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Tamil Lexicon, University of Madras (p. 2850)
pūvaracu: 1. Portia tree, m. tr., Thespesia populnea; 2. Rhododendron, s. tr., Rhododendron arboreum
Dymock, Warden, Hooper: Pharmacographia Indica (vol. I, pp. 213-214)
Thespesia populnea, Malvaceae
Fig. - Portia tree (Eng.)
This tree is much valued on account of the toughness of its timber, which is used for carriage building. It is the Hibiscus populneus of Rumphius (III., 31), who speaks highly of the value of the heart-wood as a remedy in bilious attacks and colic, and in a kind of pleurodynia from which the Malays often suffer. The fruit abounds in a viscid yellow juice of the colour of gamboge, which the natives use as an external application in psoriasis. The leaves are applied to inflamed and swolen joints. The tree is called in Sanskrit PÄrisa and GardhabhÄnda; it is noticed by Ainslie, who says that a decoction of the bark is given internally as an alterative to the extent of 3-4 ounces twice daily. The author of the Bengal Dispensatory also notices it, but expresses no opinion as to its properties. Several trials with this remedy were made by the Editor of the Pharmacopoeia of India in scabies and other cutaneous diseases; in some cases it exercised a favourable influence, but in the majority it was productive of little or no benefit.
According to Braunt (Animal and Veget. fats and Oils) the seeds contain a dark red oil, known as "huile amâre" which is stated to be used for medicinal purposes.