This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Carrot: an umbelliferous plant, with finely divided leaves; producing pale coloured, hairy, striated, somewhat oval, plano-convex seeds: the entire umbel, and each of its subdivi-sions, have a circle of little leaves at their origin; the petala are unequal and heart-shaped.
I. Daucus creticus. Daucus foliisfaeniculi tenuiffimis C. B. Athamanta cretenfis Linn. Candy carrot: with white flowers, flat umbels; and oblong seeds, swelled or bellied in the middle, and pointed at one end. It is perennial, a native of the Levant and the mountains of Switzerland, and cultivated in some of our gardens. The seeds have been generally brought to us from the isle of Candy.
The seeds of the candy carrot have a light aromatic smell, and a moderately warm biting taste. They have been occasionally employed as carminatives, and supposed likewise to be diuretic and emmenagogue: at present they are little otherwife made ufe of than as ingredients in mithridate and theriaca.
Water, digested on the seeds, becomes impregnated with their smell, but takes up very little of their taste: in distillation or evaporation, it elevates the whole of their smell and aromatic warmth, leaving a weakly bitterish mucilaginous extract: on distilling large quantities, a small portion of a yellowish essential oil is obtained, of a moderately pungent taste, and smelling strongly of the daucus. Rectified spirit takes up the whole of their virtue by digestion, and elevates little in distillation: the remaining extract smells weakly, and tastes strongly of the seeds. The colour both of the tincture and extract made with spirit, is a bright yellow; of those with water, brownish: the quantity of spirituous extract is about one half of the watery.
2. Daucus silvestris Pharm. Lond, & Edinb. Staphylinus. Paftinaca silvestris tenui-folia diofcoridis vel daucus officinarum C. B. Daucus Carota Linn. Wild carrot, or birds-nest, so called from the appearance of the umbels, which close and form a roundish cavity in the middle after the slowers have fallen: one or more of the inner flowers are commonly of a deep red colour, and several of the others red in part: the seeds are smaller, shorter and rounder than those of the preceding. It is biennial, common in uncultivated grounds, and flowers in June.
The seeds of the wild carrot are similar in smell and taste to those of the daucus creticus, but weaker. The essential oils obtained from the two are nearly alike in quality, but some-what different in quantity, the wild yielding a little less than the other. The spirituous extract of the wild is somewhat less pungent than that of the candy sort. Malt liquors, fermented with these seeds, receive from them an agreeable flavour somewhat resembling that of lemon peel, and are supposed to become useful diuretic drinks in cachectic and scorbutic disorders. *Infusions of them in water, in the proportion of three spoonfuls of the seed to a pint of boiling water, are said to have done great service in calculous cases, and to give speedy relief in strangury (a). In the shops they have frequently supplied the place of the daucus creticus, and been themselves supplied by the seeds of the garden carrot, which are much weaker in aromatic warmth than either. The garden and wild carrot are reckoned by botanists the same species of plant, their differences proceeding only from culture.
*A poultice of the root of garden carrot has been successfully used to cancerous and phagae-denic ulcers, the faetor of which it has not failed very speedily to remove, and generally with a great amendment of the state of the fore. Some have been brought to cicatrise by its use solely. The method of making the cataplasm is, to grate the carrots, and mix them with as much water as is necessary. The application is to be renewed two or three times a day. It is found to be most efficacious when the carrots are fresh and juicy. This remedy was recommended by Mr. Soultzer in a letter in a Magazine; and some cases of its efficacy were afterwards pub-lilhed in the 4th Vol. of the London Medical Observations and Inquiries.
A marmalade of carrots has also been pro-posed as an addition to the stock of ship's pro-vifions, for preventing the scurvy.