Chap. 003. Of Agrimony Common and Bastard.

Agrimony. I. The Names. It is called in Arabick Gnaphat, Gnatzfat: in Greek Ευπατόρειον. (of Eupator the first Founder of it, as Pliny saith:) in Latin Eupatorium, Hepatorium (as being good for the Liver,) Agrimonia: and in English Agrimony. The Bastard Agrimony knows no Greek name: and is called in Latin Agrimonoides.

II. The Kinds. It is accounted amongst the number of Spiked Plants, and has several Species, as,

  • 1. The Common Agrimony.
  • 2. The Bastard.
  • 3. The Water Agrimony which is both male and female.

The Common again is either sweet scented (Agrimonia procera. -Henriette), or not sweet scented (Agrimonia eupatoria. -Henriette) .

III. The Description. Common Agrimony has a root black, long, and somewhat Woody, abiding many years, and shooting out afresh every Spring, from which arises one stalk somewhat hoary and whitish, hard and round, half a yard high (plus minus) from whence comes forth divers long leaves, some greater, some lesser, set upon a stalk, all of them dented about the edges, somewhat greyish underneath, and hairy withall: and from the main stalk also arises some smaller leaves set here and there; towards the top whereof grows many small yellow flowers, one above another in long spikes, after which comes many rough seeds, hanging down like to small Burrs, which when they are ripe, will catch hold and stick upon Garments, or any thing which shall rub against them: the whole Plant is of a pretty pleasing smell.

IV. The sweet scented or Aromatick differs little or nothing from the former, except in the smell, so that he that knew the one may certainly know the other; but the Plant is somewhat less, with rounder and whiter leaves, and the root of a darkish red, but the taste and smell of this much surpasses the common, as being Aromatical and Astringent.

V. The Agrimonoides, or Bastard Agrimony has a root small, reddish and Woody, abiding all the Winter, from whence arises many long, soft and hairy Leaves next the Ground, every one upon a long hairy foot stalk, which are cut and divided into many parts and Leaves, seven for the most part, three on each side, and one at the end, but having some smaller ones between them, much like to Common Agrimony, yet somewhat rounder than they, and all of them smaller dented, and sharper pointed, of a dark green Colour on the upper side, and Greyish underneath. Amidst these Leaves rises up several Stalks, not fully standing upright, but leaning downwards, on which are placed very sparingly such like leaves as before described, but smaller and rounder, with small pieces at the joynts of every of them. At the Top comes forth three or four hairy green husks like Cups, dented at the Brims, out of which comes forth a small yellow Flower, like to Common Agrimony, yet sometimes scarcely appear above the husks, in which, after they are fallen and past, small long and round Seeds appear like Grains of Wheat, two standing together, like to small Lumps, which fall out of the husks themselves when they are ripe, leaving the husk empty and gaping. The Taste of the Plant is bitter and absterging, and smells like sweet Agrimony. (Aremonia agrimonoides? -Henriette.)

VI. The Places. The Common grows near the sides of Hedges in Meadows, and by Borders οf Groves and Copses, in most parts of England and Germany, and in many other Countreys: I have found both the Common and Sweet Scented, growing Wild in the Plantations of South Carolina. The sweet Scented grows with us only in Gardens, but is Natural to Italy in many Places.

VII. The Bastard is found in some places of this Land by dry Ditch sides, where the Earth is light, hollow, loose and sandy: Columna found it in Naples: and Bauhinus says he found it in many Places of Italy: It grows generally in Untill'd places, among Briars, Brambles, and such like.

VIII. The Times. The Common and Sweet Scented Flower in July and August, and their Seed is ripe in a short time after; but in warmer Climates it comes to its Perfection much sooner, The Bastard Flowers in April and May, and comes to Perfection the latter end of May, or beginning of June, and the Seed is ripe soon after.

IX. The Qualities. They are all of them hot and dry in the first Degree, but the Aromatick something hotter. They are Discussive, Aperitive, Cleansing, a little Astringent, Traumatick or Vulnerary, and Strengthening: And by appropriation, Stomatick, Hepatick, Splenetick, and Nephritick: and of the stock of Alteratives.

X. The Specification. They are Specificks in curing old Ulcers, Pissing Blood, and the Hepatick Flux: and indeed are good against most Diseases of the Liver, for which reason they are accounted Noble Hepaticks: The Bastard is said to be excellent in drying up Catarrhs, its Fume (burnt green (= fresh. -Henriette)) being received into the Mouth and Throat by a Funnel.

XI. The Preparations. The Shops keep of the Common Agrimony,

  • 1. The dryed Leaves and Tops.
  • 2. A Distilled Water of the whole Plant, gathered in June.
  • 3. A Syrup of the Juice.

But besides these you may make from all the Plants, the following Preparations.

