Chap. 035. Of Common Asphodel.

Botanical name: 

Asphodil, Great White. Asphodil, Small Yellow. Asphodil, Smalest. 00084Page 0084

I. The Names. It is called in Arabick, Barvacah: in Greek, ασφόδελος: in Latin, Asphodelus, Hastula Regia, Albucus, and Albucum : in English, Aspodel.

II. The Kinds. It is fourfold,

1. The Common Garden Asphodel.

2. The Onion Asphodel.

3. Marsh, or Lancashire Asphodel.

4. Kings Spear Asphodel: of this last see Chap. 404. following : The Second and Third we shall treat of in the two following Chapters (036, 037). The Common Garden Asphodel is also White or Yellow: and the White is either the Greater Single or Branched, and the Lesser Hollow, and Least.

III. The Descriptions. The Common single White Asphodel has a Root compact of many knobby Roots, growing out of one Head, like those of the Peony, full of Juice, with a small bitterness, and Astringent Taste ; from whence springs up many long narrow Leaves, like almost to those of Leeks sharp pointed; the Stalk is round, smooth, naked, and without Leaves; two Cubits high, garnished from the middle upwards, with a number of Flowers Star-fashion, made of six Leaves apiece : the colour White, with some dark Purple streaks, drawn down the Back side ; within the Flowers are several small Chives ; which being past, there springs up little round Heads, wherein are contained hard, black, and three corner'd Seed, like those of Buck-wheat or Staves-acre.

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IV. The Common Branched White Asphodel has a Root composed of many tuberous long Knobs, which are thickest in the middle, and smaller at both ends, fastend together at the head, of a dark grayish colour on the out side, and yellow within; whence rises up many long and narrow hollow triangular Leaves sharp pointed, and lying upon the ground round about the Root; the Stalk is smooth, round and naked without Leaves, which rises from the midst of them, divided towards the Top, into divers Branches, (if the Plant has been of any long continuance ) or else into but two or three small Branches, from the sides of the main great one, whereon stand many large Flowers, Star-fashion, made of six Leaves apiece, on the in side whitish, and straked with a Purple line down the backside of every Leaf having in the midst of the flowers some small yellow Threads: the Seed is black, and three square like the former, and greater than the Seed of Buck-Wheat, contained in roundish Heads which open into three Parts.

V. There are also, the little hollow white Asphodel, and the lest white Asphodel, which differ not much but in the Magnitude, except in the first of them in the Roots, which are not Glandalous, but stringy long and white-, bearing flowers from the middle to the top Star-fashion: And in the second, in the height chiefly, it being seldom above a Foot high, having Glandulous Roots like the great Asphodels.

VI. The Garden yellow Asphodel, has many Roots growing out of one Head, made of several tough, flat and oleous yellow Sprigs, or Gross firings, from the which rises up many Grassy Leaves, thick and Gross, tending to squareness; among the which comes up a strong thick Stalk, set with the like Leaves, even to the Flowers, but less: upon which do grow Star-like yellow blowers, not unlike to those of the greater White Asphodels, with much the like Seed following them.

VII. The Places. They Grow naturally in Greece, Italy, Spain and France but are nurst up with us only in Gardens, where now they are become natural, and Natives of our Soil.

VIII. The Times. The Glandulous Great white Asphodels do Flower in May and June: The least white One, in August and September, even till the cold hinders it: the hollow white, and the yellow, Flower in June and July, and the Seeds are ripe, the Month following.

IX. The Qualities. They are hot and dry almost in the third Degree: They are Emetick, incite, attenuate, open, discuss, resolve, and are Vulnerary: They are also Cephalick, Neurotick, Pectoral, Hysterick and Nephritick.

X. The Specification. They are known by experience to be peculiar against the Kings Evil, as the Signature in the Roots demonstrate.

XI. The Preparations. The Shops keep nothing hereof but you may prepare therefrom.
1. A Juice of the Root.
2. An Essence of the same.
3. A Decoction in Wine.
4. A Syrup.
5. A Saline Tincture.
6. An Oily Tincture.
7. Ashes of the whole Plant.
8. An Oil.
9. An Ointment.
10. A Balsam.
11. A Pouder of the Roots.
12 A Cataplasm.

