The root of Statice caroliniana, Walter (Statice Limonium, Linné, var. caroliniana, Gray).
COMMON NAMES: Marsh rosemary, Inkroot, Sea-lavender.
Botanical Source.—Statice caroliniana is a perennial maritime plant, indigenous, having a large, fleshy, fusiform, or branched, brownish-red root, from which arises, annually, a scape and leaves. The leaves are radical, petiolate, cuneiform, or narrow obovate, smooth, veinless, obtuse, mucronated, level and flat on the margin. The scapes are round, smooth, slightly scaly, flexuose, terminated by a panicle of numerous branches, which bear the flowers on the upper side only. Flowers pale bluish-purple, alternate, erect, mostly in pairs, but appearing singly in consequence of one expanding before the other. The peduncles are short, forked, and concealed by several sheathing scales. Calyx funnel-shaped, scarious and pink at the edge, 5-angled, the angles ciliate, ending in long acute teeth, with sometimes, not always, minute intermediate teeth. Petals 5, spatulate, obtuse, and longer than the calyx. Stamens 5, inserted in the claws of the petals; anthers heart-shaped. The ovary is superior, small, obovate, with 5 ascending styles, shorter than the stamens. Fruit an oblong, utricle, 1-seeded, and inclosed in the calyx (L).
History and Description.—The resemblance which this plant bears to the foreign Statice Limonium is such as to have induced many botanists to rank it as a variety. They will be found to differ, however, in the American species having smaller flowers, and flat, somewhat wedge-shaped leaves, while the leaves of the S. Limonium are oblong and wavy at the margins. Probably these slight differences are sufficient to require a distinct position, and the position given it by Gray (var. caroliniana) is sufficiently warranted to give it the name Statice Limonium, var. caroliniana. Marsh rosemary is common in the salt-marshes on the Atlantic shore of the United States, bearing flowers from August to October. The part used is the root, which is rather large and heavy, inodorous, but having a saltish, amarous, and strongly astringent taste. Alcohol or water takes up its properties, especially when hot or boiling.
Chemical Composition.—Mr. E. Parrish, who analyzed it, found it to consist of about 12 per cent of tannic acid, volatile oil, resin, gum, albumen, caoutchouc, extractive, coloring matter, woody fiber, and several salts (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1842, p. 116).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Marsh rosemary is a strong astringent, and has long been used, in the form of infusion or decoction, as a domestic remedy in diarrhoea, chronic dysentery, etc. It is not indicated in the acute stages of these affections, but will be found very efficient as an astringent and tonic, after the active symptoms have subsided. It also relieves irritation of the mucous membranes. It is an efficient remedy in atonic dyspepsia, pulmonary hemorrhage, chronic laryngitis, bronchorrhoea, and other catarrhal disorders, with profuse secretion. The decoction is very useful as a gargle or wash in ulcerations of the mouth and throat, scarlatina anginosa, etc. Externally, the powdered root may be applied to old ulcers, or made into an ointment, as a soothing application for piles. The decoction is likewise very useful as an injection in chronic gonorrhoea, gleet, leucorrhoea, prolapsus ani and uteri, and in some ophthalmic affections. It may be used in all cases where astringents are indicated. A tincture of the fresh root (℥viii to alcohol, 98 per cent, Oj) may be given in doses of from 1 to 20 drops. The decoction (℥i to aqua Oj), in doses of from 1/2 to 1 fluid ounce.
Related Species.—Statice Limonium, Linné (see above), of Europe, is possessed of the same powers, but in a less degree. The infusion may be given in doses of from 1/2 to 2 fluid ounces, every 2, 3, or 4 hours.
Statice mucronata, Linné.—Morocco. Natives employ the root, called safrifa, as a nervine.
Statice latifolia, Smith.—Russia and Spain. Root employed in tanning leather. Has properties similar to Marsh rosemary.
Statice speciosa, Linné.—Siberia. Used like Marsh rosemary.
Statice braziliensis, Buaycura, Baycuru, Biacura, or Guaycura.—Brazil. Contains tannin (12.15 per cent), volatile oil (trace), acrid, sharp resin, and an alkaloid, baycurine, crystallizing in white, feathery needles, isolated by F. A. Dalpe, in 1884 (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1884, p. 361). Baycura is used in Brazil as an astringent and discutient for glandular and other enlargements.
Plumbago europaea, Leadwort, Dentellaria.—A European, herbaceous perennial, the root of which yielded Dulong an acrid, yellow, crystallizable body, plumbagin. The plant, and especially the root, when chewed, is extremely acrid, and acts as a decided sialagogue. Toothache is said to be relieved by masticating the root, and a decoction of the latter, in olive oil, has been lauded as a remedy for scabies and old ulcers Some claim that this plant is almost inert; others that it is destructive topically, and, internally, it dangerous emetic, producing severe gastro-intestinal complications. These differences are probably due to the condition in which the plant is used. According to Sauvage-Delacroix, a young woman rubbed with the root, stated that she felt as if she had been flayed alive (Hogg).