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Culpepper's Complete Herbal on White Willow

Identifier

020521

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

WILLOW-TREE

Description. There are various kinds of the Willow-tree, but the most common is the White Willow, which I shall here describe. It grows to be a large tree. The bark is rough, and of a plae brown colour on the trunk and on the branches of a whitish grey. The leaves are long, narrow, sharp-pointed, and of a light green. The catkins are brownish. Botanists enumerate twenty-one kinds more, amongst which is the Creeping Salow, which scarce rises to a foot high.

Place. It is common by waters all over the land.

Time. The flowers appear early in spring.

Government and virtues. The Moon owns it. Both the leaves, bark, and the seed, are used to stanch bleeding of wounds, and at mouth and nose, spitting of blood, and other fluxes of blood in man or woman, and to stay vomiting, and provocation thereunto, if the decoction of them in wine be drank. It helps also to stay thin, hot, sharp, salt distillations from the head upon the lungs, causing a consumption. The leaves bruised with some pepper, and drank in wine, helps much the wind cholic. The leaves bruised and boiled in wine, and drank, stays the heat of lust in man or woman, and quite extinguishes it, if it be long used. The seed also is of the same effect. Water that is gathered from the Willow, when it flowers, the bark being slit, and a vessel fitting to receive it, is very good for redness and dimness of sight, or films that grow over the eyes, and stay the rheums that fall into them; to provoke urine, being stopped, if it be drank; to clear the face and skin from spots and discolourings.

Galen says, the flowers have an admirable faculty in drying up humours, being a medicine without any sharpness or corrosion; you may boil them in white wine, and drink as much as you will, so you drink not yourself drunk.

The bark works the same effect, if used in the same manner, and the tree hath always a bark upon it, though not always flowers; the burnt ashes of the bark being mixed with vinegar, takes away warts, corns, and superfluous flesh, being applied to the place. The decoction of the leaves or bark in wine, takes away scurff and dandrif by washing the place with it. It is a fine cool tree, the boughs of which are very convenient to be placed in the chamber of one sick of a fever.

In the fifty-third volume of the Philosophical Transactions, page 195, we have an account given by Mr. Stone, of the great efficacy of the bark of this tree, in the cure of intermitting fevers. He gathered the bark in summer, when it was full of sap, and having dried it by a gentle heat, gave a drachm of it in powder every four hours between the fits.

While the Peruvian bark remained at its usual moderate price, it was hardly worth while to seek for a substitute, but since the consumption of that article is become nearly as equal to the supply of it, from South America, we must expect to find it dearer, and very much adulterated every year, and consequently the white Willow bark is likely to become an object worthy the attention of the faculty; and should its success, upon a more enlarged scale of practice, prove equal to Mr. Stone's experiments, the world will be much indebted to that gentleman for his communication.

The source of the experience

Culpepper

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Commonsteps

References