Acorns, or the seeds of the oak, though not at present an article of human subsistence, yet, if we may credit the testimony of ancient writers, formed no small part of the diet of the ancient Germans and Britons ; and the desire to possess what was then considered table delicacy, was often a cause of hostilities between various nations; They have seldom been used for medicinal purposes. We have, however, the testimony of several foreign practitioners in their favour, especially that of Dr. Marx. In describing the valuable properties of acorn-coffee, he asserts that this preparation has often cured obstructions arising from an accumulation of mucus in the viscera, and removed nervous complaints, when all other remedies have been tried in vain. The following is his method of preparing the acorn-coffee:
Take sound and ripe acorns, peel off their shells or husks, divide the kernels, and, after gradually drying, roast them in a close vessel, keeping them in continual motion. In this process, however, particular attention should be paid, that they may not be burnt, or roasted to excess.
Take of the powder, when ground like other coffee, half an ounce, or about four small tea-spoon full s every morning and evening; using it either alone or mixed with one tea-spoon full of real coffee, and sweetening it with sugar.
This kind of coffee has, by the frugal house-wife, been employed as an article of domestic economy, but has not obtained general sanction ; nor do we pledge our.-. for its medicinal efficacy; though several foreign practitioners affirm that it is an excellent remedy in asthmatic, and other pectoral complaints.
Acorns possess an astringent quality, which may be extracted by steeping them in cold water, or boiling them. On expression, they also afford an oil, which maybe advantageously used in the burning of lamps.
In the year 1756, an ingenious gentleman, Mr. Ellis, invented a method of preserving acorns for a considerable time, and of retaining in them the power of vegetation, by encasing them in wax. In this manner, they may be transported to distant climates, and preserved in a fresh state for several years; so that they can be transplanted with hopes of sucess. .
Lastly, acorns afford a very proper and nutritious food for hogs, which are readily fattened by their use: and we are farther convinced, from their analogy to the horse-chesnut, that, by depriving them of their husks, soaking them carefully in several infusions of fresh r, then drying and reducing them to flour, they would, in limes ity, serve as a tolerable sub* ute for bread-corn; for by this simple, though troublesome, process, most of the astringent vegetables lose their acrid and bitter taste.