Alisma Plantago. Water Plantain.
Nat. Ord. — Alismaceae. Sex. Syst. — Hexandria Polygynia.
Description. — This is a perennial, caulescent herb, sometimes called Mad-dog weed. The leaves are radical, oval, oblong or lanceolate, subcordate at the base, cuspidate or abruptly acuminate, five to nine-nerved, from four to six inches in length, about two-thirds as wide, and on long radical petioles. The scape is one or two feet high, with whorled panicled branches ; the panicles are loose, compound, many-flowered ; branches of the panicle with bracts at the base. Carpels fifteen to twenty, obliquely obovate, forming an obtusely-triangular whorl in fruit. The flowers are small, white, whorled, and numerous ; petals three, tinged with purple, roundish, deciduous, larger than the green, ovate, persistent sepals. Stamens six; achenia obtusely three-cornered. Root fibrous.
History. — Water Plantain is common to Europe and the United States, being a smooth, handsome inhabitant of ponds, ditches, streams, etc., flowering in July. At one time the root was in great repute as a cure for hydrophobia, but subsequent experiments have proved it inefficacious. The leaves are the parts used.
Properties and Uses. — When the fresh leaves of water-plantain are bruised and applied to the skin, they produce a rubefacient effect, and will even vesicate. When dried and powdered, and taken in the dose of one or two drachms two or three times a day, they have been successfully employed in gravel and other urinary affections.