripe fruit, partially deprived of its pericarp by maceration in water, then rubbed and dried in the sun. It contains albuminous seed, having small starch grains, taste and smell like Pepper, more aromatic than black and not so pungent. Same as the black, but containing more starch and less ash. Sold as whole White Pepper or broken White Pepper. The removed hulls are sold separately as Pepper hulls, and form a brownish powder, very pungent in smell and flavour and containing a large quantity of oleoresin of Pepper, but no piperine.
Sometimes the hulls are mixed with the broken White Pepper; this mixture has more oleoresin in it and less piperine.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Teaspoonful doses taken several times a day are recommended to overcome the obstinate constipation of dyspeptics.


(Piper longum)
---Part Used---The dried, unripe spikes of Pipers officinum and longum.
---Habitat---Java, India, Philippines, the best coming from Batavia, and Singapore.
P. officinarum is principally used and is considered the best; both are gathered when green, when they are hotter than when quite ripe. In P. officinarum the fruit is a dark grey color with a weak aromatic odour and a very fiery pungent taste. In P. longum the fruits are shorter and thicker and the constituents almost identical with P. nigrum. It contains piperine, a soft green resin, a burning acridity, a volatile oil which possibly gives it its odour; it is inferior to P. nigrum and most used as its adulterant.

Piper Betel

---Habitat---East Indies.
The leaves are used to wrap round areca nut; rubbed with shell lime they are chewed by the Indians to sweeten their breath and strengthen the stomach. The trade in it forms considerable commerce. The Asiatic use of it amongst men destroys the teeth from the lime used with it. The women of the Malabar Coast, on the other hand, stain their teeth black with antimony, which preserves theirs to old age.

Piper Amalago

Piper Amalago, or rough-leaved Pepper, a shrub growing up to 10 feet. It is called the small-grained Black Pepper, and grows on the hilly parts of Jamaica. The berries differ only in size from the East Indian Black Pepper, being only the size of mustard seed, good for seasoning, taste and flavour being the same as Black Pepper. It is picked when full-grown before it ripens, otherwise it loses its pungency and grows soft and succulent. It is dried in the sun and often left on its stalks, which have the same flavour and pungency as the Peppers and are as easily ground in the mills.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Leaves and tender shoots are used in discutient baths and fomentations and pounded for application to ulcers; root is warm and very useful as a resolutive and sudorific or diaphoretic, but best for infusions and decoctions; a good deobstruent for dropsy.

Piper Pellucidum

Piper Pellucidum, or pellucoid-leaved Pepper.
---Habitat---South America and West Indian Islands.
---Description---An annual found growing on moist, gravelly banks, etc.
Has very small berries each containing a small seed like dust. In Martinico the leaves are eaten with lettuce, vinegar and oil as a salad and called 'Cresson,' but they are too strong and hot for most Europeans.

Piper Rotundifolium

---Habitat---Jamaica and Martinique.
A herbaceous plant living in close, moist woods covering the trunks of old trees and stones.
---Description---Leaves greasy, bright green, fragrant, reviving odour; good aromatics and cephalics, retaining perfume several years; water distilled from them smells deliciously of the plants.

Piper Umbellatum

---Synonyms---Unbelled Pepper. Santa Maria Leaf.
This plant is a very common annual and found growing up to 4 feet high. Has large round leaves; the root is a warm, active remedy against poisons, and in many parts of the sugar colonies is made up into a syrup much used by the inhabitants for colds and catarrhs.

Pepper, Hungarian

Paprika. Sweet Pepper. Grains of Paradise.
Paprika, or Hungarian Pepper, a tasteless cayenne, is recognized by the German Pharmacopoeia, and in the United States is imported in three grades. The first grade is savoury and of a fine red color; it is made of the selected pericarp, the stems and placenta removed, the seeds first washed, then ground. The second grade is made by grinding the entire pod with the stems. Third grade is all the waste and spoiled pods being ground together, the residue of other grades. This is a yellowish color and much more pungent than the other. Paprika is generally made from Croton annum, and sometimes called Sweet Pepper. It is mostly used to dilute the strength of other powdered chillies, and it is used by bird fanciers to improve the color of canaries. (This is the paprika which flavours so many Hungarian dishes. - EDITOR)
Grains of Paradise, Guinea Grains, Melegueta or Mallaguetta Pepper, from Ampelopsis Grana Paradisi, or Habzeli of Ethiopia (Kanang of Ethiopia). Two kinds of these grains are known in the English markets, one plumper than the other. One may be that imported into America from West Africa, and into England from plants introduced into Demerara, where they are thought to be a product of A. Melegueta. They resemble Pepper in their effects, but are seldom used except in veterinary practice and to give strength to spirits, wine, beer, and vinegar. The seeds have a rich reddish-brown color.

See Mints.

Family: N.O. Apocynaceae

GREATER PERIWINKLE (Vinca major, Linn.)
This is the species more generally used in herbal medicine, as an astringent and tonic, in menorrhagia and in haemorrhages, also as a laxative, and gargle. Made into an ointment, useful for piles and inflammatory conditions of the skin.

LESSER PERIWINKLE (Vinca minor, Linn.)
Employed in homoeopathy for preparation of a tincture used for haemorrhages.

A reputed cure for diabetes. (Synonym Lochnera rosea, Reichb.)

The well-known Periwinkles - both Greater and Lesser - familiar plants of our woods and gardens, are members of the genus Vinca, so named by Linnaeus, which includes five in Europe, and the Orient, and three species native to the East Indies, Madagascar and America, assigned by a later botanist, Reichberg, to a separate genus, Lochnera, as they differ from Vinca in the stamens and head of the style not being hairy, though the main characteristics are the same.
Vinca is a genus of the natural order Apocynaceae, which includes many tropical trees and shrubs with showy flowers, a large number of which are very poisonous, among these being the beautiful Oleander, so frequently grown in our greenhouses.
The Periwinkles are the only representatives of their order in our flora, and there is, in fact, considerable doubt among botanists whether the Periwinkle should be considered a true native of Great Britain. It was a familiar flower in the days of Chaucer, who refers to it as the 'fresh Pervinke rich of hew,' and it is now commonly found in woods and hedgerows, and, where it occurs, is generally in great profusion.
The plant is perennial and retains its glossy leaves throughout the winter. Occasionally, in the smaller kind, when cultivated in gardens, leaves occur with streaks of lighter green upon the dark rich color that is characteristic of the rest of the foliage. The leaves are always placed in pairs on the stem, the flowers springing from their axils. In the Greater Periwinkle, the leaves are large and egg-shaped, with the margins minutely fringed. Those of the Lesser are much smaller, myrtle-like in form, their margins not fringed.
The plant seldom, if ever, ripens its seed, a fact that has been considered confirmatory of the theory that the Periwinkle is not truly indigenous, as in more southern countries it does so. It propagates itself by long, trailing and rooting stems, and by their means not only extends itself in every direction, but succeeds in obtaining an almost exclusive possession of the soil, since little or nothing else can maintain its ground against the dense mass of stems, which deprive other and weaker plants of light and air.
The flowers of the Periwinkle vary somewhat in intensity of color, but the average color is a deep purplish-blue. A white variety of the Lesser Periwinkle occurs in Devonshire and in gardens; it is often met with bearing purple, blue and white flowers, sometimes double.
The calyx is deeply cleft into five very narrow divisions. The corolla consists of a distinctly tubular portion terminating in a broad flat disk, composed of five broad lobes, twisted when in bud, curiously irregular in form, having the sides of the margin unequally curved, so that although the effect of the whole corolla is symmetrical, when each separate lobe is examined, it will be seen that an imaginary line from apex to the centre of the flower would divide it into two very unequal portions - very unusual in the petals of a flower. The whole effect is as if the lobes of the corolla were rotating round the mouth of its tube, and the movement had suddenly been arrested.
The mouth of the tube is angular and the tube closed with hairs, and the curiously curved anthers of the stamens, which are five in number, are inserted in the tube. The pistil of this flower, as well as of the smaller species, is a singularly beautiful object, resembling the shaft of a pillar with a double capital. The anthers stand above the stigmatic disk, but the stigma itself is on the under surface of the disk, so that selffertilization is not caused as the insect's tongue enters the flowers.
The Lesser Periwinkle is not only smaller in all the parts, but has a more trailing habit of growth, matting itself together. The stems are very slender, only those bearing flowers being erect, growing to a height of 6 to 8 inches, the others trailing and rooting freely at intervals, so that a large space of ground is quickly monopolized by it.
Both the English and botanical names of the Periwinkle are derived from the Latin vincio (to bind), in allusion to these long, trailing stems that spread over and keep down the other plants where it grows. This is described by Wordsworth:
'Through primrose tufts in that sweet bower
The fair periwinkle trailed its wreaths.'
It is assumed that the Vincapervinca of Pliny is this plant.
---History---The old English form of the name, as it appears in early Anglo-Saxon Herbals, as well as in Chaucer, was 'Parwynke,' and we also find it called 'Joy of the Ground.' In Macer's Herbal (early sixteenth century) it is described:
'Parwynke is an erbe grene of color
In Tyme of May he beryth blo flour,
His stalkys ain (are) so feynt and feye
Yet never more growyth he hey (high).'
And we are also told that 'men calle it ye Juy of Grownde.'
In more modern days it has locally been called 'Ground Ivy,' though that name is now generally assigned to quite another little, blue-flowered plant of the hedgerow, Glechoma hederacea. In Gloucestershire, we find the name 'Cockles' given locally to it; in Hampshire, its name is corrupted to 'Pennywinkle.' In some parts of Devonshire, the flowers from their use are known as 'Cut Finger,' and the more fanciful name of 'Blue Buttons' is also there given to it. In France, it has been known as Pucellage, or Virginflower, no doubt also from the madonnablue of its blossoms.
An old name, given both in reference to its color and its use in magic, was 'Sorcerer's Violet' (corresponding to its old French name 'Violette des sorciers'). It was a favourite flower with 'wise folk' for making charms and love-philtres. It was one of the plants believed to have power to exorcize evil spirits. In Macer's Herbal we read of its potency against 'wykked spirytis.'
Apuleius, in his Herbarium (printed 1480), gives elaborate directions for its gathering:
'This wort is of good advantage for many purposes, that is to say, first against devil sickness and demoniacal possessions and against snakes and wild beasts and against poisons and for various wishes and for envy and for terror and that thou mayst have grace, and if thou hast the wort with thee thou shalt be prosperous and ever acceptable. This wort thou shalt pluck thus, saying, "I pray thee, vinca pervinca, thee that art to be had for thy many useful qualities, that thou come to me glad blossoming with thy mainfulness, that thou outfit me so that I be shielded and ever prosperous and undamaged by poisons and by water"; when thou shalt pluck this wort, thou shalt be clean of every uncleanness, and thou shalt pick it when the moon is nine nights old and eleven nights and thirteen nights and thirty nights and when it is one night old.'
These superstitions about the Periwinkle are of great age and are repeated by all the old writers. In The Boke of Secretes of Albartus Magnus of the Vertues of Herbs, Stones and certaine Beastes, we find:
'Perwynke when it is beate unto pouder with worms of ye earth wrapped about it and with an herbe called houslyke, it induceth love between man and wyfe if it bee used in their meales . . . if the sayde confection be put in the fyre it shall be turned anone unto blue colore.
In olden days it was used in garlands. An old chronicle tells us that when, in 1306, Simon Fraser, after he had been taken prisoner fighting for William Wallace, rode heavily ironed through London to the place of execution, a garland of Periwinkle was placed in mockery on his head.
The flower is called by the Italians Centocchio, or 'Hundred Eyes,' but it is also called 'The Flower of Death,' from the ancient custom of making it into garlands to place on the biers of dead children. To the Germans, it is the 'Flower of Immortality.' In France, the Periwinkle is considered an emblem of friendship, probably in allusion to Rousseau's recollection of his friend Madame de Warens, after a lapse of thirty years, by the sight of the Periwinkle in flower.
---Uses---Both species of Periwinkle are used in medicine for their acrid, astringent and tonic properties.
'The Periwinkle is a great binder,' said an old herbalist, and both Dioscorides and Galen commended it against fluxes. Culpepper says that it:
'stays bleeding at the mouth and nose, if it be chewed . . . and may be used with advantage in hysteric and other fits.... It is good in nervous disorders, the young tops made into a conserve is good for the night-mare. The small periwinkle possesses all the virtues of the other kind and may very properly supply its place.'
It was considered a good remedy for cramp, Lord Bacon himself testifying that a limb suffering from cramp would be cured if bands of green Periwinkle were tied round it; and William Coles, in his Adam in Eden (1657), gives a definite case of a friend who was:
'vehemently tormented with the cramp for a long while which could be by no means eased till he had wrapped some of the branches hereof about his limbs.'
An ointment prepared from the bruised leaves with lard has been largely used in domestic medicine and is reputed to be both soothing and healing in all inflammatory ailments of the skin and an excellent remedy for bleeding piles.
Vinca major is used in herbal practice for its astringent and tonic properties in menorrhagia and in haemorrhages generally. For obstructions of mucus in the intestines and lungs, diarrhoea, congestions, haemorrhages, etc., Periwinkle Tea is a good remedy. In cases of scurvy and for relaxed sore throat and inflamed tonsils, it may also be used as a gargle. For bleeding piles, it may be applied externally, as well as taken internally.
A homoeopathic tincture is prepared from the fresh leaves of Vinca minor and:
'is given medicinally for the milk-crust of infants as well as for internal haemorrhages, the dose being from 2 to 10 drops, three or four times in the day, with a spoonful of water.'
The flowers of the Greater (and probably also of the Lesser) Periwinkle are gently purgative, but lose their effect on drying. If gathered in the spring and made into a syrup, they will impart thereto all their virtues, and this, it is stated, is excellent as a gentle laxative for children and also for overcoming chronic constipation in grown persons.
The bruised leaves put into the nostrils will, it is asserted, allay bleeding from the nose.
A still more important use has been found for another species, V. rosea, Linn. (synonym Lochnera rosea, Reichb.), sometimes known as the Madagascar Periwinkle, a small undershrub up to 3 feet high in its native habitat, the general appearance much resembling our English species, V. major, but with the stems more upright. It is widely spread in Tropical Africa and naturalized in the Tropics in general. It is not sufficiently hardy to stand our climate without protection, though it is often grown in conservatories in this country. The blossoms are a rich crimson.
In 1923, considerable interest was aroused in the medical world by the statement that this species of Vinca had the power to cure diabetes, and would probably prove an efficient substitute for Insulin, but V. major has long been used by herbalists for this purpose.
---Preparation---Fluid extract.

Peruvian Balsam

Peruvian Bark

Botanical: Cinchona succirubra (PAVON.)
Family: N.O. Rubiaceae
Medicinal Actin and Uses
Red Bark. Jesuits' Powder. Cinchona Bark.
---Part Used---
Bark dried from stem and branches.
South America, but cultivated in India, Java, Ceylon, etc.
The species most cultivated in India and elsewhere are Cinchona succirubra, or Peruvian Bark, and C. officinalis. These evergreen trees grow in the hottest part of the world and are said to constitute a twenty-ninth part of the whole flowering plants of the tropics. Peruvian bark was introduced to Europe in 1640, but the plant producing it was not known to botanists till 1737; a few years later it was renamed Cinchona after the Countess of Chinchon, who first made the bark known in Europe for its medicinal qualities. The history of Cinchona and its many vicissitudes affords a striking illustration of the importance of Government aid in establishing such an industry. It was known and used by the Jesuits very early in its history, but was first advertized for sale in England by James Thompson in 1658, and was made official in the London Pharmacopoeia of 1677. The bark is spongy, very slight odour, taste astringent and strongly bitter.
Alkaloids, quinine, cinchonidine, cinchonine, quinidine, hydrocinchonidine, quinamine, homocinchonidine, hydroquinine, quinic and cincholannic acids, bitter amorphous glucoside, starch and calcium oxalate. The history of the formation of the alkaloids, in different parts and age of the tree, is interesting. The process of 'mossing' introduced by Mr. M'Ivor, viz. the protection of the bark from light and air by layers of damp moss, increases the quantity of the alkaloids, allows of the periodical renewal of the bark, and increases the quantity of the alkaloid in the new bark.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Febrifuge, tonic and astringent; valuable for influenza, neuralgia and debility. Large and too constant doses must be avoided, as they produce headache, giddiness and deafness. The liquid extract is useful as a cure for drunkenness. The powdered bark is often used in tooth-powders, owing to its astringency, but not much used internally (except as a bitter wine); it creates a sensation of warmth, but sometimes causes gastric intestinal irritation. Cinchona in decoction is a useful gargle and a good throat astringent.
3 to 10 grains.

Pheasant's Eye
See (False) Hellebore.


Botanical: Fabiana imbricata (RUTZ. and PARON.)
Family: N.O. Solanaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Parts Used---
Dried leaf and twig.
Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentine Republic.
A neat half-hardy shrub, very like a heath in general appearance. Fastigiate habit, has small branches covered with scale-like imbricated leaves, color bluish green, leaves are smooth, entire, flowers solitary, terminal, corolla tubular, usually white, sometimes purple. A dwarf decorative plant; will grow in warmer parts of England; it needs a bright sheltered sunny spot, and would do well on a rockery. The fruit is a capsule containing a few sub-globular seeds. The odour of the drug is aromatic, the taste bitter, and terebinthinate.
Volatile oil, fat, resin, bitter fluorescent glucoside, and an alkaloid fabianine and tannin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Tonic, cholagogue, a valuable terebinthic diuretic, largely used in acute vesical catarrh, giving very favourable results where urinary irritation is caused by gravel. Is said to ease the irritability and assist in the expulsion of renal, urethal or cystic calculi, very useful in the treatment of jaundice and dyspepsia due to lack of biliary secretion. Is contraindicated in organic disease of the kidneys, though cases of renal haemorrhages from Bright's disease have been greatly benefited by its use; it has been used also for gonorrhoea and gonorrhoeal prostatitis.
Solid extract, 2 to 10 grains.
Fluid extract, 1 to 40 minims.
A strong tincture is made from the resinoid precipitate and is considered the best preparation of the drug.

Celandine, Greater
Celandine, Lesser

Pimpernel, Scarlet

Botanical: Anagallis arvensis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Primulaceae
Part Used
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Shepherd's Barometer. Poor Man's Weatherglass. Adder's Eyes.
(Old English) Bipinella.
---Parts Used---
Leaves, herb.
The Scarlet Pimpernel grows on the roadside in waste places and on the dry sandy edges of corn and other fields; it is widely distributed, not only over Britain, but throughout the world, being found in all the temperate regions in both hemispheres.
Its creeping, square stems, a foot in length at most, have their eggshaped, stalkless leaves arranged in pairs. The edges of the leaves are entire (i.e. quite free from indentations of any sort), and in whatever direction the stem may run, either along the ground, or at an angle to it, the leaves always keep their faces turned to the light.
The Pimpernel flowers from May until late into August. The flowers appear singly, each on longish, thin stalks, springing from the junction of each leaf with the stem. The little flower-stalks are erect during flowering, but curved backward when the seed is ripening. The corolla is made up of five petals, joined together at their base into a ring. A purple spot often appears in the centre of the flower. The petals are very sensitive, the flowers closing at once if the sky becomes overcast and threatens rain. Even in bright weather, the flowers are only open for a comparatively short time - never opening until between eight and nine in the morning and shutting up before three o'clock in the afternoon. As the petals are only brilliantly colored on their upper faces, the flowers when closed disappear from view among the greenness of the leaves.
Inside the petals are five stamens, each standing exactly opposite to a petal. Upon the stamens are a number of delicate, violet hairs, which seem to serve as a bait to insects, taking the place, perhaps, of honey, of which the Pimpernel has none.
As the autumn comes on, the fruit in the centre of each flower swells and ripens. It is in the form of a little urn or capsule, full of tiny seeds. When the latter are quite ripe, the urn splits round its circumference into two halves - the upper half lifts up like a lid and the seeds are shaken out with every movement of the wind.
Propagation is entirely by seeds, as the plant is an annual, completely dying at the end of each season, both above and below ground.
A blue variety of an intense deep color is occasionally found in Great Britain, and more commonly in central and southern Europe. A number of scientific experiments have been made on these blue and red Pimpernels by Darwin, Henslow and others. Henslow found that of the offspring of the blue, some had red and some blue petals, while Darwin discovered that by crossing the red and blue, some of the offspring were red, some blue, and some an intermediate color. Gerard thought that the scarlet variety was the male plant, and that the blue was the female.
This blue variety (Anagallis cerulea) is described as growing in beautiful little tufts about the hills of Madeira.
The common variety (A. arvensis) is mentioned in lists of plants growing in Persia, Nepaul, China, New Holland, Mauritius, Cape of Good Hope, Japan, Egypt, Abyssinia, U.S.A., Mexico, and Chile. It is to be found in all the temperate regions in both hemispheres, but shuns the Arctic cold and hardly bears more than the sub-tropical heat.
Occasionally flesh-colored and pure white blossoms have been found as varieties of this plant.
The plant appears in the Herbals and Vocabularies of the sixteenth century as 'Bipinella,' a name originally applied to the Great and Salad Burnet. It was much used as a cosmetic herb. Howard, in The Old Commodore, 1837, says: 'If she'd only used my pimpernel water, for she has one monstrous freckle in her forehead.' The plant was also said to be a remedy for the bites of mad dogs and to dispel sadness.
This plant once had a great reputation in medicine, and was used as a universal panacea.
'No heart can think, no tongue can tell
The virtues of the Pimpernel.'
Pliny speaks of its value in liver complaints, and its generic name Anagallis (given it by Dioscorides) is derived from the Greek Anagelao, signifying 'to laugh,' because it removes the depression that follows liver troubles.
The Greeks used it for diseases of the eye, and Gerard and Culpepper affirm that 'it helpeth them that are dim-sighted,' the juice being mixed with honey and dropped into the eyes.
It is 'a gallant, Solar herb, of a cleansing attractive quality, whereby it draweth forth thorns and splinters gotten into the flesh.'
'Used inwardly and applied outwardly,' Culpepper tells us, 'it helpeth also all stinging and biting of venomous beasts or mad dogs.'
And again, 'the distilled water or juice is much celebrated by French dames to cleanse the skin from any roughness, deformity or discolorings thereof.'
Another old writer says 'the Herb Pimpernel is good to prevent witchcraft, as Mother Bumby doth affirm.'
---Part Used---
The whole herb, gathered in the wild condition, when the leaves are at their best, in June, and used both fresh and dried.
Pimpernel has no odour, but a bitter taste, which is rather astringent.
The plant possesses very active properties, although its virtues are not fully understood. It is known to contain Saponin, such as the Soapwort also specially furnishes.
The leaves are sufficiently inert to be eaten in salads, of which they often form a component part in France and Germany, but Professor Henslow tells us that caged birds have died from eating them instead of Chickweed, which it somewhat resembles.
Experiments have shown that it contains some injurious properties which neither drying nor boiling destroys. Though too small to be eaten in quantities by browsing animals, an extract made from it has been found to have a strong narcotic effect on them and to be of such a poisonous nature as to cause the deaths of some dogs to whom it was experimentally given in considerable doses.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Diuretic, diaphoretic and expectorant. The ancient reputation of Scarlet Pimpernel has survived to the present day, especially in dealing with diseases of the brain. Doctors have considered the herb remedial in melancholy and in the allied forms of mental disease, the decoction or a tincture being employed.
John Hill (British Herbal, 1756) tells us that the whole plant, dried and powdered, is good against epilepsy, and there are well authenticated accounts of this disease being absolutely cured by it. The flowers alone have also been found useful in epilepsy, 20 grains dried being given four times a day.
It is of a cordial sudorific nature, and a strong infusion of it has been considered an excellent medicine in feverish complaints, which it relieves by promoting a gentle perspiration. It was recommended by Culpepper on this account as a preservative in pestilential and contagious diseases. The same simple preparation has also been much used among country people in the first stages of pulmonary consumption, it being stated to have often checked the disorder and prevented its fatal consequences.
The dried leaves may be given in powder, or an infusion made of the whole plant dried but according to Green (Universal Herbal, 1832) nothing equals the infusion of the fresh plant.
The expressed juice has been found serviceable in the beginnings of dropsies and in obstructions of the liver and spleen. A tincture has also been used for irritability of the urinary passages, having been found effective in cases of stone and gravel.
In Gerard's days, a preparation of this herb, called 'Diacorallion,' was used for gout, and in California a fluid extract is given for rheumatism, in doses of 1 teaspoonful with water, three times a day.
Modern authorities consider that caution should be exercised in the use of this herb for dropsy, rheumatic affections, hepatic and renal complaints.
The tincture is made from the fresh leaves, in the proportion of 10 OZ. to a pint of diluted alcohol; the dose is from 1 to 5 drops. A homoeopathic tincture is also prepared from the flowers.
The powder of the dried leaves is given in 15 to 60 grain doses.
The seeds of the plant, which are very numerous, and enclosed in small capsules, are much eaten by birds.
---Other Species---
The BOG PIMPERNEL (A. tenella) is anotherof this species. Its blossoms are larger than those of the Scarlet Pimpernel, and of a pale rose color, and the leaves which are numerous, are very small in proportion to the blossoms. It is found on marshy grounds, but is rare: it is a perennial; whereas the scarlet variety is an annual.
Gerard speaks of the 'pimpernel rose in a pasture as you goe from a village hard by London called Knightsbridge unto Fulham, a village thereby.'


