Chap. 108. Camomil.

Camomil, Com. Camomil naked flowred. Camomill, Roman.

The Names. It is called in Greek, by Dioscorides, *****: by Theophrastus *****, by some ***** (from the whiteness of the Flowers:) also ******, quod Mali odorem habet, from having the smell of Apples. It is called in Latin, Chamaemelum, and Chamomilla, also Antlhemis, and I eucanthemum: In English, Camomil.

II. The Kinds. There are four several kinds hereof, viz.
1. The Common Garden kind, which is called in Latin , Chamomilla hortensis, and Chamaemelum hortense. (Matricaria recutita. -Henriette.)
2. The Naked Flowred, called Chamaemelum nudum. (Matricaria matricarioides. -Henriette.)
3. The Double Flowred, called Chamaemelum flore pleno, and Chamaemelum Anglicum flore multiplici. (Chamaemelum nobile 'Flore Plena'. -Henriette.)
4. The Roman, called Chamaemelum Romanum. (Chamaemelum nobile. -Henriette.)

As for the Wild Kinds, or Cotula, Parkinson thinks them to be not so much of the Camomil kind, as of the Parthenium, or Featherfew, of which see May Weed.

III. The Descriptions. The Common Camomil has a small and fibrous Root, from whence spring many weak and feeble Branches, trailing or leaning to the ground, which take hold on the Top of the Earth as it runs, whereby it much encreases. The Leaves are very fine, and much jagged, or deeply cut, of a very strong sweet smell. Among which, at tops of the Branches come forth Flowers like unto the Field Dasie, having a border of small white Leaves, with yellow thrums in the middle, crouded close together, as is that of the Daisie, or Featherfew, but larger, and not so hard, but more soft and gentle in handling; which give a small white Seed, not observed by many, but being sowed, or cast into the ground, will bring forth Plants as other Seed doth.

IV. The Naked flowred, has Roots, Leaves, Stalks and Branches like to the former, and creeping upon the Surface of the Earth as that doth; but its Leaves are finer, and Shorter, and it bears naked Flowers, which consist only of the middle yellow Thrum, with-out any pale or border of white Leaves round about it, and smelling as sweet as the former. The whole Plant is of a pleasing smell, for which reason some have given it the Epithite of Odoratum, as Gerard says.

V. The Double flowred has also Roots, Leaves, Stalks and Branches like to the first, it creeps as much on the ground, and yet grows higher, and more upright: Its Leaves are of a fresher green color; and in its Flower the white Leaves going round the same are manifold, or much doubled, insomuch that, the yellow thrum in the middle is little seen, so that it seems but a little yellowish spot. This Plant is of a sweeter Scent than the first, and is more tender to be kept in Winter. It has also Seed in the middle of the Flowers, which being broken and cast into the Ground, will produce Double flowred Camomil.

VI. The Roman Camomil, has a Root somewhat thicker than the former, but fibrous withal, from whence rise up many slender Stalks, yet stiffer, and stronger than any of the others, for which reason it stands more upright, and does not creep upon the Earth, as the rest do. The Leaves are fine, but rather shorter, and of a more whitish color, tending something to the color of Woad Leaves: the Flowers are like to the first, having a single border of white Leaves, and a close yellow Thrumb in the middle, after which comes small white Seed, like that in the Common Camomil: The whole Plant has a very sweet Scent.

VII. The Places. The first grows in most Gardens throughout England, besides it grows Wild (as Parkinson says) in many places of this Land: the other three kinds grow with us only in Gardens.

VIII. The Times. They Flower for the most part through all the Summer Months, and their Seed comes to perfection in the time of flowering.

IX. The Qualities. They are all of them hot and dry in three: Aperitive, Anodyne, Digestive, Discussive, Diuretick, Sudorifick, Alterative, and Alexipharmick.

X. The Specification. The Egyptians dedicated it to the curing of Agues: and experience has confirm'd it an admirable thing against Diseases Of the Pleura.

XI. The Preparations. There are,
1. A liquid juice.
2. An Essence.
3. A Syrup.
4. An Infusion
5. A Decoction.
6. A Pouder.
7. An Oil by Infusion.
8. An Ointment.
9. A Balsam.
10. A Cataplasm.
11. A Distilled Water.
12. A Spirituous Tincture.
13. An Acid Tincture.
14. An Oily Tincture.
15. A Saline Tincture.
16. A Spirit.
17. An Oil Distilled.
18. Potestates.
19. An Elixir.
20. A Fixed Salt.

