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. Rattleroot, Squaw Root, Black Snake Root.
MEDICINAL PART. The root.
Description. -- This plant is a tall, leafy perennial herb, with a large knotty root, having long slender fibres. The stem is simple, smooth, and furrowed, and from three to nine feet high. The flower is a small and fetid one.
History. -- It is a native of the United States, inhabiting upland woods and hillsides, and flowering from May to August. The root is the medicinal part. It contains a resin, to which the names of Cimicifugin or Macrotin have been given; likewise fatty substances, starch, gum, tannic acid, etc. The leaves of Cimicifuga are said to drive away bugs; hence its name from cimez, a bug, and fugo, to drive away.
Boiling water takes up the properties of the root but partially, alcohol wholly.
Properties and Uses. -- It is a very active and useful remedy in many diseases. It is slightly narcotic, sedative, antispasmodic, and exerts a marked influence over the nervous system. It is successfully used in cholera, periodical convulsions, fits, epilepsy, nervous excitability, asthma, delirium tremens, and many spasmodic affections, and in consumption, cough, acute rheumatism, neuralgia, and scrofula. Also, very valuable in amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, and other menstrual and uterine affections, leucorrhoea, etc. The saturated tincture of the root is a valuable embrocation in all cases of inflammation of the nerves, tic douloureux, crick in the back or sides, rheumatism, old ulcers, etc. It has an especial affinity for the uterus, and as it reduces very materially the arterial action, it is, hence, very useful in palpitation of the heart, and cardiac affections generally.
It exerts a tonic influence over mucous and serous tissues, and is a superior remedy in a variety of chronic diseases. In my special practice I use it largely, and its use, in conjunction with other indicated remedies, has afforded me flattering success in many chronic affections.
Dose. -- Fluid extract, half a drachm to two drachms; solid extract, four to eight grains; of the tincture the dose is from one to three teaspoonsful; of Cimicifugin the dose is from one to six grains.