Botanical: Various Species
Family: N.O. Pinaceae
Medicinal Action and Properties
Preparations and Dosages
Species of Pines Having Medicinal Products

Pines are among the most important commercial trees. Most of them have straight, unbranched, cylindrical trunks, which furnish large amounts of excellent saw timber. On account of the straight grain, strength, and other qualities of pine timber, it is used for nearly every sort of constructional work and the trade in it is enormous.
All the Pines yield resin in greater or smaller quantities, which is obtained by tapping the trees. The crude resin is almost entirely used for the distillation of Oil of Turpentine and Rosin, only small quantities being employed medicinally - for ointments, plasters, etc. When the Oil of Turpentine is entirely distilled off, the residuum is Rosin or Colophony, but when only part of the oil is extracted, the viscous mass remaining is known commercially as common Crude Turpentine.
Oil of Turpentine is a good solvent for many resins, wax, fats, caoutchouc, sulphur, and phosphorus, and is largely employed in making varnish, in oil-painting, etc. Medicinally, it is much employed in both general and veterinary practice as a rubefacient and vesicant, and is valuable as an antiseptic. It is used for horses and cattle internally as a vermifuge, and externally as a stimulant for rheumatic swellings, and for sprains and bruises, and to kill parasites.
Rosin is used not only by violinists, for rubbing their bows, but also in making sealing wax, varnish, and resinous soaps for sizing paper and papier maché and dressing hemp cordage, but one of its special uses is for making brewer's pitch for coating the insides of beer casks and for distilling resinous oils, when the pitch used by shoemakers is left as residuum. Pitch is also used in veterinary practice.
Tar is an impure turpentine, viscid and brown-black in color, procured by destructive distillation from the roots of various coniferous trees, particularly from Pinus sylvestris. Tar is used medicinally, especially in veterinary practice, for its antiseptic, stimulant, diuretic and diaphoretic action. Tar-water is given to horses with chronic cough and used internally and externally as a cutaneous stimulant and antiseptic in eczema. Oil of Tar is used instead of Oil of Turpentine in the case of mange, etc.
A considerable industry has grown up in the United States in the distillation of Pine wood by means of steam under pressure. One of the products thus obtained, which has considerable commercial importance, is known as Pine Oil. It has a pleasant odour, resembling that of caraway or Juniper Oil, and has been largely used for making paints which dry without gloss and as a 'flatting' material. It flows well under the brush and is a powerful solvent, and is useful for emulsion paints such as are now employed for inside work.
Pine resins are largely employed by the soap-maker for the manufacture of brown soaps.
The trade in resins was for many years almost exclusively a French industry, and only in France were the Pine forests turned to account for the production of resin on a commercial scale. Now, however, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia and North America furnish quantities, though, from the point of view of quality, the Pines which flourish near Bordeaux furnish a resin still much in request, and the turpentine extracted therefrom is abundant and one of the best qualities produced.
---Medicinal Action and Properties---
Rubefacient, diuretic, irritant. A valuable remedy in bladder, kidney, and rheumatic affections and diseases of the mucous membrane and respiratory complaints; externally in the form of liniment plasters and inhalants.
---Preparations and Dosages---
Oil of Turpentine. Spirits of Turpentine, B.P., 2 to 10drops As a vermifuge, 2 to 4 drachms. Tar, B.P., Pin. Sylv. Tar, U.S.P., Pin. Palust. Ointment Tar, B.P. Syrup Tar, U.S.P., 1 drachm.

Pinus balsamea. Abies canadensis. A. balsamea. Balsam Fir. Balm of Gilead Fir. Perusse. Hemlock Spruce.
Canada Turpentine. Pills for mucous discharge.
P. Canadensis. A. canadensis. Hemlock Spruce.
Pitch and Oil.
P. Cedrus of Mount Lebanon.
A false manna used in phthisis in Syria.
P. Cembra (Siberian Cedar or Tannenbaum). Europe and Asia.
Edible seeds eaten by Russians as nuts. Coniferin from the cambium.
P. Cubensis. Cuban Pine.
P. Damaris. Agathis Damara.
Damara Turpentine that hardens into a hard rosin.
P. Densiflora. Japan.
An exudation called akamatsu. Timber.
P. Echinata. Short-leaved Pine.
Turpentine. Timber.
P. Gerardiana. Neosa Pine. N.W. India.
Edible seeds called neosa or chilgoza seeds.
P. Halepensis. Mediterranean countries.
Spirits of Turpentine.
P. Heterophylla. Eastern America.
Spirits of Turpentine. Timber.
P. Khasya. Burma.
Turpentine resembling French Oil.
P. Larix. Larix Europaea. A. larix. L. decidua. Larch.
Briançon manna, containing no mannite. Venice Turpentine.
P. Maritima. P. pinaster. Cluster Pine. Mediterranean countries.
Bordeaux Turpentine. Pitch. French Oil of Turpentine, 25 per cent.
P. Merkusii. Burma.
Turpentine resembling French Oil.
P. Microcarpa. P. pendula. L. Americana. Black or American Larch. Hackmatack. Tamarac.
A decoction of the bark used.
P. Mughus. Hungarian terebinth.
P. Nigra. Pieca Mariana. Black or Bog Spruce.
Decoction of young branches gives Essence of Spruce used for Spruce Beer.
P. Palustris. P. Australia. Long-leaved Pine. Yellow, Southern, Hard, Virginia.
Spirits of Turpentine, 17 per cent oil. Carpets woven from leaves.
P. Picea. A. pectinata. Picea vulgaris. P. abies. A. vulgaris. A. alba. Spruce Fir. Norway Spruce.
Strassbourg Turpentine. Térébinthine au citron.
P. Pinea. Mediterranean countries.
Edible seeds. 'Pignons' or 'Pinocchi.'
P. Ponderosa. Heavy Pine. California.
Exudation is almost pure heptane; a chief constituent of American petroleum. Timber.
P. Pumilio. P. montana.
Volatile Oil from the leaves. Oil of Dwarf Pine Needles. Oil of Pine.
P. Rigida. Pitch Pine.
P. Roxburghii. Himalayas.
Spirits of Turpentine.
P. Sabiniana. Nut or Digger Pine.
Turpentine, the oil being called abietene. Edible seeds.
P. Scropica.
Occasionally its Turpentine is used for American Rosin.
P. Strobus. P. alba. White Pine.
Coniferin from the Cambium Bark. Compound Syrup with Morphine. Timber.
P. Succinifera. Extinct.
Fossil resin or amber.
P. Sylvestris. Scotch Pine or Fir. Norway Pine.
Spirits of Turpentine, 32 per cent of oil. Russian Turpentine. Finnan Turpentine is the oleoresin. Timber.
P. Toeda. Loblolly Pine. Old Field Pine. United States.
Occasionally its turpentine used for American rosin.
P. Teocoty. Mexican or Brea Turpentine.
P. Thunbergii. Japan.
Exudation called Kuromatsu. Timber.

Pine (Larch)

Botanical: Pinus larix (D.C.)
Family: N.O. Coniferae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Larix Europaea. Abies larix. Larix decidua. Laricis Cortex. Meleze. European Larch. Venice Turpentine.
---Part Used---
The bark, deprived of its outer layer.
Central Europe.
'Larix' was the name given to Pine resin in the time of Dioscorides, and the term has been kept for these lofty trees. The leaves, bright green in spring, grow in small, spreading tufts like brushes. The male catkins, 1/2 inch long, are sessile and ovoid, with a cup of persistent bracts and inner, resinous, fringed, brown scales. The female cones, 3/4 inch long, grow on short stalks, with hard, greyish-brown scales.
Larch is only indigenous to the hilly regions throughout Central Europe, where it forms large forests in the Alps, but it has for long been largely cultivated throughout Europe. It was first introduced into England in 1639.
It is one of the most valuable trees ever introduced into the country, both with respect to the rapidity of its growth (it grows six times quicker than Oak) and the value of its durable timber. Its wood is far tougher, stronger and more durable than that of any other conifer, excepting perhaps the Yew. Its durability makes it specially adapted for mining operations and there is also considerable demand for it for railway sleepers, because it lasts longer than any other kind of home-grown wood when under the wear and tear of traffic and the decomposing influence of damp, warmth, and fungi. It is also employed both in ship- and house-building, and in Cabinet-work is capable of taking a very high polish. Gilding has a better effect on it than over almost any other, and it is a favourite for placing behind pictures, as it resists worm attacks. It is the one wood for which a ready sale can always be found in any part of the United Kingdom.
None of our forest trees is hardier than the Larch. The young trees establish themselves readily and soon grow rapidly. They are therefore, like the birch, used as 'nurses' for slow-growing and less hardy kinds of trees. The ground beneath a larch wood speedily improves in quantity and quality.
Large quantities of turpentine are collected from full-grown trees from May to October, holes being bored in the trunk and wooden tubes inserted. The exudation that flows is perfectly clear and needs no further preparation than straining through a coarse hair-cloth to free it from impurities. It was used in medicine and for making several kinds of varnish. In commerce it is known as 'Venice Turpentine,' being formerly exclusively exported from Venice. It is produced now mainly in the Tyrol, Switzerland, and Piedmont.
The frequently-found substitutes may be detected by their strong odour, and by drying into a hard varnish when painted on paper. The bark, which is not official in India or the United States, should be removed and stripped of its roughest outer portion in spring, and dried rapidly. In commerce it is found in flat pieces or quills of various sizes. The outer surface is rosy in color, and the inner either yellowish or pinkish, easily separating into layers. It breaks with a close fracture, excepting the whitish fibres. The odour is a little like balsam and terebinth, and the taste astringent. The bark is sometimes used for tanning, but is inferior to oak, so that in Britain it is not always worth the cost of peeling and carriage.
The bark contains tannic acid, larixinic acid and turpentine. The larixin, a crystalline principle, resembles pyrogallol.
Briançon Manna is exuded from the leaves in summer. It is white and sweet, occurring in oblong tears and almost odourless. Its peculiar sugar is termed Melezitose. Its use is obsolete.
If the trees are burnt, a gum exudes from the trunk called Gummi Orenbergense, soluble in water like Gum Arabic.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Stimulant, diuretic, astringent, balsamic and expectorant. As an external application it has been found useful in chronic eczema and psoriasis. Its chief official use is as a stimulant expectorant in chronic bronchitis, with much secretion. Its action is that of oil of turpentine.
It has also been given internally in haemorrhage and cystitis.
The turpentine is used in veterinary practice. It has been suggested for combating poisoning by cyanide or opium, and as a disinfectant in hospital gangrene.
---Dosage---Of B.P. Tincture Laricis, 20 to 30 minims. Venice Turpentine.

Pine, White

Botanical: Pinus strobus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Pinaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Weymouth Pine. Pin du Lord. Pinus Alba.
---Part Used---
Dried inner bark.
Eastern North America. Cultivated in Europe.
The name of Weymouth Pine, common in Europe, refers to a Lord Weymouth who planted numbers of the trees shortly after their introduction in 1705. The French name is a similarly derived contraction.
In the United States it grows up to 200 feet in height, but rarely reaches half that stature in England. The wood is peculiarly adapted for the masts of ships, and in Queen Anne's reign legal measures were taken for the encouragement of its cultivation. The bark is very smooth, and the leaves grow in small bundles of five, the cylindrical cones being a little longer than these.
The bark is found in small, flattened pieces, the outer surface light, with a pinkish or yellowish tinge, sometimes patched with greyish-brown fragments, and the inner surface lighter or darker and finely striate. The tough, fibrous fracture shows yellowish and whitish layers. The odour is like terebinth, and the taste both bitter and sweet, astringent and mucilaginous.
The powder shows starch and resin. The bark yields a maximum of 3 per cent of ash. It is a source of the terebinth of America. Coniferin is found in the cambium.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Expectorant, demulcent, diuretic, a useful remedy in coughs and colds, having a beneficial effect on the bladder and kidneys.
The compound syrup contains sufficient morphine to assist in developing the morphine habit and should be used with caution.
Of Compound Syrup, 1 fluid drachm. Of Compound Syrup, with Morphine, 30 minims. Fluid Extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm.

Pine (Ground)
See (Yellow) Bugle.

Pine, American Ground
See (American Club) Moss.

Pink Root

Botanical: Spigelia Marylandica (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Loganiaceae
Other Varieties
Indian Pink. Maryland Pink. Wormgrass. American Wormgrass. Carolina-, Maryland-, American-Wormroot. Starbloom.
---Parts Used---
Dried rhizome and rootlets, or entire plant.
Southern United States of America.
This herbaceous perennial plant has been known in commerce for many years and used to be collected by the Creek and Cherokee Indians for sale to the white traders. It is official in the United States Pharmacopoeia. It has several smooth simple stems, arising from the same rhizome; these stems are rounded below and square above. Leaves, few, opposite, sessile, ovatelanceolate, at apex acuminate, tapering at the base. The flowers are borne in a brilliant red-pink spike at top of the stem, the long corollas (terminating in spreading, star-like petals), externally red, yellow within, surrounding a double, many-seeded capsule. It grows in rich, dry soils on the edges of woods and flowers from May to July. The entire plant is collected in autumn and dried, but only the rhizome and rootlets are official in the United States Pharmacopceia, though in several other pharmacopoeias on the Continent, in which Spigelia is official, a closely allied species is named and the flowering plant is specified. The rhizome is tortuous, knotty and dark-brown externally, with many thin, wiry motlets attached to it and the short branches on the upper side are marked with scars of the stems of former years; internally, the rhizome is whitish, with a darkbrown pith; the rootlets are lighter colored than the rhizome, thin, brittle and long. Odour, aromatic; taste, bitter, sweetish, pungent and somewhat nauseous. It is usually powdered and then is of a greyish color. Age impairs its strength. When imported from the Western United States, where it is very abundant, it is received in bales and casks.
A poisonous alkaloid, named Spigeline; also a bitter acrid principle, soluble in water or alcohol, but insoluble in ether; a small amount of volatile oil, a tasteless resin, tannin, wax, fat, mucilage, albumen, myricin, a viscid, saccharine substance, lignin, salts of sodium, potassium and calcium. The reactions of the poisonous alkaloid resemble those of nicotine, lobeline and coniine.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Its chief use is as a very active and certain vermifuge, most potent for tapeworm and specially so for the round worm; its use was known among the Indians for worms long before America was discovered. It is a safe and efficient drug to give to children, if administered in proper doses and always followed by a saline aperient, such as magnesium sulphate, otherwise unpleasant and serious symptoms may occur, such as disturbed vision, dizziness, muscular spasms, twitching eyelids, increased action of the heart. In large doses, these are increased, both circulation and respiration being depressed and loss of muscular power caused, and cases have been known resulting, in children, in death from convulsions. It is also useful for children's fevers not caused by the irritation of vermin, such as those occurring from hydrocephalus.
The official U.S.P. preparation is the Fluid Extract: average dose, 1 fluid drachm.
It is also given in infusion and in powder.
It is often combined with a cathartic - Senna, Fennel and Manna - the narcotic illeffects being thereby avoided.
Dose of powdered root for an adult: 1 to 2 drachms, morning and evening, for several successive days, followed by an active purgative. For children, 10 to 20 grains.
The infusion is made of 1/2 OZ. troy of the bruised root to 1 pint boiling water. Dose for children, 1 tablespoonful, night and morning; for adults, a teacupful.
There is a preparation much in use called Worm Tea, composed of Spigelia, Savin, Senna and Manna, in the proportion of amounts to suit the individual need.
Spigelia is frequently adulterated, so that an absolutely genuine and pure article is said to be the exception. The rhizomes are often extensively adulterated with those of Ruellia ciliosa (Acanthaceae); they are, however, longer, straighter and thicker and the rootlets less wiry.
The rhizomes of species of Alpine Phlox, Phlox ovata, P. Carolina and P. glaberrima, are used in some localities and sometimes offered entirely as Spigelia. Those of P. glaberrima are somewhat darker and less ridged than Ruellia and more closely resemble Spigelia. Those of P. Carolina are rather coarse and straight, brownish-yellow, with a straw-colored wood underneath and a readily removable bark.
The rhizomes of Golden Seal and Caulophyllum have often been found intermixed with the genuine Spigelia.
---Other Varieties---
The genus Spigelia comprises some thirtyspecies, all American, mostly tropical, and several of them are employed like the official. Chief of these is S. Anthelmia (Linn.), native of the West Indies and northern South America, where it is abundant and is largely used as an anthelmintic. It is an annual, growing up to 2 feet high, of a similar habit to Pink Root, but the leaves, lanceolate below, and very broad, almost ovate, above, are mostly in whorls of four, the light reddish flowers only 1/2 inch long, the rhizome short, blackish externally, whitish internally and bearing numerous long, thin roots. The drug has a stronger narcotic and bitter taste than the official. It has been introduced into Europe and the Belgian Pharmacopceia specifically states that it is more active than the United States Pharmacopceia official species and directs that the flowering plant shall be employed. In large doses this is said to be a very powerful poison, causing death to animals and humans.
In cases of poisoning, the stomach should be emptied and stimulants administered, the patient being kept warm in bed. Artificial respiration with oxygen must be immediately resorted to if there are signs of respiratory failure. As an antidote, give strong tea or 15 to 20 grains of tannic acid in aqueous solution.

