USES.—The kernels are rich in oil which is used for illumination and the manufacture of soap. For industrial purposes it is superior to linseed oil, according to the report of the Madras Drug Committee.
Dr. O’Rocke states that in doses of 1–2 ounces it acts as a gentle and sure purgative, producing copious bilious evacuations after 3–6 hours, without causing nausea, colic or other similar effects. The municipal physician of Sampaloc, Señor Xerez, states that he has frequently used this oil in Manila, as a purgative, and he agrees perfectly with Dr. O’Rocke as to its effect.
D. Anacleto del Rosario, the distinguished Filipino chemist, tells me that he once witnessed a case of poisoning by the fruit of the lumbán, the patient being a native boy. Doubtless the milky juice, so active in all the Euphorbiaceæ, was the cause of the symptoms. It is true that the kernel causes colic and copious alvine discharges.
Nellino’s chemical analysis of the seeds is as follows: Water 5.25 Fatty matter 62.97 Cellulose 28.99 Mineral matter 2.79 The ashes contain the following matters: Lime 28.69% Magnesia 6.01% Potash 11.23% Phosphoric acid 20.30% The oil is yellow, syrupy, transparent, odorless, insipid.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A tree with leaves bunched or clustered, 3–5 lobulate with as many nerves. Petioles about as long as the leaves. Flowers white, terminal in panicles, the pistillate mixed with the more numerous staminate flowers. Staminate: Calyx monophyllous, cylindrical, 2-toothed; corolla, 5 linear petals twice as long as the calyx; stamens 20 or more, joined in a column at their bases. Pistillate: Calyx and corolla as above; ovary of 2 or 3 uniovulate locules, encircled by a disk; style 2-or 3-branched. Seed vessel large, ovate, compressed, fleshy, 2 sutures at right angles, 2 compartments, in each a hard nut.
HABITAT.—Grows all over Luzon and is well known to the natives.
Croton Tiglium, L. (C. glandulosum, C. muricatum, Blanco.) NOM. VULG.—Tuba kamaisa, Tag.; The Purging Croton, Eng.
USES.—The fruit is used by the Filipinos to intoxicate the fish in ponds and sluggish streams. The seeds contain an oil that is official in all Pharmacopoeias as one of the most powerful hydragogue cathartics. As it is intensely irritating it should never be administered alone but combined with other substances, such as castor oil, or in pill form. The internal dose is 1 to 2 drops. It is considered a specific for lead colic and is indicated when not only purgation but active irritation of the digestive canal is desired.
Applied to the skin it is a strong irritant causing rapid and painful vesication.
Great care should be exercised not to raise the hands to the eyes after touching the oil, as serious inflammation might result.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A small tree, 8–9° high, with rough trunk. Leaves alternate, ovate, acute, minutely serrate, both surfaces beset with sharp hairs.
Flowers yellowish-white, monoecious. Staminate: Fewer than the pistillate, growing above them; calyx 5-toothed; corolla, 5 woolly petals; stamens 16, joined in the center. Pistillate: Calyx 5-toothed; corolla much less developed than in the staminate; ovary free, 3 uniovulate locules; styles 3, bifid. Seed vessel dry, with thin envelope bristling with stiff hairs; 3 carpels each containing a seed.
HABITAT.—Common in Luzon.
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