Polypody of the Oak

Descript : This is a small herb consisting of nothing but roots and leaves, bearing neither stalk, flower, nor seed, as it is thought. It hath three or four leaves rising from the root, every one single by itself, of about a hand length, are winged, consisting of many small narrow leaves cut into the middle rib, standing on each side of the stalk, large below, and smaller up to the top, not dented nor notched at the edges at all, as the male fern hath, of sad green colour, and smooth on the upper side, but on the other side somewhat rough by reason of some yellowish flowers set thereon. The root is smaller than one's little finger, lying aslope, or creeping along under the upper crust of the earth, brownish on the outside and greenish within, of a sweetish harshness in taste, set with certain rough knags on each side thereof, having also much mossiness or yellow hairiness upon it, and some fibres underneath it, whereby it is nourished.

Place : It grows as well upon old rotten stumps, or trunks of trees, as oak, beech, hazel, willow, or any other, as in the woods under them, and upon old mud walls, as also in mossy, stony, and gravelly places near unto wood. That which grows upon oak is accounted the best; but the quantity thereof is scarce sufficient for the common use.

Time : It being always green, may be gathered for use at any time.

Government and virtues : Polypodium of the Oak, that which grows upon the earth is best; it is an herb of Saturn, to purge melancholy; if the humour be otherwise, chuse your Polypodium accordingly. Meuse (who is called the Physician's Evangelist for the certainty of his medicines, and the truth of his opinion) saith, That it dries up thin humours, digests thick and tough, and purges burnt choler, and especially tough and thick phlegm, and thin phlegm also, even from the joints, and therefore good for those that are troubled with melancholy, or quartan agues, especially if it be taken in whey or honied water, or in barley-water, or the broth of a chicken with Epithymum, or with Beets and Mallows. It is good for the hardness of the spleen, and for pricking or stitches in the sides, as also for the cholic. Some use to put to it some Fennel seeds, or Annis seeds, or Ginger, to correct that loathing it brings to the stomach, which is more than needs, it being a safe and gentle medicine, fit for all persons, which daily experience confirms; and an ounce of it may be given at a time in a decoction, if there be not Sena, or some other strong purger put with it. A dram or two of the powder of the dried roots, taken fasting in a cup of honied water, works gently, and for the purposes aforesaid. The distilled water both of roots and leaves, is much commended for the quartan ague, to be taken for many days together, as also against melancholy, or fearful and troublesome sleeps or dreams; and with some sugarcandy dissolved therein, is good against the cough, shortness of breath, and wheezings, and those distillations of thin rheum upon the lungs, which cause phthisicks, and oftentimes consumptions. The fresh roots beaten small, or the powder of the dried roots mixed with honey, and applied to the member that is out of joint, doth much help it; and applied also to the nose, cures the disease called Polypus, which is a piece of flesh growing therein, which in time stops the passage of breath through that nostril; and it helps those clefts or chops that come between the fingers or toes.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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