Chap. 118. Centory the Greater.
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I. The Names. It is called in Greek, Kivnveicp τί uiy& : In Latin, Centaurium magnum : of Theophraftus Κει/Weti · and in English, Centory the Greater, or Greater Centory.
II. The Kinds. These are four Kinds of this Centory, I. Centaurium majus vulgare, Centaurium magnum, The Common Great Centory. 2. Centaurium majus alterum, The other Great Centory, or Whole leav'd Centory. 3. Centaurium majus Ame* ricanum, or Canadanum, Centaurium foliis Cynarx, Centaurium Pyremum, The American Centory, with Artichoak Leaves. 4. Centaurium majus luteum, The great yellow Centory.
111. The Descriptions. The jirft of these hu<t d Root which grows to be more than two fat long, and as large as a reajenable great ParJnep-root, blackish on the out side, and fmeting of a reddish yellow within, abiding many years, and sending forth jrefh Leaves ruery Spring, those dying j'or the most part which were green all the Summer 5 which Leaves are many, large, long, and soft, deeply cut in on the edges, of a pale green color on the upper side, and whitijh underneath, Without any thing of the great bitterness which is in the lesser Centory, which is no Species of this Plant. The Stalk is long and round, and three or four feel high, divided at the top into many Branches, on which jland large, round, Jcaly green heads, Jhooting forth at their tops, many small Threads or Thrums, of a pale blewijh AJh-color. In which, after they are fallen, do grow, large, whitijh^ smooth, Joining Seeds, not much unlike Thiftle Seeds, but larger, and lying amongjl a great deal of Downy Matter.
IV. The second Great Centory has a Root growing to be as great or greater than the former, and black on the out side, but yellowifb within, yielding a ye I* lowifh red Juice, which is a little bitter, but more Aromatical than the former. Prom the head of this Root comes forth many Leaves lying alnwfi upon the ground, which are long, and a* large almost as the former, but without any jaggedness or division at all in them, yet deeply dented about the edges, and of a deep green color. The Stalk is round and great, but rises not up so high as the other does, nor divides it self at the top, into so many Branches, but bearing only two or three heads on a Stalk, which are scaly, in the same manner, and in it such like Thrums or Thready Plowers, of a pale whitijh color, which being past, there comes such like Seed in the heads, lying in a Plocky or Downy Subflance, and every one bearded in the same manner, but a little blacker.
' V. The third, which is the American, or Floridian Great Centory, has a Root great and black cn the out side, but longer than the first, and of the bigness of ones Wrift. It has larger Leaves than the first, and more jagged, or cut in deeply on the Edges, some
Somewhat resembling an Artichoak Leaf in the divi-fions, whence the name Foliis Cynaris, green above, and grav, or as it were hoary underneath. 'Djc Stalk rises about a yard high, cornered and hoary, having several smaller Leaves, and less jagged, set thereupon, and parted at the top into some Branches, each hearing a few small Leaves, under the Heads, which are much greater, and more scaly, with sharp pricks at their ends, like a little Wild Artichoak Head. 'J he tuft of Threads, which are the Llowers, are more purple, than in the first ; and the Seeds are white, wrapped up in Down in like manner.
VI. The fourth, or Yellow Great Centory, has a Root which groves in time to be greater than any of the former, having many Heads which fhoot forth new Leaves in the Spring, the old Leaves going away or dying upon the ground every Lear, which is wrinkled, and black on the out side, and yellowish within, full of a viscous or flimy moist ure, and ftriking deep into the ground, with some greater Branches, and a few small fibres. The new Leaves which this Root sends forth are both larger and longer from the Root than the others, some of the lowest having fewer divisions in them, than some others of them have ; but those which grow upon the Stalk, as well as some of the others below, are very much divided into many parts, making every winged leaf to consist of fourteen or fixteen Leaves, the great rib in the middle between them being whitifi, each for the most part set against another, with an odd one at the end, and every of them being narrow and long, without any dents on the edges, and of a whitish green color. The Stalks are manifold, round andJlrong, a little ftraked down length ways, each being divided into some other Branches, which bear scaly Heads greater than any of the others, and larger fpre ad thrums in the middle, of a delicate pale, but lively yellow color, which continue in their glory and beauty for a long time, zvithout decaying ; but they fcldom yield any Seed here with us in England, because that the scaly Heads are so full of moist ure ( as is supposed ) which hinders the Seed to grow ripe therein for if they are but a little prejfed between the Vmgers, there will iffue out on all sides small clear drops of Water, almost of a Honey like Sweetness, and that not only at JXoon-time of the Oay, as Bauhin is pleased to say, but also at all other times of the Day, and not for one only time and no more, but often times, and every Day, as long as the flowers are fresh, and not yet zoithered : but when it perfeUs its Seed, it is not much unlike to the Seed of the second kind, but a little lesser, blacker, and more fhimng.
