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 NAME. Indian Hemp.
MEDICINAL PART. The root.
Description. -- This is an herbaceus annual, growing about three feet high, with an erect, branched, angular bright green stem. The leaves are alternate, or opposite, on long lax foot-stalks, roughish, with sharply serrated leaflets tapering into a long, smooth entire point. The male flowers are drooping and long, the females simple and erect. The seeds are small, ash-colored, and inodorous.
History. -- Cannabis Indica, or Cannabis Sativa, is a native of the Caucasus, Persia, but grows in the hilly regions of Northern India. It is cultivated in many parts of Europe and Asia; but medicine of value can only be made from the Indian variety, the active principle of the plant being developed only by the heat of the climate of Hindostan. The dried tops and resin are the parts used. The preparations called Churrus, Gunjah, Bhang, Hashish, etc., sold in this country are mostly feeble imitations of the genuine articles, and are comparatively worthless. Even the few specimens of the genuine productions which reach the shops, and are sold at high prices, are crude and inferior, and can in no wise impart the effects which attach to the pure article. It is a matter of great difficulty to procure the genuine article even direct from dealers in India, unless you have had years of experience as a practising herbal physician, and have established business connections in various parts of the world as an importer of rare and pure medicinal herbs, barks, roots, resins, etc.
The Cannabis Sativa, or common hemp, possesses similar properties, and can be substituted if the Asiatic hemp is not procurable.
Properties and Uses. -- It is narcotic, anodyne, and antispasmodic. It has been successfully employed in gout, neuralgia, rheumatism, locked jaw, convulsions, chorea, hysteria, and uterine hemorrhage; but it is chiefly valuable as an invigorator of mind and body. Its exhilarating qualities are unequalled, and it is a certain restorative in low mental conditions, as well as in cases of extreme debility and emaciation. In such cases it may be regarded as a real rejuvenator. It should be taken by the advice of one experienced in its uses in order that its merits may be properly and fairly experienced. The spurious hemp should never be taken, as it produces, what the genuine does not, unpleasant consequences. I have used this article in many a preparation with great success.