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The hedge hyssop comprises herbs of the genus Gratiola, belonging to the Scrophulariaceae family, that are native to marshy lands throughout Eurasia and North America. Gratiola officinalis, of Europe, has cylindrical stems and leaves twice the size of those of true hyssop. Its flowers are solitary and located in the axils of the leaves. The herb is almost odorless but has a bitter, nauseous taste. Small quantities taken internally act as a purgative, diuretic, and emetic. In Switzerland it grows abundantly in damp pastures and is dangerous to cattle.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---A drastic cathartic and emetic, possessing also diuretic properties. Has been used for the relief of dropsy, and is recommended in scrofula, chronic affections of the liver, jaundice, and enlargement of the spleen, and as a worm dispeller.
---Preparations---The infusion of 1/2 oz. of powdered root is taken in tablespoonful doses. Powdered root, 15 to 30 grains.
Gratiola officinalis was in former times called Gratia Dei, on account of its active medicinal properties. In large doses it is said to be poisonous. Haller says that the abundance of this plant in some of the Swiss meadows renders it dangerous to allow cattle to feed in them. G. peruviane has similar properties.' (Treasury of Botany.)
Government and virtues : They are herbs of Mars, and as choleric and churlish as he is, being most violent purges, especially of choler and phlegm. It is not safe taking them inwardly, unless they be well rectified by the art of the alchymist, and only the purity of them given; so used they may be very helpful both for the dropsy, gout, and sciatica; outwardly used in ointments they kill worms, the belly anointed with it, and are excellently good to cleanse old and filthy ulcers.