The Cayce Herbal 
 A Comprehensive Guide to the  
Botanical Medicine of Edgar Cayce
The Complete Herbalist
by Dr. O. Phelps Brown (1878)
    In the foregoing pages we have seen that from the earliest period in the history of the human race to the present time, the administration of the juices and essences of Herbs and Plants, in all forms of disease, has ever been considered by judicious and philosophical minds as the most rational and natural means of relieving the economy of all abnormal obstructions and derangements, and restoring all the functions to their original or primitive vigor and healthful working.  Notwithstanding the innovations of the mineral practice, I have ever held most rigidly to the Herbal System of medication; but having failed to meet with the success reasonably anticipated by pursuing the ordinary routine of Therapeutics, I was finally led to reject the many changes in medical doctrines and practice and start forth on a path of investigation of my own into the mysteries of the mineral and vegetable Kingdoms, especially as they might bear upon the health and happiness of the human being; accordingly, early in my professional career I attempted, by proper chemical analyses and practical experiment, to determine the best specific means for the healing of the maladies of mankind.  The results of these researches, since confirmed by many years' successful medical experience based upon them, have but the more strongly strengthened my opposition to the use of all the mineral preparations of the modern schools of medicine, and to establish my faith all the more firmly in the employment of HERBAL elements exclusively -- whether in the materia of roots, barks, seeds, or flowers -- as the surest and safest means for the thorough eradication of every form of disease.

    In saying all this, however, I do not deny the fact that many mineral substances enter into the composition of the human being, and are necessary for his full health and perfection--as chalk or lime is requisite to form bone, iron to enrich or strengthen the blood, and other mineral substances for the formation of the tissues, as phosphorus for the tissues of the brain and nerves, etc. -- but I stoutly contend that all such inorganic substances are taken up by plants and distributed to the various tissues and elements of the human being, either in the way of food or medicine, in exactly the precise quantity requisite for man's perfect health, if rightly used, neither in excess or diminution, agreeable to the laws of Nature; and their virtues are thus prepared and eliminated in a way far superior to any chemical manipulation ever conceived or known to man, with all the elements of chemical science at his command.  That this is the case is demonstrated by chemical analyses of plants.  Coca contains phosphorus; twinleaf, the salts of potassa, lime, iron, magnesia, silica, etc.; the houseleek, super-malate of lime; Matico, the salts of lime, iron, sulphur, etc.  Spongia, usta, carbon, silica, sodium, lime, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus, either in combination or free; coffee, chlorogenate of potassa; in fact, all the chemical elements composing the organism of man are also found in plants.  The reader will find these chemical elements given in the history of plants.  I also refer him to page 385, where, in the article "Treatment of Chronic Diseases," will be found a full explanation of the author's specialty in curing chronic disorders by chemically prepared herbal remedies.

    The herbal physician has, moreover, decided advantages over the mineral physician, with reference to the administration of mineral substances. He gives them in natural combinations--in such chemical association which, for exactness and propriety, can only occur in the great laboratory of Nature; while the dispenser of mineral drugs gives them wholly as isolated elementary principles, as furnished by the inorganic chemist, who, like all humans, is liable to err.  Let us illustrate this advantage by iodine.  The algae, such as the fuci and laminariae (deep-sea-water plants, growing at the depth of three hundred fathoms), furnish this principle in abundance.  The mineral physician, not content to administer the alterative in the best possible combination, as it exists in the sea-weed, subjects the plants to chemical operations, releases the iodine, and then either exhibits it by itself or in association with sodium, potassium, mercury, etc.  The true herbal physician acts more wisely in this respect: he administers the plant in substance, tincture, extract, etc., and has the consciousness that the iodine which Nature furnishes him is pure, and not the inferior adulterated article of commerce.  In plants where its chemical nature may be concentrated into one compound principle, and the residue but inert matter, it is judicious to separate it from the plant, but radically wrong to release but one simple elementary mineral quality of the plant.

    The advocate of mineral medication may retort by asking the use of administering the whole plant, when the iodine alone constitutes its therapeutical value.  Why give the refuse matter with the iodine?  To this sophistical argument and foolish inquiry I will reply, Why eat the whole peach, when its flavor only makes it pleaseant as an edible?  Why not release the flavor and fatten on that delectable principle?

