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 PART. The leaves.
Description. -- This is a tall shrub, presenting a singular appearance from its pointed stem and branches. The leaves are harsh, short-stalked, oblong-lanceolate, and acuminate. Flowers hermaphrodite.
History. -- This plant grows at Huanaco and elsewhere in Peru. The dried leaves are the parts used, and have a strong fragrant odor, and a warm, aromatic taste. They contain a dark-green resin, chlorophyll, brown and yellow coloring matter, gum, nitrate of potassa, maticine, a volatile oil, salts, and lignin. The plant has long been used by the Indians of Peru in venereal diseases, but mostly for diseases of the mucous membranes, over which it has a complete mastery. Having been employed as a mechanical agent to stanch blood by a soldier, it has received the name of Soldiers' Herb.
Properties and Uses. -- Matico is an aromatic stimulant. It is extremely useful to arrest discharges from mucous surfaces, leucorrhoea, gonorrhoea, and catarrh of the bladder. As a topical agent for stanching blood it is excellent, and is used by surgeons to arrest venous hemorrhage. For the above affections Matico serves its office well, but its greatest use and efficacy is exhibited in nasal catarrh. It is an absolute specific for this disease. I have long employed it -- even before it was admitted in the various pharmacopoeias -- in my special treatment for catarrh, and I have yet to find a case in which it failed. I use it both internally and topically, and combine it with such other remedial agents as are suggested by the character of each individual case. Catarrh (see page 262) has long been regarded by the profession as incurable, but in this remedy the incontrovertible sphorism that "every disease has its specific" is still further exemplified, and human progress will ere long complete the analogy, if they but investigate the majestic tree, the lowly shrub, or creeping herb.