TERMINALIA BELLERICA 599
and general appearances. The pods are used as a vegetable, and are considered preven-
tive against intestinal worms. The root acts as a vesicant, if applied externally. The
bark contains small quantities of an essential oil, having a very pungent odour. It also
contains 0.105 per cent of alkaloidal bases, which closely resemble ephidrine in action.
One of them is crystalline and is less active than the other which is amorphous. Both
have a stimulant action on the heart, constrict the blood vessels and produce a marked
and persistent rise of blood pressure. They relax the bronchioles, inhibit the tone and
movements of the intestines and produce contraction of the virgin, as well as the preg-
nant, uteri of guineapigs and rabbits.67 The powdered bark is largely used as an aborti-
facient in Bengal, and has produced fatal results.
RUTA GRAVEOLENS (SATAP)
This plant belongs to N.O. Rutaceae, and is commonly cultivated in Indian gardens.
It yields, on distillation, a volatile oil, which is acrid bitter in taste, and is a valuable
diuretic and emmenagogue in 2 to 5-minim, doses. In large doses it acts as an aborti-
facient, and produces irritant symptoms.
SAPINDAS TRIFOLIATUS (EH1THA)
This tree belongs to N.O. Sapindacese, is common in Southern India and is culti-
vated in Bengal. Its fruits are known as soap-nuts, and are largely used for washing
silk, etc. They contain a glucoside, saponin, a white amorphous powder, which dissolves in
water, forming a froth like soap. It is insoluble in cold alcohol or ether and strikes a
red colour with sulphuric acid.
According to Blyth cs 1| to 3 grains of saponin administered by the mouth increases
mucous secretion and causes nausea. Forty grains administered subcutaneously to an
adult would endanger life, the symptoms being great muscular prostration, weakness of
the heart's action and probably diarrhoea. The post-mortem appearances would probably
be those of an irritant or inflammatory action on the gastric and intestinal mucous
TERMINALIA BELLERICA (BELLERIC MYROBALANS, BAHERA)
This tree belongs to N.O. Combretaceae, and grows in Indian forests. Its fruits are
oval and somewhat five-angled. When fresh, they are of the size of a nutmeg, fleshy
and covered with a grey silky down. When dry, they are of the size of a gall nut, dry
brown in colour and astringent in taste. The stones are smooth and hard, and contain
white kernels. These yield an oil which is used as a dressing for the hair. The dried
ripe fruits are astringent and are used in Indian medicine. The powder of their pericarp
enters into the composition, of triphala, the other two constituents being the chebulic
and emblic myrobalans.
Accidental cases of poisoning by the belleric fruits have occurred, the symptoms
being nausea, vomiting, headache, insensibility, normal pupils, quick, feeble pulse, slow,
laboured respirations, trismus, convulsions and death. On post-mortem examination the
stomach may be found congested. A Hindu boy, aged 4 years, died in about 24 hours
after he had taken a Bahera fruit.^ A boy of five years, who ate fresh kernels of
Bahera fruits, died within forty-eight hours.70 Windsor 71 reports a case where a family
consisting of a man, his wife and four children partook of a pilau prepared with some
kernels. In about an hour they were seized with nausea, vomiting and giddiness. After
forty-eight hours' illness the man, his wife and two children recovered, but still felt
dazed and giddy. The two younger children, aged 2 and 3J years respectively, died within
forty-eight hours, being unconscious throughout the illness.
67. Chopra and De, Ind. Med. Gazette, March 1932, t>. 128.
68. Poisons, their Effects and Detection, Ed. V, p. 461.
69. Beng, Chem. Exam. Annual Report, 1936, p. 11.
70. Bhondoo Lai, Ind. Med, Gaz,, May 1900, p. 180.
71. Ibid., Oct. 1906, p. 406.