Botanical Source.—This plant has a perennial root, from which arises an erect, sheathed, and pubescent scape, from 8 to 12 inches in height. The leaves are radical, ovate, dark-green, conspicuously reticulated, blotched above with white, about 2 inches in length, and contracted at base into winged petioles scarcely half as long. The flowers are white, numerous, pubescent, and borne in a crowded, terminal, oblong, cylindric spike. Lip ovate, acuminate, saccate, and inflated. Petals ovate. The Goodyera repens, R. Brown, is a reduced variety of the above, the scape being from 6 to 8 feet in height; leaves less conspicuously reticulated, flowers being on a somewhat unilateral spike, more or less spiral; in other respects about the same as the preceding (W.—G.).
History.—This herb grows in various parts of the United States, in rich woods, and under evergreens, and is common southward, while the G. repens is more common northward and on mountains. It bears white or yellowish-white flowers in July and August. The leaves are the parts employed, and yield their virtues to boiling water. No analysis has been made of them.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Net-leaf plantain is anti-scrofulous, and is reputed to have cured severe cases of scrofula. The fresh leaves are steeped in milk and applied as a poultice to scrofulous ulcers, or the bruised leaves may be laid on them, and in either case they must be renewed every 3 hours; at the same time a warm infusion must be taken as freely as the stomach will allow. Used as an injection into the vagina, and at the same time exhibited internally, the infusion has proved beneficial in leucorrhoea, recent prolapsus uteri, and as a wash in scrofulous ophthalmia.
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.