The Cotton Thistle.
A TALL and stately wild plant, common by our way sides, and known by its great white prickly leaves and red flowers. It is four or five feet high. The leaves which grow from the root are a foot and a half long, a foot broad, deeply indented at the edges, and beset with yellowish thorns; they are of a whitish colour, and seem covered with a downy matter of the nature of cotton. The stalks are thick, round, firm, and up right; and winged with a sort of leafy substances which rise from them, and have the same sort of prickles that are upon the leaves. The ordinary leaves upon the stalks are like those which grow from the root, only they are more deeply indented, and more prickly; the flowers are purple; they stand in long prickly heads, and make a beautiful appearance. The root is very long, thick, and white.
The root is the part used, and that should be fresh gathered. It opens obstructions, and is good against the jaundice, and in dropsies, and other disorders arising from obstructions. It also moderately promotes the menses. It may be dried and given in powder for the same purposes. But the virtues are much less.