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CULPEPER'S COMPLETE HERBAL
Description. The root is woody, divided, and spreading to a considerable distance. The stem is woody, covered with a rough brown bark, divided into numerous very long straggling branches, which are too weak to support themselves without assistance. The leaves are numerous, large, and very beautiful; tehy are of a roundish figure, but deeply divided into five or more lobes, which are sharp-pointed, notched at the edges, and make the leaves appear angular; they are supported on longish leaf-stalks, and from the base of these there frequently rises long, and very robust tendrils or wires, which lay hold of any thing that happens to be in their way, and thus keep the branches from trailing on the ground. The flowers are produced in clusters on longish leaf-stalks, which rise together with the leaf-stalks and tendrils; they are small, and of a greenish, or whitish colour.
Government and virtues. This is a fine plant of the Sun. The dried fruit, as it comes to us from abroad under the names of raisins, and currants, is good in coughs, consumptions, and other disorders of the breast.
Wine is a product of the grape, and of this there are several kinds used in medicine, the chief of which are the mountain, the French white wine, Madiera wine, and red port, these are valuable cordials, in langours or debilities, more grateful and reviving than the common aromatic waters and infusions, and particularly useful in the low stage of putrid and malignant fevers, for raising the pulse, supporting the vital heat; promoting perspiration, and resisting putrefaction; used dietically, they are of service to the aged, the weak and the relaxed, and to those who are much exposed to a warm, moist, or corrupted air; but in opposite circumstances, they are improper, and, used to excess, highly prejudical.
Red Port, White Port, Sherry, Madeira, Burgundy, and Champaign, are most in esteem; and to these, for their excellency and grateful taste, may be added the Muscadine, the Smyrna and Cyprus wines. As to the nature and use of wine, there have been so many volumes written about them, that it would be superfluous to say much here. Moderately used, it is very cordial, and of great service to mankind. It strengthens the stomach, helps digestion, comforts the bowels, and is the best preservative against the plague. Of the grapes are made the uræ passæ majores, or raisins of the sun, after this manner; they cut the stalks of the bunches they design for that use almost in two in the middle, and by that means hinder the sap from cming to them in any quantity, and let them hang thus on the branches, till by defect of nourishment, and the heat of the sun, they are sufficiently cured, when they are put into casks for use. The Malaga raisins are managed another way; they dip the bunches of ripe grapes in a boiling hot lye, made of the ashes of Vine-stalks, taking them out presently, and then laying them on boards in the sun to dry, and afterwards they are packed up in frails.
The best vinegar is made of wine, sour by age, or kept in a warm place to make it so, which, besides what is spent in the kitchen, is of great use in physic; itis of thin parts, resists putrefaction and pestilential distempers, promotes an appetite, and helps digestion.
Brandy is a spirit distilled from wine, of which the French is most esteemed. This is the basis of all the cordial waters, and is an universal menstruum to draw the tincture out of vegetables, and to that end is rectified to a higher degree of spirituousness. To the side of the wine casks, that saline substance called tartar adheres, of which there is a white and red, but the white is most esteemed and comes from Germany; of these the crude and the cremor tartari, and the sal tartari, are made. Both the crude and the cremor tartari, are solutive and opening, render the body soluble, and are good for cutancous distempers. Agresta, or the juice of unripe grapes, as also the unripe grapes dried, are restringent and cooling, and good for all kinds of fluxes, but they are seldom used. The leaves of the English Vine, (I do not mean to send you to the Canaries for a medicine) being bottled, make a good lotion for sore mouths; being boiled with barley-meal into a poultice, it cools inflammations of wounds; the dropping of the Vine, when it is cut in the spring, which country-people call tears, being boiled in a syrup, with sugar, and taken inwardly, is excellent to stay women's longings after every thing they see, which is a disease many women with child are subject to. The decoction of Vine-leaves in white wine does the like; also the tears of the Vine, drank two or three spoonfuls at a time, breaks the stone in the bladder. This is a very good remedy, and it is discreetly done, to kill a Vine to cure a man, but the salt of the leaves are held to be better. The ashes of the burnt branches will make the teeth that are as black as coal, to be as white as snow, if you but every morning rub them with it. It is a most gallant tree of the Sun, very sympathetical with the body of man, and that is the reason spirit of wine is the greatest cordial among all vegetables.
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