Description This has divers long leaves some greater, some shorter set upon a stalk, all of them dented about the edges, green above, and greyish underneath, and a little hairy withal. Among which arises up usually but one strong, round, hairy, brown stalk, two or three feet high, with smaller leaves set here and there upon it. At the top thereof grow many small yellow flowers, one above another, in long spikes; after which come rough heads of seed, hanging downwards, which will cleave to and stick upon garments, or any thing that shall rub against them. The knot is black, long, and somewhat woody, abiding many years, and shooting afresh every Spring; which root, though small, hath a reasonable good scent.
Place. It grows upon banks, near the sides of hedges.
Time. It flowers in July and August, the seed being ripe shortly after.
Government and virtues. It is an herb under Jupiter, and the sign Cancer; and strengthens those parts under the planet and sign, and removes diseases in them by sympathy, and those under Saturn, Mars and Mercury by antipathy, if they happen in any part of the body governed by Jupiter, or under the signs Cancer, Sagitarius or Pisces, and therefore must needs be good for the gout, either used outwardly in oil or ointment, or inwardly in an electuary, or syrup, or concerted juice.
It is of a cleansing and cutting faculty, without any manifest heat, moderately drying and binding. It opens and cleanses the liver, helps the jaundice, and is very beneficial to the bowels, healing all inward wounds, bruises, hurts, and other distempers. The decoction of the herb made with wine, and drank, is good against the biting and stinging of serpents, and helps them that make foul, troubled or bloody water.
This herb also helps the cholic, cleanses the breast, and rids away the cough. A draught of the decoction taken warm before the fit, first removes, and in time rids away the tertian or quartan agues. The leaves and seeds taken in wine, stays the bloody flux; outwardly applied, being stamped with old swine’s grease, it helps old sores, cancers, and inveterate ulcers, and draws forth thorns and splinters of wood, nails, or any other such things gotten in the flesh. It helps to strengthen the members that be out of joint: and being bruised and applied, or the juice dropped in it, helps foul and imposthumed ears.
The distilled water of the herb is good to all the said purposes, either inward or outward, but a great deal weaker.
It is a most admirable remedy for such whose livers are annoyed either by heat or cold. The liver is the former of blood, and blood the nourisher of the body, and Agrimony a strengthener of the liver.
I cannot stand to give you a reason in every herb why it cures such diseases; but if you please to pursue my judgment in the herb Wormwood, you shall find them there, and it will be well worth your while to consider it in every herb.
Names. It is called in some countries, Water Hemp, Bastard Hemp, and Bastard Agrimony, Eupatorium, and Hepatorium, because it strengthens the liver.
Descript. The root continues a long time, having many long slender strings. The stalk grows up about two feet high, sometimes higher. They are of a dark purple colour. The branches are many, growing at distances the one from the other, the one from the one side of the stalk, the other from the opposite point. The leaves are fringed, and much indented at the edges. The flowers grow at the top of the branches, of a brown yellow colour, spotted with black spots, having a substance within the midst of them like that of a Daisy: If you rub them between your fingers, they smell like rosin or cedar when it is burnt. The seeds are long, and easily stick to any woollen thing they touch.
Place. They delight not in heat, and therefore they are not so frequently found in the Southern parts of England as in the Northern, where they grow frequently: You may look for them in cold grounds, by ponds and ditches’ sides, and also by running waters; sometimes you shall find them grow in the midst of waters.
Time. They all flower in July or August, and the seed is ripe presently after.
Government and virtues. It is a plant of Jupiter, as well as the other Agrimony, only this belongs to the celestial sign Cancer. It heals and dries, cuts and cleanses thick and tough humours of the breast, and for this I hold it inferior to but few herbs that grow. It helps the cachexia or evil disposition of the body, the dropsy and yellow-jaundice. It opens obstructions of the liver, mollifies the hardness of the spleen, being applied outwardly. It breaks imposthumes away inwardly: It is an excellent remedy for the third day ague. It provokes urine and the terms; it kills worms, and cleanses the body of sharp humours, which are the cause of itch and scabs; the herb being burnt, the smoke thereof drives away flies, wasps, &c. It strengthens the lungs exceedingly. Country people give it to their cattle when they are troubled with the cough, or broken-winded.ARMS