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. Gay Feather, Devil's Bit, etc.
MEDICINAL PART. The root.
Description. -- There are three varieties of this plant used in medicine. The above is the most common one. It has a tuberous root, and an erect annual stem from two to five feet high, linear leaves, and flowers sessile, and of bright purple color.
Liatris Spicata, or Button Snake Root, is very similar to the above.
Liatris Scariosa, or Gay Feather, has a perennial tuberous root, with a stout stem from four to five feet high. The leaves are numerous and lanceolate, lower one on long petioles.
History. -- The two former are natives of the Middle and Southern States, and the latter is found from New England to Wisconsin. These splendid natives flower from August to September. The roots have a hot bitter taste and an agreeable turpentine odor. The virtues are extracted by alcohol.
Properties and Uses. -- These plants are diuretic, tonic, stimulant, and emmenagogue. The decoction is very useful in gonorrhoea, gleet, and kidney diseases. It is also of service in uterine diseases. As a gargle in sore throat it is of great advantage. These plants are used for, and said to have antidotal powers over snake-bites.