Pulsatilla (Pasque Flower)

The leaves, stems and flowers of Anemone Pulsatilla, Linne (N.O. Ranunculaceoe). The plant produces a rosette of stalked leaves and an erect scape bearing a whorl of three bracteoles which form an involucre below the large, single, terminal flower. Leaves tripinnate, ultimate lobes linear, pointed, covered with silky hairs; petioles often purplish; stem hairy; bracteoles much divided; sepals six, light purple, silky externally; odourless; very acrid when fresh, becoming less so on keeping. Contains a crystalline vesicant substance which decomposes into acrid, crystalline anemonin and tasteless crystalline isoanemonic acid. Irritant: used in dysmenorrhoea and amenorrhoea.

Pilewort (Lesser Celandine)

The leaves and flowers of Ranunculus Ficaria, Linne (N.O. Ranunculaceoe), indigenous, very common. Leaves stalked, broadly ovate or reniform, glabrous, crenate, cordate at base. Flowers on long peduncles, three sepals, eight to twelve bright yellow petals, each with a nectary at the base. Several of the roots enlarge to tubercles. Taste, when fresh, acrid. Used in the fresh state as a remedy for haemorrhoids. It probably contains traces of anemonin.

Purging Flax

The leaves, stems, and flowers of Linum catharticum, Linne (N.O. Lineoe), indigenous. Stems very slender, 10 to 20 cm. long; leaves small, opposite, obovate or oblong, entire; flowers very small, white, on long slender pedicels; sepals pointed; petals obovate, minute. Taste acrid and bitter. Herb (and also seeds) used as a purgative. Active constituent unknown, probably glucosidal, yielding by hydrolysis colourless, crystalline, inactive, linin.


The leaves and flowering tops of Artemisia Absinthium, Linne (N.O. Compositae), Northern Asia and Europe. Stems 30 to 90 cm. high; leaves alternate, rounded-oval, bi- or tri-pinnate, segments lanceolate, ash grey on the upper, greyish green on the under surface, very hairy and glandular; hairs consisting of a long spindleshaped cell supported horizontally at its centre on a short 3-celled pedicel; flowerheads small, florets pale yellow, tubular. Odour aromatic; taste aromatic and bitter. Contains volatile oil (1 per cent.) and a crystalline bitter glucoside, anabsinthin (absinthin). Used in the preparation of the French liqueur absinthe.


The fresh, flowering herb, Lactuca virosa, Linne (N.O. Compositae) indigenous and cultivated. Stem 1 metre or more high, prickly near the base, producing leafy panicles of small, pale yellow flowers. Leaves lanceolate to broadly oblong, coarsely toothed or lobed with prickles on the undersurface of midrib and lateral veins; leaves and stem exude a white latex when incised; contains traces of hyoscyamine (see also 'Lactucarium').


The flowering herb of Erythroea Centaurium, Persoon (N.O. Gentianeoe) indigenous. Stem 20 to 30 cm. high; leaves opposite, glabrous, sessile, oblong, with 3 to 5 distinct veins; flowers in cymes; tube of corolla twice as long as that of the calyx, 5-partite, rose-pink, taste bitter. Contains crystalline erythro-centaurin. Used as a tonic.