The whole plant, Callitriche verna, Linné.
COMMON NAMES: Water-starwort, Water-chickweed.
Botanical Source.—This plant is a small aquatic annual herb, which floats upon the water, the stem being 1 or 2 feet in length, and composed of 2 tubes, simple or branched. The leaves are opposite, 3-nerved; upper ones oblong-spatulate, two at each node, crowded above into a star-like tuft upon the surface of the water; lower ones becoming gradually narrower, the lowest quite linear, obtuse or emarginate. The flowers are very minute, white, axillary, solitary, or in pairs, and often monoecious; the anther is a little exserted and yellow; the styles constantly erect; the fruit nut-like, indehiscent, 1-celled, and 4-seeded; the seeds peltate and albuminous (W.).
History.—This plant is common to the United States, growing in shallow streams and muddy places, and flowering from April to September. The whole plant is used; it yields its properties to water, or alcohol. There are several varieties, as C. autumnalis, C. austinii, C. heterophylla, all of which possess similar medicinal virtues.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—This plant is a very valuable diuretic, and has been found advantageous in some affections of the kidneys and bladder, dropsy, and gonorrhoea. A decoction of it may be drank freely, according to its diuretic influence. In dropsy, a tincture made with whiskey is preferred. The plant deserves more attention than it has heretofore received.
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.