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Childhood Lead Poisoning and Prevention
The medical literature of the Sinhalelse

Botanical name:
Spilanthes Acmella

Sinhala: Akmella
Tamil: Akki-rakaram

Properties and uses:
It is useful in toothache. A tincture of the flowers or the fresh juice is applied to the gums, when both pain and swelling are relieved.
The entire plant is recommended in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia for chronic bronchitis and other lung diseases.

Botanical name:
Clematis smilacifolia

Sinhala: Narawel
Tamil: -

Properties and uses:
This is used as a remedy in leprosy, blood diseases and fevers. In the Concan the juice of the leaves of the plant, mixed with that of Holarrhena anti-dysenterica (Kelinda), is dropped into the eyes for the cure of staphy-loma; about two drops are used at a time.

Botanical name:
Mesua nagasarium

Sinhala: Na-mal
Tamil: Naka

Properties and uses:
The flowers with anthers are used internally in traditional medicine as an astringent and stomach. A paste made of the flowers is applied to bleeding piles, or burning of the feet; the same mixed with clarified butter washed a hundred times is said to be a most useful remedy for burning of the feet. It is also administered in cases of irritability of the stomach and is frequently used as an adjunct with other drugs to prepare medicinal oils. The dried anthers are used to treat biliary conditions.

Rath Mal
Botanical name: Ixora Coccinea

Sinhala: Ratmal or Ratambala.
Tamil: Vitchi

Properties and uses:
The bright red flowers are used as a remedy for dysentery. The flowers are fried in melted butter, rubbed down with a little Cummin and Nagakesara, and made into a bolus with butter and sugar candy and administered in dysentery cases. Also flowers are used as eyewash in infections of the eye. The root of this as a remedy for dysentery and it was a good stomachic and tonic useful in debility of the stomach. A very useful domestic remedy for catarrh of children attended with fever is a simple decoction composed of:

Bark of Ixora Coccinea
Flowers of Ixora Coccinea
Allium Cepa (Red Onion)
Cumium Cymium (White cummin seeds)
Nigella Sativa (Black Cummins)

To be administered in two teaspoonfuls twice or thrice a day with a little ghee added, if required, to move the bowels.

Botanical name:
Tinospora Cordifolia

Sinhala: Rasakinda
Tamil: Shindil-kodi

Properties and uses:

This is one of the most valued and frequently used drugs among the native medical men. It is regarded as a tonic and alterative, and is used in general debility, fever, jaundice, skin diseases, rheumatism, urinary diseases, irritability of the stomach, and, in short, there is hardly a disease in which it is not employed in combination with other drugs. In chronic fever with cough a decoction of Rasakinda or the fresh juice of it with long pepper and honey, or a compound decoction containing Rasakinda such as the following, may he given with advantage.

Take of:
Rasakinda (Cordifolia).
Pepiliya (Oldenlandia Herbacea).
Kalanduru (Cyprus Rotundus).
Bin Kohomba or Bhunimba (Ophelia Chirata).
Inguru (Zinziber Officinalis).

Prepare a deduction in tile usual way. This is found very useful in chronic fever. A preparation containing Rasakinda is Dhatrimodaka. This is a confection made with Rasakinda chebulic and embilic, myrobalans, ginger and long pepper, and is recommended for enlarged spleen, chronic fever, cough, and loss of appetite. A decoction of Rasakinda or the fresh juice is given in skin diseases with Gugulu (Bdellium or Balsomodendron mukul) whilst an oil, prepared with Adathoda Vasica Datura (Attana) leaves and aromatics, is recommended in Charaka for skin diseases accompanied with troublesome itching.


Botanical name:
Cassia auriculata

Sinhala: Ranawara
Tamil: Avarai

Properties and uses:
This is frequently used in native medicine in diseases of the urinary organs in particular. It is diuretic and is an ingredient in prescriptions for Powdered Ranawara seed with Silajatu and honey is recommended highly for all cases of diabetes, and leaves are dried and sold in the bazaars under the name of Ranawara tea. Many natives use it in place of real tea.

