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Chap. 084. Broom Common.

Broom, Common. I. The Names. This our Broom was scarcely known to the Ancient Greeks, though some have given it the name of ****** Spartion: However it is called generally in Latin, Genista; and Scoparia, as Gerard and Parkinson; some suppose it to be called Genista à genuum flexilitate, from the flexibleness of its Joints; or, Quia genibus medeatur dolentibus, because it eases the pain of the Knees: or, quod facile generet, speciemque propaget, because it easily encreases, and is not without trouble destroyed where it takes Rooting: also Genesta augulosa trifolia, J. Bauhin and Mr. Ray: In English, Broom, and Common Broom.

II. The Kinds. There are but two kinds, which we shall take notice of in this book:

The English Broom is twofold, viz

  • 1. Scoparia, or Genista vulgaris, our Common Field or Heath Broom. (Cytisus scoparius. -Henriette.)
  • 2. Genista Chamaegenista, Dwarf Broom. Gerard calls it, Chamaeginesta Anglica. (Genista sagittalis. -Henriette.)

III. The Description. Common Broom has a Root which is long and woody, but tough withal, spreading several ways under the Earth, never perishing, but sending forth new shoots every Year, and more especially, if the old Stalks are cut down, and taken away. From these Roots come forth many woody Stems or Stalks, of the bigness of a Mans linger at bottom, sometimes bigger, sometimes lesser, according to its length of time in growing, rising up to the height of four or five Feet, or more, and spreading into several the like woody Branches, making a kind of Shrub or Bush, as it were, covered with a hard and thin dark, grayish, green Bark, from which shoot forth a great number of slender, pliant, square or cornered small Twiggs, like Rushes, upon which grow small, dark, green Leaves. The flowers are large, and of a golden yellow Shining color, growing one above another for a good space, till they come to the Tops of the Branches, which turn into hard, flat, small Cods, almost black when they are ripe, and in which are contained small and shining, brownish Seed.

IV. Genistella or Dwarf Broom has a Root long and tough, long lasting, and spreading much under ground: This Plant never grows very great or high, neither come its slender, pliant, green Branches to be hard or woody, but they always keep low, rising up but a little more than a foot in height. Upon its green pliant twigs, are set small and something long Leaves, of a dark, green color on the upper side, and gray underneath, abiding on them all the Summer time: at the tops grow small yellow flowers, not so yellow, nor so large as the former, but like unto them for the form; which being past, there succeeds little long Pods or Cods of Seed, which are like to the first, but smaller.

V. The Places. The first grows very plentifully in many places of our Land, as upon Heaths, Barren Places, and Uncultivated Grounds, as well as in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain: The other is also found in many Parts of this Kingdom; and is also found in Hungary: about thirty Years since as I was a walking, I found it in some Waste and Barren Grounds about Low-Layton near London: This is supposed to be Clusius his Chamaegenista Pannonica septima.

VI. The Times. They Flower sometimes earlier, sometimes later in the Summer Months, as in June and July, to the end of August, and the Seed ripens in the mean season

VII. The Qualities. They are both hot and dry in the second Degree, and said to be of one and the same, and equal Virtues: They are Aperitive, Abstersive, Diuretick, and Traumatick or Vulnerary: Hepatick, Splenetick, Hysterick, Nephritick, Arthritick, and Alterative: but the Seed some say is Cathartick.

VIII. The Specification. It is of peculiar use against the Dropsie, Jaundice, Gout, and Kings-Evil, as also Distempers of the Reins and Bladder.

IX. The Preparations. You may make from these Plants:

  • 1. A Distilled Water.
  • 2. A Decoction in Wine.
  • 3. A Liquid Juice.
  • 4. An lnspissate juice.
  • 5. An Essence.
  • 6. An Oil distilled.
  • 7. A Spirituous Tincture.
  • 8. An Acid Tincture.
  • 9. An Oily Tincture.
  • 10. A Saline Tincture.
  • 11. A Syrup.
  • 12. A Fixed Salt of the Ashes.
  • 13. A Pouder of the Leaves and Seeds.
  • 14. A Conserve of the Flowers.
  • 15. An Oil.
  • 16. An Ointment.
  • 17. A Balsam.
  • 18. Genistaemel.
  • 19. A Cataplasm.
  • 20. A Pickle of the Buds.

The Virtues.

X. The distilled Water. Whether it is made of the Flowers, or of the green Branches, or both, it is said to be good against Surfeits; and taken, with equal quantities of the lesser Centory Water, and the Patient laid down to Sweat upon it, it is laid to alter the Fits of Agues. It is a good Vehicle for some of the following Preparations.

XI. The Decoction in Wine. It is good against the Dropsie, Jaundice and Gout, and to cleanse the Reins, Ureters, and Bladder, of Sand, Gravel, and other Tartarous matter.

XII. The liquid Juice, made of the young Branches, and flowery Heads. It purges downwards Phlegmatick and Watry Humors, and therefore is good for such as have the Dropsie, more especially if it is used with White Port, or Rhenish Wine: but possibly in some other Cases it may be better used with Water. It is profitable against the Gout and Sciatica, and other pains of the Joints and Limbs. It eases pains in the Sides, and is good against Tumors of the Spleen. It cleanses the Reins, Ureters, and Bladder, of Stones, Sand, and Gravel, or any Tartarous Matter Obstructing them, bringing forth the offending Matter by Urine, which it admirably provokes. Dose three, four or six ounces in Wine, twice or thrice a day, as you see need requires.

XIII. The Inspissate Juice. The Virtues are the same with, the former. Dose from j. to iij. drams: dissolve it in Wine over a gentle heat, and so drink it.

