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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

a.k.a. Buttonwood Shrub, Crane Willow, Crouper, Honey-balls, Little Snowball, Mountain Globe-flower, Pin-ball, Pond Dogwood
(Cephalanthus occidentalis)

A handsome shrub to 12 feet native to North America in damp places along rivers and ponds from southern Canada to Florida and California. Stems are rough-barked, branches smooth-barked. Leaves are opposite, oval, acuminate, in whorls of 3 and from 3 to 5 inches long by 2 to 3 inches wide. Flowers are white on a long stem, their appearance being that of a round spiny button. Fruit is a hard dry capsule.

Bark is very bitter.

PART USED: Fresh and dried bark of stem, branches, and roots; flowers, leaves.
HARVEST: Plant parts taken in July and August for storage.
SOLVENT: Alcohol, water.

Tonic, bitter, febrifuge, cathartic, diaphoretic, diuretic. Specifically, bark tonic; root diaphoretic; inner bark diuretic; inner bark of root has been used as bitters.
Has been used for remittent fevers, intermittent fevers, stubborn coughs, palsy, and some venereal diseases.
Tincture of the fresh bark has been used for intermittent and remittent fevers. Also, a decoction of the bark. In both cases as a substitute for quinine.
The root has been boiled with honey to make a syrup used for lung problems. Also, the inner bark has been used for coughs and as a wash for palsy.
The inner bark has been made into pills for gravel.
A syrup has been made from the flowers and leaves to use as a tonic and laxative.
Some Native American tribes used the leaves and root bark as a febrifuge, diaphoretic, cathartic. The Meskwaki used the inner bark as an emetic. The Chippewa used to slow or stop excessive menstrual flow by boiling 1 cup of stems and leaves for 5 minutes, then taking 3 cups daily during the flow; another method was to take a 6-inch piece of root, 1 inch in diameter, chop it, add to boiling water and boil for 30 minutes; 3 cups were taken over a 24 hour period for menstrual pain and cramping associated with an overly long menstrual flow. The Choctaws chewed the bark to relieve toothache.

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
DECOCTION = 1 tsp dried, powdered or granulated bark boiled 30 minutes in 1¼ cups water; strain; taken 1 tablespoon, 3 to 6 times daily.
TINCTURE = 5 to 10 drops

©2005 by Ernestina Parziale, CH