NOM. VULG.—(?); Indian Screw Tree, Eng.
USES.—I am ignorant of the use that the Filipinos make of this plant, though it is very possible that they do not employ it at all in medicine, which is usually the case with those plants to which they have given no name. In India the peculiar spiral form of the fruit has suggested its application, according to the theories of the doctrine of symbolism. Ainslie says that the Hindoos use it to treat diseases of the external auditory canal. On account of its emollient properties and probably on account of its twisted form, it is used internally as a decoction, in flatulence and the intestinal colic of children. It is indispensable in the marriage ceremonies of the caste of Vaisya, among whom it is customary for the groom to wear on his wrists in the form of bracelets, strings of this fruit combined with that of Randia dumetorum.
The root yields a juice which is employed in skin diseases, in abscess, acid in cardialgia. In Jamaica the juice of the leaves is sometimes used for constipation.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A small tree with leaves alternate, simple, entire, irregularly nerved or veined at the base, petiolate. Flowers of a handsome red color, hermaphrodite, regular, axillary. Calyx gamosepalous, tubular, of 5 parts.
Corolla, 5 free petals slightly dentate at the point. Stamens numerous, united on a free column on the cusp. Compound nectary of 5 unilocular, many-ovuled ovaries. Styles 5, joined at the base. Fruit of 5 carpels, thin, twisted on themselves in spirals, forming a cone, pubescent, of a greenish-brown color, each containing a single row of angular seeds.
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