In time of Heathenism, when men had found out any excellent herb, they dedicated it to their gods; as the bay-tree to Apollo, the Oak to Jupiter, the Vine to Bacchus, the Poplar to Hercules. These the idolators following as the Patriarchs they dedicate to their Saints; as our Lady’s Thistle to the Blessed Virgin, St. John’s Wort to St. John and another Wort to St. Peter, &c. Our physicians must imitate like apes (though they cannot come off half so cleverly) for they blasphemously call Phansies or Heartsease, an herb of the Trinity, because it is of three colours; and a certain ointment, an ointment of the Apostles, because it consists of twelve ingredients. Alas I am sorry for their folly, and grieved at their blasphemy. God send them wisdom the rest of their age, for they have their share of ignorance already. Oh ! Why must ours be blasphemous, because the Heathens and infidels were idolatrous? Certainly they have read so much in old rusty authors, that they have lost all their divinity; for unless it were amongst the Ranters, I never read or heard of such blasphemy.
The Heathens and infidels were bad, and ours worse; the idolators give idolatrous names to herbs for their virtues sake, not for their fair looks; and therefore some called this an herb of the Holy Ghost; others, more moderate, called it Angelica, because of its angelical virtues, and that name it retains still, and all nations follow it so near as their dialect will permit.
Government and virtues.
It is an herb of the Sun in Leo; let it be gathered when he is there, the Moon applying to his good aspect; let it be gathered either in his hour, or in the hour of Jupiter, let Sol be angular; observe the like in gathering the herbs, of other planets, and you may happen to do wonders. In all epidemical diseases caused by Saturn, that is as good a preservative as grows: It resists poison, by defending and comforting the heart, blood, and spirits; it doth the like against the plague and all epidemical diseases, if the root be taken in powder to the weight of half a dram at a time, with some good treacle in Carduus water, and the party thereupon laid to sweat in his bed; if treacle be not to be had take it alone in Carduus or Angelica-water. The stalks or roots candied and eaten fasting, are good preservatives in time of infection; and at other times to warm and comfort a cold stomach. The root also steeped in vinegar,and a little of that vinegar taken sometimes fasting, and the root smelled unto, is good for the same purpose.
A water distilled from the root simply, as steeped in wine, and distilled in a glass, is much more effectual than the water of the leaves; and this water, drank two or three spoonfuls at a time, easeth all pains and torments coming of cold and wind, so that the body be not bound; and taken with some of the root in powder at the beginning, helpeth the pleurisy, as also all other diseases of the lungs and breast, as coughs, phthysic, and shortness of breath; and a syrup of the stalks do the like. It helps pains of the cholic, the stranguary and stoppage of the urine, procureth womens’ courses, and expelleth the afterbirth, openeth the stoppings of the liver and spleen, and briefly easeth and discusseth all windiness and inward swellings.
The decoction drank before the fit of an ague, that they may sweat (if possible) before the fit comes, will, in two or three times taking, rid it quite away; it helps digestion and is a remedy for a surfeit. The juice or the water, being dropped into the eyes or ears, helps dimness of sight and deafness; the juice put into the hollow teeth, easeth their pains. The root in powder, made up into a plaster with a little pitch, and laid on the biting of mad dogs, or any other venomous creature, doth wonderfully help. The juice or the waters dropped, or tent wet therein, and put into filthy dead ulcers, or the powder of the root (in want of either) doth cleanse and cause them to heal quickly, by covering the naked bones with flesh; the distilled water applied to places pained with the gout, or sciatica, doth give a great deal of ease.
The wild Angelica is not so effectual as the garden; although it may be safely used to all the purposes aforesaid.