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INDIAN MEDICINAL PLANTS.


Chemistry:—
The constituents of P. Emodi are identical with those of P. Peltatum, Crystalline podophyilotoxin C 15 H 14 5 2H 2 0, when acted on by aqueous alkalis, is converted into the isomeric picropodophyllin. The formula of podophyllic acid is C 15 H 16 7 c There is also a yellow coloring matter Cl5 H10 O7J which is identical with the quercetin.
Podophylio-resin has the formula C12 H12 O4 .
Podophyllin is as valuable a purgative as the podophyllin obtained from P. peltatim. The action of this resinous mixture is due partly to the podophyilotoxin it contains, and partly to the active podophyllo-resin. Owing to its intensely irritating action internally, even when given in small doses, podophyilotoxin is unsuitable as a medicinal substitute for podophyllin, whilst podophyllo-resin would seem to present no therapeutic advantage as compared with the podophyllin now employed. Picropodophyllin, picropodophyllic acid, and the quercetin are very slightly, if at all, active as purgatives. Since P. Emodi furnishes more podophyllin than P. peltatum, the Indian plant is of greater value as the source of this resin.— J. Ch. S. T. 1898, p. 209.


N. O. NYMPHÆCEÆ.

53. Nymphcæa alba, Linn. h.f.b.i. i. 114.

Vern.:—Brimposh, nilofar; Kamud; (Kashmir). Pandbaren Kamal (Bombay).

Habitat:—Kashmir lake, alt. 5,300 ft. Bombay tanks and wayside still water-courses.

An aquatic creeper. Root-stock creeping under water. Leaves floating on water-surface, cordate, quite entire, 5-10 in. diam., suborbiculate, lobes contiguous. Flowers a foot or 6 in. above water, white on a green peduncle, expanding at sunrise and closing at sunset. Sepals 4 linear or ovate-oblong; nerves reticulate. Petals 10, outer linear-oblong, equalling the sepals. Anthers without appendages. Stigmatic rays about 16, with cylindric appendages. Pollen echinate. Seeds minute, numerous, buried in a mucilaginous pulp, edible. Fruit, a spongy berry, opening under water.

Parts used:—The Root-stock, flowers and fruit.

Uses:—The mucilaginous and somewhat acrid root and stock are administered in some countries for dysentery. According to O'Shaughnessy it is astringent and slightly narcotic. Its flowers are reputed to be anti-aphrodisiac. An infusion of the flower and fruit is given in diarrhoea and as a diaphoretic. (Stewart).