This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Helleboraster Pharm. Lond. Helle-borus niger faetidus C. B. Helleborus foetidus Linn. Bears foot or Setterwort: This species of hellebore is distinguished by a leaf resembling in shape a bird's foot, trilobate, with the lateral lobe, divided into four parts at the stalk, and the middle one simple. The leaf is firm, shining, serrated all round, and slender. The item is leafy, supporting many flowers, which are green, sometimes tinged with purple at the edges, and nodding. It is a native of England, and the southern countries of Europe. This plant has a strong ungrateful smell, and a very pungent bitterish taste. It is a drastic purgative and emetic, and has long been in use among the common people as a vermifuge, for which purpose either a decoction of the leaves, or the powder of the dried leaves, has been given; but the effects are sometimes so violent as to prove very alarming, and even fatal, especially to young children. It was recommended to the regular practitioner by Dr. Bissety in his Essay on the Medical Constitution of Great Britain, as one of the most powerful medicines for expelling round worms with which he was acquainted. The dose usually admini-stered is a dram of the fresh leaves in infusion, or fifteen grains of the dried leaves in powder for a child of five or six years old, to be continued for two or three successive mornings. The full dose occasions great sickness and generally proves emetic, and often purges a little. An over dose causes great anxiety about the prse-cordia, which however goes off as soon as the patient vomits. Dr. Biffet latterly used the bears foot only in form of a syrup, made by moisten-ing the herb with vinegar, expressing the juice, and mixing it with coarse sugar. In this form it occasioned less sickness and vomiting, and proved so little laxative, that he joined to it an equal quantity of tincture of rhubarb.