USES.—We are ignorant of the uses the Filipinos make of this plant. It is official in the Pharmacopoeia of India, the dry powdered leaf being the part employed, and its emetic, diaphoretic and expectorant properties are well known in that country. Roxburgh has used the root as an emetic and Anderson has employed it in the same manner as ipecac in dysentery. Later the experience of Anderson was confirmed by O’Shaughnessy; though in place of the root he used the leaf, the properties of which he regards as more certain and uniform.
Dr. J. Kirkpatrick has noted that the juice of the root and its powder are used by the natives of Mysore as an emetic, and adds that he himself has used it for that purpose in a thousand cases with good results. In its effect on dysentery as well as in its emetic effect it resembles ipecacuanha. He used the powder in doses of 1.20–1.80 gr., to which he added 3–6 centigrams of tartar emetic when he desired to obtain an energetic emetic action. Like O’Shaughnessy he prefers the powdered leaves. He considers it a good substitute for ipecac, not only as an emetic, but as a remedy in asthma, dysentery and catarrhal affections; Drs.
Oswald and Mooden Sheriff have made the same observations. The latter advises the administration of the juice of the plant for snake bites till vomiting is produced; then follow with diffusible stimulants.
The emetic dose of the powdered leaves is 1.20–1.80 grams, the expectorant and diaphoretic dose 10–30 centigrams. The concentrated infusion of the leaves has an acrid taste. Tannic acid, the neutral acetate of lead and caustic potash produce with it an abundant precipitate; the perchloride of iron colors it a dark green.
Broughton, of Ootaemund (India), informed Hanbury and Flückiger, from whom we quote, that in 1872 he obtained a very small quantity of crystals from a large quantity of leaves. He had not enough to make an analysis, but injected a solution of the crystals into a dog with resulting vomiting and diarrhoea.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A vigorous plant with scandent stem 2–4 meters long, the more recent growth woolly. Leaves opposite, entire, 5–12 centimeters long and 2–6 broad, oval or rounded. Petiole striated and short. Flowers in umbelliferous cymes, compound, axillary, solitary and alternate, with woolly peduncles; hermaphrodite, regular, small, of a pale green color inside and a light purple outside. Calyx gamosepalous, with 5 lobules. Corolla gamopetalous, 5 oval, twisted lobules. Staminal crown composed of 5 fleshy scales, joined to the staminal tube. Stamens 5, inserted on the throat of the corolla, filaments joined to form a very short tube with anthers straight, short and crowned by a membranous bilocular appendix. The gynoecium consists of 2 unilocular ovaries each containing an indefinite number of ovules. Style with a pentagonal stigma which bears in each angle a glandular body. Fruits compound with two separate follicles, large, lanceolate, smooth, 8–10 centimeters long and 5 in circumference. Each encloses a seed, hairy, albuminous with straight embryo and flattened cotyledons.
HABITAT.—Mountains of San Mateo.
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