EHRETIA PHILIPPINENSIS A.DC
Ehretia beurreria Blanco
Ehretia blancoi A. DC.
Local names: Aliboñgog (Ism.); alibuñgog (C. Bis.); anonangin (Bik.); bayukon (Tag.); halimumog (Tag.); kalamuñgog (P. Bis.); kutup (Sul.); liñguñgug (Mbo.); ludungla (Bon.); salimomo (Tag.); talibobong (Bik.).
Alibuñgog is an endemic species found in thickets and forest at low and medium altitudes from the Babuyan Islands and northern Luzon to Palawan and Mindanao.
This is a small tree growing to a height of 5 meters or more with crooked branches and smooth and slender branchlets. The leaves are alternate, oblong-ovate to broadly lanceolate, about 10 centimeters long and 4.5 centimeters wide, entire, pointed at the tip, and somewhat rounded at the base. The inflorescences are usually terminal, and most equal the leaves in length. The flowers are white and fragrant, and clustered upon short pedicels. The calyx is small and ovately segmented. The corolla is somewhat enlarged at the cylindric base, with its narrow lobes ultimately reflexed. The fruit is rounded, about 3 millimeters in diameter, juicy, and orange with a reddish tinge when mature.
Our knowledge of the medicinal uses of this plant is due to Dr. Camomot, who reports his findings and experience as follows:
The parts of the plant commonly used as medicine are the bark of the stem, scraped into a pulp, and the green leaves. These are applied fresh and cool to diseased painful tissues and allowed to adhere in direct contact for some time, until pain disappears or the desired cure has been effected. Subjective relief takes place usually in six hours; but the “alibuñgog” dressing may be left a longer time and renewed with fresh applications once or twice in twenty-four hours.
“He cited seven histories of cases cured by alibuñgog”:
Case 1. – One big toe was badly lacerated. In a short time it became swollen and painful. A natural poultice consulting of the scraped fresh “alibuñgog” stem bark was applied without previous heating. In twenty-four hours the acute symptoms of pain and swelling had subside. Complete cure followed this one treatment.
Case 2. – A young girl suffered from severe toothache with swelling of the face over the affected region to such an extent that for three successive she was unable to open her mouth freely and the feeding was difficult and at times impossible. Fresh, cool leaves of “alibuñgog” were applied to swollen face. In
about five hours she experience great relief from the pain, could open her mouth with relative ease and take food better. No other treatment was necessary.
Case 3. – A housewife, about fifty years old, suffering from an old bilateral cataract of the eye lenses, after a falling piece of wood measuring about three board feet struck her on the forehead with a hard impact that knocked her down. Immediate complaints were local pain of the affected region, where a discolored linear groove had formed, tingling sensations all over the body and dizziness. A liberal amount of fresh natural unheated “alibuñgog” poultice, consisting of scrapings from the stem bark, promptly applied to the damage tissues prevented any further complication. All the pain, the untoward sensations and the local groove on the forehead disappeared in a short time, thus effecting a complete cure.
Case 4. – A male, aged about sixty-five, with a small wound, inflicted accidentally on the dorsum of one foot, which in the course of a few days caused a large local swelling with edema and smarting pain extending upwards to include the whole foot, the ankle joint and the inferior or distal portion of the leg. A poultice from the scraped stem bark of the “alibuñgog” was applied without heating to the diseased limb. The following day he discovered a radical change, for he woke up in the morning feeling refreshed completely, except for a slight bodily weakness. The foot with the “alibuñgog” poultice looked clumsy but pained no more. Not many days afterwards he was completely cured with just the “alibuñgog” treatment.
Dr. Camomot remarks that this plant must somehow be useful in the therapeutics of certain inflammatory processes. Inasmuch as the “alibuñgog” poultice so commonly used by the country people is not readily available, another preparation was devised. An aqueous maceration was prepared by soaking fresh green leaves, numbering about fifty and weighing around one hundred grams, in an open enamel basin containing about two liters of clear, colorless artesian well-water at ordinary room temperature. No boiling whatsoever was done. At the end of one week the leaves had turned dark green and the menstrum had deep brown color with a slight odor of decomposing vegetation. Upon decantation and passage through a thin layer of cotton, about nine hundred cubic centimeters of “alibuñgog” extract – better termed macerate – were obtained.
Case 5. – A hanging toe-nail that had been causing discomfort to a female, 27 years of age, was intentionally pulled off without due antiseptics. The toe became tender, and within a week had swollen considerably and felt painful, with signs of acute inflammation. “Alibuñgog” macerate was thereupon applied as a wash and as a cool, moist compress frequently renewed. Within an hour the pain, which had been but dull in character, became more acute, and the parts throbbed. Despite these apparently discouraging sensations the patient was coaxed to continue the treatment. A few hours later the pain gradually subsided and ruptured, and some purulent material was wiped off leaving a clean and
healthy-looking raw surface. Thereafter healing was rapid and complete with no other treatment used.
Case 6. – A 14-year old female developed celulitis of the left index finger with so much pain that she shed tears. “Alibuñgog” macerate was applied as a moist compress. The local swelling persisted two days more before the finger became completely cured, leaving no visible signs of the previous inflammation. Subsequently this girl used the “alibuñgog” macerate to good advantage on bruises on other parts of the body.
Case 7. – After a fall on the ground a school girl of eight years had bruises on the elbows and knees. In a few days infection had set in with the result that seropurulent material was exuding from the parts. These were cleansed with full-strength hydrogen peroxide, dressed with iodine ointment or Iodex of Menley & James, and covered with gauze. In two days it was noted that the progress of healing was slow and unsatisfactory, therefore on the third day of treatment, when purulent secretion was still coming out from the open wounds, it was decided to try the “alibuñgog” macerate. Ordinary gauze pads, but to the parts and fixed by means of adhesive plaster strips. Renewal of this dressing was done twice a day. Healing became rapid and complete shortly afterwards.
He says that other instances, too numerous to narrate in detail, of successful treatment with “alibuñgog” have been verbally reported to him. Outstanding in importance is the cure of diarrhea and of dysentery with frequent and bloody stools accompanied by tenesmus. “Alibuñgog” was given per orem as a decoction made from the main-stem bark or the whole-root structure.
He then concludes that judging from the beneficial results already known, it is assumed that in the leaves, stem bark, and roots of “alibuñgog” there is a counterirritant, emollient substance which included hyperemia.