The Butter-Bur, or Petasitis

Descript : This rises up in February, with a thick stalk about a foot high, whereon are set a few small leaves, or rather pieces, and at the top a long spiked head; flowers of a blue or deep red colour, according to the soil where it grows, and before the stalk with the flowers have abiden a month above ground, it will be withered and gone, and blow away with the wind, and the leaves will begin to spring, which being full grown, are very large and broad, being somewhat thin and almost round, whose thick red foot stalks above a foot long, stand towards the middle of the leaves. The lower part being divided into two round parts, close almost one to another, and are of a pale green colour; and hairy underneath. The root is long, and spreads underground, being in some places no bigger than one's finger, in others much bigger, blackish on the outside, and whitish within, of a bitter and unpleasant taste.

Place and Time : They grow in low and wet grounds by rivers and water sides. Their flower (as is said) rising and decaying in February and March, before their leaves, which appear in April.

Government and virtues : It is under the dominion of the Sun, and therefore is a great strengthener of the heart, and clearer of the vital spirit. The roots thereof are by long experience found to be very available against the plague and pestilential fevers by provoking sweat; if the powder thereof be taken in wine, it also resists the force of any other poison. The root hereof taken with Zedoary and Angelica, or without them, helps the rising of the mother. The decoction of the root in wine, is singularly good for those that wheese much, or are short-winded. It provokes urine also, and women's courses, and kills the flat and broad worms in the belly. The powder of the root doth wonderfully help to dry up the moisture of the sores that are hard to be cured, and takes away all spots and blemishes of the skin. It were well if gentlewomen would keep this root preserved, to help their poor neighbours. It is fit the rich should help the poor, for the poor cannot help themselves.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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