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Echinus Philippensis

The capsular fruit of this plant is thickly beset with reddish glands and hairs, which, when brushed off and gathered in powder form

USES.—The capsular fruit of this plant is thickly beset with reddish glands and hairs, which, when brushed off and gathered in powder form, constitute the kamala dye of the Hindoos. It was mentioned by the Arabian physicians of the tenth century under the names of Kanbil and Wars. In India the powder is highly valued as a yellow dye-stuff for silk. Medicinally it is used as an anthelmintic, the English physician Mackinnon, of the Bengal Hospital, having been the first to scientifically prove this property; he reported that it was successful in expelling the tape-worm. It is now official in the Pharmacopoeia of India and also in the U. S. P. as an anthelmintic and purgative; in Switzerland it is commonly given to expel the bothriocephalus which abounds there, the lake fish acting as hosts.

The dose recommended by the Pharmacopoeia of India is 8–12 grams, divided in 3 or 4 doses. This amount sometimes causes nausea and colic; in the third or fourth stool the tænia is commonly expelled in a lifeless condition. Dujardin- Beaumetz advises a dose of 30 grams of castor oil in case the tænia has not been expelled 2 hours after the last dose of kamala. The powder is efficacious but the tincture seems to be surer; the dose is 6 grams for children and 20 for adults, given in divided doses in aromatic water every hour for 6 hours. This tincture is prepared by macerating 200 grams of kamala in 500 cc. alcohol for 7 days; then filtering with expression and adding enough alcohol to complete the 500 cc.

The powder is also used in India as a local application in herpes circinata. It is insoluble in water; in ether and alcohol it yields 80% of a red resin. Anderson noted that a concentrated ethereal solution of kamala after a few days formed a solid crystalline mass, yellow, very soluble in ether; this substance he named rottlerin, C11H10O3.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A tree, 6–8 meters high, covered with stellate groups of short yellow hairs. Leaves alternate, petiolate, rhomboid-oval or lanceolate, acuminate, 3-nerved, entire or slightly dentate, upper surface glabrous, lower surface covered with woolly hairs and powdery red glands. Flowers yellowishgreen, small, dioecious, apetalous, in spikes. Staminate: By 3′s in the axil of each bract; perianth, 3 or 5 deeply cut, lanceolate lobules; stamens 15–25, free, inserted in the center of the flower. Pistillate: In the axil of each bract; ovary, 3 locules each with 1 ovule, covered like the leaves with hairs and yellow, granular glands. Seed vessel globose, 3-celled, like ovary covered with hairs and glands.

HABITAT.—Mountains of Morong, San Mateo, Tarlak, Bosoboso, Ilocos Norte, Albay and Batangas.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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