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Vulgago est asarum dictum grece vulgago latine Macer.


asarum (-rum AB p) ABC fp | asserũ ms. e | | a…aruʒ j {second letter unclear}
Macer om. f


Vulgago: its Greek name is asarum, vulgago is its Latin name, says Macer.


This is a direct quote from Macer Floridus [[1]], chapter XLVI, ASARUM, beginning with line
1532: Est Asarum graece dictum/ v.l. dictum graece, Vulgago latine.

Later, Macer singles out vulgago and offers a recipe detailing the application of this herb for the purpose of purging, verses 1557-1565.

1557: - "I shall teach you in which way vulgago must be administered properly {for purging}:
1558 - Of its leaves take 30 fresh ones,
1559 - Add unmixed wine so much that they are covered,
1560 - Let them soak all night in this wine,
1561 - In the morning pound them in the wine, in which they were softened and let them dissolve,
1562 - And then first give greens that have been cooked in fresh fatty
1563 – pork in sufficient quantity to the afflicted person,
1564 – And let him/her take as much as s/he likes of some strong white wine,
1565 – And hand over to him/her the strained juice of asarum to drink".
{Translation by Wilf Gunther}.
For the Latin original see [[2]].

The word vulgago is not found in the ancient authors, but it occurs in some glossaries, cf. e.g. Corpus glossariorum Latinorum 3, ed. Goetz (1888: 542), l. 22 in the HERMENEUMATA SENENSIA: asaro – bulgagina, [[3]], and in many medieval authors, e.g. as early as in Charlemagne's late 8th c. A.D. Capitulare de villis [[4]], i.e. a "Legislative act concerning the governance of the royal estates", in which in the last chapter (LXX) the cultivation of certain plants is ordered [[5]], among them vulgigina.

As to its etymology, André (1985: 277) says s.v. uulgāgō … (bulga-) is "sans doute de uulua (plante emménagogue…)" {i.e. "without a doubt, derived from vulva (an emmenagogue plant …)"}.

Botanical identification:

André ibid. identifies it with Asarum europaeum L, "asarabacca", [[6]]. So does Daems (1993: 263), s.v. Wlgago, but he also considers Cyclamen purpurascens Mill., "Alpine cyclamen", [[7]] as a possible candidate. A. europaeum is often thought to have purgative, i.e. laxative qualities, and both plants are thought by some to have emmenagogue effect.

WilfGunther 11:37, 1 October 2014 (BST)

See also: Asaron

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