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Chap. 088. Brooklime.

Brooklime Greater. Brooklime. I. The Names. It is called in Greek ******: In Latin, Anagallis aquatica, and Becabunga (from the German Word:) and in Engish, Brooklime, and Water Pimpernel.

II. The Kinds. There are several Kinds of this Plant, as,

  • 1. Anagallis Aquatica vulgaris, Becabunga, as Parkinson calls it, Common Brooklime, which Mr. Ray calls Anagallis rectius Veronica aquatica minor, folio fubrotundo; flore caeruleo, as J. Bauhin. (Veronica beccabunga. -Henriette.)
  • 2. Anagallis rectius Veronica aquatica folio rotundiore major, sive Becabunga major, the greater Brooklime, and greater round-leavd Brooklime. (Veronica anagallis-aquatica. -Henriette.)
  • 3. Anagallis rectius Veronica aquatica major folio oblongo crenato, great Brooklime, with a long dented Leaf. (Veronica anagallis-aquatica. -Henriette.)
  • 4. Anagallis aquatica reticus Veronica aquatica minor foliis oblongis non crenatis, the lesser brooklime with a long leaf not dented. (Veronica anagallis-aquatica? -Henriette.)

There are several other Kinds, as that folius Pulegij, foliis Alsinae, and Augustifolia, but not being common with us I forbear them.

III. The Description. Our Vulgar Brooklime has a Root white, low, and creeping, with fine strings springing therefrom at every Joint; from whence rise up flat, thick Stalks, which are roundish, and divided into several Branches, having on them thick, smooth, and broad deep green Leaves, somewhat like to those of Purslane, but of a deeper green color, and set upon the Stalks by couples. The flowers grow upon small, long, tender Footstalks, which thrust themselves forth from the Bosom of the Leaves, of a perfect blew color, and not much unlike to the Leaves of the Flowers of the Land Pimpernel, consisting of five small round pointed Leaves apiece, which being gone, in a short time after comes a sort of small Seed.

IV. The Greater Brooklime; this differs nothing from the former, but in having larger and rounder Leaves, and a paler blew colored Flower.

V. The Greater long leav'd Brooklime; this differs little, or almost nothing from the former, but in the leaf, which is longer pointed, and dented about the edges and in the Flowers, which are of a pale whitish blew color.

VI. The Lesser long leav'd Brooklime; this has a Root consisting of a small bush of White Fibres, but not running far, from whence Spring many smooth, pale, green Leaves, small at the bottoms, but broad and round at the ends, long and not dented, which lying upon the ground, are almost like those of the Common Field Daisy: the Stalk is round, about a Foot, more or less, high, with divers smaller Leaves thereon, set one by one up to the Top, from whence come forth many branched Spikes of white Flowers, consisting of one Leaf divided into five parts, growing at first as it were in an umble, but afterwards more spike fashion’d.

VII. The Places. They grow by River sides, small running Brooks, standing Waters, and Ditch sides. The last of them grows in the Marshes of Dartford in Kent, also between Sandwich and Sandown-Castle, and in the Ditches on this side Sandwich.

VIII. The Times. They all flower in June and July, and yield their Seed in August.

IX. The Qualities. They are hot and dry in the second Degree, Digestive, Discussive, Attractive and Diuretick; Stomatick, Hepatick, Nephritick, Hy-sterick, Alterative, Spermatogenetick.

X. The Specification. It is peculiar against the Scurvey, to cleanse the Blood, and open Obstructions of the Womb.

XI. The Preparations. You may make therefrom,

  • i. A Distilled Water.
  • 2. A Spirit.
  • 3 A liquid Juice.
  • 4. An Essence.
  • 5. A Spirituous Tincture.
  • 6. An Acid Tincture.
  • 7. A Saline Tincture.
  • 8. An Oily Tincture.
  • 9. A Fixed Salt.
  • 10. A Cataplasm.

The Virtues.

XII. The Distilled Water from the whole Plant. It is good against Stone and Gravel in the Reins, Ureters, and Bladder, opens Obstructions of the Urinary Passages, and is used as a Vehicle, to convey the other Preparations of the Herb in. Dose five or six ounces twice or thrice a day.

