Description: Natural Order, Cupuliferae. The beech-tree of our forests is in the general family with the oak and chestnut. They are well known for their tall and straight trunk, smooth and ash-gray bark, dark-green, shining, coarsely toothed, and straight-veined leaves, and for their two sharply three-sided nuts in a foxy-red and prickly involucre.
Properties and Uses: The leaves of the beech-tree are possessed of relaxant and demulcent properties, and leave behind a mild tonic impression. They may be used in poultices to painful swellings and irritable and weak ulcers. An infusion, made by digesting two drachms of the dried leaves in a pint of warm water, forms an agreeable and useful drink in scanty and scalding urine, aching of the kidneys and bladder, recent catarrh of the bladder, and sub-acute dysentery. Though not yet introduced to the profession in these connections, I can commend them as a mild yet effective agent, suited to recent cases, and deserving of attention. Rafinesque says they make a good wash for burns, scalds, and frost-bites; but they are evidently too relaxing to be suitable to such injuries when so deep as to give a tendency to mortification.
The bark is a mild tonic of the gently astringing character; and in some sections is a popular family remedy for laxity of the bowels.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com