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. Mortal, Woody Nightshade, Falon Wort, etc.
MEDICINAL PART. Bark of root and twigs.
Description. -- Bitter-Sweet is a woody vine, with a shrubby stem several feet in length, having an ashy green bark. Leaves acute, and generally smooth, lower one cordate, upper ones hastate. The flowers are purple, and the fruit a scarlet, juicy and bitter berry, which, however, should not be eaten or used.
History. -- Bitter-Sweet is common to both Europe and America, growing in moist banks, around dwellings, and in low damp grounds, about hedges and thickets, and flowering in June and July. The berries ripen in autumn, and hang upon the vines for several months. After the foliage has fallen the twigs should be gathered. Boiling water and dilute alcohol extract their virtues.
Properties and Uses. -- It is a mild narcotic, diuretic, alterative, diaphoretic, and discutient. It is serviceable in cutaneous diseases, syphilitic diseases, rheumatic and cachectic affections, ill-conditioned ulcers, scrofula, indurations, sores, glandular swelling, etc. In obstructed menstruation it serves a good purpose. It is of incalculable benefit in leprosy, tetter, and all skin diseases. It excites the venereal functions, and is in fact capable of wide application and use. I regard this plant as important as any in the herbal kingdom, and too little justice is done to it by those under whose care the sick are entrusted. It receives but half the homage that is due to it.
The world knows the virtues of my "Herbal Ointment" (see page 469), and which is in great measure due to Bitter-Sweet, as it is one of the ingredients.
Dose. -- Of the decoction, one or two fluid ounces; extract, two to five grains; powdered leaves, ten to thirty grains.