This section is from the book "A Text Book Of Materia Medica, Being An Account Of The More Important Crude Drugs Of Vegetable And Animal Origin", by Henry G. Greenish. Also available from Amazon: A Text Book of Materia Medica : Being an Account of the More Important Crude Drugs of Vegetable and Animal Origin.
Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum). The rhizome and roots of Caulophyllum thalictroides (Linne), Michaux (N.O. Berberideoe), an herbaceous plant of the United States. Horizontal, about 10 cm. long and 6 to 12 m. thick, irregular, somewhat tortuous and branched, greyish brown; on the upper surface, short knotty branches and cup-shaped depressions; on the under surface, numerous roots about 10 cm. long and 6 to 10 mm. thick. Section whitish with numerous narrow, woody wedges surrounding a large, starchy pith. Taste sweetish, somewhat acrid. Contains an alkaloid, methylcytisine (C12H16ON2 formerly designated caulophylline), similar in action to cytisine, but of only one-tenth the toxicity, two saponins (caulosaponin and caulophyllosaponin), resin, phyto-sterol, and fat (Power and Sal way, 1913). Used as a diuretic, emmenagogue, and vermifuge.
The rhizome and roots of Veronica virginica, Linne (Leptandra virginica, Nuttall, N.O. Scrophularineoe), a tall perennial herb abundant in eastern and central North America. Rhizome horizontal or oblique, dark greyish-brown, hard and woody, 10 to 15 cm. long and about 5 mm. thick; terminated by the remains of the aerial stem and bearing such remains at distant intervals; on the upper surface small, brown cataphyllary leaves. Roots, numerous, wiry. Transverse section of the rhizome exhibits a narrow, dark cortex, a paler ring of wood of about equal thickness and a large dark pith; sometimes hollow in the centre; no odour; taste, unpleasantly bitter and slightly acrid, Contains 3.4-dimethoxycinnamic acid, mannitol, glucose, verosterol, cinnamic and p-methoxycinnamic acids in the form of esters. 'Leptandrin' is an indefinite mixture obtained by pouring a concentrated tincture with water, washing and drying. Used as a cholagogue. The fresh rhizome is violently cathartic and emetic, but these properties disappear on drying and keeping.