HERBAL SIMPLES APPROVED FOR MODERN USES OF CURE

by

W. T. FERNIE, M.D.
Author of "Botanical Outlines," etc_

Second Edition.
METRO-NATURALIST.COM
BENNET HERB (Avens).


This, the _Herba Benedicta_, or Blessed Herb, or Avens (_Geum
Urbanum_) is a very common plant of the Rose tribe, in our
woods, hedges, and shady places. It has an erect hairy stem, red at
the base, with terminal bright yellow drooping flowers. The
ordinary name Avens--or Avance, Anancia, Enancia--signifies an
antidote, because it was formerly thought to ward off the Devil,
and evil spirits, and venomous beasts. Where the root is in a house
Satan can do nothing, and flies from it: "therefore" (says Ortus
Sanitatis) "it is blessed before all other herbs; and if a man carries
the root about him no venomous beast can harm him." The herb
is sometimes called Way Bennet, and Wild Rye. Its graceful
trefoiled loaf, and the fine golden petals of its flowers,
symbolising the five wounds of Christ, were sculptured by the
monks of the thirteenth century on their Church architecture. The
botanical title of this [48] plant, _Geum_, is got from _Geuo_, "to
yield an agreeable fragrance," in allusion to the roots. Hence also
has been derived another appellation of the Avens--_Radix
Caryophyllata_, or "clove root," because when freshly dug out of
the ground the roots smell like cloves. They yield tannin freely,
with mucilage, resin, and muriate of lime, together with a heavy
volatile oil. The roots are astringent and antiseptic, having been
given in infusion for ague, and as an excellent cordial sudorific in
chills, or for fresh catarrh. To make this a pint of boiling water
should be poured on half an ounce of the dried root, or rather more
of the fresh root, sliced. Half a wineglassful will be the dose, or
ten grains of the powdered root. An extract is further made. When
the petals of the flower fall off, a small round prickly ball is to be
seen.