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Chap. 044. Of Wild Barley.

Barley, Way. Barley, Wild, Hauer Grass. Barley, Wild. I. The Names. It is called in Greek ******: In Latin, Hordeum agreste: In English, Wild Barley.

II. The Kinds. There are several Kinds thereof,

  • 1.*******, and by Lobel, Bryza Monococcus; Wild or Brant Barley, Peters Corn. (Briza monococcus -> Triticum monococcum. -Henriette.)
  • 2. ********* AEgilops, Festuca; Degenerate Barley, or Havergrass. (Avena. -Henriette.)
  • 3. *******, (a trahendo, quod aristas e corpore trahat): Hordeum spurium, murinum, vel spontaneum, Ristida; Way Barley, Wall Barley, which last is also said to be greater and lesser. (Hordeum murinum? -Henriette.)

III. The Descriptions. Zea, or Bryza, has a small Fibrous or Stringy Root, from whence rises up slender and short Stalks, but firm, bearing a small, thin Spiked Ear, set with Grains or Corn in two rows, one Corn on each side opposite to the other, from the bottom of the Ear to the top, whereby the Ear is flat, like unto Barley, with rough Awnes or a Beard, as Barley also has; every Grain is contained singly in a husk, wich sticks to it, so as not easily to begotten off; the Ear-much resembles Barley, and the Colour of the Grain, is a dark Red: it makes blackish or dark brown Bread, and not altogether so pleasant as our Common Barley.

IV. AEgilops, (which in my opinion ought rather to be called Monoccocus has a Root which from a small Head sends forth many Fibres or Strings, from whence springs forth Stalks 2 or 3 handfuls high, resembling Wheat or Barley, Jointed in three or four places, from whence comes forth divers Grass Leaves, of a pale green colour, and at the top of the Stalks two or three Heads, set one above another, which are round and somwhat long, hard and striped, having also many Beards at the end of each, wherein, when they are ripe and look whitish, lye 2. or 3. small Grains or Seeds a little smaller (says Gerard) than Barley: these Seeds are wrapped or infolded in a Crested Film or Skin, out of which the Awnes comeforth; Matthiolus says, that as Lolium, or Common Darnel is known to be a Seed degenerate from Wheat, being found for the most part among Wheat: So by his own experimental knowledg, he had found that this AEgilops or Festuca, was a Seed or Grain, degenerating from Barley, and is found among Barley, or where Barley has grown.

V. The greater Way Barley, or Wall Barley, has a Fibrous or Thready Root, continuing many Years, from whence springs up many Grassy Leaves, and among them several Benty Stalks about 16. ot 18. Inches high, at the top of which grows several whitish yellowish Ears, with somewhat rough Beards, but much shorter than those of Barley, and some have scarcely any Beards at all. The Ear is much more like that of Rye than Barley, and the Corn, or Grains which come out of it are brown Coloured, lank and small, in Color and shape resembling Rye, so that it might more properly be called Wild-Rye, Way-Rye, or Rye-Grass, rather than by any Appellation of Barley, to which in my opinion it has no resemblance.

VI. The lesser Way or Wall Barley, is like the other in its Roots, Leaves, Stalks, Ears and Grains, so that many have taken it to be the same with the former, but in this it differs, that it is much lower, so that it scarcely attains to be a Foot high; and indeed it comes so near to the former Barley, or rather Rye-Grass, that, many have taken it to be one and the same, as even I my self also do.

VII. The Places. The first was anciently sown in Greece, and the Eastern Countries; now it is Sown in some parts of Germany and France, but with us it is chiefly found in Gardens, tho it grows well and naturally enough here as other Grains do. Gerard says, that he had often times found many Ears of it among our ordinary Barley, when he lived in the farther side of Lincoln-shire , and they there called it Brant Barley. The second is Sown in many places of Italy and France, as in Provence ana Narbone, among their Corn, and grows well in a moist Ground, but prospers most in a more Fruitful dry Soil: Gerard says, it grows commonly among their Barley in Italy, and other hot Countries; but only with us in Gardens. The third and fourth, by the High-ways, and Path-sides, as also on Mud Walls, and at the Foot of other Walls, and Way sides in Fields , almost every where through the whole Kingdom.

VIII. The Times. the first is a Summer Corn, and Sown in March and April, and is ripe in the beginning or middle of August. The second also is a Summer Grain, and is ripe towards the latter end of July, or the beginning of August. The two last are found coming to ripeness all the Summer Months.

IX. The Qualities. They are all of them temperate in respect to heat or coldness; and dry in the first Degree. The first and second Attenuate, digest and cleanse: and the two last are aperitive, abstersive, and Vulnerary and are all appropriated to Diseases of the Joynts.

X. The Specification. They have a peculiar property to cleanse and dry up Ulcers, and resolve Tumors in the Joynts. The Aegilops is said to be a Specifick against the Aegilops or Fistula in the Corner of the Eye.

XI. The Preparations. The first Kind has much the Nature and Virtues of Common Barley, and therefore may have most of those Preparations, so that we shall say no more of them here. From the AEgilops or Festuca, you may have;

  • 1. An Infusion of the Seed in Drink or Wine.
  • 2. A Decoction in Wine
  • 3. A Syrup of the whole Plant.
  • 4. A Pouder of the Seed or Grain
  • 5. A Juice.
  • 6. Ashes of the Stalks.

And from the Way Barley or Rye-Grass you have,

  • 7. A Cataplasm.

The Virtues.

XII. The Infusion in Ale, Beer, or Wine. The Seed Infused, or Drunk in Pouder in any of these Liquors, affects the Head and Brain much, and causes Drunkenness.

XIII. The Decoction in Wine. If it is made with the Addition of dryed Damask Roses, and drunk from ij. to iv. Ounces; as also the Mouth and Throat, Gargled therewith; it is good against a stinking Breath, I suppose Caused by some filthy Ulcer or Ulcers in those parts, for that it has a property to heal Ulcers.

XIV. The Syrup. If the whole Herb, Roots, and Seed be Bruised, boiled in Water, strained, and made into Syrup with Honey, to viij. ounces, of which if j. of Aloes Succotrina in fine Pouder be added, you have an excellent Medicine against foul Ulcers of the Nostrils, by wetting Tents therein, and putting them up the same, holding them a pretty while therein, and often repeating it.

XV. The Pouder. Mixed with Watter in which a little Roch Alum, or Saccharum Saturni has been dissolved, and laid upon the Aegilops or fistula in the Comer of the Eye; it cures it; it also cleanses, drys up and heals Ulcers in other parts of the body, being so used, or strewed on dry.

XVI. The Juice. It is mixed with Barley Meal and so dried: and then upon occasion moistned with Rose Water, and apply'd Plaister wise, it heals (as Gerard says) the Aegilops, or Fistula in the Eyes: it also softens and asswages hard Tumors, and swellings in the Joints. Lobel says, this has been often tried to be effectual against the Aegilops, for that it has a drying quality without sharpness.

XVII. The Ashes of the Stalks or Straw. Made into a Lixivium with Water, it is good against the Gout from a flegmatick cause, by often bathing there with, and to dissolve hard Tumors or Swellings in the Flesh, and discuss Tumors of the Joints.

XVIII. The Cataplasm of Way Barley or Rye Grass. Being made of the Green Ears and Grass by beating it in a Morter, and then apply'd to places bald, or where the Hair is wanting; Gerard says it causes it to come forth and grow again.


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



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