[Corallorhiza]. Albany beech-drops, Dragon's claw [Coral root]
Description: Natural Order, Ericaceae. Allied to chimaphila. A clammy-pubescent herb one to two feet high, with an erect, unbranched, and wand-like stem, leafless, but toward the base furnished with scattered and lanceolate leaves. Flowers nodding, and borne at the top of the stem in a long, bracted raceme. Calyx five-pointed; corolla ovate, urn-shaped, five-toothed, persistent, white; stamens ten, included; style short, with a five-lobed stigma. Fruit a small, globose, five-celled pod; with numerous small seeds, the tops of which are expanded into a large wing.
This peculiar and rare plant is somewhat parasitic on the roots of pines, on hard dry soils, from Vermont westward and northward. The root is medicinal. It is of medium size, grayish yellow or yellowish brown, wrinkled transversely, yellowish white within, and of a peculiar odor when fresh, but almost without smell when dried. Water and diluted alcohol extract its properties readily; and heat and age impair it greatly.
Properties and Uses: This root is a pleasant-tasting and nearly pure relaxant, with only a modicum of stimulating action, and a little demulcent property. Very diffusive in action, and perhaps unsurpassed for the promptness with which it secures a profuse perspiration. As a diaphoretic, it is of the first value in all febrile cases–relieving arterial excitement and abating nervous irritability. It is of equal service in erysipelas, measles, pneumonia, pleurisy, phrenitis, and other acute inflammations; soothing the patient and restoring the capillary circulation without depressing the system. The uterine organs feel its action promptly; and it promotes the catamenia and lochia, relieves painful menstruation, acts to fine effect in acute ovarian and uterine inflammation, and is of value in after-pains and puerperal fever. Dose, ten to twenty grains every two hours or oftener; usually given in warm water, but not often made in infusion because of the great loss of strength occasioned by heat. The great scarcity of the plant prevents that general introduction which the article so richly deserves.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com