Pinus Bark. Hemlock Spruce

Botanical: Tsuga Canadensis (CARR.)
Family: N.O. Pinaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Hemlock Pitch. Canada Pitch. Pix Canadensis. Hemlock Bark. Pinus Canadensis. Abies Canadensis. Hemlock Gum. Hemlock Spruce.
---Part Used---
The bark encrusted with hardened juice.
North America.
The flow of juice from incisions in the bark is much less than in most of the species, but at the time of late maturity a spontaneous exudation partly evaporates, hardening on the bark, which is stripped, broken in pieces, and boiled in water. The melted pitch is skimmed off and boiled for a second time. The product is of a dark reddish-brown color, brittle, hard, opaque, almost tasteless, and with a very slight odour. It melts and softens at a low temperature.
An extract of the bark is used in tanning.
Besides resin, there is found a volatile oil, oil of spruce or oil of hemlock, and tannin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Canada Pitch is softer than Burgundy Pitch, so that even the temperature of the body makes it inconvenient to handle. It is a mild rubefacient. The liquid extract has been used as an astringent. It resembles rhatany in its action.
The volatile oil is used in veterinary liniments, and to procure abortion, but it is very dangerous for this purpose.
Hemlock or Canada Pitch Plaster can be made by melting together go parts of Canada Pitch to 10 parts of Yellow Wax, straining and stirring until it cools and thickens.
Fluid extract, 1/4 to 1 drachm.
---Other Species---
Pseudotsuga tascifolia, the branches ofwhich give out an emanation which, after being inhaled for some hours, is reported to have caused stupor, involuntary evacuation of urine, and collapse followed by psychic disturbance.
Pine (Larch)
Pine, White
Pine (Ground)
Pine, American Ground


Botanical: Chimaphila umbellata (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ericaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Pyrola umbellata. Winter Green. Butter Winter. Prince's Pine. King's Cure. Ground Holly. Love in Winter. Rheumatism Weed.
---Parts Used---
Dried leaves only are official, though the whole plant, including root, is used.
Europe, Asia, Siberia, America, and found in all parts of the United States.
The name Chimaphila is derived from two Greek words meaning 'winter' and 'to love.' There are two varieties of this plant, Chimaphila umbellata and C. maculata. The former alone is the official plant, a small evergreen perennial with a creeping yellow rhizome, which has several creeping, erect or semi-procumbent stems, angular, marked with the scars of former leaves, and woody at the base. These are 4 to 8 inches high, with the leaves on upper surface, shiny, coriaceous, dark green and underside paler. Flowers corymbose, light purple color, corolla five cream-colored petals, fragrantly perfumed, purplish at base. Capsule erect, depressed five-celled, five-valved, numerous seeds, linear, chaffy. It flowers May till August; leaves when dried have only a slight odour, but when fresh and rubbed are sweet-smelling; taste astringently sweetish and not disagreeably bitter.
Leaves contain various crystalline constituents, Chimaphilin, etc. also arbutin gum, resin, starch, pectic acid, extractive fatty matter, chlorophyll tannic acid, sugar, potassa, lime, iron, magnesia, chloride of sodium, sulphuric phosphoric and silicic acids.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Diuretic, astringent, tonic, alterative. The fresh leaves, when bruised and applied to the skin, act as vesicants and rubefacients, of great use in cardiac and kidney diseases, chronic rheumatism and scrofula. The decoction is advantageous for chronic gonorrhoea, strangury, catarrh of the bladder, and a good cure for ascites. It is said to diminish lithic acid in the urine; for dropsy it is useful combined with other medicines; it is a substitute for uva-ursi and less obnoxious; said to be of value in diabetes, but this has not yet been confirmed; and it is very efficacious for skin diseases.
Decoction, 1 to 4 fluid ounces three times daily. Fluid extract, B.P.C., 15 to 45 grains. Fluid extract, B.P.C., 3 parts syrup to 1 part fluid extract. Fluid extract, 1 to 45 grains.
Syrup. - Macerate 4 OZ. finely bruised leaves in 8 fluid ounces of water; let it stand 36 hours, strain till 1 pint of the fluid is obtained, evaporate to 1/2 pint, add 3/4 lb. sugar; dose, 1 to 2 tablespoonsful.
Dose of Chimaphilin, 1 to 5 grains. This is very valuable for scrofulous complaints, hence its name, 'King's Cure'; also used externally in the form of a decoction to unhealthy scrofulous sores.
C. maculata, or Spotted Wintergreen, is very similar, but the leaves are a deep olivegreen color with greenish-white veins. When fresh and bruised they have a peculiar odour, which is lost on drying; taste pleasantly bitter, astringent and sweetish. A solution of perchloride of iron makes the infusion green color. The leaves only are official, but all parts of the plant have active properties, and stem and leaves are often used together. The stem and root have a pungent taste and combine bitterness and astringency. Medicinal properties, diuretic with an antiseptic influence on the urine, occasionally prescribed for cystitis. The best preparation is the fluid extract.

Pitcher Plant

Botanical: Sarracenia purpurea (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Sarraceniaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Sarazina Gibbosa. Sarracenie. Eve's Cups. Fly-catcher. Fly-trap. Huntsman's Cup. Purple Side-saddle Flower. Side-saddle Plant. Water-cup. Nepenthes distillatoria.
---Parts Used---Root, leaves.
---Habitat---North America.
A strange, perennial plant, the leaves of which form cups, often richly colored, which become filled with water and small insects, and are covered by a lid in hot weather, due to the contraction of the fibres of the modified leaf-stalk. Water is sometimes present before opening. The insects gradually form a decaying mass, which emits a strong odour and probably serves as a fertilizer.
There appears to be little, if any, difference botanically between the American Sarracenia and the Nepenthes distillatoria of Ceylon, the East Indies and China. For lack of other definite information it may be concluded from the name that the latter is also used medicinally. (Nepenthe, from the Greek 'not' and 'grief.') In antiquity a magic potion, Nepenthe, is mentioned by Greek and Roman poets. It was said to cause forgetfulness of sorrows and misfortunes.
The plant requires a moist, well-drained situation, and being a creeping plant needs trellis-work for support. The flowers are insignificant, with five petals shaped like a violin.
An alkaloid, Sarracenine resin, a yellow coloring principle (probably sarracenic acid) and extractive. 'Sarracenine is white, soluble in alcohol and ether, combines with acids to form salts, and with sulphuric acid forms handsome needles which are bitter, and communicate this taste to its members.'
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Tonic, laxative, stomachic, diuretic. Used in the southern United States in dyspepsia. The drug was unknown in Europe until a few years ago, when Mr. Herbert Miles introduced it as a specific for smallpox, as used by the North American Indians with great success, saving life and even the unsightly pitting. Some homoeopaths confirm the value of the remedy, but allopaths do not appear to have been successful in its use, either in America, England or France.
Its principal value appears to be in torpid liver, stomach, kidney and uterus complaints.
---Dosages---Of tincture, 1 fluid drachm. Of fluid extract, 10 to 20 minims. Of powder, 10 to 30 grains.

Plantain, Common

Botanical: Plantago major (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Plantaginaceae
Medicinal Action and Properties
Broad-leaved Plantain. Ripple Grass. Waybread. Slan-lus. Waybroad. Snakeweed. Cuckoo's Bread. Englishman's Foot. White Man's Foot.
(Anglo-Saxon) Weybroed.
---Parts Used---Root, leaves, flower-spikes.
The Common Broad-leaved Plantain is a very familiar perennial 'weed,' and may be found anywhere by roadsides and in meadow-land.
It grows from a very short rhizome, which bears below a great number of long, straight, yellowish roots, and above, a large, radial rosette of leaves and a few Iong, slender, densely-flowered spikes. The leaves are ovate, blunt, abruptly contracted at the base into a long, broad, channelled footstalk (petiole). The blade is 4 to 10 inches long and about two-thirds as broad, usually smooth, thickish, five to eleven ribbed, the ribs having a strongly fibrous structure, the margin entire, or coarsely and unevenly toothed. The flower-spikes, erect, on long stalks, are as long as the leaves, 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick and usually blunt. The flowers are somewhat purplish-green, the calyx fourparted, the small corolla bell-shaped and four-lobed, the stamens four, with purple anthers. The fruit is a two-celled capsule, not enclosed in the perianth, and containing four to sixteen seeds.
The Plantain belongs to the natural order Plantaginaceae, which contains more than 200 species, twenty-five or thirty of which have been reported as in domestic use.
The drug is without odour: the leaves are saline, bitterish and acrid to the taste; the root is saline and sweetish.
The glucoside Aucubin, first isolated in Aucuba japonica, has been reported as occurring in many species.
---Medicinal Action and Properties---
Refrigerant, diuretic, deobstruent and somewhat astringent. Has been used in inflammation of the skin, malignant ulcers, intermittent fever, etc., and as a vulnerary, and externally as a stimulant application to sores. Applied to a bleeding surface, the leaves are of some value in arresting haemorrhage, but they are useless in internal haemorrhage, although they were formerly used for bleeding of the lungs and stomach, consumption and dysentery. The fresh leaves are applied whole or bruised in the form of a poultice. Rubbed on parts of the body stung by insects, nettles, etc., or as an application to burns and scalds, the leaves will afford relief and will stay the bleeding of minor wounds.
Fluid extract: dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm.
In the Highlands the Plantain is still called 'Slan-lus,' or plant of healing, from a firm belief in its healing virtues. Pliny goes so far as to state, 'on high authority,' that if 'it be put into a pot where many pieces of flesh are boiling, it will sodden them together.' He also says that it will cure the madness of dogs. Erasmus, in his Colloquia, tells a story of a toad, who, being bitten by a spider, was straightway freed from any poisonous effects he may have dreaded by the prompt eating of a Plantain leaf.
Another old Herbal says: 'If a woodhound (mad dog) rend a man, take this wort, rub it fine and lay it on; then will the spot soon be whole. ' And in the United States the plant is called 'Snake Weed,' from a belief in its efficacy in cases of bites from venomous creatures; it is related that a dog was one day stung by a rattlesnake and a preparation of the juice of the Plantain and salt was applied as promptly as possible to the wound. The animal was in great agony, but quickly recovered and shook off all trace of its misadventure. Dr. Robinson (New Family Herbal) tells us that an Indian received a great reward from the Assembly of South Carolina for his discovery that the Plantain was 'the chief remedy for the cure of the rattlesnake.'
The Broad-leaved Plantain seems to have followed the migrations of our colonists to every part of the world, and in both America and New Zealand it has been called by the aborigines the 'Englishman's Foot' (or the White Man's Foot), for wherever the English have taken possession of the soil the Plantain springs up. Longfellow refers to this in 'Hiawatha.'
Our Saxon ancestors esteemed it highly and in the old Lacnunga the Weybroed is mentioned as one of nine sacred herbs. In this most ancient source of Anglo-Saxon medicine, we find this 'salve for flying venom':
'Take a handful of hammer wort and a handful of maythe (chamomile) and a handful of waybroad and roots of water dock, seek those which will float, and one eggshell full of clean honey, then take clean butter, let him who will help to work up the salve, melt it thrice: let one sing a mass over the worts, before they are put together and the salve is wrought up.
Some of the recipes for ointments in which Plantain is an ingredient have lingered to the present day. Lady Northcote, in The Book of Herbs (1903), mentions an ointment made by an old woman in Exeter that up to her death about twenty years ago was in much request. It was made from Southernwood, Plantain leaves, Black Currant leaves, Elder buds, Angelica and Parsley, chopped, pounded and simmered with clarified butter and was considered most useful for burns or raw surfaces. A most excellent ointment can also be made from Pilewort (Celandine), Elder buds, Houseleek and the Broad Plantain leaf.
Decoctions of Plantain entered into almost every old remedy, and it was boiled with Docks, Comfrey and a variety of flowers.
A decoction of Plantain was considered good in disorders of the kidneys, and the root, powdered, in complaints of the bowels. The expressed juice was recommended for spitting of blood and piles. Boyle recommends an electuary made of fresh Comfrey roots, juice of Plantain and sugar as very efficacious in spitting of blood. Plantain juice mixed with lemon juice was judged an excellent diuretic. The powdered dried leaves, taken in drink, were thought to destroy worms.
To prepare a plain infusion, still recommended in herbal medicine for diarrhoea and piles, pour 1 pint of boiling water on 1 OZ. of the herb, stand in a warm place for 20 minutes, afterwards strain and let cool. Take a wineglassful to half a teacupful three or four times a day.
The small mucilaginous seeds have been employed as a substitute for linseed. For 'thrush' they are recommended as most useful, 1 OZ. of seeds to be boiled in 1 1/2 pint of water down to a pint, the liquid then made into a syrup with sugar and honey and given to the child in tablespoonful doses, three or four times daily.
The seeds are relished by most small birds and quantities of the ripe spikes are gathered near London for the supply of cage birds.
Abercrombie, writing in 1822 (Every Man his own Gardener), giving a list of forty-four Salad herbs, includes Plantain.
Dr. Withering (Arrangement of Plants) states that sheep, goats and swine eat it, but that cows and horses refuse it.
It is a great disfigurement to lawns, rapidly multiplying if allowed to spread, each plant quite destroying the grass that originally occupied the spot usurped by its dense rosette of leaves.
Salmon's Herbal (1710) gives the following manifold uses for Plantage major:
'The liquid juice clarified and drunk for several days helps distillation of rheum upon the throat, glands, lungs, etc. Doses, 3 to 8 spoonsful. An especial remedy against ulceration of the lungs and a vehement cough arising from same. It is said to be good against epilepsy, dropsy, jaundice and opens obstructions of the liver, spleen and reins. It cools inflammations of the eyes and takes away the pin and web (so called) in them. Dropt into the ears, it eases their pains and restores hearing much decayed. Doses, 3 to 6 spoonsful more or less, either alone or with some fit vehicle morning and night. The powdered root mixed with equal parts of powder of Pellitory of Spain and put into a hollow tooth is said to ease the pain thereof. Powdered seeds stop vomiting, epilepsy, lethargy, convulsions, dropsy, jaundice, strangury, obstruction of the liver, etc. The liniment made with the juice and oil of Roses eases headache caused by heat, and is good for lunatics. It gives great ease (being applyed) in all hot gouts, whether in hands or feet, especially in the beginning, to cool the heat and repress the humors. The distilled water with a little alum and honey dissolved in it is of good use for washing, cleansing and healing a sore ulcerated mouth or throat.'
'Salmon also tells us that a good cosmetic is made with essence of Plantain, houseleeks and lemon juice.
Culpepper tells us that the Plantain is 'in the command of Venus and cures the head by antipathy to Mars, neither is there hardly a martial disease but it cures.' He also states that 'the water is used for all manner of spreading scabs, tetters, ringworm, shingles, etc.'
From the days of Chaucer onwards we find reference in literature to the healing powers of Plantain. Gower (1390) says: 'And of Plantaine he hath his herb sovereine,' and Chaucer mentions it in the Prologue of the Chanounes Yeman. Shakespeare, both in Love's Labour's Lost, iii, i, and in Romeo and Juliet, I, ii, speaks of the 'plain Plantain' and 'Plantain leaf' as excellent for a broken shin, and again in Two Noble Kinsmen, I, ii: 'These poore slight sores neede not a Plantin.' His reference to it in Troilus and Cressida, III. ii: 'As true as steel, as Plantage to the moon,' is an allusion that is now no longer clear to us. Again, Shenstone in the Schoolmistress: 'And plantain rubb'd that heals the reaper's wound.'

Plantain, Buck's Horn

Botanical: Plantago Coronopus (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Plantaginaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Cornu Cervinum. Herba Stella. Herb Ivy. Buckshorne. Hartshorne.
---Parts Used---
Whole plant, leaves.
It is an annual, found on sandy commons, waste places and chalky banks, especially near the sea, being fairly common and generally distributed in England.
The Buck's Horn Plantain is the only British species which has divided leaves more or less downy and usually prostrate. It is very variable in the size and in the lobing of the leaves, which are from 1 to 12 inches in length, one-ribbed, either deeply divided nearly to the base, or merely toothed and almost entire. The flower-spikes are slender, many-flowered, short or long, the bracts to the flowers have a long point and the sepals are strongly winged. The pale brown seeds are mucilaginous and adhere to the soil when they fall.
In Salmon's Herbal we find 'Our Common Buck's Horn Plantain' described thus:
'Root single, long and small, with several fibres. If sown or planted from seed, it rises up at first with small, long, narrow, hairy, dark-green leaves, almost like grass, without any division, but those that come after have deep divisions and are pointed at the end, resembling the snaggs of a Buck's Horn, from whence it took its name. When it is well grown, the leaves lie round about the root on the ground, resembling the form of a star and thereby called Herba Stella. There is also a prickly Buck's Horn Plantain, which is rougher, coarser and more prickly than the other. In Italy, they grow the first in their garden as a Sallet herb. The second grows on mountains and rocks. They both flower in May, June and July, their seeds ripening in the mean season and their leaves abide fresh and green in a manner all the winter. The qualities, specifications, preparation and virtues are the very same as those of Plantage major. The decoction in wine, if it is long drank, cureth the strangury and is profitable for such as are troubled with sand, gravel, stones, etc. The catasplasm of leaves and roots with bay salt applied to both wrists and bound on pretty hard (yet not too hard) cures agues admirably.'
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
As a remedy for ague, the whole plant, roots included, was even hung round the neck as an amulet.
Gerard says:
'The leaves boyled in drinke and given morning and evening for certain days together helpeth most wonderfully those that have sore eyes, watery or blasted, and most of the griefs that happen unto the eyes.'

Plantain, Hoary

Botanical: Plantago media (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Plantaginaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Part Used---Seeds.
The Hoary Plantain is a common meadow species. The broadly-elliptical leaves, on short flat stalks, spread horizontally from the crown of the root and lie so close to the ground as to destroy all vegetation beneath and to leave the impression of their ribs on the ground. The flowers are in a close, cylindrical spike, shorter than in Plantago major, but growing on a longer stalk, which is downy. They are very fragrant, and are conspicuous by their light purple anthers, the filaments being long and pink or purplish.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
This species is a reputed cure for blight on fruit-trees. A few green leaves from the plant, if rubbed on the part of the tree affected, it has been recently discovered, will effect an instantaneous cure, and the wounds on the stem afterwards heal with smooth, healthy coverings. The plant is often found growing underneath the trees in orchards.
The medicinal virtues of this species were considered to be much the same as the preceding ones, the seeds, boiled in milk, being laxative and demulcent.

Plantain, Ispaghul

Botanical: Plantago ovata (FORSK.)
Family: N.O. Plantaginaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Ispaghula. Spogel Seed. Plantago Ispaghula. Plantago decumbens.
---Part Used---
Dried seeds.
India, Persia, Spain, Canary Islands.
The corolla gives attachment to four protruded stamina, ovary free with one or two cells, containing one or more ovules.
The style capillar, terminated by a single subulate stigma. The fruit is a small pyxidium covered by the persistent corolla; seeds composed of a proper integument which covers a fleshy endosperm at the centre of which is a cylindrical axile and a homotype embryo, boat-shaped, acute at one end 1/12 to 1/8 inch long and 1/24 inch wide, pale-green brown with a darker elongated spot on the convex side; on concave side hilium is covered with the remains of a thin white membrane. It has no odour or taste, but the herbage is demulcent and bitter and somewhat astringent.
Mucilage contained in seed coat (sometimes used to stiffen linen), fixed oil, proteins.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Useful in place of linseed or barley, also for diarrhoea and dysentery; the decoction is a good demulcent drink, or seeds mixed with sugar and taken dry invaluable in this form for reducing inflamed mucous membranes of the intestinal canal - a mild laxative. When roasted the seeds become astringent and are used for children's diarrhcea. In European medicine they are used chiefly for chronic diarrhcea and for catarrhal conditions of the genito-urinary tract. Dose, 2 to 2 1/2 drachms of the seeds, mixed with sugar and taken dry. Decoction, 1/2 to 2 fluid ounces.
---Other Species---
The seeds of the Indian species, Plantago Amplexicaulis, are sold in the bazaars as Ispaghula. They are of a darker color than the official seeds, and are used in India as a demulcent in dysentery and other intestinal complaints.
P. decumbens (Forsk.), of South Africa, is regarded by some as the wild plant of which the preceding is a cultivated variety.
The seeds of P. arenaria (Waldst.), the SAND PLANTAIN, somewhat smaller, black and less glossy, and those of P. Cynops (Linn.), somewhat larger and lighter brown, are used similarly.
P. arenaria is an annual, with an erect, leafy, branched stem, bearing opposite, linear leaves and flowers in a spike, on long stalks, greenish-white. It flowers from June to September and grows in sandy, waste places, but in Britain has only been found on sandhills in one spot in Somerset and is not regarded as an indigenous species.

Plantain, Psyllium

Botanical: Plantago Psyllium (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Plantaginaceae
Psyllium Seeds. Fleaseed. Psyllion. Psyllios.
(Barguthti) Barguthi.
---Parts Used---
Seeds, leaves.
In Southern Europe, as well as in Northern Africa and Southern Asia, Plantago Psyllium (Linn.), Fleaseed is used similarly to P. major. The seeds are also used for their large yield of mucilage. Semen psyllii is the name given to the seeds of several species of European Plantago, but the best are those of P. Psyllium. They are dark brown on the convex side, shiny, inodorous and nearly tasteless, but mucilaginous when chewed. They are demulcent and emollient and may be used internally and externally in the same manner as flaxseed, which they closely resemble in medicinal properties.
P. Psyllium has once been found on ballast hills in Jersey, but has not permanently established itself.

Plantain, Ribwort

Botanical: Plantago lanceolata
Family: N.O. Plantaginaceae
Snake Plantain. Black Plantain. Long Plantain. Ribble Grass. Ribwort. Black Jack. Jackstraw. Lamb's Tongue. Hen Plant. Wendles. Kemps. Cocks. Quinquenervia. Costa Canina.
---Parts Used---Leaves, seeds.
Several of the wild Plantains have been used indiscriminately for Plantago major. Of these, the most important is Plantago lanceolatus (Linn.), the Ribwort Plantain.
This is a very dark green, slender perennial, growing much taller than P. major. Its leaf-blades rarely reach an inch in breadth, are three to five ribbed, gradually narrowed into the petioles, which are often more than a foot long. The flowerstalks are often more than 2 feet long, terminating in cylindrical blunt, dense spikes, 1/2 to 3 or 4 inches long and 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. It has the same chemical constituents as P. major.
When this Plantain grows amongst the tall grasses of the meadow its leaves are longer, more erect and less harsh, than when we find it by the roadside, or on dry soil. The leaves are often slightly hairy and have at times a silvery appearance from this cause, especially in the roadside specimens. The flower-stalks are longer than the leaves, furrowed and angular and thrown boldly up. The flowerhead varies a good deal in size and form, sometimes being much smaller and more globular than others. The sepals are brown and paper-like in texture and give the head its peculiar rusty look. The corolla is very small and inconspicuous, tubed and having four spreading lobes. The stamens, four in number, are the most noticeable feature, their slender white filaments and pale yellow anthers forming a conspicuous ring around the flower-head.
In some old books we find this species called Costa canina, in allusion to the prominent veinings on the leaves that earned it the name of Ribwort, and it is this feature that caused it to receive also the mediaeval name of Quinquenervia. Another old popular name was 'Kemps,' a word that at first sight seems without meaning, but when fully understood has a peculiar interest. The stalks of this plant are particularly tough and wiry, and it is an old game with country children to strike the heads one against the other until the stalk breaks. The Anglo-Saxon word for a soldier was cempa, and we can thus see the allusion to 'kemps.'
This species of Plantain abounds in every meadow and was brought into notice at one time as a possible fodder plant. Curtis, in his Flora Londonensis, says:
'The farmers in general consider this species of plantain as a favourite food of sheep and hence it is frequently recommended in the laying down of meadow and pasture land, and the seed is for that purpose kept in the shops.'
But its cultivation was never seriously taken up, for though its mucilaginous leaves are relished by sheep and to a certain extent by cows and horses, it does not answer as a crop, except on very poor land, where nothing else will grow. Moreover, it is very bitter, and in pastures destroys the more delicate herbage around it by its coarse leaves.
The seeds are covered with a coat of mucilage, which separates readily when macerated in hot water. The gelatinous substance thus formed has been used at one time in France for stiffening some kinds of muslin and other woven fabrics.
The leaves contain a good fibre, which, it has been suggested, might be adapted to some manufacturing purpose.

