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Chap. 010. Of Common All-Heal.

Allheal. I. THE Names. It is called in Greek Παναξ χ παναηες. in Latin, Panax, & Panaces, Ρanax Heracleum alterum; Panaces Peregrinim Dodonæi, Panax Syriacum Theophrasti; and in English All-heal, Common All-heal, Hercules his Common All-heal.

II. The Kinds. There are several kinds of All-heals, or Wound-worts, as,

Of the first we have already treated in the former Chapter. Of the third we shall treat in the next Chapter: and of the fourth in Chap. 858 following. The second kind which is the Hercules All-heal is manifold,

I. The Common which is sixfold,

  • 1. Panax Heracleum vel Herculeum Alterum, Hercules his common All-heal.
  • 2. Panax Heracleum alterum Americanum.
  • 3. Panax Costinum Matthioli, Matthiolus his Costus-like All-heal.
  • 4. Panax Racemosum Americanum, The American cluster-bearing All-heal.
  • 5. Panaces Moschatum Americanum, The American Musked All-heal.

Of these five we treat in this Chapter.

  • 6. Panaces Hungaricum et Tartarianum, Hungarian and Tartarian All-heal, of which we have nothing here to say.

II. The true, which is called Panax Heracleum Verum, The true Hercules All-heal or Wound-wort, which see in its proper place, viz. in Chap. 857 following.

III. The Description. The first Kind, viz. Panax Herculeum alterum, or Hercules his Common All-heal, has a Root somewhat great, growing deep down into the Ground, with 2 or 3 long branches from it, of a whitish yellow on the out side, and more white within, full of a yellow Sap coming from it, if it is cut or broken, of a little strong scent, and hot bitter taste more than either Leaf or Seed: from this root springs many large winged Leaves round about upon the Ground, most of them two feet long, consisting of four, five or six Couples of rough winged Leaves, set against each other on a round great footstalk, furrowed on the upper side, each of them consisting likewise of three or 4 Couples of rough but large, fair, fresh, yellowish green Leaves, and one at the end, broad below, and growing narrower to a point at the other end; the one side of the leaf next its footstalk, being always deeper at the bottom than the other side, and finely dented about the edges, tasting a little hot and biting in the mouth, and yielding forth a yellowish juyce in the Summer, called Opopanax, much more Gummy, hot and bitter than the leaves: from amongst these leaves rises up a strong, great, round, green stalk, 4 or 5 feet high or more, with some joynts and leaves thereat, and a few branches towards the top, breaking forth into small yellow umbles of flowers, which afterwards yield whitish, yellow, flat, short Seed. Note, Lobel supposes this to be the Panax Syriacum Theophrasti, which yields the Gum Opopanax, and not without some ground of reason for it, because (says he) a famous Apothecary in Antwerp found in a parcel of the Gum Opopanax certain Seeds, which being Sowed by him in his Garden produced this very Plant. (Opopanax chironium, I think. -Henriette.)

IV. The second Kind, or Americanum has a great and white Root with sundry long strings, and a pith in the middle, not enduring after Seed time, which is sometimes the second year after its springing up, and sometimes the third. From this Root springs up a Plant much like the last, having such like winged leaves, set in the same manner, and the wings with 4, 5 or 6 Couples of Leaves, but differing in Greatness and Colour; for the whole stalk is not above half so long, nor the leaves above half so great in length or breadth, but rather somewhat short, and of a deep green Colour, very much shining on the upper side, but of a paler green underneath, much hotter and sharper in taste than the former, (and not bitter) drawing Water into the mouth. The stalk is seldom above a yard high with joynts, and leaves thereon, and more branches towards the top than the other, and bearing larger umbles of flowers of a yellow Colour, succeeded by flatish, but almost round Seed of a pale brown Color. This is supposed to be the American Laserpitium, or Laserwort which yields a kind of Assa fætida. (According to the USDA Plants database, the only yellow-flowering Apiaceae in North America are two Lomatiums (L. cous and L. triternatum), and Osmorhiza occidentalis; all three grow west of the Mississippj. I don't quite believe that Salmon had access to them. So I don't know which plant this would be. Help? -Henriette.)