Petang, Rat-koboleela

Botanical name: Bauhinia Variegata (Tomentosa)

Sinhala: Koboleela, Petang
Tamil: Tiruvatti,

Properties and uses:
This is described as a tonic and an alterative in the treatment of glandular swellings and skin diseases and ulcers. A decoction of root bark is sometimes administered in hepatitis.


Botanical name: Psidium guajava

Sinhala: Pera
Tamil: Goyya

Properties and uses:
This is recommended of late as a remedy for chronic diarrhea of children. The part used is the bark. It is not mentioned in old works on medicine.

Botanical name:
Pavetta indica

Sinhala: Pawatta
Tamil: Pavaddai

Properties and uses:
This is described as bitter, diuretic and aperient and is regarded as a specific for jaundice. It is given as a decoction by itself, or in combination with other drugs, for dropsy due to visceral obstructions. This term is frequently used erroneously for Adatoda or Wan-epala.

Beli (Golden apple)
Botanical name:
Aegle marmelos

Sinhala: Beli
Tamil: Vilyam Palam

Properties and uses:
The parts used in medicine are chiefly the root and the fruit. Leaves are sometimes boiled and used lot fomenting inflammatory swellings aid also bathing puerperal women. Beli (BiIva) is an ingredient in many decorations for diarrhea and dysentery and various other complaints. The half ripe fruit is regarded as an astringent, digestive, and stomachache, and is prescribed in dysentery and diarrhea. The root bark is regarded as a corrector of deranged air (wata) and is prescribed 4n cases of melancholia, heart disease and fever. It is also: an ingredient in the dasamul decoction.

The fresh juice of the leaves is prescribed in some medical works to be given with honey as a febrifuge and laxative but at present they are seldom used as such. The root is given with other. drugs for fever and dysentery. In sonic parts of India half-ripe fruit and, some curd with roasted rice is given for piles. Of the following decoctions, the first is for fever and the other for dysentery, containing beli root in one and the half-ripe fruit pulp in the other respectively.

Botanical name:
Stereospermum colais (Suaveolens)

Sinhala: Palol
Tamil: Padri

Properties and uses:
This is an ingredient in the Dasamula decoction. It is also an ingredient in many decoctions and other preparation for various diseases. The leaves are reputed to promote healing of fractures of bones.

Siyambala (Indian date)
Botanical Name:
Tamarindus Indica

Sinhala: Siyambala
Tamil: Puli

Properties and Uses:
Cooling, astringent and laxative. The pulp covering the seed is acid and is largely used as a substitute for lime. The root bark is astringent and is used in decoctions for dysentery. The shell covering the pulp is also used medicinally. The pulp is regarded as a carminative and digestive. Powdered seed made into a paste is applied to incipient boils with very good results.

Botanical name: Adhatoda Vasica

Sinhala: Adatoda
Tamil: Adatodai

Properties and uses:
This is described as removing phlegm, bile and impurities of the blood and as a remedy for phthisis, asthma, couth, fever (hectic), vomiting, gonorrhoea and leprosy. Consequently it is found as an ingredient in many of the prescriptions given in the old books for those diseases. A decoction which given by native medical men for long-standing catarrhal fever with severe cough is one composed of:-

Agaladara (Adhatoda Vesica)
Katuwel-batu (Solanum Jacquini)
Ela-batu (Solanum Xanthocarpum or Indicum)
Inguru (Ginger)
Tippili root (long pepper root)

The decoction is made in the usual way. Take of the juice of the Adhatoda leaves four seers, long pepper sixteen tolas, white sugar one seer, clarified butter sixteen tolas: boil them together till reduced to the consistence of an extract; when cool add honey one seer and stir still intimately mixed. Dose:- One to two tolas in phthisis, couth with pain in the sides and asthma. Adhatoda Vasica is now available to Western practitioners in the form of a tincture.

