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Plantago Erosa

The leaves of this popular plant are the commonest remedy in the Philippines for abscess of the gums

USES.—The leaves of this popular plant are the commonest remedy in the Philippines for abscess of the gums. They are bruised and applied with a little lard over the swollen cheek. It is emollient and, in decoction, is used as a substitute for flaxseed.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—This plant is so universally known that there is no fear of confusing it with others. It flourishes as a common weed in the U. S. as well as the Philippines.

Nyctaginaceæ.

Four-O’Clock Family.

Mirabilis Jalapa, L. (M. longiflora, Blanco.) NOM. VULG.—Maravillas, Suspiros, Sp.-Fil.; Gilalas, Tag.; Four O’Clock, Marvel of Peru, Eng.

USES.—The root is purgative and possesses the same active principles, the same properties and is given in the same dose as jalap. According to the experience of Shoolbred, Hunter, W. O’Shaughnessy and Ainslie, its purgative action is weak and uncertain and therefore unworthy of use as a substitute for jalap. The bruised leaves are used as poultices to hasten suppuration, but according to Waring they are capable of causing dermatitis.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—The flowers open toward the end of the day and close again at sunrise. The root is blackish and spindle-shaped. The stem smooth, branches forked. Leaves opposite, lanceolate-cordate, acute, somewhat downy along the borders and the upper surface. Petioles short. Flowers fragrant, almost constantly blooming, of different colors even in the same plant, terminal, in umbels. Pedicels very short. Calyx persistent, 5-toothed. Corolla superior, very long, its tube downy, funnel-form, limb 5-lobed. Stamens 5, longer than the corolla. Style longer than the stamens. Stigma globose. Nut small, black, globose, many-ribbed, full of a mealy substance.

HABITAT.—Common in gardens.

Amaranthaceæ.

Amaranth Family.

Amaranthus spinosus, L.

NOM. VULG.—Kilitis, Orayi, Tag.; Ayantoto, Pam.; Kalitis, Tilites, Bayag̃-bayag̃, Vis.; Kuanton, Iloc.; Thorny Amaranth, Eng.

USES.—The entire plant is emollient and its principal use is as a poultice for inflammations, bruises, etc. The decoction of the root is diuretic and antiphlogistic and is used in Mauritius (30 grams root to 750 cc. water) as an internal remedy for gonorrhoea; indeed it is there regarded as a specific for that disease, checking the discharge and the “ardor urinæ.” It should be continued till the cure is complete.

The bruised leaves are used locally for eczema.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A plant 2–3° high of a reddish color. Leaves alternate, lanceolate, broad, notched at the apex, wavy, glabrous. Petioles with a pair of spines in their axils. Flowers small, yellow-green, in round axillary clusters and in long terminal spikes. The pistillate flowers are sometimes separated from the staminate, sometimes mixed with them in the lower part of the spike. Staminate: No corolla, calyx 2–5 parts, stamens 4–5. Pistillate: Style and stigma 2 or 3, otherwise the same as the staminate. Seed vessel with 1 seed.

HABITAT.—Common in all parts. Blooms in October.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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