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Leguminos

The use made of the mashed bark of this tree is well known throughout the Philippines.

Mimosa Division.

Entada scandens, Benth. (E. Pursoetha, DC. and Blanco.) NOM. VULG.—Gogo, Tag.; Bayogo, Balogo, Gohog̃ bakay, Vis. and Pam.; Gilla Nuts, Indo-Eng.

USES.—The use made of the mashed bark of this tree is well known throughout the Philippines. Cut in strips and beaten thoroughly between stones it is sold under the name of “gogo”; it is macerated in water, to which it imparts a reddish color, and forms a substitute for soap. The Filipinos use this preparation for bathing, especially the hair, for which purpose there is no more useful or simple preparation. It cures pityriasis, and renders the hair very soft, without drying it too much as is usually the case with soap. The natives use it in treating the itch, washing the affected parts with the maceration and at the same time briskly rubbing them with the bark; in this way they remove the crusts that shield the acari. The treatment is successful in direct proportion to the energy of rubbing.

The seeds of “gogo” are very large, lenticular, flattened, 3–4 centimeters in diameter. Their chemical composition has been studied by Pettit. Alcohol dissolves the active principle, perhaps a glucoside, the study of which the author has not completed. Five centigrams of this substance administered to a guineapig causes paralysis of the hind quarters without any apparent inflammation. He also found saponin in the seeds, but it exists in much greater quantity in the trunk. In the Sunda Islands they eat the seeds roasted and also extract from them an illuminating oil.

The maceration of gogo is emetic and purgative; it is used in the treatment of asthma; it is exceedingly irritating, the slightest quantity that enters the eye causing severe smarting and a slight conjunctivitis for one or two days.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A high climbing shrub with stem as much as 7–8′ in diameter. Leaves opposite, twice abruptly pinnate, a stylet replacing the terminal leaflet; 5 pairs of elliptical leaflets, entire, glabrous and notched at the apex.

Common petiole with 2 stipules at the base. Flowers in delicate spikes. Calyx obliquely truncate, 5-toothed. Corolla, 5 oval petals much larger than the calyx.

Stamens 10–13. Filaments longer than the corolla. Anther with 1–2 white, globose glandules. Pod woody, 4–6° long by “4 fingers” broad, with large notches on the borders, many compartments containing many large, compressed, circular seeds with dark-colored testa, 3–4 centimeters in diameter.

HABITAT.—Mountains of Luzon and Panay. Blooms in May.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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