Scabious, Three Sorts

Descript : Common field Scabious grows up with many hairy, soft, whitish green leaves, some whereof are very little, if at all jagged on the edges, others very much rent and torn on the sides, and have threads in them, which upon breaking may be plainly seen; from among which rise up divers hairy green stalks, three or four feet high, with such like hairy green leaves on them, but more deeply and finely divided and branched forth a little. At the tops thereof, which are naked and bare of leaves for a good space, stand round heads of flowers, of a pale blueish colour, set together in a head, the outermost whereof are larger than the inward, with many threads also in the middle, somewhat flat at the top, as the head with the seed is likewise; the root is great, white and thick, growing down deep into the ground, and abides many years.

There is another sort of Field Scabious different in nothing from the former, but only it is smaller in all respects.

The Corn Scabious differs little from the first, but that it is greater in all respects, and the flowers more inclining to purple, and the root creeps under the upper crust of the earth, and runs not deep into the ground as the first doth.

Place : The first grows more usually in meadows, especially about London every where.

The second in some of the dry fields about this city, but not so plentifully as the former.

The third in standing corn, or fallow fields, and the borders of such like fields.

Time : They flower in June and July, and some abide flowering until it be late in August, and the seed is ripe in the mean time.

There are many other sorts of Scabious, but I take these which I have here described to be most familiar with us. The virtues of both these and the rest, being much alike, take them as follow.

Government and virtues : Mercury owns the plant. Scabious is very effectual for all sorts of coughs, shortness of breath, and all other diseases of the breast and lungs, ripening and digesting cold phlegm, and other tough humours, voids them forth by coughing and spitting. It ripens also all sorts of inward ulcers and imposthumes; pleurisy also, if the decoction of the herb dry or green be made in wine, and drank for some time together. Four ounces of the clarified juice of Scabious taken in the morning fasting, with a dram of mithridate, or Venice treacle, frees the heart from any infection of pestilence, if after the taking of it the party sweat two hours in bed, and this medicine be again and again repeated, if need require. The green herb bruised and applied to any carbuncle or plague sore, is found by certain experience to dissolve and break it in three hours space. The same decoction also drank, helps the pains and stitches in the side. The decoction of the roots taken for forty days together, or a dram of the powder of them taken at a time in whey, doth (as Matthiolus saith) wonderfully help those that are troubled with running or spreading scabs, tetters, ringworms, yea, although they proceed from the French pox, which, he saith he hath tried by experience. The juice or decoction drank, helps also scabs and breakings-out of the itch, and the like. The juice also made up into an ointment and used, is effectual for the same purpose. The same also heals all inward wounds by the drying, cleansing and healing quality therein. And a syrup made of the juice and sugar, is very effectual to all the purposes aforesaid, and so is the distilled water of the herb and flowers made in due season, especially to be used when the green herb is not in force to be taken. The decoction of the herb and roots outwardly applied, doth wonderfully help all sorts of hard or cold swellings in any part of the body, is effectual for shrunk sinews or veins, and heals green wounds, old sores, and ulcers. The juice of Scabious, made up with the powder of Borax and Samphire, cleanses the skin of the face, or other parts of the body, not only from freckles and pimples, but also from morphew and leprosy; the head washed with the decoction, cleanses it from dandriff, scurf, sores, itch, and the like, used warm. The herb bruised and applied, doth in a short time loosen, and draw forth any splinter, broken bone, arrow head, or other such like thing lying in the flesh.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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