Erigeron canadense. Canada Fleabane.
Nat. Ord. — Asteraceae, or Composite Asteroideae. (De Candolle.) Sex. Syst. — Syngenesia Superflua.
The Whole Plant.
Description. — This plant is known by the various names of Colts-tail, Pride-weed, Scabious, Horse-weed , Butter-weed, etc. It is an indigenous annual plant, with a high, branching, furrowed, and bristly-hairy stem, from six inches to nine feet in hight. The leaves are linear-lanceolate, ciliate ; lower ones subserrate. The flowers are very small, numerous, white, irregularly racemose upon the branches, and constituting a large, terminal, oblong panicle. Involucre cylindric ; rays minute, numerous, crowded, short ; pappus simple.
History. — This plant is common to the northern and middle portions of the United States, growing in fields and meadows, by road-sides, and in waste places, and flowering in July and August. It differs from the other species of Erigeron, in having an oblong calyx, very minute rays and more numerous than the disk-florets, and the pappus simple. Hence, Nuttall has placed it in a subgenus, named Caenotus. A variety of the E. Canadense is the E. Pusilum, growing from four to six inches high, with an erect, smooth stem, less branched than the above, all its leaves arc entire, and scabrous on the margin ; the panicle is simple, and the peduncles filiform, nearly naked, divaricate, each bearing two or three flowers.
The whole plant is officinal and should be collected while in flower. It has a feeble but agreeable odor, and a bitterish, acrid and astringent taste, and yields its properties to water or alcohol. Boiling diminishes its acrimony, in consequence of the escape of the volatile oil. Analysis has found in it, bitter extractive, tannin, gallic acid, and an astringent volatile oil, which may be procured by distillation with water.
Properties and Uses. — Tonic, astringent, and diuretic. The infusion has been found efficient in diarrhea, gravel, diabetes, dropsical affections, dysury of children, painful micturition, and in many nephritic affections. It may be given in the form of powder in doses of half a drachm, or a drachm; or the infusion, which is the best form of administration, may be given in doses of from two to four fluidounces, three or four times a day ; the aqueous extract is worthless, but the fluid extract may be given in teaspoonful doses.
The volatile oil of E. Canadense acts as an astringent, and may be used as a local application to hemorrhoids, bleedings from small wounds, etc., likewise in rheumatism, boils, tumors, and sore-throat, in which it should be combined with goose oil or some similar substance, being too acrid to use alone. Internally, it will be found useful in diarrhea, dysentery, hemoptysis, hematemesis, and hematuria ; from four to six drops of it on sugar, or dissolved in alcohol, and given in a little water, will be found a powerful remedy in uterine hemorrhage and menorrhagia, acting promptly and efficaciously ; it may be repeated every five or ten minutes if required.
Off. Prep. — Infusum Erigeroni ; Oleum Erigeroni.