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Chap. 048. Of American Basil.

Basil, American. I. The Names. This was wholly unknown to the Greeks, and therefore can have no Original Greek Name, but considering it is an Indian Plant, may well enough be called, **********: in Latin, Ocimum Americanum vel indicum: and by Camerarius, Basilicum Hispanicum: in English, American Basil.

II. The Kinds. It is twofold

  • 1. Ocimum Americanum maculatum loeve, smooth, spotted American Basil. (Ocimum americanum. -Henriette.)
  • 2. Ocimum Americanum crispum non maculatum, crisped American Basil not spotted. (Ocimum basilicum? -Henriette.)

III. The Descriptions. The smooth spotted American Basil, has a Root like those in the former Chapters, which perishes after Seeding time; from whence rises up a four square reddish green Stalk, a foot high, or better, from the Joints whereof spread out many Branches, with broad fat Leaves set thereon, two always at a Joint, one against another, as the Basils have, but somewhat deeply cut in on the edges, and sometimes a little crumpled, standing upon long reddish Foot-stalks, of a dark purple colour, spotted with deeper purple spots, in some greater, mothers less the Flowers stand at the Top of the Stalks, Spike fashion, of a White Colour, with Reddish Stripes and Veins running through them; set or placed in dark purple coloured Husks: The Seed is greater and rounder than any of the former Kinds, and somewhat long withal: the whole Plant smells strong like to the common or ordinary Basil and Camphire put together.

IV. The Crisped or Curled American Basil, not spotted: It has a Root like the foregoing, being a degenerate of the other kind, risen (as Parkinson supposes) from The Seed of the former Plant, gathered in these colder Countries; and is indeed of the Kind of the American spotted Basil, having like Stalks, and such like large heaves, cut somewhat deeply in on the edges, and curled or crumpled, as they also sometimes are, together with swelling bunches like Bladders in them, but wholly of a green colour, and without any spots, or spot upon them: the Flowers hereof are all white, and without any spots as the other has: the smell hereof is very strong, and perfectly resembling the former.

V. The Places. They Originally grew in America, from whence they were brought into Spain, and from thence to us, being nourished up in our Gardens; the latter of which seems now to be a Native of our own Countrey.

VI. The Times. They Flower gradually in June and July, as the others do and their Seed is ripe in August.

VII. The Qualities. They ate hot in the second Degree, aid moist in the first; highly Cephalick, Neurotick, Cardiack and Hysterick; they Attenuate, Open, Resolve, discuss; are Carminative, Anodine, Alexipharmick, and Emmenagogtck.

VIII. The Specification. I have found them peculiar against Palsies, and Pains and Aches proceeding from a cold Cause.

IX. The Preparations. You have,

  • 1. A Pouder from the Seed.
  • 2. A Distilled Water.
  • 3. A Juice.
  • 4. An Essence.
  • 5. A Spirituous Tincture.
  • 6. A Saline Tincture.
  • 7. An Oily Tincture
  • 8. A Decoction.
  • 9. A Syrup.
  • 10. An Oil.
  • 11. A Cataplasm:

the Virtues and Uses of which, are the same with the same Preparations in Chap. 46. Sect. 12. to Sect. 22. aforegoing.

  • 12. A Distilled Oil.
  • 13. The Powers.

The Virtues.

X. The Distilled Oil. It Cures Head-aches, Megrims, Lethargies, Apoplexies, Epilepsies, Palsies, Convulsions, Tremblings, and weakness of the Nerves, Obstructions of the Womb, Reins and Bladder, Punctures and Wounds of the Nerves, and all sorts of Pains, Aches, Sciatica, and Lameness from a cold Cause, being taken inwardly from iv. drops to xij. in some proper Vehicle; and outwardly anointing the pan affected therewith. It expels Wind, and cures the Colick.

XI. The Potestates or Powers. They have all the former Virtues, but penetrate more, as being more Subtil or Volatile: They provoke the Terms in Women, ease Pains and Stitches in the Side, are good against Fits of the Mother, and Vapors, chear the Heart, revive the Spirits, resist Poison, and remove Melancholly, strengthening the Stomach, and all the Viscera. Dose from j. dram to ij. drams, in a Glass of Wine, or some other proper Vehicle.


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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