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



Description:  Natural Order, Oleaceae. Allied to the white ash, the privet, and the olive. Genus CHIONANTHUS:  Small trees with opposite leaves, flattened branches, and flowers in terminal and axillary racemes. Calyx short, four-parted; corolla tube very short, limb in four long and linear segments; stamens two, very short, inserted on the tube. Fruit a fleshy drupe, with a bony and one-seeded nucleus. C. VIRGINICA:  Leaves oval and oblong-lanceolate, of various outlines on the same tree, three to six inches long, leathery, smooth. Flowers on long peduncles, with a smooth calyx; petals an inch long, snow-white; panicles drooping and delicate, the long fringe of the petals giving the clusters a very graceful appearance. Common through the woods of the Southern States, and making a very ornamental tree of moderate size.

Properties and Uses: The bark of the root of this tree is a rather bitter tonic, with an excess of relaxing properties, but stimulating qualities pretty well marked. It promotes all the secretions slowly, but especially those of the liver, gall-ducts, and kidneys. It has been much used as a remedy among the negroes in agues, and lingering intermit tents generally; its merits probably depending upon its tonic and slow hepatic properties, rather than upon any antiperiodic action. An ounce of the dried bark is made into decoction with a quart of water, and boiled down to a pint; and of this two fluid ounces may be given three times a day. A pint of thirty per cent alcohol will form a good tincture with two ounces of bark; and of this two fluid drachms may be given three times a day. It is applied to wounds and scrofulous ulcers, and is said greatly to diminish suppuration and promote healing.

 Medical Herbalism journal and