Plantain, Sea

Botanical: Plantago maritimo
Family: N.O. Plantaginaceae
---Synonyms---Sheep's Herb.
---Part Used---Herb.
The Sea Plantain has linear leaves grooved, fleshy and woolly at the base. It is common on the seashore and tops of mountains and is easily distinguished from the rest of the genus by its fleshy leaves.
It is so relished by sheep as food and considered so good for them, that in North Wales, where it has been cultivated, it is called Sheep's Herb, and the Welsh have two names for it, signifying 'the sheep's favourite morsel' and 'the suet producer.'
The RATTLESNAKE or NET-LEAVED PLANTAINS of the United States, Peramium ripens (Salisb.) (syn. Goodyera ripens, R. Br.), the White Plantain or Squirrel-ear, and P. pubescens (Willd.), peculiar little woodland herbs, their ovate leaves beautifully reticulated with white lines, are not allies of our common Plantains, but belong to the Orchid family.
The name WHITE PLANTAIN is also applied in the United States to Antennaria plantaginifolia (Linn.), the Ladies or Indian Tobacco, Spring Cudweed, or Life-Everlasting, to give several of its names, exceedingly common throughout Eastern North America, and one of the earliest blooming of spring plants in dry meadows, where it grows in patches.
It is used as a soothing expectorant with more or less marked stomachic properties.

Plantain, Water

Botanical: Alisma Plantago
Family: N.O. Alismaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Mad-Dog Weed.
---Part Used---Leaves.
The Water Plantain, though its name suggests a similarity, is in fact widely different to the Plantago species, and belongs to another natural order, Alismaceae. It is a water-plant, widely distributed in Europe, Northern Asia and North America and abundant in many parts of England, though only naturalized in Scotland. It grows freely around the margins of lakes or streams and in watery ditches, in company with the forget-me-not, brooklime, and other well-known waterside plants.
The name Alisma is said to be from the Celtic word for water, alis, in allusion to the aquatic habitat of the plant. The name Plantago was given by the early botanists because they were impressed with the similarity of form between the leaves of this plant and those of the plantain, and ignoring its dissimilarity in flower and fruit, etc., called it the 'Water Plantain.'
The roots of the Water Plantain are fibrous, but the base of the stem is swollen and fleshy, or tuberous and furnished with a tuft of numerous whitish hairs. The flower-stalk, which rises directly from it, is obtusely three- cornered, a form specially suitable to enable it to stem the current; it is from 1 to 3 feet in height. The flower-bearing branches that spring laterally from this at its upper extremity are thrown off in rings or whorls, and these branches are themselves branched in like fashion, the whole forming a loose pyramidal panicle. The large leaves, broad below, but tapering to a point, all spring directly from the root also and are borne on long, triangular stalks, growing in a nearly erect position. They are smooth in texture, their margins often more or less waved and are very strongly veined, the mid-rib and about three on each side being very conspicuous. The leaf-stems are deeply channelled, broadening out and sheathing at their bases. The flowers are attractive in form and color. The calyx is composed of three ovate, concave, spreading sepals, while the corolla has three showy petals of a delicate, pale pink color, somewhat round in form, slightly jagged at their edges. The stamens are six in number, their anthers being of a greenish tint. The fruit is composed of some twenty or more threecornered, clustering carpels, each containing one seed.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The Water Plantain has been considerably used medicinally, and is a drug of commerce. It contains a pungent, volatile oil and an acrid resin, to which all its virtues must be ascribed.
The drug has diuretic and diaphoretic properties, and has been recommended by herbalists in renal calculus, gravel, cystitis, dysentery and epilepsy.
The powdered rhizome and leaves are employed by herbalists, also an infusion and a tincture prepared from the swollen rhizome, in its fresh state, is a homoeopathic drug.
The powdered seeds were recommended by older herbalists as an astringent in cases of bleeding.
The bruised leaves are rubefacient and will inflame and sometimes even blister the skin, being injurious to cattle. They have been applied locally to bruises and swellings.
The roots formerly enjoyed some repute as a cure for hydrophobia (hence one of its names, formerly, Mad-Dog Weed), and have been regarded in Russia as a specific, but repeated experiments made with them in this country and a searching inquiry, have not confirmed their use as a remedy for this disease. Their acridity is lost in drying.
In America it has earned a reputation against the bite of the rattlesnake. The roots are also used medicinally in Japan, under the name of Saji Omodaka.
This group of plants, the Alismaceae, in general contains acrid juices, on account of which a number of species, besides the Water Plantain, have been used as diuretics and antiscorbutic.
Several species of Sagittaria, natives of Brazil, are astringent, and their expressed juice has been used in making ink.

Plantain Fruit

Botanical: Musa paradisiaca, Musa sapientum
Family: N.O. Musae
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Parts Used---
Fruit, unripe and ripe, Juice.
The tropical fruit known as Plantain belongs to the genus Musa, which contains about forty species, widely distributed throughout the tropics of the Old World and in some cases introduced into the New World.
The great use of the family resides in the use of the unripe fruits as food and to a much less extent in that of the ripe fruit - Bananas. In many parts of the tropics they are as important to the inhabitants as are the grain plants to those living in cooler regions. The northern limit of their cultivation is reached in Florida, the Canary Islands, Egypt and Southern Japan, and the southern limit in Natal and South Brazil. There has been considerable discussion as to whether they were growing in America before the discovery of the New World.
The unripe fruit is rich in starch, which on ripening turns into sugar.
The most generally used fruits are derived from Musa paradisiaca, of which an enormous number of varieties and forms exist in cultivation. The sub-species, sapientum, formerly regarded as a distinct species (M. sapientum), is the source of the fruits generally known in England as Bananas and eaten raw, while the name Plantain is given to forms of the species itself which require cooking. The species is probably a native of India and Southern Asia.
Other species are M. acuminata in the Malay Archipelago, M. Fehi, in Tahiti, and M. Cavendishii, the so-called Chinese Banana, which has a thinner rind and is found in cooler countries.
Plantains often reach a considerable size. The hardly-ripe fruit is eaten (whole or cut into slices) roasted, baked, boiled, fried, as an ingredient of soups and stews, and in general as potatoes are used, possessing, like the potato, only a slight or negative flavour and no sweetness. They are also dried and ground into flour as meal, Banana meal forming an important food-stuff, to which the following constituents have been assigned: Water 10.62, albuminoids 3.55, fat 1.15, carbohydrates 81.67 (more than 2/3 starch), fibre 1.15, phosphates 0.26, other salts, 1.60. The sugar is chiefly cane-sugar.
In East Africa and elsewhere an intoxicating drink is prepared from the fruit. The rootstock which bears the leaves is, just before the flowering period, soft and full of starch, and is sometimes used as food in Abyssinia, and the young shoots of several species are cooked and eaten.
The leaves cut into strips are plaited to form mats and bags; they are also largely used for packing and the finer ones for cigarette papers. The mature leaves of several species yield a valuable fibre, the best of which is 'Manila hemp.'
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The Banana family is of more interest for its nutrient than for its medicinal properties. Banana root has some employment as an anthelmintic and has been reported useful in reducing bronchocele.
The use of Plantain juice as an antidote for snake-bite in the East has been reported in recent years by the Lancet, an alleged cure at Colombo (reported in the Lancet, April 1, 1916), and again, in the same year, at Serampore:
'A servant of the Principal of the Government Weaving College was bitten by a venomous snake in the foot. The Principal applied a ligature eight inches above the bitten part and then cut it with a lancet and applied permanganate of potash, making the wound bleed freely. He then extracted some juice from a plantain tree and gave the patient about a cupful to drink. After drinking the plantain juice the man seemed to recover a little, and the wound was washed. He was made to walk up and down, and in the morning, when the ligature was removed, the man was declared cured.' - Lancet, June 10, 1916.
The BASTARD PLANTAIN (Heliconia Biha) belongs to a genus containing thirty species, natives of tropical America. Although it belongs to the same order as the Banana, and has very large leaves, 6 to 8 feet long and 18 inches wide, it has quite different fruit, namely, small succulent berries, each containing three hard, rugged seeds, and is not employed economically.

Pleurisy Root

Botanical: Asclepias tuberose (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Asclepiadaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Butterfly-weed. Swallow-wort. Tuber Root. Wind Root. Colic Root. Orange Milkweed.
---Part Used---Root.
The genus Asclepias contains about eighty species, mostly natives of North America, a few being indigenous to South America and Africa.
Asclepias tuberosa, common from Canada southwards, growing from Ontario to Minnesota, most abundantly southward and southwestward, is known popularly as Pleurisy Root, from its medicinal use. Its stem forms an exception to Asclepias in general, by being almost or entirely devoid of the acrid milky juice containing caoutchouc, that distinguishes the rest of the genus and has gained them the name of Milkweeds.
It is a handsome, fleshy rooted, perennial plant, growing 1 to 1 1/2foot high and bearing corymbs of deep yellow and orange flowers in September. When cultivated, it does not like being disturbed, and prefers good peat soil.
The rootstock, the part used medicinally, is spindle-shaped and has a knotty crown, slightly but distinctly annulate, the remainder longitudinally wrinkled.
The dried root as found in commerce is usually in cut or broken pieces of variable size, 1 to 6 inches long and about 3/4 inch in thickness, externally pale orange-brown, becoming greyish-brown when kept long, internally whitish. It is tough and has an uneven fracture; the broken surface is granular; that of the bark is short and brittle. The wood is yellowish, with large white medullary rays. The drug is almost inodorous, but has a bitterish and disagreeable, somewhat acrid taste.
The powdered drug is yellowish brown and when examined under the microscope shows numerous simple or 2 to 4 compound starch grains, also calcium oxalate crystals.
The Western Indians boil the tubers for food, prepare a crude sugar from the flowers and eat the young seed-pods, after boiling them, with buffalo meat. Some of the Canadian tribes use the young shoots as a potherb, after the manner of asparagus.
The root contains a glucosidal principle, Asclepiadin, which occurs as an amorphous body, is soluble in ether, alcohol and hot water. It also contains several resins, and odorous fatty matter, and a trace of volatile oil. It yields not more than 9 per cent of ash.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Antispasmodic, diaphoretic, expectorant, tonic, carminative and mildly cathartic.
From early days this Asclepias has been regarded as a valuable medicinal plant. It is one of the most important of the indigenous American remedies, and until lately was official in the United States Pharmacopoeia.
It possesses a specific action on the lungs, assisting expectoration, subduing inflammation and exerting a general mild tonic effect on the system, making it valuable in all chest complaints. It is of great use in pleurisy, mitigating the pain and relieving the difficulty of breathing, and is also recommended in pulmonary catarrh. It is extensively used in the Southern States in these cases, also in consumption, in doses of from 20 grains to a drachm in a powder, or in the form of a decoction.
It has also been used with great advantage in diarrhoea, dysentery and acute and chronic rheumatism, in low typhoid states and in eczema. It is claimed that the drug may be employed with benefit in flatulent colic and indigestion, but in these conditions it is rarely used.
In large doses it acts as an emetic and purgative.
A teacupful of the warm infusion (1 in 30) taken every hour will powerfully promote free perspiration and suppressed expectoration. The infusion may be prepared by taking 1 teaspoonful of the powder in a cupful of boiling water.
The decoction is taken in doses of 2 to 3 fluid ounces.
The dose of the fluid extract is 1/2 to 1 drachm; of Asclepin, 1 to 4 grains.
A much-recommended herbal recipe is: Essence of composition powder, 1 OZ.; fluid extract of Pleurisy Root, 1 OZ. Mix and take a teaspoonful three or four times daily in warm sweetened water.
It is often combined with Angelica and Sassafras for producing perspiration in fever and pleurisy and for equalizing the circulation of the blood.
More than a dozen other species have similar properties.

Ploughman's Spikenard
See Spikenard.


Botanical: Plumbago Europaea (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Plumbaginaceae
Leadwort. Dentallaria.
(French) Dentelaire.
---Parts Used---Root, herb.
China, Southern Europe, and cultivated in England in hot-houses.
A half-hardy herbaceous climbing, half-shrubby plant, with large trusses of pale-blue flowers, which are in bloom continuously through the summer. This variety is also known under the name of Plumbago Capensis, and is greatly used in German gardening.
Plumbagin, a crystallizable acrid principle obtained from the root.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
It is acrid, and when chewed creates a free flow of saliva, particularly if root is used; said to be of benefit to relieve toothache, and has long been used in France for that purpose, hence its name, dentalaire; also useful for itch - a decoction of the root in olive oil is much used.
---Other Species---P. Zeylanica is said to be a strong diaphoretic.

Poison Ivy
See Ivy, Poison.

Poison Oak
See Ivy, Poison.

Poke Root

Botanical: Phytolacca decandra (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Phytolaccaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Poisons and Antidotes
Other Species
Phytolacca Root. Phytolaccae Radix. Phytolacca Berry. Phytolaccae Bacca. Phytolacca Vulgaris. Phytolacca Americana. Blitum Americanum. Branching Phytolacca. Phytolaque. Garget. Pigeon Berry. Méchoacan du Canada. Bear's Grape. Poke Weed. Raisin d'Amérique. Red-ink Plant. American Spinach. Skoke. Crowberry. Jalap. Cancer-root. American Nightshade. Pocan or Cokan. Coakum. Chongras. Morelle à Grappes. Herbe de la Laque. Amerikanische scharlachbeere. Kermesbeere. Virginian Poke. Poke Berry.
---Parts Used---
Dried root, berries.
Indigenous to North America. Common in Mediterranean countries.
This is regarded as one of the most important of indigenous American plants, and one of the most striking in appearance. The perennial root is large and fleshy, the stem hollow, the leaves alternate and ovate-lanceolate, and the flowers have a white calyx with no corolla. The fruit is a deep purple berry, covering the stem in clusters and resembling blackberries.
The young shoots make a good substitute for asparagus, and poultry eat the berries, though large quantities give the flesh an unpleasant flavour, also causing it to become purgative, when eaten.
In Portugal the use of the juice of the berries to color port wines was discontinued because it spoilt the taste. The stain of the juice is a beautiful purple, and would make a useful dye if a way of fixing it were found.
A decoction of the roots has been used for drenching cattle.
As found in commerce the roots are usually sliced either longitudinally or transversely, are grey in color, hard and wrinkled. The fracture is fibrous. It is inodorous, and the taste is acrid and slightly sweet.
It is often used to adulterate belladonna, but may be recognized by the concentric rings of wood bundles in the transverse section. The leaves are used for the same purpose, requiring microscopical identification.
Phytolaccic acid has been obtained from the berries, and tannin. In theroot a non-reducing sugar, formic acid, and a small percentage of bitter resin have been found. The alkaloid Phytolaccin may be present in small quantities, but it has not been proved. A resinoid substance is called phytolaccin. The virtues are extracted by alcohol, diluted alcohol, and water. The powder is said to be sternutatory.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
A slow emetic and purgative with narcotic properties. As an alterative it is used in chronic rheumatism and granular conjunctivitis. As an ointment, in the proportion of a drachm to the ounce, it is used in psora, tinea capitis, favus and sycosis, and other skin diseases, causing at first smarting and heat.
The slowness of action and the narcotic effects that accompany it render its use as an emetic inadvisable. It is used as a cathartic in paralysis of the bowels. Headaches of many sources are benefited by it, and both lotion and tincture are used in leucorrhoea.
As a poultice it causes rapid suppuration in felons. The extract is said to have been used in chronic rheumatism and haemorrhoids.
Authorities differ as to its value in cancer. Great relief towards the close of a difficult case of cancer of the uterus was obtained by an external application of 3 OZ. of Poke Root and 1 OZ. of Tincture used in the strength of 1 tablespoonful to 3 pints of tepid water for bathing the part. It is also stated to be of undoubted value as an internal remedy in cancer of the breast.
The following prescription has been recommended: Fluid extracts of Phytolacca (2 OZ.), Gentian 1 OZ.) and Dandelion 1 OZ.), with Simple Syrup to make a pint. One teaspoonful may be taken after each meal.
Infused in spirits, the fruit is used in chronic rheumatism, being regarded as equal to Guaicum.
It is doubtful if the root will cure syphilis without the help of mercury.
As emetic, 10 to 30 grains. As alterative, 1 to 5 grains. Of fluid extract of berries, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Of fluid extract of root, 1/4 to 1/2 drachm; as an emetic, 15 drops; as an alterative, 2 drops. Phytolaccin, 1 to 3 grains.
---Poisons and Antidotes---
In the lower animals convulsions and death from paralysis of respiration may be caused. Overdoses may produce considerable vomiting and purging, prostration, convulsions and death.
---Other Species---Phytolacca drastica of Chile is a violent purgative.

Polypody Root
See Ferns.

Polyporus of Larch
See Fungi.


Botanical: Punica granatum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Lythraceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Grenadier. Cortex granati. Ecorce de Granade. Granatwurzelrinde. Melogranato. Malicorio. Scorzo del Melogranati. Cortezade Granada.
---Parts Used---
The root, bark, the fruits, the rind of the fruit, the flowers.
Western Asia. Now grows widely in Mediterranean countries, China and Japan.
The Latin name of the tree was Malus punica, or Punicum Malum, the Lybian or Carthaginian apple; while the name of granatum was bestowed on account of its many seeds. Having no close relations, the tree has been placed by various authorities in different orders, some giving it an order of its own, Granateae.
It is a small tree, not more than 15 feet high, with pale, brownish bark. The buds and young shoots are red, the leaves opposite, lanceolate, entire, thick, glossy and almost evergreen. The flowers are large and solitary, the crimson petals alternating with the lobes of the calyx. The fruit is the size of an orange, having a thick, reddish-yellow rind, an acid pulp, and large quantities of seeds.
The dried root bark is found in quills 3 to 4 inches long. It is yellowish-grey and wrinkled outside, the inner bark being smooth and yellow. It has a short fracture, little odour and a slightly astringent taste.
The rind of the fruit is in curved, brittle fragments, rough and yellowish-brown outside, paler and pitted within. It is called Malicorium.
The fruit is used for dessert, and in the East the juice is included in cooling drinks.
The flowers yield a red dye, and with leaves and seeds were used by the Ancients as astringent medicines and to remove worms.
The Pomegranate is mentioned in the Papyrus Ebers.
It is still used by the Jews in some ceremonials, and as a design has been used in architecture and needlework from the earliest times. It formed part of the decoration of the pillars of King Solomon's Temple, and was embroidered on the hem of the High-Priest's ephod.
There are three kinds of Pomegranates: one very sour, the juice of which is used instead of verjuice, or unripe grape juice; the other two moderately sweet or very sweet. These are (in Syria) eaten as dessert after being cut open, seeded, strewn with sugar and sprinkled with rosewater. A wine is extracted from the fruits, and the seeds are used in syrups and conserves.
The bark is used in tanning and dyeing giving the yellow hue to Morocco leather.
The barks of three wild Pomegranates are said to be used in Java: the red-flowered merah, the white-flowered poetih, and the black-flowered hitam.
The chief constituent of the bark (about 22 per cent) is called punicotannic acid. It also contains gallic acid, mannite, and four alkaloids, Pelletierine, Methyl-Pelletierine, Pseudo-Pelletierine, and IsoPelletierine.
The liquid pelletierine boils at 125 degrees C., and is soluble in water, alcohol, ether and chloroform.
The drug probably deteriorates with age.
The rind contains tannic acid, sugar and gum.
Pelletierine Tannate is a mixture of the tannates of the alkaloids obtained from the bark of the root and stem, and represents the taenicidal properties.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The seeds are demulcent. The fruit is a mild astringent and refrigerant in some fevers, and especially in biliousness, and the bark is used to remove tapeworm.
In India the rind is used in diarrhoea and chronic dysentery, often combined with opium.
It is used as an injection in leucorrhoea, as a gargle in sore throat in its early stages, and in powder for intermittent fevers. The flowers have similar properties.
As a taenicide a decoction of the bark may be made by boiling down to a pint 2 OZ. of bark that has been macerated in spirits of water for twenty-four hours, and given in wineglassful doses. It often causes nausea and vomiting, and possibly purging. It should be preceded by strict dieting and followed by an enema or castor oil if required.It may be necessary to repeat the dose for several days.
A hypodermic injection of the alkaloids may produce vertigo, muscular weakness and sometimes double vision.
The root-bark was recommended as a vermifuge by Celsus, Dioscorides and Pliny. It may be used fresh or dried.
Of rind and flowers in powder, 20 to 30 grains. Of pelletierine tannate, 3 to 5 grains. Of rind, 1 to 2 drachms. Fluid extract, root-bark, 1/4 to 2 drachms. Decoction, B.P., 1/2 to 2 OZ. Of decoction of 4 OZ. of bark to 20 of water, 1/2 a fluid ounce.
The bitter but non-astringent barks of Barberry and Box (Boxux sempervirens). Their infusion does not produce the deep blue precipitate with a persalt of iron.
Pinana is a dwarf variety naturalized in the West Indies.

Poplar, trembling

Botanical: Populus tremuloides (MICHX.)
Family: N.O. Salicaceae
American Aspen. White Poplar. Quaking Aspen.
---Part Used---Bark.
---Habitat---North America.
This tree does not grow well in Britain, but in America it grows up to 100 feet in height. It has a pale yellowish bark on the young trunk and main branches; broadly ovate finely-toothed leaves averaging 1 3/4 inch long and wide, and having fine hairs on the margin.
The bark should be collected in spring. It has a bitterish taste and no odour.
The bark probably has similar properties to that of Populus tremula of Europe, i.e. salicin and populin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Febrifuge and tonic, chiefly used in intermittent fevers. It has been employed as a diuretic in urinary affections, gonorrhoea and gleet. The infusion has been found helpful in debility, chronic diarrhcea, etc. Is a valuable and safe substitute for Peruvian bark.
Fluid extract, 1 drachm. Of salicin, in intermittents, 10 to 30 grains. Of populin, 1 to 4 grains.
---Other Species---
P. grandidentata, the large Aspen, is said to have more activity and bitterness.
P. candicans is also used.

Poppy, Plume

Botanical: Bocconia cordata
Family: N.O. Papaveraceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
---Part Used---
Juice of stems of leaves.
China, but grows freely in author's garden.
This plant was named in honour of a Sicilian botanist. A handsome and vigorous perennial, growing in erect tufts up to 8 feet. Flowers in very large panicles; the inflorescence is a soft creamy to brown plume, not showy, but has a fine effect; the blue-green downy leaves are very effective and elegant; the plant is propagated by seeds and division of the root.
Protopine, homo-chilidonine chelerythrine and sanguinarine have been isolated from the plant.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
The liquid from the root and the juice of the stems of the leaves are a deep orange and stains the hands; the juice from the stems of the leaves is used for insect-bites.
It is considered probable that the various species of this genus may have active medicinal qualities.
---Other Species---
The Mexican (Bocconia arborea, Watson)has been found to contain two alkaloids, one of which is probably Sanguinarine, and the leaves of other species are used in South America as purgatives and abortifacients.
B. frutescens and B. integrifolia are natives of the West Indies and Mexico, and are more tender than B. cordata, and are best protected or taken into greenhouse during the winter. It is easier to raise these by seeds than by cuttings.

