Osier, Red Americanotanical: Cornus sericea (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Cornaceae
Synonyms: Swamp's Dogwood. Red Willow. Silky Cornel. Female Dogwood. Blueberry. Kinnikinnik. Rose Willow.
Parts Used: Root-bark and bark.
Habitat: North America, Florida to Mississippi.
Description: A water-loving shrub, growing from 6 to 12 feet high. Branches spreading, dark purplish; branchlets silky downy; leaves narrowly ovate or elliptical, pointed, smooth above, silky downy below and often hairy upon ribs on petioles from half an inch to an inch long. Flowers yellowish white, small, disposed in large terminal, depressed and woolly cymes or corymbs. Berries globose, bright blue, stone compressed. It is found in moist woods and on the margins of rivers, flowering in June and July.
Constituents: The active properties are similar to those found in Peruvian Bark, except that there is more gum mucilage and extractive matter and less resin quinine and tannin.
Medicinal Action and Uses: It is tonic astringent and slightly stimulant, used in periodical and typhoid fever. Taken internally it increases the strength and frequency of the pulse, elevating the temperature of the body. It should be used in the dried state, the fresh bark being likely to upset the stomach.
The powdered bark has been used as toothpowder, to preserve the gums and make the teeth white; the flowers have been used in place of chamomile.