USES.—The common name of this tree, whose fruit is so common, causes it to be confused with the name which Linnæus gives to the former species. Balimbin is a fruit of an acid taste, agreeable when ripe, serving the same uses for food as the camia. Its acidity is due to the presence of oxalic acid, which makes the green fruit useful for removing ink and rust stains from clothes. The juice of the fruit is refreshing and is given internally mixed with water and sugar as a refreshing drink in fevers and as an antiscorbutic. For the latter the ripe fruit is eaten uncooked.
In Mauritius the juice is used to treat dysentery and hepatitis. Padre Blanco says that the natives use a decoction of camias and unthreshed rice in diarrhoea and bilious colic. In connection with the subject of camias and balimbins we should mention the fruit treatment of the bilious diarrhoea of the tropics, spoken of by the French physicians of Cochin China. Dr. Van der Burg of the Dutch Indies also strongly recommends the treatment of diarrhoea by fruits; in temperate regions using fruits like peaches, pears, etc., and in the tropics, lychies, mangosteens, etc. In regard to the mangosteens we must not forget that, while the bark is given because of the amount of tannin it contains, the composition of the pulp is very different. The fruit acids seem to exercise great influence in the cure of this obstinate disease and I do not hesitate to recommend for this purpose the camia and the ripe balimbin.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A tree much like the former. Leaves odd-pinnate.
Leaflets, 3–4 pairs, obliquely ovate, acute, the terminal leaflet nearly lanceolate.
Flowers on the trunk, branches and in the axils of the leaves. Fruit oblong, with 5 very prominent acute-angled ribs.
HABITAT.—It grows, like the former plant, in all parts of the islands.
© Copyright 2020 Qouh - All Rights Reserved