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RHUS GLABRUM. UPLAND SUMACH.
Class V. Pentandria. Order III. Trigynia.
Gen. Char. Calyx, five-parted. Corolla-petals, five. Berry, one seeded.
Spe. Char. Leaves, pinnate, quite entire. Petioles, membranaceous, jointed.
This specimen of Sumach is a small tree usually rising from six to twelve feet in height; the stem is divided into many straggling branches, which are bent and covered with a smooth light grey, or somewhat reddish bark; the leaves are pinnated, alternate, and consist of several pair of pinnae, which are ovate-lance-shaped, obtusely serrated, smooth above, hairy beneath, and stand upon short footstalks; the flowers are numerous, small, white, and placed in large branched spikes; the calyx is five-toothed, erect, persistent, and placed below the germen; the corolla consists of five petals, which are ovate, white, and mostly erect; the filaments are five, and very short; the anthers are small; the germen is roundish, and about the length of the corolla; the style is scarcely visible; the stigmas are three, and somewhat cordate; the fruit is a roundish one-celled red berry, and contains one solitary round hard seed. It produces its flowers in June and July.
This species of Sumach is found in almost all parts of the United States, growing in old neglected fields, along fences, and on the borders of woods. It is described by various authors as being a native of the South of Europe, where it was considerably cultivated in their extensive gardens previous to the year 1648, but is still a scarce plant in that country.
The genus to which this species belongs, comprehends several species which are known to be extremely poisonous, especially the Toxicodendron, Radicans, and Vernix; but the Glabrum is perfectly innocent, and its berries are in most countries used for culinary purposes.
Its medicinal qualities are chiefly to be ascribed to its stypticity or astringency; a property which it possesses in a sufficient degree to render it useful in dyeing, and also in tanning of leather, for which it was used in the time of Dioscorides.
The berries, which are red and of a round compressed figure, contain a pulpy matter, in which is lodged a brown hard oval seed, manifesting a considerable degree of astringency. The pulp, even when dry, is gratefully acid, and has been discovered to contain an essential salt, similar to that of wood-sorrel, or perhaps more nearly allied to chrystals of tartar.
Medical Properties and Uses. The berries of the Sumach are astringent and refrigerant: a tincture or an infusion from them is highly useful in febrile complaints, and forms a pleasant gargle for inflammation and ulceration of the throat. It is also recommended as a specific for the sore mouth attending inordinate mercurial salivation.
Both the leaves and berries are diuretic, but the latter is the most efficient. They may be used in connection with other medicines, for all the purposes of an astringent." The bark of the root, says Dr. Smith, is considered a valuable antiseptic: in the form of a poultice for old ulcers, it is scarcely equalled by any other remedy. Taken internally, it operates like a purgative. The excrescences which form upon the leaves of this shrub, are nearly equal in astringency to galls; and, if finely powdered, and made into ointment with fresh lard, afferd a soothing application for piles. Senticosa.
RUBUS STRIGOSUS. RED RASPBERRY,
Class XII. Icosandria. Order V. Polygnia.
Gen. Char. Calyx, five-cleft, inferior. Petals, five. Fruit, composed of many one-seeded juicy acines, on a dry receptacle.
Spe. Char. Leaves, unarmed, rigidly hisped. Leajkts, three or pinnate-quinate, oval, at the base obtuse, acumate, marked with lines, and white downy beneath. Peduncles and Calyx, hisped.
The stem of this species of raspberry, is upright, branching, of a pale red color, thickly covered with stiff bristles, and rises from three to five feet in height; the leaves stand in one or two pairs, supported on long slender hairy footstalks, with an odd one at the end: they are wrinkled edged with acute teeth, marked with parallel lines on the upper surface, of a silvery whiteness beneath, and terminated by long slender points; the Jloicers are white and disposed in little nodding clusters, succeeded by a profusion of deep scarlet red berries. It flowers in June and sometimes again in September, producing a second crop of fruit, when the season permits.
The raspberry is found throughout nearly all the northern and southern States, growing; in dry waste lands, and on stoney hills. It is very abundant in the New England States, growing on the mountain L.ides and among the rocks.
Medical properties and Uses. The leaves of this plant have of late become quite fashionable as a substitute for black tea; many villages in some sections of the northern States use, and prefer the raspberry leaves to the best of black tea, which is not easily distinguished apart. The raspberry is certainly the most wholsome, and with the addition of a little sugar and milk, forms a very pleasant beverage. The fruit is considered cooling, gently laxative, and antiseptic, and can be used with great advantage to correct any putrid tendency in the stomach or bowels, especially during the hot weather. Dr. Mattson, Author of the "American Vegetable Practice," appears to have made himself more fully acquainted with this species of raspberry thaw most botanists; he describes the leaves as being "moderately astringent, with a slightly bitter, and very agreeable aromatic taste." A decoction made from the leaves and small branches he highly recommends as an "excellent remedy in the bowel complaints of children; and if used in season, will arrest the disease and affect a cure. It should be given in small draughts, and administered also by way of injection. The addition of a little ulmusfulva will render it still more efficacious." The tea is very valuable as a soothing and cleansing wash for ulcers, scalds, burns, and all excoriated surfaces, which are very sore or irritable.
From my own experience in the the use of the raspberry for several years past, I must acknowledge that I have found it one of the most valuable medicines in use. 1 have administered it in hundreds of cases, and never found any deleterious or bad effects from it, taken in any quantity or in any stage of disease. A strong and pleasant tea made from the leaves and given to children afflicted with diarrehce (or summer complaint so called), I have found it to give more speedy and permanent relief than any other article with which I am acquainted. The addition of a little bark of the myrica cerifera will render it still more effectual A syrup is prepared from the berries, called the syrup of raspberries. Also a cordial which is a most delicious drink. Various other preparations are prepared from the fruit, which renders it not only useful as a medicine; but extremely delicious when made into preserves.