The Virtues.

XIII. The Essence. It has all the Virtues of the former, besides which it facilitates the Birth, and brings away the Child, whether dead or alive, as also the After-birth: It causes a free Breathing, is good against Colds, Coughs, Asthma's, and other Obstructions of the Lungs, as also Stitches in the Side. Dose four ounces, Morning and Evening.

XIV. The Syrup. Made of the Juice of Double-flowred Camomil, saith Bauhinus, but of our Common Garden Camomil, say Pena and Lobel, with the Flowers also, and a little White Wine, being taken three or four spoonfuls at a time, is a remedy against the Jaundice and Dropsie, as also the evil disposition of the Spleen.

XV. The Infusion. If it is made in White Port Wine, it provokes Urine, opens Obstructions of the Urinary Parts, expels Sand, Gravel, and Tartar, and helps a stinking Breath. It has the Virtues of the Juice and Essence, but not altogether so powerful.

XVI. The Decoction. If made in Wine, or part Wine part Water, and taken inwardly, it has the Virtues of the Juice and Essence, but very much weaker, yet it prevails powerfully against the Cholick: Parkinson says, it takes away all Pains and Stitches in the Sides. Tired Limbs being bathed therewith, it takes away their Weariness, and eases Pains to what part of the Body soever it is applied. It comforts the Nerves that are over-strained, mollifies Tumors, and discusses those which are not very hard; and moderately comforts those parts which have need of warmth, or are chill'd by any Cold Paralytick Humor.

XVII. The Pouder. Made of the dried Herb, but chiefly of the Flowers, being given from half a dram, to one dram, it helps the Griping of the Guts, Wind, and Pain of the Stomach.

XVIII. The Oil by Infusion of the Flowers in Oil Olive. If the Person troubled with an Ague, be anointed with this Oil, before a good fire, from the Crown of the Head to the Soles of the Feet, and after that, be laid to Sweat in a Bed, being so warm covered that they may Sweat well, it cures it, let the Ague be what it will. This is an AEgyptian Medicine, and Galen seems to confirm it: For he saith, that the Sophi of AEgypt, Consecrated this Herb to the Sun, for its Virtue in curing all sorts of Agues. But therein, says Galen, they were deceived, for it cures only those where the Humors are already digested; but it is very profitable (says he) for all other sorts of Agues, which come 'either from Flegm or Melancholly, or from an Inflammation of the Bowels; for these (says he) Camomil is a Sovereign Remedy to be applied, the Humors being first Concocted. It is good against cold Gouts, coldness of the Limbs, and Pains and Aches proceeding from Cold and Moisture.

XIX. The Ointment. It heals Wounds in a Cold, Scorburick habit of Body, gives ease in the Gout| and mollifies Tumors proceeding from an afflux of Humors.

XX. The Balsam. It is more excellent for healing Wounds than the Ointment, and being mixed with other proper things, it brings Apostems and Tumors to suppuration, and prevails singularly against the Gout, whether it proceeds from a hot or a cold Cause, and it will be so much the more effectual, if Camphir be added to it, which contains in it a subtil Fire, which draws forth the Essence of the Gout through the Pores of the Skin.

XXI. The Cataplasm. Being applied, it is useful to discuss, or dissolve Tumors, and Wind, in any part of the Body, and to ease Pains and Aches in the Joints. Being applied to the Ribs, and Hypochonders, as hot as it can be endured, it eases the Spleen, expels Wind, and gives immediate relief in the pains of the most exquisite Pleurisie: It also takes away Pains and Stitches in the Sides, removes shortness of Breath, and causes presently an easiness of breathing.

XXII. The Distilled Water. It is good against fainting of the Heart and Spirits, is good against Vapors and Fits of the Mother, as also Pains and Distempers of the Spleen; but it is chiefly used as a Vehicle to convey the other Preparations of this Plant into the Body: six ounces of it being drank with a scruple or half a dram of Salt of Camomil dissolved in it, prevails wonderfully against stoppage of Urine, and so is helpful against the Strangury.

