Leptandra, Veronica virginica, grows in rich woodlands throughout the United States east of the Mississippi River, being found in abundance wherever it is native to a section and the woodlands have been undisturbed. The various species are known under many local names, such as black root. Culver's root, Brinton root, Bowman root, physic root, etc., as used by the settlers. They derived their knowledge of the drug from the American Indians, and designated the plant by the name of the man who used it in his practice, or from its characteristics. The Delaware Indians called the plant quitel, and the Missouri and Osage tribes knew it as hini. Leptandra was employed in decoction by settlers and savages alike as a violent purgative, and in the practice of early physicians of the United States it was used for bilious fevers. Peter Smith (605), author of the "Indian Doctor's Dispensatory," 1813, states that his father used "Culver's Root" to cure the pleurisy, which it did "with amazing speed." The use of the drug was confined to domestic medication until the appearance of the American Dispensatory (356), 1852, which gave it a general introduction to the profession of medicine. Professor W. Byrd Powell, a physician of high education, valued leptandra very highly, and it was upon his strong commendation to Professor John King (356), editor of the American Dispensatory, that it was there given a position.
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.