Chap. 179. Of Cucumber Wild.
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I. The Names. It is called in Greek, X *>__to-: in Latin, Cucumis & Cucumer agrestis, and in the Shops, Afininus; Cucumis Sylvestris Matthioli, Tragi, Dodonti -? also by some, Noli me t anger e, (because of the fpirting of them, if rudely handled, when ripe:) in English, Wild Cucumber, Spirting Cucumber, and Touch me not.
II. The Kinds. It is a Species of Cucumbers, the Wild sort, but a singular Plant of the kind.
III. The Inspissate Juice, is the Juice of the Fruit, or rather a Eeecula thereof which being dryed, is called almost in all places throughout Europe, Elaterium: Pliny, lib. 20. cap. I. The Greeks call it also, tA*T_<ycr ab t\a.uvu, Impellere, stimulare, infti-gare, pungere, which is as much as to lav, to impel, stir up, or force violently, to purge vehemently, and therefore Elaterium eft medicamentum vehemen-ter purgans. Gaza in his Tranflation of Theophra-ftus calls it, Agitatorium. 'Tis doubtless one of the strongest of all Purgers.
IV. The Description. It has a Root white and firm, thicker and shorter than any other sort of Gourd or Cucumber has, having withal some adjoining Fibres, very diiter, as are all the other parts of the Plant. From this Root spring forth many juicy, fat, hairy, rough trailing Branches, spreading themselves over the Surface of the Earth, like to 0-ther Cucumbers or Gourds, on which grow very rugged, rough, hairy and ill-colcred green Uiwes, sharp-
pointed, of an ovcr-wirn greyish green, jotv.etbing whitish underneath, little or n. thing divided or pan-ed at the edges. At the Joints bet ice en the Branches and the Leaves spring forth small pale yellow flowers, opening into five Leaces, at the end of small green Heads Jor the most pai t, as all other kinds <f Cucumbers, Gourds, (Sc. do : but such as have Flowers only, without such Heads, quickly J'a." aw.n, without Fruit. For that green Head, as in all others, comes in time to be the Fruit, which is small, rough, long and round, and some thing of a grey φ green when they are ripe. The boot-stalks upon which the Cucumbers grow, are fieri and rough, crooked withal, and bend the Fruit downwards, which when they are throughly ripe, with a very little touch, will quickly open at the end next the Stalk, and ffirt out its Juice and some of its Seed upon the Hands or Faces, or other Parts of these who touched it. The Seed when ripe is blackish and some thing rugged, but otherwise white, lying in a green moist Substance, which is very bitter and loathsome to the Taste. The Fruit when it is per jellly ripe, fquirts forth its Water with the Seeds, either of its own accord, or being touched, tho" never so gently , and many times it llrikes so hard, especially if it hits againji the Face or Eyes, that it will smart jcr a pretty while after ; but this Smarting arises purely from the Acrimonious Quality of the Juice. And from this voluntary sqirting of the Seed came the Name of Noli me tangere.
V. The Places. In Italy, Spain and other hot Countries, it is found among Rubbiih, Gravel, waits and other untilfd places, where calling its Seed, multiplies it fel__ and easily springs up again ) but in the Low Countries, and thro5 most parts of Eng-land, it grows only in Gardens.
VI. The Times. The Root many times abides in the Ground all the Winter, if it stands warm, and the Ground is rich , but in cold Grounds, and where it is not defended, it is apt to perish every Year: where the Root dies not, it comes up in the Spring ; but if it springs from the Seed in April or May, it flowers in June and July , and the W)1
is usually ripe in August, at which time the Elaterium is also made of it.
VII. The Qualities. The whole Plant is hot and dry in the third Degree ; Aperitive, Abstersive, bitter in Taite, and waiting away. Galen will have the Juice to be hot but in the second Degree, cleansing, and of thin parts : it purges warry Humors, and is certainly the belt Cathartick in the whole Repub-lick of Medicine.
VIII. The Specification. Elaterium is a peculiar Medicament tor the Cure ot Dropsies.
IX. The ? reparations. You may have herefrom, 1. A liquid Juice of the heaves. 2. A liquid Juice of the Root. 3. An Errhine of the Juice of the leaves or Root. 4. A liquid Juice of the Fruit.
A S)r.ip of the Juice 0) the Roots or Fruit. 6. An tnfufioti if the Root. 7. A Vinegar of the Root. 8. A Decoction of the Root. 9. A Pouder of the Root. 10. An Electuary of the Root. II. An Oil of the Root. 12. A Cataplasm of the Root. 15. A Substitution of the Root. 14. A Cataplasm of the leaves.
