Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Culpeper's Complete Herbal - And English Physician Enlarged
Nicholas Culpeper was an apothecary, physician and astrologer. He wrote several works, but it's his Herbal that is the most famous and was first published in 1653.
The entry for dandelion is quite long which includes description; place; time and government and virtues sections.
"DANDELION, VULGARLY CALLED PISS-A-BEDS
Descript.] It is well known to have many long and deep gashed leaves, lying on the ground round about the head of the roots; the ends of each gash or jag, on both sides looking downwards towards the roots; the middle rib being white, which being broken, yields abundance of bitter milk, but the root much more...
Place.] It grows frequently in all meadows and pasture-grounds.
Time.] It flowers in one place or other almost all the year long.
Government and virtues.] It is under the domination of Jupiter. It is of an opening and cleansing quality, and therefore very effectual for the obstruction of the liver, gall and spleen, and the diseases that arise from them, as jaundice the hypocondriac; it opens the passages of the urine both in young and old; powerfully cleanses imposthumes and inward ulcers in the urinary passage; and by its drying and temperate quality doth afterwards heal them; for which purpose the decoction of the roots or leaves in white wine, or the leaves chopped as pot-herbs, with a few Alisanders, and bolied in their broth, are very effectual. And whoever is drawing towards a consumption or evil disposition of the whole body, called Cachexia , by the use hereof for some time together, shall find a wonderful help. It helps also to produce rest and sleep to bodies distempered by the heat of ague fits, or other wise. The distilled water is effectual to drink in pestilential fevers, and to wash the sores. You see here what virtues this common herb hath, and that is the reason the French and Dutch so often eat them in Spring; and now if you look a little farther, you may see plainly without a pair of spectacles, that foreign physicians are not so selfish as ours are, but more communicative of the virtues of plants to people."
I felt like I was coming down with a mild case of evil disposition the other day - if i'd known white wine and a few dandelions could have saved me - i would have given it a go.