This section is from the book "Botanic Drugs Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics", by Thomas S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: Botanic Drugs, Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Dwarf Elder, Aralia hispida. The bark of the root is used. Do not confound with Sambucus Canadensis, the common elder. The Araliaceae in general possess aromatic and stimulant properties and are mildly diuretic, the Aralia hispida being the more active.
The decoction is irritating, owing to emetic and hydragogue principles in the bark being soluble in water; but the fl. made with a large proportion of alcohol largely avoids these irritating principles and most of the unpleasant odor of the plant.
Aralia is one of the minor diuretics especially adapted to edema from inactive kidneys, and it does not irritate in 5- to 10-minim doses fl. In large doses - one drachm or over - it is cathartic and actively diuretic, and there are cases of dropsy in which it is most serviceable. It is listed in the National Formulary.