Description: Natural Order, Scrophulariaceae. This genus is represented in our country by but one species, the S. Marilandica being but a variety. They are tall, smooth herbs, three or four feet high, with strongly four-sided stems, erect, and with opposite branches. Leaves opposite, ovate-oblong below, narrow above, three to five inches long, cut-serrate, rounded-cordate at base, very dark green. Flowers small, on loose cymes which are axillary and terminal; calyx deeply five-cleft; corolla scarcely bilabiate, globose-tubular, a fourth of an inch long, lurid purple or dull greenish; stamens four, declined, with the rudiment of a fifth as a scale at the top of the corolla tube. July. The leaves and root have a rather rank smell, which is lost by drying.
Properties and Uses: The leaves are most medicinal, though the roots also are employed. They are largely relaxant, moderately stimulant, with a small portion of demulcent power; slow in action, mild, soothing, and leaving behind a fair tonic impression. They are chiefly alterative, the mesenteries, kidneys, and skin, receiving the principal impression. They are used in irritable forms of scrofula, and in scaly and irritable forms of skin affections; for which purposes they are best combined with such articles as rumex and stillingia. By limiting their alterative use to cases of the above class, the happiest results will be obtained. They exert an unusually excellent influence on the kidneys, moderately promoting the flow of urine, relieving torpor, and imparting a soothed and toned impression to these organs. In weakness of the female generative organs, with painfulness and irregularity in menstruation, they deserve especial notice; and I would respectfully, but confidently, commend them to the profession as among the most desirable soothing tonics for these cases. An ointment on lard is of much service in soothing burns, inflammation, sore nipples, ringworm, eczema, and piles. A decoction is made by digesting two ounces of the herb in a pint of hot water, and straining with strong pressure; of which two fluid ounces may be given three or four times a day. Three pounds are required to make a gallon of sirup. This agent is an ingredient in the Female Tonic and the Compound Sirup of Yellow Dock.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com