    The best aragument, however, in favor of herbal medication, and one which establishes it as the correct philosophy, is the comparison of results from both systems; and with these the author became fully acquainted by practical experiment, and which led him, and not prejudice, to adopt exclusively the herbal system of medication.  I may justly claim this system of practice in its most important relations as solely my own, and for which I have been the recipient of all encouragement of scientific men and societies; but the homage that I value most, and which afforded the motive and stimulated my ambition, is the gratitude of almost numberless invalids whom I have thus been enabled to cure of diseases which were pronounced, and in fact are, incurable by physicians who rely upon minerals for their agents of cure.

    The true theory of disease and its cure is embodied in two chemical forces, which, like the currents of electricity, are positive and negative.  Thus, if the positive force of disease is manifested upon any organ, it disturbs the harmony and functional action of that organ, and the disorganization will continue as long as the negative force of cure is not placed in antagonism with it, to neutralize the activity of the positive force. When this is done the autonomyof the organ is re-established, and its function becomes again natural and healthful.

    Again, if upon discovery any organ or tissue becomes deficient in its chemical elements, it must be supplied by such plants as contain them; or if any organ or tissue becomes surcharged with its chemical constituents, negative chemical elements must be exhibited to reduce them to their normal quantities.  See article on "Treating Diseases Chemically," page 385.

    These forces in various ways control the whole organic world. Increase the centrifugal force, and the earth flies into space; remove the centripetal, and it rushes headlong to the sun.  If they are as they exist, coequal, the earth rolls on in its orbit in grand precision and admirable harmony.

    Having thus philosophized, and finally realized that the entire universe was composed of contrary elements -- of negative and positive principles -- yet that the whole worked, or acted, in the most perfect harmony, agreeably to the wisdom of a Great First Cause, when such elements were not disarranged or disturbed by any violation of the laws of pristine Nature, I was soon led to a logical deduction of the general laws which govern the virtues or medicinal properties of all the varieties of plants, with a view to employ them as remedial agents in the cure of disease.  In a word, I found in the being, MAN, an epitome of all creation -- found in his organism all the elements of univeral nature--and necessarily discerned that, as there are summer and winter, night and day, in regular and systematic succession, such alternations of nature could not but have the most important influences in respect to the health and diseases of the human being -- Heaven's last, most perfect work.  I realized that, in accordance with the various operations of nature, man remained in health, or became afflicted with disease.  Hence it became necessary for me to fully undersand or comprehend the cause of any departure from the normal or natural condition of man, and to provide the cure, or the remedy best adapted for the restoration of the equilibrium of the functions of his entire oganism.

    I ascertained by experiment what was before a preconceived idea, that plants afforded the best agents to antagonize the force of disease, and to re-establish the integrity of any organ or tissue assailed.  The discovery was made apparent, however, that indiscriminate selection of medicinal plants was injudicious, and that the curative property of a plant was developed only in proportion as certain essential conditions were provided.  These conditions proved to be those necessary to the full health of man, viz., proper climate, air, and food.

    The first great essential of a plant which is to be selected for its medical qualities is its nativity.  If indigenous to the locality of country wherein found, it is a proper one to select.  Plants that are introduced from other countries are lessened or deprived of their virtues, unless they meet in their new home all the essential conditions possessed in their native place.

    The geographical location of plants is affected by climatic influences, constituents of soil, heat, moisture, electricicity, etc.  The flowers, shrubs, and trees which adorn the plains of India and South America, are not the same with those which clothe the valleys of England and North America.  Nor are their medicinal properties the same, however, those herbal products may resemble each other.  The plants which flourish on the sea-shore of Great Britain are not the same as those on the coast of Africa, nor are these, again, allied to the maritime vegetation of Chili, South America.  Nearly all the beautiful plants which adorn our green-houses are natives of a limited space near the Cape of Good Hope, as are also many of our most beautiful bulbs; but the medicinal properties of all become weakened and changed by transplantation.  The curious stafelias, that smell so offensively, are found wild only in South Africa.  They are there used for medical purposes by the Aborigines.  The trees that bear balsam grow principally in Arabia and on the banks of the Red Sea.  The umbelliferous and ciniferous plants spread across Europe and Asia.  The Cacti are found only in tropical America, while the lobiatae and cariophyllacea are seldom discovered but in Europe.  The peculiar ranges and centres of vegetation, as they are termed, are all owing to chemical, climatic, and electrical influences, and yield their medicinal properties in exact ratio of quality, in accordance with the latitudes or places in which they are indigenous.

