Description: Natural Order, Compositae. Root perennial. Stem annual, four to ten feet high, an inch in diameter, purplish-green, striate, hollow, with a few short corymbose branches above. Leaves alternate, narrow-elliptical or lanceolate, tapering, four to eight inches long, serrate, coarse and rough. Flowers in crowded corymbose heads, all perfect, discoid, tubular, deep purplish-red; involucre of many appressed scales. Common on prairies, by streams, and in all places, through the West; sometimes in whole fields. Blooming from August to October.
Properties and Uses: The root is bitter, with stimulating and relaxing qualities, and leaving a full tonic impression. It has been commended in deficient and painful menstruation, and leucorrhea. The use to which it seems best adapted, is in the treatment of ague as a hepatic and an antiperiodic; in which connection several reliable physicians have commended it to me in high terms, and J. Overholt, M. D., of Columbus City, Iowa, especially speaks of it as a remedy of the first value. There is no doubt but it deserves investigation; and its great abundance commends it still further to consideration.
I have never employed the roots, but have tried the flowers; and find them a strong yet agreeable bitter, and think much good may be expected from them. Their taste is not unlike that of quinine, and they seem stronger than camomile. I would suggest that those having opportunity to employ this plant, might prepare a fluid extract of the roots, and another of the flowers, after the manner directed for fluid extract of boneset; and I would be much obliged for a report of their observations.
The leaves are astringent and bitter.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com