Description: Natural Order, Cistaceae. A small herb, found mostly on sandy soils east of the Alleghenies, but also common in some places westward. Leaves simple, nearly an inch long, oblong, nearly sessile, tomentose beneath, opposite below, alternate above. Flowers of two sorts, the earlier ones being an inch wide, with five yellow petals, an indefinite number of stamens, and pods about half an inch long, bearing many seeds; the later ones with very small petals or none at all, three to ten stamens, and pods about as large as a pin's head, and only a few seeds; the yellow petals open but once, and fall off the next day. The whole plant has a downy look.
Properties and Uses: This plant possesses astringent and stimulating properties, of the class commonly termed alterant tonics. It strengthens the mucous membranes and the assimilative apparatus. Its principal employment is in those forms of scrofula where there is a tendency to diarrhea, with impurities dependent upon the absorption of ill-vitalized nutriment; in which cases it is an excellent agent, though a mild one. In chronic diarrhea, epithelial ulceration of the bowels, and aphthous sores of a light grade, it is a serviceable agent; and may also be used as a wash and poultice on scrofulous ulcers, and in chronic purulent ophthalmia. It requires three pounds of this herb to prepare a gallon of sirup of ordinary strength. A fluid extract may be prepared in the same general manner as for boneset. It is usually combined in sirups with such stronger alterants as stillingia, menispermum, and dicentra.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com