IF the last-mentioned plant has more credit for medicinal virtues than it deserves, this is not so much regarded as it ought. Providence has made some of the most useful plants the most common; but, because they are so, we foolishly neglect them.
It is hardly necessary to describe the common burdock. It may be enough to say, that it grows a yard high, and has vast leaves, of a figure approaching to triangular, and of a whitish green colour. The stalks are round, striated, and very tough: The flowers are small and red, and they grow among the hooked prickles of those heads which we call burs, and which stick to our clothes. Even this seems a provision of nature in kindness to us. In pulling off these we scatter the seeds of which they are composed, and give rise to a most useful plant in a new place. The root of the burdock is long and thick; brown on the outside, and whitish within; this is the part used in medicine, and it is of very great virtues. It is to be boiled, or infused in water, the virtue is diuretic, and it is very powerfully so. It has cured dropsies alone. The seeds have the same virtue, but in a less degree. The root is said to be sudorific and good in fevers; but its virtue in operating by urine is its great value.
The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.