Description: Natural Order, Rubiaceae. Botanically allied to the Madder family, including mitchella and epigea. Genus GALIUM: Slender, weak, and almost procumbent herbs, with square stems, whorled leaves, and minute four-parted corolla. G. APARINE: Stem weak and reclining, hairy at the joints, bristly-prickly backwards along the angles, twelve to twenty inches high. Leaves about one inch long, lanceolate, tapering at the base, rough at the margins and midrib, about eight in a whorl. Flowers white, axillary, one to two on a peduncle. Fruit bristly, with hooked prickles. Common in tufts through moist woods on rich soil. Other species, as asprellum, concineum, and triflorum, (or sweet-scented straw,) are used indiscriminately with the aparine. The roots of most species yield a red coloring material.
Properties and Uses: This herb is a peculiarly soothing relaxant, acting upon the kidneys and bladder. It secures a goodly increase of the watery portion of the urine, thus rendering this secretion less irritating than it sometimes gets to be. Its action is light and diffusive, and it is suited only to acute cases; but is among the truly valuable agents in all forms of scalding urine, as in oxalic acid gravel, irritation at the neck of the bladder, and the first stages of gonorrhea. It is apparently somewhat soothing to the nervous system. It has been lauded for skin diseases, but probably without good grounds. Hot water and age impair its virtues. An infusion is prepared by digesting two ounces of the herb in a quart of tepid water for half an hour. Strain this off with pressure; and give from one to three fluid ounces every two or three hours. I have reaped much benefit by bruising the fresh herb thoroughly in a mortar, and then expressing the juice by very strong pressure. From half to a whole fluid ounce of this may be given every four or six hours in acute gonorrhea, and is a truly valuable agent. It may be preserved by the addition of a suitable quantity of diluted alcohol.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com