15. A Cataplasm of the Leaves with Goats-dung.
16. Elaterium Viride, Green Elaterium, or the Inspissate Juice of the Fruit. 17. Elaterium album vel optimum, White Elaterium, or the Foecula of the Juice of the Fruit. 18. The distilled Water.
X. The Liquid Juice of the Leaves. Dropped into the Ears, it eases them of the Pains and Noises therein, and very much prevails against Deafness : bathed upon the Skin, it takes away Freckles, Lentils, Discolorings, yellow Spots, Scurff, Morphew, Tettars, Ringworms, Herpes, and other Deformities thereof, used Morning and Evening for some time.
XI. The liquid Juice of the Root. It is good against the Falling-sickness and Kings-evil, put into the Nostrils, and taken inwardly also; and the Stru-matick Swellings being daily Morning and Evening bathed therewith\ it provokes the Terms, but is not to be given to Women with Child, because it is apt to destroy the Fruit in the Womb. It purges viscous and watry Humors, and that strongly h and therefore it is used in Clysters. It has also all the Virtues of the Juice of the Leaves, as to external DifafYeclions, if it is applied in like manner. Being taken from 2 to 4 drams in any convenient Vehicle, it prevails against the Dropsie and the yellow Jaundice, and opens all Obstructions of the Liver and Spleen, powerfully evacuating Water.
XII. The Errhine made of the Juice of Leaves or Roots. It is made by mixing 2 parts of the Juice with 1 part of Water in which Nitre is dissolved. Some make it by mixing the Juice 2 parts, with Milk 1 part. Snuft up the Nostrils it cures an Epilepsy, as also an inveterate Megrim or Head-ach _·, for it wonderfully purges the Head and Brain from Excrements, and cures a stinking Breath coming
. from the Nostrils and is a prevalent Medicine a-against Lethargies, Cams, Sleepiness and Apoplexies.
XIII. The liquid Juice of the Fruit. It has all the Virtues of the Juice of the Leaves and Roots, and may be used in the same manner to all those Intentions h but it is much more powerful, as being jpore Acrimonious, and therefore is to be used in a [mailer Dose. And an Errhine, may be also made of Ir> as of the Juice of the Leaves or Roots, very beneficial and potent to all the same Purposes, being much stronger than is Juice of Beets or Prim-rofes.
XIV. The Syrup of the Juice of the Roots or Fruit. "is good against the Scurvy, Dropsie, Jaundice and Gout, carrying of f all sorts of putrid Humors,
chiefly Flegm and Water, by which it gives a general Relief to the whole Body, and so prevails against Head-achs, Apoplexies', Epilepsies, Cams, Lethargy, Vertigo and Madness. It is good against Surfeits and Agues, and kills Worms in the Body. The Dole is from a spoonful to 2, 3 or 4, in the Morning tatting, mixed with a Glass of warm Pof-iet-drink or White-wine ; if it is acuated with choice Sena, it will be much more powerful and efficacious to all the Intentions and Purposes before enumerated.
XV. The Infusion of the Root. Take of the fresh or green Root well bruised a pound put it into a pint and half of strong White Port Wine, in which let it infuse for 24 hours or more. Dose 3 ounces, for three or four days together, or until the Hydro-pick Swelling is plainly discerned to be very much wafted and fallen. This is Dioscorides his Medicine, for curing the Dropsy _·, which thing (favs he) it doth, without any troubling of the Stomach.
XVI. The Decoction of the Root. It may be made in Wine or Water, or with a Mixture of both. This being drunk (says Mesue) helps the Dropsy, for it wonderfully evacuates watry Humors, and prevails against the Yellow Jaundice, and all Oh-ltruftions of both Liver and Spleen. This Deception gargled in the Mouth, and held therein for some time, gives present Faie in the Toorh-ach.
XVII. The Vinegar of the Root. If the Root is infused or boiled in strong Vinegar, and that Vinegar is bathed upon the Skin two or three times a day, it is good to cure Tettars, Ringworms and a ample Herpe, as also to cure Scurff and Morphew, and to cleanse the Skin of all Diicolorings, as Yellowneis, Tawniness, Freckles, Lentils, and other Spots of that kind.
XVIII. The Pouder of the Root. Snufft up the Nostrils, it is a good Errhine to purge and cleanse the Head and Brain of cold moist and viscous Humors, which cause the Head-ach, Megrim, Vertigo, Lethargy, Apoplexy, Epilepsy, Palsy, &c. Dioscorides says, that being applied to the Skin or" Face, if cleanses it from all Scurff, and takes away the Di__ coloring of Scarrs. Inwardly taken, to a icruple or half a dram, mixt with Cream of Tartar, it kills Worms, purges the Bowels, and carrys of f slimy Humors.
