This has divers square stalks, somewhat hairy, at the joints where of grow two sad green leaves dented about the edges, opposite to one another to the lowermost, upon long foot stalks, but without any toward the tops, which are somewhat round, yet pointed, and a little crumpled and hairy; round about the upper joints, where the leaves grow thick, are sundry gaping flowers of a pale reddish colour; after which come the seeds three or four in a husk. The root is small and thready, perishing every year; the whole plant hath a strong smell but not stinking.
White Archangel hath divers square stalks, none standing straight upward, but bending downward, where on stand two leaves at a joint, larger and more pointed than the other, dented about the edges, and greener also, more like unto Nettle leaves, but not stinking, yet hairy. At the joints, with the leaves, stand larger and more open gaping white flowers, husks round about the stalks, but not with such a bush of leaves as flowers set in the top, as is on the other, where in stand small roundish black seeds; the root is white, with many strings at it, not growing downward but lying under the upper crust of the earth, and abides many years increasing; this has not so strong a scent as the former.
Yellow Archangel is like the White in the stalks and leaves; but that the stalks are more straight and upright, and the joints with leaves are farther asunder, having longer leaves than the former, and the flowers a little larger and more gaping, of a fair yellow colour in most, in some paler. The roots are like the white, only they creep not so much under the ground.
They grow almost everywhere (unless it be in the middle of the street), the yellow most usually in the wet grounds of woods, and sometimes in the dryer, in divers counties of this nation.
They flower from the beginning of the Spring all the Summer long.
Government and virtues.
The Archangels are somewhat hot and drier than the stinging Nettles, and used with better success for the stopping and hardness of the spleen, than they, by using the decoction of the herb in wine, and afterwards applying the herb hot into the region of the spleen as a plaister, or the decoction with spunges. Flowers of the White Archangel are preserved or conserved to be used to stay the whites, and the flowers of the red to stay the reds in women. It makes the head merry, drives away melancholy, quickens the spirits, is good against quartan agues, stancheth bleeding at mouth and nose, if it be stamped and applied to the nape of the neck; the herb also bruised, and with some salt and vinegar and hog’s-grease, laid upon a hard tumour or swelling, or that vulgarly called the king’s evil, do help to dissolve or discuss them; and being in like manner applied, doth much allay the pains, and give ease to the gout, sciatica, and other pains of the joints and sinews. It is also very effectual to heal green wounds, and old ulcers; also to stay their fretting, gnawing, and spreading. It draws forth splinters, and such like things gotten into the flesh, and is very good against bruises and burnings. But the Yellow Archangel is most commended for old, filthy, corrupt sores and ulcers, yea although they grow to be hollow, and to dissolve tumours. The chief use of them is for women, it being a herb of Venus.