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suRonm nr trb unitbd statbt navt, aito or trb naval iiosnTAL at pm^ADBLFBiAt 






JOIEPH B. ▲. ■KKBBrrr, FBIimB. 



EE IT RBMRMEPiREP, Tkat on. tiie diM d«(f of Dteonbor, is the Ibrtgr4liifd yntr of the 
V*l Independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1818, WILLIAM P. C. BARTON, of the 
S K. t. S said District, hath deposited in this oflice the title of a Book, the right whereof he clainis as Au- 
•••••• thoTt in the words foUowing, to wit: " Vegetable Materia Medica of the Uiuted States; or Medical 

Botany : containing a Botanical, General, and Medical History of Medicinal Plants, indigenous to 
the United States. Illustrated by coloured Engravings, made after original drawings from nature, 
done by the author. By William P. C. Barton, M. IX Surgeon in the United States' Navy, and 
of the Naval Hospital at Philadelphia : and Professor of Botany in the UniTersit}^ of Pennsylvania. 
Volume IL" In conformity to tne act of the congress of the United States, entitled, ** An act for 
the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of map^ charts, and books, to the authors 
and proprietors of such copies^ duriiig the limefl taereiii mentioned.** — And also to the act, enti- 
tled, ** An act supplementary to an a^S, entitled, <* An act for the encouragement of learning, by 
securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies 
during the times therein mentioned,'* and extendiu^ the benefits thereof to the arts of desigmng, 
engravings and etching historical and other prints.*^ 

IX GAU^WBLL^ Cbrk rf th^ Satiem JUttrki ^ JP^mrn^hfonifU 











IN presenting the second volume of this work to the puiilic, it may 
be proper to offer a few remarks, relative to tlic nature of the enter- 
prise, and the progress which has been made towards achieving it. As 
soon as my attention was directed to the Botany of our country, it 
appeared to me obvious, that a rich treasure of Medicinal vegetables^j 
remained imperfectly described and unknown. Considering, indeed, 
the vast extent of territory, and the luxuriance and number of the ve- 
ge tables of the United States, its botany has been investigated i^ith a 
surprising degree of zeal and research. But, unfortunately, only its 
nomenclatural botany, has hitherto excited much attention. 1 did 
believe, when I conceived the design of illustrating the medical 
botany of our countryi that such a work, even though it were limit* 
ed to the delineation and description of the known medicinal plants, 
or those supposed to be medicinal, would have the effectof directing 
a more general attention to tJiis important suljjeet, than had pre- 
viously been bestowed, and of giving an impulse perhaps, to the 
studies and observations of those physicians and botanists whose 
qualifications and opportunities were equally propitious to investl* 
gations of this nature. And it must be confessed, I have had my an- 
ticipation, on this point, fully realized. To tliis work, and that of my 
fellow traveller in the same path, may perhaps be attributedj some 


of the eager curiosity and attention which our native medicinal 
plants now manifestly excite. Thus much may, it is hoped, with 
propriety be said. And if this work only perform the office of the 
finger-post on the road, which, though it stirs not one inch of the 
way itself, points out the right path to be pursued, it will not have 
been published in vain. Already the attention to this subject may be 
geen, in a late valuable edition of the Edinburgh Dispensatory, by Dr. 
Dyckman, of New York, in which more of our native medicines will 
be found, than have, heretofore, appeared in the American Dispensato- 
ries. And it is not doubted, that when the national PharmacopcBia, 
now meditated, is given to the worid, the Materia Medica of the 
United States will not only be extensively used by our own physi- 
dans, but will be eagerly sought for by those of fioreign countries. 
But, our Materia Medica is not the only worthy object of ^quiry, to 
the botanist : the Materia Alimentaria o£ North America, is equally in* 
teresting. From an unfortunate race of human beings now rapidly 
disappearing, by the influence of the combined effects of warfare, 
civilization, and amalgamation with the whites, much valuable infor- 
mation might, in all probability be obtained, on the sulgect of their ma- 
teria alimentaria.^ For among the esculent vegetables of the Indians 

* It is highly probable that among the manuscripts which were left by the late Pro- 
fessor Barton, much interesting information on this subject might be collected. His 
weU known inquisitivenass, and his constant habit of recording, in however desultory a 
■umner, the facta with which his enquiries made him acqoaiatedy warrant the beUef, 
that the puUic are deprived of some curious and very interesting knowledge^ in conse- 



of our countrr, it hm ahvayg been supposed ihere were some worthy 
of cultivation for tiie table. This has heretotore been prevented, 
in consequence of our ignorance of ttie identical plants, or precise spe- 
cies, which were used by the savages. The ti^avelsof Lewis and Clarke, 
have put us in possession of the Indian names of many native dietetic 
articles, and these names have occasionally been accompanied by im- 
perfect descriptions. Not much more therefore than conjectures, could 
be expected to arise from such informal and unscientific accounts j 
and indeed, little else has resulted, on this subject, from the tich op* 

quence of the cloak whkh hat been thrawn over his coUf cttons. Strange ns it may ap- 
pear, it is not the less true»that not a single one of these msinuiicriptN, tmt even his 
lecturer on Materia Medicai* lias e%er seen Uic light. The public is yet to be inform- 
ed what has become of the industrious colEections of that eminent man ; and it is sin* 
cerely hoped they have not been recklessJy destroyed. Though the author of this work, 
his own nephew, was engaged in the same pursuits which occupied much of the time 
and attention ofthe late Professor* not a single line of his manuscripts has ever been put 
into his hands^ or seen by him; nor was his opinion even asked abotit the disposition of 
them. But on tlie contrary, he was refused a alght of such memorandums and notes as 
were aslted to enable him to write an authentic account of bis life, when called on so to 
do by tlic Philadelphia Medical Society, of which the Professor, at the time of his 
decease, was president. It has been deemed proper to make this public avowal, because 
it has been mentioned to the author, that some persons supposed him possessed of all 
the papers and collections of the late Pi^ofessor Barton, designing by such tntimationi 
to deprive the author of whatever credit his pemevering exer^ionsi in despite of dis- 
couraging and opi>osing ohstaclesp may have deserved. 

• The numuBcripl lecturei on M*tertft Mtdict^ wtrt loU to Mr, Doh»oi>, iTiore than two feftTsnneef but 


portunities of that governmental expedition. It is well knovro^ that lio 
botanist or naturalist accompanied those traYellens ; although our or* 
oithology might have been enriched by some new species of birds,, 
or some interesting &cts relative to the habits and migrations of 
known species, bad the humble and entreating ofier of the lamented 
Wilson,^ to accompany the expedition, been accepted. It is neither 
my intention, nor my province, in this place, to make any animad- 
versions on the direction of that great undertaking : but I cannot for- 
bear to remark, that from the discoveries made by a botanical exa* 
mination of the few plants brought by captain Lewis, we are war- 
ranted in the belief, that a very spendid harvest might have been 
reaped, had any competent botanist accompanied the party. I need 
only mention, in proof of this, the discovery of the plant which yields 
the bread-root of the Indians. 

The Opopanok^ the Abckshauw^ the rtnld-potatoe^ and the hqg^potatoeji 
are yet entirely unknown ; at least the identical plants bearing these 
names, are not yet ascertained. They are, undoubtedly, native vege- 
tables; and it was formerly supposed that some one or two of them, 

*For an affecting account of the transaction here aUuded to, I beg leave to refer to 
the masterly biographical sketch of his fiiendy by John Ord» Esq. prefixed to tlie tenth 
volume of Wilson's Omithology, which was edited by this zealous naturalist. 
A j I am aware that the c&wvolvulus panduratus has been called ht^-potatotf but whether 
it is really the plant so commonly recognised by that name formerly, is somewhat pro- 


were aboriginal names for tlie common Irish-potatoe, (solarium tu- 
beroaum.) The enquiries aud investigations, however, of the late 
Professor Barton^ in relation to tins subjecl,* while they prove, beyond 
the possitjility of doubt, that the lrish*potatoe, i^ it is generally now 
called, is not a native of any part of North -America^ sufficiently sa- 
tisfy us, that neither of the vegetables under the above names, can 
be identical with that plant. 

The travels of Baron Humboldt, which have so much enriched 
our knowledge, by details of tlic practical and ceconomical uses of 
plants, acquaint us, that the inhabitants of Pal ma and Gomera make 
a composition out of the root of Pteris aquilma and barley -meal, which 
serves them for food.f This fern is plentifully distributed along the 
moist edges of woods^ fields and bogs, all over the United States, It 
grows near the fails of Bcbuylkill, and indeed all along its western 
shores, and in Jei'sey, near the Delaware river* The Lend- 
Lenappea, we well know, used two important dietetic articles, the 
Mockshauw, and a subterranean aquatic tuber, which has by some 
been conjectured to be the Sag! tt aria sagittifolia4 This, however, 

♦ Tilloclrs Fliilosopliirai Magazine, 

jllicy grind tlie roots to jiowdcr, then mix it with Uie mc*l, and boil it When thus 
prepared f it is termed go/io* 

^ While 1 have mentioned ihm plftnt^ I may not inappropriately state, Uiat the root 
seems to have been successfully used as a pouiticei in cases of sphacelating ulcers. 


certainly is not the case ; but the Pteris aquUina may be the plant 
meant under the name of Mockshauw. I throw this out as a mere 
suggestion ; at the same time I ought to remark, that in perusing the 
^^ Materia Venenaria regni Vegetabilis," of PuUm, I met with an ob- 
servation relative to Orontium aquaticum, (which also inhabits the 
borders of rivers, and such places as the Delaware Indians were said 
to have resorted to for their favourite Mockshauw,) which induced me 
to think it not improbable, that this is the plant intended by that name. 
The observation is as follows: ^'Orontii aquatici radix, quse cineribus 
tosta Americanis sylvestribus cibo est, cruda ob acredinem homini- 
bus toxifera habetur. Semina quoque, quse bene siccata et cum aqua 
aUquoties cocta ferculum exhibent, cruda acerrima sunt"* 

" The Indians had their sallads,*' we are told by the late Professor 
Barton, who remarks at the same time that the ^^ Indian sallad^^^ and 
the " Shawnee saUad;^' of the states of Kentucky and Ohio, are praised 
by the white settlers; and adds, **they are unknown to me."t It 

An officer of the war department pointed out this plant to me in a marsh in the city of 
Washington, and informed me, that an officer in the army, with whom he was acquainted, 
had caused the plant to be dug up, the roots bruised, moistened, and applied to a very 
extensive and ill-conditioned ulcer, in which mortification had commenced, and that 
one or two applications of the poultice checked the progress of the mortification, and 
the sore healed kindly and rapidly. 

* Materia Venenaria, p. 80, 
I CoUections for a Materia Medica, and Discourses on some of the principal deside- 
rata of Natural History, read before the Philadelphia Linnfean Society. 



would perhaps be going too far to say, at this period of my informa- 
tion on the subject, that I had ascertained the plant to which these 
names refer ; tliough I am certainly warranted in saying, that the facts 
I am possessed of render it extremely probable, that the Shawnee or 
Imiian sallad of the state of Kentucky, is the Hydrophyllum appendi- 

But these are merely a few instances of the desiderata on this 
point From an investigation of so rich a subject, much novel and in* 
teres ting information must necessarily be acquired* 

* Some time since, Dr« Sltart, of llapkinsville, Retilucky, sent a specimen of a plant 
to a friend in this city, with tlie following note : *♦ 1 send you a plant, vulgarly known 
in Ohia> Kentucky, and Tennessee, by the name of f¥^ootlefi*bretch€$. The young 
shoots are eaten in the spring, as a sallad, and highly praited by at! who eat them. 
I cotdd wiiih to know the name of this plant, which I undei^tand Mr. Correa waa 
very anxious to seet when In this part of tho world/* 7Hie plant in question pro?ea 
on examination, to be Hydrophyllym appetidiculatunu I suhaeijuenUy received a better 
specimen from Dr. Eberle, of Lancaster, who obtained it* I believe, from the late Dr, 
Muhlenberg, or who found It In one of the books purchased from the reverend doctor*a 
library. From this speciment aided in the colour of the Oowet^, by a sketch sent on tho 
blank page of the letter, by Dr« Short, I hHve made a drawing. I have already said^ 
I do not assert tliat this piant yields the Sliawnee sallad^ or Indian sallad so called^ 
bat as it certainly is an Imiian saliadt and Inhabits the districts of country in which 
Uie Sliawnee saltad ts said to grow, it is by no means unlikely tliat it may he the plant 
intended by those appellations ; and from what has been said concerning it. Is un* 
doubtedly worthy of cultivation. The roots of a species of the same genus* Hydro* 
phyllum Canadensis, we learn, vvei*e eaten by the Indians in times of scarcity. 


Impressed with these views, I had determined, after embracing 
Uie wliole of the medicinal plants of these states, to continue the 
work by delineating all the dietetic native vegetables of our country, 
and giving of each a correct coloured plate. Whether this part of my 
design will ever be accomplished, it is ^fficult to say. There are 
many discouraging circumstances connected with investigadons of 
this nature, which I may not feel willing to combat or oppose. Among 
them, is the notorious discouraging influence, at least m this city, rela- 
tive to botanical pursuits, proceeding too from sources where acciden- 
tal and professional elevation gives a kind of adventitious importance 
to opinions, which would otherwise be wholly inefficient in their ope- 
ration, if not beneath notice or refutation. As regards my own efforts, 
I am free to confess, that my interests are too deeply connected with 
such opposition to the pursuits of the professorship I have the 
honour to hold, to be very solicitous to run counter to, or struggle 
against, such appalling circumstances. And at least necessity, if not 
the will, would urge a relinquishment of pursuits, which are indus- 
triously taught to be incompatible with the severe, and more usefid 
occupations of medicine, or with the attainment of the more conspi- 
cuous eminence to which the practice of physic and surgery lead. 

It may now be proper to inform the public of the state of forward- 
ness of this work. The whole number of plates necessary to complete 
it, are engraved; and were it not for the tediousness of the colour- 



ing,* the second volume might be presented complete, in a month 
from this time. By the first of the ensuing March, Iiowcver^ the 
eighth and last number will be published. And tliough all tiie im- 
portant medicinal plants of our country, cannot be comprehended 
within the limits to which it was thought prudent, on the subscribers' 
account, to affix to the present undertaking, still, it is hoped, a suffi- 
cient number have been ligured and described, to render the work 
tjseful. If the public desire a continuance of it, their encourage- 
ment may effect it To them already the publishers are indebted for 
a very extensive patronage, and the author for a very flattering 
reception of his labours. The former were richly entitled to it by their 
enterprise^ in undertaking so costly a publication, and their great 

* It may be proper to meittion in tliis place, that when this Wdrk was com- 
mencecl, the author hc)ievec]» being under the iinpres^sion that the subscription wiiuld be 
very limited, that he would be enabled to execute all the colouring with his own hand» 
The large hubf!»crsption which was immediately filled up, soon convinced him» that this 
was utterly impraciicable ; and he consequently was obliged to have ret oui^e to the as* 
alstance of others. And even with the assistance^ sometimes of six [lerHonsi be could 
not supply the coloured copies as rapidly as the publishers ontei^s called fur^ lie 
lias been fortunate in meeting in bis own family* with some persons^ whase colouring 

is faithful but in nmny instances he has met w ith repeated disappointment and mortifi* 

cation, in those who wanted this faithfulness — and in despite of aU exertions to prevent it^ 
some colotirtng has passed through his hands, which, though not very riuilty, wan far from 
being as well executed as could be desired. With a view to complete the work as soon 
aspossihleta few plates have been done by Mr. Btiydtand Mr. Warnicke; the largest 
number, however, have been executed by Messrs, Tanner, Vallance« Kearny^ and Co* 
The plates are highly creditable to the talents of all these excellent artists. 


liberality in conducting it ; and the author can say with sincerity, that 
he has spared no effort in endeavouring to render his work useful, and 
worthy of the distinguished countenance with which it has been 

Philadelphia^ December srf, 1818- 



Mandrake. Wild Lemon. Ipecacuanha. Duck's-footf (in England.} 

Germ. Schildblattriger EntenfiiM. (Willd.) Entenfuss; Fluas blatt 

Butch. Eendenpoot 

P0D0FHTIJ.UM peltatum. L. Sp. PI. 723. a. Marr. 489. Hort. Kew. ii. 222. 
Boerh. ii. 72. Catesb. Car. 1. 1. 24. ScboepC 86. Bart Collections, 31. 37. 40. 
ed. 3d. 31. 39. Coze's Disp. ed. 3d. p. 499. Thatcher's Disp. ed. 3d. p. 318. 
Dale 421. col. 1. par. 1. Stokes's Bot Mat Med. iii. p. 179. Bigelow, Florula 
Bost p. 132. Pursh. Fl. Am. ii. 366. Juss. 235. Mich. Fl. Am. i. 309. Hort 
Cliff. 202. Hort. Ups. 137. Gron. Yirg. 5. Roy. Lugdb. 480. Trew. ehret t 
29. Mill. Diet. Houttuyn. Lin. Pfl. Syst 7. p. 187. Willd. Sp. PI. torn. ii. par. 
iii. p. 1141. Dyrkroan's edition of the Edinbarg Dispen. p. 347. Barton's 
Cullen, vol. i. p. 91. vol. ii..p. 375. Niitt Gen. Am. PI. vol. ii. p. 10. Bart. 
Pn>d. Fl. Ph. 57. Bart Compendium Flora Philadelphics, vol. ii. p. 9. 
Mentz. Pugill. t 1 1. Ait Hoi*t Kew. vol. iii. 287. Lamarck, Ulustr. t. 449. 
Mtihl. Cat 53. Pharm. Med. Soc. Mass. 26. 


Gen. PI. ed. Schreb. n. 879. 

Car. 9-petala, (6-lOpetala. B.) Col. 3-pbylliis. Bacca l-locularis, coronatastigmate. 
VOLi. U. 2 

10 PodaphyUum peUatum. 

Calix S-leaved. Petals 9. 8Hgma crenate^ sessile. Capsule superior, 1 -celled, many- 
seeded, becoming an ovate berry. Receptacle unilateral, large and pulpy. — 

Nat Syst Juss. Sanunculaceai. Classis XIIL Ordo I. 

PoDOFHTixuM, L.* Jifiapodophyllum, T.* Calix 3-phyllus. Petala 9. Stylus Or} stigma 
capitatum. Caulis ^-phyUusJoliis palmatis, in dichotomid l^florusjlore alio. 

Juss. Gen. Plant, ed. 1789. p. 235. 
Nat. Ord. Lin. Moeadece. 
Classis Polyandria. Ordo Mmogynian Lin. Syst 

Gen. Ch. Col. Perianth inferior, of three large, coloured, ovate, concave, ascending 
leaves, soon falling. Cor. Petals nine, orbicular, concave, plaited at the mar- 
gin. 8tam. Filaments numerous, very short; anthers oblong, large, erect. 
Fist. Germen superior, roundish; style none; stigma obtuse, furrowed. Peric. 
Berry globose, crowned with the permanent stigma, of one cell. Seeds numer- 
ous, roundish. Receptacle central, unconnected. 

Ess. Ch. Corolla of nine petals. Calix of three leaves, deciduous. Berry of one cell, 
crowned with the stigma. * Ency. 

PoDOFHTLLUM peltatum; stem one-iowered; leaves peltate, palmate, lobate; lobes 
cuneate^ incised. Barton's Compendium Florte Philadelphics, vol. ii. p. 9. 


Anapodophtixum Canadense. Catesb. 

AcoNiTiFOLiA humilis, flore albo unico campanulato fructu cynosbati. Mentz. 


PoDOFUTixi peltati^ Radix; interdum/ruc<ii9. 

PodophffUum ptUatunu 


The generic n^tne Podophyllum^ is derived from wnw^ a foot, and 
#uAA*i, a leaf, from a fancied resemblance of the leaf to the web-foot 
of aquatic birds. It was called originally by Touniefort,^in^?porff?pA//Wo;i, 
from ujtas^ the Latin name for a duck ; but Linnseus's niore correct no- 
tions of derivation, caused him to modify this exceptionable word m 
the manner it is now universally received. The species wluch is the 
subject of this article, is a hardy perennial herbaceous plants and is per- 
haps, one of the most important medicinal vegetables indigenous to 
our country. The root is creeping, very long, often from three to six 
feet in length, of a burnt- umber or hist re colour externally, and yel- 
lowish-white within. It is smooth and round, but interrupted l>y joints 
or nodes, from which proceed numerous large fibres of a colour con- 
siderably lighter than the main root. The stem is upriglit, simple, 
round, smooth, yellowish-green, about a foot or fourteen inches high, 
supporting two large leaves, and a single flower in the fork, formed by 
the junction of the petioles. The leaves when they first appear are 
often marked with brown cUscoIorations; these occasionally continue 
on them wlien mature. They are peltate, the petioles inchning mostly 
towards the edge of the fissure in t!ie base* They arc palmately di- 
vided for the most part into six large lobes, attenuated towards the 
bottom, and irregularly incised at the top, with sometimes sharp and 
often obtuse points. They are strongly veined, are of a ^\m yellow- 
green above, pale underneath, inclining in the mature leaves to a 
grey or bluish-green, and are reputed to possess a deleterious quality. 
The flower is drooping, mostly of the siw represented in the plate^ 

12 Podophyllum peltatum. 

cx)n9ist]ng of three deciduous calix leaves (Fig. 8.) and from six to 
nine white petals, delicately reticulated with veins, and forming a 
concave flower. The pistil is somewhat urceolate, of a yello¥nsh 
colour and crowned with a crenate stigma, much darker. The sta* 
mens are from thirteen to twenty, and of a yellow colour. The fruit 
varies much in size, according to the different situations in which 
the plant may have grown. Its usual size is that represented in the 
figure, or of a common plumb, but I have very frequently seen it 
twice as large, and it is often smaller. It is, when mature, of a le- 
mon-yellow colour, sli^tly maculated with round brownish dots, 
and is crowned with the persistent stigma. It consists internally of 
a delicate pulp, in which about a dozen seeds are immersed, attach- 
ed by umbilicate fibres to the receptacle, which is situated more to 
one side than the other. This fruit is extremely delicious to most 
persons, and to many quite apperient; it may be eaten in consi- 
derable quantities without any unpleasant effect, and being sub- 
acid and grateful, may be considered healthful. Schoepf says, the 
pigeons of Carolina are fattened by eating it. The seeds are about 
twelve in number, of the size and shape represented in the draw- 
ing, and of a light yellowish colour. 

This plant is propagated so luxuriantly by the creeping of its 
roots, that but a small proportion of the flowers produce fruit; 
perhaps not more than one in forty or fifty ; so that it is not un- 
cenymon to find whole patciies consisting of two or three hundred 

Podophyllum peUqtun^ i 3 

plants, with scarcelj more than a couple of dozen fruiting speci- 

The May-apple is exclusively a native of North America ; and is 
found from the northern to the southern boundaries of the United 
States, in great profusion, generaUy inhabiting moist, rich, and shady 
woods, though not unfrequently met with in open or exposed situa- 
tions, as well as often by the edges of rivulets. It appears, bow- 
ever, to delight in moist soil, being always most luxuriant in humid 
places. When it grows in low and very wet or marshy grounds, the 
roots become larger than usual, and quite succulent, so that in ex- 
siccation they lose more than half their diameter. 

Why this plant has received the name of May-apple, it is diffi- 
cult to conjecture, since it only commences flowering, at least in the 
middle and northern states, in the latter part of the month of May, 
and is not in full bloom until the first week in June. Its fruit is not 
mature till the latter part of September, at which time the leaves 
have become faded to a yellow colour, or have entirely fidlen off. 
Then is the proper period for collecting the roots for medicinal 
uses ; they should be dried and pulverized for use. The Indians 
dry them in the shade. (For Chemical Analysis, see Appendix.) 

14 Podophyllum peUatum. 


The root of the May-apple, exclusively, is used in medicine. 
There is no indigenous plant whose medicinal virtues are better 
ascertained at present. Its proper place in the Materia Medica, 
is among cathartics ; and it may be ranked among the most safe and 
active of this class* of medicines. Schoepf briefly remarks that the 
root is emetic, without specifying the dose which produces, that ef- 
fect ; and Puihn speaks of it as a powerful emetic : ^' Podophylli 
peltati radix valde emetica est.''* like most active purgatives, this 
medicine will occasionally act upon the stomach ; and I have on two 
occasions found large doses, to produce full vomiting. But this is 
certtdnly not the usual, or conspicuous effect of the powder ; on the 
contrary, it almost always acts as an active purgative. In an exten- 
sive use of this article for two years past, I have, with the exception 
of the two instances just mentioned, uniformly found it to affect the 
bowels ; and I have repeatedly employed it alone ; though the bet- 
ter mode of administering it is in conjunction with the supertartrate 
of potash, calomel or rhubarb. The root has " often been found 
to operate as an anthelmintic, and it is used as such by the Cherokee 

* Materia Venenaria Regni vegetabilis. 

Podophyllum peUatum. 15 

and other southern Indians/'* Of this my experience affords 
neither corroboration nor refutation ; but in all probability the plant 
is destitute of any specific anthelmintic virtue ; and most likely ex- 
pels worms as calomel and many active purgatives do. Tlie late 
Dr. Barton tells us that he had heard much of the virtue of an ex- 
tract of the root of May-apple, but had never himself used it It is 
reputed to have been found highly useful as a cathartic in colica 
pictonum.f He seemed to think that, as a cathartic, the powder 
possessed some advantages over rhubarb and jalap ; he does not 
however mention in what respect he deemed it superior or prefer- 
able. My impression, from an impartial administration of the 
powder, in repeated trials, is, that it is equal to the common jalap of 
the shops, in doses of the proportion of a scruple of the former, to 
fifteen or eighteen grains of the latter; and in this it seems indeed 
to be preferable to the jalap, that it is less nauseous to irritable sto- 
machs. Dr. Barton remarks, ^' that Podophyllum has been thought 
by some practitioners, to be especially adapted, as a purge, to cases 
of inter mittents, remittents and dropsy ;'' and concludes by ob- 
serving, that he '^ believes the medicine possesses some narcotic 

* Barton's CoUectioDS. 
f Barton's edition of CuUen's Materia Medica, vol. 9. p. 375. 
i Ibid. 

^ 6 Podophyllum peUatum. 


Fig, 1. Represents the Podophyllum peltatum in flower, the steto 
broken from Fig. ». at the mark.+ 

s. The lower portion of the stem and root of the same. 

3. The mature fruit of the commonest size. 

4. A cross section of the same, shewing the pulp and the at- 

tachment of the seeds to the receptacle. 

5. A longitudinal section of another fruit, whidh sliews the vIeu 

nation in the shape of the apple, and gives a different vidw 
of the seeds. 

6. A back view of a seed. 

7. A front view of the same. 

8. A view of the unexpanded flower, exhibiting the caltx before 

it has fallen. 

9. A stamen. 



Oerm. Canadische Hjdraatis. (Willd.) 

FfmdL HTdraite da C*Mte» 

HTMULsns CaBadeoaia. L. I^. Fl. rS4. Maat 408. Hort Kaw. iL ftTS. Mill. Ph. k. 

190. t. £85. Stokes'a Bot. Mat Med. iiL 278. Houttnyn. Lin.Pfl.87at vii. p. 

879. Mich. Ft Am. Boreal, i. 817. Panh. FL Am. ii. 889. MaU. Cat 57. 

WUld. 8p. Ft ii. p. 1840. Coxa'a Disp. ed. 8d. 374. Dyckman's Ed. Diap. 

416. Barton's CoUectionat ed. 8d. par. L p. 9. par. iL p. 18. Bart Comp. 

Fl. Ph. ii. p. S2. Bart Prod. FL Ph. p. 61. Juss. 232. Lamarck, Diet v. 8. 

151. lllustr. t 500. Lin. Gen. PL 288. Schreb. 379. Mart Mill. Diet v. 2. 

Bart Elem. Bot par. 3. p. 70. 


Gen. Pi. ed. Schreb. n. 958. 

Ut»miJTis. Ctd. 0. Pdala 8. JVkcteria 0. Bscoa compoaita acinis monoapermis. 
Nat 8]rat Jusa. Fmmmmkiom. ClanbXUL Ovdo I. 
VOL. II. 8 

18 Hydrastis Canadensis. 

Htd&astis, L. * Calix 0. Petala S. Baccs numeross minims. Caulis altemd S-phyl- 
lusy foliis palmatis; flos solitarius terminalis ; tructus et habitus Rubi herbacei. 
Affinis Podophyllo, sed polygyna. An semini perispermum corneum ? 

Juss. Oen. Plant ed. 1789. p. 2352. 
Nat. Ord. Lin. MiUHMiquce? 
Classis Pdyandria. Ordo Polygynia, Lin. Syst. 

Oen. Ch. Cal. Perianth none. Cor. Petals three, ovate, regular. Stam. Filaments nu- 
merous, linear, compressed, a little shorter than the corolla; anthers com- 
pressed, obtuse. Fist. Germcns numerous, ovate, forming themselves into an 
ovate head ; styles very short ; stigmas broadish, compressed. Peric. Berry 
composed of oblong grains. Seeds solitary, oblong. 

Ess. Ch. Calix none. Petals three. Nectary none. Berry composed of single-seeded 
grains. Ency. 

Hydrastis Canadensis; caule supeme opposite diphyllo; foliis petiolatis basi emargi- 
natis, palmatis, serratis, incisis; pedunculo terminal! solitario unifloro.— 
Willd. and Pursh. 
Stem above oppositely two-leaved ; leaves pctiolate, emarginate at the base, pal- 
mate, serrate, incised ; peduncle terminal, solitary, one-flowered. B. 


Warnera Canadensis. Mill. 

Hydrophillum verum Canadensium. Sp. PI. 1. p. 146. 

Hydrastis Canadensis, Radix. 

Among the numerous distinguished contributors to the herbarium 
of linnseus, was the industrious Mr. John £llis ; and to him we are 



Hydrastis Canadensis. 


indebted for the generic name Hydrastis, and the first description of 
the only species of the genus yet discovered;* Linnaeus seemsj 
through some misapprehension In the history or discovery of this 
plant, or some confusion relative to the communication of it by 
Mr- Ellis, to have supposed that his friend designed to commemorate 
" a young lady of noble birth ;'' other botanists have thought it pro* 
bable^t that the name had a reference to the natural situation of the 
plant, from tJ^*^, water, or ^ha^^ an imbibing of water. It is ex- 
tremely doubtful wliether this was really the derivation of the word; 
for the plants as far as any thing of its natural history is known to me, 
is neither remarkable for imbibing, nor for growing in the vicinity 
of water ; neither does it appear to delight in a very moist soil, for 
in the vicinity of Lancaster, where I have met with the greatest abund* 
ance of it, and where it grows in profusion, it is confined altogether 
to shady woods of rich soil- It was first cultivated in England by 
P. Miller, in 1759, and is erroneously there called, a hog^plant. 

The root consists of a tortuous or gibbous caudex, from which 
proceed a great number of tolerably large fibrous portions ; all of a 
bright yellow colour, but the fibres rather more brilliant than the 

* I Kill aware that Walter htia drscribrd a species by the name of IL Caralinengis^ 
but it is probably nothing rnfire tfiati a lof at variety of this one, Dr* Muhlenberg 
\im introduced It in his cataltigue with the dciubtrul mark. 

f Edit. Article Hydrastis. Re€s*9 £ncy« 


HydruMu Cmmdenm. 

maia root It shrinks considerably in dryingi often losing two* 
thirds of its bulk. The stem is upright, from eight to twelve inches 
high, round and finely pubescent or hairy, especially in the young 
state of the plant. It is terminated by two leaves of unequal size, 
beyond the smaller of which the peduncle projects to the length of 
three quarters of an inch, and is terminated by a single three* 
petalled, white or very pale rose-coloured flower. 

The leaves are petiolated, emarginate at the base, palmate, un- 
equally serrated, three, four, or Ave lobed,tbe lobes having a smaller 
lobe on each side* The leaves are at first small during the flores- 
cence, but afterwards become much larger^ as represented in the 
outline (Fig. S,) When the plant is quite advanced, they are often 
even larger than that figure. The fruit is said to be about the size 
of a i-aspberry, and of a bright red colour. It is a compound berry, 
consisting of a number of muricated acini, the points occasioned by 
the persistent styles. This plant is in flower in the beginning of 
May, but as the petals are fugacious, it is seldom seen in full 
florescence* 1 have not myself seen it except just after the petals 
had fallen ; in consequence of which I have been obliged to make 
the drawing of Uie petals, from a specimen in the Muhlenbergian 
Herbarium, Hydrastis is not a very common plant, except westward 
of tlie Allegehany mountains, where it is said to grow in profusion. 
It is however sufficiently abundant in tlie woods near Lancaster, in 
Pennsylvania, In the neighbourhood of this city, it is very rare. I 

Ifydrasiu Cmiademis. ^^^ si 

hmve two or three times found it on the Wissahiekon creeki nemr 
Germ an town. The young plants which appear in midgummer have 
but a einglc leaf. (For the Chemical Analysis, »ee Appendix,) 


The medicinal virtues of Hydrastis, reside in the root. When 
dried, it has a strung and somewhat narcotic smell, and it is exceed- 
ingly bitter. Hence spirituous infusions of it are used, and recom- 
mended by country practitteners, for their tonic elTecl. It is a com- 
mon practice in some parts of our country, particularly in Kentucky, 
in the vicinity of the falls of Ohio, to use a cold, strained infusion, iu 
inflammation of the eyes. This fact was known to the late Pro- 
fessor Barton who has mentioned it in his ^* Collections ;'^ and on 
his authority it has been introduced hito our Dispensatories, This 
plant has been described to me by a genUeman of my class from 
Kentuckyi as being much used in the manner just mentioned. The 
commendations which have been bestowed on yellow-root, havCi 
unfortunately, not been contiaed, as perhaps they should have beeUi 
to the bitter-tonic virtues wlijch it indubitably possesses ; but a mere 
supposition^ rather inadvertently thrown out by the late Professor 
Barton, that ^^ the Cherokee Indians employ a plant in the cure of 
cancer, which is thought to be Hydrastb,^' has caused some persons 

SS Hydrastit Canadensis. 

to attach to its other medicinal qualities, the questionable power of 
curing or -alleviating cancer; and it is much to be regretted that 
Dr. Dyekman, in his valuable edition of the Edinburg Dispensatory, 
. has mentioned cancer as one of the diseases for which Hydrastis is 
a remedy. It is, I believe, not to be doubted, that there is scarcely 
a plant distinguished for any medical powers that is not, in some 
part or other of our country, commended by the vulgar, as a cancer- 
remedy. The almost irremediate nature of that disease by any 
other means than the surgeoh^s knife, is the obvious cause of such 
perpetual recurrence to a multitude of remedies, which have, in all 
probfibility, no other claim to the name of cancer-remedies, than that 
which exists in the imaginations of the credulous persons who em- 
ploy them, and virhose temerity in the indiscriminate use of active 
plants in the treatment of this disease, is unrestrained by that fear, 
which knowledge inspires, and uncontrolled by a sense of the dan- 
ger of using acrid or irritating applications. I have made some 
trials vrtth th^fe pulverised root and spirituous tincture of Hydrastis j 
anid *thesfc sufficientiy justify me in recommending it to the notice of 
physicians as a strong tcinic bitter. Yet I confess myself unwilling 
to belieVe thdt the plaliit is posisessed of any properties sufficiently 
actiVfe,'()r of fifuch a nature,as tbledd to any reasonable expectation 
of being serviceable in cancers ; thbugli it is probable enough that it 
i^ oncbf the nfurtierous^egdtable'bases of the many quack medicines 
fbr thid disorder. * 

HydraOii Canadensis. 88 


The root of Hydrastis affords a juice of a brilliant yellow colour, 
which has been employed for the purpose of dyeing. 


Fig. 1. Represents a flowering spedmen of Hydrastis Canadensis, 
about the usual size during florescence. 

2. The size of the leaves when the plant is further advanced 
and in fruit 

8. A petal. 

4. A stamen, a very little magnified. 

5. Represents the immature fiiiit about half advanced towards 

perfection, and about one-third of the size of the full 
grown berry. I have figured it in this imperfect state, 
never having seen the mature fruit. 

T,t Mr '27. 

W« .3 


OvMc «l,mA'*4t»0m ^HTCJimiA^ 

( runi'cr-rool Hrrrh-drop*. ; 



yirgintan Broom-rape. 

€hrm. Yirginische Sommerwiirz. (Willd.) 

Ohobahchs Yirginiana. L. Sp. PL 882. Walt 16T. Oron.Yirg. 96. Mor. Hist ox. 

8. 12. t 16. row. 1. f. 9. Stokes's Mat Med. iii. p. 408. Schoepf. 101. Coxe^s 

Disp. ed. Sd. p. 465. Dyckman's Ed. Disp. 418. Barton's CollectionSf ed. Sd. 

par. 2. p. 6. Mich. Fl. Boreali-Am. iL p. 26. Pursb. Fl. Am. Sep. iL p. 431. 

Nutt Gen. Am. PL ii. p. 60. Bart Prod. Fl. Pb. 66. Bart Comp. Fl. Ph. ii. 

p. 50. Mubl. Cat 61. Walt. CaroL 167. Raj. Supp. 595. Houttuyn. Lin. 

Pfl. Syst 8. p. 152. Willd. Sp. PI. torn. iii. par. 1. p. 350. Lin. Gen. 321. 

Schreb. 421. 


Gen. PI. ed. Scbreb. n. 1045. 

Cal. 2-4. 8. 5-fidus. Cor. ringens. Caps, l-locularis, 2-valvis9 polysperma. Olandula 
sub basi germinis. 
YOU n. 4 

86 Orobanche Firginiaria. 

Nat. Syst. Juss. Pediculares. Classis VIII. Ordo II. 

Orobanche^ T. L. * Orohanche. Calix S-bracteatus, nunc tubulosus 5-fidus insequalis^ 
nunc subnuUus bracteis 2 interioribus latioribus 2-fidis calicem supplentibus. 
Corolla tubulosa ventricosa ii'regularis S-labiata, supra concava emarginatat 
infra reflexa S-fida insequalis. Stamina 4 didjnamaf sub labio superiore. Ger- 
mcn basi glandulosum ; stylus 1; stigma 2-lobum. Capsula acuminata 1-locu- 
laris 2-valvis polyspcrma, singula valv& medio 2-placentari et seminiferft^ 
seminibus minutissimis. Herbse subcarnosse rufescentdS, parasitic® plantarum 
radicibus innascentes ; radix tuberosa^ squamia imbricata ; caulis alteme squa- 
mulosus, ssepe simplex ; flores bracteati, spicati terminates. Species qusedam 
scapo nudo l-floro, flore spathaceo affines Lathrseis 1-floris. Thunbergius 
Phelypece nomine describit herbam Orobanche similem, unicaulem, apbyilam, 
squamulosam^ dioicam apice florentem^ calice £-partito bracteiibrmi, corollft 
6-partit& connivente ciliat^ pilosft, filamento l-bypogynOf antheHb clavatft, ger- 
mine supero, stylo 1, stigmate capitatOf capsula columnar! Z-valvi 7-loculari 
polyspermia column^ intra fnictum centrali : an planta rerd corollata, aut 
yere 1-andra^ Juss. Gen. Plant, ed. 1789. p. 101-2. 

