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Cyperus Rotundus

The root possesses stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic and emmenagogue properties

USES.—The root possesses stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic and emmenagogue properties. In the Philippines it is used internally for dysentery, and in India for the same purpose and as a vermifuge. It is given as a tonic in gastro-intestinal diseases, and General Hardwick has reported good results with it in cholera; as he reported only two cases, his testimony is not of much value.

The Chinese use the dry or roasted root, especially in inflammation of the viscera and uterine diseases. They also attribute to it diuretic, emmenagogue and anthelmintic properties. In Java and India they use it for gonorrhoea, and in Mauritius as a diaphoretic and astringent. In the Philippines the bruised root is applied to the face for toothache.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—The root is ovoid, ranging in size from that of a hazelnut to that of a walnut, composed of a white, spongy substance. Leaves swordshaped, ensheathing the stem. Flowers in a compound umbel on the end of the stalk which is naked, long and triangular. The umbellets are alternate, awlshaped, with distinct flowers. Calyx universal, with 2 sword-shaped leaflets.

Calyx proper, a very small, ridged scale. Corolla none. Stamens 3. Filaments long, inserted on the base of the ovary. Anthers long and straight. Style 1.

Stigmas 3, simple, revolute. Fruit 1. Seed oblong, 3-sided, glabrous.

HABITAT.—Common in Luzon and Panay. Blooms in June and July.


Grass Family.

Zea Mays, L.

NOM. VULG.—Maíz, Sp.; Maize, Corn, Eng.

USES.—Corn is an extensive article of diet in the Philippines, but has the reputation of being indigestible. This is true when it is eaten in the grain, but in the form of meal it is easily digested and highly nutritious. The tassels have been used in the Philippines from time immemorial in decoction as a diuretic, for which property they received notice in the Medical World of Paris about the year 1876. The entire plant is diuretic and the natives give the decoction of the stalk for various diseases of the bladder and kidneys. An extract of the tassels has been put on the market, but it is better to administer a decoction made from 20 grams of tassel to 1 liter of water to be taken at will during the day. Rademaker and Fischer give the following chemical composition: Fixed oil 5.25 Resin, crystalline matter and chlorophyl 3.25 Maizenic acid 2.25 Sugar and gum 19.50 Albuminoids 3.50 Salts and extracts 5.50 Cellulose 37.00 Water 20.00 The fixed oil is bright yellow, saponifiable by potash, soluble in chloroform and ether, insoluble in alcohol, solidifies at 10°.

HABITAT.—Very common in all parts of the islands.

Andropogon Schoenanthes, L.

NOM. VULG.—Salay, Tag̃lad, Tag.; Paja de Meca, Sp.-Fil.; Baliyoko, Vis.; Geranium Grass, Eng.

USES.—The Filipino women use the leaves to perfume their gogo hair-wash. The decoction of the leaves is used internally as a diuretic (10 grams to a liter of water) and also to bathe pregnant women. The roots also are diuretic.

A Manila pharmacist, D. Rosendo García, has obtained a good quality of the fixed oil of this plant. In India they call this essence rusa, geranium and gingembre (nimar oil, Eng.); the annual export from Bombay is over 40,000 English pounds. It is dextrogyrous and its formula is C5H4.

Another species, the A. nardus, L., commonly called “raiz de mora” (mulberry root), “citronella,” Eng., possesses the same therapeutic properties as the former.

It also possesses an agreeable perfume and yields an essential oil, which, like rusa, is used to adulterate Attar of Roses.

The dried root is widely used in the Philippines and in Europe as well, to preserve clothing from moths and other destructive insects, at the same time giving them a sweet odor. In India the decoction is used internally, 10 grams to a liter of water, in the treatment of rheumatism and as a diuretic.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—An indigenous grass with sword-shaped leaves about 4° high, tapering at the base, possessing a sweet odor. Root thick, irregular, rough, formed by the union of several small rootlets.

Saccharum officinarum, L.

NOM. VULG.—Cañamiel, Caña de azúcar, Caña dulc, Sp.; Tubo, Tag.; Sugar Cane, Eng.

USES.—The Filipinos are very fond of the fresh cane. The juice, which is extracted by means of primitive wooden presses, is used as a drink mixed with lemon juice or vino and is sold in markets and public places as a popular beverage on hot days. A tepid juice, extracted from heated cane is given for catarrhal troubles. This use of the juice is the only one peculiar to the Philippines. Its general use and properties are universally familiar and are amply treated in the materia medica.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—This plant is so universally familiar that it is unnecessary to describe it. More than 20 varieties are found in the Philippines.

HABITAT.—Throughout the islands, especially in the Island of Negros and the Luzon Provinces of Pampanga, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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