Rice, or Ryse, the grain of Oryza sativa, a native cereal of India,
is considered here scarcely as a Herbal Simple, but rather as a
common article of some medicinal resource in the store cupboard of
every English house-hold, and therefore always at band as a
Among the Arabs Rice is considered a sacred food:  and their
tradition runs that it first sprang from a drop of Mahomet's
perspiration in Paradise.
Being composed almost exclusively of starch, and poorer in
nitrogen, as well as in phosphoric acid, than other cereals, it is less
laxative, and is of value as a demulcent to palliate irritative
diarrhoea, and to allay intestinal distress.
A mucilage of Rice made by boiling the well-washed grain for some
time in water, and straining, contains starch and phosphate of lime
in solution, and is therefore a serviceable emollient. But when
needed for food the grain should be steamed, because in boiling it
loses the little nitrogen, and the greater part of the lime phosphate
which it has scantily contained.
Rice bread and Rice cakes, simply made, are very light and easy of
digestion. The gluten confers the property of rising on dough or
paste made of Rice flour. But as an article of sustenance Rice is not
well suited for persons of fermentative tendencies during the
digestion of their food, because its starch is liable to undergo this
chemical change in the stomach.
Dr. Tytler reported in the Lancet (1833), cases resembling
malignant cholera from what he termed the morbus oryzoeus, as
provoked by the free and continued use of Rice as food. And
Boutins, in 1769, published an account of the diseases common to
the East Indies, in which he stated that when Rice is eaten more or
less exclusively, the vision becomes impaired. But neither of these
allegations seems to have been afterwards authoritatively confirmed.
Chemically, Rice consists of starch, fat, fibrin, mineral matter such
as phosphate of lime, cellulose, and water.
A spirituous liquor is made in China from the grain of Rice, and
bears the name arrack.
 Rice cannot be properly substituted in place of succulent
green vegetables dietetically for any length of time, or it would
induce scurvy. The Indians take stewed Rice to cure dysentery, and
a decoction of the grain for the purpose of subduing inflammatory
Paddy, or Paddee, is Rice from which the husk has not been
removed before crushing. It has been said by some that the
cultivation of Rice lowers vitality, and shortens life.
In Java a special Rice-pudding is made by first putting some raw
Rice in a conical earthen pot wide at the top, and perforated in its
body with holes. This is placed inside another earthen pot of a
similar shape but not perforated, and containing boiling water. The
swollen Rice soon stops up the holes of the inner pot, and the Rice
within becomes of a firm consistence, like pudding, and is eaten
with butter, sugar, and spices.
An ordinary Rice-pudding is much improved by adding some
rosewater to it before it is baked.
This grain has been long considered of a pectoral nature, and useful
for persons troubled with lung disease, and spitting of blood, as in
pulmonary consumption. The custom of throwing a shower of Rice
after and over a newly married couple is very old, though wheat was
at first the chosen grain as an augury of plenty. The bride wore a
garland of ears of corn in the time of Henry the Eighth.