Bark of the Root.
(Apocynum androsaemifolium--Dogbane, Canadian or Indian Hemp
Bitter root is found in all parts of the United States where the soil is light and sandy. The root is perennial, from a third to half an inch in diameter, very long and intensely bitter. It grows from two to three feet high, with bell-shaped white flowers.
Dr. Thomson says in one of the earlier editions of his work, "Bitter root is one of the best correctors of the bile with which I am acquainted, and is an excellent medicine to remove costiveness, as it will cause the bowels to move in a natural manner. A strong decoction of the root, made by steeping it in hot -water, will operate as a cathartic if taken freely, and sometimes as an emetic, and is almost sure to throw off a fever in its first stages."
It is a tonic, anti-spasmodic, secernent, and stimulant. Dr. Curtis says he has found it an excellent article in all cases of torpidity of the lower viscera, particularly of the liver and kidneys. This article alone has cured cases of dropsy that had baffled all the skill of the regular practice. It will be found an important auxiliary to the general treatment in removing obstructions peculiar to females