    From the many facts existing, we must believe that there is not a single disease in man that may not have its remedy or cure, in some herb or other, if we but knew which plant, and where to find it, in this, or that, or any clime or portion of the world -- agreeably to the providence of Nature.

    This fact or law is proven in the lower animal kingdom.  Who has not often seen not only our familiar domestic animals, but many of the untamed creatures of the forests, fields, and air, seek out some one or peculiar herb, when laboring under sickness or derangement of the functions of its organism?

    Truly, Nature has wisely implanted a definite instinct in every organic creature, in order to serve for its health, or for its restoration to health from disease.  In man, however, such instinct is not so plainly marked, but to him has been given reason and judgment, and (in some few of the race) a disposition to investigate the laws and mysteries of creation, in order to secure his own highest health and perfection, and to find the means for the healing of his kind, when they have become diseased through ignorance, perversion and violation of the immutable ordinances of Creation.

    As the proverb says, "There are sermons in stones, and books in running brooks;" so do we behold volumes of wisdom in all the herbal kingdom -- in every emerald and variegated leaf, in every tinted blossom -- in all, there is a voiceless language, eternally singing significant psalms in praise of "HIM who doeth all things well."

    Thus we find that adaptation is the law of the universe -- and nowhere is it more vividly portrayed than in the growth and development of the Herbal world.

    It will thus be seen that it is only by carefully studying the physiology or functions, or nature of plants, we can derive instruction for the proper regulation or government of our own organisms.  The causes which influence the growth and development of plants, are conditions necessary to be understood, in order to preserve the health or integrity of our systems.

    Dependent upon the causes I have already named, the plants, also, may lose their medicinal virtues; while much will be owing to the season of the year when they are gathered, in order to adapt them to medico-chemical purposes.

    For instance, in the Spring of the year the common Nettle plant may afford a palatable food for man; but if selected at a later period, instead of serving as a savory vegetable, or purifier of morbid elements from the blood and system of man, might be converted into or act as a virulent or dangerous poison upon his organism.

    In China the Ginseng (so called from the two Chinese words gen sing, "first of plants") plant or root is regarded -- weight for weight -- as silver, for medicinal purposes; whereas the same herb grown in America or other countries, does not possess a tithe of the value of the Chinese production for healing purposes.

    The American chamomile, though in all respects the same as the European, is positively inert in its medicinal qualities.

    There must be, therefore, I repeat, a combination of influences to insure the full development of perfection of any plant.  There must be not only internal but external stimuli, to develop the virtues of the herb.  The external, as we have seen, consist of certain nutritious matters contained in the soil, water, atmospheric gases, electricity, light, and heat, besides the elements of oxygen, both in its combined or simple form, nitrogen, etc.

    If we take a stem cut from a pine tree, in the forests of North Carolina, and place it in contact with the trunk of a healthy growing pine, the former would destroy the latter in the course of the season.  The worms generated in the severed or decayed stem will pass to the living tree, and rapidly cause its destruction.

    Any farmer knows that if the lordly oak be felled in June it will pass into a state of decay in the course of from four to eight weeks; but if it be cut down at a proper season (which is in Fall and early Spring, when the tree is nearly destitute of sap), it affords the best timber for the building of ships.  It may be of interest, also, to state that at such times the transplantation of trees should be made.  The tree should be removed at night, and set out in the same relative position to the sun as in its former aspect.  If these rules are followed, no tree will rarely ever die, unless its most vital parts are too extensively injured.

    We all know that a plant stripped of its leaves will soon perish.  Among the reasons for this is that the absorption by the roots is insufficient to supply all the materials for its nourishment.  Let us look a little more closely into these phenomena of nature.  There must be a certain number of stages for all herbal growths.  First, the ascending sap dissolves the nutritive deposits of the root and stem, and conveys them to assist in the development of leaves and flowers.  Hence it is evident that if the root, bark, or stem be gathered at this season, it will prove deficient in medicinal virtues, or be altogether inert.  The leaves also will be found worthless for remedial purposes.  On the other hand, if we wait a little longer, or until the plant is fully developed, we will find that either the bark or root, the leaves or flowers, are full of rare medicinal virtues.

    The precise moment when all the assimilative processes of the plant have been perfected -- whether it be Summer or Winter, Spring or Autumn -- is the time to gather it for a remedial agent in disease, inasmuch as we know that the laws of chemical decomposition and recombination know no rest; hence, as in the case of the nettle, while it may be a good food in its earlier stages of development, it would prove a poison in a more advanced stage of its growth.

