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Chap. 006. Of Alehoof, Great, Small, &c.

Alehoof. I. The Names. This Plant is called in Greek, Χαμαιχιτσθ, χγ Κισος γαιωδης, χγ Κιττος χεφσωος. In Latin, Hedera terrestris, Chamæissus, Corona Terræ: and in English, Ground-Ivy, Alehoof.

II. The Kinds. There are four sorts,

  • 1. The Common Ground Ivy, or Alehoof, called Χαμαιχιτσθ, χγ Γης ςεφανθ. Hedera terrestris,Corona Terræ, common or large Ground Ivy, or Alehoof. (= Glechoma hederacea, summery growth habit? -Henriette.)
  • 2. Χαμαιχιτσθ μιχζος, Hedera terrestris Minor, the lesser Ground Ivy. (= Glechoma hederacea, late spring growth habit? -Henriette.)
  • 3. Hedera terrestris montana, Mountain Ground Ivy. (Glechoma hirsuta? -Henriette.)
  • Alehoof, Stone. 4. Hedera terrestris Saxatilis, Stone Alehoof, or Ground Ivy. (Asarina procumbens? -Henriette.)

III. The Description. The large Alehoof has a very large and thready Root, from which rises many Stalks of an uncertain height, from 8. to 14. or 15. Inches long, it being but a low Herb, creeping and spreading upon the Ground, hither and thither, all about: the Stalks are slender, something cornered, and green, sometimes a little reddish: from whence grow Leaves somewhat broad and round, hairy, and a little nicked in the edges, for the most part, two Leaves out of every Joynt. At the Joynts likewise with the Leaves, towards the end of the Branches come forth hollow long Flowers, gaping at the ends, of a blewish purple colour, not much unlike to those, of Germander, with white spots upon the Label or Lips which hang down: the whole Plant is of a strong Smell and bitterish Taste.

IV. The lesser Alehoof is altogether like the former, save that the Leaves are every way smaller, the Flowers of a paler blew colour; the Plant it self is shorter or grows lower, but more upright.

V. The Mountain Alehoof is like the first kind, but yet larger in all the parts thereof, as Stalks, Branches, Leaves and Flowers; but the Leaves are more rough and hairy, and the Flowers of a more deep purple colour.

VI. The Stone Alehoof creeps and spreads all about the Ground, with its slender weak Branches, set with Leaves like the former by couples but larger and more unevenly dented, or rather waved at the edges: the Flowers which stand at the Joynts with the Leaves, are longer, the hoods larger, and of a paler purplish colour than the former.

VII. The Places. The first sort grows under Hedges, and by Ditch sides, High-ways, and by Houses, in shaddowed Lanes, and the borders of Meadows, and other waste Grounds in most places of the Kingdom.

The Second kind is found at the feet of old Trees in England and Germany, and many times in old Orchyards.

The Mountain grows upon Hills and Mountains.

The last kind grows in Narbone and Provence in France; and in some places of Somersetshire, as Lobel says.

VIII. The Times. They all begin to Flower in April, and continue flowering for a long time, even till the Summer is far spent, and remain green not only in Summer, but also in Winter, and abiding the Winter, if it is not too vehement or sharp.

IX. The Qualities. They are all of one nature, hot and dry in the first degree: but the two latter are dry in the second degree. They are Aperitive, Abstersive, Bechicick, Attenuaters and Vulnerary: by Appropriation, they are Pectoral, Nephritick and Arthritick: and operate only as Alteratives.

X. The Specification. They are peculiar against vehement Coughs and Catarrhs: the Mountain prevails against the Gout, and the Saxatile against Stone and Gravel.

XI. The Preparations. The Shops have only the Herb and Flower; but from them you may prepare,

  • 1. A Juice.
  • 2. An Infusion.
  • 3. A Decoction.
  • 4. A Syrup.
  • 5. A Mixture.
  • 6. A Conserve.
  • 7. A Lohoch.
  • 8. An Ale.
  • 9. A Pouder.
  • 10. Troches.
  • 11. A Balsam.
  • 12. A Cataplasm.
  • 13. An Essence.
  • 14. A Spirituous Tincture.
  • 15. A Saline Tincture.
  • 16. An Oily Tincture.
  • 17. A Distilled Water.
  • 18. A Spirit.
  • 19. An Extract.
  • 20. A Fixed Salt.
  • 21. An Ophthalmick.

The Virtues.

XII. The Juice. It is bitter, cleansing and opening the Obstructions of the Viscera: put into the Ears, it helps the Noise in them, as also their Ringing and Deafness, and is profitable against the Jaundice, Catarrhs and Rhumatisms; it has Cured many (says Hollerith) at point of Death. Dose from j. ounce to iv. ounces, according to Age and Strength.

XIII. The Infusion. Made in fair Water, or a weak Lime Water, and Drank three or four times a day, from iv. to viij. ounces, it Cures Coughs, Colds, Spittings and Wheezings.

XIV. The Decoction. It is a good Vulnerary and Bechicick, more especially if ij. ounces of Spirit of Wine or Brandy be added to every pint thereof: it disposes old Sores, running Ulcers and Fistula's to a healing. Dose from iij. ounces to vj. 3. or 4. times a day. This Decoction mixt with Honey and a little burnt Alum, is good to wash Sore and Ulcerated Mouths, as also Ulcers in the Privy parts of Man or Woman.

XV. The Syrup. It is peculiar against an old Cough, and other Distempers of the Brest and Lungs, as Catarrhs, Wheazings, Asthma’s, Ulcers of the Lungs, spitting of Blood, &c. Let it be often taken with a Liquorice Stick: or it may be taken a large spoonful at a time, as oft as need requires.

