Chap. 050. Of Wild Basil.
I. The Names. It is called in Greek, ******** (quasi Lectipes, Bedsfoot Flower, because they resemble the Beds feet:) in Latin, Ocimum Sylvestre, Basilicon Agreste, Clinopodium : and in Engish Wild, or Field Basil, Beds-foot Flower.
II. The Kinds. There are three several Kinds hereof
- 1. Clinopodium Vulgare, Clinopodium minus, (because less than the Stone Basil) Ocimum Sylvestre, by Lobel and Clusius; Acinos and Ocimastrum, by Fuchsius and Dodonaeus; Clinopodium, by Anguillara and Turner; Clinopodium majus, by Cameronus; Pulegium Petraeeum, by Gesner; Clinopodium Alterum, and Pseudo-Clinopodium, by Matthiolus; Clinopodium Arvense Ocimi facie, by Bauhinus; and Basilicum Tertium, by Tragus; in English, Field Basil but the People call this as well as the next following, where they grow, Horse Time, and Poley-mountain. (Clinopodium vulgare. -Henriette.)
- 2. Acinos Anglica Clusij, (which is thought to be, by Clusius, the true Acinos of Dioscorides;) Clinopodium Ocimi facie alterum of Bauhinus; our English Wild Basil the lesser. (Acinos arvensis. -Henriette.)
- 3. Acinos odoratissimum, Latifolia Columnae, Broad Leav'd sweet Scented Wild Basil. (Clinopodium? -Henriette.)
III. The Descriptions. The first has a Woody Fibrous Root, full of hairy Threads, creeping along the Ground, and springing up Yearly of it self without Sowing; from whence rises up several square Stalks, about six or eight Inches high, with two small Leaves set at every Joint, being somewhat like Wild Marjoram, or the fine bush Basil, a little dented about the edges, but not much, and some Leaves not at all dented; and in some Plants and Places a little rough and hairy, and in others, less, or not at all: the Flowers grow at spaces with the Leaves, like Horehound does, standing in green rough Cups, which are of a purplish Colour, and parted, as it were, into four equal short pieces at the end, like to the four square foot of a Bed-stead, and open with several Leaves like other hooded Flowers; the Cups of the Flowers have not every one of them a single Foot stalk, but many stand together upon the same Pedicle or Stem; after which comes small round reddish Seed growing three or four together in small swollen Husks. The whole Plant, has some small heat, but more dryness in the Taste thereof, and sweet or odoriferous in Smell between Basil and Calamint.
IV. The second Kind has also a Bushy Fibrous Root, which perishes every Year, from whence rises up several slender four square Branches or Stalks, seven or eight Inches high, lying on the Ground, on grow divers small grayish green Leaves, two always set together at a Joint, resembling much the former, or those of the Stone Basil, but smaller, shorter, and fuller of Juice, not dented about the edges at all, and almost like to Mother of Time, or the smaller Garden Basil, called Basil Gentle, having an excellent sweet Scent, but not Heady: from the middle of the Branches up to the Tops, grow the flowers in Rundles or Spaces about the Stalks, being very like to the former just now described, but of a more blewish purple colour, with a White Eye, or Circle in every Flower, which being past, there comes three or four small Seeds, like the first in the Husks where the Flowers flood, which fall and rise again every Year of their own Sowing.
V. The third Kind has a bushy Root with many Fibrous Strings like the former, from whence rises up four, five, or more, four square hard Woody Stalks, divided into many Branches, covered with a soft white hairyness, two foot long, or longer, not growing upright, but trailing in some measure upon the Ground: the Leaves grow upon short Foot-stalks, by couples, of a light green colour, somewhat like the Leaves of Basil, or rather Bawm, about three quarters of an inch broad, and not fully an Inch long, a little sharp pointed, and lightly notched about the edges, covered also with a light soft hoariness, of a very sweet smell, not much inferiour to Garden Marjoram, of a hot biting Taste: out of their Bosoms grow other smaller Leaves, or else Branches: the Flowers also grow out of the Bosoms of the Leaves, towards the Tops of the Stalks and Branches, not in Whorls or Rounds, like Acinos, or Stone Basil, but having one little short Foot-stalk, on which is placed three, four, or more, small Flowers, gaping open, and divided into four unequal parts at the top, like the Flowers of Basil, and very near of the likeness and bigness of the Flowers of Garden Marjoram, but of a pale blewish colour, tending towards a purple, after which come the Seed Vessels, which contain small roundish blackish Seed.
VI. The Places. The first grows commonly in the borders of Fields, and among Corn it self, as at Sutton in Kent, not far from Dartmouth; at Thetford in Norfolk, and in divers other Dry, Sandy, and Untilled Grounds. The second grows Wild in Kent in divers places, where Clusius says he found it, also in several other parts of England; Gerard says he found it a little on this side Pomfraet in Yorkshire, and since by Dartford in Kent, and in the life of Thanet: he says it is brought to our London Markets, and is called by the Herb Women Poly-mountain. The third grows Wild in hot Countreys, but with us in Gardens, and is often found amongst Sweet Marjoram.
VII. The Times. The two first Flower in June and July gradually, and their Seed is ripe in July and August: The third Flowers in July and August, and its seed is ripe in August and September.
VIII. The Qualities. They are all of a nature, hot and dry in the end of the second, or beginning of the third Degree: they are also, Attenuating, Inciding, Opening, Carminative, Discussive, Resolutive, Vulnerary and Anodine; Cephalick, Neurotick, Stomatick, Cardiack, Hysterick, and Arthritick; and powerful Alexipharmicks and Emmenagogicks.
IX. The Specification. The Field Basil has been experimented against Convulsions, Cramps, and Neurotick Distempers. Acinos or English Wild Basil is approved for Stopping Fluxes: and the Broad Leav'd sweet Scented Wild Basil is good to facilitate the delivery.
X. The Preparations. The Shops keep nothing of them; but you may prepare,
- 1. An Inspissate Juice of the Acinos.
- 2. A Spirit from the first and third.
- 3. A Spirituous Tincture.
- 4. An Oily Tincture.
- 5. A Saline Tincture.
- 6. A Balsam or Oil of the first.
XI. An Inspissate Juice of the Acinos. Being given to a dram in Red Wine, it stops all sorts of Fluxes of the Belly, and Fluxes of the Terms; and dissolved, ...
Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
The start of this chapter has been proofread by Nick Jones.