Asclepias incarnata. Swamp Milkweed.

Botanical name: 

Also see: Asclepias incarnata. Swamp Milkweed. - Asclepias syriaca. Common Silkweed. - Asclepias tuberosa. Pleurisy Root.

Nat. Ord. — Asclepiadaceae. Sex. Syst. — Pentandria Digynia.

Description. — This plant is known by various names, as Swamp Silkweed, Flesh-colored Asclepias, Rose-colored Silkweed, White Indian Hemp, etc. It has a smooth, erect stem, with two downy lines above and on the branches and peduncles, branching above, and about two or three feet high. The leaves are opposite, oblong-lanceolate, acute, or pointed, obtuse at the base, on short petioles, and slightly tomentose. The flowers are red or reddish-purple, sweet-scented, and disposed in numerous umbels which are crowded, erect, mostly terminal, and often in opposite pairs. Hoods of the crown entire, horns exsert, subulate. The leaves are four to seven inches long, and from one half an inch to an inch and a half wide ; umbels are from two to six, on a peduncle two inches long, and consist of from ten to twenty small flowers. There are several varieties of this plant, the A. Pulchra, which is more hairy, with broader and shorter petioled leaves ; the A. Glabra, which is almost glabrous, with two opposite longitudinal hairy lines on the stem, and leaves glabrous, with rough margins, midrib glandular below ; and the A. Alba which has white flowers.

History.— This plant grows in damp and wet soils throughout the United States, and bears red flowers from June to August. It emits a milky juice on being wounded. The root is the officinal part; it varies in thickness from one to six lines, and is of a light-yellowish or brownish color. It imparts its properties to water.

Properties and Uses. — Anthelmintic, for which purpose the powder may be used in doses of ten to twenty grains, three times a day ; or the decoction two to four ounces. Prof. Tully recommends it in catarrh, asthma, syphilis, rheumatism, and worms. Reputed to be emetic and cathartic. It is undoubtedly a valuable agent, and worthy further investigation.

The American Eclectic Dispensatory, 1854, was written by John King, M. D.