Of Roots


1. Of roots, chuse such as are neither rotten nor worm-eaten, but proper in their taste, colour, and smell; such as exceed neither in softness nor hardness.

2. Give me leave to be a little critical against the vulgar received opinion, which is, That the sap falls down into the roots in the Autumn, and rises again in the Spring, as men go to bed at night, and rise in the morning; and this idle talk of untruth is so grounded in the heads, not only of the vulgar, but also of the learned, that a man cannot drive it out by reason. I pray let such sapmongers answer me this argument: If the sap falls into the roots in the fall of the leaf, and lies there all the Winter, then must the root grow only in the Winter. But the root grows not at all in the Winter, as experience teaches, but only in the Summer. Therefore, if you set an apple-kernel in the Spring, you shall find the root to grow to a pretty bigness in the Summer, and be not a whit bigger next Spring. What doth the sap do in the root all that while? Pick straws? 'Tis as rotten as a rotten post.The truth is, when the sun declines from the tropic of Cancer, the sap begins to congeal both in root and branch; when he touches the tropic of Capricorn, and ascends to us-ward, it begins to wax thin again, and by degrees, as it congealed. But to proceed.

3. The drier time you gather the roots in, the better they are; for they have the less excrementitious moisture in them.

4. Such roots as are soft, your best way is to dry in the sun, or else hang them in the chimney corner upon a string; as for such as are hard, you may dry them any where.

5. Such roots as are great, will keep longer than such as are small; yet most of them will keep a year.

6. Such roots as are soft, it is your best way to keep them always near the fire, and to take this general rule for it: If in Winter-time you find any of your roots, herbs or flowers begin to be moist, as many times you shall (for it is your best way to look to them once a month) dry them by a very gentle fire; or, if you can with convenience keep them near the fire, you may save yourself the labour.

7. It is in vain to dry roots that may commonly be had, as Parsley, Fennel, Plantain, &c. but gather them only for present need.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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