I. The Names. I cannot find that the Greeks knew any thing of it: The Latins call it Soldanella, and Soldana, Convolvulus Marinus, and Tussilago Marina (from the resemblance of the Leaves:) And we in English only Sea Bindweed, and Sea Bells, or Bell-flower. I know that Matthiolus, Cordus, Gesner, Camerarius, Dodonaeus, and others, call it Brasica Marina, but it is no such thing, for that is clearly another Plant.
II. The Kinds. There are three Kinds thereof,
- 1. Soldanella, Sea Bindweed, properly so called. (Calystegia soldanella. -Henriette.)
- 2. Soldanella Maritima major, the Greater Sea Bindweed. (Calystegia soldanella? -Henriette.)
- 3. Soldanella Alpina, Mountain Soldanella. (Soldanella alpina. -Henriette.)
III. The Description. The first of these has a Root, small and long, spreading a little in the ground, and shooting up divers heads in several places; and if any part of it is broken, there comes forth from it (as also from the Leaves) a whitish water, which is bitter, salt, and unpleasant. From this Root rises many weak, slender, brownish green branches, trailing or lying upon the ground, rather than raising it self up, or climbing upon other things. Upon these Stalks are set divers Leaves, not always two together at a Joint, nor yet always single, one at a Joint, which are always round like the Leaves of Asarabacca, but a little unevenly dented about the edges, and thicker, every one standing on a long foot stalk and of a grayish green color: among which come forth the Flowers towards the ends, each Flower by it self, springing forth at the Joints, much like in shape or form to the Common Small Bindweed, which grows upon the ground by way sides almost everywhere; but they are a little larger, and of a reddish purple color. These being past away, there comes round heads, containing within them 2 or 3 round black Seeds.
IV. The greater Sea Bindweed, has a Root a little creeping in the Earth, from whence Shoots up several long slender Branches, on which are set larger Leaves than on the former, many of them having a division on both sides the Leaf next to the bottom, and many of them but on one side, and several of them which are smaller, having none at all; yet all of them for the most part a little sinuated on the edges towards the ends, which are round, or with a dent in the middle, making the point seem double forked, with many Veins running therein. The Flowers are of a red purple Color, and are not Bell or Cup fashion like the former, but consist of five somewhat large and long Leaves. The Heads and Seeds are like the other, and Spring up by being scattered after Seed time.
V. Soldanella Alpina major, The greater Mountain Soldanella (for there is a lesser, of which we shall take no notice here) has a long round Head or Root shooting forth many Fibres, or small Strings. From whence rises many hard round Leaves, standing upon long foot-stalks, something unevenly cut about the edges; green on the upper side, and of a grayish green underneath, and a little reddish like the leaves of Sowbread, and much resembling the Sea Soldanella (this Mountain Soldanella being so called from the likeness of the Leaves to the former:) The Stalks are slender, small, round, and Reddish, about a span high, having upon them four or five flowers at Top, every one hanging down their heads like unto a Bell-flower, consisting but of one leaf, plaited into five folds, each of them ending in a long point, which makes the Flower seem to have five leaves, having a round green head in the middle, with a prick or point at the end thereof. The Flower is of a fair blew color, some deeper, some paler, and some almost white, as nature pleases, but without any smell at all. The middle head, after the flower is fallen, grows to be a long, round Pod, bearing the pointel it had at the end thereof, in which is contained small greenish Seed.
VI. The Places. The two first Kinds grow on our own Sea Coast in great plenty, in many places, as near Lee in Essex, at Mersey in Essex, and in most places in the Isles of Thanet or Shepey, as also along the Northern Coast: The last grows on the Alps, and Mountains of Germany: It also grows on the Mountains of Wales, not far from Cowmers Meer in North Wales.
VII. The Times. The two former flower, Gerard says, in June, but Parkinson, about the end of Summer, and their Seed is ripe in August. The third flowers on the Alps, &c. not till July or August, as the Snow melts sooner or later 5 but in Gardens it flowers in April.
VIII. The Qualities. Soldanella is hot and dry in the second Degree, Astringent, Hepatick, Cathartick and Emetick; but is said to be a great Enemy to the Stomach.
IX. The Specification. It is said to be a peculiar thing for curing the Dropsie.
X. The Preparations.
- 1. The Decoction.
- 2. The Juice.
- 3. The Inspissate Juice.
- 4. The Essence.
- 5. The Pouder.
- 6. The Cataplasm.
- 7. The balsam of the Mountain Soldanella.
XI. The Decoction. It ought to be made in Fat Mutton or Beef Broth, (because of its strength, and aptness to trouble the Stomach) opens the Belly powerfully, and purges violently in Dropsies, and Timpanies, and therefore is not to be given, but to such as are of a strong Constitution; it opens Obstructions of the Liver, and strengthens the same.
XII. The liquid Juice. It is both Emetick and Cathartick, and makes Sick; but in such Bodies as can bear its violence, it effectually carries off Watry Humors. An ounce mixt with a good Glass of White Wine will purge some People very well: others may take two ounces or more; whereas half an ounce will powerfully purge others.
XIII. The Inspissate Juice. This is not to be Press'd out, but suffered to issue out of its own Accord when the Herb or Stalk is broken; this being dried, and afterwards softned with the Essence, or Wine, or other like Liquid, so as to be used Plaster-wife, being applied to the bottom of the Belly, admirably draws forth the Watry Humor in Dropsies.
XIV. The Essence. It has the Virtues of the liquid Juice, but more correct and free from Crudities, and therefore more gentle in its Operation: Being given in Wine from half an ounce, to an ounce, it kills Worms both in Children, and Elder People.
XV. The Pouder. It is made of the Leaves dried, and ought to be corrected with Anniseeds, Carraways, Cinnamon, Cubebs, Ginger, Zedoary and Sugar: So prepared and given, it kills Worms in Children, and purges the Belly: The simple pouder is good also to cleanse Sores and Ulcers, to incarnate or breed Flesh in deep and hollow Ulcers, and also to heal them.
XVI. The Cataplasm. Made of the Green Leaves, and applied to the Belly, it is said to purge the Bowels by Stool, and drive forth the Watry Humor which causes the Dropsie: but it must be often applied, and renewed with fresh Herbs; and so it is profitable against the Sciatica and Gout.
XVII. The Balsam of the Mountain Soldanella. It is an admirable Vulnerary, curing not only green Wounds with much ease and speed; but it also cleanses old and rotten Ulcers, and putrid Sores, destroying the Putridity. It wonderfully incarnates or breeds Flesh in Wounds, and heals them.
XVIII. Gerard says, That the German Physicians do much boast of the Wonders they have done with Soldanella Montana: That the Leaves applied as a Cataplasm to the Navel, and somewhat lower, draws forth Water from the Bellies of such as are Hydropick: and this effect (says he) it works in other parts without heating.
Botanologia, or The English Herbal, was written by William Salmon, M.D., in 1710.
This chapter has been proofread by Nick Jones.