A very common plant by the sea side in Italy and other parts of Europe, but not native of this country. It grows a yard high, and when in flower, is very beautiful; the stalk is thick, round, fleshy, and green, or else reddish. The flowers are white; they are small but they have their beauty. They stand in a long spike down a third part of the stalk; the leaves are very large and long; they are of a deep green colour, and grow immediately from the root; the root is round, and of a pound weight; it is composed like an onion of many coats one over another, and is full of an acrid slimy juice. The colour is white or red, and they call it the white or red, squill.
The root is used dried, or infused in vinegar or wine, and that afterwards made into a syrup with honey. These three preparations are called the wine of squills, vinegar of squills, and oxymel of squills; they are all good against asthmas, and difficulty of breathing. The oxymel is most given for this purpose; the vinegar causes vomiting, and cleanses the stomach; the wine of squills works by urine, and is good against the jaundice and dropsy.