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.
The vagina is that canal extending from its origin in the vulva obliquely through the cavity of the pelvis to the uterus. Its usual length is about four or five inches and about three in circumference, though in a few females it may exceed that length, while in others it may be but a few inches long. It is shorter and more capacious in those who have borne children. It is well supplied with blood-vessels, and its mucous membrane is of a pink color, so arranged in various folds as to allow great extension. Its orifice is surrounded by a collection of muscular fibres, called the sphincter vaginae. It is not much under the control of the will, however, as is shown by the inability to retain injections.
The uterus, or womb, is placed at the upper part of the vagina, and hangs in the centre of the pelvis, behind the bladder and before the rectum. In shape it resembles the pear, rounder posteriorly than anteriorly, and is about two and a half to three inches long, two inches wide, and very nearly an inch thick. Its upper part is called the fundus, the inferior cylindrical portion the cervix or neck, and the intervening portion the body. It is held in place by the broad and lateral ligaments. Its cavity is triangular, the base being directed upwards, and the superior angles corresponding to the points of entrance of the Fallopian tubes; in size it is about equal to a split almond, and the interior walls are nearly always in contact. Its inferior angle communicates with the vagina through the canal of the neck, which is barrel-shaped, and from half to three-quarters of an inch long. The contraction at the upper extremity of the canal is called the internal mouth or os uteri, whilst that of the lower extremity is called the os uteri or os tincae, the latter name from its supposed resemblance to the mouth of a tench. In shape the os varies, in some being transverse, in others circular or ragged, the latter especially in women who have borne children. The uterine cavity lodges the faetus from the commencement of conception until its birth.
The Fallopian tubes are cylindrical canals about four inches long, arising from the superior angle of the uterus. Externally they are equally thick throughout, except at their terminal extremity, where they expand into a trumpet-shaped enlargement, called fimbria or morsus diaboli, by which the ovaries are grasped. They are the ducts for the passage of the ovules from the ovaries of the uterus. The ovaries are the analogues of the male testes. They are situated on each side of the uterus; three or four inches away from it. They are oval in shape, and in removing the outer coats, the proper ovarian tissue appears, called the stroma. The stroma is studded with numerous little bodies called Graafian vesicles. These vary in size, the largest being found near the surface of the ovary, and are found early in life, but are more developed about the period of puberty. These vesicles have two coats, the tunic of the ovisac, and the ovisac. Within the cavity formed by these membranes is an albuminous fluid, in which is found floating the ovum or egg, which is exceedingly small, but which if impregnated becomes the faetus. The human egg in all its details resembles the egg of the chick. It contains a yolk, in the centre of which is a little vesicle called the germinal vesicle, and on the walls of the germinal vesicle is seen its nucleus, named the marula germinativa, or germinal spot. As each Graafian vesicle rises to the surface of the ovary it bursts, and allows the contained ovum to escape, which is seized by the fimbriae of the Fallopian tube, and transmitted to the womb. The scar left on the ovary after the discharge of the ovum is called the corpus luteum or yellow body. This function in the female is named ovulation.
There is no correspondenc between the number of yellow bodies found in the ovaries of a woman and the number of children she may have borne, as the ova are constantly discharged, irrespective of fecundation, and hence the corpus luteum is no evidence of previously existing pregnancy.