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.
COMMON NAMES. Wake Robin, Indian Balm, Ground Lily, etc.
MEDICINAL PART. The root.
Description. -- This is an herbaceous, perennial plant, having an oblong tuberous root, from which arises a slender stem from ten to fifteen inches high. The leaves are three in number, acuminate, from three to five inches in diameter, with a very short petiole. The flowers are white, sepals green, petals ovate and acute, styles erect, and stigmas recurved.
History. -- This plant is common in the Middle and Western States, growing in rich soils and shady woods, flowering in May and June. There are many varieties, all possessing analogous medicinal properties. These plants may be generally known by their three net-veined leaves, and their solitary terminal flower, which varies in color in the different species, being whitish-yellow and reddish-white. The roots have a faint turpentine odor, and a peculiar aromatic and sweetish taste. When chewed they impart an acid astringent impression to the mouth, causing a flow of saliva and a sensation of heat in the throat and fauces. Trilline is its active principle.
Properties and Uses. -- It is astringent, tonic, and antiseptic, and is successfully employed in bleeding from the lungs, kidneys and womb, excessive menstruation, and likewise in leucorrhoea or white, and cough, asthma, and difficult breathing. Boiled in milk, it is of eminent benefit in diarrhoea and dysentery. The root made into a poultice is very useful in tumors, indolent and offensive ulcers, stings of insects, and to restrain gangrene; and the leaves boiled in lard are a good application to ulcers, tumors, etc. The red Beth-root will check ordinary epistaxis, or bleeding of the nose. The leaves boiled in lard is a good external application in ulcers and tumors. A strong infusion of powdered Beth-root, of from two to four tablespoonfuls, is the most pleasant form of administration of this valuable remedy.
Dose of the powdered root is one drachm, to be given in hot water; of the infusion, two to four ounces.