Many years ago, no one can say how many, the Indian tribes that roved over what is now our United States well knew the physical properties, the curative and medicinal virtues of a beautiful yellow, juicy, perennial root that grew in the rich shady woodland east of the Rocky Mountains. This root, when beaten up alone or with a little water, yielded a beautiful yellow fluid that would dye their clothing varying shades of yellow, according to concentration and mixture with other plant juices. They also knew that an infusion of this yellow root would cure many cases of ophthalmia and chronic leg ulcers. Indeed, the Cherokees were reported to cure cancers by it, but our present knowledge of the drug and disease practically disproves this idea. Like many of our medicinal preparations, what was then used empirically is now known practically to us as hydrastis canadensis.
STEWART WB. HYDRASTIS.SOME OF ITS THERAPEUTIC USES.. JAMA. 1904;XLIII(19):1383-1385. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.92500190001g