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Terminalia Chebula

The ripe fruit, called myrobalans in India, is purgative and six of them pounded up and given in decoction operate with certainty

NOM. VULG.—Dig̃las, Diglas, Tag.; Black Myrobalan Tree, Indo-Eng.

USES.—The ripe fruit, called myrobalans in India, is purgative and six of them pounded up and given in decoction operate with certainty, producing 4 or 5 copious evacuations without nausea or other disagreeable symptoms. Dr. Waring has experimented with them and recommends them highly. The taste may be made more agreeable by adding a little cinnamon to the decoction. Dymock states that three fruits are sufficient, and Dr. Hove gives one as the effective dose. This lack of agreement may be explained by the fact that the fruits are of different sizes, and probably Waring refers to those of medium size. Contrary to what one would imagine, judging from its purgative action, the fruit contains astringent principles, and makes an effective injection for leucorrhoea as a substitute for nut galls. It is also of some merit in the treatment of piles.

The green fruit is highly esteemed by Radja Kalikesen as a carminative, tonic and purgative. Dr. Twining also mentions these same properties, recommends it as a tonic and aperient of great benefit in atony of the digestive organs and expresses surprise that the Europeans make no use of it. According to the same author a dose in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery is 4 grams twice a day.

He quotes a case of hypertrophy of the spleen which he cured with this fruit.

Some of the leaves bear horn-shaped galls, flattened, narrow and hollow. They are caused by an insect which stings the leaves and deposits its eggs in them.

These leaves with galls are astringent and very useful and effective in dysentery and diarrhoea, especially that of children. The dose for a child of more than one year is 0.40 to 0.50 gram a day, administered in fractional doses every two or three hours.

Fridolin has obtained from its fruit an acid, which he calls chebulinic (C28H25O10) and presumes to be a mixture of tannic and gallic acids. As Stenhouse had formerly indicated, no principle has been discovered to which the purgative properties can be attributed, unless it be a green oleo-resin turned red by nitric acid, obtained from the fruit by Apery.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A tree of the second order, with leaves 3′ long, alternate, lanceolate, entire and glabrous. Petioles short. Flowers terminal, in spiked panicles. Calyx superior, bell-shaped, colored, downy within, 5-toothed.

Corolla wanting. Stamens 10, longer than the calyx. Anthers roundish. Ovary cylindrical. Style curved and longer than the stamens. Stigma simple. Fruit ovoid, 2–4 centimeters long, 5–10 acute angles, wrinkled, with blackish, hard, compact mesocarp; contains 1 seed.

HABITAT.—Batangas, San Mateo. Blooms in May.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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