Aralia. N. F. IV. American Spikenard. Spignet.—Aralia of the N. F. is "the dried rhizome and roots of Aralia racemosa Linne (Fam. Araliaceae), without the presence of more than 5 per cent. of adhering stem bases, or other foreign matter. Rhizome of oblique growth, about 12 cm. in length and 5 cm. in thickness, somewhat flattened, tortuous, externally pale brown, somewhat annulately roughened, frequently cut longitudinally, whitish internally; nodes approximate, each with a prominent stem scar about 3 cm. in breadth; fracture fibrous; roots numerous, of varying length, from 5 to 25 mm. in thickness, usually cut longitudinally and furrowed, sometimes with transverse ridges and corky patches; light brown or purplish-brown externally, whitish and spongy or porous internally; fracture of the cortex short, of the wood short and fibrous. Odor aromatic; taste mucilaginous, pungent and slightly acrid. A transverse section of the root shows a thick bark with several zones of secretion reservoirs containing oil, a well-developed cork with one or more hypodermal layers of lignified cells, and a more or less distinctly radiate wood. Examined microscopically, the powdered drug shows spherical or angular, single or two- or more compound starch grains, from 0.005 to 0.02 mm. in diameter, rosette aggregates of calcium oxalate from 0.03 to 0.07 mm. in diameter, tracheae with scalariform or reticulate thickenings and simple or bordered pores, characteristic lignified cells from the hypo-dermis about 0.04 to 0.1 mm. in length and about one-half as broad, their walls showing simple porea (distinction from Aralia nudicaulis). Aralia yields not more than 10 per cent. of ash."
Aralia nudicaulis L. False Sarsaparilla. Wild Sarsaparilla. Shotbush. Small Spikenard. Wild Licorice. Racine d'aralie nue, Petitnard, Fr. Nackte Aralienwurzel, G.—This plant is an indigenous perennial. It grows from Canada to the Carolinas, inhabiting shady and rocky woods, being common in rich soil. The rhizome is horizontal, creeping, sometimes several feet in length, and 5 to 15 mm. in thickness, more or less twisted, of a yellowish-brown color externally, of a fragrant odor, and a warm, aromatic, sweetish taste. Alpers and Murray (Proc. A. Ph. A., 1897, 182) found in it 3.05 per cent. of resin, 0.33 per cent. of oil, tannin, an acid, albumen, mucilage, and cellulose.
The roots of Aralia racemosa and A. nudicaulis have been used especially in domestic practice for their gently stimulant diaphoretic and alterative action, chiefly in rheumatic, syphilitic, and cutaneous affections, in the same manner and dose as genuine Sarsaparilla. W. R. Monroe (A. J. P., Oct., 1898) found in the rhizome of the Aralia californica S. Wats. a small amount of a pale yellow, very aromatic, volatile oil, but failed to detect saponin. Danzel found a glucoside aralin in the fresh leaves of Aralia japonica. (See J. P. C., 1912, 530.)
Aralia spinosa, L. Angelica-tree. Hercules club. Toothache-tree. Prickly Elder. Prickly Ash.—The name "prickly ash" should be dropped, as it belongs properly to a species of Xanthoxylum. Angelica tree is an arborescent shrub which grows in Southeastern North America. The bark, root, and berries are used as alteratives.