(Tamus communis) Like a piece of silver, the root of back bryony was used when a hare suspected of being a metamorphosised witch was to be shot. Powder was put in the barrel and a piece of this root, the whole rammed down as if it were real shot. "And they say you could cut a hole through a door using this root" (Evans & Thomson). East Anglian farm horsemen used to put black bryony root, shredded, into their horses' feed to bring up the gloss on their coats (G E Evans. 1966). But they believed it had supernatural powers as well - the association with mandrake (see WHITE BRYONY) was evident here, for they said it had aphrodisiac qualities for both man and horse.
A syrup made from the root was once used against asthma (Brownlow), and they (the roots) used to be applied as a plaster for rheumatism (Hulme) and gout (Whitlock. 1992). But these roots are irritant and acid,
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