Description: Natural Order, Labiatae, or mint family. Genus CUNILA: Perennial plants, with small flowers in corymbed clusters. Calyx ovate-tubular, five-toothed, ten-ribbed, very hairy in the throat. Corolla with the upper lip erect, flat, notched; lower lip spreading and three-cleft. Stamens two, erect, distant, exserted. C. MARIANA :-Stems in tufts, four-angled, mostly purple, one to two feet high, corymbosely branched above. Leaves ovate, serrate, slightly roundish-cordite fit base, nearly an inch long, subsessile, nearly smooth, tapering to a point, thin, punctate with pellucid dots. Cymes axillary and terminal. Calyx punctate; corolla pale red, pubescent, nearly twice as long as the calyx. The entire plant is very fragrant, and was classed by the Romans among their pennyroyals. It prefers dry and rocky hill-sides from New York to Georgia, and westward. The leaves contain a pretty large per cent. of a very fragrant and penetrating volatile oil, which may be obtained by distillation. The taste of the plant is warming and pungent, but quite pleasant.
Properties and Uses: The whole plant, and especially the leaves, are diffusively stimulating and relaxing–being among the more pungent and pleasant of the aromatics. They secure a prompt action on the surface, arousing the capillaries and inducing moderate perspiration. For this influence they are valuable in recent colds, in tardy measles and other exanthems, and in the incipient stages of bilious and typhoid fever. They are rarely used alone; but are added to such articles as asclepias, eupatorium, and other relaxants of the diaphoretic class. By sustaining the capillaries, and probably the nervous peripheries also, they relieve some hysterical forms of nervous irritability; advance the menstrual flow, when it has recently been checked by exposure; and often are followed by increased micturation. (§190.) They relieve flatulence; and make a useful adjuvant to such antispasmodics as cypripedium and scutellaria, and to such carminatives as dioscorea. They are so very diffusive as to be most valued in connection with more permanent agents; but their promptness and very agreeable stimulation entitle them to much wider use than is generally given them. Best used in warm infusion-half an ounce to a pint of water, macerated in a covered vessel. Dose, two or more fluid ounces, repeated as desired. The oil is sometimes used in doses of two or three drops; but its best place is as an ingredient in carminative essences.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com