Chionanthus Virginica. Fringe-Tree, Old Man's Beard.
Description: Natural Order, Oleaceae. Allied to the white ash, the privet, and the olive. Genus CHIONANTHUS: Small trees with opposite leaves, flattened branches, and flowers in terminal and axillary racemes. Calyx short, four-parted; corolla tube very short, limb in four long and linear segments; stamens two, very short, inserted on the tube. Fruit a fleshy drupe, with a bony and one-seeded nucleus. C. VIRGINICA: Leaves oval and oblong-lanceolate, of various outlines on the same tree, three to six inches long, leathery, smooth. Flowers on long peduncles, with a smooth calyx; petals an inch long, snow-white; panicles drooping and delicate, the long fringe of the petals giving the clusters a very graceful appearance. Common through the woods of the Southern States, and making a very ornamental tree of moderate size.
Properties and Uses: The bark of the root of this tree is a rather bitter tonic, with an excess of relaxing properties, but stimulating qualities pretty well marked. It promotes all the secretions slowly, but especially those of the liver, gall-ducts, and kidneys. It has been much used as a remedy among the negroes in agues, and lingering intermit tents generally; its merits probably depending upon its tonic and slow hepatic properties, rather than upon any antiperiodic action. An ounce of the dried bark is made into decoction with a quart of water, and boiled down to a pint; and of this two fluid ounces may be given three times a day. A pint of thirty per cent alcohol will form a good tincture with two ounces of bark; and of this two fluid drachms may be given three times a day. It is applied to wounds and scrofulous ulcers, and is said greatly to diminish suppuration and promote healing.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com