Dioscórides de Cibo e Mattioli

Hierba doncella  (Vinca major L.), ff. 25v-26r

Greater periwinkle (Vinca major L.), ff. 25v-26r

"The periwinkle spreads along the ground and grows in fertile soils. It has short tendrils, the thickness of a reed, and short leaves, like those of the bay in shape and colour, although much smaller. Its leaves and also its stems, when drunk in wine, stop dysentery and other kinds of diarrhoea; applied to the genitals in a suppository with milk and rose oil, or with an ointment of privet, they relieve pain in the uterus; chewed, they relieve toothache: applied as a poultice, they are a good antidote against the bites of poisonous snakes. It is said that the plant, drunk in vinegar, likewise relieves the bites of asp. It grows in fertile, uncultivated places."
This plant grows in forests throughout Italy, France, Spain (except the south), Great Britain and the eastern Mediterranean region. It is an invasive plant with roots that grow from its long, arched stems. It contains alkaloids, particularly vincamine, whose vasodilator properties make it an effective remedy for cerebrovascular insufficiency and diseases of the retina.
Ramón Morales
Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid
(Excerpt from the study book of Mattioli's Dioscorides illustrated by Cibo)

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