Gentiana ochroleuca. Ochroleucous Gentian.
Nat. Ord. — Gentianaceae. Sex. Syst. — Pentandria Digynia.
The Root and Tops.
Description. — This plant is likewise known by the names of Marsh Gentian, Yellowish-white Gentian, Straw-colored Gentian, Sampson Snakeroot, etc. ; it has a stout, ascending stem, mostly smooth, and from one to two inches in hight. The leaves are from two to four inches long, by three-quarters of an inch to an inch and a half wide, obovate-oblong, sessile or amplexicaul, margins slightly scabrous, and narrowed at the base ; the lowest are broadly ovate and obtuse, the uppermost somewhat lanceolate. The flowers are straw-colored, two inches long by three-quarters of an inch thick, and disposed in a dense terminal cyme, and often also in axillary cymes. The calyx is five-cleft, the lobes unequal, linear, longer than the tube, and shorter than the corolla. The corolla is clavate, connivent or slightly expanding at top, ochroleucous or straw-color, with green veins and lilac-purple stripes internally; its lobes ovate, obtuse ; the folds entire, acute, short. Anthers separate. Capsule or pod included in the persistent corolla. Seeds entirely wingless.
History. — This plant is found growing in dry grounds, especially through the middle and low country of the Southern States, flowering in September and October. Said likewise to inhabit Canada and the Western States, but this must be rare. The root is the officinal part, and the tops are also often emplo)red. They are bitter to the taste, and probably possess the medicinal properties, in a greater or less degree, of the preceding plants of the same family. Alcohol or boiling water extracts their virtues. None of the American gentians have been satisfactorily analyzed.
Properties and Uses. — Bitter tonic, anthelmintic, and astringent. Used in dyspepsia, intermittents, dysentery, and all diseases of periodicity. To two ounces of the tops and roots, pour on one and a half pints of boiling water, and when nearly cold, add half a pint of brandy. Dose, from half a fluidounce to four fluidounces, every half hour, gradually increased as the stomach can bear it, at the same time lengthening the intervals between the doses. Also used for bites of snakes, and in typhus fevers, pneumonia, etc.