(From to evacuate; because it purges gently). Dock.
Lapathum acutum; rumex, oxylapathum, sharp pointed dock; rumex acutus Lin. Sp. Pl. 478. This species, denominated from its sharp pointed leaves, hath a bitter astringent taste, with no remarkable smell: its roots discover their astringency, both by the taste and by striking an inky blackness with a solution of vitriol; and this astringency is stronger in the present than in any other species. It is also slightly laxative; and its affinity with the rhubarb is equally conspicuous in a botanical and a medical view. Water takes up all their virtue, and in spring they are used with the greatest advantage.
Lapathum Alpinum, hippolapathum rotundifolium, lapat/ium montanum, bastard monk's rhubarb; rumex alpinus Lin. Sp. Pl. 480. The leaves are very broad like those of burdock; the root is extremely brown, and intensely red within. It has, however, no peculiar virtue, except that it is supposed to be more active as a laxative than the other species.
Lapathum aquaticum; hydrolapathum, herba Bri-tannica, lapathum palustre, great water dock. The hydrolapathum of the Edinburgh Pharmacopoeia is referred to the rumex aquaticus, foliis cordatis acutis, floribus hermaphroditis,valvulis integerrimis nudis Lin. Sp. Pl. 479. Muntingius has taken great pains to prove this species the herba britanica of the ancients; not from Britain, but from britanicus, a Teutonic word, which signifies a power to fasten loose teeth. Linnaeus, however, gives the preference to a species which he styles "Britannica;" but Lobelius, with great reason, supposes it to be a species of cochlearia. The leaves of the rumex aquaticus are from two to three feet long, said to be laxative, but are very inconsiderably so: the roots are blackish on the outside; internally white, having a faint reddish tinge, which, in drying, changes in some parts to a yellowish or brown. It is found in most parts of England by river sides; and supposed to be a powerful antiscorbutic, if freely taken internally. A strong decoction of it is supposed to heal spreading ulcers in the mouth and tonsils; to cure spongy gums, etc. Boerhaave, from his own experience, commends it in scurvy, rheumatism, as well as in disorders of the skin, and from obstructed viscera. It is probably useful in flatulent complaints, and seems occasionally to assist digestion. Linnaeus speaks highly of its utility.
The root dried and powdered is said to be antiseptic, useful in nervous disorders, an useful dentifrice, and a good substitute for the bark. Where the powder is unacceptable as an internal medicine, the decoction may be used: half a pound of the bark of the root is boiled in three to two quarts of water, and half a pint drunk four times a day.
The bark of the root contains the greatest proportion of the active parts; but the whole plant resembles in its medical virtues the root. See Medical Musaeum, vol. i. p. 46, etc. It seems, however, to be in no respect superior to other astringents, and inferior to many of this class.
Lapathum hortense; rhabarbarum monachorum, patientia, hippolapathum, monks' rhubarb; rumex patientia Lin. Sp. Pl. 476. The stalk of this dock is red, and branched towards the top: the root is thick at the head, but soon divides into several branches of a brown colour outwardly, and a deep yellow within. Its virtues are similar to those of rhubarb, but it is less purgative and more astringent.
Lapathum Chinense orientale. See Rhabarbarum.
Lapathum unctuosum. See Mercurialis.
Lapathum vulgare; anaxyris; broad leaved wild dock, or common dock; rumex obtusifolius Lin. Sp. Pl. 478. The leaves are large, roundish at the points, and sourish to the taste; the root bitter, astringent, and of a pale or yellowish colour. In France the root is most frequently used, and for the same purposes as the great water dock. The largest grow in moist grdunds, the smallest and most astringent in dry.