Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

A Modern Herbal, Vol. II

A Modern Herbal, Vol. II

by Margaret Grieve

See All Formats & Editions

"There is not one page of this enchanting book which does not contain something to interest the common reader as well as the serious student. Regarded simply as a history of flowers, it adds to the joys of the country." — B. E. Todd, Spectator
If you want to know how pleurisy root, lungwort, and abscess root got their names, how poison ivy used to


"There is not one page of this enchanting book which does not contain something to interest the common reader as well as the serious student. Regarded simply as a history of flowers, it adds to the joys of the country." — B. E. Todd, Spectator
If you want to know how pleurisy root, lungwort, and abscess root got their names, how poison ivy used to treat rheumatism, or how garlic guarded against the Bubonic Plague, consult A Modern Herbal. This 20th-century version of the medieval Herbal is as rich in scientific fact and folklore as its predecessors and is equally encyclopedic in coverage. From aconite to zedoary, not an herb, grass, fungus, shrub or tree is overlooked; and strange and wonderful discoveries about even the most common of plants await the reader.
Traditionally, an herbal combined the folk beliefs and tales about plants, the medicinal properties (and parts used) of the herbs, and their botanical classification. But Mrs. Grieve has extended and enlarged the tradition; her coverage of asafetida, bearberry, broom, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, dock, elecampane, almond, eyebright, fenugreek, moss, fern, figwort, gentian, Hart's tongue, indigo, acacia, jaborandi, kava kava, lavender, pimpernel, rhubarb, squill, sage, thyme, sarsaparilla, unicorn root, valerian, woundwort, yew, etc. — more than 800 varieties in all — includes in addition methods of cultivation; the chemical constituents, dosages, and preparations of extracts and tinctures, unknown to earlier herbalists; possible economic and cosmetic properties, and detailed illustrations, from root to bud, of 161 plants.
Of the many exceptional plants covered in Herbal, perhaps the most fascinating are the poisonous varieties — hemlock, poison oak, aconite, etc. — whose poisons, in certain cases, serve medical purposes and whose antidotes (if known) are given in detail. And of the many unique features, perhaps the most interesting are the hundreds of recipes and instructions for making ointments, lotions, sauces, wines, and fruit brandies like bilberry and carrot jam, elderberry and mint vinegar, sagina sauce, and cucumber lotion for sunburn; and the hundreds of prescriptions for tonics and liniments for bronchitis, arthritis, dropsy, jaundice, nervous tension, skin disease, and other ailments. 96 plates, 161 illustrations.

Product Details

Dover Publications
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
5 MB

Read an Excerpt

A Modern Herbal

In Two Volumes Vol. II

By M. Grieve

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1971 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-31731-1




Strychnos Ignatii (BERG.)

N.O. Loganiaceæ

Synonyms. Faba Ignatic. Ignatia amara (Linn.)

Part Used. Ripe dried seeds

Habitat. Philippine Islands

* Description. A large woody climbing shrub, introduced into Cochin China, and highly esteemed there as a medicine. It attracted the attention of the Jesuits, hence its name. In commerce the beans are about one full inch long; ovate, a dull blacky brown colour, very hard and horny, covered in patches with silvery adpressed hairs; endosperm translucent, enclosing an irregular cavity with an oblong embryo; no odour; taste extremely bitter. Each fruit contains about twelve to twenty seeds embedded in the pulp from which they have to be separated.

* Constituents. The beans have the same properties as Nux Vomica, but contain more strychnine, also brucine, a volatile principle extractive, gum, resin, colouring matter, a fixed oil, and bassorin; they contain no albumen or starch.

* Medicinal Action and Uses. Tonic and stimulant in action like Nux Vomica, which, being cheaper, is nearly always used as a substitute. Old writers lauded these beans as a remedy against cholera. They are useful in certain forms of heart trouble, but must be used with the greatest caution, as they are a very active and powerful poison.

* Antidotes. Same as for strychnine, chloro-form, belladonna, aconite, tobacco, chloral hydrate I drachm doses, morphia.

* Preparations and Dosages. Tincture of Ignatia, 5 to 20 minims. Alkaline Tincture of Ignatia (syn. Goute Ameres de Beaume), 5 to 20 minims.



Gillenia trifoliata (MŒNCH.) N.O. Rosaceæ

Synonyms. Bowman's Root. American Ipecacuanha. Gillenia. Indian Hippo. Spiræa trifoliata. Spiræa stipulata

Part Used. Root-bark

Habitat. Eastern United States

* Description. A perennial herb, indigenous to the United States, its irregular, brownish root gives rise to several stems 2 or 3 feet in height, and has depending from it many long, thin fibres. The leaves and leaflets are of various shapes, and the white, reddish-tinged flowers grow in a few loose, terminal panicles.

