|Index of Herbal Remedies||Herbal Remedy Title Page|
CULPEPER'S COMPLETE HERBAL
GREAT MONK'S RHUBARB
Name. Called also great garden patience.
Description. At the first appearing out of the ground when the winter is past, it hath a great round brownish head, rising from the middle or sides of the root, which opens itself into sundry leaves one after another, very much crumpled or folded together atthe first, and brownish; but afterwards it spreads itself, and becomes smooth, very large and almost round, every one standing on a brownish stalk of the thickness of a man's thumb, when they are grown to their fulness, and most of them two feet or more in length, especially when they grow in any moist or good ground; and the stalk of the leaf, from the bottom thereof to the leaf itself, being also two feet the breadth thereof from edge to edge, in the broadest place, being also two feet, of a sad or dark green colour, of a fine tart or sourish taste, much more pleasant than the garden or wood sorrel. From among these rise up some, but not every year, strong thick stalks, not growing so high as the patience, or garden dock, with such round leaves as grow below, but smaller at every joint up to the top, and among the flowers, which are white, spreading forth into many branches, consisting of five or six small leaves apiece, hardly to be discerned from the white threads in the middle, and seeming to be all threads, after which come brownish three-square seeds, like unto other docks,but larger, whereby it may be plainly known to be a dock. The root grows in time to be very great, with divers and sundry great spreading branches from it, of a dark brown or reddish colour on the outside, with a pale yellow skin under it, which covers the inner substance or root, which rind and skin being pared away, the root appears of so lively a colour, with fresh coloured veins running through it, that the choicest of that rhubarb is brought to us from beyond the seas cannot excel it; which root, if it be dried carefully, and as it ought (which must be in our country by the gentle heat of a fire, in regard the sun is not hot enough here to do it, and every piece kept from touching one another) will hold its colour almost as well as when it is fresh, and hath been approved of and commended by those who have oftentimes used them.
Place. It grows in gardens, and flowers about the beginning or middle of June, and the seed is ripe in July.
Time. The roots that are to be dried and kept all the year following, are not to be taken up before the stalk and the leaves be quite withered and gone, and that is not until the middle or end of October; and if they be taken in a little before the leavesdo spring, or when they are sprung up, the roots will not half so good a colour in them.
Government and virtues. Mars claims predominancy over all these wholesome herbs. You cry out upon him for an unfortunate, when God created him for your good (only he is angry with fools). What dishonour is this, not to Mars, but to God himself. A dram of the dried root of Monk's Rhubarb, with a scruple of Ginger made into powder, and taken fasting in a draught or mess of warm broth, purges choler and phlegm downwards very gently and safely without danger. The seed thereof contrary doth bind the belly, and helps to stay any sort of lasks or bloody-flux. The distilled water thereof is very profitably used to heal scabs; also foul ulcerous sores, and to allay the inflammation of them; the juice of the leaves or roots or the decoction of them in vinegar, is used as the most effectual remedy to heal scabs and running sores.
The Bastard Rhubarb hath all the properties of the Monk's Rhubarb, but more effectual for both inward and outward diseases. The decoction thereof without vinegar dropped into the ears, takes away the pains; gargled in the mouth, takes away the tooth ache; and being drank, heals the jaundice. The seed thereof taken, eases the gnawing and griping pains of the stomach, and takes away the loathing thereof unto meat. The root thereof helps the ruggedness of the nails, and being boiled in wine helps the swelling of the throat, commonly called the king's evil, as also the swellings of the kernels of the ears. It helps them that are troubled with the stone, provokes urine, and helps the dimness of the sight. The roots of this Bastard Rhubarb are used in opening and purging diet-drinks, with other things, to open the liver, and to cleanse and cool the blood.
The properties of that which is called the English Rhubarb are the same with the former, but much more effectual, and hath all the properties of the true Italian Rhubarbs, except the force in purging, wherein it is but of half the strength thereof, and therefore a double quantity must be used: it likewise hath not that bitterness and astriction; in other things it works almost in an equal quantity, which are these: It purges the body of choler and phlegm, being either taken of itself, made into powder, and drank in a draught of white wine, or steeped therein all night, and taken fasting, or put among other purges, as shall be thought convenient, cleansing the stomach, liver and blood, opening obstructions, and helping those griefs that come thereof, as the jaundice, dropsy, swelling of the spleen, tertian and daily agues, and pricking pains of the sides; and also stays spitting of blood. The powder taken with cassia dissolved, and washed Venice turpentine, cleanses the reins and strengthens them afterwards, and is very effectual to stay the gonorrhea. It is also given for the pains and swellings in the head, for those that are troubled with melancholy, and helps the sciatica, gout, and the cramp. The powder of the Rhubarb taken with a little mummia and madder roots in some red wine, dissolves clotted blood in the body, happening by any fall or bruise, and helps burstings and broken parts, as well inward as outward. The oil likewise wherein it hath been boiled, works the like effects being anointed. It is used to heal those ulcers that happen in the eyes or eyelids, being steeped and strained; as also to assuage the swellings and inflammations; and applied with honey, boiled in wine, it takes away all blue spots or marks that happen therein. Whey or white wine are the best liquors to steep it in, and thereby it works more effectual in opening obstructions, and purging the stomach and liver. Many do use a little Indian Spikenard as the best corrector thereof.
|Index of Herbal Remedies||Herbal Remedy Title Page|