Chap. 032. Of Hot or Biting Arsmart.

Botanical name: 

Arsmart, Biting. I. The Names. It is called in the Greek, ‘ϒδϑπεπεϑι: In Latin, Hydropiper, Piper Aquaticum, Persicaria non maculata, Persicaria Urens, vel, Mordax: Angulara calls it Cratægonon; and some call it, Zinziber Caninum: in English, Hot or Biting Arsmart, Water Pepper, and Peach-Wort, or Lake-Weed. (Polygonum hydropiper. -Henriette.)

II. The Kinds. It is the second general Species of Arsmart or Peach-wort, and is,
1. Hydropiper, seu Persicaria acris vulgaris minor, the Common Lesser Biting Arsmart.
2. Persicaria acris Virginiana, the Virginian Biting Arsmart, or Hidropiper.

00081Page 81 III. The Description. The first or English sort, has a Root somwhat long with many fibres thereat, which as well as the rest of the Plant, is of a very sharp and quick Taste, biting the Tongue more than Pepper, from whence springs forth a Jointed crooked Stalk, not so High nor so Great as the former Mild Kind, but with a greater store of Branches and Leaves somewhat like unto Peach Leaves, but much lesser and narrower; they are also long, but somewhat narrower than those of the Mild Arsmart, and without any spots at all, yet sometimes they have been found with redish Marks upon them. The Stalks are about a Foot and half high, round, smooth and Jointed, with a kind of Knee at each Joint: at the greater Joints, as well towards the tops of the Stalks and Brances, as at the tops also, come forth small spiky heads of blush or reddish Colored, and sometimes more red or white Flowers Mixed, clustering together, which falling away, there comes little blackish Seed, somewhat broad or flattish and sometimes of a reddish yellow Color ; of a hot and biting Taste, (as is all the rest of the Plant) almost like unto Pepper, whence came the name of Water Pepper but the Herb it self is without any smell.

IV. The Virginian Kind is in most things, as its Roots, Stalks, Branches, Joints, Leaves, and Flowers like unto our English before Described, and differs only in the form of the Flowers growing, and their Color, these growing on more slender and long spikes, and their Color being white.

V. The Places. Hydropiper grows almost every where, throughout the Kingdom, in moist and wa-try Places, and near unto Rivers and Ditch-sides, standing plafhy Waters, running Brooks and such like. The latter has been brought out of Virginia, and is nourished up with us in Gardens.

VI. The Times. They Flower in June and July, to August, and the Seed is Perfected or Ripe not long after; yet it is to be observed the Virginian Kind Flowers something later here, and therefore its Seed is somewhat later Ripe.

VII. The Qualities. Hydropiper is hot and dry in the fourth Degree. It Incides, Attenuates, opens, and is Diuretick, and Emmenagogick, and by Appropriation is Cephalick, Neurotick, Hysterick and Nephritick.

VIII. The Specification. It is known by manifold and large Experience to be a peculiar Plant against Gravel and Stone, whether in Reins or Bladder.

IX. The Preparations. The Shops keep only,
1. The Dryed Herb.

But you may prepare therefrom,
2. The Distilled Water.
3. The Juice.
4. The Essence.
5. The Oil.
6. The Ointment.
7. The Cataplasm.
8. The Root, and Seed.

The Virtues.

X. The Herb. It is hot and dry used chiefly in Wounds, hard Tumors and inveterate Ulcers. Some use it in the Transplantation of Diseases, and removing of Inchantments. The Green Herb strew-ed in a Chamber, is said to kill all the Fleas ; and a good handful put under a Horses Saddle, will make him go briskly, altho' half tyred before.

XI. The Distilled Water. It is a Specifick against Stone and Gravel in both Reins and Bladder, and has cured to admiration when all other things the World has failed, and so great things have been some hundreds of times experimented of his simple Distilled Water, which seem to be even Miraculous, it performing what much reputed greater Medicaments cannot do: I write not this from my own Experience only, which in this case is very considerable, but we have also the Suffrage of very Great and Learned Men, as to the same thing. And this thing I would have to be noted, That in any of my Books, wheresoever I have mentioned Persicary or Arsmart Water, either simply or with other Preparations against the Stone, Gravel, &c. I always in all those places, intend the Water of this present Herb, of which we now speak, viz. Hydropiper, or Biting Arsmart.

XII. The Juice. Given to j. ounce in White Port Wine it provokes the Terms, facilitates the Birth, and brings away the After-Birth; and given in vj. or viij. ounces of the Distilled Water, it provokes Urine, and opens obstructions of the Urinary Passages.

XVII. The Essence. It has the Virtues of the Juice, comforts the Head, Nerves, Stomach, Lungs, Womb, and Reins, provokes the Terms, and causes a good Digestion, eases pains of the Gout from a cold Cause, waits and consumes superfluous Humors in any part, and is admirable against all cold and moist Diseases of the Brain, Nerves and Womb, as Fallingsickness, Vertigo, Lethargy, Apoplexy, Palsie, Megrim, Barrenness, &c. and made into a Syrup with Honey it is a good Pectoral. Dose ij. drams.

XIV. The Oil. It dissolves and discusses all cold Swellings, Scrophulous and Scirrhous Tumors, Quinsies, Congealed Blood, Pleurisies, &c.

XV. The Ointment. It is good against Bruises in any part, and prevails against Oedema's, and other cold Tumors of the Joints, Kings Evil Swel-ings, and Kernels in Neck and Throat.

XVI. The Cataplasm. It prevails against Contusions, hindering putrifaction; and applyed to a Fellon or Whitloe, it takes away the Pain almost presently, and in a short time after cures it.

XVII. The Root and Seed. Either the Root or Seed bruised and applyed to an Aching Tooth, gives present ease, and in short time after perfectly cures it: Put into a hollow Tooth, it does also the same thing.

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