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Chap. 001. Of Adders-Tongue.

Adder's Tongue. I. The Names. It is called in Greek ’Oςι’ογλώσεοϒ; in Latin, Lingua Serpentis, Lingua Serpentina, Lingua Vulneraria, Argentina, Lancea Christi, Herba Lucciola, Opbioglosson: in English, Adders Tongue, and Serpents Tongue.

II. The Kinds. There is properly but One Species, which is sometimes misshapen, and therefore are called the Common and misshapen: and differ only in one or two things: the latter has sometimes two or three stalks, and sometimes but one stalk and sometimes two or three Crooked Tongues.

III. The Description. The Root is small and Fibrous, abiding under Ground all Winter, from which rises up but one leaf, which with the stalk, arises not above five or six Inches from the Ground, being flat or thick, and of a fresh green colour, not much unlike in form to the head of a broad Javelin, or rather the leaves of Water Plantane, but lesser, without any middle rib in it: from the bosom or bottom of which leaf on the inside, rises up ordinarily one small tender stalk, about two or three, and sometimes four Inches long, the upper part of which is somewhat bigger, and dented with small round dents, of a yellowish green colour, much resembling an Adders-Tongue (whence the name) which never shows any other flower, and vanishes away without yielding any Seed.

IV. The Places. It grows in moist Meadows in most parts of England; in the Meadows by Colebrook; in the Fields in Waltham-Forrest; in a Meadow near Barton, as you go from Oxford to Stow-Wood: in a Close near Botely on the West-side of Oxford; and in many Meadows in Kent, Sussex and Surrey, as also near London, and several other parts of this Kingdom.

V. The Times. It is in its Prime in April and May, and flourishes sometimes till the beginning of June: but a little heat quickly makes it vanish.

VI. The Qualities. It is hot in the first degree, and dry in the second degree. It is Cleansing, Astringent, Sarcotick, and Traumatick, or Vulnerary; by appropriation, it is Arthritick and Hepatick. It is also an Alterative, and Antifebritick.

VII. The Specification. It is Vulnerary, good to heal Wounds, broken Bones and Ruptures. Mr. Ray saith, that Baptista Sardus affirms that the Pouder of the Herb, being given Inwardly for some time, will Cure all Ruptures whatsoever. And Matthiolus in his Epitome says, that the fresh leaves being applied, not only heal Wounds after a wonderful manner, but also Cure Ruptures, Burnings and Scaldings.

VIII. The Preparations. There are no Preparations of it kept in the Shops: but if you please you may make from it,

  • 1. A Juice.
  • 2. A Pouder.
  • 3. A Sulphureous Tincture.
  • 4. A Saline Tincture.
  • 5. An Oily Tincture.
  • 6. An Essence.
  • 7. An Ointment.
  • 8. A Balsam.
  • 9. A Cataplasm.

The Virtues

IX. The Juice Clarified, cleanses Ulcers outwardly, and heals Ulcers in the Lungs, which it the sooner performs, if digested with Spirit of Wine: it also stops Vomiting; and a little Nitre being dissolved in it, it is profitable against the Gout; and so, drunk inwardly takes away the heat of Fevers.

X. The Pouder of the leaves, &c. given from half a Dram to a Dram, stops bleeding inwardly, overflowing of the Terms, as also bleeding at Mouth and Nose, and other fluxes of Blood, being applied: strewed upon Ulcers, it cleanses and drys them, and disposes them to healing.

XI. The Tincture of the dryed Herb in Spirit of Wine, heals Wounds admirably, being washed therewith mixed with Wine, and dries up Ulcers: so also being taken inwardly from a Dram to 2 Drams.

XII. The Saline Tincture, drawn with Spiritus Universalis, allays all Inflammations, and discusses hot Tumors: taken inwardly it is good against burning Fevers, is Traumatick, and heals all inward Wounds and Ulcers, as also bruises of Brest, Stomach, and other Viscera.

XIII. The Oily Tincture, drawn with Oil of Turpentine, Cures not only all Green Wounds of the Nerves and Tendons, but also a Cold Gout, as also Aches, Pains, and Lameness, from a cold Cause by anointing therewith: it also discusses Tumors and the beginning of Apostems, and puts a stop to the Itch and spreading Ulcers.

XIV. The Essence. It is Vulnerary, good against the bitings of Mad Dogs, Serpents, or any other venomous Creature. It resists Poysons, and all sorts of burning Fevers. Dose from a quarter of an ounce to half an ounce, mixt in any proper Vehicle.

XV. The Ointment. It is made by boiling the green leaves shred 2 Pounds, Sheep Suet, Oil Olive of each half a Pound, till the Herb is crisp, which press out, putting in as much more fresh Herbs, boiling and pressing out as before, then adding to the strained matter 12 Ounces of Turpentine, which mix together. It Cures not only Green Wounds but also cleanses and heals Inveterate and Putrified Ulcers; also Burnings and Scaldings in a very short time.

XVI. The Balsam, made of the Juice, and Strasburgh Turpentine, is as good a Vulnerary as can ordinarily be used for it commonly heals any Simple Wound at first dressing: and applyed with a Truss is good against Ruptures, the Pouder of the Herb being also given inwardly.

XVII. The Cataplasm, made of the Green Herb, and pure Yellow Sweet Palm Oil, Cures the Gout, or any Pain in the Joynts, being applyed for some time.


Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This chapter was proofread by Lisa Haller, who says: "Please note; I do not have access to middle-Greek so went with the closest visual match".



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