Solanum dulcamara

Culpeper Nicholas, 1654, Amara-Dulcis, Culpeper's English physician; and complete herbal., London: Printed by the author, pp. 49-50 : 49-50

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Solanum dulcamara



Considering diverse shires in this nation give divers names of one and the same herb, and that common name which it bears in once ounty, is not known known in another; I shall take the pains to set down all the names that I know of each herb. Pardon me for setting that name first which is most common to myself; besides amara-dulcis, some call it morral, others bitter-sweet, some woody-nightshade, and others felon-wort.

DESCRIPTION. It grows up with woody stalks even to a man's height, and sometimes higher: the leaves fall off at the approach of winter, and spring out of the same stark again at spring time; the bracnh in encompassed about with a whitish bark, and hath a peth in the middle of it; the main branch brncheth itself out into many small ones, with clasper, layinghold on what is next to them, as cines do; it bears many leaves, they grow in no order at all, or at leastwise in not vulgar order; the leaves are longith, thought somewhat broad and pointed at the ends; manz of them have two little leaves growing at the end of their goot taslk, some of them have but one, and some none; the leavesare of a pale green colour; the flowers are of a purple colour, or aof a perfect blue, lile a violets, and they stand many of them together in knots; the berries are green at the first, but when they are ripe, they are very red; if you tastte them, you shall find them just as the crabs which we in Sussex call bitter-sweet, viz. sweet at first, and bitter afterwards.

PLACE. They grow commonly almost throughout England, especially in moist and shady places.

TIME. The leaves shoot out about the latter end of March ; if the temperature of the air be ordinary, it flowereth in July, and the seeds are ripe soon after, usually in the next month.

GOVERNMENT AND VIRTUES. It is under the planet Mercury, and a notable herb of his also, if it be rightly gathered under his influence: It is excellent good to remove withcraft, both in men and beafts; as also all sudden diseases whatsoever. Being tied about the neck, it is one of the most admirable remedies for the vertigo, of dissiness in the head, and that is the reason (as Tragus saith) the people in Germany commonly hang it about their cattle's neck wehn they fear any such evil hath besided them. Courntry people commonly use to take the berries of it, and having bruised them, they apply them to felons, and thereby soon rid their fingers of such troublsome guests.

We have now shewed you the the external use of the herb, we shall speak a word or two of the internal, and so conclude. Take notice, that it is a mercurial herb, and therefore of very subtle parts, as indeed all mercurial plants are; therefore take a pound of the wood and leaves together, bruise the wood, (which you may easily do, for it is not so hard as oak) then put it in a pot, and put to it three pints of white wine, put on the pot lid, and shut it close, then let it infuse hot over the gentle fire twelve hours, then strain it out, so you have a most excellent drink to open abstructions of the live and spleen, to help difficulty of breath, bruises, and falls, and congealed blood in any part of the body, to help the yellow jaundice, the dropsy, and black jaundice, and to cleanse women newly brought to bed. You may drink a quarter of a pint of the infusion every morning; it purgeth the body very gently, and not churlishly as some hold. And when you find good by this, remeber me.