This section is from "The Domestic Encyclopaedia Vol1", by A. F. M. Willich. Amazon: The Domestic Encyclopaedia.
Anise, or Pimpinelln, in bo, is an annual, umbelliferous and aromatic plant, of which there are ten species, though scarcely three of them are indigenous, name1. The Common Burnet Saxifrage, or the Pimpinella Saxifraga, L. which grows on a dry, calcareous, gravelly soil, blossoms in July and August; and is described in Dr. Withering's Arrangement of British Plants, p. 311, and Engl. Bot. T. 407.
Every part of this useful plant has a fragrant smell and taste, and is subservient to many beneficial purposes.
The white root of the burnet-saxiffage is of a very hot, pungent, bitterish taste, which may be entirely extracted in rectified spirits of wine, and affords a medicine of great efficacy in scorbutic and cutaneous disorders in general, but especially for dropsical and asthma-tie complaints, in which it has been administered by the great BoER-haave, with singular success. Although he directs it to be taken only in a watery infusion, yet we would prefer the tincture, as pos-sessing in a superior degree the medicinal virtues of the root. In short, the physicians of Germany frequently prescribe it in cases where emollient, resolvent, , detergent, diuretic, and stomachic remedies are indicated, as well as for removing tumors and obstructions in the glands.
Frederic Hoffman asserts, that this vegetable is an excellent medicine for promoting the menses ; while other writers recommend it in all cases where pituitous humours are supposed to prevail, such as catarrhal coughs, hoarseness, and humid asthma, but particularly in a symptomatic sore throat, called the mucous quinsy.
There is a variety of the burnet-saxifrage growing wild in Branden-burgh, and denominated by ELs-holz, a Prussian botanist, the Pimpinella coerulea, or the blue pimpinella; as it differs from the former only, by yielding a blue colour in rectified spirit, a similar oil on distillation, and a fine blue juice on expressing the fresh root. For this reason, we have mentioned it, as it may probably afford a proper substitute for indigo, which we are obliged to import at a considerable expence.
The young leaves and shoots of this species are very palatable, and are eaten as sallad : small bunches of them tied together, and suspended in a cask of table-beer, or ale, impart to it an agreeable aromatic taste; and, it is affirmed, that they likewise tend to correct tart and spoiled wines, which, by this simple expedient, may be restored to their former briskness.
As the herbs of this plant are acknowledged to be a very whole-some fodder for cows, to increase their milk, and to preserve them against epidemics, we presume to recommend its culture to the farmer and grazier.
2. The Great Burnet-Saxifrage, or the Pimpinella magna, L., delights in shady places, on a calcareous soil, also flowers in July and August; and is described by Withering, p. 313, and Engl. Bot. T. 40S.
It is stated to possess properties similar to the former, though cattle refuse to browze upon it, on account of its hard stalks, which often attain the height of four feet.
3. The Dwarf Burnet-Saxifrage, or Plmpinella dioica, L. is rather a rare plant in this country; it only grows on hilly pastures and calcareous soils, for instance, on St. Vincent's Rock, near Bristol, and above Uphill, in Somersetshire.
It bears flowers in May and June; is described by Withering, p. 313; and delineated in Gerard's Herbal, 1054. 3.
Its properties are not sufficiently ascertained; but being a dwarfish plant, the two preceding species in every respect, deserve the preference.