XIII. The Spirit. It is made as Spirit of Scurvy-grass. It is good for a weak Stomach, rectifies, Crudities, and removes Nauseousness and Vomiting, and other Distempers of that Bowel, and therefore is a very effectual thing against the Scurvy, which the Greeks call the Stomach Disease, as having its Root and foundation there. Dose thirty or forty drops in Wine, or some other proper Vehicle, Morning and Evening chiefly; but it may be given at other times of the Day upon any occasion of Stomach sickness. It is an excellent thing in cold Constitutions; but such as are of a hot habit of Body are to forbear it.

XIV. The liquid Juice. It is said to be effectual to break the Stone in Reins and Bladder (if made of a gritty friable substance) and to expell it, for it opens all the Urinary passages, and powerfully provokes Urine, giving ease in the Strangury, Difury, and other like affections of those parts. Dose from two spoonfuls to six, Morning and Evening, in a Glass of Ale, Beer, Mead, or Wine.

XV. The Essence. It has all the Virtues of the Liquid Juice, besides which it is profitable against Ulcers of the Bladder, to provoke the Terms in Women, and expell the Dead Child. It is a singular thing against the Dropsie Sarcites, if its impregnated with the fixed Salt of the Plant, and be daily given in all the Liquor the Patient drinks. It purities, or cleanses the Blood from all ill humors, and perfectly eradicates the Scurvy in a cold habit of Body, Universals being also premised. It is best taken in the Spring time, and Fall of the Leaf, because then the Blood and Humors are thin and fluxile, and more apt to pass a depuration. Dose from one ounce to three ounces Morning and Evening.

XVI. The Spirituous Tincture. It has the Virtues of the Spirit aforementioned, at Sect. XIII. aforegoing, but much more powerful; and may be given from twenty drops to forty in any proper Stomatick Vehicle, or Wine.

XVII. The Acid Tincture. It is a potent Antiscorbutick, and may safely be given as well in a hot as a cold Constitution. It powerfully opens Obstructions, provokes Urine, and the Courses, breaks and dissolves the Stone, expells Tarratous Matter out of the Body, helps in Rheumatisms and the Gout, and gives ease in wandring pains running over the whole Body. Dose so many drops at a time, as may make a Glals of Ale, Beer, Mead, or Wine gratefully sharp, so as if the Juice of an Orange was squeezed into it.

XVIII. The Saline Tincture. This, tho' given inwardly, powerfully provokes Urine, and opens Obstructions, yet it is mostly used in outward applications, as to discusses Swellings in the Legs in the Dropsie, by fomenting them therewith; to ease pains of the Gout, and to prevent an incipient Gangreene. It clears the skin of Scurf, Morphew, and such other like defilements, if often washed therewith.

XIX. The Oily Tincture. It is good against the Palsie, and Convulsions of the Nerves, being often anointed upon the Parts affected. It eases all sorts of Pains in any Part, proceeding from a cold Cause; and being applied to moist Wounds, it defends them from Accidents. Being well anointed upon any Tumor or Part inclining to a Mortification, it prevents it, and conduces much to the Cure.

XX. The Fixed Salt. It is Deobstructive and Diuretick, bringing away much Water in Hydropick Persons, and carrying off much of the Morbisick cause of the Scurvy, by Urine, being given in White Port, or Rhenish Wine, or some other proper Vehicle, three, four, or five times a day. Dose from fifteen grains to half a dram.

XXI. The Cataplasm. It is made of the Leaves or Herb, boiled, and beaten in a Stone or Wooden Mortar. Applied to Swollen Legs, or any other part Tumified with the Dropsie, it is said to discusses or abate the Tumor. If it is made into a Cataplasm, with the addition of Hogs Lard, the Pulp of Marsh-mallow Roots, and the pouders of Fenugreek seed and Linseed, and be applied warm, it takes away any Swelling in Arms or Legs; and is also powerful in defending Wounds, so as to prevent their Apostumating, and to prevent any other ill accident which may happen to them. Farriers sometimes use it also in curing Horses, to remove Tumors, and heal their Scabs, with other like Diseases incident to them.


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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