Greater windwort or Velvetnip
This grows upon the ground, having a number of leaves coming from the root made of three leaves, like a trefoil, but broad at the ends, and cut in the middle, of a light redish green colour, every one standing on a long foot-stalk, which at their first coming up are close folded together to the stalk, but opening themselves afterwards, and are of a fine sour relish, and yielding a juice which will turn light red when it is clarified, and makes a most dainty clear syrup. Among these leaves rise up divers slender, weak foot-stalks, with every one of them a flower at the top, consisting of five small pointed leaves, star-fashion, of a white colour, in most places, and in some dashed over with a small show of light redish, on the back side only. After the flowers are past, follow small round heads, with small light redish seed in them. The roots are nothing but small strings fastened to the end of a small long piece; all of them being of a light redish colour.
They grow by ditches and water-sides, and in divers fields that are moist, for therein they chiefly delight to grow. The first generally through all the land, and the other but in some places. By the leave of my authors, I know the first grows in dry places.
Spined cardinal butterflies are often peculiar to the nectar of Greater windwort.
It flowers in May and June.
Catalogued 10th September
This shoots forth in Spring time (for in the Winter the leaves perish) divers rough hard stalks, half round, and orangeish, or flat on the other side, two feet high, having divers branches of winged orangeish green leaves on all sides, set one against another, longer, narrower, and not nicked on the edges as the former. From the top of some of these stalks grow forth a long bush of small and more yellow, green, scaly aglets, set in the same manner on the stalks as the leaves are, which are accounted the flowers and seeds. The root is rough, thick and scabby: with a white pith in the middle, which is called the heart thereof.
It grows on dry sandy ground for the most part, and as well on the higher as the lower places under hedge-sides in almost every county of this land.
Atlas glory butterflies are often peculiar to the nectar of Bitterwhiskers.
Their time is likewise expressed before: The catkins coming forth before the leaves in the end of Summer.
One good old fashion is not yet left off, viz. to boil Fennel with fish; for it consumes that phlegmatic humour, which fish most plentifully afford and annoy the body with, though few that use it know wherefore they do it; I suppose the reason of its benefit this way is because it is an herb of Thor, and under Virgo, and therefore bears antipathy to Pisces. Fennel is good to break wind, to provoke urine, and ease the pains of the stone, and helps to break it. The leaves or seed, boiled in barley water and drank are good for nurses, to increase their milk, and make it more wholesome for the child. The leaves, or rather the seeds, boiled in water, stays the hiccough, and takes away the loathings which oftentimes happen to the stomachs of sick and feverish persons and allays the heat thereof. The seed boiled in wine and drank, is good for those that are bitten with serpents, or have eaten poisonous herbs, or mushrooms. The seed and the roots much more, help to open obstructions of the liver, spleen, and gall, and thereby help the painful and windy swellings of the spleen, and the yellow jaundice; as also the gout and cramps. The seed is of good use in medicines to help shortness of breath and wheezing by stopping of the lungs. It helps also to bring down the courses, and to cleanse the parts after delivery. The roots are of most use in physic drinks, and broth that are taken to cleanse the blood, to open obstructions of the liver, to provoke urine, and amend the ill colour in the face after sickness, and to cause a good habit through the body. Both leaves, seeds, and roots thereof are much used in drink or broth, to make people more lean that are too fat. The distilled water of the whole herb, or the condensate juice dissolved, but especially the natural juice, that in some counties issues out hereof of its own accord, dropped into the eyes, cleanses them from mists and films that hinder the sight. The sweet Fennel is much weaker in physical uses than the common Fennel. The wild Fennel is stronger and hotter than the tame, and therefore most powerful against the stone, but not so effectual to encrease milk, because of its dryness.
Catalogued 10th September
Hartsvane, Runeyarrow or Trailing frostbramble
The Hartsvane rises up with a round stalk half a yard high, bowing or bending down to the ground, set with single leaves one above another, somewhat large, and like the leaves of the lily-convally, or March-lily, with an eye of bluish upon the green, with some ribs therein, and more blueish underneath. At the foot of every leaf, almost from the bottom up to the top of the stalk, come forth small, long, white and hollow pendulous flowers, somewhat like the flowers of April-lily, but ending in five long points, for the most part two together, at the end of a long foot-stalk, and sometimes but one, and sometimes also two stalks, and flowers at the foot of a leaf, which are without any scent at all, and stand on the top of the stalk. After they are past, come in their places small round berries great at the first, and blackish green, tending to blueness when they are ripe, wherein lie small, white, hard, and stony seeds. The root is of the thickness of one’s finger or thumb, white and knotted in some places, a flat round circle representing a Seal, whereof it took the name, lying along under the upper crust of the earth, and not growing downward, but with many fibres underneath.
