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



Description: Natural Order,  Umbelliferae.   This  pretty member of the parsnip tribe has a thick perennial root, and an annual stem from two to three feet high.  Leaves large, compound, the leaflets pinnatifid, short-pointed, cut-toothed, slightly pubescent when young, light yellowish- green, lower ones on long petioles, upper ones sessile.  Flowers in small axillary and terminal umbels, each four to seven-flowered; calyx teeth obsolete; corolla of fine small, oblong, white petals; styles long and slender.   “Fruit about an inch long, very narrow, tapering downward into a stalk-like base, contracted at the sides, crowned with the styles; the carpels with sharp upwardly-bristly ribs.” (Gray.)  May and June.  Found in rich woods northward.  A small species has downy-hairy leaves and shorter styles.

Properties and Uses:  This root is of a sweetish taste, and a flavor somewhat like anise, easily impaired by heat.  It is a mild stimulant and relaxant, of the nervine and antispasmodic  order, promoting mucous flow, and leaving a gentle tonic impression.  The chief use made of it is in feeble coughs, for which it may be compounded with such agents as aralia and prunus.  It is gently warming to the stomach, and may be used in mild dyspepsia and in flatulent colic.   Few practitioners use it,  and  these  commonly  render  it  worthless  by treating it with hot water; but if treated with thirty percent alcohol, and the tincture added to other preparations, it will be found an excellent adjuvant as well as a useful component in the above maladies.  Dose of this tincture, from half a drachm to two fluid drachms.

 Medical Herbalism journal and