The Opoponax Plant.
A large and robust plant, of which we have but imperfect descriptions: it is a native of the East, and has not been brought into Europe. It is said to be eleven or twelve feet high: the stalk is round, thick, and hollow. The leaves very large, and each composed of a vast number of smaller set upon a divided stalk. The flowers we are informed stand in very large round clusters at the tops of the stalks, and that the seeds are broad, brown, and of a strong smell; striated on the surface and flattish. The root is said to be long and large, and full of an acrid and milky juice.
We use a kind of resin, which is said to be collected from this root, after it has been wounded to make it flow in sufficient quantity; but the whole account comes to us very imperfect, and upon no very sound authority; however it seems probable.
The resin is brownish or yellowish, and in small pieces. It is an excellent medicine against nervous complaints; and particularly against disorders of the head. It works by urine and promotes the menses; and has a tendency to operate, though very gently, by stool. It is not so much used as it deserves to be. I have experienced excellent effects from it.