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. Dove's Foot, Crow Foot, Alum Root, Spotted Geranium, etc.
MEDICINAL PART. The root.
Description. -- This plant has a perennial, horizontal, thick, rough, and knotty root, with many small fibres. The stems are grayish-green, erect, round, and a foot or two high. The leaves are spreading and hairy, and the blossoms large, and generally purple, mostly in pairs. The Dove's Foot, or Cranebill, which grows in England, is a different plant, bearing many small bright-red flowers of five leaves apiece, though it possesses medicinal properties similar to the American varieties.
History. -- Geranium is a native of the United States, growing in nearly all parts of it, in low grounds, open woods, etc., blossoming from April to June. The root is the officinal part. Its virtues are yielded to water or alcohol. Geranin is its active principle.
Properties and Uses. -- It is a powerful astringent, used in the second stage of dysentery, diarrhoea, and cholera infantum; in infusion, with milk. Both internally and externally it may be used wherever astringents are indicated, in hemorrhages, indolent ulcers, aphthous sore mouth, ophthalmia, leucorrhoea, gleet, hematuria, menorrhagia, diabetes, and excessive chronic mucous discharges; also to cure mercurial salivation. Relaxation of the uvula may be benefited by gargling with a decoction of the root, as well as aphthous ulceration of the mouth and throat. From its freedom from any nauseous or unpleasant qualities, it is well adapted to infants and persons with fastidious stomachs. In cases of bleeding piles, a strong decoction of the root should be injected into the rectum, and retained as long as possible. Troublesome epistaxis, or bleeding from the nose, wounds, or small vessels, and from the extraction of teeth, may be checked effectually by applying the powder to the bleeding orifice, and, if possible, covering with a compress of cotton. With Aletri's Farinosa (Unicorn root) in decoction, and taken internally, it has proved of superior efficacy in diabetes and in Bright's disease of the kidneys. A mixture or solution of two parts of hydrastin and one of geranin will be found of unrivalled efficacy in all chronic mucous diseases, as in gleet, leucorrhoea, ophthalmia, gastric affections, catarrh, and ulceration of the bladder, etc. A decoction of two parts of geranium and one of sanguinaria (bloodroot) forms an excellent injection for gleet and leucorrhoea.
Dose of geranium powder, from twent to thirty grains; of the decoction, a tablespoonful to a wineglassful.