VII. Tlje Places. The first delights in a fat and fruitful Soil, and in Sunny Banks, full of Grass and Herbs. The first and second grow upon the Alps, and Mount Bald us : Dioscorides fiith, they grow plentifully in Lycia, Pcloponnefus, Arcadia, &c. The third grows upon the Pyranean Hills, and upon stony Hills near Lisbon in Portugal, near the River Tagus : It has also been found to grow in America, upon the vloridian Continent, near Canada, New England, Virginia, and parts adjacent to them. The fourth not far from Lisbon, near the Tagus, and also on Mount Baldus, as Pena faith : With us, they are only nourilhed up hi Gardens, where they thrive and flourifh very well.
VIII. The Times. They all Flower about the end oi June, and in July, and the Roots may be gathered in Autumn. The American feidom Flowers with us, because of the coldness of our Climate nor does it live, unless with much care. .'
IX. The Qualities. It is hot and dry in the third Degree. It is Aperitive, Abfterfive, Aftringenr, Digestive, Difcuifwe, Incarnative, Anodyn, and Traumatick, or Vulnerary. It is dedicated to the Sto-I
mach,Lungs, Liver, Spleen, Reins and Womb : It is Alterative, Alexipharmiek, and Heme>pock.
X. The Specification. It is a noble Wound Herb: Pliny and Theophraftus fet it down among the number of Panaceas, All-heals, or Wound Herbs, this Great Centory, ( as also the LeflTer, of which in the next Chapter.) PI my, lib. 7%. cap. 4. reciting the words of Theophraftus,^ says, that they were lound out by Chiron the Centaurc, aixl that from thence they were called Centauria : and in cap. 6. he repeats and affirms again the same thing, and thereupon, he faith, they were both named Chironia, though in truth they, viz. the Greater and Smaller, are no Kin one to another, not being Species of the same Genus, and so have no relation but only in name. It is reported, that Chiron was cured herewith of a Wound in his Foot, which was made widi an Arrow, which fell upon it, when he was entertaining Hercules in his House, upon which it was called Chiromum : or elle from the curing of the Wounds of his Soldiers, for the which Intention it is most excellent.
XI. The Preparations. The Roots and Herb' are both used, but the Root chiefly : and from them you may prepare, 1. A liquid Juice. 2. An Essence. 3. An Infusion. 4. A Decoction. 5. A Pouder. 6. A Balsam. 7. An Ointment. 8. A Cataplasm. 9. A Spirituous Tincture. 10. An Acid Tincture. 11. An Oily Tincture : all made from the Root.
XII. Tf>c liquid Juice. Being taken to two or three ounces, or more, Morning and Evening, opens Obstructions of the Liver and Spleen, and prevails a-gainft the Dropsie and Yellow Jaundice, stops spitting of Blood, and is prevalent against Rupture^ Cramps, and Pleurilies, and for those who liave an old and continued Cough, or are short Winded,and can hardly draw their Breath.
XIII. The Essence. It has all the former Virtues, but more powerful to every Intention ; befides which, this Preparation is profitable against Agues, eases the Cholick, and all lorts of Griping Pains, both of Belly and Womb. It is also a Angular Traumatick, for it heals all inward Wounds and Excoriations of the Bowels, and outwardly applied to Wounds, running Sores and Ulcers, it digests, cleanses, drys, and disposes the same to a speedy healing. Dose two or three ounces in a Glass of gene* rous Wine.
