Related entry: Gnaphalium.—White Balsam
The leaves of the Antennaria margaritacea, Robert Brown; (Gnaphalium margaritaceum, Linné.)
COMMON NAMES: Pearly everlasting, Pearl-flowered life everlasting.
Botanical Source.—Antennaria margaritacea is a perennial plant, with a simple, erect stem, corymbosely branched above. The leaves are linear-lanceolate, acute, 3-veined, sessile, and beneath the stem woolly; the corymbs are many-flowered and fastigiate; the scales of the hemispheric involucre are elliptic, obtuse, opaque, pearl-white, the outer ones only tomentose at the base; beads dioecious; the pistillate flowers are very slender; pappus simple, bristly, capillary in the fertile flowers, and in the sterile club-shaped, or barbellate at the summit. The corolla is yellowish (W. G.).
History and Chemical Composition.—The name Antennaria is from the resemblance of the sterile pappus to the antennae of many insects (W.). The plant is slightly fragrant, and grows in dry hills and woods of various parts of the United States; it is from 1 to 2 feet in height, and bears yellow and white flowers in July. The leaves are the parts used. They contain a bitter principle and an essential oil.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Anodyne, astringent, and pectoral. A decoction has proved beneficial in diarrhoea and dysentery, and in pulmonary affections. Externally, it forms an excellent poultice in sprains, bruises, boils, painful swellings, etc., and is said to produce sleep when applied externally to the head, even in cases where a poultice of hops has failed. Rafinesque is authority for the statement that the Indians, for a trifle, would allow rattlesnakes to bite them, to show that they could cure the bite at once with this plant. Decoction (℥j to aqua Oj) freely.
Related Species.—Antennaria plantaginifolia, Robert Brown. (Gnaphalium plantaginifolium, Linné; G. plantagineum, Pursh; G. dioicum, var. plantaginifolium, Michaux). Plantain life everlasting. Cudweed. Mouse-ear everlasting. Canada and the United States, in open woods and barren hills. Domestic remedy, when boiled in milk, for diarrhoea and dysentery. Reputed efficacious in bites of poisonous reptiles.
Antennaria dioica, Gaertner (Gnaphalium dioicum, Linné). Europe. Used the same as preceding species.
Antennaria arenarium, Linné. Europe and Asia. Uses same as preceding species.
Gnaphalium polycephalum, Linné. (See Gnaphalium).
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.