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. Goose Grass, Catchweed, Bed-Straw.
MEDICINAL PART. The herb.
Description. -- It is an annual succulent plant, with a weak, procumbent, quadrangular, retrosely-prickled stem, which grows from two to six feet high, and is hairy at the joints. The leaves are one or two inches in length, and two or three lines in breadth; rough on the margin and tapering to the base. The flowers are white, small, and scattered.
History. -- This plant is common to Europe and the United States, growing in cultivated grounds, moist thickets, and along banks of rivers, and flowering from June to September. In the green state the plant has an unpleasant odor; but it is inodorous when dried, with an acidulous, astringent, and bitter taste. Cold or warm water extracts the virtues of the plant; boiling water destroys them. The roots dye a permanent red.
Properties and Uses. -- It is a most valuable refrigerant and diuretie, and will be found very beneficial in many diseases of the urinary organs, as suppression of urine, calculous affections, inflammation of the kidneys and bladder, and in the scalding of urine in gonorrhoea. It is contra-indicated in diseases of a passive character, on account of its refrigerant and sedative effects on the system, but may be used freely in fevers and all acute diseases. An infusion may be made by macerating an ounce and a half of the herb in a pint of warm water for two hours, of which from two to four fluid ounces may be given three or four times a day when cold. It may be sweetened with sugar or honey. It has also been found useful in many cutaneous diseases, as psoriasis, eczema, lichen, cancer, and scrofula, and is more particularly useful in these diseases when they are combined with strumous diathesis. The best form for administration is that of the implanted juice, which may be in one or two drachm doses, three times a day.
The plant called GALIUM TINCTORIUM, or Small Clevers, is nervine, anti-spasmodic, expectorant, and diaphoretic. It is used successfully in asthma, cough, and chronic bronchitis, exerting its influence principally upon the respiratory organs. The plant has a pungent, aromatic, pleasant, persistent taste. A strong decoction of the herb may be given in doses of from one to four fluid ounces, and repeated two or three times a day, according to circumstances. The root of this plant will also dye a permanent red.