This is a species of the myrtle, from which wax is obtained from the berries, and grows common in many parts of this country. It is a shrub growing from two to four feet high, and is easily known by the berries which it produces annually, containing wax in abundance. These grow on the branches close to them similar to the juniper. The leaves are of a deep green. The bark of the roots is what is used for medicine, and should be collected in the spring, before it puts forth its leaves, or in the fall, after done growing, as then the sap is in the roots; this should be attended to in gathering all kinds of medicinal roots; but those things that the tops are used should be collected in the summer when nearly full grown, as then the sap is on the top. The roots should be dug and cleaned from the dirt, and pounded with a mallet or club, when the bark is easily separated from the stalk, and may be obtained with little trouble. It should be dried in a chamber or loft, where it is not exposed to the weather; and, when perfectly dry, should be ground or pounded to a fine powder. It is an excellent medicine, either taken by itself or compounded with other articles; and is the best thing for canker of any article to be found.
In scrofulous diarrhoea and chronic cholera infantum and goitre it is one of the best agents.
Its influence on the uterus is very positive. In prolapsus uteri it is splendid, and in parturition it cannot be well excelled. It induces better contractions and when given near the end of the confinement it will anticipate flooding, and should there be excessive lochia it will assist in stopping the excess. Its influence is also good in excessive menstruation or hemorrhages from other parts of the body and in female weakness.
In hot infusion it gradually arouses the circulation and favors an outward flow of blood. A good free perspiration will follow, which will be more abundant if Zingiber be added. When the stomach is very foul, it will frequently operate as an emetic.
In connection with lobelia it is used in producing emesis, which will be very valuable in the treatment of the conditions found in mercurial cachexia, scrofula and secondary syphilis. For emetic purposes it should be given with lobelia in hot infusion and is excellent to rid the system of impurities.
The dose of the Fluid Ext. or Tincture is from one-half to one drachm.