The Cayce Herbal 
 A Comprehensive Guide to the  
Botanical Medicine of Edgar Cayce
The Complete Herbalist
by Dr. O. Phelps Brown (1878)
    Every herb employed in the cure of diseases, whether in its natural state or after having undergone various preparations, belongs to the Herbal Materia Medica, in the extended acceptation of the term.  It shall, however, be our purpose only to describe each separate herb in the living state, or the medicinal part thereof, and not dwell much upon the forms usually prepared by the apothecary or physician.  In this portion of our work we propose to give an account of all the most important medicinal herbs necessary for the cure of diseases.  No herb, however, is to be despised or regarded as worthless because of its not finding mention in this work; but, as previusly stated, that each and every plant has its virtues, though to describe all recognized as medicinal would make the work too voluminous, and in price, far exceed the reach of the million.  The various properties of medicinal agents have been designated as follows:

    ABSORBENTS or ANTACIDS are such medicines that counteract acidity of the stomach and bowels.

    ALTERATIVES are medicines which, in certain doses, work a gradual cure by restoring the healthy functions of different organs.

    ANODYNES are medicines which relieve pain.

    ANTHELMINTICS are medicines which have the power of destroying or expelling worms from the intestinal canal.

    ANTISCORBUTICS are medicines which prevent or cure the scurvy.

    ANTISPASMODICS are medicines given to relieve spasm, or irregular and painful action of muscles or muscular fibres, as in Epilepsy, St. Vitus' Dance, etc.

    AROMATICS are medicines which have a grateful smell and an agreeable pungent taste.

    ASTRINGENTS are those remedies which, when applied to the body, render the solids dense and firmer.

    CARMINATIVES are those medicines which dispel flatulency of the stomach and bowels.

    CATHARTICS are medicines which accelerate the action of the bowels, or increase the discharge by stool.

    DEMULCENTS are medicines suited to prevent the action of acrid and stimulating matters upon the mucous membranes of the throat, lungs, etc.

    DIAPHORETICS are medicines that promote or cause perspirable discharge by the skin.

    DIURETICS are medicines which increase the flow of urine by their action upon the kidneys.

    EMETICS are those medicines which produce vomiting.

    EMMENAGOGUES are medicines which promote the menstrual discharge.

    EMOLLIENTS are those remedies which, when applied to the solids of the body, render them soft and flexible.

    ERRHINES are substances which, when applied to the lining membrane of the nostrils, occasion a discharge of mucous fluid.

    EPISPASTICS are those which cause blisters when applied to the surface.

    ESCHAROTICS are substances used to destroy a portion of the surface of the body, forming sloughs.

    EXPECTORANTS are medicines capable of facilitating the excretion of mucus from the chest.

    NARCOTICS are those substances having the property of diminishing the action of the nervous and vascular systems, and of inducing sleep.

    RUABEFACIENTS are remedies which excite the vessels of the skin and increase its heat and redness.

    SEDATIVES are medicines which have the power of allaying the actions of the systems generally, or of lessening the exercise of some particular function.

    SIALAGOGUES are medicines which increase the flow of the saliva.

    STIMULANTS are medicines capaable of exciting the vital energy, whether as exerted in sensation or motion.

    TONICS are those medicines which increase the tone or healthy action, or strength of the living system.


    ACETA or VINEGARS are medicinal preparations where vinegar is used as the dissolving agent.

    AETHERA or ETHERS are ethereal tinctures.

    AQUAE or WATERS consist of water impregnated with some medicinal substance, as a volatile oil.

    CATAPLASMS are external applications or poultices.

    CERATES are agents intended for external application, and are composed of wax, spermaceti, combined with fatty matter, and in which resins and powders, etc., are frequently amalgamated.

    CONFECTIONS are medicines in the form of a conserve.

    DECOCTIONS are solutions procured from the various parts of herbs by boiling them in water.

    DRAGEES are sugar-coated pills.

    ENEMAS or INJECTIONS.  These consist of medicinal agents in the form of infusion, decoction, or mixture, and designed to be passed into the rectum and other passages.

    EXTRACTS.  When an infusion, decoction, or tincture is reduced to a soft solid mass, by evaporation, it is termed an extract.

    FLUID-EXTRACTS.  These are concentrated medicinal principles, not reduced to a solid or nearly semi-fluid consistence, the evaporation not being carried so far as in ordinary extracts.  (See page 475)

    INFUSIONS are solutions of vegetable principles in water, effected without boiling.

