USES.—This plant is a native of Mexico. It has a peculiar, somewhat offensive odor and an acrid, aromatic taste due to an essential oil resembling peppermint (?). According to Padre Mercado, “When the seeds are taken with wine, sensation is so dulled that the drinker may be whipped without feeling the lashes, and even if put to the torment, does not feel it.” These properties, if true, make this plant one of the most useful in the Philippines. The entire plant is stimulant.
The infusion, given internally, causes sweating, excites the circulation, is diuretic, tonic, stomachic, and useful as well as an antispasmodic in nervous troubles. The leaves are employed in making the infusion, 8 grams to 200 of boiling water. It is widely used in bronchial catarrhs and in asthma on account of its sudorific and expectorant action. It seems also to possess emmenagogue properties. The seeds yield on distillation a yellow essential oil with a strong and disagreeable odor, density 0.908. Both seeds and flowers are vermifuge, and are used as such in Brazil in doses of 8 grams in infusion or with an equal dose of castor oil. The anthelmintic dose of the essential oil is 5–15 drops with powdered sugar.
Rilliet and Barthez recommend the following potion for infantile chorea: Leaves of chenopodium 4 grams.
Water 500 grams.
Make an infusion and add syrup of orange flowers 50 grams. Dose, several tablespoonfuls a day.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A plant 2° high; stem beset with hairs, many-angled.
Leaves lanceolate, varying from entire to cut-pinnatifid. Flowers green, sessile, axillary, in small clusters. Calyx 5-parted. Corolla wanting. Stamens 5. Filaments flattened, inserted near the center of the flowers opposite the parts of the calyx.
Anthers in 2 globose parts. Ovary superior, globose, depressed, unilocular, uniovulate. Style none. Stigmas, 2, 3 or 4, short, divergent. Fruit a lenticular seed covered by the membrane of the ovary.
HABITAT.—Common in gardens and fields. Blooms in May.
Aristolochia Indica, L.
NOM. VULG.—Timbag̃an, Malaubi, Tag.; Indian Birthwort, Eng.
USES.—The root has a wide use in medicine in the Philippines; it is bitter, of a nauseating odor and has the reputation of being a powerful antidote for the bites of poisonous serpents and insects. It has further use in the treatment of malarial fever, in dyspepsia, and in the flatulent colic of teething children. It is regarded as tonic and emmenagogue. In various forms of diarrhoea it appears to be effective and Dr. Gibson states that it is useful in intestinal disorders. In the Philippines it is not only given internally but also externally applied over the abdomen, mixed with hot cocoanut oil (10 grams of the powdered root to 100 oil).
The first Portuguese settlers in India called the drug “Cobra Root,” because the natives regarded it as an antidote for the bite of the terrible “Cobra da Capello.” This reputation, however, seems not to have been deserved, judging from the fearful mortality in India and Ceylon due to the bite of the cobra.
Dr. Imlach, a surgeon of Singapore, states that in one season in one collectorate, Shikapore, no less than 306 cases of snake bites were officially reported, the mortality being 63, or about 20.58 per cent. Other reports make it safe to conclude that in the entire province during the year no less than 300 deaths were due to this cause alone. Dr. Waring believes that if an antidote for snake bite exist in the vegetable kingdom it will most probably be found in the natural order Aristolochiaceæ.
In North India this drug is used as emmenagogue and anti-arthritic, and in Banda for intermittent fevers and intestinal disorders. The juice of the leaves is emetic.
The dose of the powdered root is 3–5 grams daily.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A twining shrub, with leaves heart-shaped, ovate, acute, glabrous. Petioles short. Flowers dark reddish-gray, in panicles. Calyx wanting. Corolla globose below, the tube cylindrical, expanding at the top.
Anthers 6, in pairs. Filaments, none. Styles 6, very coarse, a membrane at the base including all. Stigmas simple. Seed vessel inferior, 6-ribbed, 6 cells and many winged seeds. The seed vessel after casting the seeds resembles a pair of balance scales with its little plates or pans. Hence the Tagalo name Timbag̃an meaning “balance.” HABITAT.—In Luzon and Panay. Blooms in November.
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