Our garden Carrot, or Dauke, is a cultivated variety of the

Dalucus sylvestris, or wild carrot, an umbelliferous plant, which

groweth of itself in untoiled places, and is called philtron,

because it serveth for love matters. This wild Carrot may be found

abundantly in our fields and on the sea shore; the term Carrot

being Celtic, and signifying red of colour, or perhaps derived

from caro, flesh, because this is a flesh
vegetable. Daucus is from

the Greek daio, to burn, on account of the pungent and

stimulating qualities. It is common also on our roadsides, being

popularly known as Bee's nest, because the stems of its

flowering head, or umbel, form a concave semi-circle, or nest,

which bees, when belated from the hive will use as a dormitory.

The small purple flower which grows in the middle of the umbel

has been found beneficial for the cure of epilepsy. The juice of the

Carrot contains carotine in red crystals; also pectin, albumen,

and a particular volatile oil, on which the medicinal properties of

the root depend. The seeds are warm and aromatic to the taste,

whilst they are slightly diuretic. A tea made from the whole plant,

and taken each night and morning, is excellent when the lithic

acid, or gouty disposition prevails, with the deposit of a brick-dust

sediment in the urine on its becoming cool.

The chief virtues of Carrots lie in the strong antiseptic qualities

they possess, which prevent all putrescent [89] changes within the

body. In Suffolk they were given long since as a secret specific for

preserving and restoring the wind of horses, but cows if fed long

on them will make bloody urine. Wild Carrots are superior

medicinally to those of the cultivated kind. Carrot sugar got from

the inspissated juice of the roots may be used at table, and is good

for the coughs of consumptive children. The seeds of the wild

Carrot were formerly esteemed as a specific remedy for jaundice;

and in Savoy the peasants now give an infusion of the roots for the

same purpose; whilst this infusion has served to prevent stone in

the bladder throughout several years when the patient had been

previously subject to frequent attacks.

Carrots boiled sufficiently, and mashed into a pulp, when applied

directly to a putrid, indolent sore, will sweeten and heal it. The

Carrot poultice was first used by Sulzer for mitigating the pain,

and correcting the stench of foul ulcers. Raw scraped Carrot is

an excellent plaster for chapped nipples. At Vichy, where

derangements of the liver and of the biliary digestion are

particularly treated, Carrots in one or another form are served at

every meal, whether in soup, or as a vegetable; and considerable

efficacy of cure is attributed to them. In the time of Parkinson

(1640) the leaves of the Carrot were thought to be so ornamental

that ladies wore them as a head-dress instead of feathers. A good

British wine may be brewed from the roots of the Carrot; and very

tolerable bread may be prepared for travellers from these roots

when dried and powdered. Pectic acid can be extracted by the

chemist from Carrots, which will solidify plain sugared water into

a wholesome appetising jelly. One part of this pectic acid

dissolved in a little hot water, and added to make three hundred

parts of warm water, [90] is soon converted into a mass of

trembling jelly. The yellow core of the Carrot is the part which is

difficult of digestion with some persons, not the outer red layer.

Before the French Revolution the sale of Carrots and oranges was

prohibited in the Dutch markets, because of the unpopular

aristocratic colour of these commodities. In one thousand parts of

a Carrot there are ninety-five of sugar, and (according to some

chemists) only three of starch. In country districts raw Carrots are

sometimes given to children for expelling worms, probably

because the vegetable matter passes mechanically through the

body unchanged, and scours it. Remember, William, says Sir

Hugh Evans in the Merry Wives of Windsor, Focative is

Caret, and that replies Mrs. Quickly, is a good root.

The man in the moon drinks claret,

But he is a dull Jack-a-dandy;

Would he know a sheep's head from a Carrot

He should learn to drink cider and brandy.

Song of Mad Tom in Midsummer Night's Dream.