Our Lady's Thistle

Descript : Our Lady's Thistle hath divers very large and broad leaves lying on the ground cut in, and as it were crumpled, but somewhat hairy on the edges, of a white green shining colour, wherein are many lines and streaks of a milk white colour, running all over, and set with many sharp and stiff prickles all about, among which rises up one or more strong, round, and prickly stalks, set full of the like leaves up to the top, where at the end of every branch, comes forth a great prickly Thistle-like head, strongly armed with prickles, and with bright purple thumbs rising out of the middle; after they are past, the seed grows in the said heads, lying in soft white down, which is somewhat flattish in the ground, and many strings and fibres fastened thereunto. All the whole plant is bitter in taste.

Place : It is frequent on the banks of almost every ditch.

Time : It flowers and seeds in June, July, and August.

Government and virtues : Our Lady's Thistle is under Jupiter, and thought to be as effectual as Carduus Benedictus for agues, and to prevent and cure the infection of the plague: as also to open the obstructions of the liver and spleen, and thereby is good against the jaundice. It provokes urine, breaks and expels the stone, and is good for the dropsy. It is effectual also for the pains in the sides, and many other inward pains and gripings. The seed and distilled water is held powerful to all the purposes aforesaid, and besides, it is often applied both outwardly with cloths or spunges to the region of the liver, to cool the distemper thereof, and to the region of the heart, against swoonings and the passions of it. It cleanses the blood exceedingly: and in Spring, if you please to boil the tender plant (but cut off the prickles unless you have a mind to choak yourself) it will change your blood as the season changes, and that is the way to be safe.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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