History and Description.—This is an indigenous, rank weed, growing in fields throughout the United States, in moist woods, and in recent clearings, especially and abundantly in such as have been burned over, hence its vernacular name Fireweed. From the fact of its brittleness and consequent liability to be easily broken, it is seldom found where animals graze. It flowers from August to October, and resembles in appearance the sow-thistle (Sonchus oleraceus); the flowers somewhat resemble those of lettuce. The whole plant is medicinal, and yields its virtues to water or alcohol. It has a peculiar, aromatic, and somewhat fetid odor, very unpleasant to many persons, and a peculiar, slightly pungent, bitterish, rather disagreeable taste, with some astringency.



Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Fireweed is reputed to be emetic, cathartic, tonic, astringent, and alterative, of which the most valuable are the latter three. Reputed an unrivaled medicine in diseases of the mucous tissues of the lungs, stomach, and bowels.