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White Dittany.

Botanical name:

Fraxinella.

A VERY beautiful plant, native of many of the warmer parts of Europe; but with us kept only in gardens. It is three foot high, very much branched and very beautiful. The stalks are round, thick, firm, and of a green or purplish colour. The leaves stand irregularly on them, and are like those of the ash tree, only smaller. The flowers are large and elegant: they are of a pale red, white, or striped; and they stand in a kind of spikes at the lop of the branches. The whole plant is covered in the summer months with a kind of balsam, which is glutinous to the touch, and of a very fragrant smell. This is so inflammable, that if a candle be brought near any part of the plant, it takes fire and goes off in a flash all over the plant. This does it no harm, and may be repeated after three or four days, a new quantity of the balsam being produced in that time. The roots of this plant are the only part used, and they are kept dry by the druggists. They are commended in fevers, and in nervous and hysteric cases, but their virtues are not great. I have found an infusion of the tops of the plant, a very pleasant and excellent medicine in the gravel; it works powerfully by urine, and gives ease in those colicy pains which frequently attend upon the disorder.


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



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