Butcher's Broom

IT is called Ruscus, and Bruscus, Kneeholm, Kneeholly, Kneehulver, and Pettigree.

Descript : The first shoots that sprout from the root of Butcher's Broom, are thick, whitish, and short, somewhat like those of Asparagus, but greater, they rise up to be a foot and half high, are spread into divers branches, green, and somewhat creased with the roundness, tough and flexible, whereon are set somewhat broad and almost round hard leaves and prickly, pointed at the end, of a dark green colour, two at the most part set at a place, very close and near together; about the middle of the leaf, on the back and lower side from the middle rib, breaks forth a small whitish green flower, consisting of four small round pointed leaves, standing upon little or no footstalk, and in the place whereof comes a small round berry, green at the first, and red when it is ripe, wherein are two or three white, hard, round seeds contained. The root is thick, white and great at the head, and from thence sends forth divers thick, white, long, tough strings.

Place : It grows in copses, and upon heaths and waste grounds, and oftentimes under or near the holly bushes.

Time : It shoots forth its young buds in the Spring, and the berries are ripe about September, the branches of leaves abiding green all the Winter.

Government and virtues : It is a plant of Mars, being of a gallant cleansing and opening quality. The decoction of the root made with wine opens obstructions, provokes urine, helps to expel gravel and the stone, the stranguary and women's courses, also the yellow jaundice and the head-ache; and with some honey or sugar put thereunto, cleanses the breast of phlegm, and the chest of such clammy humours gathered therein. The decoction of the root drank, and a poultice made of the berries and leaves applied, are effectual in knitting and consolidating broken bones or parts out of joint. The common way of using it, is to boil the root of it, and Parsley and Fennel and Smallage in white wine, and drink the decoction, adding the like quantity of Grass-root to them: The more of the root you boil, the stronger will the decoction be; it works no ill effects, yet I hope you have wit enough to give the strongest decoction to the strongest bodies.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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