Briony, or Wild Vine

IT is called Wild, and Wood Vine, Tamus, or Ladies' Seal. The white is called White Vine by some; and the black, Black Vine.

Descript : The common White Briony grows ramping upon the hedges, sending forth many long, rough, very tender branches at the beginning, with many very rough, and broad leaves thereon, cut (for the most part) into five partitions, in form very like a vine leaf, but smaller, rough, and of a whitish hoary green colour, spreading very far, spreading and twining with his small claspers (that come forth at the joints with the leaves) very far on whatsoever stands next to it. At the several joints also (especially towards the top of the branches) comes forth a long stalk bearing many whitish flowers together on a long tuft, consisting of five small leaves a-piece, laid open like a star, after which come the berries separated one from another, more than a cluster of grapes, green at the first, and very red when they are thorough ripe, of no good scent, but of a most loathsome taste provokes vomit. The root grows to be exceeding great, with many long twines or branches going from it, of a pale whitish colour on the outside, and more white within, and of a sharp, bitter, loathsome taste.

Place : It grows on banks, or under hedges, through this land; the roots lie very deep.

Time : It flowers in July and August, some earlier, and some later than the other.

Government and virtues : They are furious martial plants. The root of Briony purges the belly with great violence, troubling the stomach and burning the liver, and therefore not rashly to be taken; but being corrected, is very profitable for the diseases of the head, as falling sickness, giddiness, and swimmings, by drawing away much phlegm and rheumatic humours that oppress the head, as also the joints and sinews; and is therefore good for palsies, convulsions, cramps, and stitches in the sides, and the dropsy, and for provoking urine; it cleanses the reins and kidneys from gravel and stone, by opening the obstructions of the spleen, and consume, the hardness and swelling thereof. The decoction of the root in wine, drank once a week at going to bed, cleanses the mother, and helps the rising thereof, expels the dead child; a dram of the root in powder taken in white wine, brings down their courses. An electuary made of the roots and honey, doth mightily cleanse the chest of rotten phlegm, and wonderfully help any old strong cough, to those that are troubled with shortness of breath, and is good for them that are bruised inwardly, to help to expel the clotted or congealed blood. The leaves, fruit, and root do cleanse old and filthy sores, are good against all fretting and running cankers, gangrenes, and tetters and therefore the berries are by some country people called tetter-berries. The root cleanses the skin wonderfully from all black and blue spots, freckles, morphew, leprosy, foul scars, or other deformity whatsoever; also all running scabs and manginess are healed by the powder of the dried root, or the juice thereof, but especially by the fine white hardened juice. The distilled water of the root works the same effects, but more weakly; the root bruised and applied of itself to any place where the bones are broken, helps to draw them forth, as also splinters and thorns in the flesh; and being applied with a little wine mixed therewith, it breaks boils, and helps whitlows on the joints.&mdashFor all these latter, beginning at sores, cancers, &c. apply it outwardly, mixing it with a little hog's grease, or other convenient ointment.

As for the former diseases where it must be taken inwardly, it purges very violently, and needs an abler hand to correct it than most country people have.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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