Description: Natural Order, Caprifoliaceae. In the same Family with sambucus and viburnum. Stem several from the same root, two to four feet high, round, hollow, very leafy to the top, and covered with soft hairs. Leaves opposite, oval, four to six inches long, pointed, abruptly narrowed below but connate round the stem, downy beneath. Flowers sessile, solitary or clustered in the axils, usually from three to five together; calyx tubular, persistent, with five lance-linear lobes; corolla tubular, swollen below, but little longer than the calyx, dull brownish-purple; stamens five, short. Fruit an oval bony drupe, half an inch long, orange-colored. Blooming in June.
This plant is not uncommon in rich woodlands, and in other shady situations. The root is used in medicine, and is a slow laxative-tonic, not unlike the bark of fraxinus. It has been commended in autumnal bilious fever, intermittents, and bilious forms of dyspepsia. No doubt it deserves more attention than has yet been paid to it; though the common accounts of it are so much based upon closet speculation rather than experience, that I do not feel justified in doing more than call attention to it as an article that, in some sections, has enjoyed a very popular reputation in agues.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com