Description: Natural Order, Magnoliaceae. The Magnolia family contains some of the most beautiful and fragrant trees of America. The genus is characterized by having the calyx three-sepaled, corolla six to nine-petaled, the receptacle elongated, and the pistils with their ovaries forming a cone-like fruit. When ripe, each carpel opens on the back; and from this fall one or two large, red, berry-like seeds, which hang suspended from one to several inches on extensile threads. The species GLAUCA is a small tree at the North, but quite a large one at the South. Leaves scattered, oblong-oval, thick, yellowish-green above, pale and glaucous beneath, silky-white beneath when young. Flowers large, creamy white, very fragrant, two to three inches broad; stamens numerous. Cone about an inch long. Most common along the sea-coast, but much cultivated in all parts of the country. An evergreen in the South.
MAGNOLIA ACUMINATA, or cucumber tree, often attains a height of sixty or ninety feet, with beautiful oval and pointed leaves from six to seven inches long by three or four inches broad. Flowers three inches broad, yellowish cream-colored, not very fragrant. Cone three inches long, and looking like a small cucumber when young. In rich woods of New York, Ohio, and southward.
MAGNOLIA TRIPETALA, or umbrella tree, has its leaves crowded at the ends of the flowering branches, where they form an umbrella-like circle. The leaves are sometimes twenty inches long by five inches broad, tapering both ways, and beautifully green. Flowers white, six to eight inches broad. Cone four to five inches long, and light rose-colored. Height twenty to forty feet.
The bark of the trunk of these three species is used in medicine, though that of the glauca is strongest. It has a pleasant, spicy, and balsamic aroma, and yields its properties to water and diluted alcohol.
Properties and Uses: This root is a mild tonic, with stimulating and relaxing qualities, and moderately diffusive. A warm infusion acts gently toward the surface, improving the pliancy and outward circulation, but scarcely procuring perspiration. It improves digestion, promotes the action of the kidneys and bowels gently, and sustains the nerves. Mild cases of indigestion, convalescence from typhoid and similar conditions of nervous prostration, and sub-acute rheumatism, are the cases in which it is generally used. Numerous accounts favor the idea that it is valuable as an antiperiodic; but probably it would meet only mild cases of the more nervous character. It is generally well received by the stomach. Dose of the powder, from ten to twenty grains. A tincture may be prepared on thirty percent alcohol. This article is similar to, but stronger and more stimulating than, the liriodendron, which is in the same family.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com