XIX. The Electuary of the Root. It is made of the Pouder mixt with Honey. Taken inwardly, from a dram to two drams, according to Age and Strength, in the Morning failing^ it purges Flegm, Choler and watry Humors, and abates the rebellious Ferment of the KingVevil : it cleanses and heals old Sores and Ulcers, being used Plaister-wise, cleansing them throughly, and wonderfully healing them. Applied upon a Herpes, Tettar or Ringworm, or other like Breakings out, or put upon any Deformity or Scar, does attenuate the Skin, attract forth the malign Juices, and heal those Breakings out h taking away also Marks, Spots, Blackness and Blewness coming upon the Skin and Flesh by Con-tufions and Blows.
XX. The Oil of the Root. It is made of the bruised Root or of its Juice, by Infolation, or boiling in Oil Olive. Anointed often upon the Temples, it is laid to cure an inveterate Megrim, an Errhine of the Juice, being iiiufft also up the Nostrils. A-nointed well upon the Hip and Huckle-bone Morning and Evening, for half an hour together, it eases the Pain of the Sciatica, .
XXI. The Cataplasm of the Root, It may be made either of the Root bruised, &c. or of the Juice of the Root brought to a thickness, wirh Pouder of Elecampane-roots. Applied after anointing with the former Oil, it gives great ease in the Gout and Sci-
atica _·, discusses Tumors arising from simple Contusions, absorbs acid Humors lurking in the Skin and Scarf skin, and takes away Deformities thereof, as Scurif, Morphew, Leprofy, Yellowness, and other Discolorin^s of the Skin.
XXII. The Subfitutwn of the Root. Apothecaries, favs Parkinson, do most usually take the Root of xMsWi/d Cucumber, as a Subftitute for the Root of Coloquintida or the bitter Gourd, thar not being so frequent, or so easy to be had as this is.
ΧΧΊÎ¹Î¹. The Cataplasm of the Leaves. It has all the Virtues of the Cataplasm of the Root, but not tiill out 16 effectual, because the Leaves have not the same Strength with the Root : yet, notwithstanding, it is an excellent thing for the Purposes intended, exceeding many other things of like kind. It cleanses the Skin from Discolorings and many other Deformities.
XXIV. The Cataplasm of the Leaves with Goats-Dung. If it is laid upon any hard Tumors, Swellings or Kernels, such as are those of the Kings-Evil, it resolves them _·, and also eases Pains of the Gout in what part of the Body soever , and refills the Putrefaction of malign Ulcers.
XXV. Green Elaterium, or the Inspissate Juice of the Cucumber. Take Wild Cucumbers almost ripe, open them on one side, and take or squeeze out their thinner Juice and Seeds, which strain from the Seeds, reserving the Juice: then beat the rest of the Cucumber grossly in a Marble Mortar \ put all into a Bag, and in a Press force forth all the Juice ► put this Juice to the former, which put into a Retort, and in a gentle Sand-heat draw forth all the Water, ( which keep for a Cosmetick _·,) continue the find gentle Heat till the Magma is perfectly dry'd _·, then break the Retort, take forth the Matter, and keep it in a Jar-Glafs, tyed close over with a wet Bladder, for life. If you have no Retort, and care not sor keeping the Water, you may evaporate it to dryness over the same gentle Sand-heat in an open fiat-bottomed Glass, often stirring it, (to break the Skum) that it may evaporate the better, which then take and preserve in a Jar-Giais, as before. It has the Virtues of the following, but not full out so strong, and therefore may be given in double Dose to it, viz. from 6 grains to 20 or 24, in any convenient Vehicle. 5Tis, notwithstanding its being weaker than the following, a most noble Medicament.
