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Csalpinia Sappan

The decoction of Sibukao is given in hemorrhages, especially of the lungs

NOM. VULG.—Sibukao, Sapag, Tag.; Palo del Brasil, Sp.; Sappan Wood, Eng.

USES.—The decoction of Sibukao is given in hemorrhages, especially of the lungs. It is probably the red color of this decoction which originated the idea of giving it to check bleeding, and this is the practice of the native Filipino doctors, as well as of the Arabs and Hindoos. The natives of Cochin China, reasoning in an opposite manner, prescribe it as emmenagogue. Some authors recommend Sibukao as a substitute for logwood. The decoction is administered in chronic diarrhoea, especially that of children. A few cases of phlebitis have been reported as occasioned by its use. The extract is made as follows: Sibukao in small pieces 500 grams.

Boiling water 4½ liters.

Macerate for 24 hours, boil until reduced by half, filter and evaporate the filtrate to a syrupy consistency. Do not use iron vessels.

Sibukao contains much tannin and gallic acid, and a peculiar substance which distinguishes it from logwood, brasilin (C22H20O7), which gives a red color to alkaline solutions instead of blue or purple. It is a crystalline pigment which may be considered a compound of hematoxylon and fenol.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A very common tree, 12–15° high, with spiny trunk, leaves twice abruptly pinnate. Leaflets linear, notched at the apex. Flowers racemose. Calyx boat-shaped. Corolla, 5 petals, the uppermost broad, short, spotted red. Stigma bifid. Pod sabre-like, woody, with 3–4 seeds separated by partitions. The wood is well known everywhere in the Philippines, being a very important article of commerce, and there is no fear of logwood being substituted for it, as the latter is more expensive, and substitutions are not ordinarily made under such circumstances. In commerce it occurs in large pieces of all shapes and forms, since the branches and trunks are cut into pieces which vary from 1/2–2 meters in length. Its color is reddish-yellow or white with more or less red grain. Blooms in September.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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