The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869
HARDBACK, MEADOW SWEET, STEEPLE BUSH
Description: Natural Order, Rosaceae. Small shrubs, several species of which are much cultivated, and assorted into numerous varieties, as pretty ornamental plants. Stems numerous, two to three feet high, slender, purplish, and downy. Leaves opposite, ovate-lanceolate, minutely serrate, dark-green above, gray and very woolly beneath. Flowers in dense, terminal spicate racemes, calyx and corolla five-parted, corolla light-red. Pods woolly, remaining throughout the winter, and the seeds eaten by snow-birds. July. Very common in low grounds through New England, and extending southward.
Properties and Uses: The root is a tonic and astringent, of rather strong powers, of a pleasant odor and taste, and usually well received by the stomach. It is used in sub-acute and chronic diarrhea, especially that of a scrofulous character where the assimilative organs are at fault; and may be used in hemorrhages and other cases to which astringent tonics are suited. The leaves are said to be even better than the root. An ounce to a pint of boiling water makes a good infusion, of which a fluid ounce or more may be given from three to six times a day.
SPIREA OPULIFOLIA, nine bark, is a shrub from five to ten feet high, growing mostly by river banks on rocky soils. Not woolly. Branches slender, recurved, crowded toward the extremities with small white flowers in umbel-like corymbs. Leaves roundish, slightly heart- shaped, somewhat three-lobed. Pods three to five, inflated, membranous, purplish. The old bark separates in a number of thin layers. The leaves of this shrub are mildly astringent, tonic, a little demulcent, and rather soothing in character. They make a much pleasanter remedy than the root of the above species, and one that can be employed for a larger range of cases where an astringent is needed. In sub-acute dysentery and diarrhea, it is an admirable agent.
Medical Herbalism journal and medherb.com