Hydrangea is a perennial shrub which grows from 3 to 6 feet tall with a round crown and many unbranched stems.
Leaves: Opposite, simple, serrated, heart-shaped, 4 to 10 inches long, with the upper surface dull dark green, and the lower surface slightly paler.
Flowers: Flat-topped clusters (4 to 6 inches across) of small white flowers. The larger sterile flowers may be present along edges of cluster.
Fruit: Dry, light brown capsules appearing in late fall.
Twig: Light brown to brown, large white pith, scales present where new branches form buds 1/8 inch long, leaf scar shallow, U-shaped with 3 bundle scars.
The common name ‘Seven Barks’ is due to the seven separate layers of different colored bark.
Family: Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage family)
Other Names: Wild Hydrangea, Seven Barks
Flowers: June – July
Parts Used: Roots and bark.
Habitat: Rich woods. New York to northern Florida; Louisiana; Oklahoma to Indiana and Ohio. (Indigenous to North America.)
History: Cherokee Indians used a root decoction or tea as a diuretic, cathartic, and emetic. They also scraped the bark of hydrangea and made a poultice for wounds, burns, sore muscles, sprains and tumors. They chewed the bark for stomach problems and heart trouble.
Constituents: Glycoside (hydrangin), saponin, resin, rutin, volatile and fixed oils. It contains no tannins.
Properties: Cathartic, Diuretic, Nephritic (relieving kidney disorders) and Tonic.
Indications: Frequent urination, accompanied by a sense of burning and sharp, quick pain in the urethra. Pain from the irritation of passing renal sand. Aching in the back with irritation and partial suppression of urine.
Main Uses: It is best known for relieving the excruciating pain experienced when the gravelly formations pass through the ureters from the kidneys to the bladder. Also recognized for inflamed tissue of the kidney and urinary organs. Will relieve backache caused by kidney trouble. It is also used for inflamed or enlarged prostate gland.
Preparation And Dosages: The roots should be collected in the autumn.
Root Tincture: [Fresh root, 1:2], [Dried root 1:5], in 50% alcohol. Take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon in water, up to 4 times a day.