The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869
ALUM ROOT, AMERICAN SANICLE
Description: Natural Order, Saxifragaceae. A genus of plants with perennial roots, and herbaceous annual stems. The leaves spring directly from the root, on very long and downy petioles with dilated margins; roundish, five inches by three, usually margined into seven short lobes with short teeth. Flowers small, on scapes two to three feet high, which rise directly from the root, and are glandular and somewhat hairy; in narrow and terminal panicles; calyx small, five-cleft, bell-shaped, cohering at the base with the ovary; corolla very small, of five purplish petals inserted on the margins of the calyx; stamens twice the length of the petals, with yellow filaments and globular red anthers. June. This plant is common in rocky woodland throughout the United States. It has a knotty and very hard root stock.
Properties and Uses: This root is intensely astringent, with a modicum of stimulating properties. It is too powerfully drying to be suitable for internal use, except in such passive conditions of the bowels as are connected with hemorrhage and coliquative diarrhea suddenly following typhus; when it may be combined with a stimulant and used by injection. Its powder is employed locally as a styptic in wounds, piles, and other hemorrhages from small vessels. It is a reliable article in such cases; and has also been applied in foul and indolent ulcers, in company with Xanthoxylum or other stimulant. Combined with hydrastis in excess, it will make a good injection for depressed and offensive leucorrheal discharges and excoriated cervix uteri of the malignant grade.
The dose of this article is from three to five grains, every second hour. It is usually given by infusion, or boiled in milk with geum virginianum and a demulcent. Geranium is also called alum root.
Medical Herbalism journal and medherb.com