Poppy, Red

Botanical: Papaver Rhoeas (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Papaveraceae
Corn Rose. Corn Poppy. Flores Rhoeados. Headache.
---Parts Used---
Flowers, petals.
The Common Red Poppy, growing in fields and waste places, has petals of a rich scarlet color when fresh, and is often nearly black at the base. They have the peculiar heavy odour of opium when fresh, but becomes scentless on drying.
There are several varieties, differing in the size of the lobes of the leaves and in the character of the fruit, which may be nearly cylindrical or globular, smooth or furnished with stiff hairs. The intensity of the scarlet coloring of the petals also varies. The fresh petals are used for preparing a syrup. The Red Poppy with petals having a dark spot at the base makes the deepest-colored syrup; that with the oblong capsule should not be used, as it contains an alkaloid resembling Thebaine in action.
The petals find a steady, though limited market, but must be collected in large quantities, by an organized band of collectors, to be of any use. Farmers might arrange to deliver the fresh petals to manufacturers. They can be collected by children in small muslin bags suspended from the neck, so that both hands are left free for gathering. The petals should not be taken out of the bags, but packed in them, among straw, and sent off the same day as collected, before they fade or lose their bright color. All the collecting should be done in dry weather, and all handling possible should be avoided.
Although in this country the Field Poppy is only regarded as a weed, and only a limited amount of the petals are used, it is cultivated in Flanders and several parts of Germany for the sake of its seeds, which are not only used in cakes, but from which an excellent oil is made, used as a substitute for olive oil.
The foliage is said to have been used as a vegetable, and the syrup prepared from the petals has been employed as an ingredient in soups and gruels.
Attempts have also been made to utilize the brilliant red of the petals as a dye, but the color has proved too fugitive to be of use. The syrup has, however, been used as a coloring matter for old ink.
Papaver Rhoeas is very slightly narcotic. The chief constituent of the fresh petals is the red coloring matter, which consists of Rhoeadic and Papaveric acids. This color is much darkened by alkalis.
All parts of the plant contain the crystalline non-poisonous alkaloid Rhoeadine. The amount of active ingredients is very small and rather uncertain in quantity. There is great controversy as to the presence of Morphine. Also it has not been determined whether Meconic Acid, which is present in opium, is a constituent.

Poppy, White

Steadman Shorter's Medical Dictionary, Poisons & Antidotes: Opium
Botanical: Papaver somniferum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Papaveraceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Opium Poppy. Mawseed.
---Parts Used---
Capsules, flowers.
The Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum, var. album) is indigenous to Asia Minor, and is cultivated largely in European and Asiatic Turkey, Persia, India and China for the production of Opium.
It has been observed growing on the cliffs between Folkestone and Dover.
The word opium is derived from the Greek opos (juice).
The plant is an erect, herbaceous annual, varying much in the colorof its flowers, as well as in the shape of the fruit and color of the seeds. All parts of the plant, but particularly the walls of the capsules, or seed-vessels, contain a system of laticiferous vessels, filled with a white latex.
The flowers vary in color from pure white to reddish purple. In the wild plant, they are pale lilac with a purple spot at the base of each petal. In England, mostly in Lincolnshire, a variety with pale flowers and whitish seeds is cultivated medicinally for the sake of the capsules. Belgium has usually supplied a proportion of the Poppy Heads used in this country, though those used for fomentations are mostly of home growth.
The capsules vary much in shape and size. They are usually hemispherical, but depressed at the top, where the many-rayed stigma occupies the centre; they have a swollen ring below where the capsule joins the stalk. Some varieties are ovoid, others again depressed both at summit and base. The small kidney-shaped seeds, minute and very numerous, are attached to lateral projections from the inner walls of the capsule and vary in color from whitish to slate. The heads are of a pale glaucous green when young. As they mature and ripen they change to a yellowish brown, and are then cut from the stem if the dried poppy heads are required.
Opium is extracted from the poppy heads before they have ripened, and from Poppies grown in the East, those grown in Europe yielding but little of the drug. When the petals have fallen from the flowers, incisions are made in the wall of the unripe capsules, care being taken not to penetrate to the interior. The exuded juice, partially dried, is collected by scraping - the scrapings being formed eventually into cakes, which are wrapped in poppy leaves or paper and further dried in the sun, the white milky juice darkening during the drying.
The first poppies cultivated in this country for the purpose of extracting opium were grown by Mr. John Ball, of Williton, in 1794, but the production of opium has not become a home industry, as was expected at the time. The cultivation of the Opium Poppy has also been experimentally carried out in France and Germany, but the expense of the necessary labour and land has been too great to render it profitable. The British Pharmacopoeia directs that opium, when used officially, must be obtained from Asia Minor. A certain amount is cultivated in Macedonia and exported from Salonica, and much of that cultivated in Persia is also sent to European markets. Chinese Opium is entirely consumed in the country and is not exported.
The most important constituents of opium are the alkaloids, whichconstitute in good opium about one-fifth of the weight of the drug. No fewer than twenty-one have been reported.
The principal alkaloid, both as regards its medicinal importance, and the quantity in which it exists, is Morphine. Next to this, Narcotine and Codeine are of secondary importance. Among the numerous remaining alkaloids, amounting in all to about 1 per cent of the drug, are Thebaine, Narceine, Papaverine, Codamine and Rhoeadine.
Meconic acid exists to the extent of about 5 per cent combined with morphine. This acid is easily identified, and is important in toxicological investigation, as corroborative of the presence of opium.
Meconin and meconiasin exist in small quantity only. Mucilage, sugar, wax, caoutchouc and salts of calcium, and magnesiumare also contained in opium, and sulphuric acid is found in the ash. The presence of starch, tannin, oxalic acid and fat, common constituents of most plants, indicates adulteration, as these substances do not occur normally in the drug. Powdered poppy capsules stones, small shot, pieces of lead, gum, grape must, sugary fruits, and other mechanical impurities, have also been used as adulterants of opium. The drug should not contain more than 12 1/2 per cent of moisture.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Hypnotic, sedative, astringent, expectorant, diaphoretic, antispasmodic.
The drug was known in very remote times and the Greeks and Romans collected it. It is probable that the physicians of the Arabian school introduced the drug into India, as well as into Europe. It was originally used only as a medicine, the practice of opium eating having first arisen, probably in Persia.
Opium is one of the most valuable of drugs, Morphine and Codeine, the two principal alkaloids, being largely used in medicine.
It is unexcelled as a hypnotic and sedative, and is frequently administered to relieve pain and calm excitement. For its astringent properties, it is employed in diarrhoea and dysentery, and on account of its expectorant, diaphoretic, sedative and antispasmodic properties, in certain forms of cough, etc.
Small doses of opium and morphine are nerve stimulants. The Cutch horsemen share their opium with their jaded steeds, and increased capability of endurance is observed alike in man and beast.
Opium and morphine do not produce in animals the general calmative and hypnotic effects which characterize their use in man, but applied locally, they effectually allay pain and spasm. Owing to the greater excitant action in veterinary patients, the administration of opium does not blunt the perception of pain as effectually as it does in human patients.
The British Pharmacopceia Tincture of Opium, popularly known as Laudanum, is made with 3 OZ. of Opium and equal parts of distilled water and alcohol, and for immediate effects is usually preferable to solid Opium. Equal parts of Laudanum and Soap Liniment make an excellent anodyne, much used externally.
Syrup of Poppy, B.P., 1885. Syrup Papav. alba. Capsules, 1 to 2 drachms.
Opium is not very quickly absorbed. When a poisonous dose has been swallowed, the stomach should be emptied as soon as possible by the stomach pump and washed with a solution of potassium permanganate. Administration of nitrites and of small doses of atropine hypodermically maintain cardiac action, but the atropine must be used cautiously, as full doses are apt to intensify paralysis both of the heart and spinal cord. The lethal tendency is further combated by strychnine used hypodermically and by artificial respiration. Coma is prevented by giving strong coffee and stimulant enemata and keeping the patient moving. Tincture of gall and other chemical antidotes are of little avail.
The leaves of Combretum Sundaicum, a plant native to the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, have been used in the form of a decoction of the roasted leaves, as a cure for the opium habit among the Chinese.
The plants prefer rich, moist soil and much sun, and are often grown in succession to wheat and barley.
The land is manured and ploughed in autumn, to ensure a fine tilth in spring. Sowing is done at the end of March or in April - according to weather - allowing 1 lb. of seed per acre, and drilling in rows a foot apart. The whitest seeds are preferred.
Plants which are too forward are liable to be cut down by late frosts, while if the seed is sown too late, the seedlings may become dwarfed if dry weather sets in before they are well established. A light roller is sufficient to ensure the seeds being covered.
When the plants are 3 or 4 inches high, cut them with the hoe into clumps about 6 to 9 inches apart, and afterwards 'single' them, leaving a solitary strong plant from each group. Weeding is necessary, and a dressing of soot may be given if support appears to be needed.
Poppy heads of pale color are most desired, but a week's rain, or even a few nights' heavy dew, may spoil the color of the ripening fruit. High winds and heavy rains may cause much destruction, as the plants become top-heavy. The yield is very variable.
The capsules are left on the stems after the petals have fallen, until they cease to enlarge. The stems should then be bent in the middle and the capsules left on the plant until they are firm, which will be about September.
In India, when the flowers are in bloom, the first step is the removal of the petals, which are used in packing the prepared drug. After a few days, the imperfectly ripened capsules are scarified from above downwards by two or three knives tied together and called 'mushturs.' These make a superficial incision, or series of incisions, into the capsule, whereupon a milky juice exudes, which is allowed to harden and is then removed and collected in earthen pots. The time of day chosen for slicing the capsules is about two o'clock in the afternoon, when the heat of the sun causes the speedy formation of a film over the exuded juice; great attention is also paid to the weather, as all these causes modify the quantity, quality, or speediness of exudation of the opium.
The capsules are submitted to two or three slicing processes at intervals of a few days, and the drug is ultimately conveyed to the government factory where it is kneaded into a homogeneous mass by native workmen.
The capsules contain the principal constituents of opium, the most important of which is the alkaloid Morphine, which exists in combination with meconic and sulphuric acids. The seeds are free from morphine; their principle constituent is the pale yellow fixed oil, used as a drying oil by artists, as well as for culinary and various technical purposes.
The action of poppy capsules is the same as that of opium, anodyne and narcotic, but much weaker.
The crushed capsules are used as a poultice, together with chamomile.
A syrup is prepared from the capsules, prescribed as an ingredient in cough medicine. Syrup of Poppy is often employed to allay cough and likewise as an opiate for children; in the latter case it should be used with great caution.
Decoction of Poppy, made from the bruised capsules and distilled water, is not given internally, but is employed as an external application to allay pain and soothe.
The broken capsules are sold at a cheaper rate, for making fomentations.
The grey seeds are sold for birds' food, under the name of 'maw' seed, and are derived from the dark-red flowered form of Papaver Somniferum; the var. album having white seeds.
On the Continent the seeds are much used in special poppy cakes and are sprinkled on rolls, as also in India, where they are used in the native pancakes or 'chupaties.'
Anodyne, expectorant. The fresh petals are directed by the British Pharmacopceia for preparing a syrup, which may be given in 1 drachm doses, occasionally, as a mild astringent, but is principally employed as a coloring agent for mixtures and gargles.
Culpepper tells us that a syrup made of the leaves and flowers is effectual in pleurisy and erysipelas, or the green leaves can be applied outwardly, made into an ointment, but Gerard says these claims are without foundation and that 'it is only chance when persons are relieved by it.'
Culpepper also tells us:
'it is more cooling than any of the other Poppies, and therefore cannot but be as effectual in hot agues, frenzies, and other inflammations either inward or outward. Galen saith, The seed is dangerous to be used inwardly. '
There are other varieties of the Field Poppy - P. Dubium, frequently met with in some parts of the country, is a smaller, more slender plant than P. Rhoeas, and may be at once distinguished by the capsule, which is twice as long as broad, and by the bristles, which are flattened up against the stem. P. hybridum is less branched than the Field Poppy, which it greatly resembles, but differs in the filaments of the stamens, which are dilated from below upwards; and in the capsule, which, though globular, is covered with stiff bristles. This species is rare in this country.
P. Argemone is the smallest of the British Poppies; its capsule is in shape like that of P. Dubium, but it has a few stiff hairs or bristles which are directed upwards.


Botanical: Solanum tuberosum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Solanaceae
---Part Used---
Edible tubers.
The Potato is nearly related to the Nightshades, belonging to the same genus, Solanum. Its flowers are very similar in form, but larger and paler in color than those of Solanum Dulcamara.
The stalks, leaves and green berries possess the narcotic and poisonous properties of the Nightshades, but the tubers we eat (which are not the root, but mere enlargements of underground stems, shortened and thickened, in which starch is stored up for the future use of the plant), not being acted on by light, do not develop the poisonous properties contained by that part of the plant above ground. The influence of light on the tubers can be observed if in spring-time young green potatoes are exposed to daylight, when it will be found that they become poisonous and have a disagreeable taste.
The Potato was introduced into Europe early in the sixteenth century, being brought to Spain from Peru, and was first brought into England in 1586 from North America, the colonists sent out by Sir Walter Raleigh bringing it back with them from Virginia.
Gerard, in his Herbal published in 1597, gives a figure of the Potato, under the name of 'Potato of Virginia' - to distinguish it from the Sweet Potato. The Herbal contains a portrait of himself on the frontispiece holding in his hand a spray of the Potato plant with flowers and berries.
Though Sir Walter Raleigh was the first to plant the Potato, on his estate at Youghall, near Cork, it is said that he knew so little about it that he tried to eat the berries, and on discovering their noxious character, ordered the plants to be rooted out. It is said that the gardener in doing so, first learnt the value of their wholesome tubers.
From Ireland, the Potato was soon after carried into Lancashire, but for some time Potatoes were only grown as a delicacy for the epicure, not as food for the people. Both Gerard and Parkinson refer to them in this manner. The Puritans opposed their cultivation, because no mention of them could be found in the Bible, and it was not until the middle of the eighteenth century that potatoes became common in this country as a vegetable. As late as 1716, Bradley, in his Historia Plantarum Succulentarum, speaks of them as 'inferior to skirrets and radishes.'
The Potato is indigenous in various parts of South America, plants in a wild state having been found on the Peruvian coast, as well as on the sterile mountains of Central Chile and Buenos Aires. The Spaniards are believed to have first brought it to Europe, from Quito, in the early part of the sixteenth century. It afterwards found its way into Italy, and from thence it was carried to Mons, in Belgium, by one of the attendants of the Pope's legate. In 1598 it was sent from Mons to the celebrated botanist Clusius at Vienna, who states that in a short time it spread rapidly throughout Germany.
In the time of James I, potatoes cost 2s. a pound, and are mentioned in 1619 among the articles provided for the royal household. In 1633, when their valuable properties had become more generally known, they were noticed by the Royal Society, and measures were taken to encourage their cultivation in case of famine; but it was not till nearly a century after this that they were grown to any extent in England. In 1725 they were introduced into Scotland and cultivated with much success, first in gardens, and afterwards (about 1760), when they had become plentiful, in the open fields.
On the Continent, the adoption of the Potato as a vegetable met with considerable prejudice, and it did not become a general article of food for some time after it was in general use here. Gerard says: 'Bauhine saith that he heard that the use of these roots was forbidden in Burgundy for that they were persuaded the too frequent use of them caused the leprosie' - a belief without any foundation, for the disease is now confined to countries where the Potato is not grown, and its antiscorbutic properties have been proved.
Linnaeus for some time objected to the use of the Potato on account of its connexion with the Deadly Nightshade and Bittersweet. Solanine, the poisonous active principle contained in the stalks, leaves and unripe fruit, is very powerful, and has not yet been fully investigated. It is also present in the peel of the tuber, but is dissipated and rendered inert when the whole potato is boiled and steamed, and is decomposed by baking.
The tuber is composed mainly of starch, which affords animal heat and promotes fatness, but the proportion of muscle-forming food is very small - it is said that 10 1/2 lb. of the tubers are only equal in value to 1 lb. of meat. The raw juice of the Potato contains no alkaloid, the chief ingredient being potash salts, which are present in large quantity. The tuber also contains a certain amount of citric acid - which, like Potash, is antiscorbutic - and phosphoric acid, yielding phosphorus in a quantity less only than that afforded by the apple and by wheat.
It is of paramount importance that the valuable potash salts should be retained by the Potato during cooking. If peeled and then boiled, the tubers lose as much as 33 per cent of potash and 23 per cent of phosphoric acid, and should, therefore, invariably be boiled or steamed with their coats on. Too much stress cannot be laid on this point. Peeled potatoes have lost half their food-value in the water in which they have been boiled.
The Potato is not only important as a valuable article of diet, but has many other uses, both medicinal and economic.
To carry a raw potato in the pocket was an old-fashioned remedy against rheumatism that modern research has proved to have a scientific basis. Ladies in former times had special bags or pockets made in their dresses in which to carry one or more small raw potatoes for the purpose of avoiding rheumatism if predisposed thereto. Successful experiments in the treatment of rheumatism and gout have in the last few years been made with preparations of raw potato juice. In cases of gout, rheumatism and lumbago the acute pain is much relieved by fomentations of the prepared juice followed by an application of liniment and ointment. Sprains and bruises have also been successfully treated by the Potato-juice preparations, and in cases of synovitis rapid absorption of the fluid has resulted. Although it is not claimed that the treatment in acute gout will cure the constitutional symptoms, local treatment by its means relieves the pain more quickly than other treatment.
Potato starch is much used for determining the diastatic value of malt extract.
Hot potato water has in years past been a popular remedy for some forms of rheumatism, fomentations to swollen and painful parts, as hot as can be borne, being applied from water in which 1 lb. of unpeeled potatoes, divided into quarters, has been boiled in 2 pints slowly boiled down to 1 pint Another potato remedy for rheumatism was made by cutting up the tubers, infusing them together with the fresh stalks and unripe berries for some hours in cold water, and applying in the form of a cold compress. The potatoes should not be peeled.
Uncooked potatoes, peeled and pounded in a mortar, and applied cold, have been found to make a very soothing plaster to parts that have been scalded or burnt.
The mealy flour of baked potato, mixed with sweet oil, is a very healing application for frost-bites. In Derbyshire, hot boiled potatoes are used for corns.
Boiled with weak sulphuric acid, potato starch is changed into glucose, or grape sugar, which by fermentation yields alcohol this spirit being often sold under the name of British Brandy.
A volatile oil - chemically termed Amylic alcohol, in Germany known as Fuselöl - is distilled by fermentation from potato spirit.
Although young potatoes contain no citric acid, the mature tubers yield enough even for commercial purposes, and ripe potato juice is an excellent cleaner of silks, cottons and woollens.
A fine flour is prepared from the Potato, and more used on the Continent than in this country for cake-making.

Potato, Prairie

Botanical: Psoralea
Family: N.O. Leguminosae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Prairie Turnip. Tipsinah. Taahgu.
---Parts Used---
Root, leaf, seeds.
United States. Other species of the genus in India and Europe.
The tubers of Psoralea esculenta are eaten by the Indians and settlers of the North-western United States. The other species have various medicinal qualities. P. pedunculata or P. melilotoides, the Virginian variety, is also known as Congo Root, Bob's Root, and Samson's Snakeroot.
Leaflets of P. obliqua, bitter, and of a distinct odour, have been found to be mixed with Buchu.
Of the tuber, 70 per cent starch and 5 per cent of a new sugar not yet fully investigated. The root of the Virginian variety contains a volatile oil of pungent taste, and a bitter principle, not tannin. The Indian P. corylifolia yields a useful oleoresin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
P. glandulosa, or yolochiahitl, has a leaf included in the Mexican Pharmacopceia as a tonic or anthelmintic, and an emetic root. P. bituminosa of Europe and P. physodes of California are tonic and emmenagogic. The root of the Virginian variety is a valuable, aromatic tonic, useful in chronic diarrhoea, while the Indian species is useful for leucoderma and other skin diseases.

Potato, Wild

Botanical: Convolvulus panduratus
Family: N.O. Convolvulaceae
Mechameck. Wild Jalap. Man-in-the-earth. Man-in-the-ground. Manroot. Now Ipomcea fastigiata, Sweet.
---Part Used---Root.
United States and a small amount in South America.
The perennial, tapering root is very large, being from 2 to 8 feet in length, and 2 to 5 inches in diameter. It is brownish-yellow outside, whitish and lactescent within, having an acrid taste and disagreeable odour. It loses 75 per cent of weight in drying. Usually it arrives in transverse, circular sections, not readily reducible to greyish powder. It is stated that the Red Indians can handle rattlesnakes with ease and safety after wetting their hands with the milky juice of the root. The leaves are 2 to 3 inches long, the flowers large and white, and the fruit an oblong, two-celled capsule.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Mildly cathartic and diuretic. It was formerly used in strangury and calculous diseases, and also slightly influences lungs, liver, and kidneys without excessive diuresis or catharsis. Probably the active principle would prove stronger than the crude root.
---Dosage---40 grains of the dried root.
POTATO (SWEET)...no listing

Prickly Ash
See Ash, Prickly.


