Chap. 059. Bear's Ears.

Botanical name: 

Bear's Ears. I. The Names. They know no Greek Name, but have obtained several Latin ones, according to the variety of Authors, who have treated of them: but they may well enough be called in Greek, Λοϐοι тων άςχтων : They are called variously by several Authors, as Lunaria Arthritica, also Lunaria Paralytica Alpina; and Sanicula Alpina, by Gesner: Primula veris Pachyphyllos, by Lugdun: Auricula Ursi, by Matthiolus, Bauhinus, and others: and at this day they are so generally called by Mr. Ray, and other Authors. Some Authors, as Fabius Columna, will have them to be the Alisma, or Damasonium of Dioscorides, but are, in my opinion, mistaken, because the form of the Flowers plainly demonstrate the contrary: in English they are generally called Bears-Ears, and Auricula's by the Florists. They are certainly of the Family of the Cowslips, and therefore are also called Alpine Cowslips, and Mountain Cowslips, from the places whence they first came: Sanicula Alpina, Alpine or Mountain Sanicle, à sanandis vulneribus: and Auricula's from the form of the Leaf. (Primula auricula. -Henriette)

II. The Kinds. There are three principal Kinds, as
1. That with long dented Leaves.
2. That with long Leaves not dented.
3. That with round Leaves; and of each of these there are many varieties: as, the Yellow: the Purple: the Red: the Scarlet: the Bright Red: the Blush-coloured: the Various-coloured: the Blew: the White: the Hair-coloured: the Straw-coloured: and the Variable Green.

III. The Description. Those with long dented Leaves (of which the Yellow kind is principal) which is a beautiful fine Plant, has a thready Root, very like to the Oxlip; which sends forth green, thick, and fat Leaves, somewhat finely snipt about the Edges, much like to those of Cowslips, but greener, smoother, and nothing so crumpled: among which arises up a slender, round Stem, an handful high, bearing a Tuft of Flowers at the Top, from six to twelve in number; sometimes of a Yellow, sometimes of a Purple, or Red, and sometimes of a White colour, or various coloured, not much unlike to the Flowers of Ox-lips, but more open, and consisting of one only Leaf like Cotiledon, or Pennywort: after which come small heads with a pointel at Top of them, not rising to the height of the Cups, containing small blackish Seed.

IV. Those with long Leaves not dented, have a Root greater and thicker than the former, with long strings or fibres like unto the other sorts, but greater; from whence springs up many fair, large, thick Leaves, somewhat mealy or hoary upon the greenness, smooth about the Edges, and without any indenting at all. The Stalk is great, round, and not higher than in the former, but bearing many more flowers thereon, more in number than any other kind, amounting sometimes to twenty or more, yea sometimes to thirty, standing so round and close together, that they seem to be a Nose-gay alone: their form is like some others, but that the Leaves are shorter and rounder, yet with a notch in the middle, like the rest, of a fair Yellow, &c. colour, neither very pale nor deep, with a White Eye or Circle in the bottom, about the middle of every Flower, giving them an extraordinary grace; after which comes round heads greater than the former, with a small pointel striking in the middle, in which is contained Seed of a blackish brown colour.

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V. The round Leav'd, which Tabermontanus, and Gerard, call Sanicula alpina; and Matthiolus, Cortusa, and we Bears-Ear sanicle; has a Root consisting of a thick Tuft of small whitish Threads, rather than Roots, much interlaced one among another: from whence spring up Leaves; first, such as are much crumpled, and as it were folded together, which afterwards open themselves into fair, broad and roundish Leaves, somewhat rough, or hairy, not only cut into five divisions, but somewhat notched also about the edges, of a dark green colour on the upper side, and more whitish green underneath. The Leaves of this Plant die down every Year, and rise up anew every Spring, whereas all other Bears-Ears keep their Leaves green all the Winter, especially the middlemost, which stand like a close head, the outwardmost for the most part perishing after Seed time, from among these Leaves rises up one or two naked round Stalks, five or six Inches high, bearing at the Tops several small Flowers, somewhat sweet, and like unto the purple Bears Ear, hanging down their Heads, consisting of five small pointed Leaves apiece, of a dark, reddish, purple Colour, with a white Circle or bottom in the middle, and some small threads therein: the Flowers being past, there appears small round Heads, somewhat longer than any of the former kinds of Bears Ears, (landing upright upon their small foot Stalks, in which is contained small, round, and blackish Seed.