Gas-labu (Papaw)
Botanical Name: Carica papaya

Sinhala: Pepol, gas-labu
Tamil: Pappali

Properties and Uses:
It is regarded medicinally as a remedy for haemoptysis, bleeding piles and ulcers of the urinary organs. It is the milk of the tree or the latex that is used for medical purposes. It has been found to contain an active principle that has been named Papain, similar in action to Pepsin, and having the property of digesting meat. Some time back it was much talked of in the medical journals and is still used by some medical men in their practice for dyspepsia. The natives use the milk juice to remove warts and it is also regarded as a useful anthelmintic. It has also been used with good results in the treatment of spleenic and hepatic enlargements. The ripe fruit makes a good table fruit and is a favourite with many Europeans.

Botanical Name: Gloriosa Superba

Sinhala: Niyangala
Tamil: Kalaipai-Kizhangu

Properties and uses:
This is one of the poisons mentioned in old Sanskrit works and is called in them Garbhaghatini, "causing abortion," and is seldom or never used internally. The tuber is rubbed into a paste and applied to the navel and soles of the feet for protracted labour, through the Inertis Uteri, to bring on uterine pains, and it is said to be useful in that respect. It is used in the same way to expel retained placenta.

Botanical name:
Musa Paradisiaca

Sinhala: Kesel
Tamil: Valippalam

Properties and uses:
Good source of energy; readily digestible fruit useful in feeding children suffering from diarrhoea. Useful for treatment of gastro intestinal disorders, constipation, artheritis, anemia and allergies.

Some of these, like the ash plantain and several West Indian varieties, are only used after being cooked. The abortive flowers at the end of the spike are removed and used as a vegetable by the natives. The unripe fruit is used in diabetes and dysentery on account of its astringent properties. It is made into a Ghrita, with the three myrobalans and aromatics. In America a syrup made of Bananas or plantains is said to be very effective in chronic cough and bronchitis. Its preparation is very simple: cut the fruit into slices, add an equal weight of sugar and cold water and boil the contents in a closed jar to the boiling point or till it is reduced to the consistency of a syrup. Dose:- A tea-spoonful every hour.

The stem juice is said to be an antidote for poisonous snake bites. Ripe plantain with bees honey is recommended to be eaten in chronic cases of fever.


Botanical Name: Mimosa Pudica

Sinhala: Nidikumba
Tamil: Tata-vadi

Properties and uses:
It is much used in native medicine and is regarded as an alterative and resolvent and is given in cases of corrupted blood and bile. The juice is applied to fistulous sores.

Nelum (Lotus)
Botanical name: Nelumbium nelumbo

Sinhala: Nelum
Tamil: Tamarai

Properties and uses:
Lotus or Nelumbium is largely used in native medicine and its products are frequently found as ingredients in many prescriptions for various diseases. Different portions of it are supposed to possess therapeutical properties peculiar to each but the whole plant is regarded as cooling and astringent and is prescribed for bloody discharges from the bowels and for Gonorrhoea in combination with other drugs. The flowers are regarded as especially cooling and are prescribed in diseases supposed to be caused by 'heated humours' or dos, as they are called by the native Vedaralas, concerning which a great misconception obtains among practitioners of Western medicine. The following is a decoction containing the rhizomes of N. Stellata as an ingredient for dysentery:-

Kernel of mango seed - Amba mada
Rhizome of Nelumbium - Nelum
Flowers of Myristica Horsfieldia - Rukmal
Pulp of Beli fruit - Beli mada

Make a decoction in the usual way, or administer in the form of a powder or paste.

Botanical name: Mussaenda frondosa

Sinhala: Val-buthsarana, Mussaenda
Tamil: Vellaiyilai

Properties and uses:
This is said to be attenuant, diuretic and tonic. The flowers are used in cough, asthma, ague and flatulence; externally applied they clean foul ulcers, and cure skin eruptions.

Maruva (Niyanda)
Botanical name:
Sanseviera zeylanica

Sinhala: Maruva/Niyanda
Tamil: Maral

Properties and uses:
The roots are used medicinally; they are said to be pungent, tonic and cardiac, and a remedy for bile and gonorrhoea.

