Chap. 062. Beets Roman.
I. The Names. This Plant is called in Greek, τευτλον γερμαιχον: in Latin, Beta Romano, Romano rubra, Raposa, Beta rubra radice Rapæ, radice rubra crassa;, and in English, Roman Beet, Red Beet, and Carrot Beet.
II. The Kind. It is our Fourth Species of Beets, and a singular Kind.
III. The Descriptions. It has a Root red as Blood, and as long and as big as the greatest Carrot, very red both within and without,very sweet and good, and fit to be eaten (which none of the former are) and sometimes the Root is short like a Turnep, whence it took the Name Rapa and Raposa : From this Root springs up a Stalk, higher than our Common Red Beet, which in its make and form of the Leaves, and proportion, differs little or nothing from the former, but only are of a better taste, and of a red Colour like the former Beer. Gerard says, they are of a very red Colour, and that they, as well as the Root, Stalk, and Flowers, are repleat with a perfect purple Juice, tending to Redness : the middle Rib of the Leaves is for the most part very broad and thick, like the middle part of the Cabbage Leaf, which is equal in goodness with Cabbage being boiled: the Flowers (excepting the height of the Colour) and the Seed are all one with the former Common Red Kind. Gerard says that in 1596. It grew with him to the height of viij. Cubits, which is xij. Feet, and did bring forth its rough and unpleasing Seed very plentifully. With this Plant (says he) Nature seems to Play and Sport her self: for the Seeds taken from that Plant, which was altogether of one Colour, being Sown, do bring forth Plants of many and variable Colours, very beautiful. Now if I may be admitted to render a Reason of this Variety, I am of opinion it is from the differing Soils in which they are Sown, which thing I have observed in several other Plants, even to admiration.
IV. The Places. It is Originally a Foreign Plant, and brought to us out of Italy, but now is become a free Denizon, or rather a Native of our Country, in which it thrives as well as in any place of the World. It is nourish'd with us only in Gardens where it prospers very well.
V. The Times. It Flowers in the latter end of June if the Season is warm, or beginning of July; and yields its ripe Seed in August.
VI. The Qualities. It is temperate as to heat and cold, and dry in the end of the first Degree, Traumatick very Astringent, and something Styptick withall, Splenetick, and Hysterick, Alterative, and Analeptick.
VII. The Specification. It is a peculiar thing for stopping Hæmorrhages.
VIII. The Preparations. You may Prepare from it
1. A Liquid Juice.
2. An Inspissate Juice.
3. An Essence.
4. A Decoction.
5. A Cataplasm.
6. A Saline Tincture.
IX. The Liquid Juice. Given to iij or iv. ounces in White Wine, it is good against the Yellow Jaundice : it also stops all Fluxes of Blood in the internal parts causing Spittings, Vomiting, or pissing of Blood; besides which it is admirable for the cure of a Dysentery, and other Fluxes of the Bowels, very much strengthening them.
X. The Inspissate Juice. Being reduced to Pouder, and strewed upon any bleeding Wound, it presently stops the bleeding. So also being dissolved, in Vinegar or Oxycrate, and then Stuphes to be dipt in and apply'd. This Juice dissolved in Syrup of Limons, and made into a Lohoch, is excellent to strengthen a Weak Stomach, being sometimes taken with a Liquorice Stick.
XI. The Essence. Being taken daily with Tinctura Martis, it powerfully opens Obstructions of the Spleen: And being taken with Crocus Martis Astringens, it powerfully stops the overflowing of the Courses.
XII. The Decoction. It has the Virtues of the Juices and Essence, but is somewhat weaker, and therefore ought to be taken longer. It will be better if it be made with Red Stiptick Wine, or with the Roughest Red Florence.
XIII. The Cataplasm. If it is made of the raw Leaves and apply'd, it removes Dandriff or the white Scurff, the place being first well rubbed with Sal Nitre; it also stops the spreading of running Sores, and helps Scald-Heads, (if mixed with a little Mitre) as also the Tinea, Alopecia, and other ill-natured breakings out of those parts, which cause the Hair to fall. If it is made of the boiled Leaves, it is good against Burnings and Scaldings, Inflammations, and other hot Tumors, Tubercles, Wheals and such like, proceeding from Inflamed Blood and Choler.
XIV. The Saline Tincture. It is good against Scabs, Itch, Scurff, Dandriff, Scales, Scurvey, Spots, Lice, Nits, Etc. Chilblains, Kibed Heels, the parts affected being often washed, and sometimes well soaked in the same.
XV. It is used (I mean the Root) as a Sallet, and to adorn and furnish out Dishes of Meat withall, being as sweet and good as any Carrot: and if boil'd as Carrots, and eaten with Butter, Vinegar, Salt and Pepper, it makes a most admirable Dish, and very agreeable with the Stomach.
Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This chapter was proofread by Therese Richardson.