XVI. The Mixture. Take of the Juice ij. ounces, Honey j. ounce, burnt Alum iij. drams, purified Verdigrise half a dram, mix them well together: It Cures Sore Mouths and Throats, Ulcers of the Gums and Tonsils, as also other Ulcers and running Sores in other parts of the Body.

XVII. The Conserve. It opens the Brest and Lungs, and gives relief in Coughs, Colds, shortness of Breath, Wheezings, and soreness of Brest and Stomach.

XVIII. The Lohoch. It is made of the clarified Juice, mixed with clarified Honey in equal proportions: and is good against the most vehement and violent Coughs, very powerful against Phthisicks, or Ulcerations of the Lungs, causing a speedy healing; let it be taken with a Liquorish Stick oftentimes in a day.

XIX. The Ale. You may put iij. large handfuls of the green (= fresh. -Henriette) Herb to every Gallon of Ale, whilst Working: it is said to clarify and make fine the Drink in about 24 hours time, from whence came the name of Ale-hoof, or Tun-hoof and in old Time supplyed the use of Hops: it makes the Drink very opening and Diuretick.

XX. The Pouder. It is made of the dryed Leaves; and is given from half a dram to a dram: it may be taken in iv. or v. ounces of its own distilled Water; it is said to Cure the Yellow Jaundice in 7. or 8. days, and in 40. or 50. days the Sciatica.

XXI. The Troches. They are made of the Pouder aforegoing, with Ising-glass and white Sugar Candy: and are of excellent Use against Coughs, Colds, Phthisicks, Consumptions, Wheezings and shortness of Breath, being held often in the Mouth, and suffered gradually to dissolve, the Sick also drinking Milk every day, in a pretty large quantity.

XXII. The Balsam. It is made of the Juice Boiled to the thickness of new Honey 4 Ounces, mixed with Turpentine of Chio, and Oil of sweet Almonds, of each ij. Ounces. It heals green Wounds, running Sores, old Ulcers, Fistula’s; &c. after an admirable manner, being applied to the Part.

XXIII. The Cataplasm. Take Turpentine ij. ounces, Yolks of three new-laid Eggs, mix them well together, then add of the green Herb, cut small and beaten in a Mortar, iij. large handfuls mix and apply it; it gives excellent relief in the Gout, and other Pains of the Joynts; applyed hot to the Region of the Liver or Spleen, it eases their Pains: and upon the Abdomen, it is laid to be a present Remedy in the Colick.

XXIV. The Essence. It is excellent good against weak and aching Backs, Coughs, Wheezings, Asthma’s, shortness of Breath, spitting Blood, Ulcers of the Lungs; and is singular good for all Wounds, inward or outward, it cleanses and rarifies, and is good against any griping Pains, or windy Cholerick Humors in Stomach, Spleen or Belly: it helps the Yellow Jaundice, by opening the Obstructions of the Viscera, and is good against Poison and Plague: it provokes Urine, and the Terms in Women; and being Drunk with Wine for some considerable time, it is said to Cure the Sciatica, as also the Gout in Hands, Knees or Feet, dissolves and disperses the Peccant Humors, and so gives ease. Dose from j. ounce to ij. ounces in Wine, Mead, &c.

XXV. The Spirituous Tincture. It prevails against Catarrhs, coldness of the Stomach, spitting Blood, Wind, Pains, Gripings, and other like Disaffections of Stomach, Liver, Spleen and Bowels. Dose from j. dram to ij. drams, in its own distilled Water, or other fit Vehicle.

XXVI. The Saline Tincture. It helps the Yellow Jaundice, opens Obstructions of the Viscera, provokes Urine and the Courses, facilitates the Birth, expels Poison and the Plague, and has all the Virtues of the Essence, but operates more by Urine. Dose from j. dram to ij. in any fit Liquor.

XXVII. The Oily Tincture. It is good for the Sciatica or Hip Gout, as also the Gout in any other Part, proceeding from a cold Cause, being anointed very hot upon the part twice a day.

XXVIII. The Distilled Water. It is made from the Green Herb in April or May, and used chiefly as a Vehicle with most of the former Preparations.

XXIX. The Spirit. It is made of the Fermented Juice, and is of singular Use against the Scurvy, whether in a hot or cold Constitution; it strengthens the Stomach, and causes a good Appetite. Dose from half an ounce to j. ounce, mixt with Wine, or with the Syrup of the Juice.

XXX. The Extract. It Cures Diseases of the Brest and Lungs, and opens Obstructions of the Reins and Womb. Dose j. dram or more, dissolved in Sack. It contributes as a Traumatick to the healing of Wounds and Ulcers.

XXXI. The Fixed Salt. It is Diuretick and Nephritick, opens Obstructions of the Reins, Ureters and Bladder, dissolves Tartarous Humors in those parts, or in the other Viscera, and is found by Experience to be good against Stones, Sand, Gravel, &c. being given from xij. grains to xxiiij. in its own distilled Water, Parsley Water, Arsmart or Onion Water, and repeated twice a day.

XXXII. The Ophthalmick, or Eye-Wash. ℞ Juice of Alehoof iij. ounces; Juice of Celandine, Juice of Daisies, Rose Water, Honey, of each j. ounce, mix and dissolve, then drop it into the Eyes: It helps all Inflamations, Spots, Pin and Web, Itch, Smarting, and most other Disaffections of that part; and Cures, tho’ almost Blind. Use it 5 or 6 times a day, or oftner.


Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This chapter has been proofread by Lisa Haller.



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