“Dioscorides: The plant which is called sea brassica is completely different from the cultivated one, since it has leaves somewhat longer than those of the round aristolochia, thin and hanging one by one from its little red branches, attached with a single stalk, like ivy. It has a white juice, although not in great quantity, very salty and a little bitter to the taste and dense in matter. The whole plant is sour and of no benefit to the stomach; cooked in food it has a laxative effect, more than all other brassicas. Because it is very sharp it is cooked with fat meat. Mattioli: It is found in great abundance on the sand-bar not far from Venice, where the apothecaries harvest it, since it is commonly used by doctors in the treatment of dropsy.” (f. 149v)
This plant grows on the sandy coasts of temperate zones almost all over the world. The rhizome of the beach morning glory, as it is also called, is dehydrated and pulverised. The fresh plant and powdered rhizome are superlative purgatives. In bygone times it was used for rheumatism, dropsy and scurvy. It has hallucinogenic properties. Dioscorides describes this plant in the section about cabbages.
Ramón Morales Valverde Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid (Extract from the commentary volume of Mattioli's Dioscorides illustrated by Cibo)