GcD. Ch. Perianth inferior, of two leaTes, mostly divided, lateral, sometimes com- 
bined at tbeir base, erect, coloured, permanent Ccr. of one petal, ringent, 
withering. Tube bending^ ample, inflated. Limb spreading; its upper lip con- 
cave, dilated, notched; lower reflexed, three cleft, uneven at the margin, 
notched; its segments various in size and proportion. Nectary a gland, in 
front, at the base of the germen. Stam. Filaments four, awl-shaped, conceal- 
ed under the upper lip» two of them longest; anthers erect, approximated, 
shorter than the corolla, tumid, two-lobed, and acutely awned. Pist. Germen 
superior, oblong ; style simple, the length and position of the stamens; stigma 
drooping, thick, of two obtuse lobes. Peric. Capsule ovate-oblong, pointed, 
of one cell and two valves. Seeds numerous, minute. Receptacles four, linear, 
lateral, attached to the valves. 

Orobanche Virgimana. V7 

Eas. Ck Caliz of two natural leaTes. Corolla ringent Capsule of one cell and two 
valves. Seeds numerous. A gland under the germen in front Encj. 

Nat Ord. Lin. FerMonaia. 
Classis Didf/namia. Ordo JIngiospermia. Lin. Syst 

Obobahche Yirginiana; caule ramoso, floribus alternis dlstantibus, coroUis deciduis 

4^entatis. WiUd. and Pursb. 


Stem branched^ flowers alternate, distant; corollas decidnousy 4-toothed. 


Orobaitchb caule ramosOf floribus distantibus. Oron. 
O. minor Yii^giniana lignosior, &c. Morris. 
Epifaous Americanos. Nutt. 
Epifagcs Yirginianus. Bart Comp. Fl. Fh. 

Obobabob. Yirg. Radix et Herba. 

The Cancer-root is a very singular, handsome, and interest- 
ing parasitic plant. It belongs to a genus which is the o^«is«yx« 
of the Greeks ; so named from •rf^*^ a vetch, and «yx«', to strangle^ 
or suffocate^ because the species of the genus designated by this 
name were supposed to starve, or render barren, the different plants 
on which they grow. The name of Broom-rape^ by which all the 
species of the genus are designated in England, was given in conse* 

28 Orobanche Firginiana. 

quence of the Orobanche having been originally discovered in that 
country, to be parasitic on the broom. 

The present species is singular in its habit and structure, and in- 
teresting, because of the agency there is good reason to suppose it 
had in the formation of a celebrated cancer-powden The whole 
plant is somewhat fleshy ; it is herbaceous and wholly without ver- 
dure, or even any approximation to that common hue of the vegeta- 
ble creation. It is frequently altogether of a sickly yellow colour, 
but most commonly is of a pale pink, with longitudinal stripes of 
dark purple, white and yellow. These stripes are on the ridges of 
the stems and branches, all which are finely furrowed. The root is 
tuberous, yellow, camose, covered with short convoluted and mat- 
ted fibres on its lower end, and interspersed with squamose projec- 
tions towards its junction with the stalk. The stem is glabrous, 
erect, about twelve or fifteen inches high, much branched from the 
base, and garnished with scattered, short ovate scales instead of 
leaves, of which it is entirely destitute. The flowers are numerous, 
remote, alternate, and situated just above the cauline scales. The 
calix is a short membranaceous cup, with five veitical acute ribs 
projecting above, and joined together by their crenate margin. The 
acute points of those projections are deep purple, inclining to crow- 
black. The corolla of the fertile or fruiting flowers, is small, being 
in reality, little else than a four-toothed scale, crowning the large 
and rapidly enlarging germ, after the manner of the calyptra of 

Orobaiiche Virginiana. 


mosses. This corolla, which is represented by the beak*like pro* 
cess in (Fig. «-) is extremely deciduous, owing to the increase in 
the size of the germs, which is very rapid, as well as to their oblique 
form. The later and infertile flowers, which are numerous, and 
situated towards the tops or extremities of the brandies, are about 
half an inch long, arcuate, tubular, compressed, ami bilabiate : the 
upper lip is somewhat notched, the lower three-toothed ; their ca- 
lices are like those of the primary or fertile flowers, but their co- 
rollas are of a creara-white, delicately striped with rose-red, and 
have, on close inspection, a very beautiful appearance. The pale 
yeUow specimens are generally destitute of these long tubular 
flowers. The stamens are four in number, rarely exserted, but 
have no attachment to the corolla ; they are furnished witli smooth 
filaments, crowned with small globose pubescent anthei^. The 
style is simple and smooth. The capsule which opens only on one 
side, contains an immense number of very minute, ovate, yellowish- 
white seeds, resembling coarse meah 

It has been already said, tliat this is a parasitic plant, and it is 
chiefly, if not always found growing on the roots of the Beech, 
(Fagm ^ifhatica^ and K ferugmea,) Hence tlie common name 
Beech'drops^ from t!*e vulgar notion, that as the plant is found under 
the shade of those treei, it is produced by some kind of seed 
falling from them. The vulgar name cancer-rooty may have had its 
origin m the cancerous like struclure, if I may so speak, of the root; 

80 Orobanche Virginiana. 

or perhaps from the use made of the plant in the treatment of 

Mr. Nuttall says this plant is ^^ equally indigenous to every part 
of North America.'' In the neighbourhood of this city, it is very 
abundant, particularly in the woods above the falls of the Schuyl- 
kill, on the west side ; where it covers the ground for rods together* 
It is in full flower in those situations, about the tenth of September, 
at which time it should be gathered for medical use. (For Chemical 
Analysis, see Appendix.) 


The cancer*root is now introduced into all our dispensatories, and 
has obtained, whether deservedly or not I am unable from any ex- 
perience on the subject to say, not a little reputation as a remedy 
for cancer. The chief claim it has to any consideration as an effica- 
cious application to cancerous affections, is derived from the cir- 
cumstance pf its having been collected by Dr. Hugh Martin, in the 
neighbourhood of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, for tlie purpose of mak- 
ing his renowned cancer-powder,^ a preparation supposed to consist 

* Sec Barton's Collections^ cd. 3d. par. 2. p. 8. 

Orohanche Firginiana, 31 

of the white oxyd of arsenic* and this vegetable base. On this subject 
the late Professor Barton has made these observations : ^ The Oro- 

* Since there is so much reason to believe that the subject of this article was really 
the vegetable base of this celebrated powder, it muj be osefiil to quote Professor 
Bush's paper on the subject, at length. I do this the more willingly, became the 
transactions of the Philosophical Society in which it is published, are not very ac- 
cessible to most persons. 

An account of the late Dr. Hugh Martin's Cancer Powder, with brief observations 
on cancers. By Benjamin Rush, M. D., &c. &c« «« A few years ago a certain Dr. 
Hugh Martin, a surgeon of one of the Pennsylvania regiments stationed at Fort Pitt, 
during thelatter partof the late war, came to this city, and advertised to cure cancers 
with a medicine which he said he had discovered in the woods, in the neighbourhood of 
the garrison. As Dr. Martin had once been a pupil of mine, I took the liberty of wait- 
ing upon him, and asked him some questions respecting his discovery. His answers 
were calculated to make me believe, that his medicine was of a vegetable nature, and 
that it was originally an Indian remedy. He shewed ne some of the oMdicine, which 
appeared to be the powder of a well-dried root of some kind^ Anxious to see the success 
of this medicine in cancerous sores, I prevaUed upon the doctor to admit me to see him 
apply it in two or three cases. I observed in some instances, he applied a powder to 
the parts aflfbcted, and in others only touched them with a feather dipped in a liquid 
which bad a white sediment, and which he made me believe was the vegetable root dif- 
fused in water. It gave me great pfeasure to witness the efficacy of the doctor's appli- 
cations. In several cancerous ulcers, the Cures he performed were complete. Where 
the cancers were much connected with the lymphatic system, or accompanied >vith a 
scrophulous habit of body^ his medicine always failed^ and in some instances did evi- 
dent mischief. 

32 Orobanche Firginiana. 

banche has been supposed by many persons, to have formed a part 
of the celebrated cancer-powder of Dn Hugh Martin, whose success 

« Anxious to discover a medicine that promised relief in even a few cases of cancers^ 
and supposing that all the caustic vegetables were nearly alike, I applied the phyto- 
lacca or poke root, the stramonium, the arum, and one or two others, to foul ulcers^ 
in hopes of seeing the same effects from them which I had seen from Dr. Martin's 
powder ; but in these I was disappointed. They gave some pain, but performed no 
cures. At length I was furnished by a gentleman from Fort Pitt with a powder which 
I had no doubt, from a variety of circumstances, was of the same kind as that used by 
Dr. Martin. I applied it to a fungous ulcer, but without producing the degrees of 
pain, inflammation, or discharge, which I had been accustomed to see from the appli- 
cation of Dr. Martin's powder. After this, I should have suspected that the powder 
was not a simple root, had not the doctor continued upon all occasions to assure me 
that it was wholly a vegetable preparation. 

<« In the beginning of the year 1784 the doctor died, and it was generally believed that 
his medicine had died with him. A few weeks after his death, I procured from Mr. 
Thomas Leiper, one of his administrators, a few ounces of the doctor's powder, partly 
with a view of applying it to a cancerous sore which then offered, and partly with a 
view of examining it more minutely than I had been able to do during the doctor's 
life. Upon throwing the powder, which was of a brown colour, upon a piece of white 
paper, I perceived distincUy a number of white particles scattered through it. I sus- 
pected at first that they were corrosive sublimate: but the usual tests of that metallic 
salt soon convinced me that I was mistaken. Recollecting that arsenic was the basis 
of most of the celebrated cancer-powders that have been used in the world, I had re- 
course to the tests for detecting it. Upon sprinkling a small quantity of the powder 
upon some coals of fire^ it emitted the garlic smell so perceptibly as to be known by 

Omtmehe Virginiatia, 


in tbe management of many cases of this dreadful disease^ has been 
acknowledged by the regular practitioners of Philadelphia, %c, 

BCYeral persuns wliotn I caTled into the nmm where I mmAe the eupmnieBt, and who 
knew iHithjng of the ubject af my enquirie.^i. After tit is with some iUfli< uUy 1 [lirkad 
out ahout three or four grains of the white powder* and huunii them betwt^en two pieces 
orcopper^ which 1 threw into the fire. After the copper pieeca hecanii; red bot* I took 
them out of the fire, and when they bad cooled» dim overed an evident whit^iMi fatt- 
parted to both of them. One of the piecea aflerwards looked like dull silver, Thea© 
two tests have generally been thought sufficient to distingubh tlie presence of arhciuc 
In any bodies ; but I made use of a tliirdt whicti has lately been rommunicattMl to the 
world by Mr. Bergman, and which ts 8iippoi»ed tii he ia aX£ ^ases infaliihle, 

** I infUacd a small quantity of the powder in a solution of a vegetable alkali In water 
Ibr a few houts, and then poured it upon a solution of blue vitriol in water. The cnJour 
of the vitriol was immediately changed to a beautiful green, and alterwards pre- 

** 1 shall clone this paper with a few remarks npon tliis powder, and tipon tlie cur« of 
ranceri and kmi akers of all kinds* 

** 1. The nm of r anstini in raorrrs awl ftml iikera is very luictentf an*! tiniversal. Bat 
I believe arseare to be tho inust eUScnciotis of aay that has ever been uned* It if^ the 
basis of Ftunketc*^, ami probably of Gny*» weU known cancer-ponders. The great art 
of applying it sucees^nMy, h to dilute and mix it In such a manner aa to mittgmte 
the violence of its action. Dr. Martin*a composUton was happily calculated far tht^ 
purpose. It gave less pain than tlie common or lunar caustic* It excited a moderate 
inflammation, which separated the morbid from the sound parts^ and pntmnted a pleii- 
lUnl afBirx of hummim to the sore during it* applk atton. It seldom pnuliiced an escar ; 
bencc it tnslnuatetl itself into the deepest recesses of tkc cancers, an A I'rccjueutly sepa- 

84 Orobanche Virgirdana. 

>'As £arly as 1785, at which time I was a student of medidae, I 
was ioformed, by the people inhabiting the western parts oCPenn-; 

rated tltese fibres in an unbroken state which are generally called the roots of the 
cancen Upon this account^ I thinks in an ulcerated cancer it is to be preferred to the 
knife. It has no action npon the sound skin. This Dr. Hall proved by confining a 
^mall quantity of it upon his arm for many hours. In those cases where Dr. Martin 
used it to extract cancerous or schirrous tumours that were not ulcerated^ I have rea* 
son to believe that he always broke the skin with Spanish fli^, 

«< 2. The arsenic used by the doctor was the pure white arsenic. I should suppose 
from the examination I made of the powder with the eye, that the proportion of ar- 
senic to the vegetable powder, could not be more than one-fortieth part of the whole com- 
pound. I have reason to think that the doctor employed difibrent vtgetable substances 
at diflTerent times. The vegetable matter with which the arsenic was combined in the 
powder which I used in my experiments^ was probably nothing more than the powder 
of the root and berries of the solanum lethale, or deadly nightshade. As the principal^ 
and perhaps the only design of the vegetable addition was to blunt the activity of the 
arsenic, I should suppose that the same proportion of common wheat flour as the doctor 
used of his caustic vegetables, would answer nearly the same purpose. In those cases 
where the doctor applied a feather dipped in a liquid to the sore of his patient, I have 
no doubt but his phial contained nothing but a weak solution of arsenic in water. This 
is no new method of applying arsenic to foul ulcers. Dr. Way of Wilmington, has: 
spoken in the highest terms to me of a wash for foulnesses on the skin^ as well as old, 
ulcers, prepared by boiling an ounce of white arsenic in two quarts of water to th^ee 
pintSf and applying it once or twice a 4ay. 

«« S. I mentioned formerly that Dr. Martin was often unsuccessful in the application 
nf his powder. This was occasioned by his using it indiscriminately in M cases. In 

Ort^amhe Virginiarm. 


sylvania and Virginia, that this Orobanclie formed the principal part^ 
if not the whole, of Martin's powder. It was even said, that Martinj 

iehirrou^ atid cancerous tumaurs^ t!iB ktitfe Btiould always be pi^eferred to tlie caustic. 
In cancerous ulcerg attended with a scrophutaus or a bad iiatjit af body^ such particu- 
larly a§ tiav€ tbeir scat in tbu neck» in tbe bi^asts of femalesi and in the mtlllary glaniUt 
it can <inly protract tlie patient's misery- Most of tbe canceroiis sores cured by Dr. 
Martin were seated on the nose, or cbeeks^ or upon the surfkce or extremities of the 
body. It remains yet to discover a cure for eanc^rs that taint the fluids* or infect tbe 
whole lymphatic fiyst^^m. This cui^ I a)ipreiiend luust be sought for in diet« or in the 
long use of some internal medicine. 

^'To pronounce a disease incurablei is often to render it so. The intermitting fever, 
if lefl to itself, would probably prove frequently, and perhaps more speedily filial than 
cancers. And as cancerous tumours and sores ai^e often negkctatit or treated impro- 
perly by iiyudicioas people, from an apprebeasion that they are Incurable, (to which 
the frequent advice of phyfiiclans «' to let them alone/^ lia.H no doubt contributed) per* 
baps the introduction of arsenic into regular practice as a remedy for cancers, may in- 
vite to a more early application to physicians, and thereby prevent t!ie deplorable cases 
that have been mentioned^ which are often rendered so by delay or unskilful manage- 

**4, It is not in cancerous sores only that Bn Martinis powder has been found to do 
service. In iore» of all kinds, and from a variety of causest where they have been at* 
tended with fungous flesh or callous edgesj I have used the doctor's powder witJi ad- 

« I Clatter myself that 1 shall bo eicuaed in giving this detail of a q\mik medicine, 
when the seKiety reflect tliat it was from the inventions and temerity of quacks, that 
physicians have ilerived some of their most active and useful medicines." Trans. Amer* 
Phil. Soc, vol. £. p. Sl£. 

86 Orobanche Vtrginiarui. 

who had passed some time at Fort Pitt, was known to lutve colkict- 
ed the plant for the purpose. I believe it to be a fact sij^QEldeBidy 
established, that the basis, or perhaps rather the most active part, 
of Martin's powder, was the oxyd of arsenic. This has been shown 
by a chemical examination of the powder, and by other circum- 
stances nearly as decisive. Thus comatose affections, such as are 
known to be induced by arsenic, have been induced by the powder 
of Martin, even when externally api^d in cancerous ulcers. A case 
of this kind came i^der the notice of a physician in Philadelphia. 
The patient seemed to fall a victim to the application of the medi- 

^ But the powder of Mar^ ifidiiot consist entire^ of the oxydof 
arsenic. This is certain. I believe it to be certain also, that he 
combined with the arsenic, a vegetable matter; and from what has 
been said, it would seem not entirely improbable, that this vegetable 
was the Orobaoche Vii^iana* 

^' It may be said, and it is not impossible, that Martin added the 
vegetable matter m^^ely to disguise the arsenic, reposing, at the 
same time, all his confidence in the arsenic alone. I think it more 
probable, however, that the superior efficacy of Martin's powder, 
aad of Ite powders in the hands of other empirical practitioners, 
has teen, in part, owing to the addition of something to the arsenic. 
If there be no foundation for this suspicion, how has it happened. 

Orobanche Virginiana. 


that ill the management of cancers, the enipirieal practitioners have 
often succeeded so niucli l>ettcr with their medicines than tlie regu- 
lar pbjsiciatis have done? Both use arsenic. Borne of the cancer^ 
powderg, employed by empirics, in Europe, are known to have been 
composed, in part, of arsenic and a vegetable matter* The cele- 
brated powder of Plumked was made up of ai^enic, the root of a 
dpecies of Ranunculus or GroWi^foot, and sulphur* 

*' Whatever may have been tlie vegetable which Martin used in 
combination with arsenic, it i^ certain, that the powder of the Oro- 
banche, or €ancer-root, has been of great service (in Pliiladelphia, 
ifc») externally applied to obstinate ulcers, some of wliich liad re- 
sisted the applications that are commonly made use of in such eaaet. 
It would be well to try the effects of tliis vegetable in those dreadful 
ulcerations, by some writers deemed cancerous, which are too 
fi-equently the consequence of tlie use of mercuiy, when it hm been 
given in large quantity. Cases of the kind I allude to, are recorded 
by Dr, Donald Monro, Mr. Adams, in a valuable work, and other 
writers. I have had occasion to see some ulcerations of the same 
kind in Philadelphia- They often refuse to yield to stimulating or 
to ould applications^ 

" With the view to encourage further enquiry into the nature and 
properties of the Orobanche Virginiana, I may here mention, that 
one of the European species of this genus, the Orobanche major, or 

38 Orobanche Virginiana. 

Greater Broom-rape, is a very powerful astringent, and is said to have 
been found useful, externally applied, in cases of ulcers. This I men- 
tion on the respectable authority of sir John Floyer. The activity of 
the European plant may even be inferred from the fact mentioned 
by Schreber, that cattle do not eat it"* 

It would seem then, that the cancer-root is an active vegetable, 
and it would be naturally expected, from the foregoing account of 
its effects, to be considerably astringent This is the fact, and its as- 
tringency is very perceptible to the taste in the recent, and in the 
dry plant. When fresh, the plant is also bitter and nauseous to the 
taste; exsiccation seems to lessen in some degree its sensible pro- 

Dr. Barton tells us " it has been celebrated in dysentery.*' He 
does not mention the manner nor the dose in which it has been ad- 
ministered in that complaint; and as I have never administered it 
myself internally, I am not prepared to offer any opinion on the 

Upon the whole, the cancer-root may be justly said to have a 
claim to the attention of physicians and surgeons, for further and 
more extensive trials of its virtues than have heretofore been made. 
(For the Chemical Analysis, see Appendix.) 

* Barton's CoUections^ cd. Sd. par. 2. p. 6. 

Orobanche Virginiana. 89 

TABI4B xxyn. 

Fig. i. Represents the upper portion of a flowering specimen of 
Orobanche Virginiana, separated from the thickest stem 
ofNo. «. 

2. The root and lower part of the same. 

8. A tubular infertile flower, mih its calix, 

4. Calix, stamens, and pistil. 

6. A fertile flower with the gibbous germ full of immature 
seeds, situated in the calix. 

Mfnv^. SMfmnmAmfi ^ ^^LA 




Snakeweed Root Snake-root Birthwort 

Oerm. Die SchlangenoBteiiazey, die Yirginische Schlangen oder Vipemwurzel^^ 

Arzeneykraftige Osterlazey. (Willd.) 
DtUch. Slangenwortely Yirginische SlangenworteL 
Danisf^ Blangrod. 
Swedish. Ormrot. 

French. L'aristoloche serpentaire, vtdg. Serpentaire on Coluvrine de Yirginie. 
Portugu. &c. Serpentaria de Virginia. 
Akistoxochia serpentaria. L. Bp. PL 1363. Mat. Med. 196. Gron. Yirg. 140. 

Mill. Diet n. 6. Pluk. Aim. 50. t. 148. f. 5. Catesb. Car. 1. p. 29. t 29. 

Raj. Suppl. 394. Mor. Hist 3. p. 510. s. 12. t 17. f. 14. Pluk. Aim. 50. 

t 78. f. 1. Willd. Sp. PI. torn. iv. par. 1. p. 159. Walt Carol. 223. Woodv. 

ii. 291. 1 106. Gron. Yirg. ed. 1st 112. Park, theatr. 420. Ger. by Johns. 

848. n. 6. line 16th? Bannister in Phil. Trans. Abr. ii. 644. Alst 1. 520. 

Chalm. 1. 67. 149. 152. 155. 165. 186 ; ii. 6. 115.^167. 208. Hume in Lett 

and Ess. 257. Lew. ii. 364. Mead. Mon. ii. 90. Ploucq. Bibl. 1. 506. 516. 

Pott iii. 158. Quarin. Febr. 36. 89. 92. 121 ; animad. 176. Smyth Jail Dist 
YOL. II. 6 

Jiristohchia serpentaria. 

121. Stoll. Med. iii. 109. Underw. 1. 77. 259. Pharm. Edin. Hoven, ac- 
coant from, in Med. Rev. ii. 563. Lew. Disp. by Dune. 153. Murr. J. i. 
184 ; ii. 69. Pearson, R. i. 245 ; ii. 170 ; ed. 2d. 328. Yalentine, account fronif 
in Chir. Rev. xi. 240. Pharm. Lond. Berg. 716. Bruce in Lind. Hot Clim. 
254. Cartheus. iii. 68. Cold, in Med. Obs. i. 221. Cull. ii. 85. Dale 194. 
Douglas, account from, in Med. Ess. iv. 390. Fuller. Pharm. 75. Geoffr. ii. 
141. ftertil.^. ISiB 61. StHM^BfMH t«Sv \4l^ tAm &Sk. iited. Mon. i. 33. 
46. Mill. Jos. 410. Monro, iii. 265 ^ Sold. 258. Murr. i. 948. Robertson Fev* 
375. Rutty. 482. Schoepf. 131. Spielm. 297. StoUL Med. 1. 8. 45. S4. 
aph. n. 678. Underw. 1. 94. Yog. 211. Wintringh. in Mead. 1. 223. 230. 
Pharm. Austriaco. f^MfV. ■^. Xfkttk. tiMg^^yifg. 175. 261. Hume, in Lett, 
and Ess. 229. Jackson Jam. 236. 322. 333. Lempr. ii. 162. 174. 191, 102. 
Lind. Hot Clim. 104 ; Seam. 202. Moseley 162. 169. 222. Pott iii. 359. 
Pringle 274^ «pp. 1€I8. iJiaA, Seata. 259. Prinze 311. Rush v. 182. 
Bisset Ess. 75. Stokes's Bot Mat Med. ii. p. 275. Barton's Collections, 3d. 
<mI. Obse'41 D^ ^d.^. fiOl. Tbfttebier's JUsp. dd. ed. p. 151. Pharm. 
Mass. Med. Soc. 7. Barton^ CttHen, ii^ 59, 60, 61. Dyokman's Edin. Disp. 
183. Pursh. Fl. Am. Sep.ii. 596. Mteb. FL Bor«ali-Am. ii. 16fi. Miiiil. 
Cat 85. Nutt Gen. Am. PI. ii. 199. Bart Prod. Fl. Ph. 87. Bart. Cmap. 
Fl. Ph. ii. 146. 


Gen. iPl. ed. Sclireb. n. 1383. 

Nat Syst Juss. JiristolocMce. Classis YI. Ordo I. 
Nat Ord. Lin. Sarmentacece. 

Artificial Syst Lin. Classis Qynandria. Ordo Hexandria. 
Col none. Car. l-petala* ligulata^ basi vratriooBa. Caps. B-locularis, polyspenua infera. 

.MsMochia serpentaria. 43 

ABi8TOl4KniA» T. L.* JrtsfotedW. Cattx coloratiis tubnlotus^ basi ventrieosiiSy apice 
dilatatasy in ligulam extensus, antherie G-subsessiles 8ub-ttigmato. Stjlus sub- 
nullus ; stigma 6-partituni. Capsula G-gona, 6-loculari8. Caulis erectua ant 
volabllii ; folia alteina; lloreB axillares ; tubus quonnDdain scjphiftmila is* 
curros. Jass. Oen. Plant ed. 1789. p. 7S. 

Calix none. Corolla of one petals ligulate^ with a ventricose base. Copmde six- 
celled^ many-seeded, inferior. 

Gen. Ch. Cal. none. Cor. Monopetaloas, tubular, irregular ; base swelling, subglo- 
bular, tortulose ; tube oblong, hexagon-cylindric ; limb dilated, extended be- 
low into a long tongue. 8tam. Filaments none ; anthers six, fastened at the 
bottom of the stigmas, four-celled. Fist. Germ oblong, inferior, angular ; 
style scarcely any ; stigma sub-globular, six-parted, concave. Ter. Capsule 
large, six-angled, six-celled. Seeds several, depressed, incumbent Ency. 

Ess. Gen. Ch. Stigmas six. CaL none. Cor. Monopetalous^ tongue-shaped, entire. 
Caps, six-celled, inferior. 

AusTOLocHiA serpentaria : foliis cordatis oblong^, acuminatis, caule flexuoso ad- 
scendente, pedunculis radicalibus, coroUie labio lanceolato. Willd. 

Leaves cordate, oblong, acuminate ; stem flexuousi adscendent ; peduncles radi- 
cal ; lip of the corolla lanceolate. B. 


A]iisT0]A>GHiA pistolochia, s. serpentaria Yirginiana, caule nodoso. Ffaik. Catesb. 
Abistolochia pistolochia, caule nodoso; s. serpentaria Yirginiana. Riy. 
Abi8Toi4>chia poiyrhizos Yirginianaf fructus panro pentaogulari. Moris. 
FoLTKUizos Yirginiana. ParlL. 

Pistolochia Yirginiana. Ger. by JohnSf (flie figure is A. sempervirens.) 
PisToiiOGHiA^ or Serpentaria Yiif;ioiaiHi* Basiiister. 


Aristobchia serpentaria. 

Seju^ntabia Yirginiana of some Phannacopceias and medical writers^ as quoted in 

the list of references. 
Serfentabia Yirginica. Pharm. Aastriaco. prov. 

Skake-root of Clarky Hume, Jackson^ Lempr., lAnd, Moseley» Pott» Pringle^ &c. &c. 
ViEGiNiAN Snake-root of Lind. Seam. 259. Pringle^ 311. Rush^ v. 182. Underw. 

&c. &c. 
Serpentary of Blane. 
Snaejsweed-root of Bisset. 
ViPERiNE of Chom. 


Cff* The root 

Abistolochls serpentari» Radix. Ed. 
SERFEVTARiiB Rodix. Lond. 
SERPENTARiiB Yirginiansc Radix. Dub. 


TiNCTURA Aristolochi» serpentari». Edin. Lond. Dub. 
TiNCTURA Cinchonie composite. Lon. Dub. 
Electuarivm Opiatum. Edin. « 

Catafjlasma Cumini. Lond. « 

The little plant which is the subject of this article, is well known 
in physic, having been long employed by practitioners of the 
healing art in many parts of the world, apd always with the effect 

Aristolochia serpentaria. 


of supporting its reputation as an impottantj active and useful 
medicine. It belongs to a genus containing about forty-one species, 
twenty of which are shrubby and indigenous to the tropical regions 
of America. One of these is described by Baron Humboldt, as 
growing on the borders of Matlalena, wliich produces flowers so 
large as to afford hats for children* Several species are endued 
with medicinal virtues, but none in so remarkable a degree as the 
present one. The Aristolochia rotunda. A, longa, A. Clematitis, were 
formerly admitted into the Materia Medica of the British pharma* 
copceias; and the last is still retained by tlie Edinburgh College, 

The generic term Aristolochia, (Birth wort,) is derived from «# *r7#f, 
andAj;i.i«, or A«xt'«^ from the supposed use of the plants it comprises, 
in disorders attendant on paiturition. The species indigenous to 
North America, according to Muhlenberg, are four in number, A* 
sipho, (broad-leaved Birth wort, or Dutchman's pipe ;) A. serpentaria, 
(snake-root,) A, hii-suta (haiiy Birth wort,) and A. sagittata, (arrow- 
leaved Birth wort.) On an examination of the specimens of these 
species in the Muhlenberg! an Herbarium, the serpentaria^ hirsuta 
and sagittata^ appeared very closely aUied; and on tasting and 
smelling the roots I could perceive no difference in their sensible 
properties. The A, hirsuta, is tlie tomentosa of Mr. Nuttall ; and the 
A. sagittata, of wliicli I have given an outliiie figure of two leaves 
from different specimens, (Fig, 6, 7-) is the hastata of Mr. Nuttall. 
This is hardly a distinct speciesj unless there be some well marked 
discrepancy in the flowers. 

46 JiristciochkL serpentaria. 

The most common species in the United States, is the serpentaria. 
It has a perennial root, consisting of very numerous small fibres, 
proceeding from a short gibbous caudex. The small roots are of a 
yellow ochre colour, and become deep brown or black, on drying* 
The thick and knotty portion of the root is brown. The stems are 
slender, round, weak, flexuose, from eight to ten inches high, and 
jointed at irregular distances. The upper portion is yellowish, the 
lower purple. 

The leaves are lanceolate -cordate, entire, acuminate, of a yellow* 
green colour, and have short petioles. The flowers are solitary, and 
consist of a monopetalous, brownish-purple, tubular and irregular 
corolla, without any calix. The peduncles which are slender, round, 
and jointed, and occasionally garnished with a scale or two, are radi- 
cal or nearly so, and so arcuate as to bury the flower for the most part 
beneath the earth or dead leaves near the roots. The filaments are 
wanting, and the six anthers are attached to the stigma, which is 
nearly globular. IThe hexagonal capsule is dark brown, and consists of 
six cells, Which contain several minute flat seeds. This plant flowers 
in May and June, and ripens its seeds by the last of September. 
It inhabits rich shady woods from New England to Carolina, and 
Pursh says it is particularly abundant in the mountains. In the neigh- 
bourhood of this city it is not common ; it is however found in 
some of our woods, both on the east and west side of the Dela- 


JMMachiii serptnfmna. 


" Snake-root has an aromatic smell, approaching to that of valerian^ 
but more agreeable, and a warm, bitterish pungent taste, whith is not 
easily concealed or overpowered l)y a large admixture of other ma- 
terials. It gives out its active matter botli to water and rectified spirit^ 
and tinges tlie former of a deep brown, the latter of an orange co- 
lour Grealcfet part of its emell and fli^vour is carried off in cvapo- 
noioii or distillation by both menstrua : along with water there ariseg, 
if the quantity of the root sub mi tied to the operation be large, a 
small |3ortion of pale-coloured essential oil, of a considerable smeU, 
but no ver) strong taste, greatest part of the camphorated pungency, 
m well as bitterness of the root, remaining in the inspissated extract* 
The spirituous extract is stronger than the watery: not so mucli 
from its having lost less in the evaporation, as from its containing 
Hie active parts of the root concentrated into a smaller volume j its 
ijuantity amounting only to about one-half of that of the other.'** 

** Treated wi*h alcohol it affords a bright green tincture, which 
is rendered turbid by water; by filtratiop a small portion of green 
matter is separated, but its transparency is not restored. It neither 

^ Lewii, M. M, fi. 60t* 

48 Jiristdochia serpentaria. 

precipitates tannin nor gelatin, nor affects the salts of iron or tinc- 
ture of turnsole. When the diluted tincture is distiUed, the spirit and 
tincture pass over milky, strongly impregnated with its peculiar 


It is remarkable that the snake-root, which is so deservedly es- 
teemed as a medicine, has no reputation among regular practitioners 
as a remedy for those affections for which it was first brought 
into notice. It is now universally acknowledged to be useful in cer- 
tain diseases, for which it was not thought of as a remedy, until a 
considerable period subsequent to its introduction into medical prac- 

In 1685, Dr. J. Gomutus published at Paris, a work entitled ^' Cana- 
densium plantarum, aliarumque nondum editarum, Ifistoria ;'' and in 
that book noticed the serpentaria under the name of Radix Sanagroel 
NothsB Anglise, and extolled it as an effectual remedy for the bites of 
the most poisonous serpents.f The ancient and now exploded doc- 

* Edin. Disp. 

t M. M. vol. 1. p. 521. 

Jhrt^dochia serpeniarm. 


trine, that the morbific matter of malignant fevers was analogous to 
the poison uf serpents, and that its influence on tlie human system 
miglit be ohTialed by the same means, led to the employment of the 
snake-root in all fevers of a matignant type.* In accordance with 
those notions, tiiis plant was considered the most powerful of the me* 
dicinee termed a]exi[>liarmies^ or antidotes to poisons^t But this prac- 
tice^ originating in the erroneous ideas of ttie old physiciansi was not 
without its usefuhiess. The employment of snake^root in malignant 
fevers^ led to its more general use in fevers of another kind ; and it 
was not long beforct by the united consent of the medical world, 
this plant wiis acknowledged to be a powerful diaphoretic stimulant 
and tonic; and peculiarly suited^ from the auiiseptic virtue which it is 
generally believed to {lossesi, to such eases of disease as required 
powerful remedies endued with such properties. The high authority 
of Lind, Huxham^ Hillary, Lysoiis, Monro, Cullen, Rush, and otherB, 
k not wanting to supfwrt the claim of serpentaria to a distio* 
guished rank in tlie Materia Medica. It ha§ been recommended to be 
used in combination with Peruvian bark, in intermittent and con- 
tinued fevers; and the l>ark has l>een found more efficacious when 
thus used in union with the serpentaria. than when employed alone4 
It should be recotlected^ that the medica) powers of this plant depend 

• WoiMlvilk Med. B<vt, rnh i« [u ^'J£. 
t Ibid. 
I WfMKli ilto and Ljsutts* Fnurtk-al Etisajs ufuiii ItiterEulUiiig Feverst P* 1^* 
VOL, II. 7 

00 Aristdlochia serpentaria. 

chiefly on ah essential oil, which it abundantly yields ; and as this, 
like most other essential oils, is heating and stimulating, the snake- 
root, consequently, cannot be safely administered when the pulse de- 
mands blood-letting. But in the secondary stage of fevers, or after 
the inflammatory action has subsided or been subdued ; and espe- 
ciaQy when the skin <is obstinately dry, the paroxysms not termi- 
nating by sweat, then the serpentaria may be used with much 
advantage. It produces an immediate action on the skin, and is 
gently diuretic. During a very extensive practice in Norfolk, Vir^nia, 
in the years 1809 and 1810, while surgeon of the frigate United States, 

1 had many opportunities of witnessing the eflicacy of the serpentaria 
in cases similar to those above described, as well as in typhus fever. 
The sick lists were daily crowded with cases of fever incident to that 
climate, and arising from the exposure of the crew; and at one time 
they contained cases of typhus to the daily number of from twenty to 
forty for a month or six weeks together. It was my constant practice 
to use the serpentaria in those fevers, in various ways, as tincture, 
(the ofiicinal,) in substance, and in union with camphor and Peru- 
vian bark. In no instance had I reason to be dissatisfied with this 
practice, to which I have adhered in a multitude of similar cases 
since that time, with the same beneficial effect. While I was attend- 
ing physician of the army in the fourth military district, during the 
late war, the hospital for recruits, and the lazaretto hospital, where 
I also prescribed, were continually crowded with cases of pneumonia 
^hoides. Many of the subjects of this diseasci were tiflSicled witiL 

It ..^-^^ 

Aristolochia serpentaria. Si 

unusual malignant symptoms, and great tendency to rapid prostra- 
tion of the system. Encouraged by my former success, I used the 
serpentaria still more extensively, often alone, but most commonly 
with camphor, polygala senega and Peruvian bark. In some in- 
stances, the malignity of the disease made rapid strides to dissolu- 
tion; but in not a few I had every reason to believe the use of the 
snake-root had been of infinite service, particulariy in relieving 
bilious vomiting. Upon the whole, I am inclined to think that the 
serpentaria is entitled to a much more general use in our fevers 
with putrid tendency, than is usual. Throughout the United States, 
the country practitioners are much more in the habit of prescribing 
it in autumnal and other fevers, than the physicians of large cities, 
but as their voices are united in favour of the success of that prac- 
tice, it would be well if it were more commonly imitated. The anti- 
septic virtues of serpentaria have led to its use in gangrene; and it 
is often externally appUed as a gargle in putrid sore throat. It has 
been found serviceable in dyspepsia, and has been known to remove 
the disease in a short time, and remarkably to renovate and strength- 
en the lost tone of the stomach. It has also been recommended in 
exanthematous diseases, when the fever is of the typhoid type, to 
support the action of the skin, and keep out the eruption. I have 
known it used in tincture, on the borders of York and Elizabeth rivers, 
in l^r^nia, as a prophylactic against agues. 

68 JhrutoU>chia serpentarta. 

TABLB xrrxn. 

Fig. 1. Represents the Aristolochia serpentaria in flower, of the na- 
tural and common size. 

«. A section of the corolla, with the germ. 

8. The capsule. 

4. A seed. 

5. The reverse of the same. 

6. A leaf of the variety in the Muhlenbergian Herbarium. 

7. Another leaf from a different specimen in the same. 



Indigo-weed. Hone-fly-weed. Broom. 

Germ. Farbende Podalyria. (WiUd.) 

Baptisia tinctoria. L. Sp. PI. 534. Mant 377. Mill. Diet S. Lamarck lUustr. Oen. 
t 327. r. 1. Houttuyn. Lin. Pfl. Syst 6. p. 500. Willd. Sp. PI. torn. ii. par. 1. 
p. 503. a. Murr. 391. Hort Rew. iL 534. Oron. Yirg. 64. Pluk. Aim. 129; 
Pliyt t 86. r. 2. Ehret t. 1. f. 3. Schoepf 63. Cutter 473. Mich. PI. Boreatl- 
Aro. i. 265. Pursh Fl. Am. Sep. 1. 308. Kott Oen. Am. Fl. f. 2S1. Mnhl. Cat 
42. Bart. Prod. Fl. Ph. 48. Bart. Corop. Fl. Ph. i. 206. Big. Flonila Boat 
104. Thacher's Disp. 3d. ed. 360. Coxe's Disp. 3d. ed. 567. Brown in Hort 
Rew. vol. 3. p. 5. Bot Mag. 1099. Woodville Med.Bot U. 292. Dyck. Ed. 
Disp. 382. Comstock in Edec. Rep. vol. 6. 


YsirTBivAKT. R. Brown. 
PoDALYRiA. Michauxy Lamarck. 
doPHORA. Lin. 

64 Baptisia tindoria. 

Nat Syst Juss. LeguminastB. Classis XIV. Ordo XI. 

Nat. Ord. Lin. Papilianacece. 

