The common wood betony had many leaves rising from the root. Which are somewhat broad and round at the end? It is roundly dented about the edges, standing upon long foot stalks, from among which rise up small, square, slender, but upright hairy stalks. There is with some leaves thereon, to a piece at the joints, smaller than the lower. Whereof are set more than a few spiked heads of flowers like lavender. Hence it is thicker and shorter for the most part, and of a reddish and purple color, spotted with white spots both in the upper and lower part.
Also, the seeds being contained in the husks that hold the flowers are blackish, somewhat long and uneven. The roots are a lot of white thread strings; the stalk perished, but the roots with some leaves thereon, abide all the winter. The whole plant is somewhat small.
It growth is normally in woods and delighted, in shady places. It flowers comes in July, after when the seed is swiftly ripped, yet in its prime in May. The herb is appropriated to the planet Jupiter, and the sign Aries. Antonius Mum, physician to the Emperor Agustus Ctesar, wrote a peculiar book of the Virtues of this herb.
Use of Betony Wood
It is among other virtue said of it, that it preserved the liver and body of man from the danger of epidemical diseases. It also helps in from witchcraft also and supports those that loathe or cannot digest their meal. Moreover, those who have weak stomachs or sour belching and continual rising in their stomach using it closely either green or dry. Either the herb or root, or the flowers in broth, drink, or meat, or made into conserve syrup, water, electuary, or powder. As everyone may beat frame themselves unto, or as the time or season required; taken any of the aforesaid ways.
It supports in the jaundice, falling sickness, the palsy, convulsions, shrinking of the sinews, the gout, and those that are inclined to dropsy, those that have continual pains in their heads, although it turn to frenzy. The powder mixed with pure honey is no less available for all sorts of coughs or colds, wheezing, or shortness of breath, distillations of thin rheum’s upon the lungs, which caused consumptions.
The decoction made with mead and a little pennyroyal. It is good for those that are troubled with putrid agues, whether quotidian, tertian, or quartan and to draw down and evacuate the blood and humors. That by falling into the eyes, do hinder the sight. The decoction thereof made in wine, and taken, killed the worms in the belly, opened obstructions both of the spleen and liver. It cured stitches and pains in the back or sides.
The torments and griping pains of the bowels and the wind cholic, and mixed with honey purged the belly. It helped to bring down women's courses, and is of special use for those that are troubled with the falling down of the mother. The pains thereof, and caused an easy and speedy delivery of women in child-birth. It helped also to break and expels the stone, either in the bladder or kidneys. The decoction with wine gargled in the mouth eased the toothache.
It is suggested against the stinging or biting of venomous serpents, or mad dogs, being used inwardly and applied outwardly to the place. A dram of the powder of betony, taken with a little honey in some vinegar, doth magnificently refresh those that are over wearied by travel. It stayed bleeding at the mouth and nose, and helps those that evacuate blood, and those that are bursten or have a rupture, and is good for such as are bruised by any fall or otherwise.
Moreover, the green herb bruised, or the juice affect to any inward hurt, or outward green wound in the head or body. It will speedily heal and close it up: as also any veins or sinews that are cut; and will draw forth a broken bone or splinter, thorn or other things got into. It is no less profitable for old and filthy ulcers; yes, though they are fistulous and hollow. But some do advice to put a little salt to this purpose, being applied with a little hog's lard. Further, it helped a plague or sore and other bile’s and pushes.
The fume of the decoction while it is warm received by a funnel into the ears, eased the pains of them, destroys the worms, and cured the running sores in them: the juice dropped into them doth the same. The root of betony is displeasing both to the stomach and taste. Whereas, the leaves and flowers, are having their sweet and spicy taste, are comfortable both to meat and medicine.These are some of the many virtues Antonius Musa, an expert physician, for it was not the practice of Octavius Caesar to keep fools about him appropriates to betony. It is a very precious herb that is certain, and most fitting to be kept in a man's house. So, hence it is both in syrup, conserve, oil, ointment, and plaster. The flowers are usually conserved.
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