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

Mattioli’s Dioscorides illustrated by Cibo (Discorsi by Mattioli and Cibo) Lady's mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris), f. 122r

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Lady's mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris), f. 122r

Lion's foot, which some call stellaria and others alchemilla, is a plant which grows above all in mountain meadows. Its leaves are very similar to those of the mallow, but are firmer and more crinkled with denser veins. There are usually eight leaves, sometimes less, and their notches are all quite conspicuously toothed in such a way as to look like a star when the leaf is fully open. Its stem grows to the height of a palm and often more. Many little stalks grow from it, which bear the star-like flowers at their top in green shades moving towards yellow and very tiny. The root is as thick as a finger, and longer than a palm and a half. It grows in May and flowers in June. It is quite excellent for healing internal and external wounds; for this reason, it has been used by German surgeons in drinks for mortal wounds and for the bowels, and also for fistulas. The powder of the dried plant, drunk in water distilled from the fresh plant or in a decoction of the dried one, heals bowel hernias in children. A spoonful of this same powder at a time diluted in wine or broth, taken for fifteen or twenty days, has been successfully given to sterile women if a slippery humour is preventing the seed from remaining in the uterus. The distilled water, first drunk and then applied to the parts from below, stops leucorrhoea; by continuing to take it, it shrinks the woman’s parts in such a way as to make non-virginal women appear to be virgin, above all when they sit for several days in the decoction. Pieces of cloth soaked in its water and applied to the breasts cause them to pull up so that they become round and firm (f. 121v).

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