Botanical: Primula vulgaris (HUDS.)
Family: N.O. Primulaceae
Parts Used Medicinally and Preparation for Market
Medicinal Action and Uses
---Parts Used---Root, herb.
The plant is abundant in woods, hedgerows, pastures and on railway embankments throughout Great Britain, and is in full flower during April and May. In sheltered spots in mild winters it is often found in blossom during the opening days of the year.
The Primrose possesses somewhat similar medicinal properties to those of the Cowslip. It has a root-stock, knotty with the successive bases of fallen leaves and bearing cylindrical, branched rootlets on all sides. The leaves are egg-shaped and oblong, about 5 inches long when fully developed, tapering into a winged stalk, about 1 1/4 inch broad in the middle, smooth above, the veins and veinlets prominent beneath and hairy, the margins irregularly toothed. The young leaf appears as a stout mid-rib, with the blade rolled on itself on either side into two crinkled coils laid tightly along it, in similar manner to the Cowslip.
The flowers are each on separate stalks. There are two kinds of flowers, externally apparently identical, but inwardly of different construction. Only one kind is found on each plant, never both, one kind being known as 'pin-eyed' and the other as 'thrumeyed.' In both, the green-tubed calyx and the pale yellow corolla of five petals, joined into a tube below and spreading into a disk above are identical, but in the centre of the pin-eyed flowers there is only the green knob of the stigma, looking like a pin's head, whereas in the centre of the thrum-eyed flowers there are five anthers, in a ring round the tube, but no central knob. Farther down the tube, there are in the pin-eyed flowers five anthers hanging on to the wall of the corolla tube, while in the thrum-eyed, at this same spot, is the stigma knob. At the bottom of the tube in both alike is the seed-case and round it the honey.
It was Darwin who first pointed out the reason for this arrangement. Only a longtongued insect can reach the honey at the base of the tube and when he starts collecting the honey on a pin-eyed flower, pollen is rubbed on the middle part of his proboscis from the anthers midway down the tube. As he goes from flower to flower on the same plant, there is the same result, but when he visits another plant with thrum-eyed flowers, then the pollen on his proboscis is just in the right place to rub on the stigma which only reaches half-way up the tube, his head meanwhile getting pollen from the long stamens at the throat of the tube, which in turn is transferred to the tall stigmas of the next pin-eyed flower he may visit. Thus both kinds of flowers are cross-fertilized in an ingenious manner. It is also remarkable that the pollen of the two flowers differs, the grains of that in the thrum-eyed flower being markedly larger, to allow it to fall on the long stigmas of the pin-eyed flowers and to put out long tubes to reach to the ovary-sac far below, whereas the smaller pollen destined for the shorter stigmas has only to send out a comparatively short tube to reach the seeds waiting to be fertilized. This diversity of structure ensures cross-fertilization only by such long-tongued insects as bees and moths.
---Parts Used Medicinally and Preparation for Market---
The whole herb, used fresh, and in bloom, and the root-stock (the so-called root) dried.
The roots of two- or three-year-old plants are used, dug in autumn. The roots must be thoroughly cleansed in cold water, with a brush, allowing them to remain in water as short a time as possible. All smaller fibres are trimmed off. Large roots may be split lengthwise to facilitate drying, but as a rule this will not be necessary with Primrose roots.
Both the root and flowers of the Primrose contain a fragrant oil and Primulin, which is identical with Mannite, whilst the somewhat acrid active principle is Saponin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Antispasmodic, vermifuge, emetic, astringent.
In the early days of medicine, the Primrosewas considered an important remedy in muscular rheumatism, paralysis and gout. Pliny speaks of it as almost a panacea for these complaints.
The whole plant is sedative and in modern days a tincture of the fresh plant in bloom, in a strength of 10 OZ. to 1 pint of alcohol, in doses of 1 to 10 drops has been used with success in America in extreme sensitiveness, restlessness and insomnia. The whole plant has somewhat expectorant qualities.
An infusion of the flowers was formerly considered excellent against nervous hysterical disorders. 'Primrose Tea,' says Gerard, 'drunk in the month of May is famous for curing the phrensie.' The infusion may be made of 5 to 10 parts of the petals to 100 of water.
In modern herbal medicine the infusion of the root is generally taken in tablespoonful doses as a good remedy against nervous headaches. A teaspoonful of the powdered dry root serves as an emetic.
'Of the leaves of Primrose,' Culpepper tells us, 'is made as fine a salve to heal wound as any I know.'
The leaves are said to be eagerly eaten by the common silkworm.
In ancient cookery the flowers were the chief ingredient in a pottage called 'Primrose Pottage.' Another old dish had rice, almonds, honey, saffron, and ground Primrose flowers. (From A Plain Plantain.)
The Primrose family is remarkable for the number of hybrids it produces. The garden 'Polyanthus of unnumbered dyes,' as the poet Thomson calls it in 'The Seasons,' is only another form (probably of the Cowslip or Oxlip) produced by cultivation. The Oxlip is distinguished from the Primrose by its flowers being stalked umbels and of a deeper shade of yellow and by its leaves becoming suddenly broader above the middle. It varies from the Cowslip by its tubular, not bell-shaped calyx and flat, not concave corolla.
The following note is from the Chemist and Druggist (March 5, 1921):
'The Oxlip is of more interest to the botanist than to the pharmacist, though at one time it shared with its cousins the cowslip and primrose the name Herba paralysis, and had, like them, a considerable reputation as a remedy in several diseases. Our official books distinguished between Herba paralysis and Primula veris, and attributed different virtues to them.

Primrose, Evening

Botanical: Cenothera biennis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Onagraceae
Parts Used
Medicinal Action and Uses
Tree Primrose.
---Parts Used---
Bark, leaves.
he Evening or Tree Primrose, though originally a native of North Arnerica, was imported first into Italy and has been carried all over Europe, being often naturalized on river-banks and other sandy places in Western Europe. It is often cultivated in English gardens, and is apparently fully naturalized in Lancashire and some other counties of England, having been first a garden escape.
The root is biennial, fusiform and fibrous, yellowish on the outside and white within. The first year, many obtuse leaves are produced, which spread flat on the ground. From among these in the second year, the more or less hairy stems arise and grow to a height of 3 or 4 feet. The later leaves are 3 to 5 inches long, 1 inch or more wide, pointed, with nearly entire margins and covered with short hairs. The flowers are produced all along the stalks, on axillary branches and in a terminating spike, often leafy at the base. The uppermost flowers come out first in June. The stalks keep continually advancing in height, and there is a constant succession of flowers till late in the autumn, making this one of the showiest of our hardy garden plants, if placed in large masses. The flowers are of a fine, yellow color, large and delicately fragrant, and usually open between six and seven o'clock in the evening, hence the name of Evening Primrose. From a horticultural point of view, the variety grandiflora or Lamarkiana should always be preferred to the ordinary kind, as the flowers are larger and of a finer color, having a fine effect in large masses, and being well suited for the wild garden.
The generic name is derived from oinos (wine) and thera (a hunt), and is an old Greek name given by Theophrastus to some plant, probably an Epilobium, the roots of which were eaten to provoke a relish for wine, as olives are now; others say it dispelled the effects of wine.
The large, bright yellow, fragrant flowers are mostly fertilized by twilight-flying insects, especially in the early season. Later the plants keep 'open house' practically all day. In America it is considered a troublesome pest; in England it is not formidable.
The roots of the Evening Primrose are eaten in some countries in the spring, and the French often use it for garnishing salads.
The Evening Primrose will thrive in almost any soil or situation, being perfectly hardy. It flourishes best in fairly good sandy soil and in a warm sunny position.
Sow the seeds an inch deep in a shady position out-doors in April, transplanting the seedlings when 1 inch high, 3 inches apart each way in sunny borders. Keep them free from weeds, and in September or the following March, transplant them again into the flowering positions. As the roots strike deep into the ground, care should be taken not to break them in removing.
Seeds may also be sown in cold frames in autumn for blooming the following year.
If the plants are once introduced and the seeds permitted to scatter, there will be a supply of plants without any special care.
---Parts Used---
Bark and leaves. The bark is peeled from the flower-stems and dried in the same manner as the leaves, which are collected in the second year, when the flowerstalk has made its appearance.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Astringent and sedative. The drug extracted from this plant, though not in very general use, has been tested in various directions, and has been employed with success in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders of a functional origin, asthma and whooping cough.
It has proved of service in dyspepsia, torpor of the liver, and in certain female complaints, such as pelvic fullness.
The dose ranges from 5 to 30 grains.
Henslow mentions another species, Cenothera odorata, which he states is found wild in the south of England, but only as a garden escape. It grows to 2 feet in height, with purplish stems and yellow flowers, 3 to 4 inches across. They are sweet-smelling, hence its specific name.
In The Treasury of Botany a large whiteflowered species is also mentioned, said to have run wild over some parts of the Nilghiri Hills in India.

Family: N.O. Primulaceae

The leaves of some species produce irritation to face and hands resulting sometimes in a form of eczema. This is caused by a secretion in the glandular hairs and is termed primula dermatitis. The roots of Primula grandiflora give a crystalline polyatomic alcohol, 'primulite,' said to be identical with hepatomic alcohol 'volemite.' Two glucosides, Primverin and Primulaverin, and an enzyme, primverase, have also been isolated in it.
The Primrose family is remarkable for the number of hybrids it produces. The garden 'Polyanthus of unnumbered dyes,' as the poet Thomson calls it in 'The Seasons,' is only another form (probably of the Cowslip or Oxlip) produced by cultivation, and is one of the most favourite plants in cottage gardens, of endless variety and easy cultivation. The Oxlip is distinguished from the Primrose by its flowers being stalked umbels and of a deeper shade of yellow and by its leaves becoming suddenly broader above the middle. It varies from the Cowslip by its tubular, not bell-shaped calyx and flat, not concave corolla.
All the hardy varieties of Primula, whether Primrose, Cowslip, Polyanthus or Auricula, may be easily propagated by dividing the roots of old plants in autumn. New varieties are raised from seed, which should be sown as soon as ripe, in leaf-mould, and pricked out into beds when large enough.
Among the many splendid flowers that are grown in our greenhouses none shows more improvement under the fostering hand of the British florist than the Chinese Prirnula, which originally had small, inconspicuous flowers, but now bears trusses of magnificent blooms ranging from the purest white to the richest scarlet and crimson. The Star Primulas which have attained an even greater popularity in late years are considered perhaps even more elegant, being looser in growth and carrying their plentiful blossoms in more graceful, if not more beautiful trusses. Both varieties are among the most beautiful of our winter-flowering plants, the toothed and lobed, somewhat heartshaped leaves being extremely handsome with their crimson tints.
Seeds of these greenhouse Primulas should be sown in the spring in gentle heat, the soil used being very fine and pleasantly moist. The seedlings must be pricked off and potted on as necessary, with a view to ensuring sturdy, healthy growth.
P. obconica is a slightly varying type of these greenhouse Primulas, the leaves approaching more the shape of those of the common Primrose; the plants are exceedingly floriferous and graceful, the full trusses of delicate lilac flowers are borne on tall slender stems and care must be used in the handling of it, as the leaves sometimes cause an eruption like eczema. Homoeopaths make a tincture from this species.
The broad, thick leaves of the Auricula (P. auricula), a frequent garden plant in this country, though not native to Great Britain, are used in the Alps as a remedy for coughs.


Botanical: Prunus domestica (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Plum Tree.
---Part Used---
Fruit, dried.
Asia and parts of Europe, best from Bordeaux.
A small tree, 15 to 20 feet high, with numerous spreading branches without spines, young branches smooth, leaves small, alternate on longish petioles, provided with linear, fimbriated, pubescent stipules which are quickly deciduous, blade about 2 inches long, oval, acute at both ends, crenatedentate, smooth above, more or less pubescent underneath, convolute in the bud, flowers appear before leaves. The cultivated plum has been developed from the wild plum, the thorns being lost in the process. Plums were known to the Romans in Cato's time.
Prunes have a faint peculiar odour and a sweetish slightly acidulous and viscid taste. The ripe fruit contains sugar, gum, albumen, malic acid, pectin, vegetable fibre, etc.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Dried prunes are mildly laxative and are frequently employed in decoction. They form a pleasant and nourishing diet for invalids when stewed; they enter into the composition of Confection of Senna. A medicinal tincture is prepared from the fresh flower-buds of the Blackthorn. Some 20 per cent of oil is obtainable by crushing the Plum kernel - this is clear, yellow in color and has an agreeable almond flavour and smell. It is used for alimentary purposes. The residue after pressing is used in the manufacture of a brandy, which is largely consumed in Hungary.

Psyllium Seeds
See Plantain, Psyllium.

See Anemone.

See Melon.

Purslane, Green
Botanical: Portulaca oleracea

Purslane, Golden
Botanical: Portulaca sativa
Family: N.O. Caryophylleae
Medicinal Action and Uses
Other Species
Garden Purslane. Pigweed.
---Parts Used---
Herb, juice, seeds.
The Purslanes are distributed all over the world. Portulaca oleracea, the Garden, or Green Purslane, is a herbaceous annual, native of many parts of Europe, found in the East and West Indies, China, Japan and Ascension Island, and though found also in the British Isles is not indigenous there.
It has a round, smooth, procumbent, succulent stem, growing about 6 inches high, with small, oblong, wedgeshaped, dark-green leaves, thick and stalked, clustered together, destitute of the bristle in their axils which others of the genus have. The flowers are small, yellow, solitary or clustered, stalkless, placed above the last leaves on the branches, blooming in June and July, and opening only for a short time towards noon.
The growth of the plant somewhat resembles Samphire, and the rich red color of the stems is very striking and most decorative in herb borders. The Golden Purslane (Portulaca sativa) is a variety of Purslane with yellow leaves, less hardy than the Green Purslane, but possessing the same qualities. The seeds of an individual plant have been known to produce both green and goldenleaved plants.
Purslane is a pleasant salad herb, and excellent for scorbutic troubles. The succulent leaves and young shoots are cooling in spring salads, the older shoots are used as a pot-herb and the thick stems of plants that have run to seed are pickled in salt and vinegar to form winter salads. Purslane is largely cultivated in Holland and other countries for these purposes. It is used in equal proportion with Sorrel to make the well-known French soup bonne femme. Gerard said of this herb: 'Raw Purslane is much used in sallads, with oil, salt and vinegar. It cools the blood and causes appetite;' and Evelyn tells us that, 'familiarly eaten alone with Oyl and Vinegar,' moderation should be used, adding that it is eminently moist and cooling, 'especially the golden,' and is 'generally entertained in all our sallets. Some eate of it cold, after it has been boiled, which Dr. Muffit would have in wine for nourishment.'
Most of the plants in this order are mucilaginous. The root of one species, Lewisia rediviva, the Tobacco root, a native of North America, so called from its odour when cooked, possesses great nutritive properties. It is boiled and eaten by the Indians, and Hogg tells us that it proves most sustaining on long journeys, and that 2 or 3 OZ. a day are quite sufficient for a man, even while undergoing great fatigue. Claytonia tuberosa, another plant belonging to the same order as the Purslanes, likewise a native of North America, has also an edible root.
Purslane in ancient times was looked upon as one of the anti-magic herbs, and strewn round a bed was said to afford protection against evil spirits. We are told that it was a sure cure for 'blastings by lightening or planets and burning of gunpowder.'
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
It was highly recommended for many complaints. The expressed juice, taken while fresh, was said to be good for strangury, and taken with sugar and honey to afford relief for dry coughs, shortness of breath and immoderate thirst, as well as for external application in inflammation and sores.
It was supposed to cool 'heat in the liver' and to be excellent for 'hot agues,' and all pains in the head 'proceeding from the heat, want of sleep or the frenzy,' and also to stop haemorrhages.
The herb, bruised and applied to the forehead and temple, was said to allay excessive heat, and applied to the eyes to remove inflammation. Culpepper says: 'The herb if placed under the tongue assuayeth thirst. Applied to the gout, it easeth pains thereof, and helps the hardness of the sinews, if it come not of the cramp, or a cold cause.'
The juice, with oil of Roses, was recommended for sore mouths and swollen gums and also to fasten loose teeth. Another authority declared that the distilled water took away pains in the teeth, both Gerard and Turner telling us too, that the leaves eaten raw are good for teeth that are 'set on edge with eating of sharpe and soure things.'
The seeds, bruised and boiled in wine, were given to children as a vermifuge.
Sow the seeds in drills, on a bed of rich light earth, during any of the summer months, from May onwards. To have it early in the season, it should be sown upon a hot bed, at the end of March and planted out in a warm border in May. The Green Purslane is quite hardy, the Golden Purslane less so.
Keep the plants clear from weeds, and in dry weather water them two or three times a week. The Purslanes need rather more watering than most herbs.
In warm weather, they will be fit for use in six weeks. When the leaves are gathered, the plants must be cut low and then a fresh crop will appear.
To continue a succession, sow three or four times, at an interval of a fortnight or three weeks.
If the seeds are to be saved, leave some of the earliest plants for that purpose.
---Other Species---
Professor Hulme, in Familiar Wild Flowers, speaks of a variety which he calls the SEA PURSLANE (Atriplex portulacoides), common enough on the sea-shores of England and Ireland, though much less so in Scotland. It grows in saline marshes and muddy foreshores. It is a shrubby and much-branching plant, attaining to no great height, usually a foot to 18 inches - though occasionally to 2 feet. The lower portion of the stem is often somewhat creeping and rooting, which gives it a greater grip of the ground in view of fierce gales. The stems are often of a delicate purple color, more or less covered with a grey bloom. The foliage is of pointed, lancehead form, thick and fleshy, and entirely silvery white in color. The minute flowers are in little clusters that succeed one another at intervals on the short branches near the top of the plant and form a terminal head. The flowers are of two kinds: one is stamen-bearing, these stamens being five in number and within a five-cleft perianth; the other is pistilbearing and consists of two flattened segments, closing somewhat like the leaves of a book, and contained within the ovary. After the flowering is over, this flattened perianth considerably enlarges. This construction of the seed-bearing flower is of some specific importance, for in the present species and the A. pedunculata the two segments are united nearly to the top, while in another species, the A. rosea, these segments are not joined above their centres; and in a third, the A. hortensis, they are not joined at all.
An entirely different plant, one of the great Pink family, the Houckenya peploides, is sometimes called the 'ovate-leaved Sea Purslane.' It is a common plant on seabeaches, with large white five-petalled blossoms. Another name for it is 'ovate Sandwort.'
The generic title of the Sea Purslane, Atriplex, is one of Pliny's plant names. It is derived from two Greek words signifying 'not to flourish,' the meaning of the word applied to the plant is obscure. The specific name, Potrulacoides, signifies 'resembling the purslane plant,' the portulaca. Another name for the Sea Purslane is 'Shrubby Orache.'
The origin of the name 'Purslane' is unknown. Turner calls the plant 'purcellaine,' and in the Grete Herball, 1516, it is 'procelayne.'
In the North American prairies Purslane is called 'Pussly.'


Family: N.O. Pyrolaceae
Large Wintergreen
The species are known by the common name of Wintergreen.
The name Pyrola is a diminutive of Pyrus (a pear tree), from the resemblance of it leaves to those of the pear.


Botanical: Pyrola secunda
Pyrola secunda is known as Yevering Bells, from the resemblance of its flowers to little bells hung one above the other.
Low herbs, with a slender shortly creeping stock; orbicular or ovate, nearly radical leaves; and white or greenish, drooping flowers, either solitary or several in a short raceme, on leaflets, erect peduncles. Sepals five, small. Petals five, distinct or slightly joined at the base, forming at first a spreading corolla, which persists round the young capsule, assuming a globular shape. Stamens ten. Capsule five-celled, opening by slits in the middle of the cells.
Pyrola uniflora (one-flowered Wintergreen), found in woods, in Northern and Arctic Europe, Asia and America, and along the high mountain ranges of Central Europe. In pine woods from Perth and Aberdeen northwards. Flowers in the summer.
P. media (Intermediate Wintergreen), not found in England south of Warwick and Worcester, whence it extends to Shetland; it also is found in the north and west of Ireland.
P. minor (Common Wintergreen). In woods and moist shady places in Europe, Northern Asia and the extreme north of America, becoming a mountain plant in Southern Europe and the Caucasus. Frequent in Scotland, northern England, more local in southern England. Rare in Ireland. Flowers in the summer.
P. secunda. Very local in Britain, found in Monmouthshire and from Yorkshire northward to Ross-shire. It is very rare in the northeast of Ireland only. Flowers in the summer.


Botanical: Pyrola rotundifolia
Round-leaved Wintergreen.
A larger plant than Pyrola minor, with larger and whiter flowers and the petals more spreading, but chiefly distinguished from it by the long, protruding, much-curved style, usually at least twice as long as the capsule with a much smaller stigma, with short erect lobes.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---
Astringent, diuretic, tonic, antispasmodic. The decoction much used in skin diseases and to eradicate a scropulous condition from the system. The decoction also valuable as a gargle and wash for ophthalmic eyes.
Used internally for epilepsy and other nervous affections.
Dose of decoction, 1 fluid ounce three times daily. Solid extract, 2 to 4 grains. The Germans use this plant in their wound drinks and in many ointments and plasters. A decoction of the leaves with the addition of a little cinnamon and red wine cures bloody stools, ulcers of the bladder and restrains the menses.
Salmon says:
'The liquid juice. It consolidates green wounds, uniting their lips speedily together; and taken inwardly 2 or 3 spoonfuls at a time in wine and water, it stops inward fluxes of the blood and cures inward wounds. It stops the overflowing of the Terms in women, cures spitting and vomiting of Blood, the Hepatick Flux, Bloody Flux and all other Fluxes of the Bowels. It is said to cure ulcers and wounds in the Reins and Bladder, Womb and other secret parts, as also ulcers and Fistulas in any other part of the Body, being inwardly taken and outwardly applied. The decoction in wine and water . . . has all the former virtues, but not altogether so powerful and may be given morning and night from 3 ounces to 6, sweetened with syrup of the juice of the same.... The Balsam or Ointment is made with Hog's Lard, or with oil olive, Bees Wax and a little Turpentine . . . heals cankers of the mouth and gums.'


This is so well known, that it needs no description.
Government and virtues :
It is under the dominion of Mercury; is very comfortable to the stomach; helps to provoke urine and women's courses, to break wind both in the stomach and bowels, and doth a little open the body, but the root much more. It opens obstructions both of liver and spleen, and is therefore accounted one of the five opening roots. Galen commended it against the falling sickness, and to provoke urine mightily; especially if the roots be boiled, and eaten like Parsnips. The seed is effectual to provoke urine and women's courses, to expel wind, to break the stone, and ease the pains and torments thereof; it is also effectual against the venom of any poisonous creature, and the danger that comes to them that have the lethargy, and is as good against the cough. The distilled water of Parsley is a familiar medicine with nurses to give their children when they are troubled with wind in the stomach or belly which they call the frets; and is also much available to them that are of great years. The leaves of Parsley laid to the eyes that are inflamed with heat, or swollen, doth much help them, if it be used with bread or meal; and being fried with butter, and applied to women's breasts that are hard through the curdling of their milk, it abates the hardness quickly; and also takes away black and blue marks coming of bruises or falls. The juice thereof dropped into the ears with a little wine, eases the pains. Tragus sets down an excellent medicine to help the jaundice and falling sickness, the dropsy, and stone in the kidneys, in this manner: Take of the seed of Parsley, Fennel, Annise and Carraways, of each an ounce; of the roots of Parsley, Burnet, Saxifrage, and Carraways, of each an ounce and an half; let the seeds be bruised, and the roots washed and cut small; let them lie all night to steep in a bottle of white wine, and in the morning be boiled in a close earthen vessel until a third part or more be wasted; which being strained and cleared, take four ounces thereof morning and evening first and last, abstaining from drink after it for three hours. This opens obstructions of the liver and spleen, and expels the dropsy and jaundice by urine.