V. The third Kind, or Costus like All-heal, differs not much in form from the second, but in its greatness, and in the substance of its yellow juyce, which this has not, and therefore is not of that Kind: this has such large winged leaves, set in the same manner together, but lesser, each leaf whereof is larger than a Parsnip leaf, thicker, rougher and more crumpled, also a little dented about the edges. The stalk is small and about a yard high, full of joynts and lesser leaves set at them, branched towards the tops, and bearing round tufts of yellow flowers, after which follows flat and somewhat round Seed: The Root is sappy, with a thick fleshy Bark, and of a shining Αsh Colour, bitter and sharp in taste. (Panax costinum is the same as Pastinaca opopanax, according to Dunglison (Medical Lexicon, 1839). This again is the same as Opopanax chironium. -Henriette.)

VI. The third Kind, or Cluster-bearing All-heal, has a Root of the thickness of ones Thumb, and very long, from whence rises up a round, pithy, brownish, purple stalk, set at the joynts with large leaves, divided into many parts, usually by three at a place, a little dented about the edges, bearing both at the joynts with the leaves and at the tops on sundry branches, many tufts of flowers, made of small threads, like Vine Blossoms; at the first greenish, but whiter afterwards, which turn into small branches of green Berries, and come afterwards to be of a dark red when they are ripe, full of a pleasant juyce, with many Seeds therein. It looses both Stalks and Leaves every year, and they spring up new again after Winter: the whole Plant, Leaves and Roots are eaten as Pot-herbs and Sallets, by the Indians, where it is natural; as also by our Europeans which dwell among them, and taste more pleasant than the fruit it self. (Aralia nudicaulis? -Henriette.)

VII. The fifth Kind, or Panaces Moschatum Americanum: The Root is long, white, and a little sharp and bitter, from whence springs up its first leaves, which are large, and about a foot long, only dented about the edges, somewhat like unto Costmary leaves, lying on the Ground, and compassing the long white root at the head; but those which follow are so deeply cut in, that they reach to the middle Rib almost: the stalk rises to be about a yard high, without any leaves thereon, save only about the middle, where it has a Knot and a Leaf which encompasses it, of a differing form from the rest: the top branches are so heavily laden with umbles of white flowers, that before they open, they hang down their heads, which have so admirable, sweet and odoriferous smell, that it is not inferior to Musk, and may be smelt a great way from the place where it grows: the leaves taste sharp and a little bitter; the Seed is like the first Kind, but not so broad. (No idea, but possibly Aralia nudicaulis or A. racemosa? Do let me know if you know what this is. Thanks! -Henriette.)

VIII. The Places. The first grows in Italy, and generally in our Gardens in many places; as in the Physick Gardens at Oxford, Westminster and Chelsea: The second was brought from America, and is now Nourished in our Gardens also. The third grows on Mount Garganus in Apulia. The fourth and fifth grow in America, as in New-England, Canada, New-York, Maryland and Virginia.

IX. The Times. They all flower in the latter Summer Months, and their Seed is perfected in the end of Summer.

X. The Qualities. The herb, as also the Gum Opopanax, are hot and dry in the second degree; tho’ some Authors will have the Gum to be hot in the 3d. degree, which I do not believe. The Herb, as also the Gum, Attenuate, Rarifie, Discuss, Resolve; are Vulnerary, and very gently attract: and by their appropriation they are Cephalick, Stomatick, Pectoral, Splenetick, Hysterick and Arthritick. And are accounted among the number of Alteratives; yet the Gum has been found sometimes to purge, tho’ but very gently; for which reason, it is often mixt with Catharticks.

XI. The Specification. Both Herb and Gum are singular Vulnerarys, and are known to Cure Wounds and Ulcers before most other things in the World. The Gum also is specifick in Diseases of the Spleen and Womb, removing Vapors, and helping Fits of the Mother, as also outwardly to discuss or resolve hard Tumors or Swellings, (if resolvable) in what part of the Body soever.