XXVI. Elaterium album, The white or common Elaterium, which is indeed the strongest and beft. It is thus made : Take Wild Cucumbers almost ripe, open them with a Knife upwards, press out the Juice gently with your fore Fingers, let it run thro' a Sieve into a clean glaz'd Vessel, let it fettle, and decant the clear Water into another Vessel : then dry the Settlings in the Sun, and in a Jar-Glafs, tyed close over with a Bladder, keep the Elaterium tot Use. See our Pharmacopeia Londinenfis, lib. ι. cap. 6. fell. 35. If you please, you may keep the clear Water tor Unguent urn Artanita. Some Authors say, that this Elaterium will keep two hundred Years, and yet be of wonderful Virtue, Vix Credo: others, as Paracelsus, say it retains its Virtues well sifty Years, at which Age it will be so abundant in Humidity, that put to the Flame of a Lamp or Candle, it will put it out: but Dioscorides Uys it is good from two Years old until ten, and that that is the best which being put to the Flame <__ a p"dle5 wffl make it burn the more bright. peophrhfius his Elaterium is green, (which is, as 1 iuppoie, the former Inspissate Juice of the Cucumber : ) Dioscorides his Elaterium is white, which is the f scuta of the Juice, as is taught in this Season, and this is that which Mefuc lavs is the beft. Tie
green will continue moist many Years, alter it ise-raporated and dryed up hard, relenting or giving with the Air, so that it requires a long time to con-fume its Humidity _·, whereas the white fort being once dryed, will remain white, hard and dry for a great number of Years, unless it is left open in a moist Air, or stand in a moist place. This white Elaterium works very well, being given from 1 to ? grains, in strong Bodies ; Authors lay it may be given to 10 grains. Parkinson says, that half a grain being put into a purging Medicine, to quicken it, has oftentimes been seen to trouble the Stomach, with very much difquiet, and vomitiag, and working also downwards with more Violence than it could be nought that double the quantity could do. Dioscorides says the Dose is from half an Obelus to a whole Obolus. Now, xheObolus is 10 grains, or 13 at the most, as some take it, which shews the brge Doses which the Ancients gave of this Medicine, which we dare lcarcely follow. It purges Choler and Flegm from all parts of the Body, and drives forth watry Humors to a Miracle, being an extraordinary thins to open the Pipes of such as are Purfy and short Winded^ and is indeed a Specifick for the Cure of the Dropsy, especially of that kind called Sarcites or Anasarca. When you give it for Purging, it may be given mixt with Milk, or rather Cream, because the UncFuofity thereof will not suffer it to stick to the Tunicles of the Stomach, but cause it to purge of f the more speedily. If you would have it to Vomit, Dioscorides advises to dissolve it in Water, and with a Feather dipt therein, to touch the lower parr of the Tongue, as low as you can _·, but in mv Opinion, it is much better to take the whole Dose down into the Stomach. It is a prevalent thing against the Megtim, Head-acb, Carus, Lethargy, Vertigo, Apoplexy, Epilepsy, being used sometimes as an Errhine, dissolved in Water or Milk _·, and somfeimes taken inwardly to both Vomit and Purge. And thus taken, it is said also to cure the Kings-evil, the Parts affected being a-nointed likewise with it outwardly. It provokes the Courses in Women where they have been long stopt, and very much prevails against the Green-sickness in Virgins. It is so strong and sorcible, that it is said to kill the Child in the Womb, so that a Woman Impregnated must by all means avoid it; but this is more especially to be understood, being applied in a Pessary or Ointment to the Womb. It cures the Gout in any Part, by its strong Cathartick Faculty, carrying of t the tartarous, viscous or clammy Humors from the Joints, which breed it. The common ^ Dose is a gr. i. ad v. and to very strong Persons a gr. iii. ad x. well correcFed with Nutmeg, Spicknard, Aniseeds, Liquorice-pouder, &c. It cures Asthma's, Jaundice, Scurvy and Hypochondriack Melancholy. Mixed with Ox Gall and applied, it helps the Quinsey and Gout, and clears the Skin of Scurff, Morphew, Tettars, Ringworms, Mange, Itch, Pufhes, Scabs, and other like Deformities.
XXVII. The distilled Water from Roots or Fruit-If to every quart of it you add an ounce of fine Λ'/'-tre, difiolving it over a gentle Heat, it becomes an excellent Cosmetick to beautify and clear the Skin of any Deformity, being two or three times a day or of tner laid on, and suffered to dry in, after it is first well cleansed with fair warm Water. This Waih is also an excellent thing against anEryfipd^ or Anthony's fire, the Parts affected being bathed therewith, and Cloths wet therein being laid on, and so suffered to dry upon the Part. It abates Inflammations, and being given inwardly, (well sweet-ned with white Sugar) it cools and abates the most violent Heat of Fevers. Parts affected with the Gout, being well barbed therewith* Morning and
Evening, (after due and sufficient Purging ) are presently eased of their Pains after a singular manner. Iitven inwardly from 1 ounce to 4, well sweetned with white Sugar, it purges well by Urine, carries of f Water in Dropsies, prevails against the Scurvy in a hot Constitution, helps the Strangury, and expels Sand, Gravel, Slime, or any kind of Tartarous κ latter.