This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
CHaeRefolium sativum C. B. Gingi-dium. Scandix Chaerefolium Linn. Chervil: an umbelliferous plant, with winged leaves somewhat like those of parsley, producing smooth longish seeds shaped like a bird's beak. It is a native of the southern parts of Europe, and sown annually with us in gardens.
(a) Ray, Historia plantarum, torn. ii. p. 1246.
Chervil is a salubrious culinary herb; suf-ficiently grateful both to the palate and stomach; slightly aromatic; gently aperient and diuretic. The expressed juice is recommended by Ri-verius and others in dropsies; and Geoffroy relates, that he has found it, from experience, of remarkable service in this disease, that it acts mildly and without irritation, and abates inflammatory symptoms. He directs three or four ounces of the depurated juice, with seven or eight grains of nitre, and half an ounce of a syrup of the five opening roots, to be taken daily every four hours; though he intimates also that the chervil juice has succeeded without any assistance. He observes that it is to be used with caution where the patient is troubled with a cough or a spitting of blood, as being liable to aggravate these complaints, in con-sequence of a nitrous salt by virtue of which he supposes this juice to act.
The depurated juice, infpiffated to the consistence of an extract, is manifestly saline to the taste, but not entirely of the nitrous kind: it is more pungent than nitre, and did not visibly deflagrate in the fire. Of the aromatic flavour of chervil, little or nothing accompanies the juice; though water, as well as spirit, extracts greatest part of it by infusion. The aromatic matter of this herb is of a very volatile kind, being soon dissipated in drying or boiling: in distillation with water, there separates from the aqueous fluid a small portion of essential oil, resembling in taste, as Hoffman observes, the essential oil of fennel seeds.