    The peculiar properties of herbs as medicines will often depend upon the greenness or ripeness of the plant, and other circumstances attendant upon its cutting, and the length of time it is kept after being gathered.

    For instance, the concrete juice of the Manna ash (Fraxinus Ornus) -- the manna of commerce -- increases in purgative qualities by age.  The Oak-bark, for tanning hides, improves in value for a period of four or five years after it has been stripped from the trunk; in the same manner, its medicinal properties are either diminished or improve, according to the season when the bark is gathered, or the manner in which it is converted into tannic acid for medical or scientific purposes.

    It must be apparent to all, that herbs are liable to suffer from the vicissitudes of soil, climate, season, etc., and, as a mtter of course, from these causes will vary the medicinal principles attributed to them.

    Repeated analysis demonstrates the fact, that specimens of the same plant, grown in different localities, will vary infinitely in the proportions of the medicinal principles yielded.  Take, for example, the Butterfly-weed or Pleurisy-root (Asclepias Tuberosa), which grows in the barren and sandy soil of New Jersey, and it will be found to yield from one to two hundred per cent of its medicinal virtues more than the same plant grown in the rich alluvial soils of the West.  Hence, when given as medicine, the quantity must correspond accordingly -- be either increased or diminished, in order to secure its proper curative effects upon the system.  Thus it is seen that a medicine, prepared from plants culled at an improper season, will prove entirely inert or useless, while the same herb, gathered at a proper time in a proper climate, especially and properly prepared, would secure the restoration of a patient from disease to health.

    There is likewise a wide difference between the virtues of a plant growing in a wild or natural condition from that of the same herb when artificially cultivated.  The transference of plants from their native locations, to soils prepared by the hands of man, induces many changes in their individual elements.  Many plants formerly used for medicines are not cultivated for the table alone.  The small acid root of the Brassica Rupa has become the large and nutritious article of diet known as the turnip.  The dandelion, when grown in natural localities, possesses well-defined medical properties, all of which are lost when the plant is artificially cultivated.  In the cultivated plant the proportions of starch, grape-sugar, and other non-medical principles are largely increased while that which is gathered in its wild or native state is known to possess rare virtues in affections of the liver, kidneys, and respiratory organs.  In the cultivated rose the stamens are converted into petals.  The castor-oil plant in Africa is a woody tree -- in our gardens it is an annual.  The mignonette, in Europe, is an annual plant, but becomes perennial in the sandy deserts of Egypt.

    I repeat, from what has been seen it is evident that all herbs perhaps possess some property suitable for medical purposes.  These virtues may be found in the root of one plant, in the bark of another, in the leaves of another, in the blossoms of another, in the seeds of another, or in the whole combined.  Even the color of the flower has much to do with the therapeutic properties of the plant -- as, for instance, the Blue Vervain, as used in my Fits and Dyspepsia remedy, is the only kind that is used for medical purposes -- all the other species being entirely useless, or else more or less dangerous.

    In fact, it is evident to the comprehension of the simplest mind that climatic influences have much to do with the full development of plants.  This may be illustrated in the Tobacco raised in Cuba and that grown in Connecticut -- the one being grown in a Southern and the other in a Northern climate.  The poison nicotine is derived from the tobacco plant; the exhilarating caffeine and theine are obtained from the coffee berry and tea plant.  Thus it is possible that some therapeutic agent or other may be derived from every plant grown on the surface of the globe.

    The Red Men of the American forests are never at a loss to know which plant is best, nor the time it should be gathered, to cure them of disease.  They know how to treat their complaints in physic, surgery, and midwifery with a skill that far surpasses that of many a learned doctor of the big medical schools, with all their science, and the medical teachings of physicians for upwards of four thousand years.  What other guide have the poor Indians -- those untutured savages of the woods--but their reason and their instinct, and their practical experience in the use of herbs?

    This is the same in the East Indies, South America, South Sea Islands, Patagonia, Africa, and other lands The negroes in the interior parts of Africa possess a knowledge of the medicinal properties of plants which is really surprising, and, by consequence, are rarely afflicted with disease.  The art of healing in Sumatra consists in the application of plants, in whose medicinal virtues they are surprisingly skilled. In fact, the Sumatrans have a degree of botanical knowledge that surprises the European or American.  They become acquainted at an early age not only with the names, but the qualities and properties of every shrub and herb among that exuberant variety with which their country abounds.

