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Piper Nigrum

The berry-like fruit of the pepper is more extensively used as a condiment in cooking than in the treatment of disease.

digestion in tropical countries where the digestive functions readily become sluggish. Its abuse may lead to serious consequences, such as inflammation of the gastro-intestinal mucous membrane, of the portal system and the liver itself.

Pepper is used as a febrifuge in the various forms of malarial fevers, in the form of granules of 8 or 10 berries in a cup of brandy and anise (Spanish); this is taken by the patient in one dose at the beginning of the cold stage and followed by large quantities of water to relieve the thirst caused by the pepper. This treatment causes the cold stage to rapidly subside and more rapidly induces and intensifies the sweating stage. It is said that no further attack of fever follows.

Piperin (C17H19NO3) is febrifuge and is given in pill form internally in doses of 30–60 centigrams; the action of the crude drug is evidently due to this neutral principle.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—The plant is a perennial, climbing shrub. Leaves oval, tapering at both extremities, 7-nerved. Flowers yellow, in a spike. Stigmas 2, bifid. Fruit globose, with one seed.

HABITAT.—The dried fruit of the pepper is universally familiar. It was at one time cultivated in the Philippines, especially in Batangas, and Gen. Basco promulgated a series of orders to encourage its cultivation. Padre Gainza, afterward Bishop of Nueva Cáceres, wrote a report about its cultivation, but since then the subject has entirely disappeared from notice.


Chloranth Family.

Chloranthus officinalis, Bl. (C. Indicus, Wight.; C. inconspicuus, Blanco.) NOM. VULG.—Unknown.

USES.—All parts of the plant are aromatic. The leaves and stems lose this property after drying, but the roots, if properly dried, preserve it for a long time.

They have a camphoraceous odor and bitter, aromatic taste, reminding one of that of Aristolochia Serpentaria. The mountaineers of Java use an infusion of the powdered root and the bark of the Cinnamomum Culilowan to treat puerperal eclampsia. Combined with carminatives like anise and onion, they use it with some success in virulent small-pox of children. The infusion seems to be efficacious in fevers accompanied by debility and suppression of the function of the skin. It has also been prescribed in the intermittent fevers of Java, mixed with an infusion of the leaves of the Cedrela Toona. Blume states that it is one of the most powerful stimulants known.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A plant 3–4° high. Stem quadrangular. Leaves opposite, broad, lanceolate, serrate, with stiff-pointed teeth and somewhat scaly beneath. Petioles very short, clasping the stem at their base, with 2 intermediate stipules ending in two awl-shaped points. Flowers compound in axillary spikes, which bear the flowerets in 2 ranks, each flower with a keeled bract. The corolla (if it may be so called) a fleshy, 3-lobed lamina. Perianth wanting. Receptacle dome-shaped. Anthers 4, inserted on the surface of the lamina, 2-valved. Ovary 1-celled, with 1 ovule. Style short. Berry-like fruit, globose, with 1 seed covered by a somewhat brittle membrane.

HABITAT.—La Laguna and other provinces of Luzon. Blooms in September.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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