USES.—The powdered wood made into a paste with water is undoubtedly a useful application in acute dermatitis, especially that due to contact with the caustic oleo-resin of the cashew nut (Anacardium). A decoction of the powder gives good results as a gargle for aphthæ, gingivitis, and other inflammations within the buccal cavity. In India they give internally 6–12 grams as a vermifuge, and for dyspepsia with “heartburn.” The flowers are diuretic according to Endlicher; the bark is astringent; the leaves and the seeds are purgative, the latter yielding an oil which they use in India to stimulate the growth of the hair. Gibson considers the seeds diuretic and quotes two cases where abundant diuresis immediately followed by the application of a poultice of the bruised seeds over the pubis. In Concan they make a sort of extract from the wood and apply it to the yoke sores of the cattle to prevent the growth of maggots. This disinfectant action marks the plant as worthy of further experiment.
Rumphius is authority for the statement that the infusion of the leaves is used in cholera. The Chinese make vessels of the wood to preserve their drinking water at sea; the first and second waters are bitter and are thrown away, but after that the water has no disagreeable taste and is said to aid digestion.
It has been said that the wood was poisonous because at one time several workmen died from the effects of wounds caused by splinters of the wood, but the statement has not been confirmed by later cases and the deaths were most probably due to a septic infection independent of the chemical composition of the splinters.
R. Romanis has extracted a resin from the wood by alcohol; it is soft, and on distillation yields a crystalline body called by the author tectoquinon (C18H10O2), on account of its resemblance to the quinons. It melts at 171° and volatilizes slightly at ordinary temperature.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A tree with leaves almost round, oval, entire, 30–60 centimeters by 20–40, the under surface covered with hoary down. Petioles very short, flattened. Flowers in panicles. Primary peduncle square. Calyx inferior, bell-shaped, very large when ripe, 5-cleft. Corolla white, longer than calyx, covered with a mealy substance, bell-shaped, 5-lobed. Stamens 5 or 6, inserted in the corolla. Filaments flattened, somewhat longer than the corolla. Anthers semi-globose, a yellow zone below and a black circle above. Ovary free, rounded, 4 locules each with 1 seed. Style same length as stamens. Stigma bilobulate. Drupe globose, woolly, spongy, depressed, covered by the membranous inflated calyx; contains one nut, very hard, 4 apartments each containing one seed.
HABITAT.—The mountains of Morong and Tanay (of La Laguna Province) bear some specimens. Very common in the island of Negros and in Mindanao. It also grows in the Visayas, Mindora and Paragua. Blooms in September.
Lippia nodiflora, Rich. (Verbena nodiflora, L.; V. capitata, Blanco.) NOM. VULG.—Tsatsatsatsahan, Chachachachahan, Tag.
USES.—The Filipinos drink an infusion of the leaves in place of tea, the long Tagalog name meaning “resembling tea.” In India they drink the hot infusion to aid digestion. In some places the decoction of the leaves is given internally as an emollient and diuretic for gonorrhoea.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A small plant with creeping stem taking root where it touches the ground, obscurely angular, covered with short down. Leaves opposite, smooth, clasping the stem, inversely ovate, serrate only above, slightly downy. Flowers white, slightly purplish, axillary on a common peduncle, in a rough conical head. Corolla somewhat bowed, funnel-form, gaping, throat narrow, limb 4-lobed, one lobe shorter than the rest. Stamens 4, 2 longer.
Filament almost wanting. Anthers 4, fertile. Ovary superior, style very short.
Stigma semi-globose. Fruit, 2 seeds covered by the pellicle of the ovary.
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