USES.—The plant has astringent and diuretic properties; the latter were observed by Dr. Cornish, who communicated the facts to Waring, calling special attention to the good service the drug had afforded him in dropsy. Other physicians in India have confirmed these observations of Cornish. The decoction is made of 60 grams of the entire plant to 750 cc. water, boiled till reduced one-half and strained under pressure. Dose, 60 cc. every 2 hours till diuresis is induced.
The ashes of this plant, like those of the Amaranthus spinosus, L., contain a large quantity of potassa, and are used for washing clothes; on this account it has received its Sanscrit name Apamarga (the washer). The ashes are also mixed in an infusion of ginger and given internally in dropsy.
The flowers are bruised and applied to the bites of snakes and other poisonous animals. In India there is a superstition that carrying these flowers about the person will keep off scorpions.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A plant about 3° high, the stem angular and downy.
Leaves opposite, downy, clasping the stem, lanceolate, very obtuse and wavy.
Flowers bent downward in a long spike bearing many flowerets. Calyx, 5 tough scales. Corolla wanting. Nectary much smaller than the calyx, monophyllous, 5- lobed. Stamens 5. Ovary top-shaped, upper part somewhat concave. Style same length as stamens. Stigma coarse, bifid. Fruit, a seed covered with 2 membranes, one enveloping it completely, the outer one adherent in only one part.
HABITAT.—Common in Luzon. Blooms in November.
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