A passing word should certainly be given to the Goutweed, or,
Goatweed, among Herbal Simples. It is, though but little regarded,
nevertheless, a common and troublesome garden weed, of the
Umbelliferous tribe, and thought to possess certain curative virtues.
Botanically it is the OEgopodium podagraria, signifying, by the
first of these names, Goatsfoot, and by the second, a specific power
against gout. The plant is also
known as Herb Gerard, because
dedicated to St. Gerard, who was formerly invoked to cure gout,
against which this herb was employed. Also it has been named Ashweed,
wild Master-wort, and Gout-wort. The herb grows about a foot high,
with white flowers in umbels, having large, thrice-ternate,
aromatic leaves, and a creeping root. These leaves are sometimes
boiled, and eaten, but they possess a strong, disagreeable
flavour. Culpeper says: It is not to be supposed that Goutweed hath
its name for nothing; but upon experiment to heal the gout, and
sciatica; as also joint aches, and other cold griefs; the very bearing
it about one  easeth the pains of the gout, and defends him
that bears it from disease. Hill recommends the root and fresh
buds of the leaves as excellent in fomentations and poultices for
pains; and the leaves, when boiled soft, together with the roots, for
application about the hip in sciatica.
No chemical analysis of the Goutweed is yet on record.
Herbe Gerard groweth of itself in gardens without setting, or
sowing; and is so fruitful in his increase that where once it hath
taken root, it will hardly be gotten out again, spoiling and getting
every yeere more ground--to the annoying of better herbes.