Description: Natural Order, Ranunculaceae. Genus COPTIS: Calyx wanting; petals five, sometimes six, caducous; capsules five to eight, diverging from a center as a star. C. TRIFOLIA: A pretty little creeping evergreen, very slender; with a golden-yellow, creeping root about the size of a coarse thread. Leaves on long and slender footstalks, of three sessile leaflets, lobed and minutely crenate at the edges. Flower stems long, slender, with a single white flower subtended by a minute bract; petals oblong; nectaries hollow, and yellow at the top; capsules on minute pedicels, beaked, with many small black seeds. It is found in dark woods throughout Northern America and Asia, and other cool and shaded localities. The roots, intermixed with the leaves, come to the market in compact masses. Diluted alcohol extracts its virtues most fully; but water acts well on the plant. It is a very pure and agreeable bitter.
Properties and Uses: This plant is one of rather fine and prompt bitter tonics. It is a mistake to class it with quassia and gentian, for it is neither so intense nor permanent as these; but rather is of the grade of boneset and leonurus, though giving out its properties more speedily than these. There is a common impression that it is a distinct astringent, and this has probably kept many from using it; but it is not astringent at all. It is one of the most grateful of all appetizers in convalescence from febrile attacks, and in all feeble conditions with weakness of the stomach. It is a popular New England remedy for aphthous sores in the mouth. An infusion is made of half an ounce of the plant to a pint of hot water, of which from two to four drachms may be given three or four times a day. An ounce to a pint of thirty per cent. alcohol makes a good tincture, of which a fluid drachm is a dose.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com