The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869    



Description:  Natural Order, Zingiberaceae. This plant is a native of Malabar. Root a horizontal rhizoma, (properly a subterranean stem,) bearing a number of leaf-stalks from six to twelve feet high; leaves alternate, sheating, one to two feet long, elliptical. Flowers greenish- white, labiate-funnel shaped, on procumbent racemes. Fruit a three-sided, three-celled, ovate capsule, yellowish-white, from one-fourth to three-fourths of an inch long.  The capsules, with their seeds, are the medicinal part; though the virtue really lies in the seeds. These are fragrant, highly aromatic, and agreeably pungent. They contain much volatile oil, and some fixed oil.

Properties and Uses:  The seeds are warming, aromatic, and carminative. Their chief employment is as. an adjunct to cordial and purgative medicines, to relieve flatus, and prevent griping.  They are the most agreeable and positive of the stimulating aromatics. A dose may range from two to five grains.

 Medical Herbalism journal and