Meyanthas Trifoliata. This perennial plant is very common in marshy places, and is one of the most beautiful of our native flowers. It grows a foot high, the leaves stand three upon each stalk, and these stalks rise immediately from the roots. They are thick, round, smooth, and fleshy; and the leaves themselves are large, oblong, and have some resemblance to those of garden beans. The flowers stand upon naked stalks, which are also thick, round, fleshy, and whitish : they are small, but they grow together in a kind of thick short spike, so that in the cluster they make a conspicuous appearance; they are white with a very faint tinge of purple, and are hairy within; the root is whitish, long, and thick.

The leaves of buck-bean are to be gathered before the stalks appear for flowering, and are to be dried.

Herbal Remedies and Medicinal Uses of Buckbean:

It is very tonic and astringent; in large doses purgative. Very useful in scurvy, scrofula, gouty affections, and fevers. A drachm of the leaves in powder, purges and vomits. In infusion, or extract, they are useful in intermittents, in several cachectic and cutaneous diseases. The dose of the extract is from ten to twenty grains.

It is surely Providential that this plant grows in places where agues prevail most. The remedy is near at hand. Boerhave says, " It overcomes the tertian and quartan ague." Haller says " that intermittents yield to it;" and the German soldiers made us of it in one of the wars, with almost unvaried success. They used it instead of bark. In cachectic disease, that is, disease and emaciation, and debility of the prim vita, it is known to be of great service. It is applicable to arrest consumption in its incipient stages, especially if combined with a little Cayenne Pepper, to produce heat, and a decoction of Log-wood, which is a most powerful antiseptic, or arrester of decay.

In scorbutic affections, and scrofula, it has often proved beneficial. Inveterate cutaneous diseases have been removed by an infusion of the leaves drunk freely every day for some weeks. Dr. Lewis says, " The leaves of the buck-bean have a bitter penetrating taste, which they impart both to watery and spirituous menstrua. They have come into use lately as an alterative and aperient, in impurities of the humours, and in dropsical and rheumatic cases. They are usually taken in the form of infusion, with the addition of some acrid anti-scorbutic herbs, which, in most cases, improve their virtue; also add orange-peel, or some other grateful aromatic, to alleviate their ill taste. The leaves have been used in brewing ale. One ounce, it is said, will go as far as half a pound of hops.

Boerhave was himself cured of gout by taking it mixed with whey. He recommends it also as an external application for dissolving glandular swellings. Its seeds are said to be good for coughs of long standing, and for diseases of the chest.
Important Disclaimer:   The information contained on this web site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. Any information presented is not a substitute for professional medical advice and should not take the place of any prescribed medication. Please do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consultation with your physician.

This page and the rest of the encyclopedia of medicinal herbs was reproduced from old herbals written in the 1700 and 1800s. They are of historical interest to show the traditional uses of various herbs based on folk medicine and ancient wisdom. However the traditional uses for these herbs have not been confirmed by medical science and in some cases may actually be dangerous. Do not use the these herbs for any use, medicinal or otherwise, without first consulting a qualified doctor.

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