    LINIMENTS.  These preparations are designed for external application, and should always be of such a consistence as will render them capable of easy application to the skin with the naked hand or flannel.

    LOTIONS.  These comprise all compounds used as external washes in which vegetable substances are dissolved.

    MIXTURES are either liquid or solid compounds, and which are suspended in aqueous fluids by the intervention of some viscid matter, as mucilage, albumen, etc.

    OILS are the products of various herbs by distillation with water.

    PILLS are medicinal properties formed into a mass and rolled into globular forms.  A bolus is a large pill.

    PLASTERS are designed for external application; the medicinal agent is usually spread on cloth or chamois leather.

    POWDERS are medicinal herbs in a pulverized state.

    SATURATES are similar to fluid-extracts, being, however, prepared without the employment of heat.

    SYRUPS are liquid medicines of a viscid consistence, produced by concentrated solutions of sugar alone or mixed with honey.

    TINCTURES.  These are preparations obtained by subjecting medicinal herbs to the action of alcohol.

    TROCHEES or LOZENGES are medicinal substances in powder, which are formed into solid cakes by the aid of sugar and gum.

    UNGUENTA or OINTMENTS are fatty matters, in which are incorporated certain medicines, and are designed for external use.

    WINES.  These are tinctures of medicinal agents which are insoluble in water, or which do not require a stimulant a solvent as alcohol, but which are capable of yielding their virtues to wine.


    That no error may occur, I will here append the weights and measures employed in pharmacy, together with the symbols designating each quantity.  It is necessary to understand but two measures, as the author has conformed all the solid or liquid quantities to these measures.  These are:


    20 grains (gr.). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 scruple.
     8 scruples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 drachm.
     8 drachms  . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 ounce.
    12 ounces (-3). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1 pound (lb).

    The doses of powders, extracts, and all such that are not fluid are intended to correspond with this weight.


  60 minims  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1 fluid drachm.
    8 fluid drachms  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1 fluid ounce.
  16 fluid ounces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1 pint.
    8 pints  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1 gallon (cong.).

    The quantities of all fluids mentioned in this book agree with this measure, though the word fluid or the symbol (f) is omitted in most instances.

    It is not to be supposed, however, that in all families measuring graduates are to be found; hence a comparison of these measure with tea, dessert, and table spoons, etc., becomes necessary to simplify the fluid measure.  The weight of any quantity I should always advise to be correctly ascertained by scales:*

    * The weights used in the British Pharmacopoeia are the Imperial or avordupois pound, ounce, and grain, and the terms drachm and scruple, as designating specific weights, are discontinued.  The ounce contains 437 ½ grains, and the pound 7,000 grains.  The Imperial Measure contains 8 fluid drachms to the ounce, 20 fluid ounces to the pint, and 8 pints to the gallon.


    A drop corresponds with a minim.
    A teaspoonful corresponds with a fluid drachm.

    A dessertspoonful corresponds with a three fluid drachms.

    A tablespoonful corresponds with a one-half fluid ounce.

    A wineglassful corresponds with a two fluid ounces.

    A teacupful corresponds with a gill.

    In the body of this work the quantity has been stated, with but few exceptions, in which each medicine must ordinarily be given to produce its peculiar effects upon the adult patient.  But there are circumstances which modify the dose, and demand attention, the most important of which is the age; hence the following table, exhibiting the dose proportioned to the age, should receive careful reference in domestic practice:


    The dose for a person of age being 1 or 1 drachm.

    That of a person from 14 to 21 years will be  2/3 or 2 scruples.
      7 to 14 years will be  ½ or ½ drachm.
       4 to 7 years will be 1/3 or 1 scruple.
       of 4 years will be 1/4 or 15 grains.
       of 3 years will be 1/6 or 10 grains.
       of 2 years will be 1/8 or 8 grains.
       of 1 years will be 1/12 or 5 grains.
       of ½ years will be 1/15 or 4 grains.

    The following rule, however, is a little more simple:

    For children under 12 years the dose of most medicines must be diminished in the proportion of the age to the age increased by 12; thus, at two years the dose will be 1/7 of that for adults, viz.:

    2 / 2+12 = 2/14 or 1/7; at 4, it will be 4 /4+12 + 4/16 or 1/4.


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