Descript :
The root, although it be very small and thready, yet it continues many years, from which arise many leaves lying along on the ground, each standing upon a long small foot-stalk, the leaves as broad as a man's nail, very deeply dented on the edges, somewhat like a parsley-leaf, but of a very dusky green color. The stalks are very weak and slender, about three or four fingers in length, set so full of leaves that they can hardly be seen, either having no foot-stalk at all, or but very short; the flowers are so small they can hardly be seen, and the seed as small as may be.
Place : It is a common herb throughout the nation, and rejoices in barren, sandy, moist places. It may be found plentifully about Hampstead Heath, Hyde Park, and in Tothill-fields.
Time : It may be found all the Summer-time, even from the beginning of April to the end of October.
Government and virtues : Its operation is very prevalent to provoke urine, and to break the stone. It is a very good sallad herb. It were good the gentry would pickle it up as they pickle up Samphire for their use all the Winter. I cannot teach them how to do it; yet this I can tell them, it is a very wholesome herb. They may also keep the herb dry, or in a syrup, if they please. You may take a dram of the powder of it in white wine; it would bring away gravel from the kidneys insensibly, and without pain. It also helps the stranguary.


The garden kind thereof is so well known (the root being commonly eaten) that I shall not trouble you with any description of it. But the wild kind being of more physical use, I shall in this place describe it unto you.
Descript :
The wild Parsnip differs little from the garden, but grows not so fair and large, nor hath so many leaves, and the root is shorter, more woody, and not so fit to be eaten, and therefore more medicinal.
Place : The name of the first shews the place of its growth. The other grows wild in divers places, as in the marshes in Rochester, and elsewhere, and flowers in July; the seed being ripe about the beginning of August, the second year after its sowing; for if they do flower the first year, the country people call them Madneps.
Government and virtues : The garden Parsnips are under Venus. The garden Parsnip nourishes much, and is good and wholesome nourishment, but a little windy, whereby it is thought to procure bodily lust; but it fastens the body much, if much need. It is conducible to the stomach and reins, and provokes urine. But the wild Parsnips hath a cutting, attenuating, cleansing, and opening quality therein. It resists and helps the bitings of serpents, eases the pains and stitches in the sides, and dissolves wind both in the stomach and bowels, which is the cholic, and provokes urine. The root is often used, but the seed much more. The wild being better than the tame, shews Dame Nature to be the best physician.


Descript :
This grows with three or four large, spread winged, rough leaves, lying often on the ground, or else raised a little from it, with long, round, hairy foot-stalks under them, parted usually into five divisions, the two couples standing each against the other; and one at the end, and each leaf, being almost round, yet somewhat deeply cut in on the edges in some leaves, and not so deep in others, of a whitish green color, smelling somewhat strongly; among which rises up a round, crusted, hairy stalk, two or three feet high, with a few joints and leaves thereon, and branched at the top, where stand large umbels of white, and sometimes reddish flowers, and after them flat, whitish, thin, winged seed, two always joined together. The root is long and white, with two or three long strings growing down into the ground, smelling likewise strongly and unpleasant.
Place :
It grows in moist meadows, and the borders and corners of fields, and near ditches, through this land.
Time : It flowers in July, and seeds in August.
Government and virtues : Mercury hath the dominion over them. The seed thereof, as Galen saith, is of a sharp and cutting quality, and therefore is a fit medicine for a cough and shortness of breath, the falling sickness and jaundice. The root is available to all the purposes aforesaid, and is also of great use to take away the hard skin that grows on a fistula, if it be but scraped upon it. The seed hereof being drank, cleanses the belly from tough phlegmatic matter therein, eases them that are liver-grown, women's passions of the mother, as well being drank as the smoke thereof received, and likewise raises such as are fallen into a deep sleep, or have the lethargy, by burning it under their nose. The seed and root boiled in oil, and the head rubbed therewith, helps not only those that are fallen into a frenzy, but also the lethargy or drowsy evil, and those that have been long troubled with the head-ache, if it be likewise used with Rue. It helps also the running scab and shingles. The juice of the flowers dropped into the ears that run and are full of matter, cleanses and heals them.


Descript :
A Peach tree grows not so great as the Apricot tree, yet spreads branches reasonable well, from whence spring smaller reddish twigs, whereon are set long and narrow green leaves dented about the edges. The blossoms are greater than the plumb, and of a light purple color; the fruit round, and sometimes as big as a reasonable Pippin, other smaller, as also differing in color and taste, as russet, red, or yellow, waterish or firm, with a frize or cotton all over, with a cleft therein like an Apricot, and a rugged, furrowed, great stone within it, and a bitter kernel within the stone. It sooner waxes old, and decays, than the Apricot, by much.
Place :
They are nursed in gardens and orchards through this land.
Time :
They flower in the Spring, and fructify in Autumn.
Government and virtues : Lady Venus owns this tree, and by it opposes the ill effects of Mars, and indeed for children and young people, nothing is better to purge choler and the jaundice, than the leaves or flowers of this tree being made into a syrup or conserve. Let such as delight to please their lust regard the fruit; but such as have lost their health, and their children's, let them regard what I say, they may safely give two spoonfuls of the syrup at a time; it is as gentle as Venus herself. The leaves of peaches bruised and laid on the belly, kill worms, and so they do also being boiled in ale and drank, and open the belly likewise; and, being dried, is a far safer medicine to discuss humours. The powder of them strewed upon fresh bleeding wounds stays their bleeding, and closes them up. The flowers steeped all night in a little wine standing warm, strained forth in the morning, and drank fasting, doth gently open the belly, and move it downward. A syrup made of them, as the syrup of roses is made, works more forcibly than that of roses, for it provokes vomiting, and spends waterish and hydropic humours by the continuance thereof. The flowers made into a conserve, work the same effect. The liquor that dropped from the tree, being wounded, is given in the decoction of Coltsfoot, to those that are troubled with a cough or shortness of breath, by adding thereunto some sweet wine, and putting some saffron also therein. It is good for those that are hoarse, or have lost their voice; helps all defects of the lungs, and those that vomit and spit blood. Two drams hereof given in the juice of lemons, or of radish, is good for them that are troubled with the stone, the kernels of the stones do wonderfully ease the pains and wringings of the belly through wind or sharp humours, and help to make an excellent medicine for the stone upon all occasions, in this manner: I take fifty kernels of peach-stones, and one hundred of the kernels of cherry-stones, a handful of elder flowers fresh or dried, and three pints of Muscadel; set them in a close pot into a bed of horse-dung for ten days, after which distil in a glass with a gentle fire, and keep it for your use. You may drink upon occasion three or four ounces at a time. The milk or cream of these kernels being drawn forth with some Vervain water and applied to the forehead and temples, doth much help to procure rest and sleep to sick persons wanting it. The oil drawn from the kernels, the temples being therewith anointed, doth the like. The said oil put into clysters, eases the pains of the wind cholic: and anointed on the lower part of the belly, doth the like, and dropped into the ears, eases pains in them; the juice of the leaves doth the like. Being also anointed on the forehead and temples, it helps the megrim, and all other pains in the head. If the kernels be bruised and boiled in vinegar, until they become thick, and applied to the head, it marvellously procures the hair to grow again upon bald places, or where it is too thin.


Pear Trees are so well known, that they need no description.
Government and virtues :
The Tree belongs to Venus, and so doth the Apple tree. For their physical use they are best discerned by their taste. All the sweet and luscious sorts, whether manured or wild, do help to move the belly downwards, more or less. Those that are hard and sour, do, on the contrary, bind the belly as much, and the leaves do so also. Those that are moist do in some sort cool, but harsh or wild sorts much more, and are very good in repelling medicines; and if the wild sort be boiled with mushrooms, it makes them less dangerous. The said Pears boiled with a little honey, help much the oppressed stomach, as all sorts of them do, some more, some less: but the harsher sorts do more cool and bind, serving well to be bound to green wounds, to cool and stay the blood, and heal up the green wound without farther trouble, or inflammation, as Galen saith he hath found by experience. The wild Pears do sooner close up the lips of green wounds than others.
Schola Selerni advises to drink much wine after Pears, or else (say they) they are as bad as poison; nay, and they curse the tree for it too; but if a poor man find his stomach oppressed by eating Pears, it is but working hard, and it will do as well as drinking wine.


Common Pellitory of Spain, if it be planted in our gardens, will prosper very well; yet there is one sort growing ordinarily here wild, which I esteem to be little inferior to the other, if at all. I shall not deny you the description of them both.
Descript : Common Pellitory is a very common plant, and will not be kept in our gardens without diligent looking to. The root goes down right into the ground bearing leaves, being long and finely cut upon the stalk, lying on the ground, much larger than the leaves of the Camomile are. At the top it bears one single large flower at a place, having a border of many leaves, white on the upper side, and reddish underneath, with a yellow thrum in the middle, not standing so close as that of Camomile.
The other common Pellitory which grows here, hath a root of a sharp biting taste, scarcely discernible by the taste from that before described, from whence arise divers brittle stalks, a yard high and more, with narrow leaves finely dented about the edges, standing one above another up to the tops. The flowers are many and white, standing in tufts like those of Yarrow, with a small yellowish thrum in the middle. The seed is very small.
Place :
The last grows in fields by the hedge sides and paths, almost everywhere.
Time :
It flowers at the latter end of June and July.
Government and virtues : It is under the government of Mercury, and I am persuaded it is one of the best purgers of the brain that grows. An ounce of the juice taken in a draught of Muskadel an hour before the fit of the ague comes, it will assuredly drive away the ague at the second or third time taken at the farthest. Either the herb or root dried and chewed in the mouth, purges the brain of phlegmatic humours; thereby not only easing pains in the head and teeth, but also hinders the distilling of the brain upon the lungs and eyes, thereby preventing coughs, phthisicks and consumption, the apoplexy and falling sickness. It is an excellently approved remedy in the lethargy. The powder of the herb or root being snuffed up the nostrils, procures sneezing, and eases the head-ache; being made into an ointment with hog's grease, it takes away black and blue spots occasioned by blows or falls, and helps both the gout and sciatica.


Descript :
It rises with brownish, red, tender, weak, clear, and almost transparent stalks, about two feet high, upon which grow at the joints two leaves somewhat broad and long, of a dark green color, which afterwards turn brownish, smooth on the edges, but rough and hairy, as the stalks are also. At the joints with the leaves from the middle of the stalk upwards, where it spreads into branches, stand many small, pale, purplish flowers in hairy, rough heads, or husks, after which come small, black, rough seed, which will stick to any cloth or garment that shall touch it. The root is somewhat long, with small fibres thereat, of a dark reddish color, which abides the Winter, although the stalks and leaves perish and spring every year.
Place :
It grows wild generally through the land, about the borders of fields, and by the sides of walls, and among rubbish. It will endure well being brought up in gardens, and planted on the shady side, where it will spring of its own sowing.
Time :
It flowers in June and July, and the seed is ripe soon after.
Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of Mercury. The dried herb Pellitory made up into an electuary with honey, or the juices of the herb, or the decoction thereof made up with sugar or honey, is a singular remedy for an old or dry cough, the shortness of breath, and wheezing in the throat. Three ounces of the juice thereof taken at a time, doth wonderfully help stopping of the urine, and to expel the stone or gravel in the kidneys or bladder, and is therefore usually put among other herbs used in clysters to mitigate pains in the back, sides, or bowels, proceeding of wind, stopping of urine, the gravel or stone, as aforesaid. If the bruised herb, sprinkled with some Muskadel, be warmed upon a tile, or in a dish upon a few quick coals in a chafing-dish, and applied to the belly, it works the same effect. The decoction of the herb being drank, eases pains of the mother, and brings down women's courses. It also eases those griefs that arise from obstructions of the liver, spleen, and reins. The same decoction, with a little honey added thereto, is good to gargle a sore throat. The juice held a while in the mouth, eases pains in the teeth. The distilled water of the herb drank with some sugar, works the same effects, and cleanses the skin from spots, freckles, purples, wheals, sun-burn, morphew, &c. The juice dropped into the ears, eases the noise in them, and takes away the pricking and shooting pains therein. The same, or the distilled water, assuages hot and swelling imposthumes, burnings and scaldings by fire or water; as also all other hot tumours and inflammations, or breakings-out, of heat, being bathed often with wet cloths dipped therein. The said juice made into a liniment with ceruss, and oil of roses, and anointed therewith, cleanses foul rotten ulcers, and stays spreading or creeping ulcers, and running scabs or sores in children's heads; and helps to stay the hair from falling off the head. The said ointment, or the herb applied to the fundament, opens the piles, and eases their pains; and being mixed with goats' tallow, helps the gout. The juice is very effectual to cleanse fistulas, and to heal them up safely; or the herb itself bruised and applied with a little salt. It is likewise also effectual to heal any green wound; if it be bruised and bound thereto for three days, you shall need no other medicine to heal it further. A poultice made hereof with Mallows, and boiled in wine and wheat bran and bean flour, and some oil put thereto, and applied warm to any bruised sinews, tendon, or muscle, doth in a very short time restore them to their strength, taking away the pains of the bruises, and dissolves the congealed blood coming of blows, or falls from high places.
The juice of Pellitory of the Wall clarified and boiled in a syrup with honey, and a spoonful of it drank every morning by such as are subject to the dropsy; if continuing that course, though but once a week, they ever have the dropsy, let them but come to me, and I will cure them gratis.


Pennyroyal is so well known unto all, I mean the common kind, that it needs no description.
There is a greater kind than the ordinary sort found wild with us, which so abides, being brought into gardens, and differs not from it, but only in the largeness of the leaves and stalks, in rising higher, and not creeping upon the ground so much. The flowers whereof are purple, growing in rundles about the stalks like the other.
Place :
The first, which is common in gardens, grows also in many moist and watery places of this land.
The second is found wild in effect in divers places by the highways from London to Colchester, and thereabouts, more abundantly than in any other counties, and is also planted in their gardens in Essex.
Time :
They flower in the latter end of Summer, about August.
Government and virtues : The herb is under Venus. Dioscorides saith, that Pennyroyal makes thin tough phlegm, warms the coldness of any part whereto it is applied, and digests raw or corrupt matter. Being boiled and drank, it provokes women's courses, and expels the dead child and after-birth, and stays the disposition to vomit, being taken in water and vinegar mingled together. And being mingled with honey and salt, it voids phlegm out of the lungs, and purges melancholy by the stool. Drank with wine, it helps such as are bitten and stung with venomous beasts, and applied to the nostrils with vinegar, revives those that are fainting and swooning. Being dried and burnt, it strengthens the gums. It is helpful to those that are troubled with the gout, being applied of itself to the place until it was red; and applied in a plaister, it takes away spots or marks in the face; applied with salt, it profits those that are splenetic, or livergrown. The decoction doth help the itch, if washed therewith. The green herb bruised and put into vinegar, cleanses foul ulcers, and takes away the marks of bruises and blows about the eyes, and all discolorings of the face by fire, yea, and the leprosy, being drank and outwardly applied. Boiled in wine with honey and salt, it helps the tooth-ache. It helps the cold griefs by the joints, taking away the pains, and warms the cold part, being fast bound to the place, after a bathing or sweating in a hot house. Pliny adds, that Pennyroyal and Mints together, help faintings, being put into vinegar, and smelled unto, or put into the nostrils or mouth. It eases head-aches, pains of the breast and belly, and gnawings of the stomach; applied with honey, salt, and vinegar, it helps cramps or convulsions of the sinews. Boiled in milk, and drank, it is effectual for the cough, and for ulcers and sores in the mouth; drank in wine it provokes women's courses, and expels the dead child, and after-birth. Matthiolus saith, The decoction thereof being drank, helps the jaundice and dropsy, all pains of the head and sinews that come of a cold cause, and clears the eye-sight. It helps the lethargy, and applied with barley-meal, helps burnings; and put into the ears, eases the pains of them.


Descript :
Male Peony rises up with brownish stalks, whereon grow green and reddish leaves, upon a stalk without any particular division in the leaf at all. The flowers stand at the top of the stalks, consisting of five or six broad leaves, of a fair purplish red color, with many yellow threads in the middle standing about the head, which after rises up to be the seed vessels, divided into two, three, or four crooked pods like horns, which being full ripe, open and turn themselves down backwards, shewing with them divers round, black, shining seeds, having also many crimson grains, intermixed with black, whereby it makes a very pretty shew. The roots are great, thick and long, spreading and running down deep in the ground.
The ordinary Female Peony hath as many stalks, and more leaves on them than the Male; the leaves not so large, but nicked on the edges, some with great and deep, others with small cuts and divisions, of a dead green color. The flowers are of a strong heady scent, usually smaller, and of a more purple color than the Male, with yellow thrums about the head, as the Male hath. The seed vessels are like horns, as in the Male, but smaller, the seed is black, but less shining. The root consists of many short tuberous clogs, fastened at the end of long strings, and all from the heads of the roots, which is thick and short, and of the like scent with the Male.
Place and Time :
They grow in gardens, and flower usually about May.
Government and virtues :
It is an herb of the Sun, and under the Lion. Physicians say, Male Peony roots are best; but Dr. Reason told me Male Peony was best for men, and Female Peony for women, and he desires to be judged by his brother Dr. Experience. The roots are held to be of more virtue than the seed; next the flowers; and, last of all, the leaves. The roots of the Male Peony, fresh gathered, having been found by experience to cure the falling sickness; but the surest way is, besides hanging it about the neck, by which children have been cured, to take the root of the Male Peony washed clean, and stamped somewhat small, and laid to infuse in sack for 24 hours at the least, afterwards strain it, and take it first and last, morning and evening, a good draught for sundry days together, before and after a full moon: and this will also cure old persons, if the disease be not grown too old, and past cure, especially if there be a due and orderly preparation of the body with possetdrink made of Betony, &c. The root is also effectual for women that are not sufficiently cleansed after child-birth, and such as are troubled with the mother; for which likewise the black seed beaten to powder, and given in wine, is also available. The black seed also taken before bed-time, and in the morning, is very effectual for such as in their sleep are troubled with the disease called Ephialtes, or Incubus, but we do commonly call it the Night-mare: a disease which melancholy persons are subject unto. It is also good against melancholy dreams. The distilled water or syrup made of the flowers, works the same effects that the root and seed do, although more weakly. The Female is often used for the purpose aforesaid, by reason the Male is so scarce a plant, that it is possessed by few, and those great lovers of rarities in this kind.


Descript : Our common Pepperwort sends forth somewhat long and broad leaves, of a light bluish green color, finely dented about the edges, and pointed at the ends, standing
upon round hard stalks, three or four feet high, spreading many branches on all sides, and having many small white flowers at the tops of them, after which follow small seeds in small heads. The root is slender, running much under ground, and shooting up again in many places, and both leaves and roots are very hot and sharp of taste, like pepper, for which cause it took the name.
Place :
It grows naturally in many places of this land, as at Clare in Essex; also near unto Exeter in Devonshire; upon Rochester common in Kent; in Lancashire, and divers other places; but usually kept in gardens.
Time :
It flowers in the end of June, and in July.
Government and virtues :
Here is another martial herb for you, make much of it. Pliny and Paulus Ægineta say, that Pepperwort is very successful for the sciatica, or any other gout or pain in the joints, or any other inveterate grief. The leaves hereof to be bruised, and mixed with old hog's grease, and applied to the place, and to continue thereon four hours in men, and two hours in women, the place being afterwards bathed with wine and oil mixed together, and then wrapped up with wool or skins, after they have sweat a little. It also amends the deformities or discolorings of the skin, and helps to take away marks, scars, and scabs, or the foul marks of burning with fire or iron. The juice hereof is by some used to be given in ale to drink, to women with child, to procure them a speedy delivery in travail.


Descript :
The common sort hereof hath many branches trailing or running upon the ground, shooting out small fibres at the joints as it runs, taking thereby hold in the ground, and rooteth in divers places. At the joints of these branches stand two small, dark-green, shining leaves, somewhat like bay leaves, but smaller, and with them come forth also the flowers (one at a joint) standing upon a tender foot-stalk, being somewhat long and hollow, parted at the brims, sometimes into four, sometimes into five leaves. The most ordinary sorts are of a pale blue color; some are pure white, some of a dark reddish purple color. The root is little bigger than rush, bushing in the ground, and creeping with his branches far about, whereby it quickly possesses a great compass, and is therefore most usually planted under hedges where it may have room to run.
Place :
Those with the pale blue, and those with the white flowers, grow in woods and orchards, by the hedge-sides, in divers places of this land; but those with the purple flowers, in gardens only.
Time :
They flower in March and April.
Government and virtues :
Venus owns this herb, and saith, That the leaves eaten by man and wife together, cause love between them. The Periwinkle is a great binder, stays bleeding both at mouth and nose, if some of the leaves be chewed. The French used it to stay women's courses. Dioscorides, Galen, and Ægineta, commend it against the lasks and fluxes of the belly to be drank in wine.


If Superstition had not been the father of Tradition, as well as Ignorance the Mother of Devotion, this herb, (as well as St. John's Wort) hath found some other name to be known by; but we may say of our forefathers, as St. Paul of the Athenians, I perceive in many things you are too superstitious. Yet seeing it is come to pass, that custom having got in possession, pleads prescription for the name, I shall let it pass, and come to the description of the herb, which take as follows.
Descript : It rises up with square upright stalks for the most part, some greater and higher than St. John's Wort (and good reason too, St. Peter being the greater apostle, (ask the Pope else;) for though God would have the saints equal, the Pope is of another opinion,) but brown in the same manner, having two leaves at every joint, somewhat like, but larger, than St. John's Wort, and a little rounder pointed, with few or no holes to be seen thereon, and having sometimes some smaller leaves rising from the bosom of the greater, and sometimes a little hairy also. At the tops of two stalks stand many star-like flowers, with yellow threads in the middle, very like those of St. John's Wort, insomuch that this is hardly discerned from it, but only by the largeness and height, the seed being alike also in both. The root abides long, sending forth new shoots every year.
Place :
It grows in many groves, and small low woods, in divers places of this land, as in Kent, Huntingdon, Cambridge, and Northamptonshire; as also near watercourses in other places.
Time :
It flowers in June and July, and the seed is ripe in August.
Government and virtues : There is not a straw to choose between this and St. John's Wort, only St. Peter must have it lest he should want pot herbs. It is of the same property as St. John's Wort, but somewhat weaker, and therefore more seldom used. Two drams of the seed taken at a time in honied water, purges choleric humours, (as saith Dioscorides, Pliny, and Galen,) and thereby helps those that are troubled with the sciatica. The leaves are used as St. John's Wort, to help those places of the body that have been burnt with fire.


