The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869
Description: Natural Order, Ericaceae; sub-order, Vaccineae. This is now classed as Gaylussacia resinosa by Gray and others, having been separated from the genus vaccinium. It is the common huckleberry or black whortleberry, so familiar in moist grounds through New England and other northern States. A small and much branched shrub, one to two feet high, rigid, slightly pubescent when young. Leaves oval, an inch long, thickly covered with shining resinous globules. Flowers in short, clustered, one-sided racemes in the axils of the branches; calyx-tube adherent to the ovary; corolla ovoid- tubular, five cleft, with an open mouth, white tinged with purple. Blooming in May and June. Fruit a bluish-black, berry-like drupe, with ten nutlets; ripening in July and early August, and much used on the table for its sweetish taste.
VACCINIUM FRONDOSUM, (Gaylussacia frondosa,) is the true whortleberry, also called blue huckleberry, dangleberry, and blue-tangle. Stem three to six feet high, branches slender and spreading. Leaves ovate-oblong, pale and smooth beneath. Flowers in slender racemes. Fruit dark blue, with a white bloom, also sweet and edible.
Properties and Uses: The berries of these, and probably of other species of the vaccinium, act moderately upon the kidneys, and have been commended in dropsy; but their influence is so mild as scarcely to deserve any further consideration than is due to other edible fruits that help to increase the flow of urine. The root, and also the bark, are mildly astringent and stimulant, and form a good gargle in sore throat. A common New England practice is to make an ounce, each, of this bark and sage leaves, into a decoction, sweeten with honey, and use as a gargle.
Medical Herbalism journal and medherb.com