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Bear's-foot.

Helleborus niger.

A LOW and singular plant, but not without its beauty: it is a native of many parts of Europe, but we have it only in gardens; the leaves are large; each rises from the root singly, on a foot-stalk of six inches long, and is divided into nine parts like fingers on a hand: sometimes the divisions are fewer. The flowers are very large and beautiful, they are as big as a common single rose, or nearly so; they are white, reddish, or greenish, according to the time of their having been open; and they stand each on a single stalk, which rises from the root, and has no leaves on it. It flowers in January.

The root is an excellent purge (Helleborus is considered toxic. -Henriette), it works briskly but safely; it destroys worms, and is good in dropsies, jaundice, and many other diseases, and even in madness. But it is very necessary to keep it in one's own garden, for, if the root be bought, they commonly sell that of the green flowered, wild or bastard hellebore (Veratrum viride. -Henriette) in its place, which is a rough medicine.


The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.



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