Botanical name:
Lagerstroemin Flos-reginae

Sinhala: Murutha
Tamil: Kadalapuva

Properties and uses:
This is used in native medicine in combination with other drugs for various diseases. The root is astringent; in Malaysia a decoction of the bark is given for abdominal pains. The derivation of the generic name is given in the preceding entry.

Muhudu-bintambara (Goat's foot)
Botanical name:
Inpomoea Biloba (pes-caprae)

Sinhala: Muhudu-bintambara
Tamil: Adapu-kodi

Properties and uses:
The leaves are boiled and applies externally in rheumatism and colic, have anti inflammatory properties. The leaves are given as a diuretic in dropsy.

Botanical name:
Woodfordia Fruticosa (Floribunda)

Sinhala: Maliththa
Sanskrit: Dharaki

Properties uses:
This is a drug largely used in native medicine. This enters into the composition of many preparations, decoctions, churnas and ghritas for various diseases, but chiefly dysentery and diarrhoea by reason of its being highly astringent. Possibly the therapeutic properties of Myla and Maliththa are the same.

Here is a prescription for a churna (powder) or a decoction for dysentery in which Myla or Maliththa is an ingredient. It very useful in a form of dysentery in which faces, blood and mucus are passed mixed and technically called Prabahika by native medical men.

Take of: -
Piper Nigrum (Black pepper)
Nigella sativum (Kalanduru)
Woodfordia Floribunda (Dhataki)
Rock salt (Sahindalunu)
Aegle Marmelos (Beli)
Ginger (Inguru)

Pound well and give the powder with butter milk (kirimoru). The above is taken from Sarasensapa, standard work on medicine.

The leaves and flowers have a high tannin content and are used for tanning and in ayurvedic medicine for bleeding conditions such as haemorrhoids.

Botanical name:
Ocimum Sanctum

Sinhala: Maduru thala
Tamil: Tulasi/Alangai

Properties and uses:
The plants used by Sinhalese are Hin-tala (Ocimum Canum) and Maduru-tala (Ocimum sanctum). The thala plants are regarded as expectorant and febrifuge and are prescribed in all catarrhal affections and low continued fever. Maduru-thala, as the name signifies, is inimical to mosquitoes; away. It is often met with as an ingredient in prescriptions for fever of an intermittent kind. A decoction of thala Ocimum Sanctum and ginger for ague of long standing or Piper Nigrunm (Gammiris) and the seeds of Timbiri (Diospyros embryopteris) for tertian fever.


Botanical name: Cephalandra Indica

Sinhala: Kowakka
Tamil: Kovvai

Properties and Uses:
The juice of the fibrous roots is used to snake bites and also as an adjunct to metallic preparations given by Indian native medical men for diabetes.

Botanical name: Aloe Vera (Indica)

Sinhala: Komarika
Tamil: Kumari

Properties and uses:
The leaves are used in herbal medicine for a variety of conditions: cough, asthma, eye ailments, colics and haemorrhoids. The juice of the leaves is incorporated in an ointment for treating burns. In western medicine aloe is classified as an anthracene purgative; however, it has gone out of favour.

The fresh juice is mentioned in the old books, though not the inspissated variety, as an article of commerce and described as cooling, cathartic, tonic and useful in fevers, enlarged glands, spleen and liver. It is a frequent ingredient of the compound and stock preparations of native medical men for the treatment of various diseases.

Botanical Name:
Adina Cordifolia

Sinhala: Kolong
Tamil: Kadambi

Properties and uses:
The fruit is about the size of a small orange, and is eaten by natives. It is sweet and a destroyer of phlegm. The bark is tonic and febrifuge.

The bark of Adina Cordifolia is used more largely than that of Anthocephalus, and the yellow dye of the wood is considered to be antiseptic. It prevents the generation of worms in sores.

The juice of the bark of the tree is used to treat sores.

Botanical name:
Azadirachta Indica

Sinhala: Kohomba
Tamil: Vembu, Arulundi

Properties and uses:
This is the well-known nargosa or Nim-tree of the East and has been used medicinally from the remotest times. The root, bark, leaves and the oil of the seeds and flowers are all used medicinally. It is regarded as an antiseptic, astringent and a tonic, and is given frequently in decoctions for fever.

