Apocynum Cannabinum. Indian hemp, White Indian hemp.

Botanical name: 

Related entry: Apocynym androsaemifolium

Description: This plant very closely resembles the foregoing, growing in the same places, and nearly to the same height. The principal differences are, that in this species the leaves are a little downy on the under side; the flowers are yellowish-white, pinkish within, and the corolla but little longer than the calyx; the young roots are yellowish-brown, and the older ones dark chestnut. The roots are five or six feet long, horizontal, yellowish-white within, become brittle when dried, and form a yellowish-white powder. They are the medicinal part, have a strong odor, and a permanent sickish-bitter taste.

Properties and Uses: This article secures large and liquid stools, accompanied by but little griping; acts with more or less freedom upon the kidneys; and in large doses produces much nausea, and rather copious vomiting. Emesis from its use is followed by rather free perspiration, as is to be expected from any emetic; though this agent also acts considerably upon the surface. The pulse becomes softer and fuller under its use; and it is accused of producing drowsiness and a semi-narcotism. Formerly I used somewhat liberally of this article, and never saw any narcotic effect whatever; yet have laid it by in the latter years of my practice, lest mischief might be found resulting from it. Information about the agent will be thankfully received. It has been most used for its effects as a hydrogogue cathartic and diuretic in dropsies; but should be employed only in moderation, and in connection with tonics and diffusive stimulants. It usually increases the menstrual flow, and some have lately attributed decided antiperiodic properties to it, but this is not yet satisfactorily confirmed. An ounce of the root boiled a few minutes in a pint of water, is the better mode of preparing it; and from one to two fluid ounces of this are a laxative dose. An extract is made, of which the dose is from three to six grains.

The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com