    In gathering herbs for medical purposes, we should not only know the season when they should be culled, but we should be qualified to comprehend the principles of which the plant is composed -- whether they be resins, alkaloids, or neutrals -- and be able also to separate the one ingredient or element from the other, as a distinct medicinal property, or combine the whole for the purpose of a compound medical agent.

    Plants by their appearance often invite the invalid to cull them for his restoration, and assume such shapes as to suggest their curative properties.  For instance, herbs that simulate the shape of the Lungs, as Lungwort, Sage, Hounds-tongue, and Comfrey, are all good for pulmonary complaints.

    Plants which bear in leaves and roots a heart-like form, as Citron Apple, Fuller's Thistle, Spikenard, Balm, Mint, White-beet, Parsley, and Motherwort, will yield medicinal properties congenial to that organ. Vegetable productions like in figure to the ears, as the leaves of the Coltfoot or Wild Spikenard, rightly prepared as a conserve and eaten, improve the hearing and memory; while oil extracted from the shells of sea-snails, which have the turnings and curvings of the ears, tends wonderfully to the cure of deafness.  A decoction of Maiden Hair and the moss of Quinces, which plants resemble the hairs of the head, is good for baldness.  Plants resembling the human nose, as the leaves of the Wild Water Mint, are beneficial in restoring the sense of smell.  Plants having a semblance of the Womb, as Birthwort, Heart Wort, Ladies' Seal or Briony, conduce much to a safe accouchement.  Shrubs and Herbs resembling the bladder and gall, as Nightshade and Alkekengi, will relieve the gravel and stone.  Liver-shaped plants, as Liverwort, Trinity, Agaric, Fumitory, Figs, etc., all are efficacious in bilious diseases.  Walnuts, Indian nuts, Leeks, and the root of Ragwort, because of their form, when duly prepared will further generation and prevent sterility.  Herbs and seeds in shape like the teeth, as Toothwort, Pine-kernel, etc., preserve the dental organization.  Plants of knobbed form, like knuckles or joints, as Galingale, and the knotty odoriferous rush, Calamus, are good for diseases of the spine and reins, foot, gout, knee swellings, and all joint pains whatsoever.  Oily vegetable products, as the Filbert, Walnut, Almond, etc., tend to fatness of the body.

    Plants naturally lean, as Sarsaparilla or long-leaved Rose Solie emaciate those who use them.

    Fleshy plants, such as Onions, Leeks, and Colwort, make flesh for the eaters.  Certain plants, as the Sensitive plant, Nettles, the roots of Mallows, and the herb Neurus, when used as outward applications, fortify and brace the nerves.  Milky herbs, as Lettuce and the fruit of the Almond and Fig trees, propagate milk.  Plants of a serous nature, as Spurge and Scammony, purge the noxious humors between the flesh and the skin.  Herbs whose acidity turns milk to curd, such as Galium and the seeds of Spurge, will lead to procreation.  Rue mixed with Cummin will relieve a sort breat, if a poultice of them be applied, when the milk is knotted therein; while plants that are hollow, as the stalks of Grain, Reeds, Leeks, and Garlic, are good to purge, open, and sooth the hollow parts of the body.  Many more instances of such adaptation of herbs and plants to diseases of the body might be cited if deemed necessary.

    The vitality of plants may be destroyed by giving them deleterious or poisonous substances, such as arsenic, mercury, etc.  In fact, mineral poisons act on plants and herbs in nearly the same way they do upon human beings or other animals.

    The color of plants is generally under the influence of solar light; hence, plants grown in darkness become etiolated or blanched.  The green of leaves is due to nitrogen, while in proportion as the oxygen of the air predominates, the leaves put on varied tints, as the beautiful red and crimson assumed by some leaves in Autumn.

    The color of flowers, as a general rule, is influenced by solar light, though the magnetic condition of the soil has much to do with the color.  For instance, the petals of the common butter-cup are of as brilliant a yellow in town gardens enveloped in the smoke of London as on any country hill, while the tints of the rose remain, when languishing for lack of a clear atmosphere.  The flowers of the common hydrangea, which are naturally pink, may be made blue by planting the shrub in soil impregnated with iron.  So will certain medical preparations of iron turn blue the human flesh.  The color of the flower of the tulips can be turned into white, yellow, brown, purple, and a beautiful tint of rose, by transplanting the plants from a poor soil to a rich one, and vice versa.
    The fragrances of flowers and plants have their physiological or medical uses.  The use of the fragrance in leaves, bark, and wood, is apparently to preserve them from the attacks of insects; as the smell of the red and Bermuda cedars (of which pencils are made) and of Camphor, also a vegetable product, is to keep moths and other vermin from attacking substances with which they are in contact.

