Chap. 149. Of Comfrey.
I. The Names. It is called in Greek, X *} Χυμφιην, * facultate Glutinandi : also π«χ-xj Π«χτ3κ, as Dioscorides iaith : In Latin, Symphytum, Symphitum, Consolida, Consolida major ; and
by some Solidago, Ofteocollon (a Bone Soderer ) and by Scribonius Largus, inuhi Ruliica : and in English, Comfrey.
II. Lf)c Kinds. Authors make several sorts of Comfrey _·, but the three following are only, or chiefly to be had in England, viz. 1. Symphitum majus vulgare. Our Common Great Comfrey. 2. Symphitum majus flore purpureo, Our Great Comfrey with purple flowers. V Symphitum 'Tubrrcfum, Tuberous Comfrey, or Comfrey with knobbed Roots.
III. The Descriptions. The first of these has Rooi* which are large and long, great and thick, and Jp/raJ-ing it self out into great, long, and thick Branch ■■ under ground, black on the outside, and whitish within, short and ease to break, and full of a Glutinous or Clammy Juice, having little or no taste in it. From this Root springs forth divers very large and hairy dark green heaves, lying on the ground, so hairy or prickly, that if they touch any tender part of the Hand or Face, or other part of the Skin, it will cause it to itch or tingle. From among these heaves rises up a Stalk, two or three feet high, hollow and cornered, which is also very hairy, having many such like heaves on it as grow below, but lesser and lesser up to the top, which are long, rough, pretty broad, and sharp pointed. At the Joints of the Stalks, it is divided into many Branches with some heaves thereon ; and at the ends (land many Flowers in order, one before, or above another, which are something long and hollow, like the finger of a Glove, of a pale whitish color, after which comes small black Seed.
IV. The second Kind in its Roots, heaves, Stalks, Flowers, and manner of growing, is altogether like the former ; and differs from it only in this, that, as to the whole body of the Plant, it is somewhat less : and as to the Flowers, that these are of a pale purple color.
V. The third Kind, has a large Tuberous or Knobbed Root, which Branches it self out into other Thick and Tuberous parts, more Tuberous or Knobbed towards their 'ends, with several Fibres adjoining, black on the outside, and yellowish within, replenished with fuoh Viscous, Glutinous or Clammy juice as the others, but not altogether so flinty: The Roots are also as tender and easie to be broken, or more easie than the others, and spread themselves under ground in like manner. From this Root rises up a hairy, crested, or cornered Stalk, not so high as the former, with smaller Leaves, and more thinly set therem,
of the same form, and greenness, that thereby it may at the first fight be known to be a Comfrey, by any who has well observed the Common Kind but more especially when the top Branches are in Flower ; which being placed after the same manner, and of the same hollow fashion, 'but smaller, are of a more fad yellowish color whose Seed following is also like '"the deed of the other Kinds. The Stalks and Leaves Dye away, or perish every Year, as they do in the others, the Roots abiding and increasing in the Earth, and /hooting forth new Stalks and Leaves every Spring. Some make a leafier Species of this Tuberous Kind, which if there is any such thing, I am apt to believe, arises only from the differing goodness of the Soil ; a fat and rich Soil making or producing a larger Plant than that can do which is poor and lean.
VI. The Places. The two first grow by Ditches and Water sides, and in divers low, fat, and moist Fields, Orchards and Grounds _·, tor in such they chieriy delight to grow : The first is found generally through all England _·, The second but in some particular places : The third grows with us only in Gardens, but is found Wild in Woods and moist places in Aufiria, Hungary, and Germany.
VIE The Times. They Flower in June and July, and perfect their Seed in August. There are several of the Consolida's, which have their different times of their flowering and seeding, as, 1. The Symphitum, or Consolida Petraa, of which Dioscorides speaks. 2. Consolida Sarasenica, Saracens Confound. 3. Consolida Media, Bugle, or Middle Con found. 4. Consolida minor, Prunella, or Self-heal. 5. Consolida Media, vel Be His major Vulgaris, The Great White Wild Daisie. 6. Consolida minor, vel Minima, Be His minor Sylvestris, The Common Small Field Daisie. But as these are all of them different Plants, and not a Species of one and the same Genus, nor properly any of the Comfrey s, so we shall say nothing of them here, but to avoid Confusion treat of them in their several and respective Chapters our intention being in this Chapter, to treat of that Plant, which we properly call Comfrey, and the Latins, Symphitum majus, which is of several forts, as are before described.
VIII. The Qualities. It is cold and dry in the first Degree : Astringent, Anodyn, Repercussive and Vulnerary : Neurotick, Pectoral, and Arthritick Alterative, Antiemmenagogick, and Analeptick.
IX. The Specification. It is of a Clammy and Glewing Nature, and is peculiar against Fluxes of Blood, of what kind soever, whether internal or external.
X. The Preparations. You may have* therefrom, 1. A Juice of the Leaves and Roots. 2. An Essence of the same. 3. A Syrup of the Juice of she Root. 4. A Decoction of the Root. 5. A Pouder of the Root. 6. A Balsam of the Root. 7. A Cataplasm of the Root. 8. A Distilled Water, o. An Acid Aqueous Tincture.
