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Cassia Occidentalis

In Brazil they use an infusion of the root as a tonic and diuretic, 4 grams of the root bark and 180 of boiling water to be taken in one day.

NOM. VULG.—Tighiman, Balotag̃aso, Tag.; Tambalisa, Vis.; Western Senna, Styptic Weed, Eng.; Negro Coffee, Indo-Eng.

USES.—In Brazil they use an infusion of the root as a tonic and diuretic, 4 grams of the root bark and 180 of boiling water to be taken in one day. In Dahomey the leaves are used as a febrifuge. Thirty grams of fresh leaves are boiled in 300 grams of water till the liquid is reduced to 250 grams. The patient takes this decoction hot the first day of the fever and a profuse perspiration promptly breaks out. As a rule the effect is immediate and the fever does not recur. This treatment of fevers is more common in that country than that by quinine and they claim that it has the advantage over the latter of acting as a stomachic tonic. By adding a small quantity of the roots to the decoction it is rendered diuretic. The seeds possess the same properties and are used in decoctions of 30 grams to 300 of water. According to De Lanesan the roasted seeds are used in La Réunion in infusion similar to coffee in the treatment of gastralgia and asthma. In some countries they mix them with coffee just as chicory is used in Europe.

Heckel and Schlagdenhauffen have made a very complete study of the plant and we quote the following from their works: Chemical composition of the seeds.— Water 8.850 Fats and pigments soluble in petroleum ether 1.600 Fats and pigments soluble in chloroform 1.150 Odorous material and traces of tannin 5.022 Glucose 0.738 Gummy, mucilaginous and pectic matter 15.734 Soluble albuminoids and aleuron 6.536 Cellulose 7.434 Insoluble albuminose 2.216 Lignose 32.727 Fixed salts 17.976 Lost material .017 100.000 Previous to the studies of the above authors the seeds had been therapeutically tested by Delioux de Savignac and Professor Clouet. Heckel and Schlagdenhauffen have confirmed the febrifuge virtues of the seeds and are uncertain as to the active principle since they found no glucoside or alkaloid in their analysis. The antiperiodic properties are comparable with those of quinine and have even proved effective in some cases in which quinine failed. It seems quite clear that the tannin is the active principle which is the more probable because its anti-periodic virtues are now recognized by all therapeutists.

It is given in maceration or infusion, 2–15 grams of the seeds to 3 or 400 of water to be taken several times a day. The treatment causes no very marked physiological effects. It seems to act as a sedative to the nervous system.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—An annual plant, .60–1 meter high. Root central with lateral rootlets. Stem straight, ramose. Leaves opposite, abruptly pinnate with a stylet in place of the odd leaflet. Leaflets, 5–6 pairs, the lower ones smaller, ovate, oblong, margins and lower face downy. Common petiole swollen at the base, 2 stipules and 1 glandule. Calyx, 5 unequal sepals. Corolla, 5 nearly equal petals, sulphur yellow, concave, the posterior one further developed. Two verticils of 5 stamens each. Of the 5 stamens superior to the sepals, 2 are fertile, larger and arched; of the other 5 stamens 4 are fertile and small. Pod compressed, linear, smooth, 5′ long, containing many compressed, heart-shaped seeds, separated by thin partitions.

HABITAT.—Common in Luzon. Blooms in October.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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