Smilax cujus radix. China officiorum.
A NAILING plant frequent in the East Indies, It grows to ten or twelve feet in length, but the stalks are weak and unable to stand erect; they are ridged, of a brown colour, and set with hooked yellow prickles. The leaves are oblong and broad, largest at the stalk, and blunt at the points. of a shining green colour, and glossy surface; the flowers are small and yellowish; the fruit is a round yellowish berry. The root is large, irregular, and knotty; brown on the outside, and reddish within. This is the part used, they send it over to our druggists: it is a sweetener of the blood, and is used in diet-drinks for the venereal disease and the scurvy. It is also said to be very good against the gout, taken for a long time together.
There is another kind of this root brought from America, paler on the outside, and much of the same colour with the other within; some have supposed it of more virtue than the other, but most suppose it inferior, perhaps neither has much.
The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.