Chelone glabra. Balmony.
Nat. Ord.— Scrophulariaceae. Sex. Syst. — Didynamia Angiospermia.
Description. — This plant, likewise known by the names of Snakehead, Turllebloom, Turtlehead, Sult-rheum weed, etc., is a herbaceous plant, with a perennial root, and erect, somewhat quadrangular, branching stems, from two to four feet high. The leaves are opposite, smooth, oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, serrate, short-petioled, and of a dark, shining green above. The flowers are large, inodorous, terminal in a dense short spike, somewhat resembling the head of a tortoise ; each flower is sessile and furnished with three ovate, acute and entire bracts. Corolla ringent, white, often tinged with red or purple, ventricose, convex above, five-lobed, two-lipped, the lower lip bearded within. Calyx with five unequal imbricated segments, oblong and obtuse. Stamens didynamous, with woolly anthers ; and a short sterile, hairy filament. Ovary ovate, with a long, exsert style, bending downward. Capsule oval, two-celled, two-valved, with numerous small, winged seeds, with membranaceous margins.
History. — This valuable medicinal plant is found in the United States in wet situations, and blossoms from July until late in the autumn; the flowers are large and ornamental, varying in color, in the numerous varieties, from pure white to purplish, and resemble in form the head of a snake or turtle. The leaves are exceedingly bitter, but inodorous, and communicate their properties to both water and alcohol. No analysis has been made of them.
Properties and Uses. — Tonic, cathartic, and anthelmintic. Especially valuable in jaundice and hepatic diseases, likewise for the removal of worms, for which it may be used in powder or decoction, internally, and also in injection. Used as a tonic in small doses, in dyspepsia, debility of the digestive organs, and during convalescence from febrile and inflammatory diseases. Recommended in form of ointment as an application to painful and inflamed tumors, irritable and painful ulcers, inflamed breasts, piles, etc. Dose of the powder one drachm ; of the tincture, one or two fluidrachms ; of the decoction, one or two fluidounces.
Off. Prep. — Decoctum Chelonis.