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



Description: Natural Order, Leguminosae. Genus CERCIS:  The red-bud tree is quite common on hill-sides throughout the Middle and Western States; and is well known by its peculiarity of thickly covering the branches with small pink-red flowers before the leaves appear in Spring. Calyx five-toothed. Corolla scarcely papilionaceous, the petals being distinct; wing and keel petals long. Stamens ten, distinct. Fruit a compressed legume several inches long. Leaves broadly ovate-cordate, acuminate. Height twenty to thirty feet. Flowers appearing in early May, in small clusters along the branches, and giving the tree the appearance of being covered with small red leaves. The twigs will dye wool a nankeen color; and the wood is finely veined with black and green, and receives a good polish.

Properties and Uses: The leaves of this tree possess stimulating and astringing properties, and give promise of making a good tonic alterant. Several practitioners have told me they use it to advantage in low scrofulous conditions, and in secondary syphilis. It slightly binds the bowels; but may be used to advantage in company with menispermum and euonymus. Dr. Bratcher, of Eastern Kentucky, informs me that he makes external use of them in white swelling, especially where the vital action is quite indolent; and that they deserve much esteem in such cases. The article evidently deserves attention.

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