VI. The Places. The native places of these Plants are on the Alpine Mountains, and other like places, as the Pyrenæan: those with the blew Flower and Borrage Leaf, grow on the Mountains in Spain, and on that side the Pyrenæans next to Spain, from whence they have been Transplanted to us, and are only nourished d up with us in Gardens.

VII. The Times. They all Flower in April and May; and their Seed is ripe in the end of June, or beginning of July : and sometimes they will Flower again in the end of Summer, or in Autumn, if the Season proves moist, rainy, and temperate. As for the great variety of these Flowers, Parkinson is of opinion, that they have risen from the Seed, according the to differing Climes and Soil in which it has been Sowed.

VIII. The Qualities. They are Temperate in respect of heat or cold; and dry in the first Degree. They are Cephalick, Neurotick and Arthritick, Vulnerary, Astringent, and Alterative.

IX. The Specification. It is a most admirable Vulnerary, as well for Internal as External Wounds.

X. The Preparations. The Shops keep nothing of it Prepared, but you may make therefrom,
1. An expressed Liquid juice.
2. An Inspissate Juice.
3. An Essence.
4. A Decoction in Wine.
5. An Oil.
6. An Ointment or Balsam.
7. A Spirituous Tincture.

The Virtues.

XI. The Expressed Liquid Juice. Taken inwardly one or two spoonfuls at a time in a Glass of Tent or Red Wine, it stops inward Bleedings, and heals Wounds in the Stomach and Lungs: being snuff'd up the Nostrils it purges the Head and Brain of Phlegmatick and Serous Humors, and therefore is good against Epilepsies, Apoplexies, Vertigo's, Me grims and other Head Diseases.

XII. The Inspissate Juice. Dissolved in Red-Wine, and used as the former, it is prevalent to all the same Intentions, and against all the same Diseases: besides it strengthens the Stomach to a Miracle.

XIII. The Essence. It has all the Virtues of the Expressed Liquid and Inspissate juices: besides which taken every day from j. to iij. spoonfuls in any proper Wine or other fit Vehicle, it prevails as a Vulnerary potion for the Curing of all sorts of new Wounds and old Ulcers, and is found to be a singular thing against the Palsie, dimness of Sight, and many other Diseases of the Head, Brain, and Nerves.

XIV. The Decoction in Wine. It is Vulnerary taken Inwardly, opens Obstructions of the Lungs, and causes free breathing, gives ease in Gripings of the Belly, and the Bloody Flux; for which Disease, also in a Diarrhaea, and Lienteria, the Liquid, Inspissate Juices and Essence are all profitable.

XV. The Oil. It is made with Sallet Oil by boiling. It cures External Wounds, as Camerarius in his Hortus Medicus faith, tho' of the Nerves to a Miracle; discusses Swellings, eases pain, and is found to be profitable in the Gout whether arising from a hot or cold Cause.

XVI. The Balsam. It has the Virtues of the Oil; but more excellent for the Cure of Wounds than it, especially of the Nerves; is good against the bitings of the Sea Hare, and of the Toad; and resolves Oedema's.

XVII. The Spirituous Tincture. It cures Gripings of the Belly, the Dysentery, Convulsions, Fits of the Mother, and other Distempers of the Womb. Dose j. spoonful Morning and Evening.

XVIII. Parkinson says the Leaves of Cortufa tast a little hot, and if one of them belaid whole, without bruising, on the Cheeks of any tender Skinn'd Woman, it will raise an Orient Red Colour as if some Fucus had been laid on, which will pass away without any manner of hurt, or mark where it lay.

Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
The first part of this chapter has been proofread by Therese Richardson and Helena P.