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Cockle.

Botanical name:

Pseudomelanthium.

A TALL, upright, and beautiful plant, wild in our corn-fields, with red flowers, and narrow leaves. It is two feet high: the stalk is single, slender, round, hairy, very firm, and perfectly upright. The leaves stand two at a joint, and are not very numerous: they are long, narrow, hairy, and of a bright green colour: the flowers, stand singly, one at the top of each branch. They are very large, and of a beautiful red. They have an elegant cup, composed of five narrow hairy leaves, which are much longer than the flower. The seed vessel is roundish, and the seeds are black. They are apt to be mixed among grain, and give the flour an ill taste.

The seeds are used; they work by urine, and open all obstructions; they promote the menses, and are good in the dropsy and jaundice; the best way of giving them is powdered, and put into an electuary to be taken far a continuance of time: for these medicines, whose virtues are against chronic diseases, do not take effect at once. Many have discontinued them for that reason: and the world in general is, from the same cause, become fond of chymical medicines, but these are safer, and they are more to be depended upon; and if the two practices were fairly tried, chymical medicines would loose their credit.


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



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