The dried root is reddish brown, the bark being easily removed and pulverized. With-in, it is light, ligneous, and comparatively inert. The bitterness of the bark is extracted by alcohol, or by water at 212° F., to which a red colour is given.

It grows well in the author's garden, in slightly moist, rich soil, not in the full blaze of the mid-day sun.

* Constituents. The roots have been found to contain gum, starch, gallotannic acid, fatty matter, wax, resin, lignin, albumen, salts and colouring matter.

Gillenin was obtained by W. B. Stanhope by exhausting coarsely powdered bark with alcohol, evaporating the resulting red tinc-ture to the consistency of an extract, dissolveing this in cold water, filtering, evaporating, and finally drying on glass.

Half a grain caused nausea and retching. Two glucosides were found, Gillein, from the ethereal extract, and Gilleenin, from the aqueous infusion.

* Medicinal Action and Uses. Tonic, emetic, slightly diaphoretic, cathartic, and expec-torant. The American Indians and early colonists knew the uses of the roots, the action of which resembles Ipecacuanha.

Recommended in dyspepsia, dropsy, rheu-matism, chronic costiveness, and whenever an emetic is required. It is safe and reliable.

* Dosages. Of powdered root, as an emetic, 20 to 30 grains. In dyspepsia, as a tonic, 2 to 4 grains. As a sudorific, in cold water, 6 grains at intervals of two or three hours. It may be combined with opium. Frequent large doses of the infusion cause vomiting and purging.

* Other Species.

Gillenia stipulata, taller and more bushy, with fewer flowers and roots more like those of Ipecac; grows as far west as Kansas.

It is, equally with G. trifoliata, the source of Gillenia.



Indigofera tinctoria N.O. Leguminosæ

Synonyms. Pigmentum Indicum

Part Used. The plant

Habitat. India; cultivated in sub-tropical countries

* Description. A blue dyestuff is obtained from the various species of Indigofera. It does not exist ready formed, but is produced during fermentation from another agent existing in the plant. This is called Indocan, and is yellow, amorphous, of a nauseous bitter taste with an acid re-action; readily soluble in water, alcohol and ether.

* Medicinal Action and Uses. Indigo was at one time much used in medicine, but now is rarely employed. It is said to produce nausea and vomiting.

It is a very well-known and highly important dye, millions of pounds being exported from India annually.

An artificial product, Indigotine, is manufactured chemically and used as a substitute.


Baptisia tinctoria (R. BR.) N.O. Leguminosæ

Synonyms. Baptisia. Horse-fly Weed. Rattlebush. Indigo-weed. Sophora tinctoria (Linn.). Podalyria tinctoria (Michx.)

Parts Used. Root, bark, leaves

Habitat. Dry hilly woods from Canada to Carolina

* Description. An herbaceous perennial which takes its name from the Greek Bap to (to dye); has a black woody root, yel-lowish internally with many rootlets; stem about 3 feet high, smooth, glabrous, round, and branched; leaves, small, subsessile, alternate and palmately trifoliate; leaflets rounded at end; calyx four-cleft; flowers, yellow, blooming August and September, in small loose terminal racemes. Legume short, bluish-black seeds, subreniform.

* Constituents. The root is non-odorous and of a nauseous acrid taste, containing gum, albumen, starch, a yellowish resin and a crys-talline substance.

* Medicinal Action and Uses. Used internally in form of decoction or syrup in scarlatina, typhus, and in all cases where there is a tendency to putrescency; it is purgative, emetic, stimulant, astringent, and antiseptic; principally used for its antiseptic qualities.

* Dosage. Of the decoction, 1 tablespoonful. Fluid extract, 1/4 to 1/2 drachm. Baptism, 1 to 3 grains.


Psychotria Ipecacuanha (STOKES) N.O. Rubiaceæ

Synonym. Cephaelis Ipecacuanha

Part Used. Root

Habitat. The root used in medicine under this name is that of a small, shrubby plant about a foot high, belonging to the order Rubiaceae, which is found in most parts of Brazil, growing in clumps or patches, in moist, shady woods.

The drug is chiefly collected in the interior, in the province of Matto Grosso and near the German colony of Philadelphia, north of Rio de Janeiro. It is also found in New Granada and in Bolivia.

* Description. The plant has a slender stem, which grows partly underground and is often procumbent at the base, the lower portion being knotted.

Fibrous rootlets are given off from the knots, and some of them develop an abnormally thick bark, in which much starch is deposited.

The thickened rootlets alone are collected and dried for medicinal use, since the active constituents of the drug are found chiefly in the bark.