Descript :
Common Pimpernel hath divers weak square stalks lying on the ground, beset all with two small and almost round leaves at every joint, one against another, very like Chickweed, but hath no foot-stalks; for the leaves, as it were, compass the stalk. The flowers stand singly each by themselves at them and the stalk, consisting of five small round-pointed leaves, of a pale red color, tending to an orange, with so many threads in the middle, in whose places succeed smooth round heads, wherein is contained small seed. The root is small and fibrous, perishing every year.
Place :
It grows almost every where, as well in the meadows and corn-fields, as by the way-sides, and in gardens, arising of itself.
Time :
It flowers from May until April, and the seed ripens in the mean time, and falls.
Government and virtues : It is a gallant solar herb, of a cleansing attractive quality, whereby it draws forth thorns or splinters, or other such like things gotten into the flesh; and put up into the nostrils, purges the head; and Galen saith also, they have a drying faculty, whereby they are good to solder the lips of wounds, and to cleanse foul ulcers. The distilled water or juice is much esteemed by French dames to cleanse the skin from any roughness and deformity, or discoloring thereof; being boiled in wine and given to drink, it is a good remedy against the plague, and other pestilential fevers, if the party after taking it be warm in his bed, and sweat for two hours after, and use the same for twice at least. It helps also all stingings and bitings of venomous beasts, or mad dogs, being used inwardly, and applied outwardly. The same also opens obstructions of the liver, and is very available against the infirmities of the reins. It provokes urine, and helps to expel the stone and gravel out of the kidneys and bladder, and helps much in all inward pains and ulcers. The decoction, or distilled water, is no less effectual to be applied to all wounds that are fresh and green, or old, filthy, fretting, and running ulcers, which it very effectually cures in a short space. A little mixed with the juice, and dropped into the eyes, cleanses them from cloudy mists, or thick films which grow over them, and hinder the sight. It helps the tooth-ache, being dropped into the ear on a contrary side of the pain. It is also effectual to ease the pains of the hæmorrhoids or piles.


Descript :
Our common Ground Pine grows low, seldom rising above a hand's breadth high, shooting forth divers small branches,
set with slender, small, long, narrow, greyish, or whitish leaves, somewhat hairy, and divided into three parts, many bushing together at a joint, some growing scatteringly upon the stalks, smelling somewhat strong, like unto rozin. The flowers are small, and of a pale yellow color, growing from the joint of the stalk all along among the leaves; after which come small and round husks. The root is small and woody, perishing every year.
Place :
It grows more plentifully in Kent than any other county of this land, as namely, in many places on this side Dartford, along to Southfleet, Chatham, and Rochester, and upon Chatham down, hard by the Beacon, and half a mile from Rochester, in a field near a house called Selesys.
Time :
It flowers and gives seed in the Summer months.
Government and virtues : Mars owns the herb. The decoction of Ground Pine drank, doth wonderfully prevail against the stranguary, or any inward pains arising from the diseases of the reins and urine, and is specially good for all obstructions of the liver and spleen, and gently opens the body; for which purpose they were wont in former times to make pills with the powder thereof, and the pulp of figs. It marvellously helps all the diseases of the mother, inwardly or outwardly applied, procuring women's courses, and expelling the dead child and after-birth; yea, it is so powerful upon those feminine parts, that it is utterly forbidden for women with child, for it will cause abortion or delivery before the time. The decoction of the herb in wine taken inwardly, or applied outwardly, or both, for some time together, is also effectual in all pains and diseases of the joints, as gouts, cramps, palsies, sciatica, and aches; for which purpose the pills made with powder of Ground Pine, and of Hermodactyls with Venice Turpentine are very effectual. The pills also, continued for some time, are special good for those that have the dropsy, jaundice, and for griping pains of the joints, belly, or inward parts. It helps also all diseases of the brain, proceeding of cold and phlegmatic humours and distillations, as also for the falling sickness. It is a special remedy for the poison of the aconites, and other poisonous herbs, as also against the stinging of any venomous creature. It is a good remedy for a cold cough, especially in the beginning. For all the purposes aforesaid, the herb being tunned up in new drink and drank, is almost as effectual, but far more acceptable to weak and dainty stomachs. The distilled water of the herb hath the same effects, but more weakly. The conserve of the flowers doth the like, which Matthiolus much commends against the palsy. The green herb, or the decoction thereof, being applied, dissolves the hardness of women's breasts, and all other hard swellings in any other part of the body. The green herb also applied, or the juice thereof with some honey, not only cleanses putrid, stinking, foul, and malignant ulcers and sores of all sorts, but heals and solders up the lips of green wounds in any part also. Let pregnant women forbear, for it works violently upon the feminine part.


This grows usually in meadows and fields, and by path sides, and is so well known, that it needs no description.
Time :
It is in its beauty about June, and the seed ripens shortly after.
Government and virtues :
It is true, Misaldus and others, yea, almost all astrology-physicians, hold this to be an herb of Mars, because it cures the diseases of the head and privities, which are under the houses of Mars, Aries, and Scorpio. The truth is, it is under the command of Venus, and cures the head by antipathy to Mars, and the privities by sympathy to Venus; neither is there hardly a martial disease but it cures.
The juice of Plantain clarified and drank for divers days together, either of itself, or in other drink, prevails wonderfully against all torments or excoriations in the intestines or bowels, helps the distillations of rheum from the head, and stays all manner of fluxes, even women's courses, when they flow too abundantly. It is good to stay spitting of blood and other bleedings at the mouth, or the making of foul and bloody water, by reason of any ulcers in the reins or bladder, and also stays the too free bleeding of wounds. It is held an especial remedy for those that are troubled with the phthisic, or consumption of the lungs, or ulcers of the lungs, or coughs that come of heat. The decoction or powder of the roots or seeds, is much more binding for all the purposes aforesaid than the leaves. Dioscorides saith, that three roots boiled in wine and taken, helps the tertian agues, and for the quartan agues, (but letting the number pass as fabulous) I conceive the decoction of divers roots may be effectual. The herb (but especially the seed) is held to be profitable against the dropsy, the falling-sickness, the yellow jaundice, and stoppings of the liver and reins. The roots of Plantain, and Pellitory of Spain, beaten into powder, and put into the hollow teeth, takes away the pains of them. The clarified juice, or distilled water, dropped into the eyes, cools the inflammations in them, and takes away the pain and web; and dropped into the ears, eases the pains in them, and heals and removes the heat. The same also with the juice of Houseleek is profitable against any inflammations and breakings out of the skin, and against burnings and scaldings by fire and water. The juice or decoction made either of itself, or other things of the like nature, is of much use and good effect for old and hollow ulcers that are hard to be cured, and for cankers and sores in the mouth or privy parts of man or woman; and helps also the pains of the piles in the fundament. The juice mixed with oil of roses, and the temples and forehead anointed therewith, eases the pains of the head proceeding from heat, and helps lunatic and frantic persons very much; as also the biting of serpents, or a mad dog. The same also is profitably applied to all hot gouts in the feet or hands, especially in the beginning. It is also good to be applied where any bone is out of joint, to hinder inflammations, swellings, and pains that presently rise thereupon. The powder of the dried leaves taken in drink, kills worms of the belly; and boiled in wine, kills worms that breed in old and foul ulcers. One part of Plantain water, and two parts of the brine of powdered beef, boiled together and clarified, is a most sure remedy to heal all spreading scabs or itch in the head and body, all manner of tetters, ring-worms, the shingles, and all other running and fretting sores. Briefly, the Plantains are singularly good wound herbs, to heal fresh or old wounds or sores, either inward or outward.


Are so well known that they need no description.
Government and virtues :
All Plums are under Venus, and are like women, some better, and some worse. As there is great diversity of kinds, so there is in the operation of Plums, for some that are sweet moistens the stomach, and make the belly soluble; those that are sour quench thirst more, and bind the belly; the moist and waterish do sooner corrupt in the stomach, but the firm do nourish more, and offend less. The dried fruit sold by the grocers under the names of Damask Prunes, do somewhat loosen the belly, and being stewed, are often used, both in health and sickness, to relish the mouth and stomach, to procure appetite, and a little to open the body, allay choler, and cool the stomach. Plum-tree leaves boiled in wine, are good to wash and gargle the mouth and throat, to dry the flux of rheum coming to the palate, gums, or almonds of the ear. The gum of the tree is good to break the stone. The gum or leaves boiled in vinegar, and applied, kills tetters and ringworms. Matthiolus saith, The oil preserved out of the kernels of the stones, as oil of almonds is made, is good against the inflamed piles, the tumours or swellings of ulcers, hoarseness of the voice, roughness of the tongue and throat, and likewise the pains in the ears. And that five ounces of the said oil taken with one ounce of muskadel, drives forth the stone, and helps the cholic.


Descript :
This is a small herb consisting of nothing but roots and leaves, bearing neither stalk, flower, nor seed, as it is thought. It hath three or four leaves rising from the root, every one single by itself, of about a hand length, are winged, consisting of many small narrow leaves cut into the middle rib, standing on each side of the stalk, large below, and smaller up to the top, not dented nor notched at the edges at all, as the male fern hath, of sad green color, and smooth on the upper side, but on the other side somewhat rough by reason of some yellowish flowers set thereon. The root is smaller than one's little finger, lying aslope, or creeping along under the upper crust of the earth, brownish on the outside and greenish within, of a sweetish harshness in taste, set with certain rough knags on each side thereof, having also much mossiness or yellow hairiness upon it, and some fibres underneath it, whereby it is nourished.
Place :
It grows as well upon old rotten stumps, or trunks of trees, as oak, beech, hazel, willow, or any other, as in the woods under them, and upon old mud walls, as also in mossy, stony, and gravelly places near unto wood. That which grows upon oak is accounted the best; but the quantity thereof is scarce sufficient for the common use.
Time :
It being always green, may be gathered for use at any time.
Government and virtues :
Polypodium of the Oak, that which grows upon the earth is best; it is an herb of Saturn, to purge melancholy; if the humour be otherwise, chuse your Polypodium accordingly. Meuse (who is called the Physician's Evangelist for the certainty of his medicines, and the truth of his opinion) saith, That it dries up thin humours, digests thick and tough, and purges burnt choler, and especially tough and thick phlegm, and thin phlegm also, even from the joints, and therefore good for those that are troubled with melancholy, or quartan agues, especially if it be taken in whey or honied water, or in barley-water, or the broth of a chicken with Epithymum, or with Beets and Mallows. It is good for the hardness of the spleen, and for pricking or stitches in the sides, as also for the cholic. Some use to put to it some Fennel seeds, or Annis seeds, or Ginger, to correct that loathing it brings to the stomach, which is more than needs, it being a safe and gentle medicine, fit for all persons, which daily experience confirms; and an ounce of it may be given at a time in a decoction, if there be not Sena, or some other strong purger put with it. A dram or two of the powder of the dried roots, taken fasting in a cup of honied water, works gently, and for the purposes aforesaid. The distilled water both of roots and leaves, is much commended for the quartan ague, to be taken for many days together, as also against melancholy, or fearful and troublesome sleeps or dreams; and with some sugarcandy dissolved therein, is good against the cough, shortness of breath, and wheezings, and those distillations of thin rheum upon the lungs, which cause phthisicks, and oftentimes consumptions. The fresh roots beaten small, or the powder of the dried roots mixed with honey, and applied to the member that is out of joint, doth much help it; and applied also to the nose, cures the disease called Polypus, which is a piece of flesh growing therein, which in time stops the passage of breath through that nostril; and it helps those clefts or chops that come between the fingers or toes.


There are two sorts of Poplars, which are most familiar with us, viz. the Black and White, both which I shall here describe unto you.
Descript :
The White Poplar grows great, and reasonably high, covered with thick, smooth, white bark, especially the branches; having long leaves cut into several divisions almost like a vine leaf, but not of so deep a green on the upper side, and hoary white underneath, of a reasonable good scent, the whole form representing the form of Coltsfoot. The catkins which it brings forth before the leaves, are long, and of a faint reddish color, which fall away, bearing seldom good seed with them. The wood hereof is smooth, soft, and white, very finely waved, whereby it is much esteemed.
The Black Poplar grows higher and straighter than the White, with a greyish bark, bearing broad green leaves, somewhat like ivy leaves, not cut in on the edges like the White, but whole and dented, ending in a point, and not white underneath, hanging by slender long foot stalks, which with the air are continually shaken, like as the Aspen leaves are. The catkins hereof are greater than those of the White, composed of many round green berries, as if they were set together in a long cluster, containing much downy matter, which being ripe, is blown away with the wind. The clammy buds hereof, before they spread into leaves are gathered to make Unguentum and Populneum, and are of a yellowish green color, and somewhat small, sweet, but strong. The wood is smooth, tough, and white, and easy to be cloven. On both these trees grows a sweet kind of musk, which in former times was used to put into sweet ointments.
Place :
They grow in moist woods, and by water-sides in sundry places of this land; yet the White is not so frequent as the other.
Time : Their time is likewise expressed before. The catkins coming forth before the leaves in the end of Summer.
Government and virtues :
Saturn hath dominion over both. White Poplar, saith Galen, is of a cleansing property. The weight of an ounce in powder, of the bark thereof, being drank, saith Dioscorides, is a remedy for those that are troubled with the sciatica, or the stranguary. The juice of the leaves dropped warm into the ears, eases the pains in them. The young clammy buds or eyes, before they break out into leaves, bruised, and a little honey put to them, is a good medicine for a dull sight. The Black Poplar is held to be more cooling than the White, and therefore the leaves bruised with vinegar and applied, help the gout. The seed drank in vinegar, is held good against the falling-sickness. The water that drops from the hollow places of this tree, takes away warts, pushes, wheals, and other the like breakings-out of the body. The young Black Poplar buds, saith Matthiolus, are much used by women to beautify their hair, bruising them with fresh butter, straining them after they have been kept for some time in the sun. The ointment called Populneon, which is made of this Poplar, is singularly good for all heat and inflammations in any part of the body, and tempers the heat of wounds. It is much used to dry up the milk of women's breasts when they have weaned their children.


Of this I shall describe three kinds, viz. the White and Black of the Garden, and the Erratic Wild Poppy, or Corn Rose.
Descript :
The White Poppy hath at first four or five whitish green leaves lying upon the ground, which rise with the stalk, compassing it at the bottom of them, and are very large, much cut or torn on the edges, and dented also besides. The stalk, which is usually four or five feet high, hath sometimes no branches at the top, and usually but two or three at most, bearing every one but one head wrapped up in a thin skin, which bows down before it is ready to blow, and then rising, and being broken, the flowers within it spreading itself open, and consisting of four very large, white, round leaves, with many whitish round threads in the middle, set about a small, round, green head, having a crown, or star-like cover at the head thereof, which growing ripe, becomes as large as a great apple wherein are contained a great number of small round seeds, in several partitions or divisions next unto the shell, the middle thereof remaining hollow, and empty. The whole plant, both leaves, stalks, and heads, while they are fresh, young, and green, yield a milk when they are broken, of an unpleasant bitter taste, almost ready to provoke casting, and of a strong heady smell, which being condensed, is called Opium. The root is white and woody, perishing as soon as it hath given ripe seed.
The Black Poppy little differs from the former, until it bears its flower, which is somewhat less, and of a black purplish color, but without any purple spots in the bottom of the leaf. The head of the seed is much less than the former, and opens itself a little round about the top, under the crown, so that the seed, which is very black, will fall out, if one turn the head thereof downward.
The Wild Poppy, or Corn Rose, hath long and narrow leaves, very much cut in on the edges into many divisions, of a light green color, sometimes hairy withal. The stalk is blackish and hairy also, but not so tall as the garden kind, having some such like leaves thereon to grow below, parted into three or four branches sometimes, whereon grow small hairy heads bowing down before the skin break, wherein the flower is inclosed, which when it is fully blown open, is of a fair yellowish red or crimson color, and in some much paler, without any spot in the bottom of the leaves, having many black soft threads in the middle, compassing a small green head, which when it is ripe, is not bigger than one's little finger's end, wherein is contained much black seeds smaller than that of the garden. The root perishes every year, and springs again of its own sowing. Of this kind there is one lesser in all parts thereof, and differs in nothing else.
Place :
The garden kinds do not naturally grow wild in any place, but all are sown in gardens where they grow.
The Wild Poppy or Corn Rose, is plentifully enough, and many times too much so in the corn fields of all counties through this land, and also on ditch banks, and by hedge sides. The smaller wild kind is also found in corn fields, and also in some other places, but not so plentifully as the former.
Time :
The garden kinds are usually sown in the spring, which then flower about the end of May, and somewhat earlier, if they spring of their own sowing.
The wild kind flower usually from May until July, and the seed of them is ripe soon after the flowering.
Government and virtues : The herb is Lunar, and of the juice of it is made opium; only for lucre of money they cheat you, and tell you it is a kind of tear, or some such like thing, that drops from Poppies when they weep, and that is somewhere beyond the seas, I know not where beyond the Moon. The garden Poppy heads with seeds made into a syrup, is frequently, and to good effect used to procure rest, and sleep, in the sick and weak, and to stay catarrhs and defluxions of thin rheums from the head into the stomach and lungs, causing a continual cough, the fore-runner of a consumption; it helps also hoarseness of the throat, and when one have lost their voice, which the oil of the seed doth likewise. The black seed boiled in wine, and drank, is said also to dry the flux of the belly, and women's courses. The empty shells, or poppy heads, are usually boiled in water, and given to procure rest and sleep: so doth the leaves in the same manner; as also if the head and temples be bathed with the decoction warm, or with the oil of Poppies, the green leaves or the heads bruised and applied with a little vinegar, or made into a poultice with barley-meal or hog's grease, cools and tempers all inflammations, as also the disease called St. Anthony's fire. It is generally used in treacle and mithridate, and in all other medicines that are made to procure rest and sleep, and to ease pains in the head as well as in other parts. It is also used to cool inflammations, agues, or frenzies, or to stay defluxions which cause a cough, or consumptions, and also other fluxes of the belly or women's courses; it is also put into hollow teeth, to ease the pain, and hath been found by experience to ease the pains of the gout.
The Wild Poppy, or Corn Rose (as Matthiolus saith) is good to prevent the falling-sickness. The syrup made with the flower, is with good effect given to those that have the pleurisy; and the dried flowers also, either boiled in water, or made into powder and drank, either in the distilled water of them, or some other drink, works the like effect. The distilled water of the flowers is held to be of much good use against surfeits, being drank evening and morning. It is also more cooling than any of the other Poppies, and therefore cannot but be as effectual in hot agues, frenzies, and other inflammations either inward or outward. Galen saith, The seed is dangerous to be used inwardly.


Garden Purslain (being used as a sallad herb) is so well known that it needs no description; I shall therefore only speak of its virtues as follows.
Government and virtues :
'Tis an herb of the Moon. It is good to cool any heat in the liver, blood, reins, and stomach, and in hot agues nothing better. It stays hot and choleric fluxes of the belly, women's courses, the whites, and gonorrhæa, or running of the reins, the distillation from the head, and pains therein proceeding from heat, want of sleep, or the frenzy. The seed is more effectual than the herb, and is of singular good use to cool the heat and sharpness of urine, venereous dreams, and the like; insomuch that the over frequent use hereof extinguishes the heat and virtue of natural procreation. The seed bruised and boiled in wine, and given to children, expels the worms. The juice of the herb is held as effectual to all the purposes aforesaid; as also to stay vomitings, and taken with some sugar or honey, helps an old and dry cough, shortness of breath, and the phthisick, and stays immoderate thirst. The distilled water of the herb is used by many (as the more pleasing) with a little sugar to work the same effects. The juice also is singularly good in the inflammations and ulcers in the secret parts of man or woman, as also the bowels and hæmorrhoids, when they are ulcerous, or excoriations in them. The herb bruised and applied to the forehead and temples, allays excessive heat therein, that hinders rest and sleep; and applied to the eyes, takes away the redness and inflammation in them, and those other parts where pushes, wheals, pimples, St. Anthony's fire and the like, break forth; if a little vinegar be put to it, and laid to the neck, with as much of galls and linseed together, it takes away the pains therein, and the crick in the neck. The juice is used with oil of roses for the same causes, or for blasting by lightening, and burnings by gunpowder, or for women's sore breasts, and to allay the heat in all other sores or hurts; applied also to the navels of children that stick forth, it helps them; it is also good for sore mouths and gums that are swollen, and to fasten loose teeth. Camerarius saith, the distilled water used by some, took away the pain of their teeth, when all other remedies failed, and the thickened juice made into pills with the powder of gum Tragicanth and Arabic, being taken, prevails much to help those that make bloody water. Applied to the gout it eases pains thereof, and helps the hardness of the sinews, if it come not of the cramp, or a cold cause.


They are so well known, that they need no description. Of the leaves of Primroses is made as fine a salve to heal wounds as any that I know; you shall be taught to make salves of any herb at the latter end of the book: make this as you are taught there, and do not (you that have any ingenuity in you) see your poor neighbours go with wounded limbs when an halfpenny cost will heal them.


Descript :
Our common Privet is carried up with many slender branches to a reasonable height and breadth, to cover arbours, bowers and banquetting houses, and brought, wrought, and cut into so many forms, of men, horses, birds, &c. which though at first supported, grows afterwards strong of itself. It bears long and narrow green leaves by the couples, and sweet smelling white flowers in tufts at the end of the branches, which turn into small black berries that have a purplish juice with them, and some seeds that are flat on the one side, with a hole or dent therein.
Place :
It grows in this land, in divers woods.
Time :
Our Privet flowers in June and July, the berries are ripe in August and September.
Government and virtues : The Moon is lady of this. It is little used in physic with us in these times, more than in lotions, to wash sores and sore mouths, and to cool inflammations, and dry up fluxes. Yet Matthiolus saith, it serves all the uses for which Cypress, or the East Privet, is appointed by Dioscorides and Galen. He further saith, That the oil that is made of the flowers of Privet infused therein, and set in the Sun, is singularly good for the inflammations of wounds, and for the headache, coming of a hot cause. There is a sweet water also distilled from the flowers, that is good for all those diseases that need cooling and drying, and therefore helps all fluxes of the belly or stomach, bloody-fluxes, and women's courses, being either drank or applied; as all those that void blood at the mouth, or any other place, and for distillations of rheum in the eyes, especially if it be used with them.



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