Chap. 051. Balsam-Apple Male.
Page 0108 1. The Names. It was unknown to the Greeks. The Latins call it Balsamina, which name it took from its sanative or healing properties. Some call it Viticella, from its Vine-like appearance : Cordus calls it Cucumis puniceus : Gesner, Balsamina pomifera : Lobel, Balsamina Cucumerina punicea : Some, Pomum Hierosolymitanum : and we in English, the Male Balsam Apple. It is thought by some to be that which Pliny speaks of, lib. 20. cap. 3. which the Greeks call Cucurbita Somphos, but this is disputable;
II. The Kinds. Of the Balsamina there are three principal kinds.
1. Balsamina Mas, which is that we treat of in this Chapter, and is called by all the names aforegoing : as also Balsamina by Matthiolus: Balsamina prima by Fuchsius and Anguila : Charantia by Dodonaus and Lonicerus: Balsamina Mas by Gerard and Parkinson : Momordica by Castor: Momordica fructu luteo rubescente, in Horto Eyst.
2. Balsamina foemina, of which in the next Chapter.
3. Balsamina lutea, sive noli me Tangere, which is called Herba Impatiens; in English, Codded Arsmart. (Impatiens noli-tangere -Henriette)
III. The Description. It has a Root which is small and stringy, creeping a good way within the Earth : it springs up with divers slender reddish Stalks and Branches, shooting forth many clasping tendrels, much like to a Vine, by which it takes hold of any Pole, Twig, or other thing which stands near it; but without any such Supporters, it lies upon the ground, not being able to support it self, for which reason it is reckoned among the number of the Climers, or a kind of Cucumer, in respect to the flowers and Fruit. The Leaves grow from the Stalks, and stand upon Foot-stalks, being cut in on the edges, into several divisions, like to a Vine leaf, or those of white Briony, but much smaller, tenderer, and more divided. The flowers are yellowish, like to those of the Cucumer, coming forth in the same manner at the Joints with the Leaves: after which comes the Fruit, which is somewhat long and round, pointed at both ends, and bunched on the out side in rows, the skin it self being smooth and very red, almost black when the Fruit is ripe, which has a reddish Pulp within: The Seed is manifold, rough, hard, flat, and reddish; but when dry, of a grayish black colour, something like unto Citus, or Water Melon Seeds, both for the form and largeness.
IV. The Places. It is nursed up with us in Gardens, but the Seed came originally to us from Italy, and we yet generally make use of the Italian Seed.
V. The Time. It flowers late with us, and the whole Herb withers before the Fruit comes to ripeness; it being a tender Plant, and so not able to endure our early cold Nights, for which reason we have no ripe Seed here.
VI. The Qualities. It is almost cold in the first Degree, and dry in the second: It is Pectoral, Pulmonick, and Vulnerary, and purely an alterative.
VII. The Specification. It is a peculiar Specifick for the Curing of Wounds and Ulcers.
VIII. The Preparations.
1. A Pouder of the Leaves.
2. A Decoction of the Plant.
3. The Inspissate Juice.
4. A Spirituous Tincture.
5. An Oleaginous Tincture.
6. An Oil by Infusion in Oil Olive.
7. The Balsam.
IX. The Pouder of the Leaves. Given to j. dram Morning and Evening in Red Port Wine, it is said to be good against Ruptures or Burstenness and applied, it heals Wounds.
X. The Decoction in Wine, or Wine and Water. Being drunk to five or six ounces, it gives ease in the Colick, helps the Gripings of the Bowels, and stops inward fluxes of the Blood, whether from the Stomach or Bowels; represses Vapors in Women, and what some call the Rising of the Lights.
Page 0109 XI. The Inspissate Juice. Dissolved in a mixture of Red Wine and Water, it is a singular thing to heal internal wounds, and stop inward bleeding and to repress the Fits of the Mother. Injected up the Womb two or three times a day, it stops the overflowing, of the Terms, and the Whites in Women. If it be reduced to pouder, and drank to one dram in Red Port Wine it heals inward Wounds and outwardly being strewed upon any fresh green Wound, it heals it.
XII. The Spiritous Tincture. It heals inward Wounds, and gives ease in the Colick; and is found to be of excellent use in fainting and swooning Fits. Dose from j. dram to ij. drams in any proper Vehicle.
XIII. The Oleaginous Tincture. Given to j. dram, it opens obstructions of the Womb, and is good against Fits of the Mother. It also eases vehement pains in the Back and Reins, being given in a proper Vehicle twice a day.
XIV. The Oil by Infusion in Oil Olive. It is most singular Vulnerary, not only for all sorts of external Wounds, but for inward Wounds also, being drunk (in some proper Vehicle) from ij. drams to four, twice or thrice a day. And as for all sorts of outward Wounds which are green or fresh, it drys them, consolidates their Lips, and heals them. It also drys up the moisture of inveterate of old Ulcers, which hinders them from healing, and disposes them to a speedy cure. Being applied with lint, it is good against the Piles or Hemorrhoids and being applied hot, it is effectual against Punctures of the Nerves. Some Authors say, that anointed on the Bellies of Women which are Barren, it causes them to be fruitful. It also cures burnings with Fire, or scaldings with Water, and eases the stinging of Bees, Wasps, Hornets, Ec. and being anointed on the Marks, Scars, or blemishes of Wounds; it takes them away, or much abates them.
XV. The Balsam. If it is made of the former Oil, by addition of Venice Turpentine, or Balsam Capivi, and Bees Wax ; it becomes a most singular Vulnerary, and in many respects more excellent than the simple Oil, and indeed is much more profitable for the healing of rotten running Sores, and old putrid Ulcers ; applied to Cramps or Convulsions for some time, it helps the same, and is a singular thing to cleanse and heal Ulcers in Womens Breasts, and such as happen in the Secret Parts of Man or Woman.
Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This chapter was proofread by Therese Richardson.