USES.—All the people of Indo-China, China, Japan and the greater part of the Indian Archipelago eat rice as Europeans do bread.
In the Philippines an immense variety of rice grows and in the World’s Fair at Paris, in 1889, Señor D. Regino García, of Manila, presented a unique collection of 147 varieties. The rice grown in high lands above irrigation is called “arroz de secano” and mountain rice, and that grown in low and irrigated land is called “arroz de sementera” and swamp rice. The two kinds are equally valuable as food.
The proportion of starch in rice is large, but it contains but a small amount of gluten, and therefore a large amount must be eaten in order to obtain sufficient nutritive elements.
Water 5.00 Starch 85.07 Parenchyma 4.80 Nitrogenous matter 3.68 Crystallizable sugar 0.29 Gummy matter 1.71 Oil 0.13 Phosphate of lime 0.40 Chloride of potash, phosphate of potash, acetic acid, calcareous vegetable salt, salt of potash, sulphur Traces.
In the Filipino therapeutics rice has an extensive use, especially in the form of a decoction called cange, which is commonly given in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery, with good results. Cooked as a sort of mush it may be used as a substitute for linseed poultices and has the great advantage of not becoming rancid. Roasted and powdered it is dusted upon wounds or abrasions of the skin and forms a dry and absorbent covering under which they heal rapidly.
It has lately been claimed that beriberi is due to a microorganism found in rice under certain abnormal conditions; this claim is not yet firmly established and beriberi is still one of the many problems in medicine which are awaiting solution.
HABITAT.—All parts of the Archipelago.
NOM. VULG.—Caña, Sp.; Bamboo, Eng.
Linnæus and Blanco include in the genus Bambus all the different species of bamboo to which the Spaniards have given the general name of caña. The plant is of incomparable value to the natives of the Philippines; they build their houses of it, make agricultural and industrial instruments of it, use it in all the varied apparatus of their fisheries and for a multitude of household utensils and furniture.
The variety B. arundinacea, Retz. (B. arundo, Blanco), Kawayag-totóo, Tag., is the largest and most generally employed in making houses and furniture. The tender shoots prepared in lime water are edible but have the deserved reputation of being difficult of digestion.
The variety Schizostachyum acutiflorum, Munro (B. diffusa, Blanco), Osiw, Bokawy, Tag., is less used. The shoots are used to treat opacity of the cornea, for which purpose they are cut when about a palm in height, the outer leaves removed, and the center soaked over night with a little sugar candy. The following day the water in the bottom of the jar is collected and used to paint the cornea.
The variety Dendrocalamus sericens, Munro (B. mitis, Blanco), Taywanak, Tag., is also used in medicine. Its abundant sap is given internally in the treatment of phthisis.
All of the above species and the Dendrocalamus flagellifer, Munro (B. levis, Blanco), Boho, Tag., produce at their joints a hard porcelain-like substance, friable, of opaline color, called “bamboo stone” or “tabashir” in India, where, as well as in the Philippines and Indo-China, it has great repute among the popular remedies. It is given in venereal diseases, hiccough, hemorrhage, fevers and other diseases. As a matter of fact, it is an almost inert substance, the imaginary virtues of which originated, doubtless, in the apparently remarkable fact that a stone (?) was produced inside of a vegetable.
The analysis of M. Guibourt is as follows: Silicon 96.04 Water 2.94 Lime and potassium 0.13 Organic material Traces.
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