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. Privy, Prim, etc.
MEDICINAL PART. The leaves.
Description. -- This is a smooth shrub, growing five or six feet high. The leaves are dark-green, one or two inches in length, about half as wide, entire, smooth, lanceolate, and on short petioles. The flowers wide, entire, smooth, lanceolate, and on short petioles. The flowers are small, white, and numerous, and fruit a spherical black berry. In England the Privet is carried up with many slender branches to a reasonable height and breadth, to cover arbors, bowers, and banqueting houses, and brought or wrought into many fantastic forms, as birds, men, horses.
History. -- It is supposed to have been introduced into America from England, but it is indigenous to Missouri, and found growing in wild woods and thickets from New England to Virginia and Ohio. It is also cultivated in American gardens. The leaves are used for medicinal purposes. They have but little odor, and an agreeable bitterish and astringent taste. They yield their virtues to water or alcohol. The berries are reputed cathartic, and the bark is said to be as effectual as the leaves, as it contains sugar, mannite, starch, bitter resin, bitter extractive, albumen, salts, and a peculiar substance called Ligustrin.
Properties and Uses. -- The leaves are astringent: A decoction of them is valuable in chronic bowel complaints; ulcerations of stomach and bowels, or as a gargle for ulcers of mouth and throat. It is also good as an injection for ulcerated ears with offensive discharges, leucorrhoea, etc. This ingredient I use in a wash for leucorrhoea, which never fails to cure.
Dose. -- Of the powdered leaves thirty to sixty grains, three times a day; of the decoction two to four teacupfuls.