Here is a very useful decoction for fever with Kohomba:-
Take of:-
Margosa bark.
Dummella or Momordica Dioica.
Rasakinda - tinospora Cordifolia.
Ginger - Inguru
Kalanduru - Cyperus Rotundus
Three myrobalans - Tippal - equal parts.
Make a decoction in the usual way. Dose:- Half a tea cup twice a day.

The compound leaves are believed to possess antiseptic properties; decoctions of leaves are used on ulcers etc. The tree has several other medicinal uses. It is a common custom in the village to string a row of leaves of this tree above the entrance to a house in which there is illness. This is to inform others of the sickness in the household as well as because of the belief that the leaves possess antiseptic properties.

Botanical name:
Bauhinia Purpurea

Sinhala: Kobo-leela,
Tamil: Mandari

Properties and uses:
This is described as a tonic and an alterative by Indian Pharmocologists and is employed in the treatment of glandular swellings and skin diseases and ulcers. There are three varieties or species of Bauhinia in Ceylon: they are B. Tomentosa, B. Anguinea and B. Racemosa. The last of these is the Myla of the Sinhalese. Atti of the Tamils, but it is wrongly used by some native medical men for Dhataki, which is Woodforidia Floribunda and Malitta of the Sinhalese and a plant of the natural order Lythraceae.

Botanical name: Butea Frondosa

Sinhala: Kela, Gas kela
Tamil: parashu

Properties and uses:
The seeds of Butea Frondosa are said to be laxative and anthelmintic and are used both alone and in combination with other drugs for expelling intestinal worms. The gum of the tree is now used as a substitute for Kino. For Pterygeum and opacity of the cornea, the following preparation is recommended:-
Take of:-
Red Sandalwood one part.
Rock salt two parts.
Gum of Butea Frondosa four parts.

Powder and mix and apply to the affected part. Powdered seed mixed with lime-juice is an efficacious remedy for what is known as Dhobies itch. The bark is astringent and effective in diarrhoea.

Botanical name: Aponogeton Crispum

Sinhala: Kekatiya
Sanskrit: Kasira

Properties and uses:
The rhizomes contain starch and are roasted and eaten by the natives. Medicinally it is a frequent ingredient for decoctions and other preparations given to women during gestation. Sarartha Sangrahawa gives this as an ingredient in a decoction to be given in the sixth month of pregnancy should the patient complain of any pains about the loins. The tubers are used as a diuretic.

Botanical name:
Asparagus Racemosus (falcatus)

Sinhala: Hathavariya
Tamil: Kilavari

Properties and uses:
This is described as cooling, demulcent, diuretic, tonic and aphrodisiac and is used in the preparation of many remedies for external use and also in the preparation of hair oils. There is a Ghrita called Satarari Ghrita, which is composed of four seers of clarified butter, juice of Asparagus Racemosus four seers and milk forty seers; boil them down to a thick consistence and administer with honey, sugar and long pepper, in cases of chronic rheumatism.

Another preparation of hatavari is Phala Ghrita, prepared with four seers of clarified butter, sixteen seers of the juice of Asparagus Racemosus and cow's milk, with the addition of a number of other medicines, chiefly aromatics, in small quantities in the form of a paste. Its use is said to increase the secretion of semen, to cure barrenness in women, and to remove disorders of the female genital organs. As a diuretic it is directed to be given in the form of the following decoction. Take of the roots of Asparagus Racemosus, Saccharum Spontaneum, poa Cynosuroides, Oryza Sativa, Saccharum Officinarum, Batatas Paniculatus, Scirpus Kysoor (a tuber found in tanks not unlike Cyperus Rotundus), Tribulus Terrestris, equal parts, and make a decoction in the usual way. This is used in cases of ardor urine and in difficult micturition.

