This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Gratiola Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. Gra-tiola centaurioides C. B. Gratia dei, Gratiola officinalis Linn. Hedge hyssop: a low plant, with oblong sinely serrated leaves set in pairs on the stalks without pedicles: in their bosoms come forth solitary, whitish, tubulous, irregular flowers, followed by roundish pointed capsules full of small seeds: the root is slender, whitish, jointed, surrounded with fibres. It is perennial, a native of the southern parts of Europe, and raised in some of our gardens.
The leaves of gratiola have a nauseous bitter taste, and no remarkable smell. They are said to to be a strong hydragogue purgative; to operate upwards as well as downwards; and in weak constitutions, to occasion oftentimes violent gripes or superpurgations. Geoffroy observes, that the dose is an infusion of half a handful of the fresfh, or a dram of the dry herb, in wine or water; that a flight decoction of it in milk operates far more mildly; and that an extract made with wine may be given to half a dram or two scruples. The roots are less ungrateful in taste, and less violent in operation, than the leaves: given in substance, from a scruple to a dram, they are said to vomit and purge, without much inconvenience: in some parts of Germany, they are reported (a) to be commonly employed in dysenteries, as ipecacoanha among us.
† Ph. Lond.
* In a dissertation on the medical virtues of this plant, published at Vienna by a Polish physician, Jac. Koftrzewfki, several cases are related of its efficacy in maniacal disorders; and also in the venereal disease, accompanied with ulcerations, in tumours, and fluor albus. In mania, the powder of the root to the quantity of half a dram was given, which constantly excited vomiting, purging, and a copious flow of urine. In the other cases, pills were exhi-ted, composed of an extract: of gratiola, with sugar and absorbent and aromatic powders. This preparation excited a nausea, but did not vomit. In one venereal case a salivation was induced by its ufe. On the whole, the author recommends the gratiola as a most effectual remedy in all disorders proceeding from a su-perabundance of serum.
(a) Kramer, Tentamen botanicum emendat. & auct. In-tradufl. p. 18.