Rubus Strigosus. Red raspberry; Rubus villosus. High blackberry; Rubus canadensis, Dewberry.
Description: Natural Order, Rosaceae. This is the well-known wild raspberry, with red and fragrant fruit, and growing in dense and shrubby clusters in the northern half of the United States, and in Canada. Stems upright, beset with straight bristles, or weak and hooked prickles, rather smooth, dotted-glandular when young. Leaves compounded of three to five oblong-ovate, pointed, and cut-serrate leaflets, light green above, whitish-downy beneath, one and a half to two inches long. Fruit ripening in June and July, light-red, hemispherical, tender, fragrant. The leaves are the medicinal portion.
RUBUS VILLOSUS, high blackberry. This is the common blackberry, now so extensively cultivated for its large and luscious fruit. Stem shrubby, nearly angular, furrowed, armed with strong and recurved prickles; branchlets, stalks, and under surface of the leaves hairy and glandular. Leaflets three, (rarely five,) ovate, pointed, unequally serrate, on long stalks, the petiole and mid-rib with short and recurved prickles. Flowers numerous, racemed. Fruit long, oval, black, juicy, sweet. The root of this species is used in medicine; is round, woody, branching, covered with a thin reddish-brown bark.
RUBUS CANADENSIS, (incorrectly named rubus trivialis,) is the dewberry or low blackberry. Shrubby, extensively trailing slightly prickly. Leaflets three, sometimes five or seven, ovate-lanceolate, pointed, thin, sharply serrate, smooth. Flowers racemed, with leaf-like bracts. Fruit large, black, sweet. The root is much as in the previous species, but has a dark-ashy epidermis without any reddish tinge.
Properties and Uses: The leaves of the red raspberry are mildly astringent, and of a peculiarly soothing nature, being very acceptable to the stomach, always leaving a slight tonic impression, often allaying nausea and vomiting, and not unfrequently soothing and sustaining the nervous system. Their infusion is one of the mildest and most suitable astringent tonics in sub-acute dysentery and diarrhea, lessening the discharges without abruptly checking them, and soothing instead of exciting the bowels. It exerts a moderate impression on the kidneys, and may be used for mild catarrh of the bladder. A. F. Elliott, M. D., of Minneapolis, tells me that a strong infusion, with a small quantity of Compound Tincture of Myrrh, is of rare service in diabetes. Dr. S. Thomson found it exerted a fine influence on the uterus, sustaining it in flagging labor; for which purpose he usually made it. into an infusion with cypripedium, and added a minute portion of capsicum when needed. It also anticipates flooding and relieves after-pains. As a wash, it is excellent in recent ophthalmia, especially in infants; and may be used as an injection in leucorrhea, dysentery, and gonorrhea of mild grades. Though of but medium power, they are at once grateful and reliable. An ounce to a pint of boiling water, strained with pressure, makes an infusion of which one to two fluid ounces may be used at suitable intervals.
The roots of blackberry and dewberry are nearly alike, though some physicians prefer the latter. They are strong astringents, of the drying but not stimulating class, and exerting some tonic action. They are used in chronic dysentery and diarrhea, and in sub-acute forms with decided relaxation; as an injection in prolapsus and leucorrhea with laxity, prolapsus ani, bleeding piles, and colliquative diarrhea; and as a wash to aphthous sores, bleeding gums, and other hemorrhages. Combined with pimento or similar aromatics, they are good in passive uterine hemorrhage and excessive menstruation. An ounce of the roots, which are quite dense, may be digested for two hours in a pint of hot water, and given in doses of a fluid ounce every two or three hours.
The fruit of the blackberry is one of the most grateful kind to weak and irritable stomachs; and may be used freely to the greatest advantage in diarrhea and bilious laxity of the bowels in summer. It alone is often the only corrector of the bowels needed; though when the stomach is quite sensitive, it should be crushed and strained, so as to remove the seeds. It is frequently made into a blackberry cordial, for which there are many formulas; but the following will be found at once pleasant and effective in relaxation of the bowels, diarrhea, camp diarrhea, etc.: Take any desired quantity of berries, and set them on a moderate fire till they begin to break; then mash them well, and strain through a flannel bag, with pressure. To each pint of juice put two drachms, each, of ginger, cinnamon, and allspice; and one drachm, each, of mace and cloves; well crushed, and tied in a thin piece of muslin, and immersed in the juice for an hour, and kept at a moderate heat with the vessel closely covered. Remove the spices and press them well, and to each pint of the juice add a pound of white sugar, and dissolve. When cold, add four ounces of brandy to each quart of the sirup, and keep in close bottles. Dose, a tablespoonful from four to six times a day.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com