Artific. Syst. Lin. Classis Becandria. Ordo Monogynia. 
Calix half 4 or 5-ciefl;, bilabiate. Corolla papUionaceous, petals nearly equal in length; 

vexillum laterally reflected. Stamina deciduous. Legume ventricose^ pedicellate, 

many-seeded. — ^Brown Hort. Kew. S. p. 5. 
Baptisia tinctoria; glaberrima, ramosissima, micr(q>hyOa; foliis ternatis subsessili- 

bus, foliis cuneato-obovatis rotundato-obtusis, stipulis obsoletis oblongis acutis 

petiolo multoties brevioribus, racemis spicatis terroinalibus; leguminibus ovatis 

longo-stipitatis. — ^Willd. and Pursb. 
Very glabrous and much branched, small-leaved; leaves temate, subsessile, 

folioles cuneate-obovate, round, obtuse; stipules obsolete, oblong-acute, much 

shorter than the petiole; racemes spiked, terminal; legumes ovate, on long 

footstalks.— Bart. Comp. Fl. Ph. 


SoPHORA tinctoria. Sp. PI. 554. 

PoDALTBiA tinctoria. Mich., Lam., and Wild. 

Baptisis tinctorisB, Radix et Herba. 

The subject of this article was originally referred by linnseus to 
the extensive genus Sophora. Michaux, Lamarck, Willdenow, and 
others, assigned it a place, under the genus Podalyria: and more re- 
cently it has been placed by Brown and Yentenant, as a species of 

Baptisia findoria. 

Baptisia. The latter name is given here^ because it more properly 
belongs to the genus it designates, than to either of the other two* 
This fine^ luxuriant, bushy plant is a native of Nortli America, and 
is almost universally known hy the English name at the head of 
this chapter. 

The root is perennial, large, ligneous, irregularly shaped^ of a 
bistre colour, inclining to black externally, and yellowish within* 
The radicles proceeding from the main root, which is occasionally 
ramified^ are numerous^ and of a lighter colour than the caudex. 
The stalks are two or three feet high, round, yeUo wish-green, 
smooth, and covered with an infinite number of black dots. They 
are much ramified, and become more yellow towards their extre- 
mities. The leaves are small, seldom larger than the thumb-nail, 
ternatej cuneate-cordate, nearly sessile, and of a deep indigo-bluish- 
green. The stipules are very minute and evanescent The flowers 
are gamboge-yellow, becoming black, (as indeed the whole plant does 
upon drying,) after being plucked, or sometimes even while they re- 
main on the bush, after bloom. They are numerous, and situated in 
loose spikes on the extremities of the branches, and are supported 
by slender peduncles* The seed-vessel is an inflated, oblong pod, of 
the same bluish hue as the mature leaves, inclining to 
The period of flowering is from the beginning of July to the middle 
and last of August. 

68i Baj^isia tinctaria. 

Wild indigo is a common plant in the United States, being found 
in every state of the union. It promiscuously inhabits a variety of 
situations, though almost always in a dry soiL It seems to prefer the 
borders of dry hilly woods, being found in most abundance in such 
places ; yet the borders of thickets, and the edges of cultivated fields, 
are fi-equently decorated by the numerous gay flowers of this pretty 
plant. It is seldom seen in moist situations ; though on the edges of 
low woods in Jersey, and sometimes in the marshy thickets it is met 
with : and it must be acknowledged, that in these situations it does not 
appear to deteriorate; so that I fancy it possesses a flexible constitu- 
tion, enabling it to accommodate itself with facility, to many scites 
widely discrepant in the nature and effect of their peculiar soils. 


Both the root and plant may be used for medieal purposes. The 
Ibrmer has no smell, but is subacrid and a little nauseous to the taste. 
This remark applies only to the bark of the root, which is thick. 
Thou^ wild indigo is manifestly an active plant. It has excited, 
hitherto, eomparatively, little attention among any other than empi- 
rical practitioners; but among the latter I am stron^y inclined to 
suspect it is very generally used. It has happened to me on several 

Baptisia tinctoria, ^1^^^™ 57 

oecaBiotis during my herborizing excursions, to meet with negroes 
and Qtbers, coUecdng large quiintities of this plant, wliich they always 
ipoke of by the name of wild indigo. My enquiries of these people, 
who in every histance, except one^ were collecting for other per- 
sons^ convinced me the search for the plant was for medical purposes. 
{tdoes not, however, appear likely, that in any other way than as an 
enternal appUcation, tlie Baptisia wiU become useful in medicine. ^ 
am inclined to offer this opinion, from my own trials with it, and 
tlioHfi of other persons. Yet, as an external remedy in certain afiec- 
tions presently to be mentioned, it is far from being devoid of use- 
fulness i and I here present it to tlie notice of pltysicians, as an anti- 
septic and sub-astringent plant, capable of correcting the vitiated dis- 
charges of foal and gangrenous ulcers; and checking the progress, 
p€rhaps,of morliiicadon, when used simultaneously with the internal 
administration of Peruvian bark. The cathartic and emetic effect 
which has occasionally fallowed its use in large quantities, should, I 
think, be disregarded as far as any benelit may be expected from 
their efl*ects ; neither do I believe the diaphoredc effect which has 
supervened upon the free use of the decoction and infuBion, in my 
own bands, and in tlie trials made by otiiers, is entitled to any atten- 
tion ; because, like its purgative and emetic effect, it only followed 
the use of the article, pushed to considerable and inconveaient ex- 
tent It is also slightly stimulant, bath in the powder and in the de- 
coction of the root, but probably not more so, than any active sub- 
stance introduced into the stomach. 

VOU II* 8 

58 Ba0sia tindoria. 

After premising these cautionary remarks, I shall notice the extent 
of the information relative to the medical powers of this plant, as con- 
tained in the only two publications of any claim to authority, that 
have met my eyes ; the Dispensatory of Dr. Thacher of Plymouth, 
(New Eng.) and a paper by Dn Comstock, published in the Eclectic 
Repertory. To these gentlemen, confessedly, is due the credit of 
bringing this plant into notice, which will sufficiently excuse my giv- 
ing in their ovm language the result of their experience. ^^ In the 
hands of some physicians," says Dr. Thacher, " it is found to operate 
in a large dose, with much severity as an emetic and cathartic. But 
a weak decoction of the root has frequently been ^ven with the ef- 
fect only of a mild laxative. A decoction of the bark of the root has, 
it is said, been made known by an empiric experienced in its use, as 
a remedy in scarlatina anginosa ; and its employment has been ex- 
tended in a few instances to typhus or putrid fever with such good 
effect as to encourage further trials. An experienced physician con- 
siders it as an excellent antiseptic and febrifuge, preferring it in some 
fevers to Peruvian bark. As an external application, its antiseptic 
qualities ought to be more extensively known. In the form of fomen- 
tation or cataplasm it has proved eminently beneficial when applied 
to phagedenic and gangrenous ulcers, especially if the decoction be 
administered internally at the same time. 

^' Some experiments have been made with the pulverized root in 
doses of twenty to thirty grains, for the purpose of ascertaining its , 

■ ■irirf/u 

Buptisia iinctorm. 


emetie and cathartic power*, but without a very favourable result 
It appears to possess valuable antiseptic properties, as an external 
application to vitiated ulcers of almo6t every description ; an infu- 
sion of the root has surpassed in efficacy any other remedy which I 
have ever employed* In aphthous and other ulcers of the mouth, 
sore nipples, chronic sore eyes, and in various painful ulcers, dis- 
charging acrid matter, the assuaging and healing qualities of an infu- 
sion of wild indigo root has answered every expectation in practice. 
Impressed witli the assurance of its great utility, and solicitous to dif- 
fuse an experimental knowledge of it more extensively, I was in- 
duced to furnish several medical friends in Boston with the root, to 
be used in the marine hospital and in the almshouse, particularly in 
eases of syphilitic ulcers ; nor has the result disappointed my san- 
guine expectations. In their hands it has proved extremely beneficial 
when applied to venereal ulcers, mercurial sore mouth, and other 
ulcerous affections. In maUgnant ulcerous sore throat, no opportu- 
nity has presented for trial, but the happiest effects are anticipated in 
that disease, as well as others of a putrid nature* An ointment may 
be made by simmering tlie fresh root in hogs lard, or in cream^ to he 
appUed to burns and ulcers* The virtues of the root appear to be con- 
siderably diminished by long keeping*"* 

Dr* Corns tock, of Rhode Island, has bad considerable experience 
with this article, and he dctailsf an instance of its successful exhibition. 

♦Tliacln Dlip. p* 361, 

\ Eclectic Reiiertoryj vol. 6* 

too JSdptiM tiWdi^nit. 

in a case 6f inverted uterus. The Bapti^ Wits ti^dih diecocSoBj tt 
a local application to the protnided viscus tvhith ^as neiarly gan^^ 
hotrs, at the same time that bark wte ^v%h frrtek^^y, aA4 he remai^«, 
" as to the remedy used in tliis case to stop thte prt^eBi of gangrene, 
(Sophora tinctoria,) I am disposed to cons&det it a very pfoVir^rfill 
aiitiseplic ; having, be^es the aibove^ used it in ^ gr^at Malay cfiit^ 
c«6es wheteih mortiiftcilibn was thi*(i«t^ricd or actually ^pi'cisgtit^ 1*iClk 
the most decided befteftt,b6th ey^^iftOSiy and intetftfllriy." Thesttfte 
getitlenian has recently dtfrroborated ftifeilbovfe iaVouhilAe stirtettittal 
of the ahtiseptic virtues of this article, in k Icjtfer addf essJed to a gen- 
tleihto* in bm tThiversity, Who has thiiaeHhis plant 'the subject cBF hi* 
inaugural dissertation. " I would bbsei^f*e,^' says Dir. Oottnstbck to 
the letter alluded to, ^'that it is used )n cases of thoHifiicatildn, 1ft 
fevers sdppdsed to be putrid, and inclining to piitrescehcy, ^nd 
in general inhere antiseptics are indicated. In cases bf mortification 
it is uscid Ais a pbultice, applied externally, dr in strotig decoction as 
kfoihentatidn. When 'iised internally,! cOhsidier tin ounce of the t^- 
cent root to a pound of boiling water, about a suitable proportion. 
iTbe' quantity to be administered of this 'decoction, is half an oiince, 
in from four to eight hoiiA. If it proves cathartic, thequantity is to 
be diminished, or laudanum to be given with it I cofisider it to beihiB 
mcfst poweriful antiseptic In uise, and it is rery frequently resorted to 
by the people in this part of the country, and by some practitioners 
of medicine.)) 

* Mr. Weems. 

BapHsia tindotia. ftf 

The foregoing remarks are unquestionably entifledto much credit 
They are amply suflScieut to induce an extensive use of the wild in- 
digo for its antiseptic virtues, and I am glad to say, that my own 
trials of the decoction as an external application to foul ulcers, fully 
corroborates the reports of Drs. Comstock and Thacher. 

(Economical uses. 

The young shoots of this plant, which resemble asparagus in ap- 
pearance, have been used in New England as a substitute for it. 
like the young shoots of poke, however, they have occasionally pro- 
duced drastic evacuant effects. 

The very common practice in the country of placmg this plant 
about the harness of horses, to kill or drive away flies, has given it 
in some places the name of Horse-fly-weed. It is sqpposed that the 
leaves and flowers contain something noxious or deleterious to the 
flies, for it is said, I know not with what truth, more effeaually to 
keep off those insects, than any other plant. 

6S Baptisia iinctoria. 


fig. 1. A flowering twig of Baptisia tinctoria of the size of nature, cull- 
ed in the month of August, when the capsules begin to be 

s. The vexillum or banner of the corolla. 

3. One of the wings. 

4. The carina or keel. 

0. Galix, stamens, and pistil. 
0. Pistil. 
7. Thecalix. 



Btrm. Yielleicht der aconis der Alten ; Acoras yeros Calamus offlcin.; Aconis odoratua. 
Der Kalmua oder Calmus; die wohlriechende Schwertlilie. Gemeina Cala- 
mus. (WiUd.) 

Butch. Kalmua. 

Dkuu Kalrousy Calmua. 

6hu;ed. Ralmuss. 

EngL The sweet smelling flag; sweet cane; sweet grass; myrtle-flag; sweet myrtle- 
grass. — Qalie. Milsean-manu 

JFVeficA. L'acore odorant. Lamarck; L'acorus veritable. Bam. 

ItaL Acoro^ calamo odorato, canna odorifera. 

jfijpan. Acoro calamo. (Im arancel de rentas y diezmos del ano de 1709 wird er calahU 

PcrL Acoro calamo; canna cbeirosa. 

Rmsi. Koren, Ir. 

PdiL Tatarskie ziele. 

.Boikiii. Pmskworeky Prasskworec. 

64 Acarus calamus. 

Hunga. K^mnss. 

Lett. Kalmus sakkenes, karweles, Rarili. Fischer. 

Efistn. Ralmusfid, kalmus; So ingwer. ' 

Fran. L'arorus des Indes ou asiatique. jBom.— La bassombe. Lamarck. 

Malab. Waeiubu. Rheed. 


Java. Deryngo. 

Japan. Kawa sobu. Thunb. 

Bra. BembL 

Egypt. Cassabel, Bamira* 

Hebr. Rneh-boschem. 

AcoBUs Calamus; Ait. Hbrt. Kow; l.f. 474. Roy. Lugd. 6. ¥\. Suec. 277. 297. 

Mat Med. p. 96. Hall. Helv. n. 1307. Gmel. lib. 1. p. 1. Scop. Cam. n. 

426. Pollich. Pal. n. 343. Ludw. ect t. 34. Kniph. Ceut 9. n. 3. HofiYn. 

Germ. 123. Roth. Germ. i. 153. ii. 398. «. .Acorns vtUgaris, Bank. Pin. 34. 

Hort. CHflT. 137. Blackw. t 466. Mor. Hist 3. p. 246. s. 8. t. 13. f. 4. 

Tabem. 642. /9. Jicorus verus. Herm. Lugdb. 9. ¥1. Zeyl. 132. Garz. 288. c. 

Rumph. Amb. 5. p. 178. t 72. f. 1. Rheed. Mai. 11. p. 99. t 60. Hout- 

tuyn. Lin. Pfl. Syst 6. p. 354. Smith. Brit Fl. 373. Engl. Bot t 356. L. 

Suec. n. 297. Sp. PI. 462. Willd. Sp. PI. tom. 11. par. 1. p. 199. Woodville 

Med. Bot 472. t 173. Bot Arrang. 357. Mich. Fl. Bor. Am. 1. 194. Huds. 

147. Fl. Dan. t 1158. ^ Thunb. Japon. 144. Hort 196. Scop. Carn. n. 426. 

Jacq. Yind. 60. Gouan. Hort 18. Hist ox. s. 8. t 13. f. 4. Rail. Syn. 437. 

Lob. Adv. 29. Dalech. 1618. Clus. Hisp. 521. Lob. Obs. 30, inner fig. and 

ic. 1. 57. outer fig. Dod. 249. Repr. in Lob. Obs. 30, inner fig. &c. Ger. by 

Johns 62. Clus. Panr. 259. Cop. in Bankn. J. ii. 734. and Park. Theatr. 

140, and Repr. in Ger. by Johns 62. Blackst Haref. 2. Alst 1. 356. Cutl. 

435. Krock. n. 540. Schrod. 525. Ruttey 9. Dale 259. Geofi*r. ii. 2. Herm. 

8. Hill. 570. Mill. Jos. 12. Pharm. Edin. Lew. Disp. by Dune. 127. Mur. 

J. ]. 195. Pearson, R. ii.*165. Pharm. Lond. Cartheus. iii. 60. Heberd. 

161. Hufeland^ account firom^ in Med. Rev. ii. 458. Lin. Hot Clim. 314 ; 

Jkorm oakamn. 60 

Seam. 148. Monro iii. 36; Sold. ii. 128. 186. Moieley 169. Neon. ii. 200. 
Percival ii. 275. Ploucq. Bibl. 1. 129. 176. Qoarin. Animad. 170. 172. 175. 
Spielm. 242. Vog. 189. Pbarm. Suec. Berg. 274. Linn. 112. Mar. t. 59^ 
Schoepf 49. Lew. 1. 251. Chom. 180. L. 8p. 463. Henn. Hort 9. Jour. 
1. 259. Boerh. iL 167. Oaraias, ap. Clos. ezot 200. Rheede zL 99. t 60.— 
Jkonu it^HeuMf GeofRr. iL 5. Herni. 11. A. anaficitf» Dale 259. A. venu, Linn. 
112. Mttr. V. 39. Stokes's Bot Mat. Med. ii. 283. Ji. calamui^ Pursb. FL 
Am. Sep. i. 235. MtthL Cat 35. Bart Prod. Fl. Ph. 43 ; Compend. FL Plu 
i. 169. Big. Florola Bost 83. Pbarm. Mass. Med. Soc. 4. Tbach. Disp. 3d. 
ed. 131. Coxe's Disp. 3d. ed. 177. AMK>t 77. Eng. Bot 356. Dyck. Ed. 
Disp. 149. 

Gen. Pi. ed. Schreb. n. 586. 
Nat STst Jass. lypAce. ChnsisII. Ordo I. 

Arttfc. Syst Lin. Classis Hixandria. Ordo Jfimi^yfit^. 

SpaUx cylindricusy tectos floscniis. Ckfr. 6-petal09 nodiD. Styba 0. Cap$. 3-lociilaris. 

AcoBVs, T. L.* Spadiz cylindricus floscniis tectus. Calix 6-partita8 persistens. Sta- 
mina 6y (calici inserta?) Germen 1 1 Stylos 0$ Stigma ponctum prominens. 
Capsnla i-g^^^ 9*sperma9 (3-locuL polysp. ez Lin.) Spadiz innasoens medio 
folio ultra prodacto amulantl spatham planam. Afinior forte jancis, ez Bern. 
Jqss«o. Joss. GeiL PL ed. 1789* p. 25. 

Aoomvs Calamus $ scapo mucrone longissimo foUaceo. WiUd. 

TOL. n. 

66 Jkorus calamus. 


Ttfha aromatica, clava rngosa* Moris. 
AcoRUM legitiinum. Tabern. 
Calamus aromaticus. Oarz. 
AcoRUM. Rumph. 
Wabmbeb. Rheed. 


AcoRi Calami Radix. Edin. 
Calami Radix. Lond. 
AcoRi Radix. Dub. 

Calamus is a fine aromatic, and well-known aquatic plant It is 
truly indigenous to our states, and though not specifically, is slightly 
difierent from the foreign vegetable. It is a species of the genus 
Acorus, a terra derived from «#^if, the pupil; having been formerly 
esteemed peculiarly beneficial in disorders of the eye. There are 
only two described species, the subject of this chapter and the A. 
gramineus, which is cultivated in China. Of the A. calamus, European 
writers describe two varieties, the vulgaris^ European sweet-rush, 
sweet-smelling flag or calamus aromaticus, and the verus sen Jisi- 
aticus^ Indian sweet-rush, or calamus aromaticus. The former is said 
to be distinguished by " its long sword-shaped leaves, resembling 
those of the flag, but narrower, of a brighter green, and yielding, 
when broken, a strong aromatic scent ; and also by its oblique cylin- 

Jimrus calamus. 


dric spike of flowem, proceeding from tlie side of llic stem at tlie 
edge of tlie leaf, which spike is generally single^ sometimes double, 
and more rarely triple, or quadruple. It grows naturally on the banks 
of rivers, and in shallow standing waters ; and is tbund in many 
parts of England ; and plentifully in the standing waters and canals 
of Holland, and is, besides, common in many parts of Europe,'^* The 
other variety is called the Indian calamus^ and grows not only in 
marshy ditches, but in more elevated and diy places in Malabar, 
Ceylon, Amboyna, and other parts of the East Indies; it is said to 
differ little from tlie European, except in being a little more tender 
and narrow, and of a more hot and pungent taste. The shops arc 
usually supplied with this article from the Levant: but such roots are 
said not to be superior to those of the plant indigenous to England ; 
and the same may be said respecting that indigenous to the United 
States, a figure of which is here given. 

The root is perennial, rugose, horizontal, jointed, somewliat com- 
pressed, from half an inch to an inch tliick, and from sbc inches to 
two feet long, sending off from the base, a great number of small and 
large round fibres, which are sometimes white, and often yellow. 
The joints are from half an inch to an inch long. They are white, 
tinged by triangular shades of sic ana, rose-red and bistre, and often 
covered with numerous round elevated spots, occasioned generally 
by the insertion of the fibrous portions which have fallen off. From 
these joints, and from llie point between the lateral union of the roots. 

* Edit. AKicle Acorus* Reea'i Ency. 

Jlcorm calamus. 

bunches of brown fibres resembling coarse hair, are always found 
when the plant has grown in its natural wet situations. The root is 
interaally of a white spongy texture^ and loses nearly one half of 
its diameter in exsiccation- Its odour is strong, aromatic, subtle and 
pungent, particularly when dried ; and its taste very peculiar, being 
somewhat saccharine, and agreeably aromatic when fii*st chewed, 
but upon mastication becoming bitter, acrid and nauseous- The leaves 
are long, sword-shaped, sheathing, especially at the base; and at their 
origin from the root are of a red colour mixed with green and white. 
The flowers are tesselately arranged on a spadix, coming out 
laterally from the middle of a foliaceous scape, which extends a . 
consideral>le distance beyond it, so as to have the appearance of a 
leaf; and indeed it is generally said by botanists, that the spadix 
proceeds from a leaf. This spadix is solitary, from one and a half to 
two inches and a half long, something less than half an inch in dia- 
meter, cylindrical and attenuated at its base and apex* It is croud- 
ed spirally with numerous small greenish -yellow flowers, consisting 
of six small concaTe membranous truncated petals, witlioutany calix, 
and stamens varying in number, from six to five and four, which 
liave thick filaments and double anthers. The germen is gibbous and 
without any style, being crowned by a pointed stigma. The capsule 
is somewhat oblong, and contains a great number of small thin seeds 
in its numerous cells. Its favourite situations are the borders of ri- 
vulets, creeks, and small running streams, where it is generally 
emerged half its height in tlie water. In these situations it is found in 
company with different species of Iris, and Typha, (cat^s-tail or hull. 

S/oorm cafmnfm 


nigb) all whiob are indiscriminately known by the common name of 
flag. It is often^ however, found in swampy meadows, old ditchea, 
overflowed places, and low moist grounds contiguous to water. It 
flowers in May and June, at which time it may readily be distinguish- 
ed from die other plants called flags. Calamus is a common inhabitant 
of the sites just specified, throughout the United States, and can 
seldom be souglit for unsuccessfully^ at the period of its florescence. 
When out of bloom, the smell of the roots, and indeed, of the whole 
plant, will readily direct to the spot where it grows. 

The root only of calamus is used in medidoe. It is carminativa 
and stomacliic, and is used as an ingredient in many bitter tnfii- 
sions. It communicatesi however^ as has already been remarked, 
a nauseous flavour to such infUi4ons. * The root, when dried^ has a 
warm and tolerably strong aromatic smell, and a pungent bitter 
taste* It contains an essential oil^ to wliich is probably owing its pe- 
culiar taste, and the agreeable flavour it b Itnown to communicate 
to the bitter infusions of which it is an ingredient; for the residuum 
after distillation has a nauseous flavour dissimilar to calamus. Hoff- 
man* obtained only two ounces of the essential oil from fifty pounds 

^ Observat. Physico-cliym^ lib, h obs. 1. 

AcoruB ealamm. 

of the root; but Neuman and Cartheuser obtained It in mucfa 
greater proportions. It was formerly recommended by a writer of 
authority,* in vertigo, proceeding from a vitiated Btomach; and in 
interrnittents, which are said to have been cured by this medicine, 
after the bark had failed,! To its reputed efficacy in scorbutic and 
IiEemorrhagic complaints, in the words of Dr. Woodville, " little cre- 
dit should be given, and still less to its supposed elexipharmic 
power.^'t Calamus also stands as an ingredient in the renowned 
mithridate and tlieriaca, and in the compound powder of arum. 
The candied roots are said to be used by the Turks in Constan- 
tinople, as a prophylactic against contagion. The preparations of 
it enumerated by Murray,^ are, a dry confection of the roots, a 
distilled water and oil^ a spiiituoiis and aqueous extract, and the 
elixir vitie Matthioli, and elixir vitrioii Mynsichti. The infusions 
in water are strongly imbued with the odour of the root, and 
have a moderately warm and very bitter taste. Spirituous tinc- 
tures are more warm and pungent than aqueous infusions, but 
much less hitter, and have but little smell, and water applied after 
spirit gains a considerable bitterness. || Hence it is evident that water 
is a better menstruum than spirit to extract the medical virtues of 

♦ De Mayerne, Pra.T* Med, p. 59- 

{ Act, &Kiet. Mod, Hav. voL 9, p. 206* 

\ MeiK Bot. 

$ App> Med. 9,. 5. p. 39. 

I Lewia, MaU Med* p. 25S. vol, 1. 

Acorus calamus. 71 

calamus. According to Lewis, on distilling the spirituous tincture, 
the distilled spirit has scarcely any smell or taste of the root, and 
the extract has very little smell and much less taste than might be 
expected from so warm and pungent a root.^ 

It may be necessary to remark, that the American variety of cala- 
mus does not differ in medical properties from that imported from 
Asia and the Levant; or from that indigenous to Europe. While i^ 
will be seen, that this article has a conspicuous rank in all European 
works on Materia Medica, it must be confessed it is at present 
but little used in this country. Yet the disuse into which it 
has, undeservedly I think, fallen, is more the consequence probably 
of that kind of fashion which sways in medicine as in other spheres, 
than to any want of confidence in the virtues of the medicine. As 
there is no good reason why this confidence should be impaired, 
it cannot be improper to urge a recourse to the use of this 
article, as extensive as its peculiar virtues merit. In my opi- 
nion, it is one of the most efiicacious stomachics which the Ma- 
teria Medica presents. Dr. Swediaur recommends it either in the 
form of extract, (dose half a drachm) or candied, in dyspeptic cases. 
My experience enables me to say that, in dyspeptic flatulency, and 
other disorders of the stomach, and in colic, it merits the mark- 
ed attention of physicians. It has, in my practice, proved ener- 

* Lewis, Mat. Med, p. 252. vol. 1. 

getically beneficial In that distressing complaint to which sailors are 
80 frequently subject, from the nature of their life and diet weU 
known, particularly to naval surgeons, by the name of wind colic j 
given in hot decoctions in the manner of ginger tea, it quickly re- 
lieves the distressing swelling of the belly, by the discharge of wind. 
It may be chewed by dyspeptic persons, and the juice swallowed, 
rejecting the pulp ; and in this manner it proves a pleasant remedy 
for indigestion, in the course of a week or two. I have on some oc 
Casio ns prescribed the hot infusion to infants labouring under colic 
and with success. In intermittents I have had no experience with it, 
neither do I know of any autlienlin accounts on this point; though it 
has repeatedly been mentioned to me by country people, that 
they cure agues by the free use of the tincture. When masticated^ 
it stimulates the salivary glands powerfully, producing a copious dis^ 
charge of saUva, I have heard of its being used In this manner, with 
success, to cure the tooth ach. 


.Bfiorut eakmm. 79 


Beckitcm obverven^ tb<it tbe l6»ve« Are aoxlmw UthuMUi add 
it is well known that no kind of ««ttl« witt Slkt Mljr purt of the 
plant It has been suggested therefore, that the leaves might be 
usefully employed in destroying the moths that infest woQU^n ^oths, 
and the worms which injure books.^ M. Bautroth has used the whole 
plant for tanning leather f ^ud it is suiq^ofvd by Dr. Bohmer, that 
the French snuff, called a la violette^ receives its peculiar scent from 
this root Throughout the United States, it is used by tti9 country 
people as an ingredient in making wine bitters 

^ Mease's Edit. Dom. Ency. 

VOL. II 10 

9'4 Acortu edamm. 


Sig. 1. Represents the upper portion of the floiiferous leaf, support- 
ing the spadix of flowers. 

9. The root 

(Of the size of nature.) 

8. A stamen. 
4. A flower. 

9. The stigma and germ. 


8]Pi6K!LX& ."MIAKHaAJ^^HCA. 

( CapoJmmi nuk-root. j 

m -™^--» "» - 



Indian Pink. Pink-root Wonn-grMS. Carolina Pink* Unsteetla, of the Cherokee 


Germ. Nordamerikaniache Spigelie. (Wiild.) 

Sfigsua Marilandica. Syst V^. 166. Hope. Act Edin. 3. ann. 177U p. 151. t 1. 

Curt Mag. 20a. L. Sp. PI. 2. p. £49. Gron. Virg. 148. Rat Dendr. 32. 

Catesb. Car. 2. p. 78. t 78. Honttuyn Lin. Pfl. Syst 5. p. 502. Curt Bot 

Mag. 1. 1 80. Woodville Med. Bot 2. 288. 1 105. Walt Fl. Car. 92. Mich. 

FL Bore. Am. 1. 147. Porsh, Fl. Am. 1. 139. Elliot, Sketch. 1. 236. Gron. 

Virg. 30. Chalmers, Diseases S. Car. 1. 67. Pharm. Edin. Bart 39, repr. 

in Phys. Jour. viii. 428. Lew. Diq^ by Dune. 317. Murr. J. 1. 378. Home, 

F. Clin. 420. Rush, 1. 185. Scho^f, 21. Monro, ilL 270. Pharm. Lond. 

Berg. 94. Lew. ii. 377. Vog. 216. Garden in Phys. Ess. iii. 145. Oraing. 

28. Lining in Phys. Ess. 1. 436. Stok. Bot Mat Med. 1. 309. Big. Med. 

Bot 1. 146. Willd. Sp. PI. torn. 1. par. it p. 825. Thacher's Disp. 3d. ed. 

362. Coxe^s Disp. 3d. ed. 568. Pharm. Mass. Med. Soc 30. Barton's 

Collections, 3d. ed. par. 1. 38, 39. 61. Dyck. Edin. Disp. 383. Nutt Gen. 

Am. PL it 134. 

76 Spigelia Marilandica. 


Gen. PL ed. Schreb. n. 278. 

Nat. Sjst JvBs. tfen&mor. Clatais YIII. Ordo XIII. 

Nat. Ord. Lin. SieUaiae, /3. 

Artificial Syst Lin. Classis Pentandria* Ordo Monogyma. 

Cor. infundibulif. Caps, didyma, l-locularisypolysperma. 

SpiOELiAy L."*^ Jirapabaca, TL* Calix 5-partitu8 Corolla infundibuliformisy limbo patens 
5-fida sequalis. Stamina 5. Germen didymum ; stylus 1 ; stigma 1. Capsula 
didyma 2-locularis quasi ^-cocca, 4-valvis polysperma seminibus angulo locur 
lorum interiori aflbus. HerbiD ; folia opposita (floralia in 8. JMhdmiA 4-verti- 
cillata;) flores lerminales bracteolati spicati aut cymosi, in spicis secundi. 

Juss. Gen. Plant ed. 1789. p. 143. 

Gen. Cb. Cal. Perianth inferior^ of one leaf, deeply five-cleft, pointed, small, perma- 
nent Cor. of one petal, funnel-shaped $ tube much longer than the calix, nar- 
row^ towards the base ; limb spreading, cloven into five broad pointed seg- 
ments. Stofti. Klaments five, simple^ anthera simple. FUlt. Germen superior, 
composed of two globes; style solitary, aWl-&haped, the lengtli of the tube ; 
fitigfbii simple. Peric. Dupsule two-lobed, of two cells, and four valves. Seeds 
numerous, very minute. 

Ess. "Ch. Corolla funnel-shaped. Capsule oT two ^obidar cells, with many seeds. 

SpigeiJla Maiilandica : caule tetragomo, foliis omnibus oppositis. "Wilid. 
' Stem Tour-sided, leaves all opposite. 


ISfioklia opposrStblia. Btokes. 
Sfigsua Americana. Monro. 

Spigelia MarUandim. ^1^^ T7 

iiomcEHA Marilftndica tpicb termindiliiist Ac. Sp. H* E» p, fi4$, Groti. Vifg. !«• 
P£&iCJ*lAiEifi Virgittiaiii llorc coccuieoi jitc. Rai. denilr. 5^. 


/yf. The fmL 

Jluiix SpigcHiB MarUandics* Kdiii* 

BpitiEM^ liadix. Loii. Dub. 


MaMx perennb, Camks simplie^w^ erecU, scabrl^ q\iadraiigularc«f Hgidii anniiL Fa£ia 
ci|)|k£iaiiar sessiiia, avato-Iaticeotata, Uitegerritua^ iplabra^ pateiitia. %k-a soli* 
taria sccunda. Bracteis panuUs oppositb, Caiix pcntapfiylUiH : folio] is subu« 
latlsy persiatifntibus. C&roUa Nuiierne 5*angijlata, fauce gibba, ba^i dUatata : 
iAmhns S-paiittust Ifteitim hutceslatii revulutis^ ^kiniitin 5,c0rolLa breviora. 
Snihirat sagittatie^ canniveiitoa* CJennni supemoi. Siyius teres, inferne ar« 
tkolattm parte iiiperitire decidua* Stigma aitenuatuiti* CapmUa stibrtitundaf 
dldyma: luculis blvalvibus. Semitm plunma^ aii^ata, gcabm* ^H*%M.} 

To a celebrated professor of anatomy and surgery at Padua, Dr, 
Adrian Spigelius, the genus, of which a species is now to be particu- 
larly describedi was dedicated by Linnaeus. Spigelius was a distin- 
guished botanist* in his day, in consequence of wliich he was thus 

^ Dr« Spigelum was a profound mnatoinist and distinguisbed sur^on. He was bon 
at Bniaadi in 157Bf and died professor uf three branches at Faduat whither hig fame 

78 Spigelia MarUandica. 

honoured by the learned Swede. Of this genus there are two other 
species besides the Marilandica, and which are natives of Brazil and 

Spigelia Marilandica is a herbaceous plant, from six to twenty 
inches high ; it has a perennial root, consisting of a multitude of slen- 
der fibres, forming together a large bunch, as represented in the 
plate (Fig. 8.) They are of a yellow colour when recently remov- 
ed from the ground, and become black when dried. From the root 
proceed several four-sided, smooth stems of a purplish colour, gar- 
nished with two or three small leaves, which are usually of a faded 
green or brown colour. The leaves are few, sessile and opposite, 
ovate, acuminated, entire and glabrous, except on the margins and 
the veins, where they are pubescent. The flowers are borne on a 
terminal racemous spike, which leans towards one side, and sup- 
ports from four to twelve flowers, situated on short peduncles. The 
corolla is funnel-shaped, contracted at the top, and divided into five 
acute segments. It is of a beautiful carmine colour externally, ex- 
cept towards the base, where it is blended into white ; and of an 
orange-yellow within. The edges of the corolla segments are slight- 
had caused him to be invited^ in 1625. The works he pablished are as foUow : «f Isa- 
goges in Rem. Herbariam Libri duo." « De Lumbrico lato Liber, cum notis et ejos- 
dem Lumbrici icone." <« De incerto tempore Purtus.'' « De Semitertiana Libri 
quatuor." « De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri, cum Tabulis 98 »re inciris.'' m Dt 
formato Foetu liber siogularis, eneis figuris omatiis." ^ Tractos de Arthrittde.^ 

Spigelia Marilandicu, 


ly tinged with green, which is sufficiently conspicuous when they 
are reflected. Only one or two of tlie flowers are expanded at 
once. The calix con&isls of 11 ?e Ion? and narrow leaves, which 
are a little serrated on the margin; it is permanent, and has the 
segments reflected when the fruit is maturep The stamens appear 
to be short and inserted into the corolla towards the upper part: but 
in all the specimens I have examined, they may be said to have 
been adnate, and the length of the tube, as represented in Fig. s. 
for the fllaments could be distinctly traced doivn to the base of the 
tube, and easily detached. The anthers are oblong and narrow. 
Germen superior, ovate j style the length of the corolla, terminated 
by a long fringed stigma, projecting beyond it a quarter of an inch* 
The capsule is double, two-celled, and contains many seeds. 

This plant is a native of the southern states, where it is abundant. 
It was formerly found wild near Baltimore, but has been extirpated. 
Even in Virginia it is rare, and does not grow wild in any state 
noilhof it It is, however, cultivated abundantly in some of our 
gardens, particularly at Klngsess, where it thrives luxuriantly. From 
hving specimens obtained thence, I made the drawing, from which 
the plate has been engraved. It grows in rich, dry soils, on the bor- 
ders of woods, and its time of flowering, according to Mr. Elliot, is 
from May to July. 

8(^ SfigeUa MdrUandico. 

BfEj^icnvAL PBOFunraiu 

Carolina pink-root is a medicine of high repatafitti as a Tenni« 
fuge. It is said tbb property was learned from tbe Cherokee In^ 
dians; but it was first brought into notice among physidans by Dnu 
Garden, Lining, and Chalmers, who ha^e all spoken in strong: teriM 
of its antbdminlie vhrtua It aho acts powerfuUy as a cathar<k| 
but tiiia effect » vncertaia^ and only fellows large dose& As tha 
plant contains no resin, it yields its principal medkioal Tirtnes to 
water. K is aceordii^y ^velt^ most frequently, in inliision and d& 
eoction. The root is supposed to be more powerful than the plant; 
but tike usual practice is to empLey the wbi^e herb in hot ialusio« or 
decoction. Whea given in substance, the. powdered root alone is 
administered. Dr. Garden discovered that tbe recent plMt was 
most active, and that when the root became old, it was very consl* 
derably impaired^ This drcumstance should be borne in mindi 
whenever it is necessary to employ the plant in medicine; and 
when it is known to be old, ta make a proportionate aUowance finr 
the deterioration. The pink-root occasionally induces violent nac^* 
cotic effects, such as dimness of sight, giddmess, dilated pupil^ spas* 
modic motions in the muscles of the eyes, and even convulsions. 
Indeed, Dr. Chalmers attributes the loss of two children, who died 

Spigelia MarUandica. 81 

in convulsions, to this article. Dr. H. Thompson found large doses of 
the root, to produce in his own system, acceleration of the pulse, 
flushed face, drowsiness, and stiffness of the eye-lids. Notwithstand- 
ing these narcotic effects, which have undoubtedly followed the use 
of the plant, it is said that no danger need reasonably be appre- 
hended from them : and some eminent physicians even asseit, that 
they merely indicate the favourable operation of the medicine. 

The use of pink-root has not been confined to cases of 
worms. Dr. Garden mentioned, in the first letter to Dn Hope, 
which was written about the year 1763, that " its purgative quality 
naturally led him to give it in febrile diseases, which seemed to arise 
irom viscidity of the prirruB vue; and in these cases it succeeded to 
admiration, even when the sick did not void worms." According 
to Dr. Garden, the pink-root never does much good, except when 
it operates gentiy as a purgative. Hence it has become a common 
practice to unite calomel or rhubarb with it, in order to ensure the 
cathailic effect, which has already been said to be very uncertain. 
He recommended that a vomit should be giyen previously to the 
administration of the pink-root; and this practice is qften adopt- 
<B4r^d almost universally, a mercurial cathartic is given after the 
l^k-rpot. The late Professor Barton recommends this medicine 
in the protracted remitting fever of infants, which is supposed to lay 
the foundation of hydrocephalus. Garden, and others, smce his 
time, have combined the Aiistolochia serpentaria with this plant, 

VOL. II. 11 

8!B Spigelia Marilandica. 

and it is said, with the effect of counteracting the narcotic power of 
the pink-root. Professor Bergelius* has known instances of con- 
Tulsions cured by Spigelia, without the expulsion of worms ; and 
Dr. Barton informs us,t that an extensive use of the plant convinced 
him it often affords relief in supposed cases of worms, but in which 
none were discharged. 

An opinion formerly prevailed that the poisonous effects of Spi- 
gelia were not produced by that plant, but by the roots of another, 
which was accidentally gathered with it. This idea is not, at this 
time, entertidned; and the small black fibres which are found among 
tfie roots of the spigelia, and which were supposed te belong to the 
deleterious plant, are now known to be nolMng else than the decay* 
ed roots of the spigelia, from the preceding year, and which, ac- 
cording to Mr. ElUot, are particularly visible in the spring, at which 
time the pink-root is gathered. 

The sp&gelia is somew!iat mucSa^nous, and is sweetish or insipid 
to the taste. It is therefore readily taken by children. TTie dose is, 
of the dried pulverized root, about fifteen grains or a scruple for z 
child between six and eight years of age, and half that quantity fbr 
an infant under six years. To an adult a drachm or two dradims 

^ Essays and Observatiotiai Physical atrf Literary^ v<il. iU. art i. "p. 149* 

3 i^ ..- 

Spigdia MarUandica. 83 

may safelj be ^ven* The common mode of admiDistering the in- 
fusion is in the proportion of an ounce of the root and plant to a 
pound of boiling water, of which from one to three table spoonsM 
may be given to a child, and about half a pint to an adult If no 
effect follows, the doses may be augmented* 


Fig. 1. Represents a flowering branch of the Spigelia Marilandica, of 
its natural size. 

%. The lower parts of the stems, with the tuft of fiiscicled roots. 

8. The calix. 

4. The pistil. 

B. The corolla opened. 




ladiaB Ginger. Colts-foot Canada Snake-root American Asarabacca, Kidney- 
leaved Asarabacca. 

Oerm. Canadische Haselwnrz. (FFtOd.) 

AsABVM Canadense. L. Sp. PL 633. Hort Kew. 1. 124. Sal. R. Hort 544. Gron. 

Yirg. 72. Com. 24. t 25. Park, theatr. 266. Hist Ox. s. IS. t 7. & 4. 

Bart Collect 26. 48. ed. Sd. par. 1. p. 24. 27. Big. Med. Bot 1. p. 150. 

Coze's Disp. sd. ed. 213. Dyck. Ed. Disp. 195.411. Schoepf^ 72. Mich. 

FL Am. Bor. 1. 279. Pursh, Fl. Am. iL p. 596. Bart Prod. Fl. Ph. 5S. 

Comp. FLPh. it 146. Muhl. Cat. 47. Nutt Gen. Am. PI. ii.200. Willd. Sp. 

PL tom. ii. par. ii. p. S38. Mill. Diet. n. 2. et Ulustr. Syst Thunb. Jap. 190. 

Salisb. Prod. Chap. Allert 344. Gron. Yirg. 52. Com. Canad. 24. t 25. 

Houttoyn. Lin. Pfl. Syst. 7. p. 3. Walt Fl. Car. 143. 


"^ Gen. PL ed. Schreb. n. 801. 

Nat Syst Joss. «SrMtoIocAtaf. Joss. 
Nat Ord. Sarmmtaeeae. Lin. 

86 Ssarum Canademe. 

Art Syst Lin. Classis Gh/naniria. Ordo Dodecandria. 

AsABUMy T. L.* AsartU Cabaret. Calix urceolatus S-fidus. Stamina 12 brevia^ germini 
imposita ; anthers mediis filamentis adnato. Styha brevis ; stigma stellatum 
6-partitom. Capmda 6-locaiari8. Bradix tuberaaa emittens cauliculos S-phylloSf 
in foliorum dichotomic i-floros. Juss. Gen. PI. ed. 1789. p« 73* 

Oen. Ch. Col. Perianth one-leafed, bell-shaped» three or four clefts coriaceous, colour- 
ed, permanent ; clefts erect, bent in the apex. Ctif. none. Stam. Filaments 
twelve, subulate, half the length of the caliz; anthers oblong, fastened to. the 
middle partition of the filaments. Fist. Grerm. inferior or concealed within the 
calix ; style cylindric, the length of the stamens ; stigma stellate, 6-parted. 
Ter. Capsule coriaceous, usually six-celled. Buds several, ovate. 

Ess. Gen. Ch. CaL Three or four cleft, placed on the germ. Cor. none. Capsule coria- 
ceous, crowned. Stigma six-cleft. Ency. 

As ARUM Canadense; A. foiiis lato-reniformibos geminatis, calice lanato, profunde tiv 
yartitoy laciiiiis svb-lanceolatia r9fl€i:ici9. Mich., WiUd-, and Pursb* 
A pair of broad^renifbrnA loaves ; caUx wooUy^ deeply tbrae-pactedi segments 
sub-laaceolate, relaxed. 


AsARUM latifolium. Salisb. 

AsARVM foiiis sub-cordatis petiolatis. Gron. 

AsARUM Caroliiiianum. Walt 


AsARi Canadensis, Etadix et Herba. 


ToxiA utrinque minutissime pubescentia. Grermen obsolete trigonum. Calix foliolis in- 
fcrne inrurvis cavis, supcrne plus minus patentibus, ptanhiscutis^ marginibus 
revolutis. Filamenta vix altitudiqem sUgmatura. WHM. 

tarum Canadenu\ 


The root of wild-ginger is long, creeping, horizontal, jointed, 
fleshy, and of a liglit yeHowisii colour, <5cnditig off fiidicles of the 
same hue. It dm ells powerfully aromatic, and is exceedingly grate- 
ful The stems are very short, bifciliale, and bear a single drooping 
flower, in the fork formed by the junction of the two petioles. These 
petioles are from six to ten inches long, round, woolly, greenish 
above, and flesh-coloured below. The leaves are I>road, kidney- 
shaped, pubescent above and below, have strong prominent veins 
which give the under part a bu Hated appearance. They are of a 
rich, shining light-green above | and pale, almost bluish underneath. 
The calix h very woolly, and is divided into three broad, concave, 
acuminated segments, with the point rcflexed. They are of a deep 
brown*purple colour at the inside, and of a dull purple, inclining to 
blue-green externally* 1 have however found many specimens In 
which both extet^nally and internally the colour was Rne purple. 
The stamens are clavate, of unequal length, in.^erted on the germ, 
and are generally about twelve in number. The aethers are adnatc 
to the ^laments close to the ends, a slender point of the filament pro* 
jecting in each stamen beyond the anther. There are three nectarine 
filaments or perhaps abortive stamens, inserted near the lacinial di- 
visions of the calix. The pistil consists of an inferior, Irregularly hex- 
agonal germ, and a conical deeply grooved style, (or perhaps six 
styles closely connected together,) crowned by six re volute stig- 
mas. The flower is generally buried under the earth by its drooping 
uncurved hairy peduncle. The geographical range of the wild-ginger, 




Allspice-bush. Fever-bush. Wild Allspice. Spice-bcrr}'. Fever-wood. 

€hrm. Benzoin Lorbeer. (FTtUJ.) 

Laurus benzoin. L. Sp. PL 530. Hort. CliflT. 154. Gron. Yirg. 46. R07. Ludgb. 22G. 

Fabric. Helmst 401. Du Roi harbk. 1. p. 354. Mill. Diet n. 6. Willd. Arb. 

165. Wangh. Amer. 87. Conim. Hort l.p. 189. t 97. Fluk. Aim. 42. 1 139. 

f. 3. 4. Houttuyn. Lin. Ffl. Syst 1. p. 534. Pursh, Fl. Am. Sep. i. p. 276. 

Willd. Sp. PI. ii. p. 485. Mich. Fl. Am. Bor. i. p. 243. Bart Comp. Fl. Ph. L 

p. 192. Bartram^s Travels 21. Baylies in Med. Pap. 47. Stokes's Bot Mat. 

Med. vol. 2. p. 425. Cutler, 440. Hort Kew. ii.40. Barton's Collec. 3d. ed. 

par. 1. p. 20. par. 2. p. 52. Bart Prod. Fl. Ph. 48. Nutt Gen. Am. PI. 1. 

259. Big. Florula Bost. p. 97. 


Gen. PI. ed. Schreb. n. 388. 

Nat Syst Juss. Lauri. ClassisVL OrdoYL 
Nat Ord. Lin. HoUraceae. 

Artifi. Syst Liu. Classis Bnneandria. Ordo Monogynia. 
CaL 0. Cor. calycina, 6-partita. Metarium glandulis tribost bisetis, germen cingenti« 
biu. FUam€iita iBterlorm i^andulifenu Brupa l-sperma. 

9Z Laurus benzoin. 

LAUB178, T. L«* Laurier. Calix 6-partitus aut 6-fidu8 lequalis Staminum filamenta 
12, 6 exteriora fertilia, 6 interiora exterioribu3 opposita quorum 3 fertiiia basi 
2-appendiculata ailt 2-glartduIoda et 3 altema sterilia. Stigma capitatum. Folia 
plerumque Integra, in paucis subopposita; flores in plurimis subpaniculati 
axillares aut terminates, in paucis solitarii aut glomerati axiliares, quandoque 
sexubus abortins dio'ici. Calix quorumdam deciduus, cseterorum persistens 
cupulseformis integer aut lobatus. Drupa in plurimis Olivse aut Ccraso similis, 
in X. PerseA pjriformis magna. Ex Linnaeo stamina quorumdam numero va- 
ria, 6-8 in X. Sassafras, 8-14 calice 4-fido in L. JVbbtft, ^c. Confer in vi?is. 
An genus dividendum ? Juss. Gen. Plant ed. 1789* p. 80. 

Cren. Ch. CaL none, unless the corolla be taken for such. Cor. in six deep, ovate, point- 
ed, concave, erect, alternately external segments. Nectary consisting of three- 
pointed coloured tubercles, each terminating in two bristles, surrounding the 
germen. 61am. Filaments nine, shorter than the corolla, compressed, obtuse, 
ihree in each row j anthers attached to the edges of each filament, in the upper 
part, at each side. There are tWo globular glands, on a very short stalk, at- 
tached to every filament of the innermost row, near its base. PlsL Germen supe- 
rior, nearly ovate j style simple, of equal thickness throughout, the len^^h of the 
stamens; stigma obtuse, oblique. Pcric. Drupa oval, pointed, of one cell, con- 
tained within the corolla. Seed. Nut ovate, pointed, with a kernel of the same 
shape. Ency. 

LA17R17S benzoin; ramis virgatis sub floratione aphyllis, foliis deciduis, cuneato-ovali- 
bus, subtus albicantibus subpubescentibus, floribus glomerato-umbellatls, gem- 
mis pedicellisque glabris. — Willd. and Fursh. 
Leaves ovate, lanceolate, pubescent underneath ; flowers in clustered umbels ; 
buds and pedicels glabrous. Bart. Comp. Fl. Ph. 


Laubus pseudo benzoin. Mich. 
JLaubus lestivalis. Wangh. 

Laurus benzoin. 03 

Ama^m Virgioiana citre« vel limonii folioi benzoinura fundens. Comni. Hort. 
AmBo& Yirginianaf pisbaminis folM baccata benzoinum rcdolens. PItik. 
Lauxos^ sob genuSf Muosmos benzoin. Nutt 

LaVU benz. Cortex et bacca. The bark and berries. 

The term Laurus was the ancient name for the bay-tree, and it 
it now continued, not only to designate that tree, but is applied to 
a genus, comprising in common with it, a great number of fine aro- 
matic shrubs and arborescent yegetables. 

Hie laurus benzoin is one of these, and it is, without doubt, one 
of ttie finest aromatic shrubs of our country. It is polygamous, and 
rises to the height of from four to ten feet, and is very bushy. The 
stems are of an ash colour, often spotted with white dots. The 
fiowers appear early in April or the last of March, long before 
the leaves put out. About the first week of April the leaves are about 
as far advanced as represented in Fig. i, of the plate. They after- 
wards become the size of those represented in Figs. %j and 9. They 
are cuneateA>boval, neariy pubescent beneath, and always paler 
than above. 

The greenish-yellow fiowers appear in small umbels, containing 
each from two to four fiowers ; the pedicels in these umbels are 

94 Lauras benzoin. 

smooth. The calix is hexaphyllous ; the leaflets oblong, thin, costate, 
with globular blearia. There are generally nine stamens, which have 
two of the three outer filaments simple, the third with a pedun- 
culate gland at the base ; the three at the base of the three other 
leaflets, with two pedunculate glands at the base ; the three inner 
with glands at the base ; pistil terete and attenuate. The flowers are 
succeeded by shining, oval, scarlet or crimson berries, which are 
ripe in the last of September. They possess an aromatic and grateful 
taste, and according to Dr. Drake, are used for medicinal purposes. 
The spice-wood inhabits low and moist places, and damp shady 
woods. It is partial to the borders of streams and rivulets, and in 
such places seems to thrive better than elsewhere. It is found from 
the most northerly state of our union to Florida; and is every where 
well-known by one or other of the vulgar names at the head of this 


The. medical virtues of spice-wood, are not inconsiderable. The 
bark is highly aromatic, stimulant and tonic, and is extensively used 
in the country, I have been informed, with much success, in in- 
termittent fevers. It is given generally in decoction, but not unfre- 
quently in powder. The late Dr. Barton informs us, that a watery 
infusion of the twigs has often been given to children with a view to 

Lauras benzoin. 95 

dislodge worms, and that it is deemed an efficacious medicine in such 
cases. Of this I know nothing myself; but as the tea made by in- 
fusing the young branches is very pleasant, it would certainly be 
well to try it as a vermifuge. The Indians are said to esteem the 
spice-wood highly as a medicine ; in what complaints tliey use it 
I have not been able satisfactorily to learn. Dr. Drake^ mentions 
ibBt the oil of the berries is used medidnaUy, and that it is sti- 
mulant. The dose of the infusion or decoction is about a pint in 
twenty.four hours. When the powdered bark is used, one drachm 
is ^ven two or three times a day, in a ^ass of wine. 1 have known 
the flowers used for making tea, in the manner that sassafras blos- 
soms are, and taken as a gentle refreshing stimulant. 


The berries partake of the same spicy flavour which distinguishei« 
the bark of the shrub ; and we are informed, that during the late 
American war, the inhabitants of the United States used them dried 
and powdered as a substitute for allspice.t 

* Picture of Cincinnati, 
t Barton's Collections. 



Q€ Laurus benzoin. 




Fi^ 1. Represents a flowering twig of the Lauras benzoin, with die 
leaves just coiniBg out The earliest flowers appear before 
there are any leaves on the shrub. 

». A specimen of the plant in fruit, culled on the tenth of Sep- 

3. An outline of one of the largest leaves. 

4. A group of flowers with the four bractes. 
B. An expanded flower separated. 

0* A seo^ 

ThbU 34. 


J^wt ifnjiykfP^ WifCnvtm, 


(Gold - Thread.) 




Oerm. Kleinste Cbristwurz. (fFiUd.') 

CoFTis trifolia. Lin. Sp. PL 784. Am. Acad. v. 2. p. 356. t 4. f. 18. Mich. Fi. Bo- 

reali-Amer. 1. 325. Pursb, Fl. Am. Sep. ii. 390. Salisb. in Linn. Trans, viii. 

305. Sp. PI. Willd. ii. 1335. Kalm's Travels, iii. 379. Big. Med. Bot. 1. p. 

64. Lepecb. Iter. 1. 190. (Eder. FL Dan. t 566. Pallas, Iter. iii. 34. Big. 

Florula Bost p. 134. Tbacb. Disp. 3d. ed. p. 235. Cutler^ Amer. Acad. 1. 

457. Dyck. Ed. Disp. 249. 



Nat Syst. Juss. RanunciUaceae. 

Nat Ord. Linn. MuUisiliquae. 

Art Syst Lin. Ciassis Polyandria. Ordo Mmogynia. 
Calix none. Petals five or six, caducous ; nectaries five or six^ cucuUate ; capsule!^ 

firom five to eight, pedicelled, beaked, many-seeded. 
Cwnt trifolia; leaves ternate, scape one-flowered. 

TOIm JU 13 

98 Coptis trifolia. 


Anemoivb Gronlandica. FL Dan. t. dulyi. 
Hellbborus trifolius. L. and others. 
Heixeborus scapo unifloro. Am. Acad. 
IfiGSLLA. Cutler. 

Corns trifolia. Sadix. The root. 


Radix fibrosa^ fiUrormis, repens, perennis. Folia radicalia temata; foKoIis sessilibus, 
obverse ovatis, extrorsum magis gibbisy argute serratis, rigidiusculis^ glabris, 
Tenosis. Pe^Mi filiformes, folio longiores. iSbo^wssolitariuSy filiformis^.petiolis 
duplo longior^ instructus bractea subovata. Flos solitariuSf magnitudine floris 
Trientalis. CoroUae petala quinqne, ovata, basi in ungues attenuata, alba^ stri- 
ata. Mdaria petalis sepius plnra» Intea^ limbo ovata, basi attenuata in cylin- 
drum perforatum, petalis dimidio breviora. Standnum filamenta capillaria, 
alba, plurima, nectariis vix longiora. Jntherae albe, subrotundi^f erects* 
PistUli germina quinque coropressa. Styli filiformes, longitudine staminum^ 
rccurvi. Stigmata obtusa. Pericarpium capsulis quinque, acuminatis, com- 
pressiSf coadunatis roargine interiore. Semina plurima. Minima est hec planta 
in suo genere, attamen spectabilis; inter Flores Sibirie speciosos et maxime 
singuliu-es est, et jam qusedam Fumaria bulbosis afibiis^ floribus condecorata in 
suo genere maximis. Amo&n. Acad. p. S55. 

Coptis trifdia. 


Tbis pretty little evergreen plant, was refeiTed by al! botanists 
to the genus lielleborus^ until Mr, Salisbury separated it, on the 
characters which ai*e given above. He associated it with another 
plant, having twice temate leaves and green flowers, found by 
Mr, Menzies on the north-west coast of America. To the genus he 
gave ttie name of coptis^ from t»^7^, to cut; and botanists now uni- 
versally adopt his name and generic characters. The species which 
is the subject of this chapter, is a native of Siberia, Iceland, Labrador, 
and the northern parts of the United States* 

The roots are perennial, about the size of bobbiUy creeping, fasci- 
cled, aiiid of a bright-yellow colour, which gives them the name of 
gold-thi^ad The stems are slender, round, and proceed from 
sheatliing, ovate, sharp-pointed squamous sheaths. The leaves 
are teraate, coriaceous, smooth, and of a deep, shintog evergreen, 
conspictiously and delicately veined. They are supported by long 
and short, round, slender petioles. The foHoles are cuneate-obo- 
vate, with acuminate crenatures on the margin. The scapes are 
one-flowered, slender, terete, and garnished, with a mucronate scale- 
like bract at some distance below the flower. Ttie corolla consists 
of from five to seven oblong, greenish -white, coticave petals. There 
are five or six clavate fistulous nectaries, which are tinged with 
yellow at the top. The stamens are numerous, consisting of delicate 
white filaments and globose anthei^. Germs oblong, flattened. The 
capsules are oblong, rostrate, and pedicellate, containing many seeds 

100 Coptis trifolia. 

attached obliquely across their sides, to the inside. This little alpine 
evergreen is restricted to Canada and some of our roost northerly 
states.* It is found in sphagnous swamps, and in cold situations most 
abundantly, flowering in the month of May, 


The root of gold-thread is a pure and powerful bitter, devoid of 
any thing like astringency, and yielding its virtues readily to watery 
menstrua, though its bitterness is equally well given out to spirit. It is 
used in both ways, in the New England states, where, according to 
Dr. Thacher, it has long been a popular remedy for apthous affections 
of the mouth in children ; and the doctor says, '^ experience has evinc- 
ed its beneficial effects." He informs us, also, that it is considerably 
employed as a stomachic bitter in debility of the stomach and loss of 
appetite. Professor Mgelow states, that larger quantities of this article 
are sold in the druggists^ shops of Boston, than of almost any other 
indigenous production ; and that the demand arises from its reputed 
efficacy as a local appfication in apthous and other ulcerations of the 
mouth. He thinks, however, that its reputation in these cases is 

* My specimens were brought to me from New England, in 1814, by a physician of 
this city, and a large quantity of the root, which had belonged to the late Professor 
Barton^ fell into my hands after his death* 

Coptis trifolia. lOi 

wholly unmerited, and attributes the benefit which has attended its 
use, to other stimulating and astringent articles which have been 
comlHned with it I have had no further experience with this plant, 
than simply in a few trials to ascertain its tonic and stomachic vir- 
tues ; and in these, the results fully confirmed the promise which the 
sensible properties of the root held out It is one of the purest bitters 
I am acquainted with, and though not so intense as quassia, is some- 
what similiu* to it It may be safely recommended for its tonic and 
Intter powers. 




fig. 1. Coptis trifolia, of its natural, si^, in flower, and with the last 
year's fruit on. 

t. A petal. 
8. A pistil. . 

4. A nectary. 
d. Stamen. 

^ All greatly magnified. 

6. Capsule opened, shewing the seeds. 

7. The entire capsule, (stiU more magnified.) 

N. B. The organs of the plant as above, viz. Figs. 8, 4, and 5, 
are copied from the Fl. Dan., my specimens not being sufficient to 
enable me to draw them from the American plant 



Cdiimbia. Indian Lettace. Columbo-root Marietta Columbo. WUd Colambo. 

Faaseba Walteri. Walter, FL Car. 88. Mich. Fl. Bor. Am. 1. p. 06. Pursh, FI. 
Am. Sep. 1. p. 101. Drake's Pict Cin. p. 85. Nutt Oen. Am. PI. 1. p. 
102. Bart Coliec. ed. Sd. par. 8. p. 16. Bart Fl. Yirg. 49. Omelin» Syst Nat 
ii. p. 215. 256. Persoon, Sym Plant 1. p. 137. Bartram's Travels^ p. 42. 
Med. Rep. New Tork^ vol. 15. EUiot Sket vol. 1. p. 205. 


Walter. Michaox. 

Nat Syst Jass. Oeniianae. 

Artific. Syst Lin. Classia Teirandria. Ordo Mmogf^. 
Cal. profunde 4-partitus, patens, laciniis lanceolatis, acutis. CSor. calyce multo major, 
profundissime 4-partita, patens : laciniis ovalibus, ob utrumque marginem ver- 
sus summitatem incumbenti-inflexum quasi acuminatis. Glandula conspicua. 

104 Frasera Walteri. 

orbiculatat convexo-p^ eleganter barbata in parte laciiuarum me- 
dia. Stam. 4, corolla breviora eique alterna, filamenta subulata ; anther» 
subovato-oblongse, interne subsemibifidse) demum reflexse. Fist ovarium ob- 
longo-ovatum, compi*essum9 sensim desinens in stylum ipsius circiter longitu- 
dine : stigmata Z, crassa, glandulosa, divergentia. Caps, majuscula, ovalis^ 
valde compressa, ambitu 8ubmarginata».subcarti]aginea, rudimento styli mu- 
cronata; l-locularis» margine 2-valYis. 8enuna paaca, (8-12) elliptica, piano- 
compressa^ membranaceo-marginata ; ad latera utriusque suturse immediate 
longitudinaliter per marginem alterum ita adnexa, ut sibi invicem imbricatim 
Obs. Genus gentianeum ; fructu fere Mbktaitthis J>/)fmplundis. 

Mich. Flor. Boreali-Amer. p. 96. 
Calix deeply 4-parted. CoraUa 4-partedf spreading ; se^ents oval, ivith a bearded 
orbicular gland in the middle ^f each. Capsule compressed, partly marginated, 
1-celled. 8eeds few, (8 to 12) imbricated, large, elliptic, with a membra- 
naceous margin. 


l^RASERA Carolinensis. Walter. 
Frasbra oflScinaiis. Bart Fl. Yirg. 
Fraseba yerticillata. Drake, and others. 

Fbaseba Walteri. Radix^ The root. 

Frasera WaUerh 


Tub superb plant which is the suigect of this chapter, was dedi- 
cated by Waher to Mr* Jiihn Fraserj* and is tfie only species of the 
genus known at present The root is biennial, large, tuberoya and 
fleshy, and of a yellow colour* The stalk is strong, succulent, and 
fleshyi from eight to ten feet high, nearly square and farrowed, send- 
ing of wftorls of large, deep-green glabrous leaves, at intervals of six 
or eight inches^ to about half its length, and sn aller leaves and 
flowering branches in whorls to the top. *^ The lower leaves are ob- 
long, lanceolate, entire, membranous, deHcately veined, from six to 
eight inches long, and irom two to three wide j upper leaves narrow, 
lanceolate, small;' 'f 

The Icafes according to Pursh, Mr, Elliot, and the late Br* Bar- 
ton,t are occasionally opposite. They generally grow to the number 
of four or eight togctfier, are lanceolate or sometimes oblong, 
oTate, and acute* The flowers are aggregated in clusters ; the 
segments of the corolla are lanceolate, greenish-yellow, or cream- 
white, finely speckled with purple, and having a pubescent or ciliated 
oval gland in the middle of each petal, which is green internally, 
and brown on the edges* Those glands are conspicuous on both 
sides of the petals, as represented in the front and back views of the 

* An indefatigable nursery and seedsman^ to whose exertions tUe gardens of Eng* 
landf and particularly of Lundont are indebted for many rare American plaiits, 

t Elliot, \ Flora Virg. 


106 Frasera WdUerL 

two expanded flowers in the plate. The peduncles are from one 
to three inches, long, one*flowered ; calaciae segments lanceolate, 
shorter than the corolla. Filaments four, shorter than the corolla, 
attached to the base, and alternating with the segments of the co- 
rolla. Anthers oblong, incumbent. Germ superior, ovate, tapering 
above. Style only the attenuated germ, bifid. Stigmas two, divei^g. 
The capsules are compressed, somewhat margined, one-celled, and 
contain about eight or twelve diaphanous flat seeds, with a membra- 
naceous margin, and are imbricately attached toihe attenuate mar- 
^ns of the capsule. These capsules (in the dried specimens) are of 
the colour represented in the plate, (ilg. S.) The habitat of this plant 
is variously described by different botanists. Michaux, it appears, has 
observed it in wet or swampy places ^inPaludosis Garolinse.'^ 
Pursh says it is found ^^in the swamps of Lower Carolina, and on 
the borders of the lakes of Pennsylvania and New York.'* Mr. 
Nuttall says, "in the dry and open woods of western Pennsylvania, 
and New York, in certain localities it is abundant :^' and Dr. William 
Short, in a letter* to me, says it grows JQ^e barreiks or prairies of 

* The following i^ an extract from the. letter of.this gentlemany which will, I am suref 
be interesting in this place. << The floirers of tlie Frasera are by no means showj 
at a distance, but exquisitely delieatef ^n -ilhimite examinatfoii. 

<< The Columboy for so it is universally denominated here, grow;s abundantly in the 
country in which I reside, particularly those portions of it called barrens or prairieSf 
where, from the annual passage of fires over them,' the forest growth is stunted and 
sparse, but affording in the summed; rani' and luxuriant' growths of annual plants, and 

108 Fnuera WaUeri. 

describes it under the name of Indian Lettuce.^ The time of flower^ 
ing of the columbo, is in May, June, and July* 

From a Tariation in the number of parts of the flower and other 
circumstances, it is asserted by the editor of the article Frasera, In 
Rees's EncycIopsBdia, to be the Swertia difformis, of linn»us ; and 
Pursh remarks that the genus is so nearly allied to Swertia, that 
without seeing the fruit, the plant might readily be mistaken for a 
species of that genus. It is said by Dr. BartOQ,t that ^'flowers with 
five stamens are very frequently met with, and six stamens occasion- 
ally occur/' In the specimens in my possession, for which I am in- 
debted to Dr. Drake, of Cincinnati, the stamens are uniformly four. 


The following is an account of the experiments made with the root 
by Dr. Daniel Drake, of Cincinnati, with a view to ascertain the com. 
parative qualities of the Frasera, and theof&cinal columbo. ^^Thisroot, 
(F. Walteii) ffves out its bitterness both to aqueous and alcoholic 
menstrua, but more fully to the latter; the reverse of which is the 

science; and to hinif the late Professor Barton, Dr. Muhlenberg, Wilson, the orni- 
thologist, and many others, have been largely indebted for much useful Information. 
« See his Travels, p. 42. f Fl. Yirg. 

Fiiuera WalterL io» 

case with the columbo. Its spirituous tincture suffers decompositioQ 
upon the addition of water, indicating that it contains resin, which 
the columbo does not, at least in any considerable quantity ; and the 
addition of a decoction or tincture of galls to its watery or spirituous 
infusion, causes no precipitate of cinchonin, one of the chief consti- 
toeati of columbo/'* (For further chemical results, see Appendix.) 


The root of Frasera is a pure, powerful and excellent bitter, desti- 
tute of aroma. It is said to be not at all inferior to the gentian or 
columbo of the shops, and is equal to any of the common tonic bit- 
ters used in medicine. In its recent state it is said to possess consi- 
derable emetic and cathartic powers.f I have been informed that it is 
extensively used in the western states, and that it supports its repu- 
tation whei^ver it is generatty knowiL 1 hate never used the pismt 
m any way, and consequmtiy ean say liothing from experience on 
the sntgect. The late Professor Barton shewed me some slices of the 
dried root several years ago, bat the quantity he possessed was not 
sufficient to enable him to make any extensive triab with it It may 
be used in powder, decoction, infiiislon, and tincture. 

* Picture of Cincinnati. t Ibid. 

110 Frasera WaUeri, 


fig. 1. Represents a whorl of leaves, and a flowering branch of the 
Frasera Walteri. 

s. The capsules. 

8. A seed. 

(All the size of nature.) 

N. B. The drawing from which the plate was engraTed^ was made 
from good dried specimens, which I recei?ed from Dr. Drake ; the 
colouring of the flowers is imitated from a sketch made in a letter, 
by Dr. William Short, of Kentucky, in the faithfulness of whose pendl 
I have much reliance. The uncoloured whorl of leaves is an exact 
copy of Dr. Short*s outline sketch, made with a pen. 



> & 

.1^ J(W> ^ ^g'^ fewl 



I^ttkraake-root Senega BatOeniake-root Ofltcinal BfUk-wort^ or Rattteniake- 

rootf in England. 

Oerm. Giftwideratchende Polygala. (Willd.) Senegawmn. Klapper-schlangenwnrz. 

FrendL Polygale deVirginie; Seneka; Racine de serpent & aonnettea. 

PoLTOALA seneka. L. 8p. PI. 990. Bot. Mag. t. 1051. MilL Ph. Dkt ed. vii. t. 5. 

Rc^r. in ed. viiL at Art Polygala. Hort Kew. iii. 6. Walt 17a. Wood. 

Med. Bot £53. t 93. Thomt 6£9. Gron. Ylrg. ed. 1. 80. L. Am. iL 139. 

t a. at p. 141. r. 2. Pharm. Lond. Archer^ account from* in Pbys. Jour. 

i. aa. 106b Chir. Rer. tL 194, and Underw. 1. 336. Bang, in Act Haon. 1. 

SO. Ill, 112. 257. Callisen, ib. 7S. Chalm. it 115. Darw. it 392, and 398. 

Bree, 258. Cull. ii. 532. Lem. Duham. and Juse. account ttom, in Med. Ess. 

Ti. 377. Spielm. 581. GeoSk*. iL 137. Haen. i. 357. Hill. 630. Lew. ii. 240. 

Pharm. Lond. Noviss. Mackenxie, in Med. Obs. ii. 288. Monro, iii. 257. 

PerciY. T. in Med. Jour. iv. 67. Repr. in Perciv. T. ii. 395. Und. 1. 338. 

Bang, in Act Haun. 1. 239. 254, 255 ; it 41. 51. Berg. 595. Garth, ii. 435. 

lann. 200. Murr. ii. 436. Ploucq. Bibl. 1. 661. Schoqif, 110. Yog. 226. 
B. Sdin. Stoke. Bot Mat. Med. iii. 500. Bart CoUec. 3d. ed. par. 1. p. 

lis Pdygala seneka. 

Q6. 32. 34. 56. par. 2. p. 3r. Cassel, account flfijhf in Med. Rev. iv. 44. Lew. 
Disp. by Dune. 284. Massie, account from^ in Chir.Rev. xiv. 63. Murr. J.i. 331 $ 
ii. 46. Pears. R. i. 152. 230. 256. Arch, account fi*om» in Ann. Med. iv. 51K 
and Med. Rev. iii. 426. Scot. J. ib« 313. Lew. Juss. and Bouvarty in Ac. Soc. 
abr. by Soutlier. iii. 297. Tenant. Disp. of Virginia, and account from, in 
Med. Ess. vi. 376. Grraing. 66. Rush, v. 176. Dyck. Ed. Disp. p. 348. 
Coxe's Disp. 3d. ed. 500. Thach. Disp. Sd. ed. p. 819. Barton's Cull. ii. 370. 
390. 411. Muhl. Cat 66. Mich. Fl. Boreali-Am. ii. 53. Pursh, Fl. Am. Sep. 
ii. 464. Nutt Oen. Am. PI. ii. 87. Willd. Sp. PI. 3. p. 894. Raj. SuppL 640. 
Houttuyn. Lin. Pfl. Syst 8. p. 490. Drake's Pict Cin. p. 87. Chapman's 
Element Ther. and Mat MmL vol. 1. pt S70, Pbarm. Mass. Med. Soc. 26. 


6en. n. ed. Schreb. n. 1154. 

Nat SjBt Jiiss. Fedkmlares. Chssis VnL Ordo II. 

Nat Qrd. Lin. Lomentaeeae* 

Artific. Byst Lin. Classis DiaMpMa. Ordo (kkmdria. 

eW. 9*pliynu8| fi^lis duobiis al«fbnnibiMi, c<rioratis. Legameo obeordainaiy biioca- 

Po(LTOjUa., T. L.# CaUx 5-partittt89 laciniis SlAongi majoribos al«formiboB nmpi co- 
loratis. Corotta convolota in tiibam suprk fissumy limbo 2-Iabiatam» labio supe- 
ziore 2-partito flssoy inferiore concavo subtAs barbato aut imberbif intib obte- 
gente stamina's in daas fiiMces coMecta; anthers l-locolares. 8tigma sub- 
blfidum. Oap9ida compressa obcordata. Ecriae ant ftritices ; folia plemmque 
altema ; florea l-3-bracteolati» altemi, laxd aut densi spicatiy terminalos. 
Fmctus P. 9phM9ae baccatus et ramnli pnngentea. Caliz P. HHiteriae 5-par- 
tttus fsqualiay GOffolte bob fisaat gemien 4-conie. 

Juss. GeB. Plant ed. ir69. p. 99. 

Pok/gala seneka. i is 

Gw. Ch. CaL Periantli iiifq^pfMrmaiieiity Bmall, ft ve imeqMl, ovata^ acote leases : 
two of them below the dSroUa; one above it ; and two very large> flaty coloar- 
ed» like wing8» at the sides. Cor. imperfectly papilionaceous. Standard tobutaff 
nearly cylindrtea!, short. Its month reftexed, smdl, cloven. Keel concave, con- 
p i eased, swelling towards the extremityf near to which are attached, for the 
noatpart, two feathery three-deft qipendages. Staim. Filaments eight, in two 
sets, both united, contained within the keel ; anthers eight, simple. Pi$L Ger- 
men oblong, superior ; style simple, erect ; stigma terminal, tumid, cloven. 
Ferk. Capsule tuAlnate, somewhat heart-shaped, compressed, sharp-edged, 
with two oeilB and two valves, bursting on each side at the edges, the partition 
contrary to the valves. Seeds solitary, ovate, with a glandular scar. Ency . 

PoxiGALA Seneka; caulibus erectis aimplicissimis foliosis, foliis altemis laneeolatis, 
spica terminali filiformi, floribus altemis. Willd. and Pursh. 
Stems erect, quite simple, leafy ; leaves alternate, lanceolate ; qiike terminal, slen- 
der ; flowers alternate, 


PLAHTm.!. Bforilandicat caide bob ramoao, &c Ri^ 

fwTQAJLx floribus imberbis spicatiSf &c. Oron. 

PoLTOAia Yirginiana. Lenu Juss. and Bouvart 

Sbhska, of many medical writers, as quoted in the list of relbreBces. 

'RiTTUBtiriJai root of Tennant. 

Skbbqa Ratttesnake-root of Graingi 


qf. The root 

Radix Pdygal« Seneg». Edin* 
Sbhbga Badix. Load. 
Sbiteka Radix. Dub. 

TOU U. 15 

1 14 Polygala seneka. 

This humble plant is deservedly esteinld one of the first me- 
dicines in point of importance, native to our country. The genus 
to which it belongs is very extensive, containing more than one hun- 
dred species.* It is an ancient name, compounded of two Greek 
words, ir«Airc, muehy and r«A«, milk^ in allusion to the reputation of 
the effect of the plant on cattle that feed on it. But at this time it 
is not known what is the predse plant supposed to be endued with 
such virtues. The root of Polygala seneka is irregularly shaped, 
contorted^ gibbous, and ligneous; covered with a thick dull yellowish 
or greyish bark. Several stems arise from one root. They are leafy, 
slender, simple, erect, terete, of a dull brown purple colour below, 
and greenish towards the top; and are from ten to fourteen inches 
high. The leaves are alternate, lanceolate, acuminate, somewhat 
undulate, smooth, and supported on short petioles. Towards the base 
they are smaller, and inclined to ovate. The flowers are borne alter- 
nately on a slender terminal spike. They are papilionaceous, and 
though generally white, are often ^nged vnih dull purple, and some- 
times funt yellow. The calix consists of three short teeth, two in- 
ferior, and one superior, in relation to the corolla. Michaux and 
Pursh describe two distinct varieties, one of which they call «. albida £ 
having lanceolate or oval leaves, with a somewhat ciowded spike of 

# << Europe aflbrds six^ South and TVoptcal America as far as Buenos Ayres twenty^ 
four, Barbary and the Levtet four^ Siberia two, Guinea two> the Cape of Good Hope 
produces twenty-four, many of them omamental shrubs^ India and China thirteen^ one 
in Japan^ one in Arabia Felix^ and several others of uncertain locality.^ JV\i^ 


Polygula seneka. 


white sub-sessile flowers. The other /a, roseOj which is either smooth- 
ish or pubescent ; having linear leaves, a loose alternate-flowered 
spike, and rose-coloured flowers, *. grows from Canada throughout 
the Allegheny mountains, js. in Carolina and Georgiat The plant 
is generally found on the sides of hills and in dry woods. It is abund- 
ant in Kentucky, Oliio, and Tennessee, and flowers from June to 
August It was cultivated in England as early as 1759, by PhiUp 
Miller, and is still found at Kcw Garden and other botanic grounds. 


To the taste, the root is bitter, pungent, subtle and pecuHar ; but 
it has little or no smelL Both aqueous, and spirituous menstrua tx* 
tract its virtue ; but the alcoholic tincture obtains them most com* 
pletely . The powder in substance, however, is generally believed to be 
more active than either the tinctare or decoction. The latter when 
first taken are not peculiarly unpleasant, but speedily stimulate the 
mouth and fauces, and produce a free discharge from the salivary 
glands. A tincture of the root in rectified spirit, was formerly in 
great repute j and it was said to be more active and permanent in its 
effects It is now disused. It has been said, and perhaps not without 
foundation, that the bark of the root contains most of the active 
power of the plant ; and that the ligneous portion is comparatively 
inert. To this opinion Dr. Cullen inclines, though at the same time 

1 i6 Polygala seneka. 

he says the whole root has commonly been Wkd without regard to this 
difference in the power of its different parts. Murray relates the results 
of analyses carefully made of the root of this plant, by those who have 
written on it. But from them we learn nothing remarkable, except 
that the aqueous is more abundant than the resinous extract ; 
though the ligneous part of the root yields sufficiently, a resin, a 
mudlage, 2^. 


The Seneka snake*root possesses various medicinal virtues. It is 
stimulant, diuretic, sialagogue, expectorant, purgative, emetic and 
sudorific ; and of late years it is esteemed a valuable emenagogue. Dr. 
Gullen has treated of it, both under the head of cathartics, and under 
that of diuretics. Dr. Barton, in his edition of Gullen, has assigned it 
a place under the head of emenagogues, and Dr. Chapman, under 
the head of stimulating diuretics, as well as under the head of expec- 
torants and emenagogues. Its purgative effect was regarded by Dr. 
CuUen as its true characteristic ; and under the opinion that it was 
most salutary, when it produced copious evacuations, he arranged it 
under the head of cathartics. From this opinion many respectable 
physicians dissent. 

It is now more than eighty years, (1785) since Dr. John Tennant 
invited the attention of physicians to this medicine, as an antidote 

Pdffgaia sefieku. 


against the bite of tiie rattle-snake. In an extensive mtereourse with 
tlie Indian nations of our country, it appears that^ induced by the 
ofier of alluiing rewards, he olitained from the Senagaroos, a disclo- 
sure of their secret remedy for this accident, or the disease arising 
in consequence of it According to their practice, it was appUed ex- 
ternally and internally J either chewed and applied to the wound, or 
in tlie form of cataplasm. On Tennant himself saw^ or thought he 
saw^ beneftcial effects from the root of ttjis medicine incases of this 
kind. He inferred from the similarity of those symptoms which su- 
pervened on the poison of the rattlesnake, to those of pleurisy, 
that the medicine would prove beneficial in that disease. He accord* 
ingly recommended it^ and it has been much ysed^ and with repeat- 
ed good effect, in peiipneutnonic cases. The most prominent of 
the physicians who have borne testimony in favour of its powers 
in those cases, are Bouvart^ De Jussieu, Lemery, and Dubamel. Sir 
FVancis Mil I man, Dr. Percival, and others, have spoken highly of it 
as a diuretic in dropsies. Of late years the Beneka has been much 
used in croup, and numerous well attested instances of iLs beneficial 
effects are to be found in vanous pubtications. The credit of discover* 
ing the efficacy of the root in this complaint^ is due to Dr, Archer,* 
of Maryland, who, confessedly, was the first person that proposed its 
use in that distressing malady. The late Dr. Barton, on this subject 
says "from my own experience ! am led to repose more confidence 

• S^ Medkal BcpoiitoTTf Xew Torkt \nl lu n. i. art. viu 

1 18 Pdygala seneka. 

in the use of this medicme (m croup) than fn any other./)* The sali- 
rating property of seneka has been long known, and the instances of 
this effect being succeeded by its use, are numerous and authentic. Its 
expectorant power has caused it to be used in cases of typhus with 
pneumonic symptoms, and with considerable success, greatly pro-, 
moting, by stimulating the lungs, the expectoration of mucus. ^ Dr« 
Brandreth, of Liverpool, has derived great benefit in some cases of 
lethal^, from an extract of seneka combined with carbonate of 
ammonia.''t That it acts, occasionally, with much vigour as a sudo* 
rific, seems beyond disputation ; but I cannot mention without some 
apprehension of raising a smile, the marvellous effect said to have 
been produced on th6> blacks who have used it Dr« Barton mentions 
that he ^ has been assured it has been known to remove portions of 
the mucous body or rete mucosum from their skin.^':^ According to 
the doctor, the Indians use. a decoction of this root in syphilis, and in 
malignant sore-throat We are told by Dr. Woodville, that '' die re*- 
pute which this root obtained in peripneumonic affections, induced 
some to employ it in other inflammatory disorders, in wliich it 
proved serviceable, particularly in rheumatism.^^^ The notion that this 

• Collections. 
t Edinburgh Dlq). by Dyck. p. SAB. 
^ Collections. 
$ Med. Bot vol. S. p. fl55. Com. Novic. 1741. p. 363. Sarcone Geschichte de 
Krankh. in Neapel^ torn. 1. p. 108. 169. 173. 199. 

Pdygala seneka. 


root po8se§§e§ the power of rendering the siziness of the blood more 
fluid, has been satisfactorily refuted by De Haen ;* and does really 
seem to be entitled to no serious attention. 

From this summary of its virtues and effects^ it will be seen that 
the seneka is a medicine of no common powers ; but on adverting 
to what is manifestly the most prominent effect of its operation, its 
stimulant power, we cannot but be struck with the impropriety of 
administering it in the first stages of inflammatory disordei^s, such 
as pleurisy and croup ; for the latter cannot be considered purely 
spasmodic. In these cases^ unJess the lancet has been freely used, 
the seneka cannot, I apprehend^ be safely given. It is a stimulant 
of a very searching nature, influencing besides the circulation of the 
blood, the lymphatic and secretory organs ina poweiful and peculiar 
manner. It does not really appear that it has ever cured true plcu* 
risy ; neither has the lancet been omitted in most of the cases of cy- 
nanche trachealis, in which it has proved serviceable: and it may be 
questioned, whether Dr. Archer has insisted enough on the propriety 
of blood-letting, prior to the extensive use of tlie seneka in croup. 
He recommends a strong decoction of the root in tliis disease, which 
acts as an emetic, cathartiCj and expectorant, The decoction is made 
from half an ounce of the bruised or coarsely powdered root, and eight 
ounces of water, boiled over a slow fire down to half the quantity. 
Of tliis decoction he gives a tea*spoonful every half hour, or every 

♦ Ratio Meflcnilij p«r. 4. p, £5a* 

ItO Pdffgala seneka. 

hour, according as the urgency of the symptoms may indicate ; and 
at intervals, a few drops to keep up the stimulus, until the medicine 
acts on the stomach or bowels. The medicine is to be repeated in 
diminished quantities, so as to keep up a constant stimulus in the 
throat and mouth. This practice has been imitated by many phy- 
sicians with success.* 

*The following is Dr. Barton's account of bis use of this medicine in croup: 
<< Since the beginning of the year 1798, I have employed a strong decoction of this 
plant in several cases of cynanche trachealis, or hives. I am persuaded, that the se- 
neka is a very important medicine in the treatment of this common, and too frequently 
linmanageable, disease ; and praise, in my opinion, is due to Dr. Archer, for his im- 
portant discovery ; for such I cannot but deem it That the seneka is a specific, or 
certain remedy, for. the cure of the croup, 1 do not believe: but, from my own experi- 
ence, I am led to repose more confidence in the use of this medicine than in any other. 
I have made use of a very strong or saturated decoction of the root I have always given 
it in large quantities. It appears to be chiefly beneficial, when it occasions an expecto- 
ration of mucus, and when it proves Mnetic. It is also very useful by virtue of its pur- 
gative quality. But I have known it to occasion very plentiful stools^ without benefiting 
the patient Indeed, in the exhibition of the seneka, 1 would rather wish to guard against 
large pui^ng. I have sometime treated my patients alniost entirely with the seneka. 
Even in such cases, I have perceived moat unequivocal gttod effects from it But I have, 
mart generaUy, given, along wit^ the senel&a» calomel, and sometimes calomel com- 
bined with ipecacuanha. I have sot omitted the employment of tlie lancet, (though this^ 
in many cases of croup, is not absolutely necessary,) and the use of blisters, or sina- 
pisms, apidied near to the seat of the dtsf4ise. t am happy to close this short notice by 
observing, that several respectable physicians in Philadelphia inform me, tiiat they have 
used the a^neki^ with much advantage^ ii\tbe disease in question." 

182 Poljfgala seneka. 

expected menstrual period ; and be has found it most efficacious when 
the system was prepared for its operation, during the two preceding 
weeks, by the administration of calomel, so as to produce a gentle 
ptyalism. The doctor has also used the seneka in these cases in sub* 
stance^ but prefers the saturated decoction. When the cases are of 
very long standing, one, two, or three years, he is in the habit of reite* 
xating the practice as above detailed, with this exception, that he does 
not continue the use of the seneka during the whole period, because 
of the disgust it is under such circumstances apt to produce, by its 
nauseating tendency. At the instance of Dr. Hartshorne, this article 
was tried in amenorrhoea, some years ago, by Professor Chapman, 
and he speaks in the highest teons^ of his success.f 

* Soe his Eiements of Therapeutics and Materia Medica, vol. ii. article Polygala 
seneka, under the head of Enenagogues. 

t It is much to be regretted, that the credit of this important discovery of tlie eme- 
nagoguc powers of the seneka, has not been given, by either Dr. Thaclier,^ or Dr. 
Coxe, who copies and quotes the doctor, to him, to whom alone it is due; and it is but just 
to remark, that though in the publications of Drs. Thachcr and Coxc,|| the name of Dr. 
Chapman is alone mentioned in relation to this subject, yet the latter gentleman has, 
in two publications^ on the seneka, not only acknowledged Dr. Uartshome as first 
pointing out this peculiar effect of the seneka, but gives him all due credit for the 
discovery. These observations are made with a firm belief, that Dr. Hartshorne's 
name is inadvertently omitted in the publications of Thacher and Coxe ; and with a 
design, by rendering unto Caesar the ihinge whidi are Caesar^s, to aflix the merit due on 
this occasion, to an unassuming man of great merit, whose modes^ would never suffer 
him to s^ieak or write himself on the subject of any claim, wrested from him by inad- 
vertence or design. 

^IXspensatoiy, 3d. ed. | Dispensatory, 3d. ed. 

^ § Eclectic Repertoxy. Elements of Then, and Materia Medica, 1818. 3d. toL 

Poltfgdta seneka. iss 

I may here not impertinently remark, that in the treatment of a re- 
cent case* of hydrophobia, under my care, I prescribed the Polygala 
seneka in pills, of the pulverized root, and in powders, under the 
impression, that in this fatal and mysterious malady, the prominent 
feature of which is the distressing affection of the pharynx and larynx, 
and an extrenie difficulty of expectorating the great quantity of vis- 
dd mucous with which the trachea seems choaked up-^it might 
prove serviceable. I was led to this practice from the analogy of its 
effects in croup, as detailed by Dr. Archer : and though in the short 
continuance of this disease, which ran its terrific and fatal course in 
less than two entire days, I had but little opportunity of coming to 
any decided conclusion on the effect of the seneka ; still I ought to 
remark, that it promoted expectoration very freely. It was adminis- 
tered but for three hours, and not to any great extent. In a disease 
so direful in its symptoms and so universally fatal in its effect, it is a 
matter of no inconsiderable importance to seek alleviating remedies. 
I would therefore propose the free use of the seneka in cases of hy- 
drophobia^ with a view to its specific or remarkable operation on the 
apparent seat of this malady, the lungs, trachea and larynx ; and 
should another case ever occur in my practice, I shall lose no time in 
the administration of a remedy so powerfully affecting these organs. 

* Of this case, which occurred between the £8th and 30th of the present month, 
(November,) and which supervened upon the bite of a rabid dog, I have drawn up a de- 
tailed account^ which is to be soon published in one of our periodical journals. 

1S4 Polygala teneka. 


Tig. i. Represents a plant of the Polygala seneka in flower. 

«. The root. 

8. The calix. 

4, ff, 6, 7, and 8. The different parts of the papilionaceous 

(All the size of nature.) 




lliorovgli-steiB. Tcgetable AntbDony. Cross-wort Indian Sage. Thoroagh-wax. 

«' Agoe-woed,'^ offlie Iidians. 

Germ. Darchwachsener Waaaerdoat (WilUL) 

EuPATOBivM perfoliatanu L. Sp. PL 1174. Hcnrt ClilT. 596. Hort Upa. 253. Roy. 
Lngdb. 156. Gron. Yirg. 119. Cold. Noveb. 181. Mill. Diet a. 8.- Fluk. 
Aim. 140. t. 8r. f. 6. Raj. Suppl. 189. Morris. Hist UL p. 97. Houttuyn. lAa. 
Ffl. Syst iv. p. S4S. Willd. 1^. PI. iii. p. 1761. Mich. Fl. Am. Boreal. U. p. 
99. Parsb, Fl. Am. Sep. U. p. 516. Hort Kaw. iii. 160. Cnfler, 478. Stokes's 
Bot Mat Med. iv. p. 171. Onthrie, in Ann. Med. iiL 403. Schoepf, Mat 
Med. Am. 121. Bart. CoUectionSf Sd. ed. part i. p. 28. 55. partii. p. 22. 
Anderson, Inang. Diss. (New York, 1813.) Thacli. Disp. 3d. ed. p. 220. Coze's 
Disp.ed. 3d. p. 317. Dyck. Ed. Disp. p. 264. 415. Chapman's Element Mat 
Med. and Thera. vol. i. p. 343. ii. p. 415. Bart. Prod. Fl. Ph. 77. Conq[i. Fl. 
Ph. iLjp^ 101. Big. Florula Boat p. 190. Mahl. Cat PI. Am. Sep. p. 74. 
Pursljll Medical and Physical JoomaL Big. Am. Med. Bot p. 33. Bart. 
Med. and Pbys. Jour. Nutt Gen. Am. PI. vol. ii. p. 135. 
you n. 17 

1 S6 Eupatmnum peffdiatum. 


Gen. PL 1272. 

Nat. Syst. Jiiss. Corymbiferae. 

Nat Ord. Lin. Compositae dUcaideae. 

Artific. Syst. Lin. Classis 8yngetiesi(u Ordo Pdygamia aequalis^ 

ErPATORiuMy T. L.* Eiipatoirc. Flores flosculosi. Calix imbricatus insequalis oblon- 
gus cylindricus pauciflorus. Pappus pIumo8U8. Caulis frutescens aut herbaceus^ 
interdiim scandens ) folia in plurimis opposita, in panels verticillata aut alter- 
na; flores ssepe corymbosi teraiinales aut axillares, purpurascentes. Species quae- 
dam LinnseansB calice polypbyllo simplici non imbricatOf Cacalise affiniores ex 
D. Lamark ; quaedam pappo piloso. An congener Crttofita Brown. Jam. t. 34. 
f. 1., cui ex Autore calix '4-floruSf pappus ramosus^ csetera similia ? 

Juss. Gen. Fl. ed. 1789. p. 178. 

Gen. Ch. Common Calix oblong, imbricated ; scales linear-lanceolate, erect, unequal, 
unarmed. Cor. Compound^ uniform, discoid i florets all uniform, perfect, fer- 
tile, monopetalous, funnel-shaped, with a regular 5-cleft spreading border. 
Siam. FUaments five, capillary, very short; anthers united into a cylindrical 
tube. Pist Germen minute ; style thread-shaped, very long, cloven, slender, 
bluntish, straight. Ptric. None, except the permanent calix. Setds solitary, 
oblong, angular; down long, rough or feathery. Rtcep. naked. 

Ess. Ch. Receptacle naked. Down rough or feathery. Calix imbricated^ oblong. Style 
prominent, cloven half way down, divaricated. Ency. 

Btup. Nudum. Pappus pilosus. CaL imbricatus, cylindricus. 8tylm semibifidus^ 

EuPAfoBiuM perfoliatum ; foliis connato-perfoliatis oblongis sursum angustatis ser- 
ratis, rugosis, subtus tomentosis, caule villoso. — WiUd. and f^^jfh 
lieaves connate-perfoliate, oblong, narrow above, serrate, roog^tomenfose be- 
neath ; stem villous. 

Enpatorium perfoliatum. 1 87 


EuPATORiUM Yirginianum, Salvise foliisy &c. Pluk. 
EuPATORiUM foliis connatts tomciitosis. Cutler, 
EuPATouuM confiatum. Micli* 

EuFAT. perfol. Herba ct flores — the flowers and leaves. 

The subject of this article is wholly destitute of any thiug like 
comliness, but is a very general favourite and will probably always 
be highly esteemed, for its medicinal powers. The plant which 
gave name to the very extensive genus of which the Bone-set is 
a species, is the ivw^Up^f^ of Dioscorides, from Mithridates, sur- 
named Eupator, who is reputed to have brought the original plant 
into use as an antidote against poisons. Most of the species, of 
which Willdenow enumerates seventy-one, are indigenous to Ame- 
rica. Pursh describes twenty-seven as natives of North America j 
and others will be found extending beyond the tropics as far as 
Peru and Paraguay. Those indigenous to our states, are all plain 
looking plantS) except the £. ccelestinum, the beautiful blue flowers 
of which have given rise to the appropriate specific name* Many of 
them, however, compensate in stature for what they want in beauty ; 

1S8 Eupatarium perfoliatum. 

several of the red-flowered species being from five to seven feet 
high. They decorate our autumnal landscapes, by the profusion 
of their red and white flowers, and by the abundance in which they 
are every where met with. 

The present is perhaps one of the commonest, if not the most 
common, of all the species inhabiting our country; being found 
in meadows, damp woods, watery thickets, and on the margins of 
brooks, rivulets and other small waters, in the greatest profusion — 
covering indeed occasionally, whole acres of ground. It is peculiar 
to North America, and is easily distinguished from all the other spe- 
cies, to many of which it is nearly allied by its general habit and. its 
flowers, by the remarkable structure of its leaves, which decussate 
> each other in such a manner as to have ^ven rise to the appellation 
of cross- wort. It may also be readily known by its blistered or rugose 
leaves, which have imposed on it the epithet of Indian Sage. But 
another discriminating mark in the leaves, arises from the manner 
ii) which they are perforated by the stem; and hence the vulgar 
names, Thorough-wort and Thorough-wax. 

The ori^n of the common name hone^set^ it is not easy to as- 
certain ; though a mere suggestion of Professor Barton seems to 
hay« afforded a late writer on the Materia Medica a l^nt for a 
derivation, which he has not failed to avail himself of. We are 
tel^by tl48 geaUenwo, upon what authority other thao his own, we are 

Eupatorium perfoliainm. 


left to conjecture, that the plant derived the name of bane-set from 
the relief it afforded in a certain *' singular catarrh or species of influ* 
enza/' which prevailed about thirty years ago, and v^as denominated 
break-bone-feven We are satisfied the Professor would find it ex-, 
treraely difficult to shew by any printed testimony, that the tnedicU 
nal powers of Eupatorium perfoliatum were generally known even 
twenty, much less thirty years ago, or that the vulgar name, bone- 
set, is of earlier origin than fifteen years back. 

The root is perennial, somewhat horizon taL The stems erect, 
from two to four feet high, round, very hairy, (hair flexuose,)and di- 
vided towards the top into decussating branches, so as to form when 
in flower, a fiat dense fastigiate corymb. The stem is generally 
greyish -green, but often purplish towards the base. The leaves de- 
cussate each other at regular distances ; are perfoliate, or perhaps 
connate, broadest at their base or point of union witli the stem, and 
taper gradually into a long acumination. They are serrate, very ru- 
gose or wrinkled, closely beset with hairs of a grey colour, which, 
together with those wherewith the stem, and indeed nearly the whole 
plant is covered, give it a greyish -green aspect. The under surface 
of the leaves is paler than the upper, and both woolly. The two or 
three upper pairs of leaves on the stems, and all those on the 
branches, are given ofi* in pairs, and lose the perfoliate or connate 
character, being there merely sessile. Flowers terminal, white, sup. 
ported on short hairy peduncles, in close fastigiate corymbs, Calix 


Eupatoriutn perfoliatum* 

imbricate and hirsutulous ; scales lanceolate, acute. Florets about 
twelve or fourteen. Each flower tubulous^ divided into five segments 
or teeth, as represented in Fig. 3. Antliers deep blue or black, fila- 
ments five, united with a fistulous brace* Seeds prismatic, attenuate 
at the base, of a crow-black colour, and situated on a naked receptacle* 
Pappus or down of the seed pilose ; hail's scabrous. The flowers are 
fully expanded in the month of August^ and the plant is every where 
found in bloom during the autumn, and even as late as the last of Oc- 


We are indebted to Dr. Andrew Anderson, for an excellent che- 
mical analysis of this species of Eupatorium, According to his expe* 
rimeniB, it appears, that it contains first : a free acid — secondly, tannin 
in small quantity — thirdly, a bitter extractive matter — fourtlily, a gum- 
my matter — tilth ly, a resin — sixthly, azote — seventhly, lime, proba- 
bly tlie acetate of lime j eighthly, gallic acid, probably modified ; 
ninthly, a resiniform matter soluble in water and alcohol, which 
seems to contain a bitter principle* 

The medicinal properties of bone-set are fully given out, both to 
aqueous and spirituous menstma. Proof spirit digested on the leaves 
and flowers, make a fine preparation for cases whicli will hear the 

Eupatorium perfoU&tum^ 



Great indeed is the renown of the Eupatorium perfoliatum, as a me- 
dicine, and various as well as powerful are the virtues attributed to it. 
Should a wide extended experience justify, in future, only one-half the 
encomiums which have been lavishly bestowed upon it, it will even 
then be entitled to a distinguished rank in the Materia Medica. It is 
impossible to read the accounts which are given of the virtues and 
effects of this popular medicine, without indulging the belief^ that fa- 
vouritism^ partiality, or fashion, has had some share in decorating it 
out for pubUc view. Believing as I do, that few plants of our countiy 
are more deserving of the attention of physicians than this, for its 
real virtues, I regret the ton ready adoption Iroui vague rumours^ of 
accounts of those which are merely imaginary, and which may lead, 
on the discovery of the error, to limit its use, or to its total rejectiori 
from practice. Notwithstanding the real, the obviously beneficial ef- 
fects, in curing, or alleviating diseases, or symptoms of diseases, 
which belong to this plant, some of those who liave written on its 
properties, have needlessly indulged in a vein of exaggeration, wholly 
incompatible with the reality, and calculated to bring the medicine 
sooner or later into disrepute* I have ventured to speak thus confi- 
dently on this subject, because as it is a favourite article in my own 
practice, I have consequently been led to use it frequently and ex- 


Eupaimium peffdiaium. 

tensivelj, and to gi?e it ereiy trial which a favourable impression of 
its powers would induce me to make. The result has been, that 
while I deem its properties on the one hand much exaggerated and 
even misrepresented in some points of view, I cannot but believe on 
fte other, that it is a highly important artiele^ when administered in 
those affections* to the symptoms of which its peculiar virtues are ap- 
plieable and proper, 

Bone-set has been represented by various writers, most of whom 
have copied after others, as a tonic, stimulant, diaphoretic, erne* 
tic, cathartic, diuretic, astringent, and deobstruent; as capable of 
curing obstinate cutaneous affections, yellow fever, petechial or spotted 
fever, rheumatism, ^c-iyc, thereby leaifing the unwarv and the inex- 
perienced practitioner, to depend too much on its reputed powers* 

The sensible properties of bone-set would seem to point out its 
most estimable medicinal powers. The whole plant is intensely bit- 
ter, ft is also possessed of some slight astringeney. When dried it 
has a peculiar, and not disagreeable odour. 

The leaves and flowers according to some writers on the subject^ 
contain the bitterness, in different degrees of intensity. The late Pro- 
fessor Barton states in his collections, that the flowers are more active 
than the leaves, and in this error, Dr. Chapman has copied him* Dr, 
Andei-son on the other hand asserts, that the leaves are more active 


Eupaiorium perfoliatum. 


than the flowers, and he has been copied by Thadierj Coxe, and others. 
Careful practical experiments witii the decoctions and infusions of 
both these portions of the plant, in similar and dissimilar doses, have 
led me to form the opinion, that there is no difference in the bitter- 
ness or activity on tlie system, between the leaves and flowers. Both 
may be used indiscriminately, and either will answer. The stems also, 
allowing for the proportion of medulla which enter into their struc- 
ture, are nearly as efficacious, as the other portions. Consequently, 
the whole plant may be safely and advantageously used for medical 

I have said that the sensible properties of the bone -set indicate 
its medicinal virtues; and it appears that the tonic and diapho- 
retic effects, both of which are unequivocal and powerful, arc those 
most deserving attention. It is also somewhat stimulant, but this 
effect is transient; and perhaps it is no more so than all bitters are, 
in their first impression on the system, particularly if it be debilitated 
hy disease, or in a state of excitement from fever. It is certain that 
it has been successfully prescribed in violent catarrhs attended with 
some fcver^ and its stimulant efl^ect has not been so considerable as 
to he injurious in those cases* As a tonic bitter it has been long 
known in this country, and the Indians are said to have used it in the 
cure of intermittent fevers; we are even told by the late Professor 
Barton, that they recognize it by a name which may be translated 

VOL* JI. 18 


Eupatarium perfoUatum. 

imbricate and hirsutulous; scales lanceolate, acute. Florets about 
twelve or fourteen. Each flower tiibulous, divided into five segments 
or teeth, as represented in Fig. 3, Anthei^s deep blue or black, fila- 
ments five, united with a fistulous brace. Seeds prismatic, attenuate 
at the base, of a crow-black colour, and situated on a naked receptacle. 
Pappus or down of the seed pilose ; hairs scabrous. The flowers are 
fully expanded in the month of August^ and tlie plant is everywhere 
found in bloom during the autumn, and even as late as the last of Oc- 


We ai'e indebted to Dr, Andrew Anderson, for an excellent che- 
mical analysis of this species of Eupatorium. According to his expe- 
riments, it appeal^, thai it contains first ; a free acid — secondly, tannin 
in small quantity — thirdly, a bitter extractive matter — fourthly, a gum- 
my matter — fifthly, a resin — sixthly, azote — seventhly, lime, proba- 
bly the acetate of lime j eighthly, gallic acid, probably modified j 
ninthly, a resiniform matter soluble in water and alcohol, which 
seems to contain a bitter principle. 

The medicinal properUes of bone-set are fully given out, both to 
aqueous and spirituous menstrua. Proof spirit digested on the leaves 
and flowers, make a fine preparation for cases which will bear the 

Etipatmium perfoliatufn^ 



Great indeed is the renown of the Eupatorumi perfoljatum,as a me- 
dicine, and various as well as powerful are the virtues attributed to it. 
Should a wide extended experience justify, in future, only one-half the 
encomiums which have been lavishly bestowed upon it, it will even 
then be entitled to a distiDguished rank in the Materia Medica. It is 
impossible to read the accounts which are given of the virtues and 
effects of this popular medicinej without indulging the belief, that fa- 
vouritism, partiality 5 or fashion, has had some share in decorating it 
out for public view. Believing as I do, that few plants of our country 
are more deserving of the attention of physicians than this, for its 
real virtues, I regret the too rf*ady adoption irum vague rumours, of 
accounts of those which are merely imaginary, and which may lead, 
on the discovery of the error, to limit its use, or to its total rejection 
from practice^ Notwithstanding the real, tlie obviously beneficial ef- 
fectSj in curing, or alleviating diseases, or symptoms of diseases, 
which belong to this plant, some of those who have written on its 
properties, have needlessly indulged in a vein of exagge ration, wholly 
incompatible with the reality, and calculated to bring the medicine 
sooner or later into disrepute. I have ventured to speak thus confi- 
dently on this subject, because as it is a favourite article in my own 
practice, I have consequently been led to use it frequently and ex» 


Eupatorium perfoliatum. 

imbricate and hirsutulous ; scales lanceolate, acute. Florets about 
twelve or fourteen. Each flower tubulous, divided into five segments 
or teeth, as represented in Fig, 3. Anthers deep blue or black, fila- 
ments five, united with a fistulous brace. Seeds pi ismatic^ attenuate 
at the base, of a crow-black colour, and situated on a naked receptacle. 
Pappus or down of the seed pilose ; hail's scabrous. The flowers arc 
fully expanded in the month of August, and tlie plant is every where 
found in bloom during the autumn^ and even as late as the last of Oc- 


We ai'e indebted to Dr, Andrew Anderson, for an excellent che- 
mical analysis of this species of Eupatorium. According to his expe- 
riments, it appeal^, that it cuntains first : a free acid — secondly^ tannin 
in small quantity — thirdly, a bitter extractive matter — fourthly, a gum- 
my matter — fifthly, a resin — sixthly, azote — seventhly, lime, proba- 
bly the acetate of lime ; eighthly, gallic acid, probably modified j 
ninthly, a resiniform matter soluble in water and alcohol, which 
seems to contain a bitter principle. 

The medicinal properties of bone-set are fully given out, both to 
aqueous and spirituous menstrua. Proof spirit digested on the leaves 
and flowers, make a fine preparafion for cases which will bear the 


lEupatorium perfdiatum^ 

tensively, and to give it trexy trial which a favourable impression of 
its powers would induce me to make^ The result has been, that 
while I deem its properties on the one hand much exaggerated and 
even misrepresented in some points of view, I cannot but believe on 
the other, that it is a highly important article, when administered in 
those afFectionSj to the symptoms of which its peculiar virtues are ap- 
plicable and proper. 

Bone-set has been represented by various writers, most of whom 
have copied after others, as a tonic, stimulant, diaphoretic, eme- 
tfc, cathartic, diuretic, astringent, and deobstruent j as capable of 
euringobstinate cutaneous affections, yellow fever, petechial orspotted 
fever, rheumatismj^c.iSfc. thereby leading the unwary and the inex- 
perienced practitioner, to depend too much on its reputed powers* 

The sensible properties of bone-set would seem to point out Its 
most estimable medicinal powers- The whole plant is intensely bit- 
ter. It is also possessed of some slight astringency. When dried it 
has a peculiar, and not disagreeable odour. 

The leaves and flowers according to some writers on the subject, 
contain the bitterness, in different degrees of intensity. The late Pro- 
ftssor Barton states in his collections, that the flowers are more active 
than the leaves, and in this error, Dr. Chapman lias copied him. Dr. 
Anderson on the other hand asserts, that the leaves are more active 

Eupaiorium perfalialunL 


than the flowers^ and he has been copied by Thacher, Coxe, and others. 
Careful practioal experiments with the decoctions and infusions of 
both these portions of the plant, in similar and dissimilar doses^ have 
led me to form the opinion, that there is no difference in the bitter* 
ness or activity on tlie system, between the leaves and fiovirers. Both 
may be used "nuUscriminatelyj and either will answer. The stems also, 
allowing for the proportion of medulla which enter into their struc- 
ture, are nearly as efficacious, as the other portions. Consequently^ 
the whole plant may be safely and advantageously used for medical 

I have said that the sensible properties of the bone-set indicate 
its medicinal virtues; and it appears that the tonic and diapho* 
retic effects^ both of which are unequivocal and powerful, are those 
most deserving attention. It is also somewhat stimulant, but this 
effect is transient; and perhaps it is no more so than all bitters are, 
in their first impression on the system, particularly if it be debilitated 
by disease, or in a state of excitement from feven It is certain that 
it has been successfully prescribed in violent catarrhs attended with 
some fever, and its stimulant effect has not been so considerable as^ 
to be injurious in those cases. As a tonic bitter it has been long 
known in this country, and the Indians are said to have used it in the 
cure of intermittent fevers j we are even told by the late Professor 
Barton, that they recognize it by a name which may be translated 

VOL, U. 


1 80 Eupatcrium petfdiaium. 

imbricate and hirsutulous ; scales laoceolate, acute. Florets about 
twelve or fourteen. Each flower tubulous, divided into five segments 
or teeth, as represented in Fig. 8. Anthers deep blue or black, fila- 
ments five, united with a fistulous brace. Seeds prismatic, attenuate 
at the base, of a crow-black colour, and situated on a naked receptacle. 
Pappus or down of the seed pilose ; hairs scabrous. The flowers are 
fully expanded in the month of August, and the plant is every where 
found in bloom during the autumn, and even as late as the last of Oc- 


We are indebted to Dr. Andrew Anderson, for an excellent che- 
mical analysis of this species of Eupatorium. According to his expe- 
riments, it appears, that it contains first : a free acid — secondly, tannin 
in small quantity — ^thirdly, a bitter extractive matter — fourthly, a gum- 
my matter — ^fifthly, a resin— -sixthly, azote — seventlily, lime, proba- 
bly the acetate of lime ; eighthly, gallic acid, probably modified ; 
ninthly, a resiniform matter soluble in water and alcohol, which 
seems to contain a bitter principle. 

The medicinal properties of bone-set are fully given out, both to 
aqueous and spirituous menstrua. Proof spirit digested on the leaves 
and flowers, make a fine preparation for cases which will bear the 

Eupatmium perfoliatum. 



Great indeed is the renown of the Eupatoriuni perfonatum,as a me- 
dicioej and various as well as powerful are the virtues attributed to it. 
Should a wide extended experience justify^ in future, only one-half the 
encomiums which have been lavishly bestowed upon it, it will even 
then he entitled to a distinguished rank in the Materia Medica. It is 
impossible to read the accounts which are given of the virtues and 
effects of this popular medicine, without indulging the belief^ that fa- 
vouritismj partiality, or fashion, has had some share in decorating it 
out for pubUc view. BeUeving as I do, that few plants of our country 
are more deserving of the attention of physicians than this, for its 
real virtues, I regime t the too r^ady adoption from vague rumours, of 
accounts of those wliich are merely imaginary, and which may lead, 
on the discovery of tlie error, to limit its use, or to its total rejection 
from practice* Notwithstanding the real, the obviously beneficial et 
fects, in curing, or alleviating diseases, or symptoms of diseases^ 
which belong to this plant, some of those who have written on its 
properties, have needlessly indulged in a vein of exaggeration, wholly 
incompatible with the reality, and calculated to bring the medicine 
sooner or later into disrepute, I have ventured to speak thus confi- 
dently on this subject, because as it is a favourite article in my own 
praclicej I have consequently been led to use it frequendy and ex* 


Etipatorium perfoliatum. 

tensively, and to give it eyeiy trial which a favourable impression of 
its powers would induce me to make. The result has been, that 
while I deem its properties on the one hand much exaggerated and 
even misrepresented in some points of view^ I cannot but believe on 
the other, that it is a highly important article, when administered in 
those affections, to the symptoms of which its peculiar virtues are ap* 
pKcable and proper. 

Bone-set has been represented by various writers, most of whom 
have copied after others, as a tonic, stimulant, diaphoretic, eme- 
tic, cathartic, diuretic, astringent, and deobstruent; as capable of 
curing obstinate cutaneous affections, yellow fever, petechial or spotted 
fever, rheumatism, ^c* iSjc. thereby leading the unwary and the inex- 
perienced practitioner, to depend too much on its reputed powers. 

TTle sensible properties of bone-set would seem to point out Its 
most estimable medicinal powers. The whole plant is intensely bit- 
ter, ft IS also possessed of some slight astringency. When dried it 
has a peculiar, and not disagreeable odour. 

The leaves and flowers according to some writers on the subject, 
contain the bhterness, in difTerent degrees of intensity. The late Pro- 
fessor Barton states in Ws collections, that the flowers are more active 
than the leaves, and in this error. Dr. Chapman has copied him. Dr. 
Anderson on the other hand asserts, that the leaves are more active 

Eupalornum perfoliatum. 


than the flowers^ and he has been copied by Thaclrer, Coxe, and others. 
Careful practioal experiments with the decoctions and infusions of 
both these portions of the plant^ in similar and dissimilar doses, have 
led me to form the opinion, that there is no difference in tlie bitter- 
ness or activity on the system, between Uie leaves and flowers. Both 
may be used indiscriminately, and either will answer. The stems also, 
allowing for the proiwrtion of medulla which enter into their struc- 
ture, are nearly as efficacious, as the other portions. Consequently, 
the wholo plant may be safety and advantageously used for medical 

I have said tliat the sensible properties of the bone^set indicate 
its medicinal virtues; and it appears that the tonic and diaplio- 
retic effects, both of which are unequivocal and powerful, are Ihose 
most deserving attention. It is also somewhat stimulant, but this 
effect is transient; and perhaps it is no more so than all bitters are, 
in their Hrst impression on tlie system, particularly if it be debilitated 
by disease, or in a slate of excitement from fever. It is certain that 
it has been successfully prescribed in violent catarrhs attended with 
some fever, and its stimulant eflect has not been so considerable m 
to be injurious in those cases. As a tonic bitter it has been long 
known in this country, and the Indians are said to have used it in the 
cure of intermittent fevers; we are even told by the lale Professor 
Barton, that they recognize it by a name which may be translated 
VOL. n. 18 


Eupatoriujn perfoUatunu 

ugue^weetL Imitating their practice, many country physicians of 
respectability use it as a substitute for Peruvian bark in these affec- 
tions- Their reports are UDiformly favourable to the powers of 
tlie article in curing those feversj unassisted by any other medi- 
cines. This practice is particularly common in the middle and lower 
parts of Jersey^ where I have had opportunities of knowing that this 
plant was successfully used by practitioners of medicine, and in do- 
mestic practice, in the treatment of many of the different types of 
intermittent fever. Dr. Andersotij in his inaugural thesis, enumerates 
and details some cases of quotidian, tertian, and quartan intermittents, 
in which the bone-set had, under his own observation, performed 
cures. His favourable accounts are supported by the testimony of 
Dn Hosack, who has frequently prescribed the article in the treat- 
ment of intermittents* I am not able to offer any corroborative testi- 
mony in favour of this plant in these affections, never having used it 
in them. Dr, Barton says, that ia decoction it has been efficaciously 
administered in the hot stage of simple mtermittents. The copious 
perspiration produced when tlius given warm, is highly beneficial, 
and it is this effect wliich has given the plant the appellation of 
*' vegetable antimony." The Doctor, however, seemed to think, that 
to the heat of the water when employed in this manner, was greatly 
owing the diaphoretic effect,* and, unaided by this adventitious circum- 
stance, he doubts whether the determination to the skin can equal 
that of Poly gala sencka. In cold infusion I have not been able to 
see any very decided or remarkable diaphoretic effect from it 

Eupatonum jyerfdiatumS 


The effTcaciousness of bone-set is not confined to the simple forms 
of inlermittent fever* It has, beyond disputation, been successfully 
employed in remitting bilious, in yellow, and typhus fevers* particu- 
larly in the form of the latter disease, lately so rife throughout the 
United States* And it is in cases of this disease that I have myself 
used it, and in which I can ofl'er the additional experience of an ex* 
cellent practitioner, the late Samuel C. Hopkins, M, D,* This gentle- 
man resided in the village of Woodbury, New Jersey, and enjoyed 
an extensive practice in a range of fifteen or twenty miles of a po- 
pulouB tract of country, in which, from the low and marshy nature 
of the soil — exposure of many of tlie inhabitants holding fisheries, to 
the water, and other pernicious causes — ^intermittent and typhus 
fevers were very prevalent, and the latter particularly malignant. 
The Doctor was among those partial to the sweating plan of 
treating this fever, and his unusual success in a multitude of 
cases for five or six years in succession, is strongly in favour of that 
mode of practice. TJie bone-set was the medicine used in produc- 
ing this effect. He prescribed it freely in warm and cold decoction, 
but preferred the warm. He assured me that in many instances, his 
sole reliance was on tliis plant, which was occasionally so varied in 
its manner of exlubition, as to produce emesis; and frequently was 
intentionally pushed to such extent, as to excite free purging. Its 

* Late of Philadelflaa. — This atoiablc and excellent man Ml a victim to typliua 

1 80 Eupatarium perfdiatum. 

imbricate and hirsutulous ; scales lanceolate, acute. Florets about 
twelve or fourteen. Each flower tubulous, divided into five segments 
or teeth, as represented in Fig. 8. Anthers deep blue or black, fila- 
ments five, united with a fistulous brace. Seeds prismatic, attenuate 
at the base, of a crow-black colour, and situated on a naked receptacle. 
Pappus or down of the seed pilose ; hairs scabrous. The flowers are 
fully expanded in the month of August, and the plant is every where 
found in bloom during the autumn, and even as late as the last of Oc- 


We are indebted to Dr. Andrew Anderson, for an excellent che- 
mical analysis of this species of Eupatorium. According to his expe- 
riments, it appears, that it contains first : a free acid — secondly, tannin 
in small quantity — ^thirdly, a bitter extractive matter — ^fourthly, a gum- 
my matter — ^fifthly, a resin-r-sixthly, azote — seventhly, lime, proba- 
bly the acetate of lime ; eighthly, gallic acid, probably modified ; 
ninthly, a resiniform matter soluble in water and alcohol, which 
seems to contain a bitter principle. 

The medidnal properties of bone-set are fully given out, both to 
aqueous and spirituous menstrua. Proof spirit digested on the leaves 
and flowers, make a fine preparation for cases which will bear the 

Eupatorium peifolmtum. 


tliis way it excites nausea^ and keeps up the moisture of the skin. 
Its mere tonic eflect is most easily ensured by giving in substance, 
from twenty grains to a drachm of the powdered leaves and flowers, 
from tliree to six times in the course of twenty-four hours. 

Of the beneficial administration of bone-set, in the treatment of 
yellow fever, medical records present us with well authenttcated ac- 
counts. It was extensively used by some practitioners in this disease, 
at least as early as one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight, 
when it was then rife in this city ; and wc have the authority of 
Dn Barton to believe, that in that epidemic and others j it was used 
with mucli advantage, Pursh^ the Botanist, likewise stales, in a let* 
ter addressed to William Roygton, Esq- inserted in the Medical and 
Physical Journal, that much benefit was derived from its use by him- 
self aiid others, during his stay in the neighbourhood of Lake Ontario j 
where both the influenza and lake fever, the latter of which he says was 
similar to the yellow- fever, were raging among the inhabitants. In 
those cases it was used in decoction, and spirituous infusion. 

It appears by Dr. Anderson's Thesis, that the bone-set was exten- 
sively used in tlie New York Alms-house, in the year one thousand 
eight hundred and twelve, in the treatment of interailttents, to the 
exclusion of the Peruvian bark. It was given either in decoction, or 
in powder. In the latter, in doses from twenty to thirty grains every 
second hour during the inter mission* This practice the Doctor states, 

481ft Eupatorium petfdiatum, 

tensively, and to ^ve it every trial which a favourable impression of 
its powers would induce me to make. The result has been, that 
while I deem its properties on the one hand much exaggerated and 
even misrepresented in some points of view, I cannot but believe on 
1^ other, Aat it is a highly important ardde, when administered in 
those affections, to the symptoms of vHbdch its pecuBar virtaes are «p- 
pficable'and proper. 

Bone-siet has been represented by various writers, most of vrhom 
have copied after others, as a tonic, stimulant, diaphoretic, eme- 
tic, cathartic, cDureti^ astringent, and deobstruent; as capable of 
curingobstinate cutaneous afibctions,yenow fever, petechlsA or spotted 
fever, rheumatism, ^.fi(c. thereby leading the unwary and the inex- 
perienced practitioner, to depend too much on its imputed powers. 

The sendble properties «f bone-set would seem to point out its 
most estinmUe medidnal powers. The whole plant is intonsefy bit- 
ter. It icr abo possessed of some sl^^ astringency. VftKn dried it 
has a pecidiar, and not disi^reeaUe odour. 

The leaves and fiowers aceor^ngto some writers on the sulgect, 
cotrtidn the ttfttemess, in cBfibrent degrees of hitensity. The late Fro- 
fessor Barton states in his collections, that the flowers are more active 
tiian the leaves, and in thfe error, Dr. Chapman has copied hiat. Dr. 
Anderson on the other band asserts, that the leaves ate more active 

Eupatorium perfoliatum^t 


tJ>an the flowers, and he has been copied by Thaclicr, Coxe, and others* 
Careful practical experiments willi the decoctions and infusions of 
both these portions of the plant, in siniilar and diesiinilar doses, have 
led me to form the opinion, that there is no difference in the bitter- 
ness or activity on tlie system, between the leaves and flowers. Both 
may be used indiscriminately, and either will answer. The stems also, 
allowing for the proportion of medulla whicli enter into their struc- 
ture, are nearly as efficacious, as the other portions. Consequently, 
the whole plant may be safely and advantageously used for medical 

I have said that the sensible properties of the bone-sct itidicate 
its medicinal virtues; and it appears that the tonic and diapho- 
retie effecti, both of which are unequivocal and powerful, are those 
most deservhi^ attention. It is also somewhat stimulant, but this 
effect Is transient; and perhaps it is no more so than all bitters are, 
in their first imprtssion on the system, particularly if it be debilitated 
by disease^ or in a state of excitement from fever* It is certain that 
it has been successfully prescribed in violent catarrhs attended with 
some fcver^ and its stimulant effect has not been so considerable as^ 
to be injurious in those cases. As a tonle bitter it has been long 
known in this country, and the Indians ai*e said to have used it in the 
cure of intermittent fevers; we are even told by the late Professor 
&irton, that tlicy recognize it by a name which may be translated 

vol*, U. 18 

4819 Eupatorium perfdiatum, 

tensively, and to ^ve it every trial which a &yourable impression of 
its powers would induce me to make. The result has been, that 
while I deem its properdes on the one hand much exa^erated and 
even misrepresented in some points of view, I cannot but believe on 
Hie other, that it is a highly important ardde, when administered in 
those affections, to the symptoms of which its pecuBar virtaes are ap- 
pficahle'and proper. 

Bone-set has been represented by various writers, most of whom 
have coped after others, as a tonic, stimulant, diaphoretic, eme- 
tic, cathartic, cDoreti^ astringent, and deobstruent; as capable of 
curingobstinate cataneons afibctions, yettow f^ver,petechld orspotted 
fever, rheumatism, ^.ISfc. thereby leadkig the unwary and the inex- 
perienced practitioner, to depend too much on its imputed powers. 

The sensible properties «f bone-set would seem to point out its 
most estimable medidnal powers. The whole plant is intenseiy bit- 
ter. It icr abo possessed of some sllgbt astilngency. When dried it 
has a pecidiar, and not disi^reeaUe odour. 

The leaves^ and fiowers according to some writers on the snlgect, 
coirttdn the triKterness, in ffiflbrent degrees of hitensity. The late Fro- 
A»sor Barton states in his collections, that the flowers are more active 
than the leaves, and in this error, Dr. Chapman has copied biuh Dr. 
Anderson oh tiie other band asserts, that the leavesr are more active 

Eupalorium perfoliaium. 


than the flowers, and he has been copied by Thacher,Coxc,and otherd. 
Careful practical experiments with the decoctions and infusions of 
both these portions of tlie plant, in similar and dissimilar iloaes, have 
led me to form the opinion, that there is no difference in the bitter- 
ness or activity on the system, between the leaves and flowers. Both 
may be used indiscriminately, and either will answer. The stems also, 
allowing for the projwrlion of nie4uUa which enter into tlieir struc- 
ture, are nearly as efficacious, as the other portions. Consequently, 
the whok plant may be safely and advantagcoualy used for medical 
pu looses. 

I have said that the sensible properties of the t)one*set indicate 
its medicinal virtues; and it appears that the tonic and diapho- 
retic effects, both of which are unequivocal and powerful, are those 
most deserving attention. It is also somewhat stimulant, but this 
effect is transient; and peiliaps it is no more so than all bitters are, 
in their ftrst impression on the system, particularly if it be debilitated 
by disease, or in a state of excitement from fever. It is certain tiiat 
it has been successfully prescribed in violent catarrhs attended with 
some fever, and its stimulant e fleet has not been so considerable as 
to be injurious in those cases. As a tonic bitter it has been long 
known in this country, and the Indians are said to have used it in the 
cure of intermittent fevers j we are even told by the late Professor 
Barton, that they recognize it by a name which may be translated 
VOL. u. 18 

1 ....... 



Germ. Yirginische Medcola. (¥FUUL) 

Medeola Yirginica. L. Sp. PL 483. Mill. Diet n. 3. Gran. Virg. 39. Pluk. Aim. 401. 

L 328. f. 4. Houttuyn. Lin. Pfl. Syst. vi. p. 389. Willd. Sp. PI. torn. iL.par. 1. 

p. 270. Pursh, Fl. Am. Sep. vol. i. p. 244. Bot Mag. 1316. Mich. Fl. Am. 

Boreal, i. p. 214. Muhl. Cat. Am. Sep. 2d. ed. p. S7. Bart Prod. Fl. Pb. 44. 

Comp. Fl. Ph. vol. i. p. 175. Big. Flor. Boat p. 85. Nutt Gen. Am. PI. vol. i. 

p. 238. Walt Fl. Car. p. 126. Elliot Fl. Georg., &c. vol. i. p. 426. Schoepf, 

Mat Med. Am. p. 53. Bart Collect 3d. ed. par. i. p. 38. Hort Rew. vol. i. 

p. 489. Cutler, 437. Stokes, Bot Mat Med. vol. ii. p. 326. Coxe's Disp. ed. 

3d. p. 410. Dyck^ Ed. Disp. p. 417. 


Nat. Syst Jiiss. Asparagi. 
Nat. Ord. Lin. BarmerUaceae. 
Artif. Syst Lin. Classis Htxandria. Ordo Trigynia. 
Corolla 6-parted, revolute. Calix none. Filaments and aiUhcn distinct 8tyU$ none. 

144 Medeola Virginica. 

stigmas three, filifonn and divaricate, united at the base. Berry S-celled; cells 
5 or 6-seeded. Seeds compressed, 3-sided. 

Nutt. sub. Gyromia, Gen. Am. PI. 
Medeoli Virginica; caule lanugine decidua vestito; foliis in medio caule 6-8 verti- 
ciliatis, in summitate ternis; ovali-lanceolatis; pedicellis aggpregatis, termina- 
libus. Mich^ 
Stem simple, erect; leaves verticillated; flowers terminal, aggregate. B. 


Medeola foliis stellatis lanceolatis fmctu baccato. Gron. 

LiLiuM s. Martagdn pusUhtm, &c. Flidi* 

AtemeoXJL verticillifolia. Stokes. 

GtBOKU Virgiidca. Nutt and Bart, in C6mp. Fl. Ph. 

Medbolb YirginicsB Radix. 

The Medeola Yirglnica is remarkable for the extreme regularity 
and simplicity of its structure, and tnay certainly be considered 
as a handsome plant. I have always endearoured to give in 
this work, the derivation of the generic name, wherever it was 
known ; but in the present instance it is not easy to determine whence 
the name Medeola originated. Professor Martin supposes that it is 

Mededa firginiea* 


the diminutive of Medea, the renowned sorceress of aneient Mytho- 
logy ; and this appears to be the only suggestion on the suliject, en- 
titled to consideration. 

The genus Medeola comprises three species, one or two of which 
Blicbaux, Gawler, and some other botanists have proposed to ex- 
punge. Jussieu intimates that it should be referred to Trillium or 
|*aris, from its analogy to those genera, having verticillated leaves 
and the habit of Triiliuni; and Mr. Nuttall has recently severed the 
species now tinder notice, from Medeola, and constituted it a new 
genus, to which he has given the name of Gyromia, from v^r*!, a 
circle, in reference to its verticillated leaves. He does indeed 
appear to have good reason for this separation ; the present plant, 
iiaving a three-celled berry, each cell containing from live to six 
seeds ; while the other two, which are African species, have berries 
containing three cordate seeds* Therefore it was, that in my Com- 
pendium Florse Pliiladelphicae, I rather hastily adopted tlie new 
name. As, however, some inconvenience arises in a medical work 
like this J from tlie change of long- received names, I have, for the 
present, preferred the old one of Medeola* 

The root is horizontal, from one to two inches long, about half an 
inch thick, oblong, fleshy, pure white, and covered with a few fibrous 
radicles. The stem is from one to two feet high, herbaceous^ very 
erect, terete, shming, of a yellowish colour, and covered for a few 

146 Medeola Firginica. 

inches above and below the lowest whorl of leaves, with a deciduous, 
white, flocculent coat, which can easily be removed by drawing the 
stems between the fingers. The leaves are in two distinct, remote 
whorls. Those forming the lowest whorl, which is about midway of 
thfc height of the stem, are about six or eight in number, broad, lan- 
ceolate, acuminate, attenuate at the base, entire, three-nerved, of a 
very yellow green above, and glaucous or nearly so on the under- 
side. The upper whorl is at the top of the stem; and generally con- 
sists of three, but sometimes of four or five leaves, which are ovate, 
acuminate, attenuate at the base, and, like those of the lower whorl, 
entire, three-nerved, yellowish green above and nearly glaucous 
beneath. Mr. Elliot describes the leaves as membranous, which in 
the living state of the plant, I think they can scarcely be considered; 
though they do indeed dry with that appearance. The flowers are 
situated on the top of the stem ; are aggregate, about three or six in 
number, two being mostly opened at a time, pedunculated, generally 
drooping and concealed under the upper whorl of leaves. They are 
supported by peduncles about three quarters of an inch or an inch long, 
first green, afterwards becoming red. The corolla consists of three 
straw-yellow petals, which are revolute, lanceolate, or lanceolate-oval, 
obtuse, appearing narrower on the flower than when separated and 
spread out as in Fig. 4, owing to the margin being somewhat re- 
pand; Linnseus says the specimen he received from Gronovius 
had four petals. Stigmas three, long, irregularly twisted, and divari- 
catiog horizontally, grooved above, and of a fine chesnut or madder 

Medeola Virginica. 147 

brown colour. Stamens six, of die same colour. The berry is about 
the size of a common pea, of a blue colour, inclining to purple, and 
eontaining three cells, each haying from five to six compressed 
fliree^ded seeds. 

Hits plant has a wide range in our states, being every where found 
in moist rich woods, according to Michaux, Pursb, t$c. from Canada 
tot Florida. Its favourite situations are low thickets, bordering on 
rivulets ; and in such places it will be found abundantly in the neigh- 
bouriiood of this city, flowering in the months of May and June. 


The claims of cucumber root, to be ranked as an article of the 
Materia Medica, are rather humble. It must be acknowledged 
that the sensible properties of the plant do not augur very favoura- 
bly of its activity or usefulness, and it is even said the Indians eat the 
root as we do the cucumber. Yet it has been deemed proper to 
figure and describe it in this work, in consideration of some little 
repute it has ei\joyed, as a diuretic, and its alleged benefit as a 
faydrogogue. Little seems to have been known of its real virtues, 
by those who have noticed it as a medicine. Schoepf, it is true, has 
enumerated it among the articles of the vegetable Materia Medica 


Aleikola Virginica, 

of this couDtiy: but he only asks the question whether it is allied to 
Ipecacuanha in its powers, referring to Linnaeus's Flora Lapponica, 
and to Gronovius, Undoubtedly it is not entitled to any regard as 
an emetic; and it seems probable that its hydrogogue powers alone 
are worthy of any consideration. The late Professor Barton speaks 
dubiously in his publication on this subject, of its use in dropsies, 
which he mentions it has had the credit of curing. But I learned from 
him a year before his death, that some trials made by himself, in 
consequence of various information received from respectable 
sources of its virtues as a diuretic, resulted in the confirmation of 
the good accounts of the plant They induced him to think more 
favourably of its powers. Though I have had no experience with it, 
as a medicine, I beg leave to recommend it for further experiment. 
Of the manner and dose in which it has been used, I know nothing. 

Medeola Virginica. 149 


Represents the entire plant 

Fig. 1. The upper portion with the terminating whorl of leaves, 
flowers, and incipient fruit. 

«. The lower portion (separated from Fig. 1, at the mark +) 
with the inferior whorl of leaves. The shaggy marks of 
« the graver along this portion of the stem, intended to re- 

present the flocculent investment, which in the plant 
itself covers just thus much of the stalk. 

8. The root and lower portion of the stem, severed from the 
upper (Fig. 2.) at the mark o. 

4. Peduncle supporting the germ, and three stigmas. 

5. A stamen. 

6. A petaL 

7. The ripe berry. 

VOL. If. 80 

,^m Ktiftft^ 4^ 

HlUTttUJS "VllbU..O«1^8. 

I |ltarlibrrr]r>) 



Eiglb or Standing Blackberry. Hairy American Bramble^ Ait 

Germ. Haarige Hioibeere.— (IFtUcL) 

RuBVS Yilloaiis. Willd. Sp. PI. 2. p. 1085. Parsb, FI. Am. Sep. 1. p. 346. Hort Kew. 

it p. 210. Natt. Gen. Am. PL i. 308. Bart Prod. FI. Ph. 56. Comp. 

FI. Ph. i. p. 232. Mubl. Cat 2d. ed. p. 52. Dyck. Ed. Disp. 366. Thach. Disp. 

3d. ed. 340. Big. Florula Boat 122. Mich. FL Boreal. Am. i. 297. 


Gen. PI. 864. 

Nat. Syst. Joss. Boioeeae. 
Nat Ord. Lin. LenHcosae. 

Artific. Syst Lin. Claasia Jbwmdria. Ordo Pohfgynia. 
VLvmۤf T. L. * EtmcCf Frambaiiier. Calix patens 5-fidii8. Petala 5. Stamina nume- 
rosa brevia. Semina numerosa baccata, sapri receptaculum commune denad 
collecta in baccam compositam. Frutices aculeati vel quandoque inermesi 

152 Rubus vUlostis. 

rarius herb» semper inermes; folia simplicia aut ternata aat di);itata» aut pin- 
nata in Rubis quibusdam Commersonianis habitu similibus Rossb ; flores ter- 
minales aut et rarius axillares, racemoso-paniculati aut rarius soiitarii, in R, 
odorato corymbosi et abortu dio'ici. Jl. Chamaemoms sub terr& mono'ica et ex- 
tiis dio'ica, radicibus maris et fisemincB junctis, caulibus distinctis, observante 
post Soiandrum Linnseo. Juss. Gen. Plant, ed. 1789. p. 338. 

Cal. Patens, 5-fidus. Pet 5. Bacca composita, acinis monospermis. 

Gen. Cb. Cat. Perianth inferior, of one lea& flattish, in five oblong, spreading, sim- 
ple, permanent segments. Cor. Petals five, roundish or oblong, somewhat 
spreading, inserted into the calix, and usually about the length of its segments. 
8tam. Filaments numerous, shorter than the corolla, inserted into the ca- 
lix ; anthers roundish, compressed. Fist. Germens numerous, altogether su- 
perior; styles small, capillary, one springing from the side of each germen; 
stigmas simple, permanent. Peric. Berry compound, consisting of several 
roundish pulpy grains, each of one cell, collected into a convex head, hoUow 
underneath, inserted upon a conical spongy permanent receptacle, and at length 
deciduous. Seeds solitary, oblong, compressed. 
Obs. The separate juicy grains, which compose the general berry, are usually 
so attached to each other, that they cannot be disunited without lacerating. In 
A. saxatUis they are distinct. jR. Chamaemorus is not, as Linnseus first thought, 
dioecious, but monoecious ; Dr. Solander having observed that the male and 
female flowers grow from one root, though on separate stems. Each flower 
of this species has indeed both stamens and pistils, though, in one or other 
flower, one part is imperfect. 

Ess. Ch. Calix in five simple segments. Petals five. Berry superior, composed of 
single-seeded grains, deciduous. Receptacle permanent. Ency. 

Rubus villosus; pubescens, hispidus, aculeatusque; foliis S-5-digitatis, foliolis ovato- 
oblongiSf acuminatis, serratis, utrinque pubescentibiis, caulibus petiolisque acu- 
leatis, calice brevi acuminato^ racemo laxo^ pedicellis solitariis. 

ffiUd. and Punh. 

Mubus vUlosus, 


Ftitre^ent, hiniiM and prickly; leaves 3-5'digitat®t ruttolcs ovate*oblnitg, ftntmii^ 
nate, serrate, every whei-c ptibescent; sterna and petioles prickly^ calix s1iort> 
acumtnate« raceme loose^ {ledicels solitai^^ B. 


BtTBi villosii Radixi herba et fructus^ 

The term Rubus is an ancient Latin word, said to be of the same 
origin as ruber^ whicli is supposed to be the Celtic rub^ redj the 
prevalent colour of the fruit of many different species of rubus being 
red. The genus comprises a great number of plants, valuable for 
the grateful esculent quality of their fruits; and contains also about 
fifteen species^* which may be considered as medicinal* The whole 
number enumerated by Willdenow is thirty-one; but it is now 
known to be much greater, at least fifty species being ascertain- 
ed as existing in Europe, the West Indies, Peru, ChOi, Japan, Cliina, 
In the islands of the Pacific, and on the continent of India. Those 
indigenous to this country are about nineteen or twenty, of wliicli 
by far the most frequent, is the common blackberry, now to be 
particularly mentioned. It is however so universally and so well known, 
that it does not require a minute description. The root is creep- 

* I. Rubu$i chamsemorua. 2. B. trifidus. 3. R. arctlcus. 4» R. saxatiUs. 5. R. mo- 
luccatius. 6. R, qutnf|nelfjbus« 7. R, occitlentalia, 8, R, parviflorus. 9* R. cassius. 
10. R, cor>lJTolmii, 1 h R« fruttcotua. iS. R, id«iis. 13. E. rudifoUtis. 14. Rubus pro- 
cumbeiis* U* R* viliosiis. 

1 £F4f Rubus vUlosus. 

iDg, irregularly ^bbous, perennial, woody, and of a reddish-brown 
colour, imparting a madder-brown or claret colour to water boiled 
on it. The stems are biennial, from three to seven feet high, weak, 
somewhat shrubby, of a reddish-brown colour, armed with large 
prickles. The smaller branches and new shoots are more slender,^ 
herbaceous, greenish, with here and there a tinge of brown or red, 
and also covered with prickles and fine hair. The leaves are in five's 
and three's, oval, acuminate, finely and sharply serrate, villous on 
both sides, and soft to the fingers, strongly veined and varying in 
size. The petioles are prickly, and also covered with hair. The 
flowers are large, white, borne in terminal panicles or racemes, con- 
sisting of a five-petalled corolla and numerous stamens. The fila- 
ments are very slender, and the anthers small. The fi-uit is first 
green, then red, and, when fiill ripe, of a deep shining crow-black, 
and deliciously flavoured when sufiered to ripen on the bushes. 

The blackberry is every where found in our states, by way sides, 
in old fields, along the margins of stone quarries, l$c. delighting in 
dry arid soils. It flowers from May to July, and ripens its fruit in 


Popular confidence in the medicinal virtues of the blackberry, 
has induced me to introduce it in this work ; and popular partiality 

Mubus vUlosus. 


ma? account for the numerous tales of its wonderful powers. Due 
abatement on this account must therefore be made, from the re- 
port of its efficacy as an antiiitliic, a vulnenury, a febrifugCi a re- 
frigerant, ^c. 

Few native articles possess a greater share of the favouritisin of 
domestic practitioners; and in many sections of our countrr, black- 
berry tea is resorted to as a general corrective of all vitiated humours, 
a strengthener of the stomach and bowels, in short, as a perfect 
panacea. Like most other favourite articles in family use, its vir- 
tues have been overrated ; but I am persuaded that there re* 
mains a sufficiency of creditable testimony in its favour, proving that 
its real medicinal virtues are valuable, and eminently serviceable in 
such disorders as require the exhibitioaof articles of an astringent na- 
ture; for this plant, in every part, is decidedly astringent, but the root 
especially partakes of this property. It is tlie root which is generally 
used, made into a tea; and the fruit in juice or syrup. The root is brought 
to our markets in the spring and fall of the year, and sold for medi- 
cinal purposes, A decoction made by boiling a handful of the cut or 
bruised portions, in a pint and a half of water, down to a pint, is the 
usual form of using it. Thus prepared, it is given in diarrhcBas and 
dysenteries by the peasantry ; and^ as I have been uniformly inform- 
ed by inteUigeut persons, with great success. The decoction is 
somewhat bitter, but not dis^reeable, and b marked by a slight 
but grateful aroma. Its tonic eflfect, of which I have heard some 

^Irft Bubus viUosus. 

^ajpe, bcertoinljr very inconsiderable, or at least evanescent ; and* ' 
in cme» of mere debility, unless proceecfing from a general laxity, 
of the system, accompanied with slight disorders of the alimentary 
canal, it cannot be resorted to with any reasonable prospect of suc- 
cess. As to its reputed powers as an antitithic, I really do not 
tJ^nH them worth consideratioo. 

I ba¥Q hilil Bfm^ little experience ¥4th this article, and about 
9 year siince presqribed it in two cases of colera infantum with 
sucicess. It: wiMJi during my attendance in the PhUadelphia Dis- 
pepsfiFyj and pade^teh of the dass which resort thither, are 
prqne to folj^w the prescriptions, of their physicians; when they 
ord^r herb tea^ so that I had a fair opportunity of seeing the 
power of this arMcle. The. fiHiit which, is gratefully acidulous, 
is kind and healing to the disordered stomach and bowels of per- 
spns labouring: imder dysedtery, recent or protracted. It may be 
eaten by s«ch; perpqn«^ in its fuU ripe state, when not too long gather- 
ed^ not :0|i)y vrith impunity, but evident advantage ; being found to 
grppiote the natural and healthy secretions of the body. To chil« 
drein lnhoviing under the bowel complaint, during dentition or at 
gather tini^s, it is pwdcularly grateful and beneficial. It is a more 
GQinmoPiprpiQticfiy bowewr^ to give in such cases, and in the dyseq- 
t^fit of adultii.a prepartitian known in families by the name of 
l>l%c!kj)Qrr{^. jaDH.or Qftea a A^rup^ recent .or preserved, made fromr 
thfi full ripe dniil^ Of the efficacyiof the former I have seen ipany 

Bubm viUosus. 


iDStanceSf among which is my brother, w!io, while labouring under 
a severe attack of dysentery, experienced the most sudden and salu- 
tary change in his disorder, on my giving bim the jam plentifully. 
As nothing can be more grateful to the stomach of persons, adults 
or infants, affected with this disease, it should always be resorted to 
when procurable, and given almost ad libitum. The fine aroma of 
the fruit is preserved both in the syrup and the jam, and a few 
spoonfuls of it will be found to relieve the painful tenesmus, 

A jelly made of the fruit when on the turn from red to black, has 
been said to be useful in gravelly complaints ; but this, I tliink, is not 
entitled to any credit 

The dose of the decoction, is a teacup full for an adult, and 
two or three tea-spoonfuls for a chUd, three or four times a day. 

Schoepf describes, in a medicinal point of view, the Rubus frutico- 
sua, (certainly the present plant) and the Rubus occidentalis or wild 
raspberry, together. They are undoubtedly closely allied in their me- 
dicinal virtues, as they are in their botanical structure and habit I have 
seen raspberry jam (prepared from the Rubus idseus or garden rasp- 
berry) used in the manner mentioned above, for the blackberry : 
but it proved much inferior j whether the jam and syrup prepared 
from the wild American raspberry, be more closely allied in its vir- 
tues to those made of the blackberry, 1 know not, but it is worth an 
experiment A syrup prepared from the juice of the garden rasp- 



158 llubus villosus. 

berry, is ordered by the London Pharmacopoeia, for officinal use. And 
I think the blackberry of our own country, is deserving of the same 
attention. I had designed to give in this number a figure of the Ru- 
bus procumbens, or dewberry, which is closely allied to the plant 
now under consideration, in a medicinal point of view. I unfortu- 
nately, however, let the period of its florescence pass by, and it vrill 
consequently be excluded from these two volumes, though I shall not 
omit to figure it, should the work be continued. What has been 
said of the root, and of the fruit of the blackberry, however, may very 
justly be considered as applicable to the root and fruit of the dewber- 
ry. Indeed, the two plants are not unfrequently used indiscriminately. 


fig. 1. Represents a flowering branch of the Rubus villosus, a spe- 
cimen having been selected, containing a few flowers. 
They are often very numerous and form a kind of pa- 

2. Represents the fiiiit, which is a compound berry, with the 
acini frequently projecting irregularly beyond the line of 
the circumference. It must here be remarked, that black- 
berries are often found, particularly late in the season, 
smaller, and less oblong, or more globular than this — 
which, however, is the genuine form of the fruit. 




Hbuchbea Americana. L. Sp. PI. 258. Hort CliflP. 82. Oron. Virg. 29. Roy. Lagdb. 
4Sr. Mill. Diet Knip. Cent 5. n. 42. Murray, Nov. Com. Gott vol. iii. p. 
66. Herm. Parad. 131. t ISl. Pluk. Aim. 332. t 58. f. 3. Houttuyn. Pfl. 
Syst Lin. v. p. 840. Willd. Sp. PI. L p. 1328. Muhl. Cat 2d. ed. p. 29. Hort 
Kew. i. p. 320. Royen. 437. Boerh. i. p. 208. Bart Col. ed. 3d. par. i. p. 
9. par. 2. p. 2. Coxe*s Disp. 3d. ed. 350. Dyck. Ed. Disp. 416. Pursli, FI. 
Am. Sep. i. p. 187. Mich. FI. Am. Boreali. i.p. 171. Elliot Sketch, i. p. 337. 
Nutt. Gen. Am. PI. i. p. 174. Bart Prod. FI. Ph. 36. Comp. FI. Ph. i. p. 
133. Stoke'8 Bot Mat Med. ii. 41. 


Gen. PI. 447. 

Nat Syst Juss. Saocifragat. 

Nat Ord. Lin. 8ucculetitae. 

Artific. Syst Lin. Classis Pentandria. Ordo Digynia. 

160 Heuchera Americana. 

Heucheba, L.* Calix 5-fidus. Petala 5-parva. Stamina 5. Capsula S-locularis. Folia 
H. Americanat radicalia et flores in scapo paniculati terminales. H. DichatO' 
mat caulis dichotomus et pedunculi 2-flori foliis oppositia axillares. 

Juss. Gen. Plant, ed. 1789. p. 308. 

Caps. 2-loculari8» S-rostris. Pet. flye» calici inserta. 

Gen. Ch. Cal. Perianth of one leaf» with five roundish, narrow, obtuse segments. Cor. 
Petals five, lanceolate, inserted into the margin of the calix, and of the same 
length with it. Stam. Filaments five, awl-shaped, erect; anthers roundish. 
Fist. Oermen roundish, cloven half way down, ending in two straight styles, 
the length of the stamens; stigmas obtuse. Pertc. Capsule ovate, acuminated, 
half cloven, of two cells, with two beaks which are reflexed. Seeds numerous, 

Ess. Ch. Petals five. Capsule with two beaks and two cells; 

Hbuchera Americana; viscido-pubescens; scapo foliisqne aperiusculis, foliis niK>- 
dice rotnndato-lobatis dentatis ; dentibus dilatatis obtusis mucronatis, pedun- 
culis panicuke tres dichotomis divaricatis, calicibus brevibus obtusis, petalis 
lanceolatis longitudine calicis, staminibus longe exsertis. Pursh. 
Viscid and pubescent; scapes naked, thyrsus elongated; radicle leaves on long 
petioles, with rounded lobes. Pers. 


Heuchera cortusa. Mich. 

Heucuesa viscida. Pursh. 

CoETUSA Americana. Herm. 

MiTEULA Americana, flore squallidse purpureo, villoso. Boerh. 

Hevchebjb Americans, Radix. 

Hmchera Americana, 


The genus TIeuchera was named in honour of John Henry 
Heucher^ profe.ssor of metlicine in the University of Witteraberg, 
who was the author of a botanical and some medical publications** 

According to Pursh there are five species natives of North Ame- 
rica; though Dr. Muhlenburg and Mr, Nuttall only enumerate three* 
H. Americana is the only species with which I am acquainted. It is 
indeed the only one growing in Pennsylvania and Jersey; and it is 
in this neighbourhood quite common. 

The root is horizontal, irregular, knotty, slightly compressed, of a 
yellowish colour, and an intensely astringent taste. There are no 
stems. The scapes are numerous from a single root, naked, teret6| 
smooth under the ground, and just where they emerge from it, of 
a bright carmine colour. Higher up they become very hairy, and of 
a green colour, frequently attaining a height of two or three feet. 
The common height is about fourteen inches. The leaves are all 
radical) cordate, five to seven lobed, having the lobes rounded and 
toothed, and the teeth garnished witli a small point. The flowers 
are small, borne on a long, loose, terminal and pyramidal panicle or 
tlij'rsus. Calix five-parted. Petals minute, rose-coloured, inserted 

* He published in tnu ** Indei[ Flantanim Borti Medici Academic Wittemberg* 
€ti8ifl/* ari*anged according to the Aystem of Rivinius. And iti 1712^ he published a 
treatise entitled , ** Ue igne per igncm extinguendo^ sive de priestantisaimo Cant- 
pliors uau in febribua acutis," 


Hetichera Americana. 

into the tube of the calix. Filaments more than twice the length of 
the calix, dehcate, yellow, and inserted into the caUx. Anthers small, 
red, globosej two- celled. Germ bifurcated at the summit, and end- 
ing in two diverging slender styles. Capsule consists of two long 
beaks, containing a great number of very small blackish or deep 
brown seeds. 

The whole plant is every where covered with a soft pubescence, 
which on the branches of the panicles and upper parts of the scapes, 
is viscid or clammy; and the margins of the leaves are finely 
fringed. The viscid pubescence caused Pursh to alter the specific 
name here used, to that of viscida. The plant inhabits shady woods, 
thickets, among rocks, and stony places in fields, near water, seem- 
ing always to prefer a moist soil, and one tolerably rich. It is in full 
flower in May, June, and at this season may be found in every state 
of the union. Pursh says, it varies with nearly smooth leaves. 


The Alum-root, as its nameimpHes, is an astringent; and for this 
property, which it possesses in an eminent degree, the plant is here 
figured and described. Little seems to be known, as yet, of its pro- 
perties, further than this. And it is not used, so far as I know, in 
Pennsylvania, Jersey or Maryland, as a medicine. It is said by Pro- 
fessor Barton, to be one of the articles of the Materia Medica of the 

Heuchera Americana. 16S 

Indians, who use it as a styptic, and in the treatment of obstinate slug- 
gish ulcers. 

Dn Barton fiirther slays, ^^ it is the basis of a powder, which has 
lately acquired some reputation in the cure of cancers/'^ In such 
cases he supposed its efficacy was owing to its astringency. 

Of the medicinal virtues of the plant in question, my own personal 
experience does not entitle me to speak, not having ever employed 
it in any way. To those who feel indined to make experiment 
with native articles of the class of astringents, it may be confidently 
recommended as worthy of notice. 

* Collections. 

164 Heuchera Americana. 


Fig. 1. Represents the root, leaves and lower portions of the scapes. 
The petioles are generally of unequal lengths, and often 
much longer than here represented. 

5. The upper portion of a flowering panicle. 
8. A flower separated, of its natural size. 

4. The germ and styles. 

ff . The flowers opened, shewing the stamens and petals inserted 
into the calix. 

6. The same, gready magnified. 



eerm. Poleyblattrige Cunile. {WUId.} 

HsDXOMA Polegioides. 8p. PI. i. p. 593. Sab. Melissa Pukgioides. Sp. PI. ii. p. 30. 

Gron. Yirg. 167. Kalm. it ii. p. 314. Houttajm. Lin. Pfl. Byst v. p. 136. 

Willd. 1^ PI. i. p. 123. Pursb^ FL Am. Sep. ii. p. 414. Micb. PL Am. BoreaL 

L p. 13. Muhl. Cat. PI. Am. Sep. 52d. ed. p. 3. Bart. Prod. FL Ph. 15 and 63. 

Comp. ¥1. Ph. i. p. 13. Big. Floru. Bost 7. Elliot, Sketch, i p. 27. Nittt 

Gen. Am. PI. i. p. 16. 


Persoon Synopsis^ iL p. 131. 

Xat SjbL Joss. laUatae. 

Nat Ord. Lin. Lalnatae. 

Artific. Sjrst Lin. Classis OiaiUhria. Ordo Mmogpda. 
CaL basigibbnt. Cor. ringens. fltem. 2*sterlBa. 
HnaxoMA polegioides ; pnbescensy foliis oblongis s^pratis, pednncnlis axillaribQi nnt^ 

ticillatis^ calicis labio inferiore bisetso setis ciliatis. Pen. and Punh. 
Pubescent; leaves oblong, serrate; pedondes axillary and verticiUate; the 

Idwer lip of the caliz biseted ; the brisfles ciliated. B. 

VOL. n. SS 

166 Hedeoma pulegioides. 


CuNiXA pulegioides. Willd. Sp. Pi. 
Melissa puiegioidecu 8^. Ptu jK 5d5w 

Melissa floribus verticillatis^ glomeratis, secundum loogitudinem caulis, foliis tomen- 
tosis. Oron. 


HsQEOMiP pul^i(fi4iS|. J9i»^ 

Plahta spithamea^ brachiata. Folia lanceolato-ovataf scabriuscula, uno alterove dente 
notata: superiora angustionL. FtftictIK secundum totam longitudinem plante. 
Bracteae utrinque bin» floribus majores^ pr»ter alias minutas. (Mant) Calix 
decemstriatus^ scaber : Ij^ superioce trifido acuminato, inferiore setaceo. Co- 
roUa alba, fauce violacea : Lab* superiore vix emarginato. Stamina duo, co- 
roUa breviora, fertUia^ et filamenta alia duo minora castrata. (JFiUd.) 

Penntrotal needs but little descriptioD, being so universaUj 
known. The root is annual, siBaU) braaobed, fibrous and of a yel* 
Iwm eoliDur. The stem is from nine to fifteen inches high, obscurely 
angular, but often quite terete, pubescent, and very much branched; 
branches erect. Leaver small, opposite, lanceolate, or ovate, atten- 

Hedeonia pulegioideB, 


uated at the base, into slender petioles, sparsely dentated, promi- 
nently veined, particularly beneath, and pubescent. Flowers very 
smalK pale-blue, verticillate on short peduncles, Calix striated and 
pubescent, having the upper lip divided into two setous, ciliated seg- 
ments; the lower lip into tbrc^ larger, and destitute of ciliation* ^ 

The flowers appear in July, and tlie plant continues to bloom till 
the last of autumn. It is distributed extensively over every part of 
the United States, growing always on dry, and seems to prefer arid 
and calcareous soils. It is very abundant by road sides, and is fre- 
quently seen growing in the crevices and ruts of turnpikes. 

The whole plant gives out when pressed between the fingers or 
agitated, a strong, pungent and grateful scent, which is extremely 
reviving and pleasant. Great quantities of the herb are brought to 
the Philadelphia Market, and vended at a trifling price, for medical 
purposes j and the ready sale it meets with, proves how extensively 
it is used in donvestle practice. 


Pennyroyal is introduced into this work, an account rft'the high 
degree of popular confidence it enjoys, as an emcnagoguc. Whether 
the herb is entitled to all the reputation it possesses, in pro- 
ducing a return of the suppressed catamenia, I cannot undertake to 


Hedeoma pulegioides. 

say ; but certainly there are few persons who have used it, that do 
not bear testimony of the efficacy of Pennyroyal tea» as the decoc- 
tion is usually called^ at least in common or slight cases of obstruc- 
Uon, or intcrruplion of the menses. Hot water readily extracts 
the peculiar warm^ pungent and aromatic property of the plant ; and 
sweetened with honey, molasses^ or sugar, it is a grateful beverage. 
It is generally administered simultaneously with the pedUuvium; and, 
1 have always heard, and from many highly creditable sources, with 
complete success. From what I can learn on the subject, little de- 
pendence should be placed on this practice, except in recent cases of 
suppression. It is well known that the Mentha Pulegium, that is, Pen- 
nyroyal or Pennyroyal-mint of Europe, has no inconsiderable repu* 
tation in similar cases. It must not be forgotten, that the American 
plant known by the name of Pennyroyal, or wild Pennyroyal, is entirely 
distinct from the Pennyroyal of Britain, and belongs indeed to a very 
distinct genus. I have mentioned this fact here, because it appears 
that some of the writers in the American Dispensatories, seem to 
speak of them as identicaU The same observation applies to a late 
work on the Materia Medica.* 

An infusion of Pennyroyal is said by Kalm, in bis travels through 
this country, to be used by persons who have taken cold^ and have 
pains in the limbs. 

I have heard that the Hedeoma pulegioides is sometimes given in 
spirituous tinctures, but I know of no instance in which it has been 
used. The plant yields an essential oil, for which see Appendix, 

* By Dr. Chapman. 

Bedeoma ptdegioides. 149 


Hg. i. Represents an entire plant of a Tery common rize, of the He- 
deoma pule^oides. 

t. The calix, separated. 

S. A front view of a separated flower, the size of nature. 

4. The same, greatly magmfied. 

5. A ride view of the separated flower. 

6. The same, greatly magnified. 



Moantain Dittany. Wild Basil. Mint-leaved CunUa. Maryland Cunila. 

CvmvJi Mariamu Lin. Sp. PI. 30. Also, Sp. PI. L 568. Oron. Virg. 64. Ed. n. 68. 
Scboepf, Mat Med. Am. 5. Hort. Kew. u SI. Mich. Fl. Boreali-Am. i. 13. 
Vabl. enum. i. 213. Pluk. Mant 34. t 344. foL 35. pL 1. Hist ox. iiL 413. 
a. 11. t 19. f. 7. Stokes's Bot Mat. Med. 1. 43. Pursh, Fl. Am. Sep. ii. 406. 
Mubl. Cat. PI. Am. Sep. ed. 2d. p. 3. Elliot* s Sketch. L p. 9,7. Bart Prod. 
PI. Ph. 15. Comp. Fl. Ph. L p. 13. Nutt. Gfen. Am. PI. i. 15. 


Gen. PI. 35. Schreb. 46. 

Nat Syst. Just. Labiatae. 
Nat. Ord. Lin. VerticUlaiae. 

Artific. Syst Lin. Classis Diandria. Ordo Mmogyfda. 
CujriULf L.* Coniele. Co/uccilindricus lO-striatus 5-dentatiis. CaroKa bilabiataf siipe- 

17S CunUa Mariana. 

liiks erecta plana emarginata^ inferius S-loba. Semina intrft calicem yillis cla»- 
sam. Flores corymbosi aat verticillati^ axillares and terminales. 

Jiiss. Gen. Plant ed. 1789. p. 111. 

CaL cylindricusy 5-dentatas, fauce yillosus. Car. ringens: labio saperiore erecto, plano^ 
emarginato. Stam. 2-sterilia. 

Calix cylindrical lO-striate^ 5-tootbed. Corolla ringent^ with the upper lip erects fla^ 
and emarginate. Stamens S-sterile. The two fertile stamens with the style 
exsertedy nearly twice the length of the corolla. Stigma uneqaally bifid. Seeds 
four. JVVtt. 

Qen. Ch. CaL Perianth one-leafed^ cylindrical, striated, with five somewhat unequal 
teeth, permanent Cor. one-petalled, ringent^ upper lip erect, flat, emarginate; 
lower lip three-parted; segments rounded, middle one emarginate. Stam. 
Filaments two, fertile, two without anthers; anthers roundish, didymous. Fist. 
Germ superior, four-parted ; style filiform ; stigma bifid, acute. Pmc The 
calix closed at the throat with shaggy hairs. Seeds four, egg-shaped, minute. 

Ess. Ch. Calix five-toothed, corolla ringent; upper lip erect, flat Two of the fila- 
ments barren. Seeds four. 

CuKiXA Mariana ; foliis ovatis serratis sessilibus, corymbis terminalibus dichotomis. 

wad. a$id Pursh. 
Leaves ovale» 8errale» sessile ; corymbs terminal, dichotomous. 


Satvbxja origanoides. Sp. PI. l. 568. Gron. 88. ed. £d. 
THTMua, ice. Gron. 64. ed. 1. 

CAUkMiHTHA mariana mucronatis rigidioribus, ftc. Phik. Mant 
CiXAMiimiA erecta Virginianay &c. Hist ox. 

Cvmta Mariana. t7$ 


CraiLB M arttMP* Arte. 

QuAL FngrsMy fpiraaiy odort ocymim refrreas. 

Ufvs. febra uilermittBates; ccpiMdalgu; racaw espressos com lade ad Mwwra 


Radix ibron pereiiBis. CaoUs acote quadrangvdatns, ranasus* Mxm. Fdia aab« 
iifaitilia» oTata, acuta, serrata basi sub-cordata subtua pallida, rorvmbi Icnui* 
nafes et axillares dichotoniU« pedicellis capiUaribtts» bractrolU linearibiMk 
Co/. cjlindriCy five-Adiis, laciniis brevibus »qualibu8 actttis ; lO-strtatum pilte 
nitentibiis. Os calicis villosumi : aemina quatuon Habiut in anontoato aicci!i« 
et sjItis aridis umbrosis^ florens Julio. 

The genus* to which this handsome little plant belong», is pcculiiu* 
to America; and it contains properiy, now that Hedeoma is soimratod 
from it, only the single species here figured — the second spedos« 0« 
capitata of Vahl, being more nearly allied, it is said, to Zitiplioin* 

The root of dittany is small, fibrous and yellowish, rcHombUi\g that 
of the common pennyroyal. The stem is delicate and slender^ four* 

* Cunila is the ••»«a«9 of Pliu. Nicaiid. 
you II. £8 

176 Cunila Mariana. 


Fig. 1. Represents a flowering specimen, broken off a few inches 
above the root, of Cunila Mariana. 

s. A flower, separated. 

8. The corolla, openedf. 

(All the size of nature.) 



0erm. Die roUie Kardinals blanie. 

Jhrfcft. Kardinaab bloem. 

Jh^ The Scarlet Lobelia, or Cardinals* Flower. 

AMdL.Lobelie Cardinate; La Cardinale. 

Ital. Fior Cardinale: Cardinalizia. 

Spam. Eacorripa. 

ParL Cardealina. 

LesBUA cardinalb. L. Hort Cliff. 426. HorC. Upt. 276. R07. Lagdb.421. Gron. 
Yirg. 1S4. Mill. Diet n. 1. sub. Rapuntio. Kniph. Cent. 4. n. 42. Knony 
delic iL t. L. 2. Moris. Hist ii. p. 466. s. 5. t. 5. f. 54. Hem. Mex. 879. t 
880. Houttuyn. Lin. Pfl. Syst x. p. 65. Willd. Sp.Pl. torn. 1. par. 11. p. 944. 
Micb. Fl. Boreali-Am. yol. ii. p. 151. Parsh, Fl. Am. Sep. vol. ii. p. 448. Bot 
Mag. 320. Rob. ic. 137. Knorr, delic. ii. t. L. 2. Bart Comp. Fl. Ph. yoL 
ii. p. 62. Muhl. Cat 2d ed. p. 22. Nutt Gen. Am. PI. vol. ii. p. 77. Drake^ 
Pict. Cin. p. 87. Schoep. Mat Med. Am. p. 128. . Bart. CollectionSf ed. 3d 
par. 1. p. 40. Hort Kew. iii. p. 284. Cutler, in Am. Acad. i. p. 484. Rupp. 
aL HaU. p. 248. Park. Parad. t 355. f. 6. Stokesi Bot Med. vol. L p. 344. 

VOL. n. S4f 

178 Lobelia cardinalis. 


Gen. PI. 1363. 

CaL 5-fidu8. Car. l-petala^ irregularis, septus fissa. Caps, infera^ 2-3-localaris. 

Calix 5-cle(t. Corolla monopetalous^ irregular, on the upper side cleft nearly to its 
base. Stamina united into a tube. Stigma 2-iobed; invoiucrate; involucmm 
(or indusium) bearded. Capsule inferior or semisuperior, 2 or S-celled, open- 
ing at the summit. Seeds minute, scabrous. 
Obs. Suffruticose, shrubby, rarely arborescent, most commonly herbaceous; 
leaves alternate; flowers minutely bi-bracteolate, solitary and axillary, or ter* 
minal and racemose; raceme bracteate; flowers bilabiate, 5-^left, upper lip 
cloven, segments linear, lower trifid, lacini» ovate or obovate, palate chan- 
nelled or bidentate, often bimaculate. Tube of the anthers curved at the sum- 
mit, bearded and perforated, at length admitting the egress of the stigma. 
Colour of the flowers scarlet, fulvous, or more commonly blue. MiiL 
Nat. Syst. Jussieu. LoheliacesB. (Ann. du mus.) 
Nat. Ord. Lin. Campanaceee. 
Artific. Syst. Lin. Classis Monaddphia. Ordo Peniandria* 

LoBEXiA cardinalis; erecta, simplex, pubescens; foliis ovato-lanceolatis, acuminatiBy 
eroso-denticulatis, racemo subsecundo multifloro, genitalibus corolla longio- 
ribtts. WiUd. and Pursh. 


Rapuntium galeatum Virginianum coccineo flore majore. Moris. 
Rapuntium maximum coccineo spicato flore. Herm. Max. 
Flos cardinalis Barberini. Cal. ap. Hem. 
Trachelium Americanum. Park. Parad. 
Lobelia coccinea. Stokes. 

Lobelia cardinalis. 179 

LoBBLLB cardinalis^ Radix. 

Few native plants equal in beauty this gaudy flower. Indeed^ it 
is far more showy and elegant than a multitude of exotics so indus- 
triously cultivated. Wherever seen, it is greatly admired, and per- 
haps it only requires to be generally known, in order to obtain a 
high station in the catalogue of favourite plants. 

It is a native of all our marshes and meadows, from one end of 
the union to the other; and in the autumn, the season of its flower- 
ing, it decorates them with its beautiful, long-blooming carmine 
flowers, forming a gorgeous contrast with the showy blue flowers of 
its congener, the L. siphilitica. Pursh describes a white variety. 

The root resembles that of many species of the genus, as the in- 
flata, siphQitica, Claytoniana, £fc. It is perennial, whitish-yellow, 
fibrous, of a nauseous pungent taste, affecting the fauces in a manner 
similar to that of the inflata, producing a taste resembling that 'of 
tobacco. The stem is erect, pubescent, simple, from two to four feet 
high, terminating in a long spike of brilliant carmine-coloured 
flowers, those towards the top coming into bloom successively after 
the lower ones have decayed, so that the plant continues a long time 
in flower. The leaves are broad-lanceolate, of a fine shining green. 

180 Lobdia eardinalis, 

and erosely denticulate on the margin. The period of flowering is 
from the last of July till September, during which time it may be 
abundantly found in marshes, low meadows, the borders of rivulets, 
springs, and in watery thickets, in every state in the union. 


Tbis^crid, lactescent plant, is introduced in 4;his work or accountof 
its reputed efficacy as an anthelmintic, little, however, seems to be 
known with certidnty, of its powers j the chief claim it has to notice 
tts 'a medicine) being derived from the cireumstance of the Cherokee 
bidiaos using it successfully to expel worms. Tbeearliest notice of it 
which has met my ^ye, is to be found in the vaihiable little work oi 
"Scfaoepf. TfaA writer intimates that At has been used in ^thevsarae 
manner as the L.'sipbilitioa, in siphilis ; 4ind though this circumstanse 
may not add to its medical importance, it evinces an early im- 
j>re6SioH of the mtrvily of the plant, ^and of a similarity in its 
virtues, to these 'of the better i^nown species just alluded to. Dr. 
'Drake has enumerated tire Cardinal Plant among the anthelmintic 
"vegetable^productions of Ohio : but he^does not say whether he has 
^ver usedit, or ever seen it employed with « view to such an efleot 
Km the system. Of the medicinal powers' of this plant, I am not able 
40 Btat&any thing from my own experience ; but am of opinion that 
'lis sensiUe properties, its reputed powers, and the well known ac- 
tivity of titegeaOs to which it belongs, fully entitie it to fiuther 

Lobelia cardinaHg. i8t 

TABUS xiaii. 

Fig. 1. Bepresents the upper portion of a flowering specimen of Lo- 
belia cardinalis, the size of nature. 

S. An outline of one of the lower leaves, which are lai^est to- 
war^ the root, and gradually lessen in size as they are 
ntuated higher up on the stem. 

8. A flower separated. 

4. The petals removed, shewing the column of stamens, and 
pistil with the calix. 

8. The stamens removed, exhibiting the pistil. The filaments 
are carmine, and the anthers lead-blue. 





Wonn-seed. Worm Goose-fqot. 

Btrm. Der wurairtibender Oinsefiiss ; wurmsameiiy wnraimelde ; wurmmelte. 

JhUch. 'Wurmdryrend gaDzevoet. JHTarm-iiidde. 

JBfiflL Shrubby Goose-foot 

French. L'Ameriiie MnriAige. Anserine mntbclmintiqae. 

Fartii. Cbenopodio ^^tmBbgo. 

Span. Anserina antbelmintica. Ceniglo antelmentico. 

Chkvofodiitm anthelminticum. Kalm^ Canad. U. p. 213. Mat Med. p. 7S. Dill, 
elth. 77. t.66. 1 76. Honttuyn. Lin. Pfl. Syst. 5. p. J09. WiUd. Sp. PI. vol. L 
p. 1304. Pursh, Fl. Am. Sep. vol. i. p. 198. Lin. Sp. PL 320. Mat Med. 190. 
Amo&n. Academ. iv. p. 532. Clayton, Virg. 145. Gron. Virg. ed. n. 39. Schoepf, 
Mat. Med. Am. p. 31. Barton's CuUen, vol. ii. p. 414. Drake's Pict. Cincin. 
p. 87. Nutt. Gen. Am. PI. vol. i. p. 199. Thacher's Disp. 3d ed. p. 180. 
Dyck. Edin. Disp. p. 226. Wilkins, Med. Mus. vol. v. Coxe's Disp. 3d ed. 
p. 258. MuhL Cat. ed. 2d p. 28. Barton's Collec. ed. 3d, par. 1. page 39 and 
63. Chapman's Therap. and Mat Med. vol. ii. p. 70. Bart Comp. Fl. Ph. 
vol. i. p. 149. Flore Medicale Francois. Elliott, Flor. Can. and Georg. voL 
i. p. 331. Walt FL C^. p. 111. Mich. FL Boreal. Am. L p. 173. Hort Kew. 
L p. 313. Berg. p. 177. Merry, account from, in Chir. Rev. xviii. par. ii. 
Murray, iv. p. 275. Chalm. L p. 71. Stokes, Bot Mat. Med. ii. p. 19. 

184 Chenopodium anthelminticum. 


Qea. n. 435. 

Nat. Syst. Juss. dtriplices. 

Nat Ord. Lin. Okracem. 

Artiftc. Syst Ian. Classia Peniandria. Ordo Digynia. 
8em. l-lenticulare, supemtt* €kik S-phyHus^ S^m», 
CaUx S-partedy with S-angles. CoroUa none. Style bifid (rarelyjta||d.) Seed 1-lenti- 

cular, liorizontaU covered by the closiqg calix.— JLieaves jprn atey often angiip 

lar in the outline. Flowers gkmieratef pjin,ionlate> JVUf. 
CHENOPODitTM anthelminticum ; foliis oTato-oblon|l8> dentatiflt racemis aphyllis. 
Leaves oblong-lanceolate, sinuate and dentate^ rugoM^acemes naked; sfyte 

one, S-clefL EUiot. -^|MP^ 


Ckbhopodivm lycopi foUOf perenne. JDOL 
BoTKYs prcalta fratcscens, &c. Oloyl. and Oren. 


ChenoPodii anthelmintici— fleiha, succus spissatUs, semina, ol. essential. 

". ^' • ■ ■ 

Tms is a vety ceramon looking plant, of repulsive habit, and ex- 
cessively disgusting odour. It closely resembles two or three species 

Clwmpodi u m anlhelmi ntkum. 


of the samr* genus,^* and has been confounded, especially with one, 
the Cheiiopodium aniliroHinides^, from which it is diHicult for com- 
mon observers to distinguisti it. The root of Jerusalem oak is pe- 
rennial, The stem is herbaceous, upright, very much branched, 
deeply grooved, and from two to four, or live feet high. It is said 
by some to exceed this stature, tliough it has not hapjiencd to me to 
meet with it more than tliree feet high. The leaves are arranged 
alternately, and somewhat irregularly; are sessile, very conspicuously 
veined, of a yeUo wish -green colour; and, under a lens, covered on 
their under surface, with terebinthinate globular dots* The flowers, 
as in most of the species, are very small and numerous, being borne 
on long, axillary, dense, leafless spikes. One of the principal charac- 
teristics of this plant is discoverable in this leaflets structure of the 
spikes; and intliis respect it differs remarkably from the C. ambro- 
sioidcs, with which it is so frequently confounded. The cahx is mo- 
nophyllous, five-cleft, persistent, shewing the stamens conspicuously 
beyond the cxtrenjilies of tfie teeth. Filaments white, anthers yel- 
lowish-white. Style ti'ifid* The flowers of this plant appear in the 
beginning of July, and continue till the last of August. 1 have, how- 
ever, sometimes found flowering specimens as late as September. 

Its favourite liaunts are in loose soils, near rubbish and fences. It 
is, however, not so common a plant as either of the other species, iu 
the middle and no it hern states. To the south it appears to be fre- 

•Chenopotnum is derived from j^f»t (%*"«») and «*#(?«, (T#^if.) Anserine derived from 
<ins€r, a goose \ lience the name ptose-foot* 

VOL. II« tS 

186 Chenopodium anthelminticum. 

quent and abundant, and to acquire a greater size than here. Fursh 
says this species ^ grows plentifully in the streets of Philadelphia.''-— 
He must certainly, in this instance, have observed carelessly, else he 
would have ascertained that it is the Chenopodium ambrosioides 
which is so common in our streets, by the gutter ways, and in the 
suburbs on vacant lots among rubbish. The late Professor Barton 
always considered that plant the C. anthelminticum, as did Pursh.— • 
The least attention, however, to the characters of the two species, 
will prove that they have both erred in this instonce. The odour 
of the G. ambrosioides, is different from that of the plant under 
notice. It is much less subtie, pungent and disagreeable, and 
does not continue so powerful on the dried plant as in the other 


The very peculiar odour emanating from every part of this plant, 
I have already noticed, with a view to point out the distinction be- 
tween it and the ambrosioides. This odour is so disgusting, that it 
seems in some measure to detract from the value of the article as a 
medicine, because of the difficulty of inducing children to swallow 
any preparation from it. It has been compared to the odour of vale- 
rian; which, however, is much more tolerable. The whole plant and 
the seeds, are alike imbued with the peculiar scent. The medicinal 

Chenopodium antkelmintiennL 


preparations are — the expressed juice ; the bruised seeds, in an elec- 
tuary J a decoction of the leaves in railk ; and an essential oil, extract- 
ed from the seeds. The latter is the most common form of admin- 
istering the article; and, as it conveys the essential properties of the 
plant in the smallest bulk, seems to be entitled to a preference to 
the other methods. In whatever manner it be given, the effect looked 
for, is an expulsion of worms from the alimentary canaK The an- 
thelmintic virtues of this species of goose-foot, wxre early noticed by 
Kalm, Clayton, Schoepf, and others, and are now very generally ac- 
knowledgedj so that the article constitutes one of the legitimate 
catalogue of medicines. It is conspicuously noticed in all our dis- 
pensatories and works on Materia Medica; and is undoubtedly very 

The essential oil, under the name of worm seed oil, enjoys a great 
share of popular favour, and hence has unfortunately been an object 
of a very reprehensible cupidity in the adulteration of it, A spurious 
kind of oil is sold under the above name, which appears to be 
made from the Chenopodium ambrosioides, with the addition of a 
considerable proportion of turpentine spirit This preparation is in- 
efficacious as an anthelmintic, and is easily known by the absence of 
the very remarkable odour of tlie true plant, and the oil prepared 
from its seeds* 

Of the expressed juice of the recent leaves, a table spoonful is re- 

188 Chenopodium anthelminticum. 

commended to be given on an empty stomach morning and even- 
ing, repeating the dose till worms be discharged. A wine glass full 
of the decoction of the plant in milk, in the proportion of a handful 
of the kaves to a quart of milk, is the dose for a child ; and when 
the oil is administered, from five to eight or ten drops may be given 
to a child two years old on a lump of sugar, and this continued twice 
or thrice a day for three days ; a mercurial purge is then to be 
given. If the effect be not produced, and worms be still suspected 
to exist, the same plan is to be pursued till successful. In this 
manner I have used this article, and found it efficacious, produc- 
ing a full discharge of worms ; but have not had it in my power to 
try it in any other form. M. Biette says, it is given in France, in 
marmalade or beer, as a vermifuge ; and Chalmers particularly re- 
commends an electuary prepared with the pulverized seeds, mixed 
¥nith honey. Of this a table spoonful morning and night for three 
successive days, is the dose he recommends for a child. 

Chenopodium anthelminHcum, 180 


Fig. 1. A flowering specimen, the size of nature, of Chenopodium 

s. A flower, greatly magnified. 

8. The fruit enveloped by the calix, magnified. 

4. Three seeds, the size of nature. 

5. A seed, greatly magnified. 



Oerm. Funf blattrige Kraftwnrzy Kraftworzel. 

French. Ginseng. 

Chin. Jin-chen 

Japan. Nindsin; dsindsom. 

Tartare. Mandchon Orkoda. 

hvquaU. Garent-oquen. 

Danish. Ginseng, ginsen. 

Portu. Ginsano. 

Spanish. Jin-seng. 

Panax quinquefolium. L. Sp. PL 1512. Gron. Tirg. 147. Mat Med. 222. Kalm, it. 

iii. p. 334. Mill. Diet. n. 1. Blackw. t. 513. Regn. Bot. Micb. Am. ii. p. 

256. Lafit Ginseng. 51. t 1. Catesb. Car. iii. p. 16. t. 16. Yaill. Sex. 43. 

Trew. ehret t 6. f. 1. Houttuyn. Lin. Syst. Pfl. x. p. 333. Pursh, Fl. Am. 

Sep. vol. ii. p. 191. Catesb. Car. iii. t. 16. Bot. Mag. 1333. Woodville, Med. 

Bot. i. t 58. Breynius, Prod. p. 52. Sarrasin, Hist. Acad. 1718. Bourdelin^ 

Hist, de PAcaderoie, 1797. Jartoux, in Phil. Trans, xxviii. p. 237. Osbeck, 

China, p. 145. Barton's CuUen. Mat. Med. vol. ii. p. 115. Heberden, Med. 

Trans, vol. iii. p. 34. Nutt Gen. Am. PI. vol. i. p. 176. Muhl. Cat. ed. 2d p. 

101. Bart. Comp. Fl. Ph. vol. L p. 136. Coxe's Dtsp. ed. 3d, p. 467. Rail. 

Hist. p. 1338. Cutler, in Am. Acad. i. 492. Fothergill, J. in Gent. Mi^. 

193 Panax quinquefolium. 

xxiii. p, 209. Gcoffr. ii. 115. Hill. 589. Stokes's Bot. Mat Med. il. p. 157. 
Lewis, i. 467. Disp. by Duncan, p. 269. Monro, iii. 119. Rutty, p. 219. 
Spielm. p. 357. Yog. p. 219. Dale, p. 235. Pearson, R. ii. p. 193. Mur. i. 330. 


Gen. Plant, ed. Schreb. n. 1604. 

Nat. Syst. Juss. Artdiee. 

Nat. Ord. Lin. Hederace^ — Plater botanists, UmheUatse. 
Artliic. Syst. Lin. Classis Pe/i/aTufrta. Ordo Trigynia. According to Willde- 
now and others, Polygamia DioRcia* 

Umbella simplex. Bacca cordata, 2-sperma. Polygama. Pursh. 

Hermaph. umbella. Co/. 5-dentatus, superus. Cor. 5-petala. Stam. 5-styli 2. Bacca dis* 
perma infera. 

Mucvlu umbella. CaL integer. Cor. 5-petela. Stam. 5. AVilld. 

Flowers polygamous ; umbel simple. Ccdix 5-toothed. Corolla of 5-petaIs. Berry in- 
ferior, subcordate, 2, sometimes 3-seeded. Calix in the male flower entire. 

Panax quinquefolium; radice fusiformi, foliis ternis quinatis, foliolis ovalibus acumi- 
natis, petiolatis, serratis. — Willd. and Pursh. 
Root fusiform, leaves ternate and quinate, leaflets oval, acuminate, petiolate, 



ArRELiAHA Canadensis. Lafiteau and Catesby. 
A&ALiAsTRUM quinquefoHi folio, (majus ninsin vocatum.) VailL 
Akaliaatrum foliis ternis quinquepartitis. Trew. 
Abaxia Canadensis. Tourn. 

Panax quinqiiefoUunL 



Pan- i[uinq«cfoL RadiJC* 

The root of Panax quinquefolium is about three or four indies in 
length, and usually of the thickness represented in the plate. It is 
of a whitisli-yellow colour, and consists of one, two, or three tap- 
shaped portions. It is wrinkled transversely by parallel rugae or 
lines, and the whole surface is covered with small, wliitish radicles* 
It is perennial ; and each year's stalk leaves, after dying away, an an- 
gular mark, as represented in the upper portion of the root figured, 
where these marks are numerous. It is generally deep-seated in the 
ground ; and growing most commonly at the roots of trees, is not 
very easily obtained. Tlie stem is erect, terete, green below, but 
tinged wiUi purplisli-red towards the end, whence the petioles arise. 
These are three in number, diverging in a regular manner, having 
the flower-stalk situated in the fork, produced by the union at their 
base with the top of the stem. The petioles are about two or three 
inches long, round, and as in the genus Aralia, swelling into a kind of 
knob at their base, where they have a slight motion with each 
other, and support three compound leaves* The leaflets are 
mostly five in number, but sometimes only three on one of the 
petioles, as represented in the plate. I have not seen any specimens 
with seven leaflets, though botanists state that they are sometimes met 
with. They are ovale, acuminate, doubly serrate, deep green above, 


194 Panax quinquefolium. 

paler underneath, and smooth on either side ; they are supported 
by partial footstalks, from a quarter to half an inch in length, flat- 
tened and grooved, and tinged with red at the point of union with 
the general footstalk. The flowers are very small, and borne in a 
^obose umbel on a peduncle, at first short, but afterwards becoming 
elongated as the flower advances towards fruit : and when the fruit is 
finally ripe, it attains the length represented in Fig. 7. The involu- 
crum consists of numerous, small, yellowish, pointed leaves, which be 
come reddish when the fi'uit is mature. The calix is cut into five 
sharp teeth, and is persistent, being generally found on the apex ot 
the ripe berry. The corolla is white, consisting of five oval, fugacious 
petals. The stamens in perfect flowers are five in number, crowned 
with heart-shaped anthers ; and the pistils consist of an irregular, 
inferior, oblong or cordate flattened germ, and two persistent 
arcuate styles ; though occasionally there are three styles, and often 
but one will be found ; in which case the berry will become single, 
and irregularly shaped, as shown in some of those in Fig. 7. The 
berries are of a fine vermillion colour, commonly reniform, with an 
apex or crown, as exhibited in the upper berries of the group in Fig. 
7. and, as there represented, the inner flowers are but just ex- 
panded, while the immature or green berry, and the ripe fruit are to 
be found on the same stalk. It is not uncommon to find abortive or 
barren flowers. 

Ginseng is not a common plant in the northern and eastern states 

Panax qiunquefolium. 


of tlie union. It is much more frequent in the western states, always, 
however, being thinly scattered over a large tract of country. It de- 
lights in rich, shady, mountainous regions, where it retires to the 
deepest recesses of shade and protection, and, as already mentioned, 
is generally found near the roots of trees. In the vicinity of Phila^ 
delphia, it is certainly a rare plant; yet I have been successful in 
finding it both on the high rocky banks of the Wissahickon creek, 
under deep shade, and in tlie unbrageous woods above the falls of 
Schuylkill on the w^est side, where it grows in company with other 
rare plants, as Dentaria dipliylla, D* concatenata, Caulophylluni thalic- 
troides, Trios teum perfoliatum, Viola Pennsylvanica, Orchis specta- 
bilis, Obolaria Virginiana, ^c. The specimens from which the figure 
was made, I collected, the flowering one in July, and the fruiting one 
in September last, at which time I found five individuals of tlus 
scarce plant within a quarter of a mile of each other. 

The root of this plant is the celebrated Ginseng of the Chinese^ 
which has, tiU within a few years past, constituted an article of ex- 
tensive and profitable commerce to the inhabitants of North Am erica. 
It i^ not, however, now exported to China, owing either to the quan- 
tities obtained in that country, or to some fancied deterioration in 
the article ; and 1 have been informed by a supercargo, that a quan- 
tity carried out to Canton a year or two since in a vessel in which he 
sailed, was thrown overboard on their arrival there, to avoid pay- 

196 Panax quinquefolium. 

ment of duties, which exceeded the price the article could com- 

Ginseng was formerly considered as the peculiar production of 
Chinese Tartary, and was not, until the enquiries and investigations 
of M. Sarrasin,* Lafiteau,t Bartram,]: and Kalm,$ discovered to exist 
in North America. The high value of this article in China, and 
the virtues it was reputed to possess, rendered it a subject worthy 
of enquiry, whether the plant found in this country was iden- 
tical with the Tartarian species. Accurate examinations of the two 
plants, in comparison with each other, soon satisfied botanists of their 
identity ; and the Chinese have long accredited the roots of our 
Panax quinquefolium, sent to them for consumption, as the veritable 
Ginseng of Tartary. Accordingly they eagerly purchased it from us, 
and hence it became an article of extensive traffic with them. Those 
roots were found to meet with the readiest sale, which were clarified 
after the manner used in China, to purify or render it transparent. 

The most authentic account we have of the Eastern plant 
which produces the esteemed Ginseng of the Chinese, is by Father 

* See Memoirs of the French Academy of Sciences^ 1718, where this writer has 
given a copious account of American Ginseng, 
t A Jesuit and missionary among the Iroquois of this country* 
^ John Bartram. 
$ Travels. 

Panax quinquefoUum. 


Jartoux, a missionary at Pekiiii who was licensed to make a 
journey through the mountains of Chinese Tartary, with a view 
to acquaint himself with the plant, and the manner of collecting 
and preparing it. According to this write r, it is found in greatest 
abundance between tlie 39th and 47tli degree of north latitude, 
inlial>iting the sides of deeply shaded mountains, and the banks of 
streams of water, and near the roots of trees. In all the situ a* 
tions where he met with it, it seemed to court the deepest shade. 
The Emperor of China monopolises the privilege of collecdng all 
the Ginseng In his dominions, and with a view to preserve his 
right unmolested, he encloses and guards with great vigilance, 
whole provinces. Notwithstanding the rigorous punishments in- 
flicted on those who venture to infringe his right of collecting this 
precious herb, the inhabitants frequently enter the interdicted tract 
of country in vast numbers, and load themselves witti the roots of 
Panax, carrying with them for subsistence, during a long time, 
nothing but parched millet, and sleeping on the bare ground. From 
tliose employed by the Emperor himself to collect the roots, he ex* 
pects a gratuitous poition, of two ounces of the best procured, from 
each individual; and pays for aU above this quantity its weight in 
silver. This plan insures him an annual receipt of 20,000 Chinese 
pounds at about one-fourth of its real value in the market* The col- 
lectors steep the roots in a decoction of rice or miUet, scour them 
with a brush, and then expose them to the fumes of the boiling li- 
quor by placing them on sticks above it, till they become dry with a 

198 Panax quinquefolium. 

semi-transparency, or resembliDg horn. The yellow colour so much 
valued by the Chinese in this root, is acquired during this process. 
When dried by fire or the sun's rays, the roots are equally good, 
but destitute of the yellow colour. 


As it is from the Chinese we first learned the medicinal vir- 
tues of Ginseng, it may be proper to specify the effects they attribute 
to it, previously to giving an opinion as to its real powers. It is al- 
most impossible to conceive of a substance capable of producing a 
series of more benefidal effects, on the human system, than those 
which the fashion, prejudice, or caprice of the Mandarins ascribed to 
the Ginseng. The Chinese physicians have, it is said by Jartoux, 
written volumes on the root, in praise of its various extraordinary 
powers, and it forms the base or chief ingredient in all their prescrip* 
tions for the highest classes of the population, and is never or rare- 
ly administered to the poor, because of its high price* as has al- 
ready been stated. They consider it as a sovereign remedy in all the 
diseases incidental to their climate and country; and yield no confi- 
dence to any medicine which is not combined with it. They say it 
^ves instantaneous relief in cases of excessive mental or corporeal 

* The price at Peking is said to have been eight or nine times its weight in pore silver, 
and sometinies more; according to Ralmy the price at Quebec^ in 17489 was five to six 
livres a pound. The profit in China, must therefore have been immense. 

Panax qidnqiiefolium. 1U9 

fatigue, attenuates and dissolves humours, facilitates difficult res- 
piration, invigorates the stomach and digestive organs, sharpens 
the appetite, allays vomiting, cures hypocotidriacal, nervous, and 
hysterical affections, confirms the tone of the healthy system, and re- 
novates the wasting and faded powers of senility, — m fact, tliat it is 
a perfect panacea. Hence, the name of Panax, given to it by Lin- 
nseus, a term intended to express this catenation of important vir- 
tues,* The Chinese, besides chewing it, use it in decoctioni 
in the proportion of a drachm of the root boiled a long time in a 
covered vessel, containing a sufficiency of water for a dose. They 
again add water, and boil it a second time to extract all the virtues 
of the precious drug. 

It appears from Father Jartoux^s account^f that he himself 

* Amang other visionary effects ascribed ta % it is not siiri>nsing that they should 
believe it to be an a|ihrocIisiar. Writers on the Materia Medica, among whom, CuUcn 
is conspicuous, druy that the root has any eucb cfTect on the systeni : and this 
author^ in expressing his discredit of their accounts on the subjectp says, he knew 
a gentienian advanced in years, who chewed a quantity of the root every day^ for 
several years, but could |ierceive no aphrodisiac eRect. CnUetip JIaU Med, 

f << No body can imagine that the Chinese and Tartars would set so high a value 
upon this root, if it did not constantly produce a good uflVct/' — " I observed the state 
of my pube» and then took half of a root raw| in an hour after, I found my pulse much 
fuller and fjuickcr^ I had an appetite^ and found myself much more vigi>rous, and 
could bear labour much better and easier than before. But 1 did not rely on this trial 
alone, imagining that thin alteration might proceed from the rest wc had that day ^ 
but four ditys alter, finding myself ho fatigiie4 and weary > that I could scai^e sit on 

SOO Panax quinquefdium. 

could not withhold his credence from their extravagant tales ; but 
the experience of other Europeans, does not by any means coincide 
with his statement. They, on the contrary, believe it possesses little 
medicinal worth ; and refer the numerous beneficial effects ascribed to 
it by the Chinese, to the imagination of a people remarkable for their 
prejudices, civil, moral and religious. As a proof of this it may be 
mentioned, that they set a higher value upon those roots which have 
a fancied resemblance to the human form, (as in the root figured in 
our plate) and ascribe greater powers to them than to those of dif- 
ferent shapes. The Chinese name, and that given it by the North 
American Indians, have both reference to this fancied ^/^re^^ a man. 
If Ginseng be admitted into the Materia Medica, it must be arrang- 
ed with demulcents, being nearly allied to liquorice. It will be per- 
ceived, on chewing the root, that the first impression on the palate is 
that of a saccharine substance : and on further mastication it is some- 
what mucilaginous and slightly bitter, with a little aromatic flavour. 
It has little or no odour. According to Lewis, it is much sweeter and 
more grateful than roots of fennel, which it is said to resemble ; and 
differs remarkably from those roots, in the nature and pharmaceutic 
properties of its active principles ; the sweet matter of the Ginseng 
being preserved entire in the watery as well as in the spirituous ex- 

borsebackj a Mandarin who was in company with us^ perceiving it^ gave me one of 
these roots ; I took half of it immediately^ and an hour afterwards, I was not the least 
sensible of any weariness. I have often made use of it since, and always with the same 
success. I have observed also, that the green leaves, and especially the fibrous parts 
of them, chewed, would produce nearly the same efiect." PhU. Trans, vol. xxviii. p. £39. 

tract; whereas, that of fennel roots is destroyed or dissipated in the 
iospissation of the watery tincture. He further remarks, that the 
slight aromatic impregnation of the Ginseng is in a great measure 
retained in the watery extract, and perfectly so in the spirituous.^ 

This root may likewise be considered as a gentle and innocent 
stinnulant, producing stomachic effects, and with this view it may be 
safely and perhaps quite advantageously used. It is not uncommon 
to use it as a masticatory: and referring to the efiects on the stomach, 
this cannot be esteemed an injurious article. 

Alcohol precipitates a gummy mucilage from its solution in water. 
It contains no resin nor tannin. The extract is said to be a good pre- 
paration for medicinal purposes, and is recommended by Dr. Fother. 
gill as a demulcent in the tupis senilis, or tedious chronic cough of 
old people. 

* Mat. Med. p. 325. 

VOL. II. 87 

SOS Panax quinguefdium. 


Fig. 1. Represents an entire plant of Ginseng, severed from the 
root, of the size of nature. 

S. The root — ^this is a common form — sometimes there are three 
fusiform processes, and often two or three such roots as 
here figured, connected together. 

3. A fertile flower, with an mvolucrate leaf appended to the 

pedicel, much magnified. 

4. A barren flower, also magnified. 

5. A stamen. 

6. The calix, with the stamens and styles visible above. 




Shrub Yellow-root 

Grerm. Sellerieblattrige Gelb^iirz. 

Zahtuobuiza apiifulia. L'Herit stirp. i. p. 79. t 38. Ait Kew. i. p. 399. Willd. 
arb. 414. Willd. Sp. PL Tom. 1. par. ii. p. 1568. Mich. Fl. Boreal-Am. vol. 
i. p. 186. Muhl. Cat ed. fid, p. 33. Stokes, Bot Mat Med. vol. IL p. 194. 
Marshidl, Arb. Am. 168. WocMlhouse, in New York Med. Rep. ix. 291* 
Juss. Gen. PI. p. 234. Elliott, FI. Geo. and Car. vol. i. p. 376. Barton's 
CuUen, vol. ii. p. 57. Nutt Gen. Am. PL vol. L p. 207. Dyck. Edin. Disp. 
p. 504. Tharher's Disp. ed. 3d, p. 386. Coxe*s Disp. ed. 3d, p. 669. Pursh, FL 
Am. Sep. voL i. p. 212. Barton^s Collections, 3d ed. par. L p. 11. 


Gen. PL ed. Schreb. 1581. 

Nat Syst Juss. RanunaUacese. 

Nat Ord. Lin. 

Artific. Syst. Lin. Classis Pentandritu Ordo PdygynUi. 
CaL 0. Petala 5. Mctaria 5-pedicellata. Caps. 5. Monospermae. 
Calix none. Petals five. Ltpanthia five, pedicellate. CapsuUs five to eight, 1-seeded, 

Zahthorhiza apiifolia; frutex humilis tripedalis. Folia alterna impari-pinnata, fo- 

liolis ovato-cuneiformibus, inciso-dcntatis, terminal! trilobo inciso. Flores 

atroviolacei paniculati terminalis. W. 

