A PRETTY wild plant that we have on the sea coasts, in many places, and that deserves to be much more known than it is as a medicine. The stalks are a foot long, but weak and unable to support themselves upright. They are round and green or purplish: the leaves are roundish, but shaped a little heart fashioned at the bottom; they stand upon long foot-stalks, and are of a shining green. The flowers are large and red, they are of the shape of a bell; the roots are white and small, a milky juice flows from the plant when any part of it is broken; especially from the root.
The whole plant is to be gathered fresh when about flowering, and boiled in ale with some nutmeg and a clove or two, and taken in quantities proportioned to the person's strength; it is a strong purge, and it sometimes operates also by urine, but there is no harm in that. It is fittest for country people of robust constitutions, but it will cure dropsies and rheumatism. Nay I have known a clap cured on a country fellow, by only two doses of it. The juice which oozes from the stalk and roots may be saved, it hardens into a substance like scammony, and is an excellent purge.
The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.