Ipecacuanha roots are collected, chiefly by the Indians, during the months of January and February, when the plant is in flower and are prepared by separation from the stem, cleaning and hanging in bundles to dry in the sun.

The drug is known in commerce as Brazilian or Rio Ipecacuanha.

* History. The name of the plant is the Portuguese form of the native word, i-pe-kaa-guéne, which is said to mean 'road-side sick-making plant.'

In an account of Brazil, written by a Portuguese friar who had resided in that country from about 1510 to 1600, mention is made of three remedies for the bloody flux, one of which is called Igpecaya, or Pigaya, which is probably this root.

Although in common use in Brazil, Ipe-cacuanha was not employed in Europe prior to the year 1672, when a traveller named Legros brought a quantity of the root to Paris from South America. In 1680, a merchant of Paris named Garnier became possessed of 150 lb. of Ipecacuanha, and informed his assistant and the physician Helvetius of its usefulness in treating dysentery.

Helvetius prescribed the new drug, and it formed the basis of a patent medicine for dysentery. Trials were made of the composition, and Helvetius was granted by Louis XIV the sole right of vending the remedy. A few years after, the secret was bought from him by the French Government for 1,000 louis d'or and the formula was made public in 1688.

The botanical source of Ipecacuanha was the subject of much dispute, until it was finally settled by Gomez, a physician of the Portuguese Navy, who brought authentic specimens from Brazil to Lisbon in 1800.

Ipecacuanha occurs in commerce as slender and somewhat tortuous closely annulated pieces, which seldom exceed 6 inches in length and ¼ inch in thickness. It varies in colour from very dark brown to dark red, the latter colour being partly due to adhering particles of earth. Difference in colour may also be due to difference of age or mode of drying. The bark is constricted at short intervals, so as to give the root the appearance of a number of discs somewhat irregularly strung together. The constrictions are sometimes quite shallow in Brazilian or Rio Ipecacuanha, though they may penetrate nearly to the wood. The root is hard and breaks with a very short fracture, the fractured surface exhibiting a thick, dark grey bark or cortex, with a horny, resinous or starchy appearance and a hard, wiry centre – small dense wood, in which no distinct pores or pith can be discerned; when examined with a lens though it is radiate.

The drug has a bitter taste, but only a slight, rather musty odour.

It is generally mixed with more or less of the slender subterranean stem, which has only a very thin bark, surrounding a ring of wood which encloses a distinct pith, and is thus easily distinguished from the root. The activity of the drug resides chiefly in the cortical portion, hence the presence of the stem diminishes its value.

The variety imported from Colombia and known as Cartagena Ipecacuanha, the product of Psychotria acuminata, differs only in its larger size and in being less conspicuously anrtulated, the constrictions of the bark assuming the form of narrow merging ridges.

* Substitutes. In addition to the Cartagena Ipecacuanha, various other roots have been offered as substitutes, but all differ considerably.

East Indian Ipecacuanha, from Crypto-carpus spiralis, exhibits a typically monocoty-ledous structure in transverse section, scattered bundles running the pith, and a white starchy bark.

The name poaya is applied in Brazil to emetic roots of several genera belonging to the natural orders Rubiaceae, Violaceae and Poly-galaceae, and hence several roots have from time to time been sent over to England as Ipecacuanha, but none of them possess the ringed or annulated appearance of the true drug. Of these, the root of Ionidium Ipeca-cuanha, Richardsonia scabra and P. emetica are those which have most frequently been exported from Brazil or Colombia.

Undulated Ipecacuanha, from R. scabra, is only lightly annulated, the wood is porous and the starchy bark often has a violet colour.

Lesser Striated Ipecacuanha from another species of Richardsonia is dark purplish brown in colour, longitudinally wrinkled, not annulated, and has porous wood.

Greater Striated Ipecacuanha from P. emetica, known as Black or Peruvian Ipeca-cuanha, closely resembles the preceding, but contains no starch and has dense wood. It grows in Peru and New Grenada, and in earlier days was for a long time considered as the source of the new drug, but is much less active.

White Ipecacuanha, from I. Ipecacuanha is greyish-white, or yellowish in colour and is also free from starch. This likewise was for long believed to be the plant which produces the genuine drug. It is a member of the order Violaceae. The root is almost insipid and inodorous and is used in Brazil as an emetic, though it has been considered doubtful whether it possesses any well-defined properties.

The roots of several species of Borreria, as B. ferruginia and B. Poaya, are also used in Brazil as substitutes for Ipecacuanha.

* Constituents. The chief constituents of Ipecacuanha root are the alkaloids Emetine, Cephaelin and Psychotrine, of which the bark may contain from 1.5 to 2 per cent., of which about 72 per cent, consists of Emetine and 26 per cent, of Cephaelin, while only 2 per cent, consists of Psychotrine.

