The leaves of this herb have a strong odor, especially when bruised; and a bitter, biting taste. Boiling water and alcohol extract its qualities; but it contains a considerable portion of volatile oil, which is much dissipated by age and heat. The oil is greenish-yellow, lighter than water, and very pungent.
Properties and Uses: This herb is stimulating and moderately relaxing, rather diffusive, leaving a biting tonic-stimulating impression. A warm infusion favors perspiration, and stimulates the menstrual function; and is occasionally used in atonic amenorrhea, though a rather harsh remedy. It is a popular agent for all menstrual suppressions; and is often employed to medicate vapor for baths about the pelvis in such obstructions, and for local baths in rheumatism, sprains, etc.; and also as a fomentation for uterine and intestinal rheumatism, for all of which outward purposes it is an efficient article. Sometimes it is added to other agents in cold preparations, but is too harsh and unpleasant an article for internal use except under necessity. The oil is a good stimulating rubefacient, and is sometimes used as an abortive, but it is very dangerous. The seeds, and flowers when nearly ripe, are reputed to be a good remedy for worms.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com