XII. The Preparations. The Shops keep nothing of this Herb, but the Gum: from the Herb you may prepare.

  • 1. A Pouder of the Seed.
  • 2. A Juyce.
  • 3. An Essence.
  • 4. A Syrup.
  • 5. A Spirituous Tincture.
  • 6. A Saline Tincture.
  • 7. An Oily Tincture.
  • 8. A Decoction.
  • 9. A Wine.
  • 10. An Oil.
  • 11. A Balsam.
  • 12. An Ointment.
  • 13. A Cataplasm.
  • 14. An Emplaster or Cerote.

From the Gum you have,

  • 15. The strained or purified Gum,
  • 16. Pills of Opopanax.
  • 17. A Volatil Acid Spirit.
  • 18. A Distilled Oil.
  • 19. A Saline Tincture of the Gum.
  • 20. A Balsam of the Gum.
  • 21. A Cerote of the Gum.

The Virtues.

XIII. The Powder of the Seed. This drunk in Wormwood Wine, from half a dram to j. dram, is good against Poyson, and the bitings of all Venomous Creatures.

XIV. The Juyce of the Herb. It is good against Pains and Ulcers of the Bladder, and helps against the Strangury, or difficulty in making Water: It expels Worms, is good against the bitings of mad Dogs, or any other Venomous Creature. Dose j. ounce.

XV. The Essence. It is Cephalick, Pectoral, Hysterick and Vulnerary, curing most Diseases of the Head, Brest, Lungs, and Womb, and is very contributory to the healing of Wounds, or any old Sore, or running Ulcer, helps Pains and Stitches in the side, hardness in the Spleen, and suffocations of the Mother, provokes the Courses and expels the Birth. Dose to j. ounce in any proper Vehicle.

XVI. The Syrup of the Juyce. It has all the Virtues of the Juyce and Essence, but not altogether so powerful and effectual, but something more pleasant, and may be exhibited to j. ounce more or less in Wine, or Arsmart Water.

XVII. The Spirituous Tincture. It has all the Virtues of the Essence, but is much more fit for cold Constitutions, it strengthens the Brain, Nerves and Sensitive Parts, warms a cold Stomach, and is good against any cold Diseases in those Parts. Dose from j. dram to iij. in Ale, Mead, or Wine.

XVIII. The Saline Tincture. It has all the former Virtues, but is more peculiar against all Diseases of the Womb, Reins, Ureters and Bladder, for it dissolves all Tartarous Slime, Sand, Gravel and the like in those Parts: brings down the Courses in Women, and forces away both Birth and Afterbirth, and clears the Urinary Passages of whatever obstructs them. Dose from j. dram to ij. in Wine or Parsley Water.

ΧIX. The Oily Tincture. It is good against the Colick, and Windiness of the Bowels, and is said to expel the dead Child: it heals Wounds by the first intention, especially those of the Nerves, and is good against the Toothach, (held awhile in the Mouth) old Sores, numness of the Limbs, Palsies, &c. outwardly applyed, by anointing therewith, and inwardly given, from vj. to xij. or xvj. drops in Ale, Beer, Mead, Wine, or some proper Liquor.

XX. The Decoction of the Herb, in water or Wine, may be used as a Diet-Drink for the curing of Wounds, old Ulcers, running Sores and Fistula’s, and to heal internal Ulcers in the Lungs: Dose iv, v, or vj. ounces at a time, two or three times a day; it is said gently to evacuate Choler.

XXI. The Wine. It is only an Infusion of the Herb in Wine, and is something more powerful, at least more proper than the Decoction, for all the same purposes in cold Constitutions or habits of Body, to ease cold Diseases of the Head and Nerves, and give ease in the Cholick: Dose ij. or iij. ounces or more, two or three times a day.

XXII. The Oil. It is Vulnerary, and heals Wounds after an admirable manner: anointed it dissolves Oedema’s, or cold Tumors in any Part, Discusses hard swellings in the Joynts, and gives ease in the Gout, Spleen, and other Pains from a cold cause, being anointed on the place.

XXIII. The Balsam. This is more excellent for curing of Wounds, and commonly performs the Work by the first Intention; it cleanses and heals Ulcers; and is a singular thing for the curing of Fistula’s, being injected scalding hot into the same. It gives ease also in the Gout, and in all Aches and Pains from a cold cause: And covers naked Bones with Flesh.

