Tormentilla Erecta. Also called Septfoil, or Septfoil. It has reddish slender branches rising from the root, lying on the ground, not quite upright, with many short leaves closer to the stalks than Cinquefoil, (which this is very like) with the foot-stalk compassing the branches in several places, but those that grow to the ground are set upon long foot-stalks, which leaves are like those of Cinquefoil, but long and less, dented about the edges, some divided into five, and some into seven, on account of which it is called Septfoil; yet many have six, and some eight, according to the fertility of the soil. The flowers are small, of a beautiful shining yellow; they grow on slender footstalks, in shape and colour like the crow-foot flowers, but more beautiful and less. The root is short and thick for the size of the plant, externally brown, and reddish within, of an austere taste. It grows in woods, shady places, and in borders of fields.
Herbal Remedies and Medicinal Uses of Tormentil:
Tormentil is most excellent to stay all kind of fluxes of blood. The juice of the herb and root, or the decoction, taken in Venice treacle, and the person laid to sweat, expels venom, poison, fever, or other contagious diseases, as the pox, measles, etcetera. The root taken inwardly is most effectual to relieve any flux of the belly, stomach, spleen, or blood; and the juice wonderfully opens obstructions of the liver and lungs, and thereby arrests the yellow-jaundice.
A plaster made of the root and vinegar is good for those who cannot retain their urine. It should be externally applied to the back, against the kidneys. The powder of the root mixed with the juice of plantain is a remedy against worms. The root made up with Pellitory of Spain and alum, and put into a hollow tooth, stops the pain. The juice or powder of the root combined with ointments and plasters, that are applied to wounds or sores, increases their power to heal. The juice of the leaves and the root bruised, and mixed with a little vinegar, is a good application for scrofulous sores near the ears, on the neck, etcetera. and for any sore or eruption on the head, or elsewhere, and for the piles. A decoction strongly made is a good wash for the piles, a ad for inflamed eyes.
This plant is very astringent; so much so that it has been used in some places for tanning, and this astringency invests it with active remedial powers. If it were brought from a foreign country, it would be extensively used; growing in England, it is too cheap. The root is chiefly used. Powdered, it is given in from half a drachm to drachm doses. The decoction is made by boiling 2 ounces of the bruised root in 30 ounces of water, till it is reduced one third, and strained. Dose It ounce. It may be used as an astringent gargle.
Dr. Graham says, "It is a mild yet powerful astringent, operates without producing any stimulant effect, calculated to check the diarrhoea of pulmonary consumption, and all diarrhoeas, where the general excitement is considerable ! For this purpose, its union with small doses of ipecacuanha powder forms a very simple medicine, recommended by that distinguished physician, Dr. George Fordyce. It is also beneficial in old ulcers, and in cases of weak bowels liable to frequent relaxations, although they may be of short duration."
Dr. Thornton says," A poor man, fond of botanical excursions, knew the powers of this root, and by making a strong decoction of it, sweetened with honey, he cured agues which had resisted the bark; long-standing diarrhoeas, ulcers of the legs turned out of hospitals as incurable, the worst scorbutic ulcers, fluxes, etcetera. This excited the attention of Lord William Russel, who allowed him a piece of ground out of his park to cultivate Tormentil, which he kept as a secret. In fluxes of blood, I have found 1 drachm given four times a day, in an infusion of hops, do wonders.
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