USES.—This plant seems to possess anthelmintic properties and for this purpose it is administered in powder, 2–4 grams with a little molasses or syrup. It is bitter and aromatic and is given in diseases of the stomach and intestines for its tonic and stimulant effect. The odor of the drug is transmitted to both urine and sweat.
In India it is used in “bilious diseases” and to dissipate all sorts of tumors. The Hindoos cook it with flour, lard and sugar and eat the mixture as a tonic and to prevent gray hair and baldness. They also give the seed, fried in oil, as an aphrodisiac. The aqueous distillate is a good preparation as it contains the active principle of the plant, a yellow, viscid, essential oil.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A plant about 1° high, stem and branches bearing 3 serrate wings. Leaves premorse, lanceolate, decurrent, downy. Flowers white, in a globose head, divided into 50 or more groups each with its own calyx of 9 or 10 leaflets surrounding 2 or 3 hermaphrodite, 5-toothed, campanulate flowers.
Anthers 5, united. Style 1, thick at extremity. Stigma none. Corolla of pistillate flowers very minute, with 3 obscure teeth. Stigma of 2 down-curved divisions.
One seed, 4-angled, imbricated.
HABITAT.—The rice fields. Blooms in January.
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