Chap. 041. Of Common Avens.

Avens. I. The Names. This Herb, for all that we can learn, was unknown to the Greeks, and therefore we can furnish you with no Greek name for it: but it is called in Latin, Caryophyllata, and Garyophyllata, (from the smell of its Root) also Herba Benedicta, Sanamunda; and Tragus would have it called Nardus agrestis, (not only for the sweet scent of its Roots, but for its excellent Virtues) and is supposed to be the Geum Plinij, in Hist. lib. 26. Sect. 21. It is called in English, Avens, and Herb Bennet.

II. The Kinds. The General Kinds are two.
1. Caryophyllata vulgatior, the common Avens. (Geum urbanum. -Henriette.)
2. Caryophyllata Montana, the Mountain Avens (Geum montanum. -Henriette.); of which in the next Chapter.

The Common Avens is twofold,
1. That, Flore minore, with the smaller Flower, (which is the more Common:)
2, That, Flore majore, with the greater Flower, as Mr. Ray has noted, Hist. Plant, pag. 606. (Sorry, I don't know what this might be. -Henriette.)

III. The Descriptions. The first of the Common Kind with the smaller Flower, has a Root consisting of many thick Strings, and smaller Fibres somewhat of a brownish yellow without, and reddish within, smelling somewhat like unto Cloves, especially if it grows in the higher, hotter and dryer Ground, and in a freer and clearer Air; but nothing so much, or not at all in many other places, especially if they be moist: From this Root spring forth many long, rough, dark, green winged Leaves, every one made of many Leaves, set on each side of a middle Rib the three largest whereof grow at the ends, and snipt or dented round about the edges; the other being small pieces, sometimes two, and sometimes four, standing on each side of the said middle Rib, under them: among which do rise up divers rough or hairy Stalks, about a Foot high, branching forth with Leaves at every Joint, not so long as those below, but almost as much cut in on the edges, some into three parts, and some into more: on the tops of the Branches stand small, pale, yellow Flowers, consisting of five Leaves, like Cinquefoil Flowers, but larger in the midst whereof, stands a small green head, which, when the Flowers are fallen, grow to be rough and round, being made of many long, greenish, purple Seeds, like grains, which will stick on your Cloths.

IV. The other Avens with a large Flower, is a Plant little differing from the former in any particular, except in the Flowers, which are greater than those of the common, and fairer: This I have sometimes formerly seen and gathered in Woods and Copses in some parts of Cambridge-shire, where the whole Plant grew large and very fragrant; but the Roots not much inferior (in my opinion) in their Scent to Cloves themselves.

V. The Places. They are found to grow Wild in many places of our Land, under Hedge sides, and near By-paths in some Fields, as also in Woods and Copses, delighting to grow rather in Shadowy than Sunny places. And in many places they are brought into Gardens, chiefly about London, and in some great Towns and Cities, that they may be near at hand upon occasion. The Large Flowered Avens is found in Tedford Wood, in the Woulds of Lincolnshire.

VI. The Times. They flower in May and June generally, and their Seed is ripe in July at farthest.

VII. The Qualities. Avens is hot and dry in the first Degree; and is Inciding, Attenuating, Opening, Abstersive, Discussive, Resolutive, Carminative, Alexipharmick, Astringent, and Vulnerary. Schroder says, it is Cephalick, and Cardiack and we know by Experience that it is Stomatick, Hepatick, Hysterick, and Arthritick.

VIII. The Specification. Schroder says, its chief life is in drying up Catarrhs, and resolving Coagulated Blood: it is a singular cure for Wounds and Ulcers.

IX. The Preparations. The Shops keep nothing hereof, but only,
1. The Root: but you may prepare therefrom,
2. A Decoction.
3. A Wine.
4. A Juice from the Roots and Plant.
5. An Essence.
6. A Spirituous Tincture from the whole Plant.
7. A Saline Tincture.
8. An Oily Tincture.
9. An Ointment.
10. A Balsam.
11. A Cataplasm.
12. A mixture for Callous Ulcers.

The Virtues


X. The Root. The Pouder of the dryed Roots given from half a dram to j. dram, strengthens the Stomach, opens Obstructions, is good against Spitting or Pissing Blood, or the Bloody Flux; and strewed on moist or running Sores, or Ulcers, drys them up, and disposes them to healing. The dryed Roots are also used to be laid among Cloths, to perfume them, and keep away Moths.

XI. The Decoction, Made in Mead, or half Wine half Water, it is good for stoppages of the Brest and Stomach, Stitches and Pains of the Sides, opens Obstructions, and corrects cold and crude humors in the Stomach and Bowels. Dose vj. ounces.

