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Description. This first from seed giveth roots in the ground, which shooteth forth threads or strings, grosser or finer, as the property of the plant wherein it groweth, and the climate doth suffer, creeping and spreading on that plant whereon it fasteneth, be it high or low. The strings have no leaves at all upon them, but wind and interlace themselves so thick upon a small plant, that it taketh away all comfort of the sun from it; and is ready to choak or strangle it. After these strings are risen up to that height, that they may draw nourishment from that plant, they seem to be broken off from the ground, either by the strength of their rising, or withered by the heat of the sun. Upon these strings are found clusters of small heads or husks, out of which shoot forth whitish flowers, which afterwards give small pale white coloured seed, somewhat flat, and twice as big as poppy-seed. It generally participates of the nature of the plant which it climbeth upon; but the dodder of thyme is accounted the best, and is the only true epithymum.

Government and virtues. All dodders are under Saturn. Tell not me of physicians crying epithymum, or that dodder which grows upon thyme, (most of which comes from Hemetius in Greece, or Hybla in Sicily, because those mountains abound with thyme) he is a physician indeed, that hath wit enough to choose his dodder according to the nature of the disease and humour peccant. We confess thyme is the hottest herb it usually grows upon; and therefore that which grows upon thyme is hotter than that which grows upon colder herbs; for it draws nourishment from what it grows upon, as well as from the earth where its root is, and thus you see old Saturn is wise enough to have two strings to his bow. This is accounted the most effectual for melancholy diseases, and to purge black or burnt choler, which is the cause of many diseases of the head and brain, as also for the trembling of the heart, faintings and swoonings. It is helpful in all diseases and griefs of the spleen, and melancholy that arises from the windiness of the hypocondria. It purgeth also the reins or kidneys by urine; it openeth obstructions of the gall whereby it profiteth them that have the jaundice; as also the leaves the spleen: purging the veins of the choleric and phlegmatic humours, and helpeth children in agues, a little wormseed being put thereto.

The other dodders do, as I said before, participate of the nature of those plants whereon they grow; as that which hath been found growing upon nettles in the west country hath by experience been found very effectual to procure plenty of urine where it hath been stopped or hindered. And so of the rest.

Sympathy and antipathy are two hinges upon which the whole model of physic turns: and that physician who minds them not, is like a door off from the hooks, more like to do a man mischief, than to secure him. Then all the diseases Saturn causeth, this helps by sympathy, and strengthens all the parts of the body he rules; such as he caused by Sol, it helps by antipathy. What these diseases are, see my judgment of diseases by astrology; and if you be pleased to look at the herb wormwood, you shall find a rational way for it.


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