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Plumeria Acutifolia

This tree, beloved for its fragrant flowers, has a wide therapeutic use in India and the Philippines

USES.—This tree, beloved for its fragrant flowers, has a wide therapeutic use in India and the Philippines. The bark is a bitter hydragogue cathartic and is given in decoction (5–10 grams to 200 water) principally for dropsy; however the milky juice of the trunk is preferable for this purpose, given in emulsion in doses of 0.50–0.80 grams. The bark and the tips of the branches are given as an emmenagogue.

The bark of the root and of the trunk is an excellent remedy for blenorrhagia.

The fresh bark is thoroughly comminuted and mixed with sweetened water in the proportion of 60 grams to 4 liters; this mixture is put in the sun for 4 days, and shaken from time to time. It is then strained and given in doses of 4–5 glassfuls a day, at the same time with refreshing and emollient drinks, and prolonged tepid baths. At first this preparation exerts a purgative action, but later acts upon the urinary organs, rapidly lessening the suppurative process in urethritis. The bark may also be associated with wine or beer, in the proportion of 30 grains to the liter, the dose being 2–4 small cupfuls a day and Dr. Grosourdy employs the extract of the bark in doses aggregating 0.20–0.25 gram a day, gradually increased till at the end of a week 6 grams are taken daily (Dr. J. Amadeo).

The bruised leaves are applied locally to contusions to reduce the swelling. The juice is used externally as a rubefacient in rheumatic affections of the joints. In Concan they use a decoction of the root for diarrhoea. The flower buds are chewed with buyo, for intermittent fever and the juice is applied locally for itch.

Peckolt and Geuther isolated from the bark the glucoside, agoniadin (C10H14O6), which crystallizes in silky crystals fusible at 155°, slightly soluble in water, alcohol, bisulphuret of carbon, ether and benzine; soluble in nitric or sulphuric acids. In solution it is a golden yellow soon changing to green. Boiled in a dilute acid it splits into glucose and an undetermined substance. Oudeman obtained plumieric acid (C10H10O5) from the milky juice deprived of its resin; the acid exists as microscopic, needle-like crystals, soluble in boiling water, alcohol and ether. It melts and decomposes at 130°.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A tree, 12–18° high, commonly cultivated for ornament, well known in the islands, almost constantly bearing fragrant flowers, but rarely bearing fruit. Branches forked and peculiarly stumpy at the ends.

Leaves alternate, broad lanceolate, entire, glabrous, the apices curved downward.

Petioles short. Flowers creamy white, light yellow in the throat. Calyx 5-toothed.

Corolla twisted, funnel-form, 5-lobed. Stamens 5, hidden in depths of the tube.

Anthers dart- or arrow-formed. Style very short, thickened above. Stigma 2- parted. Two horizontal, cylindrical and long follicles joined at their bases, with numerous seeds in hollow receptacles, each seed encircled by a wing.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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