Related entries: Spigelia (U. S. P.)—Spigelia
The root of Vernonia fasciculata, Michaux.
Botanical Source.—This is an indigenous, perennial, coarse, purplish-green weed, with a tall, striate or grooved, tomentose stem, from 3 to 10 feet in height. The leaves are 4 to 8 inches long by 1 or 2 inches broad, narrow lanceolate, tapering to each end, serrulate, alternate, and smooth above; the lower ones are petiolate. The flower-heads are numerous, in a compact or loose, somewhat fastigiate cyme. The corolla is showy, dark-purple, tubular, and twice as long as the involucre. The involucre is smooth, and ovoid-campanulate; scales appressed, all but the lowest rounded and obtuse, and without appendages (W.—G.).
History.—Iron weed is a very common plant in the western states, growing in the woods and prairies, and along river streams, and flowering from July to September. The root, which is the part used, is bitter, and imparts its properties to water or alcohol.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Iron weed is a bitter tonic, deobstruent, and alterative. In powder or decoction, the root is beneficial in amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, leucorrhoea, and menorrhagia. In intermittent, remittent and bilious fevers, the decoction or a saturated tincture has been recommended. Said to have been useful in scrofula, and some cutaneous diseases. Dose of the decoction, 1 to 2 fluid ounces; of the tincture, 1 to 2 fluid drachms. The leaves or powdered root in the form of poultice make an excellent discutient application to tumors.
Related Species.—Vernonia Noveboracense, Willdenow, growing in the eastern, western and middle states, and its variety, V. Praealta, bearing purple flowers, and the V. tomentosa, with some other species possess similar medicinal properties (see Vernonia anthelmintica, under Spigelia). The root of V. nigritiana, Oliver, of west Africa, is used in Senegambia, under the name of batiatior, as a febrifuge. It contains the glucosid vernonin (Heckel and Schlagdenhauffen, Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1889, p. 40).