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Chap. 090. Bryonie Black.

Bryony, Black. Vitis Nigra. I. The Names. It is called in Greek *****: In Latin Vitis Sylvestris, and Vitis nigra, Bryonia nigra: , In Engish, Black Bryonie.

II. The Kinds. There are three kinds of this:

  • 1. ******* and ******, Vitis Sylvestris, and Vitis nigra, Bryonia nigra, Bryonia nigra Sylvestris, Bryonia nigra communis, Sigillum Sanctae mariae, Common Black Bryonie: but why it should be called Vitis Sylvestris, or Wild Vine, I know not, because there is a Vitis Sylvestris, which is Vinifera, and differs but little from the true manured Vine, but that it grows Wild, and bears few or no Grapes; but Pliny I suppose was the cause of it, who, lib. 23 cap. I. being not able to distinguish them, confounded 'em, and made them all one. (Dioscorea communis. -Henriette.)
  • 2. Bryonia, nigra Baccifera, Black Bryonie with single Red Berries: This Bauhinus in his Prodromus calls Bryonia Sylvestris Baccifera, and in his Pinax, Bryonia laevis, sive nigra Baccifera. (Dioscorea communis. -Henriette.)
  • 3. Bryonia nigra Dioscoridis, Vitis nigra, (ita dicta ab acinis, radiceque nigris, & quod Vitis fimilitudinem babet:) Vitis Chironia, The true Black Bryonie of Dioscorides. (Smilax aspera? -Henriette.)

III. The Description. It has a Root which is brownish, or enclining to blackish on the outside, in some places by long standing, but white within; it is large if it grows in moist grounds; but much smaller and whiter, if it grows in dry, hard, and stony places, as Dalechampius says, somewhat hot; and of a sharp taste: From this Root arises long trailing Branches, without any clasping tendrels; but by reason of the vast number of Branches, and their tenderness, it takes hold of, and climbs upon those things which stand next to it, tho' easie to be loosed therefrom, contrary to the other kinds. The Leaves are somewhat broad, and like unto the Leaves of the rough or prickly Bindweed, and terminate in a sharp point. The Flowers come forth at the Joints upon long Stalks, many clustering together, in long, thin, sparsed Clusters, each one consisting of five small white Leaves, and after they are fallen, there come in their places small Berries, first green, and red when they are ripe, and sometimes changing a little blackish as they grow old.

IV. The second Kind, has a great thick Root, long, and not much unlike the former, having a clammy kind of Juice: from which rises up many, long, and square Branches, more hard and woody than the other, and without any Claspers at all. The Leaves are somewhat like to those of the Great White Bindweed, of a shining color, a little unevenly dented about the edges, and standing upon long foot stalks: towards the tops of the Stalks at the Joints, with the Leaves come forth white flowers, every one standing on a short Stalk, which afterwards give five single Berries, green at the first, and red when they are ripe, not much less than Cherries, in which are contained four or five somewhat large, round, and black Seed.

V. The third and last Kind, has a Root somewhat great and blackish on the outside, but of a yellowish color within, and full of a clammy moist Juice, which will cleave to your fingers: whence comes forth many long green Branches, on which grow several broad Leaves, somewhat long pointed, and not divided on the edges at all, of a sad or dark green color, having at the Joints, with the Leaves, clasping tendrels, by which it takes hold, and winds it self about any thing which stands next to it. Towards the tops come forth long Bunches of whitish Mossie Flowers, which being past, there come Berries, which are green at first, and black when they come to ripeness.

VI. The Places. The first of these grow on Banksides, and under Hedges, and Woody places in many places throughout this Kingdom. The second grows in several places in Germany, as in Hessia, Saxony, Westphalia, Pomerania, and other places where the White grows not: the last grows in Graecia, Italy, Spain, and several Southern Countries, and is not with us unless nourished up in Gardens.

VII. The Times. They spring in March, and flower in May, June and July, and their fruit is ripe in August and September.

VIII. THe Qualities. They are the same with the White, but much weaker in their Cathartick Virtue, as in purging Flegm, Choler, and Watry Humors.

IX. The Specification. It prevails against the Dropsie, King's-Evil, Diseases of the Womb, and Defilements of the Skin, whatsoever.

X. The Preparations.

  • 1. The roasted Root.
  • 2. The Juice.
  • 3. The Essence.
  • 4. The Decoction.
  • 5. The Pouder.
  • 6. The Cataplasm.
  • 7. The Foecula.

The Virtues.

XI. The roasted Root. Matthiolus says, that the Root of our Common Black Bryonie being roasted in the Embers, and eaten, is a powerful Medicine to increase Lust, provoke Venery, and stimulate the Instruments of Generation to that act: but Lobel sharply reproves him for it, as not believing it.

XII. The Juice. Mixed with Wine and Honey, and drunk, it is good against the King's-Evil: and simple of it self, it cleanses the Skin of Spots and Marks, Morphew, Scurf, Leprosie, Tettars, Ring-Worms, &c. it eases Pain, strengthens the Nerves, discusses Contusions, &c. Dose half an ounce, to one ounce, or more.

XIII. The Essence. It purges Flegm, and Watry Humors, provokes Urine, and is good against the Falling-sickness, Palsie, Hysterick Fits, Vapors from the Spleen and Womb, with other like Diseases of those parts. It is prevalent against the King's-Evil, all sorts of Kernels, Knots, and hard Swellings in the Neck and Throat, or other parts. Dose, two, three, or four spoonfuls in a Glass of Wine, according to age and strength.

XIV. The Decoction in Wine. It has the Virtues of the Essence, but not altogether so powerful, and may be taken to six or eight ounces: it is prevalent against the Dropsie, Jaundice, and King's-Evil, and such other Diseases as proceed from the Plenitude and Corruption of Humors.

XV. The Pouder. It is made of the Root, and may be given from a scruple to two scruples, to purge away Cold, Serous Flegmatick, and Watry humors, and to remove the Original Cause of the King's-Evil: It has the Virtues of the Essence.

XVI. The Cataplasm. It is made of the Root beaten to a Pulp in a Mortar, and mixed with a little Honey. This being laid or spread upon Sheeps Leather, whilst it is yet fresh and green, takes away black or blew Marks, and all Scars and Deformities of the Skin, ripens and breaks hard Apostems, draws forth Splinters, Thorns, and broken Bones, dissolves congealed Blood; and being applied to the Hips, and Huckle-bones in the Sciatica, Shoulders, Arms, or other parts, where there is great Pains and Weakness, it effectually removes the same in a very short time: Gerard. And applied to any place out of Joint, it is good to ease the Pain, to consolidate and strengthen the Nerves, that they may not easily again be put out of their places. Parkinson.

XVII. A Cataplasm of the Leaves. Being bruised and sprinkled with Wine, and applied to the galled Necks of Oxen, which are hurt with the Yoke, it heals them: I suppose it will heal Gallings and Sores in Mankind also, being applied.

XVIII. A Cataplasm of the Berries. It removes Sun-burnings, Tanning, Spots, and other blemishes of the Skin, takes away black and blew Marks, which come from falls, blows, Bruises, &c. being applied to them.

XIX. The Foecula. It has the Virtues of the Pouder and Essence, is very powerful to the purposes intended it is prevalent against Psora, or Scabs, Manginess, Leprosie, King's-Evil, Dropsie, &c. Dose. It may be given in Wine or Broth from ten grains to a scruple, plus minus, according to the age and strength of the Patient.


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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