XXIV. The Ointment. It softens the hardness of the Spleen, and is of good use in dissolving or discussing hard swellings of the Kings Evil.

XXV. The Cataplasm. It is Discussive, Resolutive and Anodyn; and an excellent thing to be applyed to Kings evil swellings, or any hard Tumor in any part of the Body: The Green Leaves beaten into a Cataplasm with Honey, and applyed, cures Wounds and Ulcers, incarnates, and covers naked Bones with Flesh.

XXVI. The Cerot or Emplaster. It is Discussive, Resolutive and Anodyn: and applyed to any weak Part or Joynt, it so strengthens it, as to hinder an afflux of Humors to that Place: it is also good against Spasms and Cramps, and numness of the Limbs; helps the pain, swellings, and hardness of the Spleen and Hypochonders, being spread upon Leather or new Cloth and applyed.

The Virtues of the Gum Opopanax,

XXVII. The strained or purified Gum. It is a Gummy Juyce flowing from the Root of Panax Herculeum, being cut or wounded; which is afterwards inspissated or brought to a thickness, and is then called in the Greek, ’Απαπαναξ, Apopanax; and in Latin, Opopanax: it is a fine fragrant Gum of a reddish, or reddish yellow color outwardly, but inwardly of a whitish yellow: it comes out of the Plant white, and in round loose drops, and is white within, but being glutinous it sticks together in Lumps, and by degrees it becomes thick, and of a Gold color on the out side, but being dissolved is almost like Milk. It discusses Wind, purges Flegm which is thick and tough, even from the remote parts of the Body, as from the Head, Brain, Nerves, Joynts, Reins and Womb: it dissolves Tartarous mucilage in the Brest, Lungs and Misentery, digests, and softens Tumors, and is a good thing against an old Cough, sharpness of Humors, shortness of Breath, difficulty in breathing, and other obstructions of the Viscera. It is depurated by dissolving it in Vinegar, straining and inspissating. It may be given from half a dram to a dram or more, corrected with Ginger, and Nutmeg. Dissolved in Vinegar and drunk an hour befor the Fit of an Ague, it is said to cure it.

XXVIII. The Pills of Opopanax. Take Opopanax (made soft with Syrupus Catharticus prepared as in our Pharmacopoeia Chirurgica) ij. ounces: Scammony fine Pouder iv. ounces: Cremor Tartari, a sufficient quantity: Oil of Lemons ij. drams: mix and make a mass of Pills. Dose from xvj. grains to xxx. grains or half a dram. They purge all Humors, and from all parts of the Body, without making sick, or griping; dissolve and expel tartarous and sharp humors out of the Bowels, which are the original Causes of the Gout, Stone, hardness of the Spleen, Hypochondriack Melancholy, and fits of the Mother; and have most of the Virtues of the Gum at Sect. 27. aforegoing: They are an excellent Medicine, not enough to be valued, and may be taken twice or thrice Week, &c.

XXIX. The Volatil Acid Spirit. It is made of the Gum by Distilling it in a Glass Retort either in Sand, or Balneo Marie, as we have taught in Our Seplasium, lib. 9. cap. 40. sect. 8. It admirably opens the obstructions of the Lungs, Liver, Spleen, Bowels, Reins, Ureters and Womb; brings down the Courses, causes Urine, and prevails against Vapors, and Fits of the Mother, and most Diseases in Women proceeding from a stoppage of their Terms: Dose from xx. to xxx. drops, or more, in some Hysterick Water.

XXX. The Distilled Oil. This is made with the Spirit, and comes last after the Spirit, as is directed in the place afore quoted of Our Seplasium it has the Virtues of the Spirit, but is much more nauseous to be taken, and is chiefly given against Fits of the Mother in Women from ij. drops to iv. or vj. in some proper Liquor, but is mostly used in such like Cases to anoint the Nostrils therewith, or to smell to.

XXXI. The Saline Tincture. It is a Famous thing, and has all the Virtues of the simple Gum, at sect. 27. aforegoing: But this opperates more speedily, and more Powerfully opens all obstructions of the Viscera, chiefly the Lungs, Spleen, Reins and Womb. Dose from j. dram to ij. in a Glass of White Port Wine, Mead, or other fit Vehicle.

