Erigeron. Fleabane. Scabious. Sweet Scabious. Daisy Fleabane. Herbe d'erigeron, Herbe de Vergerette, Fr. Berufkraut, Gr.—Under this name the U. S. Pharmacopoeia of 1870 recognized the herbal portions of Erigeron annuus (L.) Pers. and E. philadelphicus L. (Fam. Compositae.)
The two species are abundant in the middle portions of the United States, grow in open fields, and are probably of identical medicinal value. They are popularly known as fleabane. The whole herb is used, and should be collected while the plants are in flower. It has a feebly aromatic odor and bitterish taste, and imparts its properties to boiling water.
The U. S. Pharmacopoeia also formerly recognized, as Erigeron canadensis (Leptilon canadense (L.) Britt.), Horseweed. Mare's tail, Fire-weed, Butter-weed, Colt's-tail.
Canada fleabane is very common throughout the northern and middle sections of the United States, and has become naturalized over the world. It abounds in neglected fields, and is reported to be a very troublesome weed on the peppermint plantations of the West. It blooms in July and August. The plant, all parts of which are medicinal, should be collected while in flower. The leaves and flowers are said to be the most active parts. It has a characteristic odor, and a bitterish, acrid, somewhat astringent taste. Among its constituents, according to De Puy, are bitter extractive, tannin, gallic acid, and volatile oil. Both alcohol and water extract its virtues. Its acrimony is diminished by decoction, in consequence, probably, of the escape of the oil, upon which its virtues in part depend. All of the erigerons are reputed to be diuretic, tonic, and astringent: and useful in dropsical complaints and diarrhea. They have been given in substance (dose, a drachm, or 3.9 Gm.), infusion, tincture, or extract (dose, ten grains, or 0.65 Gm.), but the oil is the only proper preparation. The oil is of value in uterine, pulmonary, and other internal hemorrhages, in doses of from five to fifteen minima (0.3-0.9 mil), every two hours. (See p. 1519.)
For further information concerning these drugs see U. S. D., 19th cd., p. 1479.