    Plants sometimes distil or secrete medicinal or nutritive fluids, which are contained in convenient receptacles.  Such plants invariably grow far from the haunts of men, away from the course of streams or vicinity of ponds.  Whose ordination is it that such plants have such a habitude?  It is that Providence who, in his bountiful beneficence, places them where the traveler may not die of thirst or disease on his way of discovery.  This is most beautifully illustrated in the Nepenthes distillatoria in which the leaves terminate in a most singular manner, forming a sort of urn or vase, surmounted by a cover which opens and shuts as occasion requires.  This vessel is suspended at the extremity of a thread-like appendage to a winged petiole, which would seem to be altogether unfit to support it.  An officer of marines writes as follows: "Three days after my arrival at Madagascar I lost myself during a short excursion into the interior and was overtaken with an excessive lassitude, accompanied with a devouring thirst.  After a long walk I was on the point of yielding to despair when I perceived close to me, suspended to leaves, some small vases, somewhat like those used to preserve fresh water.  I began to think I was under one of those hallucinations by which the sick are often visited in fever, when the refreshing draught seems to fly from their parched lips.  I approached it, however, with some hesitation, threw a rapid glance at the pitchers: judge of my happiness when I found them filled with a pure and transparent liquid.  The draught I partook gave me the best idea I have realized of the nectar served at the table of the gods."  Plants of such description become extinct if civilization approaches their domain.

    Plants have attributes other than medical which are of interest to the general reader besides the botanist.

    In many instances there seems to be a striking affinity between the herbal and animal kingdom, and other instances of the repelling character.  For instance, a most remarkable instance of irritability by contact is that exhibited by the "Venus's Fly-Trap," Dionaea muscipula, a native of Canada, and nearly allied to the common "Sun-Dew" of the British commons.  Its flowers have nothing remarkable about them, except that their petals roll up when they are about to decay; but the leaves are very curiously constructed.  They have broad leaf-like petioles, at whose extremity there are two fleshy tubes, which form the real leaf, and which are armed with strong, sharp spines, three on the blade of each lobe, and a fringe of larger spines round the margin.

    When an insect touches the base of the central spines the leaf collapses, and the poor insect is caught, been either impaled by the central spines or entrapped by the others.  The leaf then remains closed, the fringe of long spines being firmly interlaced and locked together till the body of the insect has wasted away.  This apparatus being the nearest approach to a stomach which has yet being observed in plants, an experiment was tried some years ago of feeding a dionaea (Venus's Fly-Trap) with very small particles of raw meat, when it was found that the leaves closed in the same way as they would have done over an insect, and did not open again until the meat was consumed.  The leaves of this plant possess medicinal properties, which, when properly prepared in tincture or decoction, have been found of exceeding efficacy in many diseases of the digestive organs of the human being.

    Sarracenia, or Side-Saddle flower, the leaves of which are pitcher-shaped, resembling an old-fashioned side-saddle, six of which generally belong to each plant.  Each of these pitchers will hold nearly a wine-glassful, and are generally filled with water and aquatics, which undergo decomposition, or a sort of digestion, and serve as a nutriment to the plant.

    This animal characteristic is also illustrated in the sensitive plant (Momosa Sensitiva), which the slightest touch suffices to make it close its folioles.  If we cut with scissors the extreme end of one foliole the others immediately approach in succession.  This irritation is not local, but communicates from circle to circle, and propagates itself from leaf to leaf.  Up to a certain point it gets accustomed to outside interference.  Touching it again and again will habituate it to the movement and fail to respond, as if it were owing in the first instance to fright.

    The sleep of plants vaguely recalls to us the sleep of animals.  Their period of sleep is mostly at night, and any interested person may observe this habit in a variety of plants, as many of them when asleep are difficult to recognize in their bearing.  The leaves are rolled up, or become reversed, as in the genus Sida and the Lupinus.  The Vetch, the Sweet-pea, the Broad Bean, in their sleep rest their leaves during the night one against the other.

