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Description. There are two sorts of fir, one called the silver or yew-leaved, which is reckoned an exotic, coming originally from Germany, and only planted in gardens; but the common pitch-tree, or picea, which is a native with us, differs from it only that the leaves are smaller and slenderer, sharp and prickly at the ends, standing thicker together, and encompassing the stalk without any order. The cones are longer than those of the yew-leaved, and hang downwards.

Place. It grows wild in the northern parts of England, but the Scotch fir is another distinct species from both these: it is the wild pine. The leaves are long and blueish.

Government and virtues. Jupiter owns this tree. The leaves and tops of both sorts are used in diet-drinks for the scurvy, for which they are highly commended by the inhabitants of the northern countries. It is said a good quantity of them are put into Brunswick mum. From this tree, of which there grow great numbers in several parts of Germany, is gotten the Strasburg turpentine, which is clearer, of a pale colour, and of a thinner consistence than Venice turpentine, of a bitterish taste, and of a pleasant smell, a little like lemon-peel. It is of a mollifying, healing, and cleansing nature; and, besides its uses outwardly in wounds and ulcers, is a good diuretic, and of great use in a gonorrhoeœa and the fluor albus; given in glysters, mixed with the yolk of an egg it is very serviceable against the stone and gravel. It is likewise a good pectoral, and often given in affections of the breast and lungs.

Tar is likewise the product of these trees, which are cut into pieces, and piled up in a heap, and being set on fire at the top, the resinous liquor is driven out by the heat of the fire, and, running down, is received into trenches made for it, and so put into the casks; and by boiling is hardened into pitch.

Tar is by some accounted a good pectoral medicine, and used for obstructions of the lungs, and shortness of breath.

From the young branches of this tree is produced the famous spruce beer; and the juice which runs from the trunk upon its being tapped, is what is sold in the shops here under the name of the Balm of Gilead. The young tops of this tree make an excellent antiscorbutic either infused or boiled in beer or wine; experience has sufficiently confirmed their efficacy in that distemper in our American plantations, where the inhabitants used to be severly afflicted with it, who since they have taken to brewing a kind of liquor of molasses, in which they boil the young fir-tops in the room of hops, they are very little troubled with the scurvy; and many of our sailors whose diet on board of ships makes them subject ot it, have had reason to commend that liquor. This tree yields two resinous substances; a thin liquid sort, which comes forth from the young firs, and is known in the shops by the name of Strasburg turpentine; and a dry substance resembling frankincense, to which it is not unlike in quality.

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