Ilex Opaca. American Holly.
Description: Natural Order, Aquifoliaceae. This is an evergreen tree of medium height, most common along the coast from Virginia southward. Leaves oval, with wavy margins armed with short teeth, dark green, smooth and shining. Flowers small, greenish-white, in clusters along the young branches. Fruit a round berry with four nutlets, scarlet.
Other species of the holly are low shrubs; and several of them are cultivated for their beautiful and changeful evergreen leaves. They are allied to the famous European holly.
Properties and Uses: The leaves of the European holly have had much attention directed to them, and those of the several American species seem to be in all respects similar. They are stimulating and relaxing, and of a peculiar bitter and somewhat balsamic taste. A warm infusion arouses outward capillary action, and gently promotes perspiration; and its abundant use may induce vomiting, and sometimes purging. A cold infusion is somewhat tonic. These leaves have been pronounced of much value in ague, and at one time were asserted to be equal to quinine. They are of some use as diffusives to the circulation; but their action is in no sense similar to cinchona or any of its preparations, and their use as distinct antiperiodics will be followed by disappointment.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com