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.
MEDICINAL PARTS. The leaves and root.
Description. -- Figwort has a perennial, whitish, and fibrous root, with a leafy, erect, smooth stem from two to four feet high. The leaves are opposite, ovate; the upper lanceolate, acute, of deep green color, and from three to seven inches in length. The flowers are small, and dark purple in color. The fruit is an ovate-oblong capsule.
History. -- This plant is a native of Europe, but is found growing in different parts of the United States, in woods, hedges, damp copses, and banks, blossoming from July to October. The plants known by the names of Carpenter's Square, Heal All, Square Stalk, etc. (S. Marilandica and S. Lanceolata), are all mere varieties of Figwort, possessing similar medicinal properties. The leaves and root are the officinal parts, and yield their virtues to water or alcohol. The leaves have an offensive odor, and a bitter, unpleasant taste; the root is slightly acrid.
Properties and Uses. -- It is alterative, diuretic, and anodyne; highly beneficial in hepatic or liver diseases, dropsy, and as a general deobstruent to the glandular system when used in infusion or syrup. Externally, in the form of fomentation or ointment, it is valuable in bruises, inflammation of the mammae, ringworm, piles, painful swellings, itch, and cutaneous eruptions of a vesicular character. The root, in decoction and drunk freely, will restore the lochial discharge when suppressed, and relieve the pains attending difficult menstruation. This plant possesses many valuable and active medicinal properties.
Dose. -- Of the infusion or syrup, from a wineglassful to a teacupful.