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Euphorbia Neriifolia

The principal medicinal use of this plant in the Philippines is the introduction of the hot juice of its fleshy leaves into the external auditory canal in cases of otorrhoea or of simple earache, whatever its cause.

USES.—The principal medicinal use of this plant in the Philippines is the introduction of the hot juice of its fleshy leaves into the external auditory canal in cases of otorrhoea or of simple earache, whatever its cause.

The root is regarded in India as an antidote for snake bite and, indeed, the plant is sacred to Munsa, the snake divinity. During the months of July and August in some parts of India the natives make offerings of rice, milk and sugar to this sacred tree every Tuesday and Thursday, praying for protection from the bites of serpents.

The leaves contain an abundance of milky juice, acrid and very active, used in the treatment of several skin diseases. Like the species E. pilulifera it possesses antiasthmatic properties; Dr. S. C. Amcobury reports 6 cases treated with satisfactory results. Owing to the acrid quality of the juice great care should be maintained both in its internal and external use. The Sanscrit authors regard it as purgative and usually administer it with other drugs of the same action to increase its effect. Ainslie states that the native herb-doctors of India give the juice in intestinal obstruction and in the oedema of malarial cachexia. The dose is 1.25 grams in 24 hours given in 300 cc. of sweetened water in divided doses.

This dose is, in my opinion, dangerous; 40–60 centigrams a day is more prudent.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A small tree, from 5 to 6° high. Trunk erect, jointed, 5- sided, at the angles 2 rows of thorns. Leaves spatulate, fleshy. Flowers yellowish.

Calyx bell-shaped, 5-lobed. Corolla, numerous imbricated, spatulate petals with ravelled or fringed ends. Stamens in groups. Styles 3. Stigma coarse. Seed vessel, 3 carpels on a stalk.

HABITAT.—In all parts of Luzon.

Euphorbia Tirucalli, L.

NOM. VULG.—Consuelda, Sp.-Fil.; Katwit, Suelda, Tag.

USES.—The milky juice of this species is very caustic. It is used chiefly in India mixed with oil as an embrocation for rheumatism; given internally it is regarded as an antisyphilitic. Dr. J. Shortt states that it is an excellent alterant in syphilis in dose of 30 centigrams, morning and evening. It is further employed in malarial hypertrophy of the spleen, in asthma and as a purgative; in a word the same virtues are attributed to it as to the foregoing species.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—Small trees, 9–12° high. Trunk erect. Branches cylindrical, stumpy (not tapering), several very small leaves at the ends. Flowers yellowish, in umbels. Calyx, 5 rounded, fleshy sepals. Corolla, 5 groups of woolly hairs on the divisions of the calyx. Stamens 5, inserted on the sepals, with double or irregular anthers. Seed vessel, 3 carpels each with one seed.

HABITAT.—Very common, especially in the suburbs of Manila where they serve as hedges.

Phyllanthus reticulatus, Müll. (Cica decandra, Blanco.) NOM. VULG.—Tinatinaan, Tintatintahan, Malinta, Tag.; Sug̃ot-olag̃, Vis.

USES.—The natives eat the little berries of this species, which are dark purple before and black after maturity, and use their juice for ink. The leaves are diuretic and refreshing; the bark alterant. In the bazaars of India the bark is sold commonly in pieces 1° long and as thick as the wrist; its taste is slightly sweet, color dark and the alterative dose of its decoction is 120–150 grams a day. In Concan they make a compound pill of the leaf-juice, powdered cubebs and camphor, to be dissolved in the mouth for ulcerated, bleeding or scorbutic gums.

The juice is also given internally for urticaria.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—Small trees, 12° or more high, with leaves pinnate, oval, entire, alternate, glabrous, downy when young. Common petiole, 2 stipules at the base. Flowers monoecious. Staminate: calyx, 5 colored sepals; no corolla; filaments 4, coarse, somewhat shorter than the calyx, the middle one thicker and 2-parted; anthers 10, 4 on the middle filament and two on each of the others.

Pistillate: calyx and corolla same as staminate; nectary, 5 glandules on the base of the ovary. Fruit, a black berry seated within the calyx, crowned with 2 erect styles, 6 or 8 compartments each with a single seed.

HABITAT.—Grows everywhere and is well known.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

Tags: Medical plants, Medicine, healing, Injuries, Doctors,

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