The Universal Herbal: Daphne Mezereum; Mezereon.

The Universal Herbal;
or botanical, medical and agricultural dictonary.
Containing an account of All the known Plants in the World, arranged according to the Linnean system. Specifying the uses to which they are or may be applied, whether as food, as medicine, or in the arts and manufactures.
With the best methods of propagation, and the most recent agricultural improvements.
collected from indisputable Authorities.
Adapted to the use of the farmer - the gardener - the husbandman - the botanist - the florist - and country housekeepers in general.
By Thomas Green.
Vol. I
Printed at the Caxton Press by Henri Fisher.
Printer in Ordinary to His Majesty.
Flowers sessile, in threes on the stem; leaves lanceolate, deciduous. It is a shrub growing in gardens to the height of five or six feet, with a strong woody stalk, putting out many woody branches on every side, so as to form a regular head; the flowers come out before the leaves very early in the spring, in clusters surrounding the shoots of the former year; the leaves are smooth, about two inches long, and three quarters of an inch broad in the middle, placed without order. In its wild state it is only from one to two feet in height, and the branches then are not numerous, they are very flexible; the leaves are entire, and of a pale green; the fruit is a superior berried drupe, first green, then red, of an ovate globular form, with a thin succulent pulp, and a crustaceous, thin, brittle, black, shining shell; it is, however, commonly called a berry. There are two principal varieties of the mezereon, one with a white flower, succeeded by yellow berries, the other with peach coloured flowers and red fruit; the latter has sometimes flowers of a much deeper red. There is also a variety with variegated leaves, the flowers of which appear in February and March, and even in January, when the earth is mild; the berries will be ripe in June, if they be not previously devoured by birds. Villars mentions another variety, with the leaves a little villose, or having small hairs at their base, and the flowers four together: he remarks, that the parts of fructification are so perfectly formed the year before the flowers un fold themselves, that the character may be easily determined by the naked eye. — Mezereon is a native of Lapland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, France, Carniola, Savoy, and Piedmont, Great Britain. Mr. Miller is the first who declared it to be a native of our island, near Andover in Hamp shire; since that it has been found at Laxfield, in Suffolk; in Selborne-hanger, Hants; and frequently observed in the beech woods of Buckinghamshire. As it has escaped all our her barists, and even the indefatigable Ray, and his immediate successors, and birds are remarkably fond of the berries, there is reason to suspect that they may have disseminated this beautiful shrub; unless we can suppose that it remained unnoticed, on account of its flowering before the time at which the herbarists sally out upon their vernal excursions Gerarde informs us, that he had plenty thereof for his garden from Elbing in Poland: he calls it German olive spurge, or spurge olive, spurge-flax, and dwarf bay, and says that the Dutch call it mezereon. Parkinson calls it dwarf-bay, or flowering spurge; the Germans have named it kellerhals, kellerbere, kellerkraut, &c. the Dutch, peperboompje: the Danes, kielderhals; the Swedes, kiællerhals; the French, laureole gentille or femelle, bois gentil, bois joli; the Italians, laureola femina, dafnoide, camelea, calmolea, biondella; the Spaniards, laureola hembra; the Portuguese, loireola femea, or mezereo major; and the Russians, woltsehje-luke. The branches afford a good yellow dye. — The whole of this vegetable is extremely acrid, especially when fresh, and, if retained in the mouth, excites great heat and inflammation, particularly of the throat and fauces: the berries, when swallowed, prove a powerful poison, not only to man, but to many quadrupeds: both the bark and the berries of mezereon, in different forms, have been long used externally in cases of obstinate ulcers, and ill-conditioned sores. In France, the bark is used as an application to the skin, which, under certain circumstances, produces a serous discharge without blistering, and is thus rendered very useful in chronic cases of a local nature, answering the purpose of what is called a perpetual blister, while it occasions less pain and inconvenience. In England, the mezereon has been principally employed in syphilitic cases; and in this way, Dr. Donald Monro was the first who testified its efficacy in the successful use of the Lisbon diet drink. Several cases were afterwards published by Dr. Russel, then physician to St. Thomas's Hospital, fully establishing the utility of the bark of mezereon in venereal nodes. In the above cases, the decoction of the root was made use of, but it has been found necessary in some cases to join with it a solution of sublimate. Dr. Cullen informs us, that Dr. Home has not only found the decoction of mezereon to cure schirrhous tumors, which remain after the lues venerea, and after the use of mercury, but that it has also healed them when proceeding from other causes. The considerable and long continued heat and irritation that is produced in the throat when mezereon is chewed, induced Dr. Withering to give it in a case of difficulty of swallowing, apparently the effect of a paralytic disorder: the patient was directed to chew a thin slice of the root as often as she could bear to do it, and in about two months she recovered her power of swallowing: this woman bore the pain and irritation, and the ulcerations it occasioned in her mouth, with amazing fortitude, but she was almost reduced to a skeleton, and had for three years before suffered very much from hunger, without being able to satisfy her appetite, for she could not swallow solids at all, and liquids only with the greatest difficulty; she was attacked with this complaint after lying-in. A woman gave only twelve of the berries to her daughter, who laboured under a quartan ague, and she, after vomiting a good deal of blood, expired immediately. An ointment prepared from the bark or the berries has been found serviceable to sore ulcers. A decoction made of a drachm of the bark of the root, in three pints of water till one pint is wasted, and this quantity taken daily for a considerable time together, has been found very efficacious in resolving and dispersing venereal swellings and excrescences. The bark of the root, says Hill, or the inner bark of the branches, is to be used, but it requires caution in the administration, and must only be given to persons of robust constitutions, and even to them very sparingly, for if it be given in too large a dose, vi at all to a weakly person, it will cause vomiting and bloody stools; but to the robust it acts only as a brisk purge, and is excellent in dropsies, and other stubborn disorders: a light infusion is the safest and most efficacious mode of giving it. It is propagated by seeds, which should be sown on a border exposed to the east, soon after the berries become ripe; for if they be not sown till the spring following, they often miscarry, and always remain a year in the ground before the plants appear: whereas those which are sown in August will grow the following spring, so that a year is saved; and these never fail. When the plants come up, they will require no other care, but to keep them clean from weeds; and if the plants be not too close together, they may continue in the seed-bed to have the growth of two summers, especially if they do not make great progress the first year; then at Michaelmas, when the leaves are shedding, they should be carefully taken up, so as not to break or bruise their roots, and planted into a nursery, about sixteen inches row from row, and eight or nine inches asunder in the rows. In this nursery they may remain two years, by which time they will be fit to remove to the places where they are designed to remain for good. The best season to transplant these trees is in autumn, for as these plants begin to vegetate very early in the spring, it is hazardous to transplant them in that season. They grow best in a light, dry, sandy earth, but become mossy, and make little progress, in cold wet lands, so that upon such soils they are small, and produce but few flowers. Notwithstanding the berries of this tree are so very acrid as to burn the mouth and throat of those who may incautiously taste them, yet the birds greedily devour then as soon as they begin to ripen; so that unless the shrubs be covered with nets to preserve the berries, they will all be destroyed before they are fit to gather. The mezereon is a very ornamental shrub in gardens, flowering before others, very early in the spring; and when there are plenty of them growing together, perfuming the air to a considerable distance.

Ei kommentteja :