Description: Natural Order, Compositae. An annual, one to two feet high, with a smooth and erect stem, branching at the top. Leaves alternate, sessile, ovate, acute, with spinose teeth. Flowers in large, terminal, solitary heads; florets cylindrical, with a long and slender tube; funnel- shaped, border of five narrow segments, orange-red.
This plant is a native of India and Western Asia; but is cultivated largely in Europe and somewhat in America. The florets are used in dyeing. Much of the saffron of the American market is the carthamus; from which it may be distinguished by its red color and its yellow filaments. It has a red and a yellow coloring principle–the former insoluble in water, but very soluble in alkalies, and the one for which the plant is valued; the latter soluble in water.
Properties and Uses: A warm infusion, used in large quantities, is slightly diaphoretic, of the relaxing and nervine order. It is used in children to promote the eruption of measles and for slight colds. It is slightly laxative and emmenagogue, but is scarcely valued in this connection. Two drachms to a pint of boiling water is the usual infusion; and this is given without limitation. It is at best but a trifling remedy, and has received more attention than it deserves.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com