INDIAN MEDICINAL PLANTS. Part IV.

By Surgeon

B. Evers, Civil

{Continued from

Surgeon,

page

Seoni.

155.)

Soymida felrifuga.?N. 0. Meliaceoc. plant is commonly known as Bastard Cedar" and Indian Red-wood" in English, and as Rohun" in the Vernacular. It is common in Central India. The wood is of a red colour, strong, heavy and durable and well adapted for building purposes and for making articles of furniture ; it is not readily attacked by white ants. The bark, according to Ainslie, is "of a dingy red colour, and has a pleasant bitter taste, with a slight degree of austerity." (A decoction of the bark dyes brown of various shades). Both the decoction and infusion of the bark are used in medicine ; but the tincture, according to the authority named, is said to be the most valuable. The Baids employ the "

The

"

"

bark in the treatment of malarial fevers, thus; six mnshas (equivalent to a drachm and half) of the bark are bruised and administered in combination with sugar or syrup, two or three It is considered by some as a good substitute for a day. cinchona bark. Sir W. O'Shaughnessy, however, is of opinion " in the treatment of obstinate or that it is of little use dangerous " all other astringent tonics," it will often like that but cases," of He recommends it to be given, succeed in mild cases ague. in the form of extract. Attempts have been made to obtain an alkaloid principle from the bark, but without success. The

times

ppicular crystals cesses

obtained when the bark was subjected to prothose for obtaining sulphate of quinia, were

similar to

found to be simply crystals of sulphate of lime.

It is

sorue"

the INDIAN MEDICAL GAZETTE.

262 times adulterated with

distinguished by applied to the cause a bright

the

nux

vomica bark, but from this it is of nitric acid; the acid when

application

of soymida bark " does not "Waring recommends it as a good substitute for oak-bark when astringent gargles, injections, &c., are required. I have employed the bark in the treatment of ague, but cannot report favourably of it. Its action appears to me to be more that of a bitter tonic than a febrifuge. In overdose it is said to cause derangement of the nervous system, occasioning vertigo and stupor." The bitter principle of the bark, according to Broughton, consist of an almost colourless resinous matter sparingly soluble in water, "but mora It does not combine with acids so in alcohol, ether or benzol." inner

surface

red stain."

"

or

bases ; it contains

an

abundance of tannic acid.

Anthocephalus cadamba.?N. O.Rubiacece: Vernacular,Kaddam. The plant is common in Bengal and the North-West Provinces, seldom seen in the Central Provinces. It is said to be indigenous to Assam. " The flowers are offered in Hindu shrines ; the fruit is eaten." I have employed a decoction of the bark (prepared in the same way as decoction of cinchona) in the treatment of ague, but cannot certify to its efficacy as a febrifuge. In several trials I gave it, it appeared to me to act simply as a

tonic.

Euphorbia antiquorum.?N. 0. Euphorbiacea). According to Ainslie, "the milky juice got by wounding "the branches, is extremely corrosive, but when boiled with a small quantity of gingilie oil (til oil) the native practitioners use it it is said as an external application in rheumatic affections also to deaden the pain of tooth-ache. "When administered internally it acts as a cathartic, and i3 considered to be specially useful in those cases of obstinate constipation which are often troublesome when there is an enlargement and induration of the spleen or liver." The fresh juice is highly acrid. The Baids and Hakeem3 seldom use it fresh. For ordinary blistering purposes, it is combined with croton-oil, thus, the juice is mixed with bruised croton-seeds, saffron, and butter: this mass is enveloped in three or more folds of calico, and fastened to the end of a long iron hook ; the mass is then ignited and held over some vessel, when a dark oily liquid is obtained; this liquid is said to be powerfully caustic. As a purgative, the' juice is administered thus: Two or three drops of the fresh juice are mixed with about half a drachm of roasted chenna (Bengal gram) powder, and a little ghee and sugar; this dose is considered sufficient to produce 8 or 10 copious evacuations. The inspissated juice was formerly held in great repute as an antisyphilitic, and indeed Dr. J. Shortt reports that he lias found it an excellent alterative in these cases, in doses of five grains night and morning. For a long time it was supposed that this plant was the source of the euphorbium of the shops, but this has been disproved by Hamilton (Linn. Trans. Vol. XIV) and Rovle (Illust., Vol. I, p. 328). Fluckigee and Hunbury refer euphorbium to the Euphorbia resini/era. A plaster composed of the bruised roots and assafcotida is applied to the stomachs of children suffering from worms. The root bark is said to be "

in combination with cantharides forms tirucalli and the E. nivalin

purgative. Ihe resin gout-plaster. The Euphorbium also yield an acrid milky juice.

All these plants are of a highcare therefore is necessary in ly poisonous character, and great them medicinally. employing Zizyphus Jujuba,?N. 0. Rhamneffi : Vernacular, Bail-. A very common plant in the forests of Central and South India. The bark 13 used as a dye, and also for tanning; the root is considered febrifuge by tho natives, and oil is obtained from the kernels. O'Shaughnessy states that "the bark is used in the Moluccas, as a remedy for diarrhoea j the The lozenges, root with some warm seeds in infusion, in fever. and the thickened mucilage called jujubes by tiie confectioners, are prepared from this, and the Z. VulgarisPieces of the root, threaded into a necklace, are worn by the natives during

[October 1,

1875.

attacks of ague. I have tried the root as a febrifuge, but find it slow in its action. In 17 cases treated with a decoction cf the root, the drug did not check the paroxysms until about or eighth day, I believe antiperiodic. Seoni, C. P., 10th August 1875.

the seventh

than

an

it acts more as

a

tonic

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