XIV. The Infusion. It is a weak thing compared with the former Preparation yet being made in Wine,4t opens Obstructions of the Vif era, and is good against the Jaundice, pains of the Pleura, or Stitches in the Side. Dole four or fix ounces Morning and Evening.
XV. The Decoction. It is something more powerful than the Infusion, and is good for the same Diseases which that and the Essence are good against. Sweetned with Honey, or Sugar Candy, it is'good against Wheefings, Hoarsness, Obstructions of the Lungs, shortness of Breath, and an inveterate Cough. It is good against the Strangury, or pifling hy drops and used as a Lotion, it cleanses Wounds, old Sores, and running Ulcers; and as aGargarism, it cleanics and heals Cankers and Ulcers in the Gums, Mouth and Throat : being drank half a Pint at a time, it expels the malignity of Wounds made by the bitings or ftinging of Venomous Creatures. Dropt into the Eyes it clears them, and sharpens the Eye-sight.
XVI. The Pouder. It has all the Virtues of the Juice, Essence and Decoction, being taken one dram, or dram and half at a time, Morning and Evening,
]n Wiiie : betides which, being ftrewed upon moist running Sores, it cleanses, dries, and heals them.
XVII. The Balsam. It heals Wounds at once or twice drenmg : if they be Contused, it digests them, cleanses and heals. Applied to foul, corrupted, rotten Sores, and old Ulcers, it digests them, cleanses, dries, and heals almost to a Miracle. Applied to the Gout, it draws the humor out through the pores of the skin, and so cures it.
XYIil. The Ointment. It is vulnerary, drying, and healing, good against burnings, fcaldings, and fluxes of sharp Humors, which it represses by virtue of its Altringency, the Sore, Ulcer or Wound, being rirft waiht with the Juice or Essence : then the Pouder of the Root being ftrewed upon it, and afterwards pledgets being dipt in the Ointment, and bid over all, with a De Alinio Emplafier upon that to hold it on : by this means defperate old and running Sores and Ulcers have been fuddenly and effectually cured.
XIX. The Cataplasm. It is an excellent Anodyn and Difcuffive, prevalent against flatulent Tumors : If it is made up into a Pessary with the Pouder of the Root, and put up the Womb, it provokes the Terms in Women, and educeth the Dead Child and After-birth.
XX. The Spirituous Tincture. It is good against Convulsions, Lethargies, Palsies, Cramps, Pains and Aches in the Limbs, as also in the Stomach and Belly, Colicky and all Diseases of those parts proceeding from Wind : Let it be taken inwardly three times a day, from two drams to four in any proper Vehicle : and outwardly, let it be bathed upon the part affected Morning and Evening, till health is recovered.
XXI. The Acid Tincture. It is good against Malignity, and the Poison of pestilential Fevers : is good against the bitings or stingings of Venomous Creatures opens Obstructions of Sue Lungs, helps against Coughs, Colds, shortness of Breath, Wheezing, Hoarsness, &c. being taken in all that the Patient drinks, whether Ale, Beer, or Wine, ίο many drops at a time as may make the Liquor pleasingly sharp.
XXII. The Oily Tincture. It opens Obftruaions of the Reins, Ureters and Bladder, is prevalent a-gainlt the Strangury, pains and weakness in the Back, being taken from ten to twenty or thirty drops in White Port Wine twice a Day, viz. Morning and Night; and withal being bathed well in, upon the Spina Dorfi, or Back Bone.
XXIII. The whole Plant, as well Herb as Root, is available in all sorts of Wounds, Sores and Ulcers, to digest, cleanse, dry, conglutinate, and heal them $ and therefore are principal ingredients, and fhould be in all vulnerary Ointments, Balsams, Drinks, Lotions, and Injections, according to some of the aforegoing prescribed Preparations, refpecF being had to the parts afflicFed, and the way and Method of Application or Exhibition, whether Inward or Outward.
Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.