Purging Flax.

Botanical name: 

Plate 20. Linum catharticum.

A pretty little herb that grows abundantly in our hilly pastures, in parks and warrens. It is eight inches high. The stalk is round, firm, and at the top divided into small branches. The leaves are little, oblong, and obtuse, and they stand two at each joint. The flowers are small and white, and the whole plant has very much the aspect of some kind of duckweed, but the seed-vessel being examined, it appears to be altogether of the flax kind. The root is small and thready.

This little plant is a strong but safe purge; the country people boil it in ale, and cure themselves of rheumatic pains, and a great many other obstinate disorders by it. They talk of it as a remedy for dropsies. Doubtless it is useful in all cases where a strong and brisk purgative is required.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.