Of the different Erigerons, the U. S. Pharmacopoeia recognizes two by the above title; namely, E. Philadelphicum, or Philadelphia fleabane, and E. heterophyllum, or various-leaved fleabane. E. Canadense, or Canada fleabane, is also recognized, but by its full botanical name. The whole herb is employed in each instance. The plants are annual, biennial, or perennial, herbaceous, and abundant in various parts of the United States.


Two of the species, E. Philadelphicum and E. heterophyllum, may be considered identical in their properties, and are used in common. in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, they have long been known under the erroneous name of scabious, which properly belongs to a European genus of plants, quite distinct in their character. The herb should be gathered while in flower. it has a feeble aromatic odour and bitterish taste, and imparts its virtues to water. E. Canadense or Canada fleabane should also be collected when in flower. it has stronger sensible properties than the preceding species; having a decided aromatic odour, and a bitterish, acrid, somewhat astringent taste. All of them contain volatile oil, which is most abundant in the Canada fleabane.

Medical Effects and Uses

All the Erigerons when given freely in infusion, and taken cold, possess diuretic properties; and the two species first mentioned above, the Philadelphia and various-leaved fleabanes, have had much testimony in their favour, as mild remedies and adjuvants, in dropsical and nephritic diseases. The late Professor Wistar, of the University of Pennsylvania, used to employ them in dropsy, and found advantage from their use in hydrothorax complicated with gout. They were a favourite remedy also with the late Dr. Joseph Parrish in similar affections. Drs. Physick and Wm. P. d Barton employed them advantageously in dysury, attending nephritic disease. Dr. Eberle says of E. heterophyllum, in his work on Materia Medica and Therapeutics (4th ed., II. 320), that he has been much in the habit of prescribing it in gravelly and hydropic diseases, has found it seldom to fail in producing "pretty copious diuresis," and has derived such advantages from it as to give him "a very high opinion of its remedial powers." All agree that these herbs lie well upon the stomach, and are sometimes received kindly, when other more efficient diuretics are rejected. They are most conveniently administered in infusion, which may be prepared in the proportion of an ounce to the pint of boiling water, and given' to the amount of a pint daily.

In relation to E. Canadense, it appears, according to the statements of Dr. De Puy, to unite with its diuretic properties those also of a tonic and astringent; as he found it useful in dropsy and diarrhoea. The dose is from thirty grains to a drachm of the powder, two to four fluidounces of an infusion prepared as that of the other species, and five to ten grains of an aqueous extract.

The Oil of Canada Fleabane (Oleum Erigerontis Canadensis, U. S.) has been introduced among the officinal preparations in the present U. S. Pharmacopoeia. it is prepared by distillation from the herb. Attention was attracted to it by Professor Procter in the American Journal of Pharmacy (xxvi. 502), where it is stated that it was introduced into use by the " Eclectic Physicians," and had been found beneficial in diarrhoea, and various hemorrhages. in the Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (N. S., II. 330) is a communication from Dr. Ellwood Wilson, in which it is stated that the oil of E. Philadelphicum had been used by Dr. Bournonville and himself in monorrhagia; and several cases are given, in which it appears to have had an excellent effect. The amount of oil yielded by E. Philadelphicum is extremely small; and there can be little doubt that it was the oil of E. Canadense that was employed by these practitioners. it appears to resemble the oil of turpentine as a haemostatic remedy. it has been found useful also, by Dr. J. W. Moorman, of Kentucky, in diarrhoea and dysentery; in both of which the oil of turpentine often produces the happiest effects. The dose is from five to ten drops every hour or two.