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Chap. 021. Of Thornie Apples.

Apple of Peru, Thorne. I. THE Names. It is called in Greek, Παοθχοχναλον φ Βαρυοχοηναλον (i.e. a Nut causing Drowsiness:) In Latin, Stramonium, Melospinum, Malum Spinosum, Pomum Spinosum: In English, Thorny Apple, and Thorn Apple. Matthiolus thinks this to be the Nux Methel, of the Arabians.

II. The Kinds. It is twofold,

  • 1. That which generally grows with us in England. (Datura stramonium (and other species of Datura). -Henriette.)
  • 2. That of Peru. (Datura stramonium (and other species of Datura). -Henriette.)

And of the first Kind there is both single and double, with variety of Colours in the Flowers.

III. The Description. The Root is small and thready, from whence springs up, one great Stalk, four, five, or six feet high, seldom higher and two or three Inches, or more, thick in Diameter, and sometimes four or five Inches thick, upright and straight, having very many Branches, and sometimes but few, upon jointed Stems; on which do grow Leaves, smooth, very broad, and cut in, or jagged about the edges, long and broad almost as a Spinage Leaf; and not much differing from the shape of Goose-foot. The Flowers come forth of long Toothed Cups, great, white, and of the form of a Bell, or like the Flower of the great Bindweed, which spreads it self in Hedges, but altogether greater, and wider at Mouth, and sharp cornered at the brims; of a strong smell, so that it offends the Senses: After the Flowers follows the Fruit, something of the fashion of an Egg, set about on every side and part with sharp Prickles, almost like Thorns, within which Shell is contained very much Seed, of the bigness of a very small Tare, and almost of the same fashion, and of a blackish brown, or black Colour.

IV. The Thorn Apple of Peru has a Root thicker than the former, with some thick Branches, from whence runs several small strings, and out of which springs one pretty thick upright Stalk, about four or five feet high, seldom higher; nearly two Inches thick, having very few Branches, sometimes none at all; from which Stalk and Branches (where there is any) spring forth pretty large Leaves, smooth and even, little or nothing indented about the edges, longer and broader than the Leaves of Nightshade, or Mad Apples: from the Bottoms or foot-stalks of the Leaves spring forth long Toothed Cups, out of which come the flowers, great, white, and of the form of a Bell, or the flowers of the great Bindweed, but greater and wider at Mouth, and sharp cornered at the Brims, like the former, which contain white Chives or Threads in the midst, of a strong Pontick Savour, offending the Head when it is smelled to: When the flower is gone, the fruit comes forth, of the bigness of a small Walnut with the green on; this fruit is full of Prickles; within the Shell are a great number of Seeds, of the bigness of small Tares, or Seeds of Mandrakes, and of the same form. The whole Herb is of a strong Savour; and smelling to it causes Drowsiness.

V. The Places. The First was brought from Constantinople, and now grows with us plentifully in our Gardens; it also grows Wild and very plentifully in the South Carolina. The latter was found growing in the Mountains of Peru, from whence the Seed was sent to Monardus in Spain: and from thence it was conveyed unto other parts of Europe; and now it is nourished up in some of our Gardens in England.

V. The Times. The first may be sown in March or April, and it brings forth ripe Seed in September, Flowering in the Summer Months: The latter is sown in a hot Bed of Horse Dung, as we do Cucumbers and Musk-Melons. Authors say, of both these sorts, there is a greater and a lesser Kind, and that the greater Kinds are plentiful enough in our Gardens, and will abide and give with us ripe Seed: but the lesser Kinds are very rare, because they seldom come to maturity, and so we are every Year to seek for new Seed.

VII. The Qualities. These Plants are said to be cold and moist in the fourth Degree: and to be Repercussive, Narcotick, or Stupefactive, and Vulnerary: and are by appropriation, Cephalick, Hysterick and Arthritick, and operate only as Alteratives by their cold and moist property.

VIII. The Specification. Monardus says, that the Indians commend these Plants for provoking Urine, and expelling Sand and Gravel from the Reins and Bladder: and by Gerard's account, it is a famous Wound Herb outwardly used.

IX. The Preparations. There are taken from it,

  • 1. The Seed.
  • 2. The Juice.
  • 3. An Essence from the same.
  • 4. An Oil.
  • 5. An Ointment.
  • 6. A Cerate or Emplaster.
  • 7. A Cataplasm.

The Virtues

X. The Seed. It is of great Estimation in the Indies, both by the Spaniards and Indians themselves, in that it provoks Urine, and expels Gravel and the Stone both in the Reins and Bladder, for which it is most commended: it is said to break the Stone in the Bladder if it is not too hard and inveterate, or may by any medicine be dissolved; of which there has been many proofs, as Monardus says, has been declared to his great admiration; For, as he says, he did not think that the Stone in the Bladder could be dissolved and expelled by any means whatsoever, and that the Cure thereof consisted only in Cutting it out by a skillful hand: but it was said of this Seed, that being taken in any Fit and convenient Water for that purpose, that it would by little and little dissolve the Stone into small Gravel, which after it is expell'd, or driven forth, would again stick together and Grow into a hard Stone.

XI. The Juice of the Herb. It is singular good to bath with in all Sorts of hot Inflamations and an Erysipilas, by laying Cloths dipt in the Juice upon the same, and often repeating the Application.

XII. The Essence of the Juice. Dropt into the Eye, it allays the Inflamation thereof and removes hot and sharp Rheums: Injected up the Womb it is good against the continual running of the Whites, strengthens the Part, and cools any Inflamation of the same, or of the Secrets: it also is good against all sorts of Inflamations in Wounds and Ulcers.

XIII. The Oil; made by boiling the bruised Herb in it till it is crisp, is good against all sorts of Inflamations, Burnings and Scaldings, and gives ease in a hot Gout, and Pains and Aches, in the Head chiefly, proceeding from a hot Cause and Humor.

XIV. The Ointment, made of the Juice or bruiled Herb, boiled to crispness, and twice or thrice repeated, in Hogs Lard, and then pressed forth, cures all Inflamations whatsoever, and heals all manner of Burnings and Scaldings, whether of Fire, Water, Oil, melted Lead, Gun-Powder or Lightning, and that in a very short time: This was proved upon a Merchants Wife at Colchester, who (after the use of many other things in vain, and when all hopes were past) being grievousty Burned was herewith perfectly cured.

XV. The Emplaster. It is made of the bruised Herb, boiled in Oil Olive to crispness, and pressed forth, and three times repeated, and then brought to a body with Turpentine, Rosin and Wax, of each a sufficient quantity. It cures malign Ulcers, and Apostems, helps a hot Gout, and prevails against fresh and Green Wounds, and old Sores and running Ulcers, especially upon the Glandulous parts of the Yard, and other places where they are hard of Cure.

XVI. The Cataplasm. It is good against Recent Bruises especially upon a bony part, to allay Inflamations, and ease the Gout and other Pains proceeding from a hot Cause.


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



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