XI. The Juice of Leaves or Roots. Camerarius says, that two ounces of it being drank at a time, does much good in the Lethargy, and Dead Sleep: it is drying and binding in a great measure, and is good tor such as spit Blood, bleed at Mouth, or make a bloody Urine : yet it opens Obstructions of the Lungs, and causes easie Expectoration.
XiL The Essence. Ithasall the former Virtues, but is much more efteauai to stop any Flux of Blood, in any part whatsoever. It prevails against all inward hurts, bruises and wounds, cleanses Ulcers of the Lungs, drys and heals them _·, and being taken Daily, Morning and Evening, it prevails against Cacarrhs, and stops the defluxioii of Rheum from the Head upon the Lungs; fluxes of Blood, or Humors by the Belly, and the immoderate or .overflowing of the Courses in Women : It stops also the overflowing of the Whites and ( univerials being pre-mifed ) it cures a Gonorrhea, or Running of the Reins in Men , coming from what caule soever. Dose two or three ounces in Red Port Wine.
XIII. The Syrup of the Juice of the Root. It has the Virtues of the f llence, but causes a better and more easie Expectoration out of the Lungs \ is good against Coughs and Colds, Wheelings, and other like Distempers of those Pans. It is laid to be
ood for such as have broken Bones, because it hastens the breeding of the Callous ; and for the same Reason, it is said also to be good to cure Ruptures in Children. It is so powerful to Consolidate or Knit together, whatsoever needs knitting, that if the Roots be boiled with flesh cut into pieces, or very deeply flaih'd, in a Pot, they will join them together again.
XIV. The Decoction in Wine or Water. It is good against inward Bruises and Wounds, inward Bleeding, Spitting, Vomiting, or Piifing Blood, as also the Bloody or Hepatick Flux _·, and has indeed all the Virtues of the Juice, Essence and Syrup, ( but not full out so effectual as they are ) being drank to fix or eight ounces, Morning, Noon, and Night. It is also good to cleanse, dry, and heal external Wounds, Ulcers, and Running Sores, they being washed therewith once or twice a day.
XV. The Pouder of the Root. 'Being taken inwardly to one dram in a little of the Syrup, it stops inward bleeding, heals Wounds in the Stomach and Thorax, as also Ulcers in the Lungs. If it is applied to green Wounds, as soon as the Wound is made, it conglutinates or joins the Lips thereof together, and causes it speedily to be healed : mixed with the Syrup, and applied to the Hemorrhoids or Piles, it cools the Inflammation, and represses their over much bleeding, and allays the heat of the Parts adjacent, taking away, and easing all the pain.
XVI. The Balsam of the Juice of the Root. It is a singular Vulnerary, and cures simple green Wounds, generally at one dressing. It is digestive, and cleansing, and dries up and heals tunning Sores, and old Ulcers, in any part of the Body, but chiefly in those parts which are not depending; refilling Gangrenes, Mortifications, &c.
XVII. The Cataplasm of the Root. If it is made of the simple Root, beaten into a Mucilage raw, and then spread upon Leather or Linnen Cloth, and applied to parts pained with the Gout h it gives present ease to the pain, and so admirably strengthens the pan, as that the Disease never returns any more from the old Cause h and this 1 have several times proved. If it is made of the Root boiled till it is soft in Water, and then beaten into a Pulp, adding to it the Pouder of the Root, enough to bring it to the Consistence of a Cataplasm, and it is presently applied to any simple Green Wound, or Cur, it quickly heals it by consolidating, or conjoining the lips thereof together : Apply'd also upon broken Bones, it facilitates and speeds the Cure, by preventing a flux of Humors, inducing the Callus, and strengthening the Part and applied, is also profitable against Ruptures in Children. It *5 good also to be used to Womens Breasts, which swell and grow hard and fore by the abundance of Milk flowing into them, which it does by a repercussive Virtue : It also cools the Inflammation, a-bates the Swelling, and eases the Pain of the Piles, as experience has sufficiently proved. It is also very profitable against moist and running Ulcers,
Gangrenes, Sphacelus, and the like, in which cases it has been experienced, and round often help- ful.
XVIII. The Distilled Water from the Leaves, Stalks, and Roots thin sliced. It has the Virtues of the Juice and Elfe nee, but very much weaker yet. Authors say, it is good tor outward Wounds or Sores, whether in the rlefhy or nervous parts of the Body wheresoever ; as also to take away the Fits of Agues, and allay the ihirpness of the Humors : but this it the more effectually does, if it is mixed with equal parts of the Liquid Juice or Essence.
XIX. The Acid Aqueous Tincture. Take Spring Water, a gallon : Oil of Vitriol, or Oil of Sulphur per C^ampanum three ounces, mix them : then put into it of the pouder of the Root, fix ounces : digest in a gentle Sand Ik at for a Month, flaking we glass three or four times a day : afterwards being well fettled, decant the clear Tincture for use. Given inwardly in Wine, or any other proper Vehicle, it Hops inward bleedings, and strengthens and restores the Tone of the Stomach : And mixed with Red Port Wine, it makes a good Lotion to cleanse, dry, and heal any old Ulcer, or running Sore, and effectually destroys the Putridity (if any ) therein.