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.
MEDICINAL PART. The leaves.
Description. -- Box is a small, dense-leaved, hard-wood evergreen tree. The leaves are ovate, deep shining green, becoming red in autumn; flowers pale yellow; and the fruit is six-seeded globular capsule.
History. -- The box tree is a native of the west of Asia, but grows on dry hills and sandy elevations generally in Europe, and but rarely on similar soil in America. A preparation called Buxina is obtained from the powdered bark, but the leaves are the parts mainly used in medical practice. They readily impart their virtues to alcohol or water.
Properties and Uses. -- It is cathartic, sudorific, and alterative. The preparations of the leaves are excellent for the expulsion of worms, for purging the bowels, and regulating the action of the liver; for breaking fevers, and for purifying the blood and glandular secretions. In syrup it is very valuable as a cure for all diseases of a syphilitic character, and may be used alone to great advantage, where the compound syrup of stillingia cannot be obtained. The stillingia is preferable if it is at all to be had. The dose of a strong decoction, or syrup, of box, is half a fluid ounce, three times a day. In very severe cases the dose may be increased to a fluid ounce; but this should not be undertaken excepting by the advice of a physician. When intestinal worms are to be destroyed or expelled, the powdered leaves are usually administered in, to children, doses of five grains; to adults, in doses of from ten to fifteen grains. It possesses antispasmodic qualities, and has been given with good effect in hysteria, epilepsy, chorea (St. Vitus' Dance), etc. Chips of the wood (decoction) are useful in chronic rheumatism. The chief value of the Buxus Sempervirens, however, centres in its antisyphilitic virtues. I combine it with corydalis (Turkey pea) and the compound syrup of stillingia, in such a manner that it will surely cure syphilis in the first, second, or third stage; also certain forms of scrofula and scurvy. In other diseases it is no better than many other plants mentioned in this book.
The reader will do well to remember that the common garden box possesses the medical qualities of the Buxus Sempervirens to a feeble extent only. The powerful antisyphilitic virtues of which I have spoken can be procured only from the leaves of the tree reared in Asia, the influences of that climate being requisite to perfect them.