That the reader may more intelligently understand the description of the medicinal plants in this book, the author has deemed it prudent to preface the part of this work dedicated to Herbal Materia Medica with a brief analysis of the plant, as made by the botanist. This becomes particularly necessary, inasmuch as a plant cannot be accurately described unless scientific language be employed; but, nevertheless, throughout this whole work it has been the aim of the author to use the plainest language, and not to weary the reader by as pedantic employment of technical terms and scientific language.

Nothing more will be given than the anatomy of the plant, as nothing of systematic botany need be known to the reader to recognize the plant, or to acquaint himself with the medicinal properties thereof. If he has not a common acquaintance with a medicinal plant, but desires it for domestic medication, it is important that he should know that he employs the proper herb, and not use one which simulates it. It has therefore been the aim of the author to give accurate descriptions of the herbs, so that the gatherer may not err in his selection of the plant which his case may need.

All parts of the plant are used in medicine--sometimes the seed only; in others the flower, the leaves, root, rhizome; in others two or more of these parts, and, again, in others the whole plant.