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Meliace

The root was official in the U. S. P., 1880, as an anthelmintic

Melia Family.

Melia Azedarach, L.

NOM. VULG.—Paraiso (Paradise), Sp.-Fil.; Pride of India, China Tree, Eng.

USES.—The root was official in the U. S. P., 1880, as an anthelmintic; it is administered in the following form: Fresh root bark 120 grams.

Water 1 liter.

Boil till reduced one half.

DOSE.—For a child 1 soup-spoonful every 15 minutes till nausea is produced.

In view of the narcotic effects produced by this drug, the foregoing method of administration seems to us imprudent; we prefer to give 30–70 grams of the decoction and follow with a purgative such as castor oil.

This drug is also tonic, febrifuge and astringent, and a decoction of its leaves and flowers is used as a wash for ulcers. Some believe that the leaves and fruit contain toxic principles, which may well be true considering the effects of large doses of their preparations. It has also been observed that the bark collected in March and April may cause dilatation of the pupil, stupor, etc.; this may be explained by the fact that at this season the sap is rising in the tree and the bark contains an increased amount of active ingredients.

The fruit yields a fixed oil, and by fermentation and distillation produces alcohol.

The root bark referred to is bitter and nauseous, if taken from the superficial roots—the part usually employed; the bark of the deeper parts is astringent by virtue of the contained tannin.

Jacobs analyzed the bark and isolated an amorphous resin of yellowish color and very bitter taste. It is soluble in alcohol, ether and chloroform, slightly soluble in sulphuret of carbon, insoluble in turpentine or benzin. He believes that it is the active principle of the root, and produces the anthelmintic action already mentioned: the proper dose is 0.20 centigrams to a child of 4 years, followed by a purge of calomel.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A tree, 30–40° high, with leaves alternate, compound, odd-pinnate; leaflets opposite, ovate, pointed, dentate. Flowers in large axillary compound panicles. Calyx, 5 sepals. Corolla, 5 petals, rose-colored within, lilaccolored without. Stamens 10, united into a cylindrical tube, expanded at both ends, the mouth 15-toothed. Anthers inserted near the apex of the tube, short, fleshy, bilocular. Ovary free, of 5 biovuled cells. Style of equal length with the tube. Stigma button-shaped. Fruit a drupe, about the size of a small olive, yellow when ripe, with a dark brown pit of 5 one-seeded cells.

HABITAT.—Native of China; is cultivated in most gardens in the Philippines.

Dysoxylum Blancoi, Vidal. (D. salutare, F. Villar; Turroca virens, Blanco.) NOM. VULG.—Igiw, Agiw, Taliatan, Tag.; Ananag̃tag̃, Bakugan, Makasili, Vis.; Malabag̃aw, Pam.; Basiloag, Iloc.

USES.—The bark of the trunk, dry and finely powdered, is used in doses of 1½– 2½ grams as an emetic, and, according to Padre Blanco, its effect is very certain.

It is also a febrifuge, and Padre Mercado states that it cures “all forms of asthma, suffocative affections of the chest, and griping pains of the belly.” He also states that it yields marvelous results in malarial fevers, given during the cold stage in doses of 4–8 grams in water or wine in which it has macerated 12 hours. He also recommends its use before breakfast as an anthelmintic in lumbricoids, and finally attributes to it virtues as an emmenagogue.

Padre Blanco calls attention to the species D. schizochitoides, Turcz. (Turroea octandra, Blanco), Himamaw, Tag., as a substitute for D. Blancoi.

The Tagalo “herb-doctors” pretend that the part of the bark near the earth is doubly efficacious, for which reason they administer only that portion which is within one meter of the ground, giving it in the doses already mentioned.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—Tree 16–20 meters high. Leaves glabrous, odd-pinnate, petioles very long; leaflets entire, opposite, short-petiolate, acute, oblique at the base. Flowers in axillary panicles. Calyx, 5 imbricated sepals. Corolla, 5 linear, lanceolate petals united at the base. Staminal tube, 10-toothed and 10-anthered.

Ovary 5-celled, each cell containing two ovules. Style somewhat longer than the stamens. Stigma thick and depressed. Seed vessel globose, depressed, somewhat downy, 5-angled; with 5 compartments each containing 2 seeds.

HABITAT.—Batangas and Laguna.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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