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Medicinal Action and Uses---Stimulant and vesicant. A moist application of the recent bark to the skin will cause redness and blisters in from twenty-four to forty-eight hours. It may be softened in hot vinegar and water and applied as a compress, renewed every twelve hours. It can be used for a mild, perpetual blister.
An ointment was formerly used to induce discharge in indolent ulcers.
The bark is used for snake and other venomous bites, and in Siberia, by veterinary surgeons, for horses' hoofs.
The official compound liniment of mustard includes an ethereal extract, and one of its rare internal uses in England is as an in gredient in compound decoction of sarsaparilla.
Authorities differ as to its value in chronic rheumatism, scrofula, syphilis and skin diseases. A light infusion is said to be good in dropsies, but if too strong may cause vomiting and bloody stools. Thirty berries are used as a purgative by Russian peasants, though French writers regard fifteen as a fatal dose.
In Germany a tincture of the berries is used locally in neuralgia.
Slices of the root may be chewed in toothache, and it is recorded that an obstinate case of difficulty in swallowing, persisting after confinement, was cured by chewing the root constantly and so causing irritation. [A Modern Herbal; Mrs. M. Grieve]
Daphne mezereum is very toxic because of the daphnetoxin present especially in the berries and twigs. If poisoned, victims experience a choking sensation. Handling the fresh twigs can cause rashes and eczema in sensitive individuals