This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics: An Introduction to the National Treatment of Disease", by John Mitchell Bruce. Also available from Amazon: The pharmacology and therapeutics of the materia medica.
Illicium Anisatum - Star Anise. - The oil distilled in China from the fruit forms part of the Oil of Aniseed of the Pharmacopoeia. See Oleum Anisi. N.O. Umbelliferoe.
Actaea Racemosa. Cimicifuga. (Not Officinal.) - The rhizome and rootlets of Cimicifuga racemosa (Actaea racemosa) Black Snake-root or Black Cohosh. From the United States.
Characters. - Knotted heads, with numerous fine brittle rootlets; odour faint; taste somewhat bitter, astringent, and acrid, not unlike opium.
Composition. - Cimicifuga contains a volatile oil, two resins, tannin. The active principle is still uncertain.
Dose. - 20 to 30 gr..
In moderate doses black snake-root is bitter; in larger doses it slows the heart and raises the blood pressure like digitalis; finally it is excreted in the urine, and increases the activity of the skin, kidneys, and generative organs.
Cimicifuga is used as a stomachic; in diseases of the heart; and in rheumatism, bronchitis, uterine disorders and spermatorrhoea, in which its remote stimulant action is occasionally valuable. It has been much lauded in chorea.