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Home - List of Herbs and Articles - Rock Garden

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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
House Leek (crassulaceoe)
Anemone (wood)



Buttercup








The most common Buttercup of our fields (Ranunculus bulbosis)
needs no detailed description. It belongs to the order termed
Ranunculaceoe, so-called from the Latin rana, a frog,
because the several varieties of this genus grow in moist places
where frogs abound. Under the general name of Buttercups
are included the creeping Ranunculus, of moist meadows; the
Ranunculus acris, Hunger Weed, or Meadow Crowfoot, so named
from the shape of the leaf (each of these two being also
called King Cup), and the Ranunculus bulbosus mentioned
above. King-Cob signifies a resemblance between the unexpanded
flowerbud and [72] a stud of gold, such as a king would
wear; so likewise the folded calyx is named Goldcup, Goldknob
and Cuckoobud. The term Buttercup has become conferred through
a mistaken notion that this flower gives butter a yellow
colour through the cows feeding on it (which is not the case),
or, perhaps, from the polished, oily surface of the petals.
The designation really signifies button cop, or bouton d'or;
the batchelor's button; this terminal syllable, cup, being
corrupted from the old English word cop, a head. It really means
button head. The Buttercup generally is known in Wiltshire and
the adjoining counties as Crazy, or Crazies, being reckoned by
some as an insane plant calculated to produce madness; or as a
corruption of Christseye (which was the medieval name of the
Marigold).

A burning acridity of taste is the common characteristic of the
several varieties of the Buttercup. In its fresh state the ordinary
field Buttercup is so acrimonious that by merely pulling up the
plant by its root, and carrying it some little distance in the hand,
the palm becomes reddened and inflamed. Cows will not eat it
unless very hungry, and then the mouth of the animal becomes
sore and blistered. The leaves of the Buttercup, when bruised and
applied to the skin, produce a blistering of the outer cuticle, with a
discharge of a watery fluid, and with heat, redness, and swelling.
If these leaves are masticated in the mouth they will induce pains
like a stitch between the ribs at the side, with the sharp catchings
of neuralgic rheumatism. A medicinal tincture is made (H.) from
the bulbous Buttercup with spirit of wine, which will, as a similar,
cure shingles very expeditiously, both the outbreak of
small watery pimples clustered together at the side, and the
accompanying sharp pains between the ribs. Also this tincture will
[73] promptly relieve neuralgic side-ache, and pleurisy which is of
a passive sort. From six to eight drops of the tincture may be taken
with a tablespoonful of cold water by an adult three or four times a
day for either of the aforesaid purposes. In France, this plant is
called jaunet. Buttercups are most probably the Cuckoo Buds
immortalised by Shakespeare. The fresh leaves of the Crowfoot
(Ranunculus acris) formed a part of the famous cancer cure of
Mr. Plunkett in 1794. This cure comprised Crowfoot leaves,
freshly gathered, and dog's-foot fennel leaves, of each an ounce,
with one drachm of white arsenic levigated, and with five scruples
of flowers of sulphur, all beaten together into a paste, and dried by
the sun in balls, which were then powdered, and, being mixed with
yolk of egg, were applied on pieces of pig's bladder. The juice of
the common Buttercup (Bulbosus), known sometimes as St.
Anthony's Turnip, if applied to the nostrils, will provoke
sneezing, and will relieve passive headache in this way. The leaves
have been applied as a blister to the wrists in rheumatism, and
when infused in boiling water as a poultice over the pit of the
stomach as a counter-irritant. For sciatica the tincture of the
bulbous buttercup has proved very helpful.

The Ranunculus flammata, Spearwort, has been used to produce
a slight blistering effect by being put under a limpet shell against
the skin of the part to be relieved, until some smarting and burning
have been sensibly produced, with incipient vesication of the
outermost skin.

The Ranunculus Sceleratus, Marsh Crowfoot, or Celery-leaved
Buttercup, called in France herbe sardonique, and grenouillette
d'eau, when made into a tincture (H.) with spirit of wine,
and given in small diluted doses, proves curative of stitch
in the side, and of neuralgic pains between the ribs, likewise of
pleurisy without [74] feverishness. The dose should be five drops
of the third decimal tincture with a spoonful of water every three
or four hours. This plant grows commonly at the sides of our
pools, and in wet ditches, bearing numerous small yellow flowers,
with petals scarcely longer than the calyx.





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