Chap. 060. Beets Common and White.
I. The Names. This Plant is called by the Arabians, Decka, and Calab : by the Grecians, τύτλον, ὴ Σξὺλον, ab impulsu quod facile excrescat, because it comes up in few days after the Sowing, and then grows very fast till it comes to its bigness. In Latin, Beta, quoniam figuram literae dum femine turget referre videtur, because the figure of it being in Seed, is somwhat like to the Greek Letter Beta, as Columella observes. And in English, it is called, Beet.
II. The Kinds. Dioscorides makes a White and a Black : So also Theophrastus Hist. Plant. lib. 7. chap. 4, who says, Candida sapore nigra praestantior : So Pliny, lib. 19. chap. 8. Beta a colore duo genera Graeci faciunt, nigrum & Candidius. Parkinson is almost of the opinion that the Black Beet of the Ancients was that we now call Our Red Beets: but Modern Authors have found out several other
1. Beta viridis Communis, The Common Green Beet. (Beta vulgaris var. cicla -Henriette)
2. Beta alba, called also Candida & Pallescens, The White Beet. (Beta vulgaris -Henriette)
3. Beta rubra nostra, called also nigra, & rubra vulgatior, The Red Beet. (Beta vulgaris -Henriette)
4. Beta rubra, called also, Beta Romana, Beta rubra Rapæ radice, Rapum Rubrum, Rapum sativum Rubrum, Beta nigra Romana, Beta erythrorrhizos, by Lugdunensis, The Roman Red Beet. (Beta vulgaris var. rubra -Henriette)
5. Beta Cretica spinosa, Prickly Beets of Candia.
6. Beta Sylvestris maritima, Sea Beets. (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima L. -Henriette)
7. Beta Lucia Syriaca, Yellow Beets.
8. Beta platicaulos, Beta Costa lata, alba Lutea, aurea, ruberrima, Italica, ficula, The yellow or flat Stalk'd Beet.
Of all which Kinds we shall only Treat of the first Four in this Book, as being only proper for this purpose. And of them, we shall Discourse of the two first Kinds in this Chapter.
III. The Description. Our Common Green Beet is almost like unto the White Beet, having a great long hard Root, of no use after Seed time, from whence springs up many large Leaves lying upon the Ground of a green Colour, amidst which rises up a large green Stalk crested with some Branches and many Leaves thereon, almost up to the Top. The Flowers grow in long Tufts or Spikes, small at the ends and turning down their Heads, and yielding cornered Seed.
IV. Our Common White Beet has a long thick, great Root, and hard after bearing Seed, which endures all the Winter, and with its Leaves upon it, but perishing commonly the second Winter. From whence comes forth great broad Leaves, smooth and Plain, lying next the Ground. These says Parkinson, grow in hot Countries to be three Foot long and very broad, and in our Country they are very large but nothing near that Proportion, and they are of a whitish green Colour. From this Root rises up a Stalk great, strong, and Ribbed or Crested, bearing great store of Leaves upon it, almost up to the very top: the flowers grown along the Stalks in long tufted Spikes small at their extremities, and bending down their Heads, and they cluster together in shape like little Starrs; which being past, there are small pale greenish yellow Burrs, yielding cornered, and uneven prickly Seed.
V. The Places. The Green Beet Parkinson says has been found near the Salt Marines by Rochester, in the Foot way going from the then Lady Levesons House thither. The White Beet is said to grow Wild upon the Sea Coast of Tenet, and divers other places by the Sea. They delight to grow in fat and moist Ground, but are chiefly nourished up with us in Gardens.
VI. The Times. They ought to be sown in the Spring : they flourish and are green all the Summer long, as also in Winter, and they Flower in the beginning of July, and the Seed is ripe in August.
VII. The Qualities. They are Temperate in respect to heat and moisture and of a Nitrous Quality, Abstersive, a little Diuretick, Opening, Cephalick, and Hepatick, Ptarmick, Alterative, and Alexi-pharmick.
VIII. The Specification. They are found to be Specifick against Diseases of the Head and Brain.
IX. The Preparations. The Shops keep nothing thereof, but you may prepare therefrom,
1. A Liquid Juice.
2. An Inspissate Juice.
3. An Essence.
4. A Decoction.
5. An Errhine.
6. A Cataplasm.
X. The Liquid Juice. It is Nitrous and cleansing: being taken vj. or viij. Spoonfuls at a time, at going to Bed for some Nights, it opens the Obstructions of the Liver and Spleen, and is good against the Head Ach.
XI. The inspissate Juice, made with Vinegar into the thickness of a Balsam, and apply'd to the Temples, prevails against the Inflammations of the Eyes, and mixed with Oil Olive, is good against Burnings and Scaldings.
XII. The Essence. It is good against the Yellow Jaundice, opens Obstructions both of Liver and Spleen, is good against the Vertigo, and the Bitings of any Venomous Creature. It is good against the Itch, the parts affected being bathed therewith, and cleanses the Head of Dandriff, dry Scurff, Scabs, and heals fretting and running Sores, Ulcers and Herpes in the Head, Legs, or other Parts: it is also said to cure Baldness, and hinder the falling of the Hair. Dose 3. or 4. Spoonfuls or more.
XIII. The Decoction. If it is made with Equal parts of Water and Vinegar, it has all the Virtues of the Essence; besides it prevails against St. Anthonies Fire, and all other Inflammations in any Part.
XIV. The Errhine. It is made of the Liquid Juice iv. ounces, Niter half an ounce mixed and dissolved. Being snuft up the Nostrils it powerfully empties and cleanses the Head and Brain of superfluous Humors which cause the Apoplexy, Epilepsy, Vertigo, Megrim, Cephalalgia, Cephalæra, Lethargy, Carus, and other like Distempers of those Parts; it also eases the Tooth Ach, and pains in the Ears, and being outwardly apply'd, has all the Virtues of the Essence and Decoction.
XV. The Cataplasm. Made of the boiled Herbs with or without the Addition of a little Niter and Alum, and apply'd, it is good against all sorts of Wheals, Pushies, Boils, Blains, and other eruptions of the Skin, as also for Chilblains or Kibes whether on Hands or Feet, speedily Curing them.
Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This chapter was proofread by Ingeborg and Therese Richardson.