Broad-leaved Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), known also as mountain laurel, sheep laurel, calico bush, etc. This tree-like shrub is quite an active poison, and should be employed as a medicine with considerable care. In medicinal doses it is an alterative, depresses the heart's action, and is somewhat astringent. It has been successfully employed, because of its alterative properties, as a remedy in chronic syphilitic affections. Applied externally, the decoction of the leaves has been found valuable in scald head, but owing to the poisonous nature of the substance it must be employed with prudence.
The leaves are the parts employed in medicine, and may be employed either in the form of a decoction or tincture.
Butternut is a mild cathartic, and operates without pain or irritation, or the subsequent constipation which is the objection to most other cathartics. It is also a domestic remedy of some repute in chronic rheumatism, and in some sections has a reputed value as an anti-intermittent.
The leaves of the butternut have, in the past few years, been recommended in the treatment of diphtheria, and the reports of eminent French experiments have been very favorable, and have to a certain degree been corroborated by tests in this country. A strong infusion is the form in which they are applied, and may be given either as a spray, or applied, by means of a swab, directly to the membrane. If further trials prove equally satisfactory with those which have already been made, butternut leaves will be established as a valuable addition to the materia medica for this grave affection.