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Chemical Composition.—Nothing is known about the chemical constituents of the indigenous species, but they are probably similar to those of G. officinalis. Vauquelin (1809) found in the latter a bitter resinous substance, an acid in combination with lime and soda, believed by him to be malic or acetic acid, and various earthy salts and principles common to plants. Marchand (Journ. de Chim. Med., 1845, p. 618), proved the resin of Vauquelin to be a compound, identifying tannic acid and a white, bitter, crystallizable substance to which the name gratiolin was given. Afterward, Walz proved gratiolin to be a glucosid, and obtained in addition another glucosid, gratiosolin, and an acid named by him gratiolic acid. The chemical constituents of Gratiola officinalis are of little practical value, as the infusion, or tincture, or plant in substance, are alone used in medicine.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Hedge-hyssop is rarely, if at all, used in this country. In Europe it has been employed as a hydragogue-cathartic in the treatment of dropsical affections, in doses of from 10 to 80 grains of the powdered root. Its use is frequently followed by emesis and diuresis. In large doses its irritant action is pronounced, inducing violent vomiting and purging, the stools often being bloody and attended with severe colic. Gastro-intestinal inflammation may follow, the rectum being most generally affected. In smaller doses, it has been advised in chronic affections of the liver, in jaundice, and also in certain melancholic forms of insanity. Splenic engorgement, cerebral fullness and oppression, and other conditions attended with an obstructed circulation are the states in which it is recommended by Prof. Scudder (Spec. Med.), who regards the indications to be "soreness and rawness of the mouth." It is an active agent, and should be administered with judgment. An infusion of 4 drachms to a pint of boiling water, may be given in 1/2 fluid-ounce doses. Thirty grains act as a drastic cathartic. Probably a tincture of the root might be useful; but every indication for this agent can be fulfilled by one of our indigenous plants, as podophyllum, iris, euphorbia, apocynum, etc.
relieves anxiety and restlessness associated with chronic coffee or cola use.