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Astragalus1 is the name of a plant which has long leaves. with numerous incisions, and running aslant near the root. The stems are three or four in number, and covered with leaves: the flower is like that of the hyacinth, and the roots are red, hairy, matted, and remarkably hard. It grows on stony local- ities, equally exposed to the sun and to falls of snow, those in the vicinity of Pheneus in Arcadia, for instance. Its properties are highly astringent; the root of it, taken in wine, arrests looseness of the bowels, having the additional effect of throw- ing downward the aqueous humours, and so acting as a diuretic; a property, in fact, which belongs to most substances which act astringently upon the bowels.

Bruised in red2 wine, this plant is curative of dysentery; it is only bruised, however, with the greatest difficulty. It is extremely useful, also, as a fomentation for gum-boils. The end of autumn is the time for gathering it, after the leaves are off; it being then. left to dry in the shade.

1 Sprengel identifies it with the Phaca Bætica, Spanish bastard vetch; but the flowers of that plant, as Fée remarks, are yellow. He considers it to be the Lathyrus tuberosus of Linnæus, the Pease earth-nut. Littré gives the Orobus sessilifolius of Sibthorp.

2 "Rubrum," and not "nigrum," which was also what we call "red" wine.

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