The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869
HACKMATACK, TAMARAC, AMERICAN BLACK LARCH
Description: Natural Order, Coniferae. The Pinus pendula of Aitoun, and Abies Americana of several authors. This is a beautiful tree, tall, straight, and slender, with a heavy and coarse- grained wood; common in moist grounds through New England, New York, the Canadas, and westward. Branches slender and horizontalnot drooping, as in European larch. Leaves apparently evergreen, as in the genus abies, but deciduous, soft, half to three-quarters of an inch long, like threads; those which appear first are scattered, but the secondary ones are numerous in close fascicles, as in the pines, and developing in early Spring from lateral scaly buds. Flowers in lateral and scattered catkins; cones ovoid, erect, half an inch long, bracts and scales persistent, fertile ones crimson or red in flower.
Properties and Uses: The bark is a mild and pleasant relaxant, of moderately stimulating properties. It is among the gentle and agreeable alterants, influencing the skin, kidneys, liver, and bowels, and leaving behind a moderate tonic impression. It has been used in cutaneous diseases and obstructions; and though not sufficiently powerful to use in degenerate cases, is a good associate with other and stronger articles, as stillingia or fraxinus. A compound embracing it is mentioned under dicentra. A once famous prescription called Dr. Bones Bitters, contained this bark with such agents as prickly ash, aloes, and tansy, on Holland gin; and enjoyed a wide reputation as a stimulating alterant and cholagogue. Apocynum might profitably replace the aloes; and if horseradish were added, the compound would meet some cases of dropsy.
Medical Herbalism journal and medherb.com