This plant, which the God of nature has scattered over almost every part of this country, is one of the most valuable of the Thomsonian Materia Medica. Its qualities are a strong and hardy aromatic but pleasant smell, a warm and pungent taste. The medical principle resides in an essential oil, possessing the same smell and taste of the herb. Its medical properties are carminative, (having power to remove wind from the stomach and bowels,) stimulant, (possessing the property of exciting increased action in the system,) diaphoretic, (promoting moderate perspiration. ) It also relieves spasms, hysterics, promotes expectoration in consumptive coughs, and is a good medicine in the whooping cough. It is good also to take away marks and bruises in the face, being bruised in vinegar, and applied in fomentations.
A tea of this plant is perhaps the best drink that can be given, together with the composition powder, Cayenne, etc., to warm the stomach, and assist an emetic in its operations. The tea should be made and given warm, freely and frequently. A person upon taking a "bad cold," (by the way, he never has a good one,) by taking freely of this tea may throw it off, and of course prevent fever, it being caused by cold. This is a popular remedy all over the country for female complaints; but still few persons are aware of its extensive medicinal properties.
The best time for gathering this herb is about the month of August. It should be tied up in bundles, and hung in a warm, dry, and shady place until dry; then wrapped in paper, as the best means of excluding the air, by which, if exposed, it will lose a large part of its strength and virtue. This plant, simple as it is, will do more in the curing of the sick than all the poisonous preparations invented since the age of Paracelsus; bleeding and blistering into the bargain. No family should let the season for gathering it pass without securing a good supply.