The root and seeds of Onosmodium virginianum, A. De Candolle (Lithospermum virginianum, Linné).
COMMON NAMES: False gromwell, Gravel weed, Wild Job's tears.
Botanical Source.—This plant is a perennial herb, clothed all over with harsh and rigid appressed bristles. The stems are rather slender, 1 or 2 feet in height. The leaves are oblong, or oblong-lanceolate, often oval, and even ovate-lanceolate, sessile, minutely strigose, 3 to 5-veined; lower ones narrow at base, 1 inch to 2 1/2 inches long, 1/2 or 3/4 of an inch broad. The flowers are yellowish-white, in terminal, leafy racemes, which are recurved at first, but finally become erect and elongated. Calyx 5-cleft, lobes lanceolate, pilose on both sides, half as long as the corolla. Corolla oblong-tubular, with a ventricose, half 5-cleft limb, with lance-subulate segments clothed externally with long hispid hairs. Stamens 5, with very short, flattened filaments supporting included, sagittate apiculate anthers. Style much exserted and smooth. Achenia ovoid, smooth and shining, fixed by a flat base (G.—W.).
History.—This plant is found growing from New York to Florida, in dry, hilly grounds, flowering from June to September. The root and seeds are the parts employed, and yield their virtues to water. There are two other species of this genus which possess similar properties.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Diuretic and tonic. Said to dissolve calculi. A strong infusion of the root and seeds, taken in doses of 4 fluid ounces, every 2 hours for about a day, or until it purges, is highly extolled as a cure for calculous affections. It occasions excessive urination, hence care must be taken that it be not employed too long, for fear of producing too great a flow of urine. It is worthy of a full investigation. Onosmodium carolinianum, De Candolle, and Onosmodium strigosum, possess similar properties (see also Lithospermum officinale).
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.