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There are about twenty-five species of the genus, seven or eight being found in South America. The early growth of most of them is covered with a glutinous varnish. They are perennial or biennial herbs or small shrubs, with stems up to half-a-yard long, round, yellow, and smooth, with alternate, light-green, coarsely-toothed leaves having a clasping base. They are easily broken off when dried, so are often found loose in packages. The solitary, terminal flower-heads are large and yellow, both disk and radiate. Taste and odour are slightly aromatic, the former bitter.
The distinctive mark of the genus is the limb of the calyx, consisting of two to eight rigid, narrow awns, which fall early.
The plant was only made widely known to the medical profession in the latter part of the nineteenth century, by Dr. C. A. Canfield, and Mr. J. G. Steele of San Francisco.
---Constituents---Grindelia may contain as much as 21 per cent of amorphous resins. Two are dark-coloured, one being soluble in ether, and one soft and greenish, soluble in petroleum spirit. There is also found tannin, laevoglucose, and a little volatile oil. The presence of glucosides has not been confirmed.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Expectorant and sedative, with an action resembling atropine. It has been recommended in cystitis and catarrh of the bladder, but its principal use is in bronchial catarrh, especially when there is any asthmatic tendency. It relieves dyspnoea due to heart disease, has been successfully employed in whooping cough, and as a local application in rhus poisoning, burns, genito-urinary catarrh, etc. As its active principle is excreted from the kidneys, it sometimes produces signs of renal irritation; in chronic catarrh of the bladder it stimulates the mucous membrane.
A homoeopathic tincture is prepared.
---Dosage---Of fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Of Grindelia, 30 to 40 grains.
The Fluid extract is sometimes continued with liquorice in the proportion of 1/2 drachm of Grindelia to 1 draehm of the Fluid extract of Liquorice, mucilage to 1 oz. (It combines well with yerba santa in equal proportions. - EDITOR.)
G. squarrosa grows on prairies and dry banks. The bracts of the involucre are linear-lanceolate and spreading.
G. robusta var. latifolia is large, hardy, and a native of California.
These are all official varieties.
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