Botanical name: Furcraea gigantea

Sinhala: Hana
Tamil: Shanal Imappu

Properties and usus:
The seeds and leaves are used medicinally and are said to be cooling; a purifier of blood. Given in cases of fever and skin diseases. The juice of the tender leaves is used both internally and externally for scabies and impetigo. The leaves are also made into a sort of poultice and applied to eruptions of the skin with a tendency to collect matter, so as to clean them before applying curative medicines.

Botanical name:
Vateria copallifera

Sinhala: Hal
Tamil: Vellai-kungilian

Properties and uses:
The bark is astringent and bitter, and is used in medicine in combination with other drugs. A gum resin exuded from the trunk bark is also astringent and emollient and is used in dysentery and, like many other gum resins, is used for fumigating sick rooms. Powdered resin is given with good results in cases of dysentery. The bark, cut into small pieces, is put into toddy pots to prevent fermentation instead of the pots being limed, which is generally done where Hal bark is not available. It yields a gum resin not used medicinally, burns with a clear light, combines with oil and is used with other drugs to add consistency to ointments.

A clear yellowish resin tapped from the tree is used for varnish. The one-seeded fruit resembles a cocoa pod in size and shape; its bitter flesh is grated, bundled in cloth and anchored in low flowing water (vakkada) overnight. This removes the bitterness. The "flour" is then used to make "pittu" and other preparations.

Botanical name: Argyroia Populifolia

Sinhala: Giritilla
Tamil: -

Properties and uses:
Various parts of the plant, including the latex, are used externally on the gums and wounds.

The root of this pounded and boiled in coconut milk applied with excellent results to inflammation or swelling after dog bite. It is used also in cases of mad dog bites in order to prevent hydrophobia.


Botanical name:
Clerodendron Infortunatum

Sinhala: Gas-pinna
Tamil: Perugilai

Properties and uses:
The juice of the leaves is believed to possess anthelminitic properties.

Botanical name:
Clerodendron Phlomidis

Sinhala: Gas-pinna, Vadang
Tamil: Vatamadakki

In India parts of the plant are used in post-natal conditions in women and in gastrointestinal disorders. The roots are employed as an appetite stimulant.

All the above possess similar properties and are thought to be laxative, tonic and cholagogue.

Botanical name:
Erythrina Indica

Sinhala: Erabadu
Tamil: Mullu-murukku

Properties and uses:
The juice of Erabadu leaves is applied to syphilitic buboes. The bark is febrifuge, its juice kills maggots in foul ulcers. Gaskela or Erabadu is astringent and is given in combination with other drugs in dysentery and diarrhoea. It is also used both as a lactogogue and an emmenagogue. It is an ingredient in many decoctions.

The Chinese Pharmacopoeia advocates the bark for toothache and the leaves for worm infestations. The bark and seeds are also used to stupefy fish.

Ela Nitul
Botanical name:
Plumbago zeylanica

Sinhala: Ela Nitul
Tamil: Chittira

Properties and uses:
There are two varieties of Chitraka and the variety mostly used is the Ela or white variety, i.e., Plumbago zeylanica. It is described as hot, pungent, digestive and astringent. Chitraka is called "Agni" (fire), daruna, Dahana, and is used in a great many diseases in combination with other drugs, especially for fever. There are many prescriptions for fever containing it and it is prescribed in flatulence, dyspepsia, dysentery an other diseases.

The root is used medicinally for bowel disorders; it is reputed to possess anti-fertility activity. The Chinese Pharmacopoeia recommends the plant for rheumatic pain and rheumatism.

The plumbago root is an emmenagogue and is used to procure abortion by a piece of the root being introduced to Cervex Uteri.

Botanical name:
Rauwolfia serpentina

Sinhala: Ekaveriya
Tamil: Covannamilpori

Properties and uses:
This is used by native medical men as a remedy for fever and an antidote to the poison of venomous reptiles. The powdered root of rauwolfia has been used for snake bite, aggressive behaviour and high blood pressure.

