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 root and seeds.
Description. -- Larkspur is an annual herb, with a simple slender root, a leafy stem, from a foot and a half to two feet high, with alternate spreading branches. The leaves are sessile; flowers bright blue and purple.
DELPHINUM STAPHISAGRIA, or Stavesacre, which possesses the same properties as Larkspur, but to a greater degree, is an elegant upright herb, about the same height as Larkspur. Leaves broad, palmate, and petioled. Flowers bluish-gray. Fruit a capsule.
History. -- Larkspur is a native of Europe, but has become naturalized in the United States, growing in woods and fields. Stavesacre is native to Europe, growing in waste places.
Properties and Uses. -- In medicinal doses emetic, cathartic, and narcotic. It has also vermifuge properties. The whole plant contains an acid principle which is sure death to all kinds of domestic vermin. The flowers and leaves were extensively used in the United States army during the rebellion, to kill lice, and it is pretty well authenticated that the same substance forms the basis of the many preparations offered for the destruction of all noxious insects whose room is better than their company. The flowers are emmenagogue, diuretic, and vermifuge. A tincture of the seeds, it is said, will cure asthma and dropsy. Also a specific for cholera morbus.
Dose. -- Two ounces of the seed added to one quart of diluted alcohol makes the tincture, of which ten drops may be given three times a day. This, however, should be used only in extreme cases.