XII. The Wine. It is very Aromatick, and if it is drunk for some continuance of time, every Morning fasting, it warms and strengthens a cold Stomach, takes away sickness at Stomach, comforts the Heart, expels Wind, makes a good Digestion, opens Obstructions of the Liver and Spleen, resists Poisonn, and is a singular preservative against the Plague, or any pestilential Disease: Dose, in infectious times, iv. or vj. ounces, Morning, Noon, and Night.

XIII. The Juice from the Root, &c. It is Pectoral, Warming, Comforting, and Strengthening a cold Stomach, and is good for Inward Bruises and hurts, for it dissolves congealed Blood, happening by falls or Bruises, as also spitting of Blood; it opens Obstructions of the Liver, Spleen, and Womb, provokes the Terms, and is good against the Colick. Dose from ij. Spooufuls to iv. or more, in Wine, Mead, or Ale: Outwardly, it is good to wash old running Sores, or putrid Ulcers with, in order to their cleansing and healing.

XIV. The Essence. It is good for Diseases of the Brest and Lungs, is Cephalick, Stomatick, Cordial, Hysterick and Vulnerary, eminent against cold and moist Diseases of the Head, Brain and Nerves; it strengthens Digestion, and causes a good Appetite, taking away pains of the Stomach, from the coldness thereof; it chears the Heart, and is good against Sickness and Fainting Fits; prevails against Barrenness in Women, by rectifying the cold and moist Distempers of the Womb. It is also an excellent Vulnerary, for by taking this Essence Daily, from j. to iij. or iv. ounces, Morning, Noon and Night, it causes Wounds, Ulcers, and Fistula's to heal after an admirable manner.

XV. The Spirituous Tincture. It has the Virtues of the Essence, but not full out so powerful, except in Vulnerary Cases, in which it may do full as well. Dose from j. dram to ij. drams, or more, in a Glass of Wine or Diet Drink.

XVI. The Saline Tincture. It opens Obstructions of the Reins, is good against the Plague, and all pestilential Diseases, Wounds, Ulcers, Sores, Fistula's, and many Diseases of the Head, Brain, Nerves, Lungs, Brest, Liver, Spleen, Womb, and Reins, carrying off the Morbisick Cause by Urine. Dose from j. to ij. drams in Ale, Mead, Wine, or Diet Drink.

XVII. The Oily Tincture. Applied to Wounds and Punctures of the Nerves and Tendons, it cures them: it helps Lameness, Numbedness, Trembling of the Limbs, and Palsies, being anointed Morning and Evening on the parts affected; as Pains, Aches, and Gouts, proceeding from cold Causes, or a defluxion of cold Humors. And inwardly taken, from vj. drops to xvi. or xx. drops, in some proper Vehicle, it prevails against Lethargies, Vertigoes, Apoplexies, Convulsions, and other cold Diseases of the Head, Brain, and Nerves: It eases the Colick, and is good against Sand, Gravel, Stone, &c.

XVIII. The Ointment. It eases Pains from a cold Cause, discusses Oedema's, Scrophula’s, and Phlegmons, or Inflammations, and abates Inflammations in Wounds and Ulcers, by discussing the Cause; and is good against the Piles in Ano.

XIX. The Balsam. It is a true Vulnerary, and cures simple Wounds by the first intention: It cleanses running Sores; old foetid Ulcers; and stubborn and rebellious Fistula's; washing them first with the Juice, or Essence, and then applying of this Balsam: it cleanses, incarnates, or breeds Flesh, and brings to a speedy healing.

XX. The Cataplasm. It discusses Inflamations in their beginning; is good against Contusions, or Bruises, eases pains or Aches in any part, and is singular good in a cold Gout. I have applied it with great success in vehement Head-achs, proceeding from taking cold, or any recent Cause.

XXI. The Mixture. Take Juice of the Roots iv. ounces, fine Verdigreese ij. drams; mix them. It takes off the Callus in hollow Ulcers, and Fistula's, where it must be injected with a Syringe. But if the Callosity is in an open Ulcer, the Mixture may be thus made: Take of the foregoing Ointment ij. ounces: Pouder of Tobacco ij. drams: Verdigreese j. dram: mix them. Or thus: Take of the former Balsam ij. ounces: Pouder of round Birthwort Roots ij. drams: fine Verdigreese j. dram: mix them. Any of these mixtures take off a Callus from any Ulcer or Fistula, cleanses the same, and induces it to a speedy healing; and this it will do, if the affect is in the Joints.

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