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Having described unto you that which is called French Mercury, I come now to shew you a description of this kind also.

Description. This is likewise of two kinds, male and Female, having many stalks slender and lower than Mercury, without any branches at all upon them, the root is set with two leaves at every joint, somewhat greater than the female, but more pointed and full of veins, and somewhat harder in handling: of a dark green colour, and less dented or snipped about the edges. At the joints with the leaves come forth longer stalks than the former, with two hairy round seeds upon them, twice as big as those of the former Mercury. The taste hereof is herby, and the smell somewhat strong and virulent. The female has much harder leaves standing upon longer footstalks, and the stalks are also longer: from the joints come forth spikes of flowers like the French Female Mercury. The roots of them both are many, and full of small fibres which run under ground, and mat themselves very much, not perishing as the former Mercuries do, but abide the Winter, and shoot forth new branches every year, for the old lie down to the ground.

Place. The male and female French mercury are found wild in divers places of this land, as by a village called Brookland in Rumney Marsh in Kent.

The dog mercury in sundry places of Kent also, and elsewhere; but the female more seldom than the male.

Time. They flower in the Summer months, and therein give their seed.

Government and virtues. Mercury, they say, owns the herb, but I rather think it is Venus's, and I am partly confident of it too, for I never heard that Mercury ever minded women's business so much: I believe he minds his study more. The decoction of the leaves of Mercury, or the juice thereof in broth, or drank with a little sugar put to it, purges choleric and waterish humours. Hippocrates commended it wonderfully for women's diseases, and applied to the secret parts, to ease the pains of the mother; and used the decoction of it, both to procure women's courses, and to expel the after-birth; and gave the decoction thereof with myrrh or pepper, or used to apply the leaves outwardly against the stranguary and diseases of the reins and bladder. He used it also for sore and watering eyes, and for the deafness and pains in the ears, by dropping the juice thereof into them, and bathing them afterwards in white wine. The decoction thereof made with water and a cock chicken, is a most safe medicine against the hot fits of agues. It also cleanses the breast and lungs of phlegm, but a little offends the stomach. The juice or distilled water snuffed up into the nostrils, purges the head and eyes of catarrhs and rheums. Some use to drink two or three ounces of the distilled water, with a little sugar put to it, in the morning fasting, to open and purge the body of gross, viscous, and melancholy humours. Matthiolus saith, that both the seed of the male and female Mercury boiled with Wormwood and drank, cures the yellow jaundice in a speedy manner. The leaves or the juice rubbed upon warts, takes them away. The juice mingled with some vinegar, helps all running scabs, tetters, ringworms, and the itch. Galen saith, that being applied in manner of a poultice to any swelling or inflammation, it digests the swelling, and allays the inflammation, and is therefore given in clysters to evacuate from the belly offensive humours. The Dog Mercury, although it be less used, yet may serve in the same manner, to the same purpose, to purge waterish and melancholy humours.

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