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Least Viewed Herbs

Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Acorn
Poppy
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Asparagus
Anemone (wood)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)



Arum--the Common








The lords and ladies (arum maculatum) so well known to
every rustic as common throughout Spring in almost every hedge
row, has acquired its name from the colour of its erect pointed
spike enclosed within the curled hood of an upright arrow-shaped
leaf. This is purple or cream hued, according to the accredited sex
of the plant. It bears further the titles of Cuckoo Pint, Wake Robin,
Parson in the Pulpit, Rampe, Starchwort, Arrowroot, Gethsemane,
Bloody Fingers, Snake's Meat, Adam and Eve, Calfsfoot, Aaron,
and Priest's Pintle. The red spots on its glossy emerald arrow-head
leaves, are attributed to the dropping of our Saviour's blood on
[34] the plant whilst growing at the foot of the cross. Several of
the above appellations bear reference to the stimulating effects of
the herb on the sexual organs. Its tuberous root has been found to
contain a particular volatile acrid principle which exercises distinct
medicinal effects, though these are altogether dissipated if the
roots are subjected to heat by boiling or baking. When tasted, the
fresh juice causes an acrid burning irritation of the mouth and
throat; also, if swallowed it will produce a red raw state of the
palate and tongue, with cracked lips. The leaves, when applied
externally to a delicate skin will blister it. Accordingly a tincture
made (H.) from the plant and its root proves curative in diluted
doses for a chronic sore throat, with swollen mucous membrane,
and vocal hoarseness, such as is often known as Clergyman's
Sore Throat, and likewise for a feverish sore mouth, as well as for
an irresistible tendency to sleepiness, and heaviness after a full
meal. From five to ten drops of the tincture, third decimal strength,
should be given with a tablespoonful of cold water to an adult
three times a day. An ointment made by stewing the fresh sliced
root with lard serves efficiently for the cure of ringworm.

The fresh juice yields malate of lime, whilst the plant contains
gum, sugar, starch and fat. The name Arum is derived from the
Hebrew jaron, a dart, in allusion to the shape of the leaves like
spear heads; or, as some think, from aur, fire, because of the
acrid juice. The adjective maculatum refers to the dark spots or
patches which are seen on the smooth shining leaves of the plant.
These leaves have sometimes proved fatal to children who have
mistaken them for sorrel. The brilliant scarlet coral-like berries
which are found set closely about the erect spike of the arum in the
autumn [35] are known to country lads as adder's meat--a name
corrupted from the Anglo-Saxon attor, poison, as originally
applied to these berries, though it is remarkable that pheasants can
eat them with impunity.

In Queen Elizabeth's time the Arum was known as starch-wort
because the roots were then used for supplying pure white starch
to stiffen the ruffs and frills worn at that time by gallants and
ladies. This was obtained by boiling or baking the roots, and thus
dispelling their acridity. When dried and powdered the root
constitutes the French cosmetic, Cypress Powder. Recently a
patented drug, Tonga, has obtained considerable notoriety for
curing obstinate neuralgia of the head and face--this turning
out to be the dried scraped stem of an aroid (or arum) called
Raphidophora Vitiensis, belonging to the Fiji Islands. Acting on
the knowledge of which fact some recent experimenters have tried
the fresh juice expressed from our common Arum Maculatum in a
severe case of neuralgia which could be relieved previously only
by Tonga: and it was found that this juice in doses of a teaspoonful
gave similar relief. The British Domestic Herbal, of Sydenham's
time, describes a case of alarming dropsy, with great constitutional
exhaustion treated most successfully with a medicine composed of
Arum and Angelica, which cured in about three weeks. The
English Passion Flower and Portland Sago are other names
given to the Arum Maculatum.





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