The decoction of the leaves is used in the Philippines as an expectorant.
The plant is official in the Pharmacopoeia of India as an emetic and in small doses is nauseant and diaphoretic. As an emetic the dose of the fresh juice of the root is 8–16 grams every 10 minutes till vomiting occurs. Dr. W. O’Shaughnessy, writing from Bengal, states that this is the only indigenous and abundant emetic plant of which he has experience, which acts without producing griping, purging, or other unpleasant symptoms. In a communication to Dr. Waring he remarks that it is a good emetic and diaphoretic whenever ipecacuanha is not at hand but that it should be regarded not so much as a substitute for that article as a resource in case of need.
The leaf juice is used in India to drop into the ears for disease of these organs.
One of the infinite remedies used by the Filipinos under the name of “contrapoisons,” without specifying or knowing what poison, is the powdered root of Crinum, given internally with a little water. They also use the leaves locally for the itch, bruising them and rubbing the affected parts energetically with them. I may note here in passing, what I have written before: that the Filipinos have from time immemorial been familiar with the sarcopt of scabies (Kahaw) which they pick out with a needle or spine of some fish or vegetable.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A plant with globose, scaly root. Leaves keeled or ridged. Flowers white, on a flattened stalk, on a spathe of 2 leaflets and several dry threads enclosing 4 flowerets. Corolla funnel-form, tube long and triangular; limb cut in 6 horizontal lanceolate lobes. Stamens 6, shorter than corolla.
Anthers long. Stigma with 3 points. Seed vessel inferior, 3-celled, each cell containing a seed.
Habitat.—Very common on the seashore and in groves of mangrove trees.
Blooms in July.
Aloes Barbadensis, Mill. (A. humilis, Blanco; A. vera, L.; A. vulgaris, Banck.; A. Indica, Royl.) NOM. VULG.—Sabila, Tag.; Dilag̃ boaya, Vis.; Aloes, Eng.
USES.—This species is one of those which produce the substance known in pharmacy as aloes, which is the juice of the leaf evaporated to the consistency of an extract. It is official in all pharmacopoeias and its properties are known to the Filipino herb-doctors. They use the fresh juice of the leaves as a stimulant of the scalp in baldness and locally in contusions. Aloes is a slow purgative and its irritating action on the lower portion of the large intestine extends to the genitourinary organs. It is, therefore, an emmenagogue and its prolonged use causes hemorrhoids, especially in man. It is contraindicated where there is disease of the genito-urinary organs or rectum. As it increases the secretion of bile it is useful in certain hepatic diseases. It is used in small doses as a tonic in dyspepsia. The tonic dose is ½–20 centigrams; purgative, 15–50 of the extract, preferably in pill form. It is customary to associate it with other purgatives.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A stemless plant, the leaves springing immediately from the root as in the pineapple, joined at the base, straight, ligulate, very fleshy and becoming thinner toward the end, with stiff thorns along the edges. Flowers between yellow and red outside and straw-colored inside, in racemes on a cylindrical scape 3° or more high, sometimes ramose, peduncles very short.
Corolla cylindrical, somewhat incurved, cleft to the middle in 6 parts, 3 external, acute and superposed on the others, obtuse at the apex and of different color.
Stamens 6, inserted at the nectiferous base of the ovary and of the same length as the corolla. Anthers erect. Ovary cylindrical with 6 furrows. Stigma obtuse, with raveled edges. The seed vessel ovoid, 3-valved, 3-celled, with 2 seeds in each, furnished with 3 spongy wings.
HABITAT.—Common in gardens.
Allium sativum, L.
NOM. VULG.—Ajo, Sp.; Bawag̃, Tag.; Garlic, Eng.
Allium Cepa, L.
NOM. VULG.—Cebolla, Sp.; Lasuna, Sibuyas, Tag.; Onion, Eng.
USES.—The garlic and the onion are used to excess as condiments in Philippine as well as Spanish cooking. Both are difficult of digestion and communicate a very disagreeable odor to the breath, intolerable to those who are unaccustomed to it. Garlic possesses the singular property, familiar to many students and soldiers, of inducing a transient fever if introduced within the anus. When bruised and applied to the skin it has a counter-irritant action which makes it useful in the treatment of rheumatism, but the odor is so disagreeable that it is not worth while to use it for that purpose when we have so many other medicines which produce the same effect without being objectionable. It is also used locally for the bites of venomous animals.
The onion is used cooked as a poultice over the bladder and internally for various catarrhs. It is better to abstain from the therapeutic and culinary use of products so indigestible and so malodorous.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—These plants are so well known in all parts of the world that a description of them would be superfluous.
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