Momordica charantia Linn.
BITTER GOURD / BITTER MELON
Ampalaya is a climbing vine, nearly or quite smooth, annual vine. Tendrils are simple, up to 20 centimeters long. Leaves are 2.5 to 10 centimeters in diameter, cut nearly to the base into 5 to 7 lobes, oblong-ovate, variously toothed, and heart-shaped at the base. Male flower is about 12 millimeters long, and is peduncled, with a rounded, green, and about 1 centimeter long bract approximately at the middle. Female flower is yellow flower, about 15 millimeters long, long-stalked with pair of small leaflike bracts at middle or toward base of stalk. Fruit, in cultivated form, is green, fleshy, oblong, cylindric, 15 to 25 centimeters long, pointed at both ends, ribbed and wrinkled, bursting when mature to release seeds; in wild forms, ovoid, about 2 to 4 centimeters long. Seeds are oblong, compressed 10 to 13 millimeters long, and corrugated on the margins. Uses
- In the Philippines, juice expressed from the green fruit is given for chronic colitis: also used for bacillary dysentery. - Astringent powdered leaves or root decoction can be applied to hemorrhoids. - Leaf juice for cough and as a purgative and anthelminthic to expel intestinal parasites, and for healing wounds. - Seeds also used to expel worms.
- The vine or the juice of leaves used as mild purgative for children. - In large doses, the fresh juice is a drastic purgative.
- Decoction of roots and seeds used for urethral discharges. - Juice of leaves used for chronic coughs.
- Leaves and shoots used as vulnerary.
- Sap of leaves used as parasiticide.
- Fruit macerated in oil used as vulnerary.
- Fruit considered tonic and stomachic; used in rheumatism, gout, and diseases of the spleen and liver. - Pounded leaves used for scalds.
- Infusion of leaves or leaf juice used for fevers.
- Used for chronic stomach ulcers.
- Root sometimes used as ingredient in aphrodisiac preparations. - Decoction of root used as abortifacient.
- Fruit in large doses considered a drastic purgative and abortifacient.
Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers.
Da ye zi wei
Banaba is a deciduous tropical flowering tree, 5 to 10 meters high, sometimes growing to a height of 20 meters. Bark is smooth, grey to cream-colored, and peels off in irregular flakes. Leaves are smooth, large, spatulate, oblong to elliptic-ovate, 4 to 8 centimeters in width, 12 to 25 centimeters in length, shedding its leaves the first months of the year. Flowers are 6-parted, purplish lilac or mauve-pink, rarely pink, 5 to 7.5 centimeters across, and borne in large, terminal panicles up to 40 centimeters in length. Petals are oblong-obovate or obovate, shortly clawed, and 3 to 3.5 centimeters long; the margins are undulate and hardly fimbriate. Fruit is a large nutlike capsule, obovoid or ellipsoid, and 2 to 3.5 centimeters long. Seed is pale brown, with a wing 12 to 18 millimeters long. Uses
- Decoction of leaves of all ages used for diabetes mellitus. Some physicians believe the dried fruit decoction to be better. - Roots have been used for a variety of stomach ailments. Leaf decoction for diabetes; also use as a diuretic and purgative. - Decoction of old leaves and dried fruit (dried from one to two weeks), 50 gms to a pint of boiling water, 4 to 6 cups daily has been used for diabetes. Old leaves and ripe fruit are preferred, believed to have greater glucose lowering effect. Young leaves and flowers have a similar effect, though only 70% that of matures leaves and fruits. The wood has no known glucose lowering effect; the bark, a very small amount. A decoction of 20 gms of old leaves or dried fruit in 100 cc of wa...