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Garcinia Morella

NOM. VULG.—I do not know the name given by the Filipinos to this tree, which Vidal and Soler have seen in Montalván

NOM. VULG.—I do not know the name given by the Filipinos to this tree, which Vidal and Soler have seen in Montalván, Tiwi (Albay) and San Mateo (Province of Manila); but it is highly important in medicine as the true gamboge is obtained from it. Gamboge Tree, Eng.

The Gamboge of the U. S. P. and B. P. is obtained from G. Hanburii which differs somewhat botanically from G. morella.

USES.—All parts of the plant contain a thick, yellow, milky juice which constitutes the gamboge. In Malabar, Ceylon, Canara and Singapore the following method of extraction is followed: At the beginning of the rainy season a spiral incision is made around the bark of about half the tree trunk, and a piece of bamboo is fixed in place to collect the juice which slowly exudes from the cut for several months, soon becoming viscid and then solid after contact with the air. One tree, as a rule, yields enough sap to fill three internodal segments of bamboo, each 50 cm. long by 3–5 cm. in diameter.

Gamboge is a laxative in doses of 10–15 cgm., produces abundant evacuations with violent colicky pains in doses of 30–50 cgm., and is an irritant poison in large doses. In other words it is a highly energetic hydragogue cathartic, especially indicated when we wish to drain off the fluid element of the blood, as in dropsy, asthma, pulmonary and cerebral congestion. It is also used as a vermifuge.

It is rarely given alone, but is combined with calomel, aloes, jalap, rhubarb, etc.

It is official in all pharmacopoeias.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A tree 10–20 meters high, with leaves opposite, elliptical, lanceolate, narrowed at both extremities, acuminate, entire, coriaceous, glabrous, 10–12 cm. long by 3–4 cm. broad, with short petioles. Flowers dioecious. Male flower axillary, solitary or in groups of 3–6, pedunculate with small bracts. Calyx, 4 sepals. Corolla, 4 petals, orbicular, thick, fleshy. Stamens 30–40, sessile, adherent at the base. Anthers unilocular. Female flower sessile, solitary, axillary, larger than the male; calyx and corolla equal; staminodia 20– 30, jointed at the base, forming a membranous corolla from the upper edge of which spring a few short filaments which support each a suboval sterile anther.

The ovary is superior and almost spherical, with 4 cells each containing 1 ovule.

The fruit, almost spherical, is 2½ cm. in diameter, corticate, bearing at its base the persistent calyx; each of its 4 cells contains a seed.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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