This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
The organs of generation in the female are generally divided into the external and internal. The external consist of the mons veneris, labia externa, clitoris, lumphae, vestibule, meatus urinarius, hymen in virgins, and carunculae myrtiformes in matrons. The internal are the vagina, uterus, and the uterine appendages, the latter consisting of the broad and round ligaments, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes.
The mons veneria is placed at the lower part of the abdomen, and consists of dense fibro-cellular and fatty tissues, and is covered in the adult with hair. The anatomical provision of this particular covering in combination with the fatty texture is to prevent chafing and pressure upon sensitive nerves at certain periods.
The labia externa, or outer lips, are two folds of skin and mucous membrane, which commence in front of the pubic bones, and extend back to the perinaeum, where they again meet. The superior junction is called the anterior commissure, the posterior is called the posterior commissure, or fourchette. By vulva some mean the whole external organs; by others the longitudinal opening between the projecting part of the external organs. The use of the external labia is to protect the organs situated between them.
The nymphae or labia interna, or inner lips, arise from nearly the same point, at the anterior commissure, and run downwards and backwards, about an inch, to the middle of the vaginal orifice, where they disappear in the general lining of the labia externa.
The clitoris is seated just below the point of the junction of the labia interna. In structure it is the same as the male organ, with the exception that it has no spongy body or urethra. It is erectile and extremely sensitive. Its mucous covering is continuous with the vaginal lining. Under exciting influences it distends and enlarges. In exceptional instances and from certain causes, it becomes abnormally enlarged and elongated, and those females in whom this enlargement is observed, are the reputed hermaphrodites, especially when other congenital deficiencies are associated. This must be regarded, however, as an anatomical vagary, as in animated nature there is nothing truly epicene.
The triangular space between the sides of the labia interna and above the clitoris is known as the vestibule, at the lower portion of which is found the meatus urinarius, or orifice of the urethra. The urethra is about an inch and a half long and very dilatable.
The hymen is a fold of mucous membrane, generally of semilunar shape, with its concavity upwards, which is found just within the orifice of the vagina. It is generally ruptured at the first carnal intercourse. Its presence generally denotes the virgin; it is, however, not an infallible argumentum integritatis (one of its names), or evidence of virginal integrity. Connubial infelicity has often arisen on account of its absence in the chosen one of a man who earnestly believed its presence absolutely necessary to establish virginity. Many circumstances of an innocent character may occasion a rupture or destruction of this membrane, such as coughing, convulsive laughter, menstruation, etc. It is often, indeed, found absent in children soon after birth, whilst it may remain entire even after copulation. Cases of conception have been recorded, and yet the membrane was found intact. Hence its presence does not absolutely prove virginity, nor does its absence prove incontinence, although its presence would be what is known in law as prima facie evidence of continence.
Its remains after rupture form what is known as the carunculae myrtiformes, by reason of the resemblance to the leaves of the myrtle. The space between the hymen and fourchette is called the fossa navicularis.
The external organs in the aggregate are often called the pudendum.