XIV. The Essence. It has all the Virtues of the Liquid Juice, before enumerated: It opens Obstructions of the Liver and Spleen, is good against Pains and Stitches in the Sides, difficulty of Breathing, and shortness of Breath and as it cleanses the Reins and Urinary passages of Gravel and Stones, it is said so perfectly to remove the Cause, as to hinder their ever breeding again. Moreover, it prevails against the Kings-Evil, and powerfully strikes at the Root of the Cause. It opens Obstructions of the Womb, and provokes the Terms in Women, where they are stopt. Dose five, six or eight spoonfuls, in White Port or Rhenish Wine.

XV. The distilled Oil. It is made from the Seed and Roots dried, as Oil of Sassafras, and other like things is made. Its use is External to Anoint with, to take away Spots, Freckles, Pimples, and other deformities of the skin.

XVI. The Spirituous Tincture. It is a peculiar thing against the Scurvy, and to strengthen the Stomach and Bowels, whilst the Dropsie is in curing. Dose two drams.

XVII. The Acid Tincture. If it is often and long taken, it destroys the Scurvy, Dropsie, and Kings-Evil in their Roots, and destroys the preternatural heat in all Burning, Malign, and Pestilential Fevers. It opens Obstructions of all the Viscera, and in a word, performs all that the Liquid Juice or Essence can do; and with this advantage, that this may be taken where there is an extreme weakness of the Stomach, when those things cannot. It helps shortness of Breath, and difficulty of Breathing, strengthens a weak Stomach, and causes a good Appetite in such as loath their Food, or cannot endure to see it in their sight. Dose from a quarter to almost half a spoonful, in Ale, Beer, or Wine, three, four or five times a day.

XVIII. The Oily Tincture. It is good against external Evils, and deformities of the Skin, as Spots, Freckles, Lentils, Pimples, Wheals, Scurf, Morphew, and such other like Diseases; eases Pains and Aches from a cold cause, in what part of the Body soever: and being taken inwardly from ten drops to twenty, or more, in any Diuretick Vehicle, it gives present ease to Pains of the Back, though never so extream, provokes Urine, takes away the neat and scalding thereof, and expells Sand, Gravel, and Tartarous Matter.

XIX. The Saline Tincture. It is good in hot Tumors, and all hot Eruptions, and deformities of the Skin, proceeding from heat, or where they happen in hot Constitutions. Inwardly given, it powerfully provokes Urine, and therefore may be of good use in the Dropsie Sarcites, to drain the water out of the whole body. It kills small Worms in the Skin, which breed in an extravagant manner in some People, chiefly in the Forehead, Nose and Chin.

XX. The Syrup. If it is made of the Juice; it has the Virtues of the Juice, and Essence, but not full out so powerful; however it is better for Children, Ladies, and such as are Queasie Stomached: It purges gently, and carries off the Recrements of Humors. Dose two ounces to four in a Glass of Port Wine: It is a singular thing against the Dropsie, Jaundice and Kings-Evil.

XXI. The Fixed Salt. It is made of the Ashes by Elixiviation in Water, being drank daily in Ale, Beer, or Wine, it is said alone to cure the Dropsy, and to be a Specifick for the same. Dose from a scruple to half a dram, in every good draught of Ale, Beer or Wine. And so taken in White or Rhenish Wine, it is not only a Specifick against the Dropsie, but as Authors say, it cures the Green-sickness also: however it is not to be used in too great a quantity, left it should by its vehement aperitive and abstersive Qualities, fret or hurt the Bowels, but it may be given in the Liquid Juice or Essence, whereby it exalts their Virtues, and makes them the more powerful to all the intentions they are proposed for.

XXII. The Pouder of the Leaves and Seed. Taken to a dram, or dram and half, in Beer or Wine, it purges downwards Cold, Flegmatick, and Watery Humors, expells the Water in Dropsies, helps the Gout and Sciatica; And by a constant use thereof in Wine, it cures the Black Jaundice, and preserves from the Gout and Stone.

XXIII. The Conserve of the Flowers. Made with Sugar or Honey, and often eaten, it wasts and destroys the Humors which feed the Kings-Evil.

XXIV. The Oil. It is made of the young Branches and Flowers, boiled in Oil Olive, till they are Crisp, &c. It is a safe and sure Medicament to kill Lice, Nits, and other Vermin, in the Head or Body; and being applied to the Sciatica, it helps it.

XXV. The Ointment. It is made of the young Branches bruised, and the Flowers, by boiling them in Oil, adding Sheeps Suet and Wax to bring it to a body, &c. This being applied to Sides pained, or where Stitches are, or to the Spleen, eases the pain, and removes it at twice or thrice using.

XXVI. The Balsam. It is made of the young Twigs and Flowers, &c. being applied to green Wounds, or foul, running, and putrid Ulcers, it cleanses, incarnates, and heals them in a very short time. The same will be done by a Balsam made of the Liquid Juice and Turpentine, boiled to a thickness, adding a little Oil and Wax.

XXVII. Genistaemel. It is made by boiling the liquid Juice and Honey to a thickness. It cures green Wounds presently. It also cleanses old, running, and putrid Ulcers, fills them with Flesh, and heals them: And apply'd to Kibes in the Feet, with pouder of Scammony, it cares them in a very short time.

XXVIII. The Cataplasm. It is to be made of the tender Tops and flowers, beaten till they become a Mass in a Wooden Mortar. Being applied, it is said to help the bitings of Serpents, and other Venomous Creatures.

XXIX. The Pickle. The young Buds of the Flowers are usually Pickled and they make an excellent Sallet for the Winter time, but it is of use thro' the whole Year; it excites the Appetite, causes a good Digestion, opens Obstructions of the Liver, Spleen and Reins, and provokes Urine.


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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