Collinsonia canadensis. Hardhack.
Nat. Ord. — Lamiaceae. Sex. Syst. — Diandria Monogynia.
Description. — This plant, known likewise by various other names, as Horseweed, Heal-all, Richweed, Ox-balm, etc., is indigenous with a perennial knotty root, and a herbaceous, simple stem, about two feet high, furnished with two or three pairs of broad, cordate, ovate, serrate, petioled, and smooth leaves, and terminating in a panicle of yellow flowers in branched racemes ; the flowers are diandrous and monogynous. Calyx bilabiate, upper lip three-toothed, the teeth short, subulate. Corolla funnel-form somewhat bilabiate, the lower lip fringed. Stamens two ; seeds four, often two or three of them are abortive.
History. — Hardhack is found growing in rich moist woods, from Canada to Carolina, and flowering from July to September. The whole plant has a peculiar, lemon-like, balsamic odor, rather disagreeable in the root, and a warm, pungent taste. Water or alcohol extracts its virtues ; boiling destroys it, as the active principle is volatile. The fresh root is the part used.
Properties and Uses. — Tonic, astringent, diaphoretic, and diuretic. Used in infusion for headache, colic, cramp, dropsy, indigestion, catarrh of the bladder, leucorrhea, gravel, and urinary disorders. The fresh root, in substance, irritates the stomach, causing vomiting even in small doses. Externally, the leaves are used as a poultice or in fomentation to bruises, ulcers, blows, wounds, sprains, contusions, etc. The Collinsonia Verna, C. Cordata, C. Ovata, C. Scabra, and other species, probably, possess similar virtues. Dose of the infusion, from half a fluidounce to two fluidounces.
Off. Prep. — Infusum Collinsoniae.