A plant belonging to the order of Nettles, the Pellitory of the Wall,
or Paritory--Parietaria, from the Latin parietes, walls--is a
favourite Herbal Simple in many  rural districts. It grows
commonly on dry walls, and is in flower all the summer. The leaves
are narrow, hairy, and reddish; the stems are brittle, and the small
blossoms hairy, in clusters. Their filaments are so elastic that if
touched before the flo
er has expanded, they suddenly spring from
their in curved position, and scatter the pollen broadcast.
An infusion of the plant is a popular medicine to stimulate the
kidneys, and promote a large flow of watery urine. The juice of the
herb acts in the same way when made into a thin syrup with sugar,
and given in doses of two tablespoonfuls three times in the day.
Dropsical effusions caused by an obstructed liver, or by a weak
dilated heart, may be thus carried off with marked relief. The
decoction of Parietaria, says Gerard, helpeth such as are troubled
with an old cough. All parts of the plant contain nitre abundantly.
The leaves may be usefully applied as poultices.
But another Pellitory, which is more widely used because of its
pungent efficacy in relieving toothache, and in provoking a free
flow of saliva, is a distinct plant, the Pyrethrum, or Spanish
Chamomile of the shops, and not a native of Great Britain, though
sometimes cultivated in our gardens. The title Purethron is from
pur, fire, because of its burning ardent taste. Its root is
scentless, but when chewed causes a pricking sensation (with heat,
and some numbness) in the mouth and tongue. Then an abundant flow of
saliva, and of mucus within the cheeks quickly ensues. These effects
are due to pyrethrin contained in the plant, which is an acid fixed
resin; also there are present a second resin, and a yellow, acrid oil,
whilst the root contains inulin, tannin, and other substances. When
sliced and applied to the skin it induces heat,  tingling, and
redness. A patient seeking relief from rheumatic or neuralgic
affections of the head and face, or for palsy of the tongue, should
chew the root of this Pyrethrum for several minutes.
The Pelleter of Spain (Pyrethrum Anacyclus), was so styled,
not because of being brought from Spain; but because it is grown
A gargle of Pyrethrum infusion is prescribed for relaxed uvula,
and for a partial paralysis of the tongue and lips. The tincture made
from the dried root may be most helpfully applied on cotton wool to
the interior of a decayed tooth which is aching, or the milder
tincture of the wall Pellitory may be employed for the same
purpose. To make a gargle, two or three teaspoonfuls of the
tincture of Pyrethrum, which can be had from any druggist,
should be mixed with a pint of cold water, and sweetened with
honey, if desired. The powdered root forms a good snuff to cure
chronic catarrh of the head and nostrils, and to clear the brain by
exciting a free flow of nasal mucus and tears--Purgatur cerebrum
mansa radice Pyrethri.
Incidentally, as a quaint but effective remedy for carious toothache,
may be mentioned the common lady bird insect, Coccinella, which
when captured secretes from its legs a yellow acrid fluid having a
disagreeable odour. This fluid will serve to ease the most violent
toothache, if the creature be placed alive in the cavity of the hollow
Gerard says this Pyrethrurn (Pellitory of Spain, or Pelletor) is
most singular for the surgeons of the hospitals to put into their
unctions contra Neapolitanum morbum, and such other diseases
that are cousin germanes thereunto. The Parietaria, or Pellitory
of the wall, is named Lichwort, from growing on stones.
 Sir William Roberts, of Manchester, has advised jujubes,
made of gum arabic and pyrethrum, to be slowly masticated by
persons who suffer from acid fermentation in the stomach, a copious
flow of alkaline saliva being stimulated thereby in the mouth, which
is repeatedly swallowed during the sucking of one or more of the
jujubes, and which serves to neutralise the acid generated within the
stomach. Distressing heartburn is thus effectively relieved without
taking injurious alkalies, such as potash and soda.