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. Sheep Laurel, Spoonwood, Mountain Laurel, Lambkill.
MEDICINAL PART. The leaves.
Description.--This handsome plant is a shrub from four to eight feet high, with crooked stems and a rough bark. The leaves are evergreen, ovate, lanceolate, acute at each end, on long petioles, and from two to three inchs long. The flowers are white and numerous. The fruit is a dry capsule.
History. -- Sheep Laurel inhabits the rocky hills and elevated grounds of most parts of the United States. Its beautiful flowers appear in June and July. The leaves are reputed to be poisonous to sheep and other animals, and it is said that birds which have eaten them will poison those who eat the birds. The leaves are the officinal part. Attention was called to their medicinal virtues by the use which the Indians make of them, viz., a decoction by which they commit suicide.
Properties and Uses. -- The plant, in medicinal doses, is antisyphilitic, sedative to the heart, and somewhat astringent. It is a most efficient agent in syphilis, fevers, jaundice, neuralgia, and inflammation. The preparation should be used with great care and prudence. In cases of poisoning with this plant, either man or beast, whiskey is the best antidote. Externally, stewed with lard, it is serviceable as an ointment for varioius skin diseases.
Dose. -- The saturated tincture of the leaves is the best form of administration. It is given in from ten to twenty drops every two or three hours. Powdered leaves, from ten to twenty grains.