A rough and unhandsome plant, cultivated for the sake of its root, which is used by the dyers, and also in medicine. It is a foot and a half high. The stalk is square and weak. The leaves stand six or eight at every joint, disposed star-fashioned and they are of a dusky green colour, and very rough, they feel almost prickly. The flowers are little and yellow; and they grow from the bosoms of the leaves. The root is long, slender, and of a red colour.
A decoction of the fresh roots of madder, works gently by urine, but it very powerfully opens obstructions of the liver and spleen. It is very good against the gravel and jaundice.