Description: Natural Order, Ranunculaceae. A shrubby plant from one to two feet high, in close clusters, found by mountain streams in Pennsylvania and southward. Bark smooth, bright yellow within, and the wood and long roots also yellow. Leaves compound, on long and tumid or half-clasping petioles, of one to two pairs of pinnae, smooth; leaflets two to three inches long, ovate, cleft and toothed. Flowers in drooping compound racemes, quite small, dull purple, polygamous; sepals five, spreading; petals five, smaller than the sepals, on a claw; stamens five or ten. Fruit two pendulous and narrow pods to each flower, one seeded. Blooming in early spring.
Properties and Uses: The root and the inner bark of this plant are intense yet not unpleasant bitters, of the moderately stimulating class, and forms an admirable though little used tonic. It is closely allied to hydrastis in color, taste, and action; and is usable for the many purposes to which that admirable remedy is applicable. Though classed by Rafinesque and others as the equivalent of frasera, it is a far stronger agent than it.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com