NOM. VULG.—Kolokantig̃, Pakingag̃, Tag.; Kolokatig̃, Vis.; Butterfly-pea, Eng.
USES.—The pounded seeds mixed with oil are used locally for painful joints.
They possess purgative and emetic properties and Dr. J. Shartt has employed a mixture of the powdered roasted seeds, 8 grams, with double the quantity of acid tartrate of potassium. Its action is gentle, but sure. The alcoholic extract of the root, a soft, brown, resinous substance with an odor recalling that of jalap, is a very active cathartic, producing sharp effects in doses of 30–60 centigrams; in fact it produces such severe tenesmus that its use in such doses should not be recommended.
The root bark is used internally in an infusion (4–8 grams to 1 liter of water) as an emollient in irritability of the bladder and urethra and has been recommended for such a purpose by Mooden Sheriff. It is a diuretic which frequently acts as a purgative, a fact that is not surprising in view of the above-mentioned properties of the alcoholic extract.
The roasted seeds used as a purgative are so trustworthy that they deserve the further attention of physicians.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A vine very well known by its blue flowers. Leaves alternate with 3 pairs of oval leaflets. Stipules persistent. Flowers axillary, solitary, 1–1½′ in long diameter. Calyx in 5 acute divisions, the two upper ones smaller. Corolla papilionaceous. Standard open, notched at the end. Keel shorter than the wings and covered by them. Stamens 10, 9 united and 1 free. Stigma downy, thick. Pod full of short hairs, with more than 6 surrounded with a towlike substance, reniform, with black spots.
HABITAT.—Common along the roads and in gardens. Flowers in July and November.
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