The yellow rhizome called by some azafrán (saffron), is used as a condiment; its odor is remotely suggestive of vanilla. The Philippine herbdoctors give it internally for hæmoptysis, externally as a plaster or in infusion for acute dermatitis. The juice is prescribed in doses of 30–60 grams in bronchial catarrh. In India they inhale the fumes of burning turmeric paper for coryza, and with good effect according to the testimony of Dr. Waring.
The drug is official in the Pharmacopoeia of India. It is carminative, stimulant and probably antiseptic. Its decoction is used as an eye-wash in catarrhal and purulent conjunctivitis. The Mohammedans of Deccan use it for jaundice upon the theory that the yellow color of the skin in that disease is an indication for a remedy of the same color. The juice is also used in many parts of India to stain the face, nails and other parts of the body.
The tincture is prepared by macerating 30 grams of bruised rhizome in 200 cc.
alcohol for seven days, then filtering. Turmeric paper is prepared by impregnating unsized paper with this tincture, and then drying. Both tincture and paper are used to test for alkalies.
The rhizomes contain a pigment called curcumin, an essential oil and fæcula.
Curcumin (C14H14O4) is crystalline, yellow by direct light and blue by reflected light; it was studied by Jackson and Menke.
In the Philippines it is used extensively as a diaphoretic and emmenagogue and in icterus, intestinal colic and dysmenorrhoea; externally for skin diseases, contusions and atonic ulcers.
Gubler regards it as a diffusible stimulant. Its use is more extensive in England than in France and Spain; in India it forms an ingredient of curry, called carí in Manila. Curcumin is eliminated by the urine, which it colors yellow, and if at the same time an alkali be taken by the patient, especially a salt of calcium, the urine becomes red and may communicate this stain to the clothes. This fact should be borne in mind to avoid embarrassing mistakes in diagnosis or prognosis. Dose of powder, 2–5 grams.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—Leaves 2–4° long, rising in bush-like bunches directly from the rhizome, broad-lanceolate, acuminate, gradually tapering down the long petioles; numerous prominent nerves give a ribbed appearance to the blade.
Rhizome cylindrical, irregular, bright yellow within.
Elettaria Cardamomum, White.
NOM. VULG.—Lag̃kuas, Lag̃kawas, Vis.; Cardamon, Eng.
USES.—This plant, though official in several pharmacopoeias, is not used as a medicine in the Philippines, probably on account of its scarcity here. The seeds are used as a condiment; they are stimulant and carminative and yield good results in atonic dyspepsia, nervous depression and spasmodic or flatulent affections of the intestine. The dose of the powdered seeds is from 0.60–1.50 grams in pill form; the tincture is, however, more convenient and is given in doses of from 4 to 8 grams.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A plant with a scaly rhizome and adventitious roots from which spring the stems, some of which bear leaves and others flowers. The leaves are alternate, in pairs; extended, lanceolate blade, with a short petiole.
Branches bearing flowers, short, flexible and scaly. The flowers spring from the sheaths of the leaves. Calyx tubular, 3-toothed; second calyx with limb divided into 3 unequal lobules. Stamens 3. Ovary inferior, 3 many-ovuled compartments.
Style simple. Stigma rounded. Fruit an oblong, ovoid capsule, 3-celled, trivalvate. Seeds blackish, albuminous.
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