It is used in dysentery and is supposed to be emmenagogue. In Concan (India) the root of Aristolochia Indica (Spsanda) is used with this for cholera and in colic. One part of the root with two parts of Holarrhena (Kiri-walla) or (Kelinda) and three parts of Jatropha Curcas root is given with milk. In fever the root with Andragraphis Paniculata (Hin-bin-kohomba), ginger and black salt is given.

Botanical name:
Calopyllum Inophyllum

Sinhala: Domba
Tamil: Nagam

Properties and uses:
The fruit has a hard shell and the kernel yields an oil which is used as a medicine for rheumatic pains and is also one of the five kinds of oil known as Pas-tel. In some parts of India the oil has a reputation as a cure for Scabies. The bark of the tree is used as an antiseptic; internally, preparations of the bark are used in cough.

Botanical name:
Kalanchoe pinnata

Sinhala: Akkapana
Tamil: Malla-kulli

Properties and uses:
It is regarded as an excellent application for wounds and contusions. It prevents swelling and discolouration and heals the wound rapidly. The juice of the leaves is given internally for stones in the urinary tract.

Thala, Tel-tala
Botanical name:
Sesamum indicum

Sinhala: Tel-tala
Tamil: Ella

Properties and uses:
Tala is described as emollient, nourishing, tonic, diuretic and lactogogue. It is used as the basic oil of nearly all the medicinal oils prepared by native medical men, which with their stock pills are among their ready weapons for combating cases of sudden illness. The refuse poonac after expressing the oil from the seeds is given with Kitul palm juggery when the patients are convalescing and with profit, as it helps to form the motions.

A popular sweet is made by blending the seeds with juggery. The ashes from the burnt stems taken orally are said to have the property of increasing the output of urine. The leaves are taken as a vermifuge.

The Chinese Pharmacopoeia states that the black seed taken internally promotes lactation and prevents premature greying.

Botanical name:
Bauhinia tomentosa

Sinhala: Kaha-petang
Tamil: Kanjani

Properties and uses:
Used by South Indian practitioners in dysenteric affections. A decoction of root bark is sometimes administered in hepatitis. Preparations from parts of the tree are used internally in haemorrhoids and diarrhoea. Externally, the bark, leaves and roots are used as poultices.

Botanical name:
Asteracantha longifolia

Sinhala: Katu-ikiriya, Neera-mulliya
Tamil: Neramulli

Properties and uses:
It is described as cooling, diuretic and strengthening. All the parts of the plant are used medicinally. The seeds form one of the five kinds included in Panchavija. The properties and uses of the plant are similar to those of in cases of ascites or dropsy not due to organic disease of the kidneys. In the Unani system of medicine the plant is used externally in rheumatism.

Botanical name: Acacia Arabica

Sinhala: Babbula
Tamil: Karu-val

Properties and uses:
There is a large number of varieties or species of Acacia all of which yield a gum resin which is used both medicinally and for various economic purposes. Acacia gum has astringent, styptic, and tonic properties, and of these varieties Acacia gum and Acacia Catechu are much used in medicine.

Botanical name: Crinum Asiaticum

Sinhala: Tholabo
Tamil: Vishumungil

Properties and uses:
All herb possess emetic activity. The juice of the leaves slightly roasted is a popular remedy for ear-ache. It acted without purging.

KinihiriyaBotanical name:
Cochlospermum Gossipyum - (Golden silk cotton tree)

Sinhala: Kinihiriya, Ela-imbul
Tamil: Tanaku konge

Properties and uses:
It is the gum exuded from this plant that is used medicinally and is a substitute for gum Tragacanth. The tender leaves boiled in water make a good cooling wash for the hair. In Persian it is called Kathira. Scholaris Gaertnere is Katukurundu of the Sinhalese.

