NOM. VULG.—Probably the same as T. anguina.
USES.—The fruit of T. anguina is purgative, emetic and anthelmintic. The natives use an infusion of the filamentous, reticulate portion surrounding the seeds, in doses of 0.50–0.60 gm., according to P. Blanco.
The second species, T. cucumerina, has a wider use. In India it is regarded as a febrifuge and laxative and is commonly given with some aromatic. Ainslie notes that the leaves, as well as the fruit, are bitter and purgative and that the Tamuls use them for their laxative and stomachic effect. Drury states that on the Malabar coast the seeds have a considerable reputation as a remedy for functional disorders of the stomach. Although the green fruit is very bitter the natives of that region use it as a condiment. The tender stems and the dry capsules, both bitter and purgative, are given in infusion and in a sweetened solution, as an aid to digestion. The seeds are febrifuge and anthelmintic. The juice of the leaves is emetic and that of the roots purgative. The decoction of the stem is expectorant.
In Bombay the plant is considered febrifuge, and is given in decoction with ginger, Swertia chirata, and sugar. The Mohammedan authors say that the T.
cucumerina is effective in expelling lumbricoids and one of them mentions the following as a cure for stubborn fevers: Seeds of T. cucumerina No. 180.
Seeds of coriander or cumin No. 180.
Boiling water 200 grams.
Let stand over night, filter, add a little sugar, administer in 2 doses morning and evening.
In Concan they use the juice of the leaves as a liniment in remittent fevers, rubbing the hepatic region and in fact the entire body.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—T. anguina, L., is a vine with 5-angled stem, bearing tendrils and spattered with white dots. Leaves heart-shaped, with 5 acute lobules, spiny-toothed. Petioles with a bifid swelling at their bases. Flowers white, monoecious. Staminate: calyx 5-toothed with dotted borders; corolla, 5 fringed petals; stamens 3; anthers 3, entirely united and forming a cylinder. Pistillate: 3 glandules in the corolla tube; style long; stigmas 3. Fruit ribbed, long, the compartments formed by reticular partitions; contains many irregular seeds, one border sharp, the other obtuse, covered by a very thin aril.
The T. cucumerina, L., is less common, bears a spindle-shaped or obovate fruit, is hairy and lacks ribs. Its seeds are ovoid, very smooth, encircled by a narrow wing. The reticulum within the fruit is similar to that of the foregoing species.
HABITAT.—Common in all parts of the islands. Blooms in October.
Lagenaria vulgaris, Ser.
NOM. VULG.—Common Gourd, Bottle Gourd, Calabash, Eng.
Var. Lagenaria Gourda, Ser. (Cucurbita lagenaria oblonga, Blanco.) NOM. VULG.—Calabaza de peregrino, Sp.; Pilgrim’s Gourd, Eng.
Var. L. courgourda, Ser.
NOM. VULG.—Tabayag, Tag.
Var. L. clavata, Ser. (C. lagenaria villosa, Blanco.) NOM. VULG.—Calabaza blanca, Sp.; Opo, Tag.; White Gourd, Eng.
USES.—The three above-mentioned varieties of L. vulgaris, Ser., are commonly grouped under the name calabaza (gourd). All have the same action and hence the same therapeutic application. The green portion of the rind is bitter and possesses purgative and emetic properties. The decoction of the tender shoots is expectorant; in addition it appears to possess purgative properties and in India is used in jaundice.
The part of the plant most generally used is the seeds, the tænifuge properties of which are well known. Its action, however, is not always certain, which may be as truly said of all other known tænifuges. The seeds have the advantage of lacking the disgusting taste characteristic of other remedies of the same class; the taste is almost neutral and a little sugar conceals it completely. The dose is unlimited; some take 15 grams, others as high as 100, and no unpleasant symptoms of any kind have been reported. The only precaution to be observed is to give the patient a purgative 1–2 hours after his dose.
Heckel has analyzed the seeds and found a resin which he calls pepo-resina; it exists in the greenish pellicle that envelopes the embryo and appears to be the active principle of the seeds. Its dose is 0.80–1.00 gram (Dujardin-Beaumetz), the product of 250 grams of the seeds. The dose of 100 grams of the seeds mentioned above is very small, if the pepo-resin represents the entire active principle, for 100 grams of the seeds would only contain about 40 centigrams.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A very familiar vine, clammy, pubescent and muskscented; large leaves, long-stalked flowers, white petals, greenish veiny fruit usually club-shaped or enlarged at the apex, the hard rind used for vessels, dippers, and so forth. It is noteworthy that none of the tænifuge varieties mentioned bears yellow fruit.
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