The hot Arssmart is called also Waterpepper, or Culrage. The mild Arssmart is called dead Arssmart Persicaria, or Peachwort, because the leaves are so like the leaves of a peach-tree; it is also called Plumbago.
This has broad leaves set at the great red joint of the stalks; with semicircular blackish marks on them, usually either bluish or whitish, with such like seed following. The root is long, with many strings thereat, perishing yearly; this has no sharp taste (as another sort has, which is quick and biting) but rather sour like sorrel, or else a little drying, or without taste.
It grows in watery places, ditches, and the like, which for the most part are dry in summer.
It flowers in June, and the seed is ripe in August.
Government and virtues.
As the virtue of both these is various, so is also their government; for that which is hot and biting, is under the dominion of Mars, but Saturn, challenges the other, as appears by that leaden coloured spot he hath placed upon the leaf.
It is of a cooling and drying quality, and very effectual for putrefied ulcers in man or beast, to kill worms, and cleanse the putrefied places. The juice there of dropped in, or otherwise applied, consumes all colds, swellings, and dissolveth the congealed blood of bruises by strokes, falls, &c. A piece of the root, or some of the seeds bruised, and held to an aching tooth, takes away the pain. The leaves bruised and laid to the joint that has a felon there on, takes it away. The juice destroys worms in the ears, being dropped into them; if the hot Arssmart be strewed in a chamber, it will soon kill all the fleas; and the herb or juice of the cold Arssmart, put to a horse or other cattle’s sores, will drive away the fly in the hottest time of Summer; a good handful of the hot biting Arssmart put under a horse’s saddle, will make him travel the better, although he were half tired before. The mild Arssmart is good against all imposthumes and inflammations at the beginning, and to heal green wounds.
All authors chop the virtues of both sorts of Arssmart together, as men chop herbs for the pot, when both of them are of contrary qualities. The hot Arssmart grows not so high or tall as the mild doth, but has many leaves of the colour of peach leaves, very seldom or never spotted; in other particulars it is like the former, but may easily be known from it, if you will but be pleased to break a leaf of it cross your tongue, for the hot will make your tongue to smart, but the cold will not. If you see them both together, you may easily distinguish them, because the mild hath far broader leaves.