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Canterbury Bells.

Botanical name:

Trachelium majus.

A VERY beautiful wild plant with leaves like the stinging-nettle, and large and very elegant blue flowers. It grows by road-sides, and in dry pastures, and is two or throe feet high. The stalks are square, thick, upright, siring, and hairy. The leaves grow irregularly, they are of a dusky green, and stand upon long foot-stalks; they are broad at the base, and sharp at the point, and all the way indented very sharply at the edges. They are hairy and rough to the touch. The flowers grow ten or a dozen together at the top of every branch; they are very large and of a beautiful blue colour, hollow and divided into several parts at the extremity. If the soil be poor, the flowers will vary in their colour to a pale blue, reddish, or white, but the plant is still the same.

The fresh tops, with the buds of the flowers upon them, contain most virtue, but the dried leaves may be used. An infusion of them sharpened with a few drops of spirit of vitriol, and sweetened with honey, is an excellent medicine for sore throats, used by way of a gargle. The plant is so famous for this virtue, that one of its common English names is throat-wort: if the medicine be swallowed, there is no harm in it; but, in the use of every thing in this way, it is best to spit the liquor out together with the foulnesses which it may have washed from the affected parts.

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

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