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. Lignum Vitae.
MEDICINAL PARTS. The wood and resin.
Description. -- This is a tree of slow growth, attaining a height of from thirty to forty feet; stem commonly crooked; bark furrowed; wood very hard, heavy, the fibres crossing each other diagonally. Leaves bijugate; leaflets obovate or oval, obtuse, and evergreen. Flowers light blue, and the fruit an obcordate capsule.
History. -- This tree is an inhabitant of the West Indian Islands, and on the neighboring part of the continent. The wood is used by turners for making block-sheaves, pestles, etc., and is very hard and durable. Both the wood and resin are used in medicine. Alcohol is the best solvent.
Properties and Uses. -- The wood or resin, taken internally, commonly excites a warmth in the stomach, a dryness of mouth, or thirst. It is an acrid stimulant, and increases the heat of the body and accelerates the circulation. If the body be kept warm while using the decoction, it is diaphoretic; if cool, it is diuretic.
It is used in chronic rheumatism, cutaneous diseases, scrofula, and syphilitic diseases.
Dose. -- Decoction of the wood, two to four ounces; of powdered resin, five to twenty grains; tincture, one to four fluid drachms.