This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Ol. rorifmar. essent. Ph. Lond. & Ed.
Sp. rorismar, † Ph. Ed,
‡ Ph. Lond.
Rubia Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. Rubia tinc-forum sativa C. B. Radix rubra, & erythroda-num quibufdam. Rubia tinctorum Linn. Madder: a rough procumbent plant, with square jointed stalks, and five or six oblong pointed leaves set in form of a star at every joint: on the tops come forth greenish yellow monopeta-lous flowers, deeply divided into four, five, or six segments, followed by two black berries: the root is long, slender, juicy, of a red colour both externally and internally; with a whitish woody pith in the middle. It is perennial, and cultivated in different parts of Europe (in some of which it is said to be indigenous) for the use of the dyers: the roots have been brought to us chiefly from Zealand; but those which have for some years past been raised in England, appear fuperiour to the foreign, both as a colouring and a medicinal drug.
The roots of madder have a bitterish, some-what austere taste, and a slight smell, not of the agreeable kind. They impart to water a dark red tincture, to rectified spirit and distilled oils a bright red: both the watery and spirituous tinctures taste strongly of the madder. The root taken internally tinges the urine and milk red; and in the Philosophical Transactions, and the Memoirs of the French Academy of Sciences, there are accounts of its producing a like effect upon the bones of animals with whose food it had been mixed; all the bones, particularly the more solid ones, were changed both externally and internally to a deep red, though neither the fleshy nor the cartilaginous parts suffered any alteration. The bones, so tinged, gave out nothing of their colour either to water or spirit of wine.
This root appears therefore to be possessed of great subtility of parts, which may possibly render its medical virtues more considerable than they are now in general supposed to be. It has been chiefly recommended as a resolvent and aperient, in obstructions of the viscera, particularly of the urinary organs, in coagulations of blood from falls or bruises, in jaundices, and in beginning dropsies. * It has lately come into reputation as an emmenagogue, and is said to be a very efficacious medicine of this class (a). From a scruple to half a dram of the powder, or two ounces of the decoction, may be given three or four times a day in this intention.