    Parental solicitude is displayed in the orach-root (Atriplex hortensis).  The leaves of this plant fall back upon the young shoots, and enclose them whenever the effects of the atmosphere would injure them.  This is also seen in the chickweed at night.

    The folding of some flowers in the absence of the sun, and the opening of others as soon as that luminary has withdrawn his beams, are ascribable to various causes.  The white marigold closes its flowers on the approach of rain, and the dwarf Colendrina folds up its bright crimson corolla about four o'clock every afternoon; while, on the contrary, the plant commonly called Four o'clock, whose flower remains closed all day, opens precisely at the hour of four.  The evening primrose will not open its large yellow flower till the sun has sunk below the horizon.  On the other hand, the Sun-flower is always seen bending its face (vis-a-vis) in the direction of the sun, and follows its course during the entire diurnal round, from its rise in the Orient, or East, in the morning, to its decline in the Hesperian region, or west, in the evening.  The Silphium laciniatum, or compass-weed, always points its leaves towards the north star.  The Night-blowing Cereus only expands its flowers about midnight.  Indeed, some flowers are so regular in their opening or shutting, that the great botanist, LINNAEUS, formed what he called "Flora's Timepiece," in which each hour was represented by the flower which opened or closed at that particular time.  An arrangement of this kind may be seen in the following


   Between 3 and 4 A.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Bind-weed of the hedgerows.
   At 5 A.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Naked stalked Poppy and most of the Chichoraceae.
   Between 5 and 6 A.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Nipplewort and the Day Lily.
   At 6 A.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Many of the Solanaceae (Night-shade) family.
   Between 6 and 7 A.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Sow Thistle and Spurrey.
   At 7 A.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Water Lilies, Lettuce.
   At 7 to 8 A.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..Venus' Looking-Glass.
   At 8 A.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Wild Pimpernel.
   At 9 A.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Wild Marigold.
   At 9 to 10 A.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Ice Plant.
   At 11 A.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Purslain, Star of Bethlehem.
   At 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Most of the Ficoid, or Mesembryanthemum family.
   At 2 P.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Scilla Pomeridiana.
   Between 5 and 6 P.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Silene Noctiflora.
   Between 6 and 7 P.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Marvel of Peru.
   Between 7 and 8 P.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Cereus Grandiflorus, Tree Primrose.
   At 10 P.M. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Purple Convolvulus.

    In addition to the above, I would remark that certain equinoctial flowers open and close at a fixed time in the same day; on the morrow, and for several following days, they again open and shut at the same regular hours.  The Star of Bethlehem opens several days in succession at eleven in the morning, and closes at three.  The Ficoides Noctiflora blows several days in succession at seven in the evening, and closes about six or seven in the morning.

    Besides the cases in which flowers open and shut their corollas by the influence of light, instances are known in which merely the petals roll up by day, and resume their natural shape after sunset.  A remarkable circumstance respecting the effect of atmospheric influence is that the same causes do not affect all plants, and yet no peculiarity of construction has been discovered in those so affected to distinguish them from those that are not.

    Every student of nature can witness much more that is of general interest regarding the habits, so to speak, and characteristics of plants.  They have been a favorite theme in all ages.  Lovers have dwelt on them and given them a language.  Nearly every one delights in the flowering plants.  Who would refuse a bouquet of choice flowers?  This attachment to flowers was pathetically illustrated in the Highland emigrants in Canada, who wept when they found that the heather would not grow in their newly-adopted soil.  And well they might, for it is the flower of their native mountains, and associated with all their brightest and tenderest recollections.  In the age of chivalry the daisy was renowned; and St. Louis, of France, took it and a lily for a device in his ring, as emblematical of his wife and country.  The thistle, like the famous geese of Rome, saved Scotland, and for this reason it is the national emblem of that country.  During the Danish invasion, one of their soldiers placed his naked foot on the spiny leaves of a thistle, and instinctively uttered a cry which awoke the slumbering Scots, who turned upon their foes, defeated, and drove them from their land.

    The poetry attached to plants, however, is not of immediate concern in this volume.  It is their medicinal properties which engages our study and demands our labors.  Yet I could not so well establish their superior fitness as curative agents above the mineral drug unless I gave that which is of general interest.  One fact will be apparent to the reader, that plants have life, and hence are eminently suitable to give life to the suffering patient.  The lifeless inorganic mineral has none, and can give no vital element.

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