On 16th November, 1870, Mr. Shchapoff, a Russian squire, the narrator, came home from a visit to a country town, Iletski, and found his family in some disarray. There lived with him his mother and his wife's mother, ladies of about sixty-nine,... Read more of The Dancing Devil at Scary Stories.caInformational Site Network Informational
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Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Acorn
Poppy
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Asparagus
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House Leek (crassulaceoe)



Buckthorn








The common Buckthorn grows in our woods and thickets, and
used to be popularly known because of the purgative syrup made
from its juice and berries. It bears dense branches of small green
flowers, followed by the black berries, which purge violently. If
gathered before they are ripe they furnish a yellow dye. When
ripe, if mixed with gum arabic and lime water, they form the
pigment called Bladder Green. Until late in the present century--
O dura ilia messorum!--English rustics, when requiring an
aperient dose for themselves or their children, had recourse to the
syrup of Buckthorn. But its action was so severe, and attended
with such painful gripings, that as time went on the medicine was
discarded, and it is now employed in this respect almost
exclusively by the cattle doctor. Dodoeus taught about Buckthorn
berries: They be not meet to be administered but to young and
lusty people of the country, which do set more store of their
money than their lives. The shrub grows chiefly on chalk, and
near brooks. The name Buckthorn is from the German buxdorn,
boxthorn, hartshorn. In Anglo-Saxon it was Heorot-bremble. It is
also known as Waythorn, Rainberry Thorn, Highway Thorn and
Rhineberries. Each of the berries contains four seeds: and the flesh
of birds which eat thereof is said to be purgative. When the juice is
given medicinally it causes a bad stomach-ache, with much
dryness of the throat: for which reason Sydenham [70] always
ordered a basin of soup to be given after it. Chemically the active
principle of the Buckthorn is rhamno-cathartine. Likewise a
milder kind of Buckthorn, which is much more useful as a Simple,
grows freely in England, the Rhamnus frangula or so-called
black berry-bearing Alder, though this appellation is a mistake,
because botanically the Alder never bears any berries. This black
Buckthorn is a slender shrub, which occurs in our woods and
thickets. The juice of its berries is aperient, without being
irritating, and is well suited as a laxative for persons of delicate
constitution. It possesses the merit of continuing to answer in
smaller doses after the patient has become habituated to its
use. The berry of the Rhamnus frangula may be known by its
containing only two seeds. Country people give the bark boiled in
ale for jaundice; and this bark is the black dogwood of gunpowder
makers. Lately a certain aperient medicine has become highly
popular with both doctors and patients in this country, the same
being known as Cascara Sagrada. It is really an American
Buckthorn, the Rhamnus Persiana, and it possesses no true
advantage over our black Alder Buckthorn, though the bark of this
latter must be used a year old, or it will cause griping. A fluid
extract of the English mild Buckthorn, or of the American
Cascara, is made by our leading druggists, of which from half to
one teaspoonful may be given for a dose. This is likewise a tonic
to the intestines, and is especially useful for relieving piles.
Lozenges also of the Alder Buckthorn are dispensed under the
name of Aperient Fruit Lozenges; one, or perhaps two, being
taken for a dose as required.

There is a Sea Buckthorn, Hippophoe, which belongs to a
different natural order, Eloeagnaceoe, a low shrubby tree, [71]
growing on sandhills and cliffs, and called also Sallowthorn. The
fruit is made (in Tartary) into a pleasant jelly, because of its acid
flavour, and used in the Gulf of Bothnia for concocting a fish
sauce.

The name signifies giving light to a horse, being conferred
because of a supposed power to cure equine blindness; or it may
mean shining underneath, in allusion to the silvery underside of
the leaf.

The old-fashioned Cathartic Buckthorn of our hedges and woods
has spinous thorny branchlets, from which its name, Rhamnus,
is thought to be derived, because the shrub is set with thorns like
as the ram. At one time this Buckthorn was a botanical puzzle,
even to Royalty, as the following lines assure us:--

Hicum, peridicum; all clothed in green;
The King could not tell it, no more could the Queen;
So they sent to consult wise men from the East.
Who said it had horns, though it was not a beast.





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Previous: Bryony



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