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Indian Medicinal Plants/Natural Order Magnoliaceæ


30. Michelia Champaca, Linn. H.F.BR.I., I. 42. Roxb. 453.

Syn.:—M. aurantiaca. Wall; M. Rheede, Wight.

Sanskrit:— Champaka, Kachar; Ramyál (Beautiful); Champeya Surabhi (Fragrant); Chala; (Moving).

Vern.:— Champá, champaka (H. and B.); Kancha-namu, champa (Uriya); Tita-sapps (Assam); Oulia champ (Nepal); Chamuti, champa, chamba (fruit) (Chamakhri, Chamoti), (Pb.); Pivalá-cháphá, sona-chápha, kud chámpa (Mar.); Ras champo, champo, pilo champo (Guz.); Shampang, shembugha, shimbu, sempangam (Tam.); Shampangi-puvon, champakamu champé-yamu, kánchauama, gandhaphali, hemángamu (Tel.); Sampage-huvon, sumpaghy, kola sampige, sampige (Kan.); Bongas jampacca, champakam (Mal.). Sapu, Hapu (Singhalese). Habitat:—Commonly cultivated, but wild in the forests of the Temperate Himalaya, from Nepal Eastward.

A small evergreen tree. Bark grey, smooth, ½ in. thick. Wood soft even-grained; sapwood white, heartwood light olive-brown. Young shoots silky; branchlets pubescent. Stipules convolute. Leaves 8-10 by 2½-4 in. shining above, pale and glabrous or puberlous beneath. Petioles slender, ¾-1½ in. Flowers 2 in. diam., pale yellow or orange, fragrant; some consider the flowers strongly scented. Peduncles short. Buds silky. Perianth-leaves 15, deciduous, imbricate, in whorls of 3; the outer oblong, acute; the inner linear. Fruiting spike compact, 3-6 in. long. Carpels sub-sessile, ovoid, blunt, lenticillate, coriaceous, dorsally dehiscing. Stamens numerous, many-seriate; filaments flat; anthers linear, adnate, introrse, bursting longitudinally. Gynophore stalked; styles short. Capsules ¾ in; bark brown. Seeds 1-2, brown when old, bright scarlet or rosy when just mature, polished, variously angled, rounded on the back, pendulous by a white thread-like funicle, after dehiscence of the capslue, embryo minute in an abundant oily albumen.

Parts used:—The flowers, fruit, leaves, roots, root-bark, oil, bark.

Uses:—According to Sanskrit writers, the flowers are bitter and are useful in leprosy, boils and itch.

The flowers and fruits are considered bitter and cool remedies, and are used in dyspepsia, nausea and fever. The leaves, anointed with Ghi, and sprinkled over with powder of Cumin seeds, are said in the Baroda Darbar Catalogue Col. and Ind. Exhib., to be put round the head in cases of puerperal mania, delirium, and maniacal excitement.

Taylor states (Topography of Dacca) that the flowers mixed with Sesamum oil form an external application, which is often prescribed in vertigo. The flowers beaten up with oil are also applied to fœtid discharges from the nostrils. According to Rumphius, the flowers are useful as a diuretic in renal diseases and in gonorrhœa. Rheede states that the dried root and root-bark, mixed with curdled milk, are useful as an application to abscesses, clearing away or maturing the inflammation, and that, prepared as an infusion, it is a valuable emenagogue.

He also states that the perfumed oil prepared from the flowers is a useful application in cephalalgia, ophthalmia, and gout, and that the oil of the seeds is rubbed over the abdomen to relieve flatulence. In Dacca, the juice of the leaves is given with honey in cases of Colic (Taylor).

In the Pharmacopœia of India, the bark is described as having febrifuge properties. Dr. Kanay Lal Dey considers it to be an excellent substitute for guaiacum.

In the Gazetteer of Orissa, the bark is described as stimulant, expectorant and astringent; the seeds and fruit are said to be useful for healing cracks in the feet, and the root is described as purgative.

Dr. Moodeen Sheriff considers the flowers to be stimulant, antispasmodic, tonic, stomachic and carminative; and describes an infusion, decoction and tincture; particularly recommending the last.

Chemistry—"The essential oil from yellow champaca flowers (Michelia champaca L.) has the specific gravity 0.904—0.9107 at 30°/30° C., nD=1.4640—1.4688 at 30°C, ester value 124—146, and ester value after acetylating 199. When distilled in a vacuum it polymerises. It contains isoeugenol, benzoic acid, benzyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, cineol and p-cresol methyl ether. The white flowers (Michelia longifolia BI.) yield an oil with the following characters:—specific gravity 0.897, ester value 180.0, uD=1.4470 at 30°C. It contains linalool, methyleugnol, methylethylactic acid probably in the form of the methyl or ethyl ester, and a phenolic substance possessing an odour closely resembling that of thymol. The yellow flowers contain a ketone inciting at 165°—166°C., and yielding ahydrazone C16, H20 04: N. N.H C6. H5, m. pt. 161°C."—J. Ch. I. Jan. 31st, 1912, p. 90.

31. M. Nilagirica, Zenk. H.F.BR.I., I.44.

Vern.:—Pola champa (H.); Shempangan, sempagura, shembugha (Tam.). Walu sapu (Sinhalese).

Habitat:—Higher mountains of the Western Peninsula, Ceylon.

A handsome moderate-sized tree or shrub at high elevations. Young parts silky, particularly buds. Bark brown, ½ in. thick, cleft but not deeply, into small rectangular plates. Wood moderately hard, smooth. Leaves 2-4 in,, oblong-elliptic or obovate-lanceolate, acute at both ends or tip, mucronate, glabrous, or puberulous only on the nerves beneath, Flowers, white, 3-4 in. diam. Buds ½-1½ in., ovoid. Perianth—segments 9-12 obovate, inner acute and narrower than the outer. Stamens shorter than the gynœcium. Ovaries silky, with 2-4 ovules. Fruiting spike interrupted, 2-3 in. long: carpels warty, spiculate, mixed with many abortive carpels. Seeds bright and scarlet (Brandis).

Part used:—The bark.

Use:—The bark is made into decoction and infusion, and used as a febrifuge.

32. Illicium Griffithii, H, f. and Thoms. H.F.B.I., I. 40.

Vern:—Bâdayân (Marâthi).

Habitat:—Bhotan; Khasia hills.

A shrub. Branches angular, glabrous. Leaves elliptic-lanceolate, 2-4 by 1-2 in., acute at both ends, coriaceous, shining. Flowers 1½ in. diam. Perianth—segments about 24. Sepals 6, orbicular. Petals 18, outer oval, inner smaller, narrow. Carpels with a thin fleshy pericarp, woody endocarp, and short subulate incurved beak (Hooker).

Copses in Bhutan and the Khasia Hills, 4-5,000 ft.

Use:—The authors of Pharmacographia Indica, (Vol. I. p. 40) write that it occasionally finds its way into the market. It is used as a substitute for Illicium verum which is a native of Cochin-China. Star-anise is aromatic, stimulant and carminative.

"The fruit of I. Griffithii would appear to contain some bitter principle as well as tannin." (Pharmacographia Indica, Vol. I. p. 41).

PLATE No. 25.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 25 - Illicium griffithii.png
Illicium griffithii, h. f. & t.

PLATE No. 26.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 26 - Michelia champaca.png
Michelia champaca, linn.

PLATE No. 27.

Indian Medicinal Plants - Plate 27 - Michelia nilagirica.png
Michelia nilagirica, zenk.