Botanical name:
Crataeva religiosa

Sinhala: Lunuwarana
Tamil: Mavilankai

Properties and uses:
This is a very important drug in native medicine. Its chief use is in decoctions for affections of the urinary organs. One of its synonyms, Asmarighna, means destroyer of gravel and is a very useful lithontriptic. It is administered in all forms, from a simple decoction of the leaves and bark with treacle to a Ghrita composed of nearly a score of other drugs with it. A very efficacious compound decoction in combination with an equally powerful lithontriptic remedy is composed of Tribulus Terrestris, Gokshura or Gokatu of the Sinhalese, and ginger, in equal quantities. Make a decoction and administer with the addition of Yavakshara (impure carbonate of potash) and honey. In ascites the bark is reduced to ashes, which contain a quantity of alkaline matter. It is made into a solution and boiled down again with the powdered bark, to which is added impure carbonate of potash (Yavkshara); the solution is evaporated and the resulting powder is given with treacle in ascites, calculus and enlargement of the abdominal viscera. The leaves or their juice are used in the form of a decoction for swelling, and for burning sensation of the soles of the feet - a common one among natives. This complaint is called Vata Rakta, for which I have found Western treatment to be very unsatisfactory.

Botanical name:
Cassia Fistula

Sinhala: Ehela
Tamil: Tirukkontai

Properties and uses:
This plant are similar to those of Senna. It is likewise regarded as laxative and is given in many diseases where the bowels are required to be moved and is an ingredient in many decoctions for fever, rheumatism and anasarca. For habitual costiveness of the bowels, the leaves are baked and eaten with the usual meals.

Flowers of Ehela
A prescription like our Cathartic mixture is Arogbadhadi. It is composed of Cassia Fistula root, Ehela Picrorrhiza Kurroa (Katukarosana), Chebulic Myrobalan, long pepper root and tubes of Cyperus Rotundus (Kalanduru). Prepare a decoction in the usual way; for an adult, sixty-four grains of each of the drugs and water eight cups. Reduce to one cup and take on dose or two doses according to the age of the patient. The pods are used as a laxative in ayurvedic medicine and the bark for tanning.


Flower of Katukarandu
Botanical name:
Barleria Prionitis

Sinhala: Katukarandu
Tamil: Varamulle

Properties and uses:
This, like Adatoda, is a very useful drug for all catarrhal affections of children. The plant is used in congestion of the liver as well as in dropsy as it has diuretic properties. In Africa, the root is used in toothache and the juice form the leaves are applied to bleeding gums.

Botanical name:
Ipomoea mauritiana

Sinhala: Kiribadu
Tamil: Nelli-kumbalu

Properties and uses:
This is regarded as tonic, alternative and aphrodisiac. Susruta recommends it to be taken as such being the powder of the root macerated in its own juice and administered with honey and clarified butter.

Flower of Kiribadu

Botanical name:
Moringa Pterygosperma

Sinhala: Murunga
Tamil: Murungai

Properties and uses:
This is called Danshamula, Pungent root; is described as diuretic and astringent and is used in a variety of diseases, both internally and externally. The seeds are said to be stimulant.

The bark is given in combination with other drugs in cases of ascites arising from enlarged spleen and liver. The bark juice is used to dissolve pills given for acute diarrhea and cholera. The bruised bark is applied to the calves in cases of convulsions in children. The root has somewhat the smell of horse radish and has been at times used by some people as a substitute for it. The root bark is given as a decoction with leaves of Rumex Vesicarius, with the addition of black pepper, long pepper and rock salt, in ascites and enlarged spleen.

Botanical name:
Costus Speciosus

Sinhala: Thebu
Tamil: Kudavam

Properties and uses:
It might be used as a substitute for ginger, but is inferior to it in quality and does not preserve long unless kept with a quantity of that root sufficient to cover it. Hindu physicians have used a root, which they

call Pushkaramula from a remote period and sold in the Indian bazaara under the name Kushta. They had no knowledge of its source till it was discovered not many years ago by a Western Botanist, Dr. Falconer, as Aplotaxis Auriculata, a plant found growing in Cashmere.

A preparation recommended to relieve severe headache in cases of fever or occurring otherwise is a paste of Costus, white sandalwood and dry ginger, made by grinding them down with human milk, to be rubbed on the forehead. In a few cases in which I tried this, it was found to be very useful and relieved the patients of their distressing affection almost immediately. The rhizome is used in fever and catarrhal conditions.

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