S04 Zdnthorhiza aj^ifdia. 


Zahthobhiza tinctoria. Woodbouse. 
Zanthorhiza simplicissima. Marshall. 
Zanthoshiza Marbosia. Bartrain. 

Zantuorhizje apiifolisB. Cortex et lignum radicis. Cortex caulis* 

This sinaU shrub is fFOia two to three feet high; and is a native of 
the southern atlantic states, where it is principally restricted to the 
mountains. It ts abundant on the banks of the Ohio and in the upper 
districts of Carolina, near tlie mountains. The root i&hoiizoota]., send- 
ing off numerous suckers. The stem is simple,, the bark smooth, but 
covered on the young shoots with angular fissures, and the wood is 
bright yellow. The leaves are tritern^e, simply or doubly pseudo- 
pinnate, crowded together at the upper]^rtion of the stem. Leaflets 
broad-lanceolate, or ovate-lanceolate, acute, doubly serrated, sessile, 
of a yellow-green colour, smooth above, and slightly pubescent un- 
derneath, supported by long pedoles swelling at the base into an am- 
' pledcaule sheath. Flowers in divided racemes, drooping below the 
leayes, of a dark purple colour, with oboyate^ l^ilobed, deep purple 
nectaries. Germs superior, flattened, from five to nine in number, 
crowned by styles which vary from two to eight. Capsules inflated and 
compressed, one-celled, two-valved, opening at the apex. Seeds oval . 

Zdnihorhiza apiifdla. 206 

and flattened. The period of florescence is April. The specific name 
tindmia was given to it by the late Professor Woodhouse in allusion 
to Its dying property, that of Marbosiaby Bartram in honour of M. de 
Marbois — but as L'Heriliers name seems most appropriate I have 
adopted it 


The medical virtues of this shrub are those of a very pure tonic 
bitter. Both the wood and bark of the root may be used, but only the 
bark of the stems, according to Dr, Woodhouse. The shrub contains 
a gum and a resin, both intensely bitter j the resin is more abundant 
than the gum. 

Dr. Woodhouse used the powdered stem and root in the dose of 
two scruples for an adult, combined with otlier remedies, in many 
of those cases in which Mtters are recommended. It agrees well 
with the stomach, and as a strong and pleasant bitterj it may be consi- 
dered as a useful addition to the Materia Medica, It was the opinion 
of the late Professor Barton, that the Zanthorhixa was a more intense 
bitter than Columbo, He thought the bitterness of the wood of the 
root was not so great as of the bark^ Sulphat of iron does not alter 
the colour of an infusion of the bark of this root in hot water. Yet 
its after taste of acrimony or pungency on the palate seems to jus- 
tify the opinion, that it is a less pure bitter than Columbo — though 
very nearly allied to it. 

$06 Zanthorhiza apiifolia. 

(Economical uses. 

The yellow juice of this plant imparts a drab colour to woollen 
cloth, and a fine yellow to silk ; neither cotton nor linen, however, 
imbibes any of it. With a proper mordant, it would in all probability 
be a valuable native dye. The infusion in hot water is very yellow. 

The watery extract of the grated roots mixed with alum, and 
added to Prussian blue, was used by Mr. John Bartram, for colouring 
plants and the green plumage of birds. This mixture is said to have 
produced a more lively colour than the mixture of Prussian blue and 
Gamboge, and stands well in the shade, but acquires a dull olive 
colour on exposure to heat or a strong light. 


Represents a flowering twig of Zanthorhiza apiifolia, of its natural 
size, drawn from a specimen taken from Bartram^s Gar- 
den, Kingsess. 



Blue Lobelia^ or Cardinal Flower. 

French. Lobelie syphilitiquej Cardinale bleue. 

naliau Lobelia sifilitica. 

Span. La siphilitica. 

Oerm. Blaue Kardinals blume, Gemeine Lobelie. 

Engl. Blue cardinal's flower. 

Dutch. Pokkige Lobelia. 

Danish. Kopper-Lobelise. 

Lobelia siphilitica. L. Hort. Cliff. 426. Mat. Med. 194. Amcen. Academ. iv. p. 527. 

Gron. Yirg. 134. Kniph. Cent 8. n. 60. Moris. Hist. ii. p. 466. s. 5. t. 5. t 55. 

Dodart. Mem. 297. Rob. ic. Houttuyn. Lin. Pfl. Syst. x. p. 66. L. Sp. PI. 

1320. Mant 482. Hort. Kew. iii. 284. WoodvUle,!. 177. t. 63. Drake's Pict 

Cin. p. 87. Bart Prod. Fl. Ph. p. 30. Bart Comp. Fl. Ph. vol. ii. p. 61. 

Boerh. i. 250. Chisholniy 25. Lew. Disp. by Dune. 249. Pearson, J. account 

from, in Ann. Med. Lustr. U. L 271. and Chir. Rev. vii. 161. Barton's Col- 

lections, ed. 3d, part i. p. 56. Lew. ii. 73. Monro, iii. 160; Sold. ii. 243. Murr. 

i.514. Stokes, Bot Mat Med. i. p. 242. Rush, i. 31. Schoepf, 128% Yog. 108. 

Mather, in Phil. Trans. Abr. by Jones, part ii. 160. and by Hutton, vL 86. 

Chapman^ Elem. Therap. and Mat Med. i. p. 272. Mich. Fl. Boreal-Am. vol. 

SOS Lobelia siphilUica. 

ii. p. 151. Ellioty FL Car. and Geor. vol. i. p. 266. Muhl. Cat. ed. Sd, p. 22. 
Furshy Fl. Am. Sep. vol. ii. p. 447. Jacq. ic. S. t. 597. Dyck. Edin. Disp. p. 
306. Coxe, Disp. ed. dd, p. 404. Thacher's Disp. ed. Sd, p. 271. Walt Fl. 
Car. p. 218. D. Dodart. Memoirs, &c. p. 297. Nutt. Oen. Am. PI. ii. p. 77. 
LoBEUA siphilitica ; erecta, simplex, pistilla ; foliis ovato-Ianceolatis subserratis^ 
racemo folioso, calicibus hirsutis, sinubus reflexis. WiUd. and Pursh. 
Erect, simple, a little hair^; leaves ovateJanceolatey aubserrate^ raceme leafy; 
calices hirsute^ with the divisions reflexed. 


Rafvhtiijm Americanom ; flore dilute coeraleo. Toumefort and Boerh. 

Rapunculus galeatus Yirginianus, flore violaceo-majore. Moris. 

Rapvitcuxus Americanus^ flore ccEruleo. Dodart. 

Lobelia reflexa. Stokes. 

TiiACU£Lti7M Americanum^ flore co&ruleo. Rob. ic. 

Tan tuttipang. Mather, in Phil. lYans. 


IiOBEiXB siphilitieie. Radix, 

QjfAJu lactescens^ acris^ nauseosa. 

Usus. diuretica, pellens, purgans, emetica. 


Catdis simplex erectus pedalis^ angulis pills rigidulis a foliorum marginibns decnrren- 
tibus. FMa altema sessiHa latius lanceolata serrata scabriuscola. FUnts 

jbelia siphilitica. 


axiUares solitarii brevisRime pcdiculati rocruleL Calix serruto-dciiticulatus j 
laciniis laticculatisy sinubus rellexiSf gcrmen tegentibua ^iit in Canipatmli^ Mc- 
dio^ etc.) Cordia coetulea angulata^ laciriits subiX'qualihus carina ciliaih, 
patato 2 glbbciHitattku5i. Manf, 48£. 

We have already figured and described two species of the genus 
to wliich Uiis fine plant belongs; and, as in them, the root of this one 
is perennial, fibrous, acrid, and nauseous. The stem is erect, angled 
and simple, hirsute above, destitute of pubescence below, and from 
one to three feet high- It is sometimes though rarely branched. The 
leaves are crenulate, larger below than above ; those near the root, 
and the lower portion of the stem, are lanceolate, elliptical, sessile, 
strongly veined, somewhat shining, and irregularly and finely denti- 
culate on the margin. Those above are lanceolate and also denticulate, 
veined and smooth. As in the cardinal plant, the leaves gradually 
diminish in size, particularly in length, from the bottom upwards, 
giving the plant a pyramidal appearance when in full bloom. The 
flowers are supported on short bracteated pedicels, arranged on 
long, leafy, terminal, and sometimes axillary spikes. The flowers are 
Prussian blue, blended with white on the under side, the buds being 
tinged with yellow, and the inner side of the lacini® of the co- 
rolla of a darker blue. The caiix consists of five hastate, hispid 
segments, ciUated on the margin, and reflexed at either side. The 
bracteal leaves, at the base of die pedicels, are likewise ciliated. The 
filaments are lead-blue, the anthers white, and projecting cojispicu- 
ously inside of the upper segment of the corolla. The flowers are 
VOL. n. !88 

SlO Lobelia siphilUica. 

apt to fade white, without great care, in drying for the herbarium. 
This elegant plant displays its flowers in August and September, 
and is a very common inhabitant of meadows, the margins of rivers 
and small waters, and the borders of watery thickets. 


Lobelia siphilitica is a lactescent, acrid, and rank-smelling plant, 
particularly the root, which alone, seems to be useful for medicinal 
purposes. It has found its way into the works on Materia Medica, 
by its reputed efficacy in curing siphilis among the Indians of this 
country. The use of the plant with this view, was long preserved as 
an important secret among them, until it was purchased by sir Wil- 
liam Johnson, who made it known to Europeans, and since then it 
has been repeatedly tried under every favourable circumstance by 
physicians of eminence,* and the result has been, that its reputed 
antisiphilitic powers are no longer credited. Indeed, it seems 
probable, that the Indians themselves did not trust in the cure of 
true siphilis to this herb, but used, in conjunction with it, the bark of 
Wild cherry, (Prunus Virginiana) the root of May-apple, (Podophyl- 

'^ Desbois de Rocbefort and others have administered this root in Siphilis without 
the least success : and Pearson, in his work on the effects of various articles in the cure 
of siphilis, corroborates the worthlessness of the herb in that disease. I have myself 
used it in more than five or six cases^ without perceiving the slightest benefit. 

Lobelia uphilUica, 


lura peltatum) and many other plants-* Theyj in general, had re- 
course to the advice of Europeans^ when attacked with this disease, 
not reposing entire confidence in their own inefficient plan of treat- 
ment. Dr. Barton was of opinion that t!ie plant had cured gonorrhoea, 
and speaks confidently on this point, helieving that it operated bene- 
ficially in this complaint, by the diuretic virtues, which it certainly 
possesses. Dn Chaprnanf mentions that some of the western physi- 
cians resort to it for the cure of dropsy with success; but does not 
himself speak of any personal experience on this point. It appears 
to act frequently as a sudorific^ a purgative, and an emetic, 

Tlie root is to be given in decoction in Uie proportion of half au 
ounce to one or two pounds of water; and also in extract, of which 
from five to twenty grains made into pills, may be given. It is neces- 
sary to omit the medicine when purging or vomiting is induced. The 
directions given for its use, with a view to cure siphilis^ are as follow; 
** a decoction is made of a handful of the roots in three measures of 
water. Of this, half a measure is taken in the morning fasting, and re- 
peated in the evening; and the dose is gradually increased till its pur- 
gative effects become too violent, when the decoction is to be inter- 
mitted for a day or two, and then renewed till a perfect cure is effect- 
ed. During the use of this medicine, a proper regimen is to be en- 
joined, and the ulcers are also to be frequently washed with the de- 

* Barton*s Collections. f Elem. Therap, and Mat. Med. 

SIS Lobelia siphiliiica. 

coction, or if deep and foul, to be sprinkled with the powder of the 
inner bark of the New Jersey tea-tree, (Ceanothus Americanus.)"* 
This plan is said to cure the disease in a very short time ; but we have 
already given sufficient reasons for want of confidence in it. 


¥1g. 1. Represents the upper portion of Lobelia siphilitica, in flower. 

2. An outline of a leaf near the bottom. 

8. A flower separated, with the leaf always appended to the 

4. The corolla, cut open. 

5. The calix, with the column of staniens and pistil. 

6. The pistil and germ. 

(All the size of nature.) 

, * WoodviUe, Med. Bot. 

814 Phytolacca decandra. 

t. 239. f. 309. Boerh. ii. 70. Sloane, Cat. a4. Rail. Hist. 662. Park, theatr. 
347. Munt. Phyt. 23. 1 112. Dale, 168. 173. Schoepf, 71. Vog. 114. Murr. 
ir. 335. GeoBr. suite, i. 403. Lew. Disp. by Duncan, 345. Chom. 787. Rush, 
i. 259. Clayt. in Ph. Tran. abr. by Hutt viii. 331. Amcen. Academ. vol. iv. 
p. 524. Muhl. Cat. ed. 2d, p. 47^ Puihn. Mat. Med. Yenenar. p. 93. Nutt. Oen. 
Am. PI. vol. i. p. 293. Coxe's Disp. ed. 3d, p. 477. Edin. Disp. by Dyck. p. 
337. Big. Med. Bot vol. i. p. 39. Thach. Disp. ed. 3d, p. 312. 


Gen. PL 800. 

Nat Syst Juss. Pol^gonese. 

Artific. Syst Lin. Classis Decandria. Ordo Decagi/nia. 
Col. 0. Pet. 5-calycina. Bacca supera, 10-locuIaris, lO-sperma. 
Calix 5-leaved, petaloid. Berry superior, 10-celled, lO-seeded. 
Phytolacca decandra ; foliis ovatis utrinque acutis, floribus decagynis. 

WiUd. and Purslu 
Leaves ovate^ acute at each end ; flowers decandrous decagynous. 


Phytolacca Americana ; majori fructu. Clayt Chom. Boerh. 
Phytolaccjeb vulgaris fructus et flores. Dill. 
SoLANUM racemosum Americanum. Raii, Sloane, Pluk. 
Solanum magnum Virginianum rubrum. Park. 
Blitum Americanum. Munt. 

Phytolacca decandra. 



Phttoi^ccjb decaodrse. Herba rec^ns, suecusi radiic, bacoe. 

The Poke is a well-known, large, rank plant, growing abundantly in 
every part of the United States, in wastes, rubbish, and near fences 
and road sides- It grows to the height of six or eight feet, and 
sometimes attains even a greater stature. The root is very large, 
often five or six inches in dia meter, and consists of a solid, but 
soft, fleshy, fibrous mass of whitish colour. It is branched in one 
or two large portions; when dried, it becomes light and spongy. 
The stem is tliick, round, much branched and very glabrous ; the 
branches are large, and spread in various directions, giving the plant 
a breadth of four or five feet The leaves are ovate, narrowed at 
each end, acute, strongly veined on the under surface, and very 
smooth on both sides. They are frequently tinged near the base 
and along the costa with purple, and when old are quite reddish. 
Tliose situated on the lower portions of the stem and branches are 
very large, often nine or ten inches in length; the upper are 
considerably smaller; and all of them are supported on short foot- 
stalks- The stems arc at fli^t green, hut become afterwards of a fine 
purple hue. The flowers are small, nutnerous, and borne on long 
racemes, sometimes erect, and often drooping, as is the case with the 
berries. The corolla consists of five small, ovate, concave petals, 
folding inwards J there is no calix. Stamens, ten in number, shorter 

S16 Phytolacca decandra. 

than the petals, with double white anthers. The pistils are ten, con- 
sisting of a flattened, globose, ten-furrowed green germ, and ten short 
recurved styles. The berries are deep blackish purple, and very 
shining, crowned with the persistent styles. They are full of a fine 
purplish red juice. The pedicels of the flowers are variously co- 
loured, being sometimes white, green and yellow, and often red ; 
and when the berries are quite ripe, are of a fine carmine hue. This 
plant commences flowering in July, and sometimes continues in bloom 
during the whole summer. It is common to find flowers, and the 
green and ripe berries for a length of time, on the same stalk. It is 
a native of the South of Europe, some parts of Africa, and North 


We are indebted to M. Braconnot* for an excellent chemical ana- 
lysis of this vegetable. According to this chemist, the Poke contains 
an unusual quantity of vegetable alkali in neutral combination mth 
a peculiar acid allied to the malic, but in his opinion, a mean between 
this and the oxalic acids. In his experiments with the colouring 
matter of the berries, M. Braconnot discovered that a yellow liquor, 
formed by the combination of the purple jiuce of the ripe berries 
and lime water, was a very delicate test of the presence of an acid. 

* Annates de Chimie^ vol. Ixxii. 

Phytolacca decandra. 217 

A few drops of lime water added to the juice produces a change to 
a yellow colour; the purple is again reproduced by a similar por- 
tion of acid. M. Braconnot's comparative experiments with respect 
to the sensibility of litmus paper and this yellow liquor, resulted in 
the fact, that one-fourth the number of drops of weak acid were suf- 
ficient to restore the pristine purple of the yellow compound, which 
were necessary to redden litmus paper. The yellow liquor, however, 
must be used as soon as made, as it changes in a short time. For 
a more detailed account of the chemical analysis, I refer to the me- 
moir of M. Braconnot, already quoted, and to the dissertation of Dr. 


The turiones of this plant are cut near the ground when about 
three or four inches high, and brought in great abundance to the 
Philadelphia market, as a table vegetable. These young shoots, 
when they have had a rapid growth, and the acrid juices of the plant 
have not become evolved by air and light, are innocent; and, by 
some persons esteemed delicious. When well boiled and dressed 
in the same manner as asparagus, they are easily digested. Tet 
this practice is not without danger; and I have known an in- 
stance in a family in Lancaster, in which very Tiolent narcotic effects 
were induced in several persons who had eaten of the young 

VOL. II. S9 

SI 8 Phytolacca decandra. 

shoots of Poke. The probability is, that in the instance alluded to, 
the shoots were too old, and had acquired the proper active juice of 
the plant. 

It is common to make a red ink from Poke-berry juice, with the 
addition of alum. The colour, however, is evanescent, and the alum 
does not appear to be a sufficient mordant We are indebted to Dr. 
Adam Seybert, the author of American Statistics, for a discovery of 
the means of fixing the colour of these berries. Tet, I am sorry to 
be unable to refer to his experiments, which were only published in 
a newspaper, not known to me ; and the author being absent, I can-i^ 
not obtain any information on the subject. 


Many medicinal virtues have been attributed to Poke: but we shall 
select tliose only which are prominent and authenticated. The 
tincture of the ripe berries in brandy, seems to have acquired a well 
founded reputation as a remedy for chronic and siphilitic rheuma- 
tism, and for allaying syphyloid pains; and its effects have been 
compared to those of the volatile tincture of guaiacum. It is con* . 
fidently recommended in cases which indicate the use of that arti- 
cle, as a safe and efficacious remedy, under judicious management. 
The late Professor Barton believed it to te a more valuable medi- 

Phytolacca decandra. 


dne than the guaiacum— and re conrm ended, as did Dr. Shultz^* the 
simultaneous exhibition of calomel and other preparations of mercury 
with it He says be has '^ employed the ripe juice of the berries, 
inspissated to the state of an extract, in some cases of scrophulaj" 
but does not state the result of his triiils. The tincture of Poke is 
much used in this city by some lughly respectable practitioners, in 
rheumatism, and with undiminished confidence in its efficacy* 

Poke has had no inconsiderable reputation as a remedy for cancer; 
but, notwithstanding some high names were enhsted in support of 
the accounts of its efficacy, it has deservedly lost its character as a 
cancer-remedy. It is most likely that it was found serviceable in ill- 
conditioned, sluggish ulcers, which are too frequently mistaken for 
real cancer, and thus give undue reputation to the curative article 
employed. That Poke in extract, and in form of ointment, has done 
good in obstinate cutaneous affections, there seems no fair reason 
to doubt It is true the accounts of the efficacy of these prepara- 
tions, fiave been greatly exaggerated; but still there remains a suffi. 
cient portion of respectable testimony, to accredit the claims of the 
article as a good local stimulating remedy in such affections. That 
it has cured obstinate cases of tinia capitis, is not probable; for it 
is not reasonable to suppose that this very pertinacious disease of 
the scalp, would yield to an article of so little activity in local ap- 
plications, as cither the ointment or extract of Poke. 

* See Inaugural Diss. Uoiver* Penit. 

aso Phytolacca decandra. 

Some of the physicians of the eastern states, repose great confi- 
dence in the pulverised root of Poke, as an emetic. They inform us 
that in doses often or twenty grains, it operates as a certain vomit. It is 
certain that Poke root produces emesis and catharsis violently, as 
many active semi-narcotic plants do: and it is not to be doubted that in 
some instances, convulsions and narcotic symptoms have supervened 
to the violent vomiting and purging, produced by the internal use of 
Phytolacca. Indeed, the convulsions then induced have been long 
noticed, and Puihn particularly mentions this effect, as well as the 
drastic purgative power of the root. The slowness of the emetic ope- 
ration of Poke, together with the ambiguous narcotic symptoms ac- 
companying it, will, in all likelihood, prevent any general recourse to 
the article as an emetic. 

It is to be regretted that Poke is mentioned in Thacher's Dispen- 
satory, on the authority of some physicians of Savannah, to be ade- 
quate to the cure of siphilis without the use of mercury^ thus adding 
another ideal virtue to a plant already extolled beyond its medicinal 
worth. Unfortunately the preposterous idea of curing this virulent 
disease by means of herbs alone^ (sarsaparilla, for instance) has found 
some few proselytes in this country : but surely the idea of substi- 
tuting Poke for mercury, ought not to have obtained the countenance 
of the respectable compiler of the American New Dispensatory. 

The extract of Poke is much used by country practitioners, as a dis- 
eutient in indolent tumours: and it is said they are in the habit of in- 

Phytolacca decandra. SSI 

fusing the root in wine, in the proportion of an ounce of the former 
to a pint of wine, and using it to produce vomiting, in the dose of 
two spoonfuls. A strong infusion of the leaves taken internally, 
has also been recommended in hemorrhois. On its efficacy here, 
however, I cannot help suspecting, there is but little reason to rely. 
The Poke ointment is made by boiling the fresh leaves in hogs lard 
and bees wax, and straining while hot ; or it may be made by pow- 
dering the dried leaves, and mixing the powder with lard or simple 
cerate. The tincture may either be made by infusing t]^ ripe ber- 
ries in brandy or wine, or by dissolving the extract of the leaves in 
their green or dry state, in spirit. 

An extract may be made by slowly evaporating the expressed 
juice of the recent leaves collected in July, to a proper consistence* 

The ointment and extract produce a sense of heat and smarting, 
when first applied. 

The roots should be collected for medical use in the autumn^ and 
sliced transversely; then dried and kept in covered bottles. As they 
lose their activity in time, a fresh supply should be annually coDect- 
ed. The leaves ought to be ^thered when the berries are ripe, and 
used as already directed. 

SSS PhytoUicca decandra. 


Big. 1. IB a flowering twig of Phytolacca decandra, with a bu&ch of 
green berries, taken from the upper portion of a plant. 

e. A cluster of ripe berries, with a portion of the coloured stem, 
Ihkken from the lower part of the same plant. 

(Both the size of nature.) 
8. The genii, stamens and pistils, magnified. 



RatUe-snake's master^ Button snake-root. 


Gen. pL 1£63. 

EtcepU nudum. Pappus plumosus^ coloratus. CkiL oblongus^ imbricatus. 

Nat. Syst. Juss. Carymbtfera. 

Artific. Syst Lin. Classis Syngenma. Ordo Jiqualis. 
LiATBis dMa; radix tuberosaf radiculis comosis. Caulis rectus, lineatus, hispido-pn- 

bescens. Foliis tinearibus levibus, punctatis» iinis multoties migoribus; supe* 

rioribusy basi ciliatis. Spica longafloribus pedunculatis. Pedunculi pubescent! 

uniflori elongati, foliolis aliquot instructis. Calix oblongus vel sub-|^obosus ; 

squamis lanceolatis» subacutis, erectis, verrucoso-punctatisy imis ciliatis. 

CorolIsB tubulose, 5-fide ; laciniis lanceolatis. Semina oblonga^ anguiata^ basin 

versus attenuata. B. 

This plant is one of a genus nearly all the species of which vary 
considerably^ particularly in those marks usually supposed charac 

ft24i Liatris duhia. 

teristic, as the sessile or pedicellated flowers. After a very careful 
examination of the specimen from which the figure was drawn, by 
the descriptions of Pursh, Michaux, and Willdenow, together with a 
close scrutiny of all the specimens of the genus in the Muhlenber- 
gian Herbarium, I cannot, to my own satisfaction, refer the plant to 
any of the named species. Yet it is most probably not remote 
from the spheroidea^ scariosa^ or graminifolia. In this hesitation I have 
thought it best to add the doubtful mark, and let the figure and de- 
scription I have given, establish its proper place among the described 

The root is tuberous, and sends off* a great number of long, slen- 
der, whitish, dry, fibrous portions. The stem is erect, in the speci- 
men figured, three and a half feet high, striated with whitish lines, 
covered with a sparse semi-hispid pubescence. The lower leaves are 
longer, and much wider than the upper, somewhat arcuate, very much 
dotted or pitted, glabrous, entire, sessile, and not scabrous on the 
margin. The costa is prominent, yellowish. The upper leaves are 
much smaller and quite linear, ciliated for the most part at the base, 
but some of them ciliated two-thirds of their length. The spike is very 
long, and leafy, the flowers being situated on long, leafy, pubescent 
pedicels. The calix is somewhat cylindrical or sub-globose, the scales 
lanceolate, subacute and erect, slightly spreading at the bottom 
where the lowermost scales are ciliated. The corolla is tubulous and 
dividedinto five lanceolate, acute segments; and, together witii the long, 
exserted anthers, are of a most brilliant and delicate violet colour. 

Liatris dubia. 8S5 

All the leaves, peduncles, and calix scales are deeply pitted or dot- 
ted, and in the dried specimen, have a verrucose appearance- The 
plant flowers in the last of September. 


All the tuberous rooted species of the genus liatris are active 
plants, and seem to be uniformly diuretic. The Liatris macrostachya 
is already noticed in Dr. Barton's Collections, and Schoepf de- 
scribes the L. scariosa, by the name of Rough-root lobelia,- as 
an acrid, sub-bitter plant, possessed of diuretic virtues, and 
as useful in Gonorrhcea. He states that the root has been pre- 
scribed with this view in weak decoctions, to considerable extent. 
Pursh says the same plant, and L. squarrosa, are known among 
the inhabitants of Virginia, Kentucky, and Carolina, by the name 
of " Rattle Snake's Master ;" and tells us, that when bitten by 
that animal, they bruise the bulbs of these plants, and apply 
them to the wounds, while at the same time they make a 
decoction of them in milk, which is taken inwardly, in the same 
manner as Prenanthes serpentaria. I have also two specimens 
of Liatris from Mr. Collins, the one received from Mr. Lyon, and col- 
lected by him in Ohio and Tennessee, under the name of Rattlesnake 
plant, the other collected by Mr. Collins himself, in Cove, or North 
Mountain, in the western part of Pennsylvania, last summer, where 

VOL. II. 80 

286 Liatris dubia. 

he learned the plant was used for curing the bite of the Rattle-snake. 
These two specimens do not materially differ from the plant here 
figured, which was received by me, under the same name of " Rat- 
tle-snake root.'* They are not improbably varieties of the L. sca- 
riosa, graminifolia or spheroidea ; but neither of them agrees well 
with the description of scariosa.* For the present, these remarks 
are thrown together principally with a view to elicit information re- 
specting the medicinal species of this beautiful genus of plants ; and as 
the plate here given, is a supernumerary one in this number, the 
above imperfect account will, it is hoped, be excused. 

* The following remftrks are from Plukenet, accompunying his Fig. of L. scariota: 

Fig. 4. Tab. 177. 
Eupatoria adfinis Americana bulbosa, floribus scariosa, calicibas contectis. 
Huic in capitulis saltem persimilis exhibitum, in Hist. III. exic. Reech. sub nomine Xar- 
droy at bidesis, pag. 196. PlantapappescensnonlactescensYirginiana. D. Banister. 


Uatris dubia. n»7 


Fig. 1. Represents a portion of Liatris dubia, near the root, of the 
natural size. 

S. An upper portion of the same specimen, also the size of 

3. A flower separated, very little magnified. 

4. The stamens. 

5. The same, greatly enlai^ed. 

Tu6/e .-; 






w-rn "^..t, A'stw^' * I. VK/1'^Ila.rCoi 

OK OB AX r T J E lJXi:Fj..D2^\ , 

(Our -Tlorrcrfcl rancri- llotl.'' 




Oerm. Einblumige Sommerwurz. 

OnoBANCHE uniflora. L. Sp. PL 882. Walt Gar. 166. Rai. Sapp. 595. Gron. Virg. 
70. Pluk. Mant 89. t 348. f. 3. Mitch. 25. Houttuyn. Lin. Pfl. Syst. 8. p. 
152. Mich. FI. Boreal-Am. vol. ii. p. 26. Muhl. Cat. ed. 2d, 61. Pursh, FI. 
Am. Sep. vol. ii. p. 431. Willd. Sp. PL voL iii. par. 1. p. 352. Bart. Comp. 
FL Ph. voL 2d, addenda. Bart. Prod. FL Ph. p. 66. 

Genus Orobanche (see Orobanche Yirginianaf p. 25.) 
Orobanchb uniflora; scapis nudis unifloris calice ebracteato, corolla recurrata. 

WiUd. and Pursh. 
Scapes naked, one-flowered j calix without bracts, corolla recurved. 


Orobanche aut Helleborine affinis Marilandica, &c. Raii. « 

Dektaria s. Aublato cordi affinis, &c. Gron. 
Gentiana minor aurea, &c. Pluk. 
Afhtxlon. Mitch. 

OaoBANCHJB uniflorse. Radix. 

S30 Ordbanche uniflora. 

One species of this genus has already been figured and described 
in this work, under the name of Cancer-root j and a second is now 
noticed for reasons presently to be given. 

This little plant, like its congener just alluded to, is a leafless para- 
site on the roots of trees and shrubs. It is above a span high, several 
scapes proceeding from the same root. The root is gibbous or irre- 
gularly knobby, and sheathing the scapes at their origin from it. It 
is of a yellowish colour. The scapes are tortuous and round, about 
the thickness of bobbin, and finely pubescent every where, but espe- 
cially towards the upper part ; and of a delicate yellowish- white hue, 
almost imperceptibly tinged with pink near the flower. The flowers 
are secund, or leaning towards one side, snow-white, consisting of a 
recurved monopetalous corolla, and a five4eavedebracteate calix, also 
white, both finely and densely pubescent. The corolla is divided into 
ovate, obtuse segments, on the lower of which, two yellow diverging 
nectaries are perceptible, adding a little relief to the white flower. 
The filaments of the stamens are white, and the anthers yellowish. 
The germ Is ovate, glabrous, and of a tan-colour. This singular little 
plant delights In very shady situations In rich woods, and has but a 
very slight attachment by Its root, to the substance on which It grows ; 
It Is In flower about the beginning or middle of May, and soon fades 
when culled. It Is, when somewhat advanced, of a yellowish hue, but I 
have always found the plant In Its fresh state, of the colour described 
above. Pursh mentions that it is but two or three inches high, of a 
tan-colour, and the flowers pale-purple. This is much smaller t&an 

Orobanche uniflora. esi 

I have been accustomed to meet with it (and in this neighbourhood 
it is far from being rare) and I have never seen specimens having 
purple flowers. It is likely the one described by Pursh, is a variety. 
It must be noticed, however, that Gronovius, Willdenow and Fluke- 
net, describes the flowers as pale blue.* It is possible, therefore, that 
the plant growing in this vicinity, and which I have figured, may be 
a white variety of the blue-flowered species. Which is the type of 
the species I cannot undertake to decide. 


I have discovered, since the publication of Xos. 5 and 6, in which 
Orobanche Virginiana is described, that the present species is col- 
lected with the other, and used with it under the name of Cancer- 
root. My enquiries have satisfied me, that those who use the Cancer- 
root already described, attribute equal power to the present species. 
I have therefore, given a figure of the plant in an additional plate, 
more with a view to direct attention to it, than in the belief, that it 
has yet any undisputed claim to be ranked among medicines. Yet, 
1 am inclined to suspect most of the species of this genus to be pos- 
sessed of active properties. 

* Orobanche uniflora — ^Vagina spathacea^ Flos pallide ccBruleus^ cernuus. Sp. FI. 

SW8 Orobanche uniflora. 


Fig. 1. Orobanche uniflora, in flower. 

8. The calix, with the germ and style. 
3. The germ and style, separated. 

(All the size of nature.) 





The synonyms are in Italics. 

Arifltolochia serpentaria 
Acorus Calamus 
Asarum CanadenHe 
Sristolochia pistolochia 
Aeorum Ugitimum 
Jinapodaphyllum CamuUme 
Asarum tutifoUum 
Jisarum CaroUnianum - 
Anemone Chrdnlandica - 


Baptisia tinctoria 



Blitum Americanwn - 


- SIS 




Coptis trifolia . . . . 



Cunila mariana ... 



Cbenopodium anthelminticuin 



Calamus aromaticitt ... 



Cartusa Jimericana ... 



Citmla pulegioides ... 



Calamintha erecta, ^c, - • 





Eupatorium perfoliatum 
Epifagus Virginiana 
Bupaiorium Virginianum 
Eupatorium eonmatum 




Index to the systematic names and synonyms. 

Frasera Walter! - - 


Medeola Virginica 

. 14S 

Frasera CaraUnitnsis 

. ib. 

Mededa vertidUifolia 

- ib. 

Frasera officinalis 


Mitella Americana 

- 159 

Frasera verticUlaia 

. ib. 

Melissa pulegioides - 


Oyramia Virginica 


Hydrastis Canadensis - 
Heuckera Americana 
Hedeoma pulegioides 
Hydraphyllum verunh ^c. 
Helleborus trtfolius 
Heuchera cortusa 
Heuchtra viscida - 



Laurus benzoin 


Lobelia Cardinalis 

- 177 

Lobelia siphilitica 


Liatris d'kibia 

- 223 

Laurm pseudo-ben^oin 

. 91 

Laurus sestivalis - 

. ib. 

Lobelia coccinea 


Lobelia rejkxa 

- 207 


Orobanche Yirginiana 
Orobanche uniflora 

Podophyllum peltatum 
Polygala seneka 
Panax quinquefolium * 
Phytolacca idecandra 
Podalyria tinctoria 
Pdyrhizos Virginiana 
Pistolochia Virginiana 
Polygala Virginiana 
Phytolacca Americana - 
Phytolaccse vulgaris, ^c. 


Rubus Villosus 
Rapuntium gakaiumf ^c. 
Rapuntium maximum^ ^c. 
Rapuntium Jtmericanum 













Indix to the systematic names and synonyms. 



Spigelia Marilandica ^ ^ 75 

Saphora iinctaria .... 53 

Spigelia apposUifolia - -^ - 75 

Spigdia Jimericana . . . ib. 

Satureja origanoides - - - 171 

SoUinum racemosum JSmericanum - 213 

Solanum magnum Virginianumf ^c ib. 

Typha aromatica ... 63 

Trachdium Anericanum - - 177 


Warnera Canadensis 

Zanthorhiza apiifolia 
Zanthorhicca tinctoria 
Zanthorhiza simplicissima 
ZanthorhioM Marbosia - 






Americmi Asarabacca 


American Columbo 



American Sanicle - 


Broom - 



Bone-set 125 

Blackberry - - - - -151 

Blue Lobelia .... £or 

Blue Cardinal Flower - - - ib. 

Button Snake-root ... 223 

Blue-blazing Star - - - - ib. 
Branching Phytolacca, or Virginian 

Poke - - - - - 213 


« I Gwoliiia nnk-root 



Index to the English and vulgar names. 

Carolina Fink 
Colt's-foot - 
Canada Snake-root 
Columbo - 
Cucurober-root - 
Cardinal Plant 
Cardinal Flower 
Cocum - 








High Blackberry 

















Hairy American Bramble 



Indigo-weed ... 
Indian Pink 
Indian Ginger 
Indian Lettuce - 
Indian Sage 
Indian Cucumber 
Jalap . . . - 










Kidney-leaved Asarabacca - 



Mandrake .... 
Myrtle-grass - - - - 
Mouth-root - - . 

Marietta Columbo 
Mountain Dittany 
Maryland Cunila 
Mint-leaved Cunila 
Mountain Calalse, or Pok-weed 


OflBcinal Milk-wort 
One-flowered Caucer-root 










Index to the English and vulgar names. 



Parsley-leaved Tellow-root 
Poke . . - . 
Poke-weed - - - 

RatUe Snake-root 
Rattle Snake's Master - 


Snake-weed Root 
Snake-root Birth-wort - 
Sweet-flag ... 
Sweet-smelling Flag 
Sweet Cane 

Sweet Grass . . - 
Sweet Myrtle-grass - 
Spice-wood ... 
Seneka Snake-root 
Senega Rattle-snake-root 
Standing Blackberry 
Shrubby Goose-foot - 
Scarlet Lobelia 
Skoke - - - 

















Virginian Broom-rape 
Virginian Snake-root 
Vegetable Antimony - 


Wild Lemon 
Wild Indigo - 
Wild Ginger - 
Wild Allspice 
W^ild Columbo 
Wild Basil - 
Worm Seed 
Worm Gk>ose-foot 




- 41 











Tellow-wort - 



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in the UniTcrsity of Pennsyl- 

Potter, W. W. 

Patterson and Lambdin, 4 copies 

Palmer, Thomas H. 

Peirce, Isaac 

Parke, J. P. 

Phillips and Speer, 2 copies 

Patterson, Edward 

Potter, Matthew, M. D. 

Price, Nichohuh Judge 

Rawle, William, Esq. 

Royal, James T^ M. D. 

Robinson, Benjamin 

Bidoitt, John 

Ridgeley, Dr. John 

Robinson, L. M 

Rankin, captain, British army 

Kdgeley, Miss Sally 

Roth, , Esq. Sec*y. of Legation 

Roberts, BeT. Dr. 

ReadeU, Dr. 

Bayenel, Edward 

Rigfaart, Adam 

Sergeant, John, Esq. 

Sergeant, Henry 

Sergeant, E. Spencer, Esq. 

Sergeant, Birs. John 

Sergeant, Mrs. Elizabeth 

Schott, George S., M. D. 

Smith, John C. 

Seymour, Hugh G., M. D. 

Stringer, John 

Saunders, B. 

Schrooder, Henry 

St. Mary's Seminary 

Stevenson, Dr. 

Smith, Bobert 

Stoney, G. M., M.D. 

Sarage, William, M. D. 

Tucker, Aaron B., M. D. 

Thomas, Joseph 

Thomas, Moses, 9 copies 

Thompson, John P. 

Todd, Samuel C, Esq. Purser U. 
States* navy 

Tilghman, Wdliam, Esq. Cluef Jus- 
tice of Pennsylvania. 

Taylor, Lemud 

Taylor, Dr. 

Vaughan, John 

Vance, J. & T., 3 copies 

Williamson, George 

Woods, John, M D. 

Webster & Skinners, 13 copies 

Wells h lilly 

Wyeth, John 

Wistar, Caspar, M.D. Professor of 
Anatomy in the University of 
Pennsylvania, 3 coiues 

Woodward, W.W. 

Wray, Dr. T. J., 3 o<^es 

Williams, W. T. 

Wittlesey, D. 

Walsh, jr. Bobert, Esq. Professor 
of General literature in the Uni- 
Ttmty of Pennsylvania. 

Williams, Nathaniel 

WanQe, Thomas^ (London) 6 co- 

Yeatesy Miss 

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