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. Wild Jalap, Man-in-the-Earth, Man-in-the-Ground, Wild Potato.
MEDICINAL PART. The root.
Description. -- This has a perennial, very large tapering root, from which arises several long, round, slender, purplish stems, from four to eight feet high. The leaves are cordate at base, alternate, and acuminate, and about two or three inches long. Flowers large and white, opening in the forenoon; fruit an oblong, two-celled capsule.
History. -- Mechameck belongs to the United States, and grows in light, sandy soils. It flowers from June to August, but is rarely found in northern latitudes. The root is the officinal part. Its best solvent is alcohol or spirits. Water will extract its active properties.
Properties and Uses. -- It is a cathartic if powdered and taken in doses of from forty to sixty grains. The infusion, taken in wineglassful doses every hour, is useful in dropsy, strangury, and calculous affections. It seems to exert an influence over the lungs, liver, and kidneys, without excessive diuresis or catharsis. The milky juice of the root is said to be a protection against the bite of the rattlesnake.