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. Bouncing Bet.
MEDICINAL PARTS. The root and leaves.
Description. -- This is a stout perennial, herbaceous plant, with a stem from one to two feet in height. The leaves are lanceolate, smooth: flowers are many, large, flesh-colored, or pale-pink, and often double; fruit an oblong one-celled capsule.
History. -- This plant grows in roadsides and waste places in Europe and the United States. It flowers in the early part of July in Europe, but in America in the early part of August. The leaves and root are the parts used medicinally. They have a sweet and bitter taste combined, "with a subsequent persistent pungency and a benumbing sensation." When the root and leaves are subjected to the extractive powers of water they yield a residue something like soap-suds. Their active properties are brought out by either water or alcohol--by the latter particularly. The root gives a principle called Saponin, which is very valuable.
Properties and Uses. -- It is largely and valuably employed in the treatment of diseases of the liver, scrofulous, syphilitic, and cutaneous afflictions of a severe character; also catarrh, rheumatism, gonorrhoea, whites, and green sickness. Saponin can be prepared only by a competent herbal chemist. In its absence use decoctions of the leaves and roots. Dose of the decoction, from one to two fluid ounces, three times a day. I employ the saponaceous qualities of this plant, which I extract from the root by chemical processes in my laboratory, as a constituent of my "Renovating Pill." (See page 469.)