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



Description:  Natural Order, Polygonaceae.  This is a well-known but humble plant, often growing in door-yards upon sandy soils, where its procumbent stems form soft and even masses of pale green.  Stems slender, light purplish-red, with several slender branches, all procumbent and spreading.  Leaves alternate, small, oblong lanceolate, sessile, sheathed at the joints. Flowers axillary, two or three together, greenish-white tinged with pale purplish-red, small, almost sessile; calyx petaloid and five-parted; stamens eight or nine; styles three.  Blooming all the season.

Properties and Uses: This insignificant herb, a member of the smartweed Family, is usually overlooked by physicians, but possesses qualities deserving of attention.  It is a mild and quite diffusive relaxant and stimulant, antispasmodic in action, and of decided usefulness in flatulent colic and painful menstruation. A warm infusion, of an ounce to a pint, may be used freely; and its efficacy is usually increased by the addition of a little ginger.  It acts rather efficiently upon the kidneys, relieving sudden suppression, with aching through the back and bladder; and the cold infusion not unfrequently relieves tickling coughs.

 Medical Herbalism journal and