Stillingia sylvatica L. - Euphorbiaceae - Queen's root, queen's-delight, yawroot
Monoecic subshrub, up to 1.20m high, native in southeastern US; leaves alternate, elliptic to lanceolate-spatulate, serrulate; flowers on a terminal spike, male flowers above, yellow, stamens 2, female flowers inferior, style 3-cleft; capsule depressed-globose, 3-seeded.
Steam distillation of the roots produced an essential oil (3.25%) of yellow color with a very strong, disagreeable odor. An alcoholic extract of the benzol-defatted roots lead to the isolation of tannin (11%).
[Analysis of the Root of Stillingia sylvatica., Bichy W., The American Journal of Pharmacy, 1885] http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/journals/ajp1885/11-stillingia.html
The root was introduced into the United States Pharmacopoeia in 1850 especially to treat syphilis. In large doses, the drug (ethanolic extract of the fresh root) vomits and purges, lesser doses have been used as an alterative.
[King, J. (1898). King's American dispensatory]
[Stillingia sylvatica., Miller, E.R., Brooks, R.I., Rutledge, C.P., Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, 4(4), 1915, 445-448]
The roots contain more or less irritant diterpene esters of the daphnane and tigliane types carrying saturated, polyunsaturated or hydroxlated fatty acids.
[New irritant diterpene-esters from roots of Stillingia sylvatica L.(Euphorbiaceae)., Adolf, W., Hecker, E., Tetrahedron Letters, 21(30), 1980, 2887-2890]
„… queen's root is a folk remedy for bronchitis, cancer, croup, dysmennorrhea, hematosis, laryngitis, leucorrhea, puerperium, scrofula, skin ailments, syphilis… sap from the root inflames the skin and produces swellings.“
[CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, 1989, 460]
Engler, H.G.A., Das Pflanzenreich, Euphorbiaceae - Crotonioideae - Hippomeneae, vol.147, Heft 52, p.192, fig.36 (1912)