Description: Natural Order, Caprifoliaceae. Allied to the common elder and cranberry. Formerly placed in lonicera. Low shrubs, two feet high. Leaves opposite, finely serrate, ovate or oblong, taper-pointed, on short petioles, two to four inches long. Flowers axillary and terminal, two or three together, greenish yellow; corolla funnel-shaped, five-cleft; stamens five. In hedges and thickets from Canada to Carolina.
Properties and Uses: The bark from the roots and branches is, when dried, a relaxant and moderately stimulating agent, of rather an unpleasant taste, and likely to cause nausea if united with other relaxants. (§262.) It acts pretty largely upon the kidneys; and has been found useful in gleet, sub-acute gonorrhea, and scanty and sedimentous urine. From such an action, it is evidently a gentle tonic to the mucous membranes. The people of some sections have great faith in its curing gravel, but this opinion can not be verified by experience. It is a general alterative of the mildly relaxing grade; and may be employed in scrofulous and cutaneous difficulties. Locally, it soothes phlegmonous sores, and is good in irritable and scrofulous ulcers. It is not astringent, as commonly described; and is an article of only moderate power. Prof. C. S. Rafinesque first called the attention of the profession to it.
The leaves are said to make a more soothing application than the bark, and to be an equally good diuretic, but not alterative. An ounce of the bark digested in a pint of hot water, may be given in doses of two fluid ounces every four hours.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com