Collinsonia Canadensis. Hardhack, Heal-All.

Botanical name: 

Horse Weed, Ox-balm, Stone Root.

Description: Natural Order, Labiatae. Genus COLLINSONIA: Strong scented herbs; with large, ovate and petiolate leaves; and yellow flowers in a terminal and leafless panicled raceme. Calyx ten-striate, upper lip truncate and three-toothed, lower lip two-cleft; corolla exserted, ringent; stamens two, long exserted. C. CANADENSIS: Indigenous plants, growing in rich and moist woods and fields. Stem four-sided, three to four feet high, often very smooth, but sometimes slightly pubescent. Leaves few, thin, three to four inches .long, two to three inches broad, acuminate, coarsely serrate, abrupt or subcordate at base. Flowers in large, loose, compound racemes; corolla half an inch or more in length, yellow tinged with green, the lower lip elongated and fringed, exhaling a lemon odor. July to September.

The root of this herb is medicinal. It is perennial, knotty, rough, very hard,. dusky brown, throwing out many slender fibers, and of a somewhat unpleasant balsamic odor when fresh. From the confusion that arises from similar common names, it is necessary to distinguish this particular hardhack from the shrub Spirea tomentosa; and also to note that Ptelia trifoliata and Scrophularia marylandica are frequently called heal-all.

Properties and Uses: The roots yield their properties to hot water and to diluted alcohol. They are mildly stimulant, with very moderate astringent qualities, and somewhat diffusive. They act upon the nerves, skin, mucous membranes, and kidneys; and leave behind a gently tonic impression. They are most useful in nervous headache, colic pains, and nervous forms of dysmenorrhea; and have been used to good advantage in light cases of leucorrhea and persistent laxity of the bowels. Their soothing and tonic impression is very good in nearly every form of moderate female nervousness; and the agent is an excellent addition to such more pure nervine tonics as liriodendron and leonurus. It is mostly in cases like the above that their diuretic action is noticed, as in other cases they act but lightly on the kidneys, though a good agent in catarrh of the bladder and sub-acute gonorrhea.

The leaves are reputed excellent as a fomentation in painful swellings, sprains, bruises, etc.

The fresh roots are extremely nauseating. Dose of the powdered root, twenty grains three times a day. It is nearly always used as an infusion–an ounce of the crushed roots infused for an hour in a quart of boiling water, and from one to two fluid ounces given every four or three hours.

An excellent fluid extract is prepared from it after the manner for eupatorium perfoliatum. As one of the light yet efficient nervine diffusives, this agent deserves much attention.

The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at