Emetine, to which Ipecacuanha owes its properties and which, with the exception of traces, occurs only in the cortical portion of the root, is an amorphous white powder, but it forms crystalline salts. It has a bitter taste, no odour and turns yellow when exposed to air and light.

Other constituents are a crystalline saponin-like glucoside, an amorphous, bitter glucoside, which is a modification of tannin, and is known as Ipecacuanhic acid, choline, resin, pectin, starch, sugar, calcium oxalate, odorous, fatty matter and a disagreeable-smelling volatile oil.

Cartagena Ipecacuanha contains 2 to 3 per cent, more alkaloidal matter than the Brazilian drug, but a smaller proportion of Emetine, Cephaelin being the alkaloid present in largest quantities.

East Indian Ipecacuanha and White Ipecacuanha contain minute quantities of emetic principles, which differ from the alkaloids of true Ipecacuanha, but the Undulated and Striated Ipecacuanha contain Emetine.

* Medicinal Action and Uses. In large doses, Ipecacuanha root is emetic; in smaller doses, diaphoretic and expectorant, and in still smaller, stimulating to the stomach, intestines and liver, exciting appetite and facilitating digestion.

The dose of the powdered root is ¼ to 2 grains when an expectorant action is desired (it is frequently used in the treatment of bronchitis and laryngitis, combined with other drugs, aiding in the expulsion of the morbid product), and from 15 to 30 grains when given as an emetic, which is one of its most valuable functions.

The Pharmacopoeias contain a very large number of preparations of Ipecacuanha, most of which are standardized.

Ipecacuanha has been known for more than a century to benefit amoebic (or tropical) dysentery, and is regarded as the specific treatment, but the administration of the drug by mouth was limited by its action as an emetic. Sir Leonard Rogers showed in 1912 that subcutaneous injections of the alkaloid Emetine, the chief active principle present in Ipecacuanha usually produced a rapid cure in cases of amoebic dysentery. The toxic action of Emetine on the heart must be watched. A preparation from which the Emetine has been removed, known as de-emetized Ipecacuanha, is also in use for cases of dysentery.

The great value of the drug in dysentery and its rapid increase in price from an average of 2S. 9½d. per lb. in 1850 to about 8s. 9d. per lb. in 1870, led to attempts to acclimatize the plant in India, but without much commercial success, owing to the difficulty of finding suitable places for its cultivation and to its slowness of growth. It is grown to a limited extent in the Malay States, at Johore, near Singapore. In December, 1915, the Brazil root was valued at 24s. per lb. and the Johore root at 20s. per lb. At the same time, Cartagena root sold for 16s. per lb. It would probably pay to grow this plant more extensively in the British Colonies.

The diaphoretic properties are employed in the Pulvis Ipecacuanhcea compositus, or Dover's Powder, which contains 1 part of Ipecacuanha powder and 1 part of Opium in 10.

When applied to the skin, Ipecacuanha powder acts as a powerful irritant, even to the extent of causing pustulations.

When inhaled, it causes sneezing and a mild inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane.

Toxic doses cause gastro-enteritis, cardiac failure, dilation of the blood-vessels, severe bronchitis and pulmonary inflammation,

* Preparations and Dosages. Powdered root, 5 to 30 grains. Fluid extract, B.P., 2 to 20 drops. Comp. Tinct. (Dover's), U.S.P., 8 drops. Wine, B.P., 10 drops to 6 drachms. Syrup, U.S.P., ¼ to 4 drachms. Dover's Powder, B.P., 5 to 15 grains.

Other plants possessing emetic properties to a greater or less degree, to which the name of Ipecacuanha has been popularly applied are: American Ipec., Gillenia stipulacea; Wild Ipec., Euphorbia Ipecacuanha; Guinea Ipec., Boerhavia decumbens; Venezuela Ipec., Sar-costemma glaucum; Ipecacuanha des Alle-mands, Vincetoxicum officinale, and the Bastard Ipecacuanha, Asclepias cuirassavi, of the West Indies. This plant is used by the negroes as an emetic and the root is purgative; the juice of the plant, made into a syrup, is said to be a powerful anthelmintic, and as such is given to children in the West Indies.


N.O. Iridaceæ

The Iris belongs to a family of plants that is justly popular in this country for its many varieties of handsome garden blooms, beautifying the borders in spring and early summer.

The plant is named after the rainbow goddess, 'Iris,' from the beauty and variety of colours in the flowers of the genus.


Excerpted from A Modern Herbal by M. Grieve. Copyright © 1971 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews