Cunila Mariana. Dittany.
Nat. Ord. — Lamiaceae. Sex. Syst. — Didynamia Gymnospermia.
The Whole Herb.
Description. — This plant, also called Stonemint, Mountain dittany, etc., is an indigenous, perennial plant, with a fibrous root, and smooth, slender, four-angled, mostly purplish, corymbosely branched stems, growing one or two feet high ; the branches opposite, or nearly so. The leaves are opposite, small, smooth, ovate, subsessile, rounded or cordate at the base, punctate with resinous and pellucid dots, of a dry texture, pale-green above, glaucous beneath, and margin waved, with small, acute serratures. The flowers are numerous, in terminal and sometimes axillary dichotomous corymbs, and of a bluish-purple, and sometimes -white color. Each flower is pedunculate. The calyx is green, with ten longitudinal striae, and five nearly equal teeth. The corolla is twice as long as the calyx, bilabiate, pubescent ; lower lip largest, with three rounded lobes ; upper lip, flat and emarginate. Stamens four; two of them long, slender, and exserted, bearing small, didymous anthers; the other two sterile and very short. The stigma is bifid, exserted. The seeds are four, small, obovate, at the base of the persistent calyx, the mouth of which is closed by rigid hairs.
History. — Found in most parts of the United States, in dry soils, shady and hilly woods, and flowering from June to the last of September. It has a warm, pungent taste, and a powerful aromatic smell, depending on the presence of a volatile oil.
Properties and Uses. — Stimulant, carminative, antispasmodic, and diaphoretic. Used freely in warm infusion to promote perspiration, to relieve flatulency, and as an emmenagogue. Said to be useful for cold, headaches, and fevers, also to relieve nervous headache, and hysterical disorders, colic, indigestion, and all nervous affections. The volatile oil possesses all the medicinal properties of the herb, and may be given in doses of from five to ten drops.