XXXII. The Blsam. It is made of the Gum, dissolved in Vinegar iv. ounces, mixt with Turpentine, Balsam Capivii, of each iij. ounces: Gum Elemi, Oil Olive, Oil of Ben, of each ij. ounces: mix and evaporate to a just consistency. It cures Wounds by the first intention, and is excellent in all Wounds of the Head, Brain, Nerves, Joynts, and other parts: it also cleanses running Sores, old Ulcers, malign Fistula’s, and quickly heals them.

XXXIII. The Cerote. It is made of the former Balsam, by adding to every xvj. ounces of Balsam, j. ounce and half of Oil of Peter, and a sufficient quantity of Wax, to bring it to a due consistency of a soft Cerote: It cures Wounds in any part, and is an excellent thing to soften hard Tumors, discuss or resolve them, as Nature most designs: It eases the Gout, and Pains proceeding from a cold Cause. See a Discourse of the Gum more at large, in Our said Seplasium, the place afore quoted.

The Virtues of Panax Costinum.

XXXIV. Its Qualities. It is compleatly hot and dry in the third Degree. It opens, cleanses, cuts, and makes thin; and by appropriation it is Cephalick, Pectoral, Hepatick, Splenetick, Hysterick and Nephritick: performing its operations altogether as an Alterative.

XXXV. The Specification. It is prevalent against shortness of Breath, Distempers of the Head and Brain, and the Cholick, or Griping of the Guts.

XXXVI. The Preparations. You may Prepare from it,

  • 1. An Essence.
  • 2. A Spirituous Tincture.
  • 3. A Saline Tincture.
  • 4. An Oily Tincture.
  • 5. A Decoction.
  • 6. A Wine.
  • 7. A Cataplasm.

The Virtues.

XXXVII. The Essence. It is an Admirable thing against cold Diseases of the Head, Brain and Nerves, as Headaches, Vertigo’s, Fallingsickness, Lethargies, Convulsions and the like: it is good against Coughs, Colds, shortness of Breath, obstructions of the Lungs, Liver, Spleen and Womb. Dose ij. or iij. spoonfuls in a Glass of Wine, Mead, or other proper Liquor.

XXXVIII. The Spirituous Tincture. It Warms a cold Stomach, is good for Nerves obstructed, and chill’d through Cold; and is prevalent against the Fallingsickness, Spleen and Hypochondriack Melancholy. Dose from j. to iij. drams.

XXXIX. The Saline Tincture. It has all the Virtues of the Essence, and Spirituous Tincture, but heats not so powerfully; however it better opens obstructions of the Viscera, provokes the Courses, represses the Fits of the Mother, cleanses the Womb, kills Worms, expels the Urine, Birth, Deadbirth, and Afterbirth, and dissolves Tartarous Concretions, as Stone, Gravel, slimy matter, &c. Dose from j. dram to ij. in Parsly Water.

XL. The Oily Tincture. It comforts the Nerves, provokes Urine, helps in Diseases of the Reins and Bladder, and prevails against Cramps, Convulsions, Gouts, pains and aches proceeding from Cold, Palsies, Rheumatisms, being outwardly applyed, and inwardly taken from iv. drops to xij. in some convenient Vehicle.

XLI. The Decoction. It opens Obstructions, dissolves the Tartarous Matter which breeds the Gout, and carries of the most of the Morbifick cause by Urine. Dose from iv. to viij. ounces.

XLII. The Wine. It expels Wind, strengthens the Stomach and Bowels, and is good against the Cholick, or Gripings of the Guts. Dose iij. or iv. ounces, morning and evening, or in Extremity.

XLIII. The Cataplasm. It is made of the Herb beaten in a Morter, and mixt with Hogs-Lard and Turpentine, of each of the two last a like quantity. It gives ease in the Gout, or any pain in the Joynts proceeding from a cold Cause, is good against Cramps, and the shrinking up of the Sinews, by reason of violent Convulsions.


Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This chapter has been proofread by Lisa Haller.



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