Mattioli’s Dioscorides illustrated by Cibo (Discorsi by Mattioli and Cibo)

Mattioli’s Dioscorides illustrated by Cibo (Discorsi by Mattioli and Cibo) Common primrose (Primula vulgaris), f. 128r

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Common primrose (Primula vulgaris), f. 128r

Two quite similar species of plants crop up in spring. They have crinkly leaves, reminiscent of some types of cardoons. One species’ flowers are whitish, while the other’s are yellow, rounded and cleft. Some call them spring blossoms, others weeds. Today, both species are used to treat joint pain.

It is said that the roots should be cooked and made into a decoction to combat kidney and bladder obstructions when drunk.

The juice from the leaves can also be drunk or applied topically as a poultice for fractured and dislocated bones. Women often wash their faces with the juice of the flowers as it tightens the skin and eliminates blemishes.

The roots of these two plants are shorter than an index finger and thinner than a pinkie. Myriad other slender, aromatic rootlets grow from them. The one with white flowers and no stem grows in forests, ditches and cool places near woods. The other, which has yellow flowers and a stem, grows in high mountain pastures (f. 127v).


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