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. Rock Rose, Frost Plant, etc.
MEDICINAL PART. The herb.
Description. -- Rock Rose is a perennial herb, with a simple, ascending downy stem, about a foot high. The leaves are alternate, from eight to twelve inches long, about one-fourth as wide; oblong, acute, lanceolate, erect, and entire. The flowers are large and bright yellow, some with petals, and some without petals. The flowers open in sunshine and cast their petals next day.
History. -- It is indigenous to all parts of the United States, growing in dry, sandy soils, and blossoming from May to July. The leaves and stems are covered with a white down, hence its name. The whole plant is officinal, having a bitterish, astringent, slightly aromatic taste, and yields its properties to hot water. Prof. Eaton, in his work on botany, records this curious fact of the plant: "In November and December of 1816 I saw hundreds of these plants sending out broad, thin, curved ice crystals, about an inch in breadth from near the roots. These were melted away by day, and renewed every morning for more than twenty-five days in succession."
Properties and Uses. -- This plant has long been used as a valuable remedy for scrofula, in which disease it performs some astonishing cures. It is used in form of decoction, syrup, or fluid extract, but had better be used in combination with other remedies. In combination with Corydalis Formosa and Stillingia it forms a most valuable remedy. It is tonic and astringent, as well as antiscrofulous. It can be used with advantage in diarrhoea, as a gargle in scarlatina and aphthous ulcerations, and as a wash in scrofulous ophthalmia. Externally, a poultice of the leaves is applied to scrofulous tumors and ulcers. An oil has been procured from the plant which is said to be highly valuable in cancerous affections.
The Helianthemum Corymbosum, or Frost-weed, growing in the pine barrens and sterile lands of the Southern and Middle States, possesses similar qualities, and may be employed if the former frost-weed is not to be had. This excellent alterative is a constituent of that happy combination of alteratives composing my "Blood Purifier," see page 469.