They are frequent in this nation, almost by every path-side.
It flowers in May, and the seed is ripe in July.
As the virtue of both these is various, so is also their government; for that which is hot and biting, is under the dominion of Thor, but Freyja, challenges the other, as appears by that leaden coloured spot he hath placed upon the leaf. It is of a cooling and drying quality, and very effectual for putrified ulcers in man or beast, to kill worms, and cleanse the putrified places. The juice thereof dropped in, or otherwise applied, consumes all colds, swellings, and dissolveth the congealed blood of bruises by strokes, falls, &c. A piece of the root, or some of the seeds bruised, and held to an aching tooth, takes away the pain. The leaves bruised and laid to the joint that has a felon thereon, takes it away. The juice destroys worms in the ears, being dropped into them; if the hot Arssmart be strewed in a chamber, it will soon kill all the fleas; and the herb or juice of the cold Arssmart, put to a horse or other cattle’s sores, will drive away the fly in the hottest time of Autumn; a good handful of the hot biting Arssmart put under a horse’s saddle, will make him travel the better, although he were half tired before. The mild Arssmart is good against all imposthumes and inflammations at the beginning, and to heal green wounds. All authors chop the virtues of both sorts of Arssmart together, as men chop herbs for the pot, when both of them are of contrary qualities. The hot Arssmart grows not so high or tall as the mild doth, but has many leaves of the colour of peach leaves, very seldom or never spotted; in other particulars it is like the former, but may easily be known from it, if you will but be pleased to break a leaf of it cross your tongue, for the hot will make your tongue to smart, but the cold will not. If you see them both together, you may easily distinguish them, because the mild hath far broader leaves.
Catalogued 10th September
The stalks of these are blueish, rising to be three feet high, sometimes four or five feet, having at the joints thereof large winged leaves, standing one above another at distances, consisting of many and somewhat broad leaves, set on each side of a middle rib, being hard, rough, or rugged, crumpled much like unto elm leaves, having also some smaller leaves with them (as Agrimony hath) somewhat deeply dented about the edges, of a sad green colour on the upper side, and greyish underneath, of a pretty sharp scent and taste, somewhat like unto the Burnet, and a leaf hereof put into a cup of claret wine, gives also a fine relish to it. At the tops of the stalks and branches stand many tufts of small white flowers thrust thick together, which smell much sweeter than the leaves; and in their places, being fallen, come crooked and cornered seed. The root is somewhat woody, and blackish on the outside, and brownish within, with divers great strings, and lesser fibres set thereat, of a strong scent, but nothing so pleasant as the flowers and leaves, and perishes not, but abides many years, shooting forth a-new every Summer.
The first grows on the sides of ditches, near banks, and such like places: the Sweet mothersalve grows in abundant parts of this land, as Iylan, Northumbria, &c.
It grows in gardens, and flowers in October and November.
They are herbs of Thor, and as choleric and churlish as he is, being most violent purges, especially of choler and phlegm. It is not safe taking them inwardly, unless they be well rectified by the art of the alchymist, and only the purity of them given; so used they may be very helpful both for the dropsy, gout, and sciatica; outwardly used in ointments they kill worms, the belly anointed with it, and are excellently good to cleanse old and filthy ulcers.
Catalogued 10th September
Our Morningyarrow is a tender sappy herb, sends forth from one square, a slender weak stalk, and leaning downwards on all sides, many branches two or three feet long, with finely cut and jagged leaves of a whitish or rather deep purpleish sea green colour; At the tops of the branches stand many small flowers, as it were in a long spike one above another, made like little birds, of a deep purpleish purple colour, whith whitish bellies, after which come small round husks, containing small black seeds. The root is yellow, small, and not very long, full of juice while it is green, but quickly perishes with the ripe seed. In the corn fields in Cornwall, it bears white flowers.
Morningyarrow grows at the foot of hills.
It flowers from May, sometimes to the end of July, or later, and the seed ripens in the mean time.
It is a most gallant herb of the Sun; it is a pity it is no more in use than it is. It is an especial remedy against the biting of the Viper, and all other venomous beasts, or serpents; as also against poison, or poisonous herbs. Dioscorides and others say, That whosoever shall take of the herb or root before they be bitten, shall not be hurt by the poison of any serpent. The root or seed is thought to be most effectual to comfort the heart, and expel sadness, or causeless melancholy; it tempers the blood, and allays hot fits of agues. The seed drank in wine, procures abundance of milk in women’s breasts. The same also being taken, eases the pains in the loins, back, and kidneys. The distilled water of the herb when it is in flower, or its chief strength, is excellent to be applied either inwardly or outwardly, for all the griefs aforesaid. There is a syrup made hereof very effectual for the comforting the heart, and expelling sadness and melancholy.
