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Description. The leaves of Sorrel are smooth, succulent, and tender, somewhat long and sharp-pointed, ending next the foot-stalk in two sharp ears like spinage, of a very sour taste; the stalk is long and slender, set with two or three smaller staminous flowers, which are succeeded by small shining three-square seed. The root is aobut a finger thick, branched and full of fibres, of a yellowish brown colour, abiding several years.

Place. It grows every where in the fields and meadows.

Time. It flowers in May. The leaves, seed, and root are used.

Government and virtues. All the Sorrels are under the dominion of Venus. It is prevalent in all hot diseases, to cool any inflammation and heat of blood in agues, pestilential or choleric, or sickness and fainting, arising from heat, and to refresh the overspent spirits with the violence of furious or fiery fits of agues; to quench thirst, and procure an appetite in fainting or decaying stomachs. For it resists the putrefaction of the blood, kills worms, and is a cordial to the heart, which the seed doth more effectually, being more drying and binding, and thereby stays the hot fluxes of women's courses, or of humours in the bloody flux, or flux of the stomach. The root also in a decoction, or in powder, is effectual for all the said purposes. Both roots and seeds, as well as the herb, are held powerful to resist the poison of the scorpion. The decoction of the roots is taken to help the jaundice, and to expel the gravel and the stone in the reins or kidneys. The decoction of the flowers made with wine and drank, helps the black jaundice, as also the inward ulcers of the body and bowels. A syrup made with the juice of Sorrel and fumitory, is a sovereign help to kill those sharp humours that cause the itch. The juice thereof, with a little vinegar, serves well to be used outwardly for the same cause, and is also profitable for tetters, ringworms, &c. It helps also to discuss the kernels in the throat; and the juice gargled in the mouth, helps the sores therein. The leaves wrapt in a colewort leaf and roasted in the embers, and applied to a hard imposthume, botch, boil, or plague sore, doth both ripen and break it. The distilled water of the herb is of much good use for all the purposes aforesaid.

They are very detergent, and therefore antiscorbutic and opening. The root of the common Sorrel is preferred by the present practice before all the rest, as an excellent remedy in the jaundice and other obstructions, a decoction being made of it either in wine, or wine and water. Some give the preference to the great Mountain Sorrel as an antiscorbutic, and Munting has wrote a whole book of its virtue in scorbutic cases; he calls it Brittannica Antiquorum vera, i. c. The true British Herb of the Ancients.

Of the Wood-Sorrel, Volckamer in the Ephem. Germ. Ann. 11. Observe. 180. relates from his own experience, that one scruple or half a drachm of this herb bruised, gently warmed with Canary, and afterwards strained through a linen cloth, and the liquor drank, has stopped the most violent looseness. The seeds of Sorrels powdered and given in a suitable vehicle, answer the same end. The leaves are cooling and slackening, and the juice may be given mixed with some broth without fear even in malignant fevers. An ointment made of the roots of Sorrel, as well as other docks, is very efficacious in clearing the skin from any impurities, as scabs, tetters, and the itch itself. If scorbutic persons would exchange the use of malt liquors for a decoction of the roots of Sorrel, which is not unpleasant, and make that their constant drink the other antiscorbutic medicines would much sooner shew their efficacy. There is an ointment in the London Dispensary for the itch, whith has its name from the sharp-pointed dock; but as it is troublesome to make, and after all receives but little virtue from the several juices in which the other ingredients are washed, it is seldom or never met with in the shops.

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