  • 4. An Inspissate or Liquid Juice of Leaves and flowers.
  • 5. An Essence of the whole green Plant.
  • 6. A Pouder.
  • 7. A Sulphureous Tincture.
  • 8. A Saline Tincture.
  • 9. An Oily tincture.
  • 10. A Balsam.
  • 11. A Fixed Salt of the whole Plant Calcined.

The Virtues.

XII. The dryed Leaves and Tops. They are Hepatick, and good against any inward weakness of the Bowels; and are kept mostly to make Infusions, Decoctions, Wines of, &c.

XIII. The Distilled Water, It is used as a Vehicle, to give any other of the Preparations of this Herb in, in any of the following Cases: Dose is from ij. ounces to iv. or vj.

XIV. The Syrup. It is an excellent Pectoral, good against Coughs, Colds, Asthma’s, Wheezing, and most other Distempers of the Brest and Lungs; and is commended against the Rickets in Children. Dose from j. ounce to ij. morning, noon, and night.

XV. The Juice Liquid and Inspissate. It Powerfully opens Obstructions of all the Viscera, and has all the Virtues of the Essence: The Liquid may be given from ij. ounces to iv. in a Glass of Wine; The Inspissate to iij. drams, dissolved in Wine, and so taken fasting.

XVI. The Essences of the whole Plants. They are approved to be good against Putrefaction of the Blood, Obstructions of the Liver and Spleen, and other Viscera; against the yellow, black, and green Jaundice, Dropsies, (by strengthening the Bowels and parts affected, after Purges and Diureticks) inward Wounds and Bruises, bitings and stingings of Serpents or other Venomous Creatures, the Flux of the Liver, Strangury, Colick, Coughs, Asthma's, Diseases of the Brest and Stomach, fast and thin Catarrhs, all sorts of Agues, Palsies, pains of the Spleen and Hypochonders, the Plague or Pestilence, bitings of mad Dogs; Greensickness, Tertian and Quartan Agues. They contribute much, being taken inwardly, to the healing of old Sores, and long continued Rebellious and running Ulcers. Dose is from iij. drams to j. ounce, in Wine, Mead, Cyder or Ale: Dropt into foul running Ears it cures them; and dropt into the Eyes it strengthens the Eyesight. They stop all Fluxes of the Bowels and Fluxes of Blood, open Obstructions of the Reins, and Urinary Passages. Taken Dietetically they are Traumatick or Vulnerary.

XVII. The Pouder in made of the dryed Herbs. Being applyed it stops Bleeding in Wounds of any Part If it is thus Compounded it will be better. Take of the Pouder of the dryed Herbs, j. ounce; Catechu, Pouder of Toads, Man’s Blood dryed and Pouder’d, of each half an ounce; mix them for a Pouder to stop Bleeding internally or externally, which it does incomparably: It drys up Catarrhs, and is good against the Dropsy. Dose from half a dram to a dram, at night.

XVIII. The Sulphureous Tincture. It has all the Virtues of the Essence, besides which it is more drying and healing. Dose from j. dram to ij. drams. It strengthens the Stomach admirably, resists Vomiting, and causes a good Digestion.

XIX. The Saline Tincture. It has also all the Virtues of the Essence, but is much more powerful against all obstructions of the Viscera, as Liver, Spleen, Womb, Reins, &c. It opens the stoppages of the Urinary Passages, bringing away Sand, Gravel, Filth, Matter and Slime. Dose from j. dram to ij. drams or more. Outwardly it is good against old Sores, running Ulcers, inveterate Scabs, Cankers, and the like in any part of the Body.

XX. The Oily Tincture. It cures Palsies, Lameness, Numbness, and all Pains and Aches, proceeding from a cold Cause: it gives ease in the Sciatica, and helps the cold Gout; it strengthens the Nerves, Muscles, Vessels and Weakned Joynts, after Dislocations, and stops a Flux of Blood in any Part. Inwardly taken it is good against the Colick, Gravel, Stone, and obstruction of the Reins, Ureters and Bladder, and may be given from x. drops to xx. in a Glass of White Wine.

XXI. The Balsam. It cures green Wounds sometimes at first dressing, more especially if to ij. ounces hereof, half an ounce of Balsam de Chili is mixed, and so applyed to the Part, the Blood and Filth being first washt away with a little Spirit of Wine or Brandy. It cures also old Sores, Ulcers, Scurf, Morphew, inveterate Scabs, stubborn and rebellious Fistula's, and other like affects of the fleshy parts. It draws forth Nails, Thorns, and Splinters of Wood, or other things gotten into the Flesh, lengthening much the Nerves, Ligaments and Joynts; it is a singular thing to cure wounds of the Head.

XXII. The Fixed Salt. It Purifies the Blood and Viscera by Urine, destroys the Acidities of the Lungs, and the acritude of the first Digestions, Fevers, &c. Dose is j. scruple or more, in any fit Vehicle.

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