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Least Viewed Herbs

Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
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Poppy
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House Leek (crassulaceoe)



Agrimony








The Agrimony is a Simple well known to all country folk, and
abundant throughout England in the fields and woods, as a popular
domestic medicinal herb. It belongs to the Rose order of plants,
and blossoms from June to September with small yellow flowers,
which sit close along slender spikes a foot high, smelling like
apricots, and called by the rustics Church Steeples. Botanically
it bears the names Agrimonia Eupatoria, of which the first is
derived from the Greek, and means shining, because the herb is
thought to cure cataract of the eye; and the second bears reference
to the liver, as indicating the use of this plant for curing diseases
of that organ. Chemists have determined that the Agrimony possesses
a particular volatile oil, and yields nearly five per cent. of tannin,
so that its use in the cottage for gargles, and as an astringent
application to indolent wounds, is well justified. The herb does not
seem really to own any qualities for acting medicinally on the
liver. More probably the yellow colour of its flowers, which, with
the root, furnish a dye of a bright nankeen hue, has given it a
reputation in bilious disorders, according to the doctrine of
signatures, because the bile is also yellow. Nevertheless, Gerard
says: A decoction of the leaves is good for them that have
naughty livers. By pouring a pint of boiling water on a handful of
the plant--stems, flowers and leaves--an [19] excellent gargle may
be made for a relaxed throat; and a teacupful of the same infusion
may be taken cold three or four times in the day for simple
looseness of the bowels; also for passive losses of blood. In
France, Agrimony tea is drank as a beverage at table. This herb
formed an ingredient of the genuine arquebusade water, as
prepared against wounds inflicted by an arquebus, or hand-gun,
and it was mentioned by Philip de Comines in his account of the
battle of Morat, 1476. When the Yeomen of the Guard were first
formed in England--1485--half were armed with bows and arrows,
whilst the other half carried arquebuses. In France the eau de
arquebusade is still applied for sprains and bruises, being
carefully made from many aromatic herbs. Agrimony was at one
time included in the London Materia Medica as a vulnerary
herb. It bears the title of Cockleburr, or Sticklewort, because its
seed vessels cling by the hooked ends of their stiff hairs to any
person or animal coming into contact with the plant. A strong
decoction of the root and leaves, sweetened with honey, has been
taken successfully to cure scrofulous sores, being administered
two or three times a day in doses of a wineglassful persistently for
several months. Perhaps the special volatile oil of the plant, in
common with that contained in other herbs similarly aromatic, is
curatively antiseptic. Pliny called it a herb of princely
authoritie.

The Hemp Agrimony, or St. John's Herb, belongs to the Composite
order of plants, and grows on the margins of brooks, having
hemp-like leaves, which are bitter of taste and pungent of
smell, as if it were an umbelliferous herb. Because of these
hempen leaves it was formerly called Holy Rope, being thus
named after the rope with which Jesus was bound. They contain a
volatile [20] oil, which acts on the kidneys; likewise some tannin,
and a bitter chemical principle, which will cut short the chill of
intermittent fever, or perhaps prevent it. Provers of the plant have
found it produce a bilious fever, with severe headache, redness of
the face, nausea, soreness over the liver, constipation, and
high-coloured urine. Acting on which experience, a tincture, prepared
(H.) from the whole plant, may be confidently given in frequent
small well-diluted doses with water for influenza, or for a similar
feverish chill, with break-bone pains, prostration, hot dry skin, and
some bilious vomiting. Likewise a tea made with boiling water
poured on the dried leaves will give prompt relief if taken hot at
the onset of a bilious catarrh, or of influenza. This plant also is
named Eupatorium because it refers, as Pliny says, to Eupator, a
king of Pontus. In Holland it is used for jaundice, with swollen
feet: and in America it belongs to the tribe of bone-sets. The Hemp
Agrimony grows with us in moist, shady places, with a tall reddish
stem, and with terminal crowded heads of dull lilac flowers. Its
distinctive title is Cannabinum, or Hempen, whilst by some it
is known as Thoroughwort.





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Previous: Acorn



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