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Morinda Citrifolia

In the Philippines, as well as in India, the root of the plant is widely used as a red dye.

USES.—In the Philippines, as well as in India, the root of the plant is widely used as a red dye. As a medicine the Tamul physicians use it in decoction to treat diarrhoea and dysentery. The fruit is emmenagogue and perhaps aperient. In Bombay the mashed leaves are applied to wounds and ulcers to hasten cicatrization; they also use the decoction internally as a febrifuge and tonic, 10 grams to 500 of water, a wineglassful twice a day.

The root bark contains a crystalline substance called by Anderson morindin, C28H30O15. It is a glucoside and exists in the form of yellow needles, soluble in alcohol and in cold water, insoluble in ether; dissolves in alkalies producing an orange-red color.

There is another species, M. tinctoria, Roxb.; M. Royoc, Blanco, called in Tagalog Tumboug̃ aso kapay, the roots of which are used by the Filipinos for the same purposes as the leaves of the former species; the dose, 8 grams a day. The powder is also applied to ulcers and sores, especially those of gangrenous aspect.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A small tree 11 or more feet high, branches opposite, quadrate at the extremities. Leaves opposite, oval, oblong, smooth, entire, glabrous. Petioles very short, with 2 broad, lanceolate stipules curved outward.

Flowers white, opposite the leaves, fixed on globose, solitary receptacles from which spring the flowerets. Calyx proper, very short, monophyllous, a lanceolate leaflet springing from the border. Corolla tubular, woolly inside about the middle, with 5 lobules. Stamens 5, inserted on the walls of the corolla. Anthers thin, incumbent. Pistil somewhat longer than the corolla. Stigma cleft in 2 laminæ. Fruit: the receptacle of the flowerets ripens to a globe bristling with the remains of the calyces, like a berry covered with many smaller ones, each containing 2 monospermous, quadrangular seeds.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

Tags: Medical plants, Medicine, healing, Injuries, Doctors,

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