139. Aristolochia rotunda, Linn.; et A. longa, Linn.—Round and Long Birthwort.
Sex. Syst. Gynandria, Hexandria.
Both of these plants are natives of the South of Europe. Their roots are still kept in the shops.
The long aristolochia root is several inches in length, one or two inches broad, and has a more or less cylindrical form. The round aristolochia root has a more rounded and knobby form.
Both kinds are bitter and acrid, and have, especially when powdered, a disagreeable odour. They contain extractive matter and starch. Lassaigne found ulmin in the long species.
Their effects are stimulant and tonic. Their stimulant effects are supposed by some to be principally directed to the abdominal and pelvic viscera. They have been employed in amenorrhoea as an emmenagogue. Their dose is from ℈j to ℨj.
Round aristolochia root is a constituent of the Duke of Portland's powder for the gout, which consisted of equal quantities of the roots of Gentian and Birthwort (Aristolochia rotunda), the tops and leaves of Germander (Chamaedrys), Ground Pine (Chamaepitys), and lesser Centaury (Chironia Centaurium), powdered and mixed together. [See Dr. Clephane'a inquiry into the Origin of the Gout Powder, in the Med. Observ. and Inq. vol. i. Lond. Dr. Clephane concludes that "Caelius Aurelianus's diacentaureon and Aetius's antidotus ex duobus centaureae generibus were the same medicine, and are the old names for the Duke of Portland's Powder."]