The bark of the root of the Aralia hispida, Linné.
COMMON NAMES: Dwarf elder, Wild elder, Bristle-stem sarsaparilla.
Botanical Source.—Aralia hispida is a perennial plant, with a low stem, from 1 to 2 feet high, the lower part woody and shrubby, thickly beset with sharp stiff bristles, the upper part herbaceous and branching. The leaves are bipinnate, and composed of oblong-ovate, acute, cut-serrate leaflets. The flowers, which are greenish-white, are arranged in numerous umbels which are simple, globose, axillary, and terminal, on long peduncles, and followed by bunches of dark-colored, nauseous berries. It flowers from June to September. The whole plant exhales an unpleasant odor.
History.—This is a low undershrub, growing from New England to Virginia, in fields, hedges, rocky places, and along the road-sides. The fruit is round, black, one-celled, containing three irregular-shaped seeds. The bark of the plant is employed in medicine, but that of the root is the most active. It yields its virtues to water.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—The leaves in warm infusion are sudorific. It has a marked influence upon the secretions, and the circulation. The bark is diuretic and alterative, and has an especial action on the kidneys, increasing secretion and allaying irritation. Very valuable in dropsy, gravel, and suppression of urine, and other urinary disorders. The juice and decoction of the fresh roots are said to be emetic and hydragogue, and have been found efficient in dropsy. Dose of decoction (℥ss to aqua Oj), 2 to 4 ounces, 3 times a day. Specific aralia hispida, 1 to 30 drops.
Specific Indications and Uses.—Diffused anasarca; dropsy of cavities; oedema; dropsy with constipation; renal and hepatic torpor; dyspnoea; and pain in the lumbar region.
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.