XXIII. The Spirituous Tincture, Made from the Flowers, or the Herb and Flowers together, it prevails against Fainting and Swooning fits, coldness of the Stomach, and sickness at Heart. It comforts all parts which have need of warmth it digests crude Humors, discusses Wind in the Stomach and Bowels, alleviates the Pains and Torments of the Belly, and provokes Urine gently: It induces Sweat, and expells cold Aches and Pains in what part of the Body soever.

XXIV. The Acid Tincture. It digests, loosens, eases Pain, is highly Antifebritick, Anticolick, and strongly Diuretick. It powerfully opens Obstructions of the Lungs, and helps such as have a shortness of Breath, difficulty of Breathing, are Hoarse, and Wheeze much, so as in a manner they have lost their Voice. It Attenuates, cleanses, Purges, Opens, Expectorates tough Flegm, and is profitable for all Diseases of the Brest, caused by the Afflux of moist and flegmatick Humors, whether Thin or Thick, Tough, Rotten, or Corrupted, causing the same to be spit forth. You may make it pleasant and grateful with Syrup of Violets, or Clovegilliflowers, or a pure Tincture of Spanish Juice of Liquorice, and so to be taken often in the Day, and that for many Days together.

XXV. The Oily Tincture. This being rubbed in daily, Morning and Night, before a good fire, all along the Back-bone, from the Head to the Anus, and also over all the affected Limbs, it cures a Palsie above most other things in the World. It also cures Rheumatick Pains, being well anointed upon the parts affected twice a Day, and continued for some time. It expels Cold, eases Pains, discusses cold and windy Tumors, eases the Pains of the Pleura, and After-pains of Women in Child-bed, being anointed a little above the Share Bone, and twenty drops of it given inwardly, in a Glass of Canary. In all outward applications, if you add a little Camphire to it, one ounce of Camphir to a pound of the Tincture, it makes it so much the more powerful and effectual.

XXVI. The Saline Tincture. It may be given from half a dram to a dram, in White Wine, against Stone, Gravel, Sand, and Tartarous Matter in the Reins and Bladder; it opens Obstructions of the Urinary parts, and of the Womb is good against Vapors, and Fits of the Mothers, and dissolves Coagulations in the Pleura. Outwardly used, it is good against the Gout, or any other Pains proceeding from a cold Cause.

XXVII. The Spirit. It is a singular Cordial, chears the Heart, revives the Spirits, strengthens Nature, and makes the Body able to withstand Diseases. It is good against Convulsions, and prevails much against Wind, Fainting and Swooning Fits, Vapors, and Distempers of the Womb, for which it is a Specifick. It comforts the Head, Nerves, and Brain, and is so great a Stomatick, that there is but few greater. Dose two drams, being dulcified.

XXVIII. The Distilled Oil. It is a famous thing for the Head, Nerves, Womb, and Joints; and therefore is good against Vertigo's, Apoplexies, Epilepsies, pain of the Stomach, Convulsions, Fits of the Mother, Palsies, Lameness of the Limbs, and all sorts of Rheumatick pains. In Diseases of the Head and Nerves, as Palsies, it ought to be anointed down the Back-bone, as also upon the parts affected; and is also to be given inwardly in a Glass of Wine, from three drops to twelve or sixteen: drop it first into White Sugar, which mix well, then dissolve it in the Wine, and so let the Patient drink it up. In Vertigo's, Apoplexies, Epilepsies, Convulsions, Stomach Pains, and Mother, it needs only to be given inwardly, Morning and Evening, as directed

XXIX. The Potestates or Powers. They have all the Virtues of the Juice, Essence, Tinctures, Spirit and Oil, and indeed more subtil and penetrating, piercing like Lightning thro’ the Universal Frame; and may be given Morning, Noon, and Night, in some proper Vehicle, from one dram to two or three drams, according to age and strength.

XXX. The Elixir. It has the Virtues of Juice, Essence, Tincture, Spirit, Oil and Powers; but much more subtil, and effectual to all the purposes intended: it is singular in the Cure of a Pleurisie beyond most other things. Dose from one to two drams.

XXXI. The Fixed Salt. It is singularly Nephritick, and Antipleuretick; eases Pains in the Reins, opens Obstructions of the Urinary parts, dissolves the Congelation of Blood in the Pleura, Womb, and carries off the Seminalities of those Diseases by Urine. Dose half a dram.

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