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 NAME. Cotton.
MEDICINAL PART. The inner bark of the root.
Description. -- Cotton is a biennial or triennial herb, with a fusiform root, with a round pubescent branching stem about five feet high. The leaves are hoary, palmate, with five sub-lanceolate, rather acute lobes; flowers are yellow; calyx cup-shaped, petals five, deciduous, with a purple spot near the base; stigmas, three or five; and the fruit a three or five-celled capsule, with three or five seeds involved in cotton.
History. -- It is a native of Asia; but is cultivated extensively in many parts of the world, and in the Southern portions of America more successfully than anywhere else. The inner bark of the recent root is the part chiefly used in medicine. Its active principle, which is that administered by all educated herbal physicians, is called Gossypiin.
Properties and Uses. -- The preparation Gossypiin is most excellent for diseases of the utero-genital organs. In these diseases it evinces its sole and only virtues, and it ought, on every occasion where it can be procured in its purity, to be used in the stead of ergot, or smut rye, in cases of difficult labor. The latter will produce uterine inflammation and puerperal fever, while gossypiin will achieve the beneficial effects for which ergot is usually administered, and leave the system perfectly free from any prejudicial after-results. The active principle of fresh cotton root forms a most wonderful uterine tonic, and, if correctly prepared, will be found invaluable in sterility, vaginitis, whites, menstrual irregularities, green sickness, etc. I do not recommend the use of the decoction of the root by inexperienced persons. The seeds are said to possess superior anti-periodic properties.