The Virtues

XII. The Juice of the Root. It cleanses, and takes away the white Morphew in the Face, or other parts of the Body, the place being first chafed well and rubed with a course Linnen Cloth. If it is mixed with Sherry Sack in which a little Myrrh has been dissolved, and a twelfth part of the Tincture of Saffron, it makes an excellent Collyrium for the Eyes to heal Inflamations, take away Mists, Cloudings, dimness of Sight, and other disaffections, being dropt into them.

XIII. The Essence. It may be taken from i. to ii. ounces in Mead or Wine against the Kings Evil, Coughs, Colds, Asthma's, shortness of Breath, or any Vehement obstructions of the Lungs. If the Stomach is foul, it will Vomit the Patient: it evacuates evil Humors, and is contributary to the Cure of running Sores, old Ulcers, Fistula's, and the like, Bathing and Washing the Swelling and Sores with it also.

XIV. The Decoction in Wine. It is Emetick if it meets with a foul Stomach, is opening and cleansing, good for a Cacoethick habit of Body, and prevails against the bitings of any venemous Creatures, Stone and Gravel, or any stoppage of the Urinary parts. I know it to be an excellent thing to be constantly taken by such as are troubled with the Evil, Oedema, or other like Tumors, for it consumes the Morbifick Matter which Composes them. It may be given to iii. iv. or vi. ounces, or less, &c.

XV. The Syrup. It has the same Virtues with the former Preparations, but much weaker, yet pleasanter to be taken by such as are queasy Stomached: It is an excellent Pectoral, and causes easy expectoration in stoppages of the Lungs. Dose ii. ounces morning, noon and night. 'Tis fit for Children.

XVI. The Saline Tincture. It works downwards, and carries off the Causes of Diseases by Urine: given from i. to ii. drams in White Port Wine, it provokes Urine and the Terms powerfully, is good against Pleurisies, and an old Cough, Pains and Stitches in the side, &c.

XVII. The Oily Tincture. It is Excellent being Bathed with, against Punctures and Wounds of the Nerves, bitings of Mad Dogs, Vipers, and other Venomous Creatures.

XVIII. The Ashes of the whole Plant. Galen says, that if they are mixed with Ducks Grease, the mixture is good against an Alopecia, and brings Hair again where it was fallen οff, by means of that Disease.

XIX. The Oil. It is good against cold Tumors, and to anoint with in Cramps, and for any Ach or Pain in any part, proceeding from a cold Cause; and is good to discuss Tumors and Swellings in Womens Breasts, Testicles, and other Glandulous parts,

XX. The Ointment. It cleanses old running Sores, putrid Ulcers, and rebellious Fistula's, disposes them to healing, and puts a stop to fretting and eating Ulcers: Discusses Inflamations in Womens Breasts, and Testicles, and is good against Fellons in the Fingers ends.

XXI. The Balsam. It is an Excellent thing indeed, for healing all sorts of Green Wounds; cleanses Ulcers to the bottom, incarnates and heals them, and is also profitable against the Gout from a cold Cause.

XXII. The Pouder of the Roots. It may be given to i. dram in a Glass of White Port Wine, it provokes Urine and the Terms in Women, helps Pains in the Sides, Ruptures, Convulsions, and old Coughs: Used as an Errhine, it purges the Head and Brain of cold and moist Humors which cause Head-Aches, Lethargies, Vertigoe's, Epilepsies, Apoplexies, &c. And i. dram taken in Broth provokes Vomit, and helps such as are bitten with Venomous Creatures.

XXIII. The Cataplasm. It is singular good to discuss Contusions, Inflamations and the like, to give ease in a cold Gout, or any Ach or Pain from a cold Cause, strengthens the Nerves, and cures Cramps, in what part soever: and is good to be apply'd in Tumors of the Kings Evil, Kernels and Swellings in the Neck and Throat, &c. I have had large Experience of the Virtues of the Root of this Herb; and I write little more of it, than what is true to my own knowledge.

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