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ACALYPHA INDICA Linn.

MARAOTONG

Acalypha caroliniana Blanco

Local names: Maraotong (Ilk.); taptapingar (Ilk.); Indian acalypha (Engl.).

Maraotong occurs as a weed in and about towns in thickets, waste places, etc.,
throughout the Philippines. It is found also in tropical Africa and Asia, through Malaya to
Polynesia.

The plant is an erect, simple or branched, somewhat hairy, annual herb, growing
from 30 to 80 centimeters in height. The leaves are ovate, 3 to 6 centimeters in length,
shorter than the long stalks, and toothed at the margins. The flowers are sessile, greenish,
borne on numerous, lax, erect, axillary spikes. The male flowers are very small, and
clustered near the summit. The female flowers are solitary and scattered, and each has a
large, leafy bract 5 to 6 millimeter long. The capsules are about 2 millimeters long, and
quite concealed by the enlarged bract, and often contain only one seed. The seed is ovoid
and smooth.

According to Dymock, Warden, Hooper the plant contains an alkaloid, acalyphine.


Zamora analyzed the leaves, and concluded that acalyphine is probably present.

The plant is official in the British (4) Pharmacopoeia.

In the Philippines a decoction of the leaves is given for dysentery. According to


Guerrero, the juice of the root and leaves is given to children as an expectorant and emetic
in bronchitis, also being administered in decoction.

The leaves, in decoction or powder form, possess laxative properties. Mixed with
garlic they are used as an anthelmintic. Mixed with common salt, they are applied to
scabies. A cataplasm of the bruised leaves is applied to syphilitic ulcers, to maggot-eaten
sores, and as an emollient to snake bites. A powder of the dry leaves is used in bed sores.
The juice mixed with oil forms an application for rheumatic arthritis. The expressed juice of
the leaves is a safe, certain, and speedy emetic for children. In smaller doses, the juice of
the leaves is expectorant, and is useful in bronchitis and asthma. As an expectorant,
Doctor Ross speaks highly of it, and ranks it in this respect with Senega. The decoction is
employed in earache as an instillation and also as a fomentation round the aching ear. In
congestive headache a piece of cotton saturated with the expressed juice of the plant
leaves and inserted into each nostril is said to bring relief by causing a haemorrhages from
the nose.

The root, bruised in water, is used as a cathartic. In cases of constipation of children


the bruised leaves introduced after the manner of a suppository have the invariable effect
of at once relieving the contraction of the sphincter ani. The juice of the fresh leaves,
mixed with lime, is applied in painful rheumatic affections.