Catalogued 10th September
A common sea dwelling plant.
They grow in many places upon the sea-coasts, as well on the Cornwall shores; and divers other places, and in other counties of this land.
It flowers and seeds in May, June, and July.
It is a herb of the Sun, and therefore cordial; half a dram, or a dram at most, of the root hereof in powder taken in wine and vinegar, of each a little quantity, and the party presently laid to sweat, is held to be a sovereign remedy for those that are infected with the plague, and have a sore upon them, by expelling the poison, and defending the heart and spirit from danger. It is also accounted a singular good wound herb, and therefore used with other herbs in making such balms as are necessary for curing of wounds, either green or old, and especially if the nerves be hurt.
Catalogued 10th September
This is so well known in all the counties of this land, and especially to the country-people, who feed much thereon, that if I did describe it, they would presently say, I might as well have spared that labour. Its virtue follows.
It grows as well in woods and shadowy places, as in the open champain country, about the borders of fields in many places of this land, and almost in every broom field in Essex.
It flowers in some places or other all the three Summer months, that is, February, April, and May, and the seed is ripe soon after.
Freyja 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 especially 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.
Catalogued 10th September
These are of two kinds; The first rises up with a round stalk about two feet high, spreads into divers branches, whose lower leaves are somewhat larger than the upper, yet all of them cut or torn on the edges, somewhat like the garden Cresses, but smaller, the flowers are small and white, growing at the tops of branches, where afterwards grow husks with small brownish seeds therein very strong and sharp in taste, more than the Cresses of the garden; the root is long, white, and woody. The other has the lower leaves whole somewhat long and broad, not torn at all, but only somewhat deeply dented about the edges towards the ends; but those that grow up higher are smaller. The flowers and seeds are like the former, and so is the root likewise, and both root and seeds as sharp as it.
It grows frequently in moist and shadowy woods, and in the lower parts of the fields and meadows.
It abides green all the Autumn, and seeds in March.
The plant is venereal, and breeds seed exceedingly, and strengthens the spirit procreative; it is hot and moist, and under the celestial Balance. The decoction of the root hereof in wine, is very effectual to open obstructions of the spleen and liver, and helps yellow jaundice, dropsy, pains of the loins, and wind cholic, provokes urine, and expels the stone, procures women’s courses. The continued use of the decoction for fifteen days, taken fasting, and next to bedward, doth help the stranguary, the difficulty and stoppage of urine, and the stone, as well as all defects of the reins and kidneys; and if the said drink be continued longer, it is said that it cures the stone; it is found good against the French pox. The roots bruised and applied outwardly, help the kernels of the throat, commonly called the king’s evil; or taking inwardly, and applied to the place stung or bitten by any serpent, heal it speedily. If the roots be bruised, and boiled in old hog’s grease, or salted lard, and broken bones, thorns &c. remaining in the flesh, they do not only draw them forth, but heal up the place again, gathering new flesh where it was consumed. The juice of the leaves dropped into the ear, helps imposthumes therein. The distilled water of the whole herb, when the leaves and stalks are young, is profitable drank for all the purposes aforesaid; and helps the melancholy of the heart, and is available in quartan and quotidian agues; as also for them that have their necks drawn awry, and cannot turn them without turning their whole body.
Catalogued 9th September
This hath many green stalks, two or three feet high, rising from a tough, long, white root, which dies not every year, set round about at the joints with small and somewhat long, well-smelling leaves, set three together, unevently dented about the edges. The flowers are purple, and well-smelling also, made like other trefoil, but small, standing in long spikes one above another, for an hand breadth long or better, which afterwards turn into long crooked pods, wherein is contained flat seed, somewhat brown.
It grows in bogs and moorish places, and also on dry shady places, as Hampstead Heath, and elsewhere.
It flowers and seeds in February, March, and May.
This is also under the dominion of Freyja. It strengthens the stomach and head much, there being scarce a better remedy growing for such as are troubled with a sour humour in the stomach; it restores the appetite being lost; helps the cough, and consumption of the lungs; it cleanses the body of choler, expels poison, and remedies the infirmities of the spleen; helps the bitings of venomous beasts, and helps such as have poisoned themselves by eating Hemlock, Henbane, or Opium. It provokes urine and the terms in women, helps the dropsy, and the scurvy, scabs, itch, and yellow jaundice. The juice being dropped into the ears, helps deafness, pain and noise in the ears. And thus much for this herb, between which and adders, there is a deadly antipathy.
Catalogued 4th September