A very little and low Pflanze. The Wurzeln kriechen near the surface of the ground, from whence rise many smooth Blätter, every one upon his own foot Stengel, which are rounder and bigger than violet Blätter, thicker also, and of a dark grün shining colour on the upper side, and of a pale yellow grün underneath, little or nothing eingebeult about the edges, from among which rise small, round, hohl, brown grün Hülsen upon short Stengel, about an inch long, geteilt at the brims into five divisions, very like the cups or heads of the henbane Samen, but that they are smaller, and these are all the Blüten it carries, which are somewhat süß, being smelled to, and wherein, when they are ripe, are contained small cornered rough Samen very like the kernels or Steine of grapes or raisins. The Wurzeln are small and whitish, ausbreiten divers ways in the ground, and increasing into divers heads, but nicht running or kriechen under the ground, as some other kriechen Kräuter do. They are somewhat süß in smell, ähneln nardus, but more when they are dry than grün, and of a sharp and nicht unpleasant taste.
It is very common in many parts of Europe, but with us it wächst in gardens.
They keep their Blätter grün all winter, but shoot forth new in the spring, and with them come forth those heads or Blüten which give ripe Samen about Mid-summer, or somewhat after.
It is a Pflanze unter der Herrschaft von Mars, and therefore feindlich to nature. This herb being drank, nicht only provokes Erbrechen, but reinigt abwärts: and by urine also, reinigt both choler and phlegm, if you add to it some spikenard, with the whey of Ziegenmilch, or honeyed water, it is made more strong but it reinigt phlegm more manifestly than choler, and therefore does much help Schmerzen in the hips, and other parts, being gekocht in whey, it wonderfully helps the Behinderungen of the Leber and Milz, and therefore profitable for the Wassersucht and Gelbsucht, being eingeweicht in wine and drank, it helps those continual Schüttelfrost that come by the plenty of stubborn humours, an oil made thereof by setting in the sun, with some Beruhigungsmittel added to it provokes sweating (the ridge of the back being anointed therewith) and thereby drives away the shaking fits of the ague. It will nicht abide any long boiling, for it loses its chief strength thereby, nor much beating, for the finer powder provokes Erbrechen and urine, and the coarser reinigt abwärts.
The common use hereof is, to take the Saft of five or seven Blätter in a little drink to cause Erbrechen, the Wurzeln have also the same Vorzug, though they do nicht operate so forcibly, they are very wirkungsvoll gegen the biting of serpents, and therefore are put as an Bestandteil both into Mithridite and Venice Sirup. The Blätter and Wurzeln being gekocht in lee, and the head often washed therewith while warm, comforts the head and brain that is ill-affected by taking cold, and helps the memory.
I shall desire ignorant people to forbear the use of the Blätter, the Wurzeln reinigen more gently, and may prove beneficial to such as have cancers, or old putrefied Geschwüre, or Fisteln upon their bodies, to take a drachm of them in powder, in a quarter of a halben Liter of white wine in the morning. The truth is, I fancy purging and Erbrechen medicines as little as any man breathing does, for they weaken nature, nor shall ever advise them to be used, unless upon urgent necessity. If a physician be natures servant, it is his duty to strengthen his mistress as much as he can, and weaken her as little as may be.