Scarlet Leadwort

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(Plumbago indica) Plumbago derives from the Latin plumbum, lead, so the common name of the species is Leadwort. There was some feeling at one time that the plant was a cure for lead poisoning (Hyam & Pankhurst). Scarlet Leadwort is an Indian and Malaysian species. The root is an abortifacient, well-known as such, apparently by introduction into the vagina. But this is dangerous, sometimes lethal (P A Simpson), for that use would cause violent local inflammation (Gimlette). This is the source of the poison known as Lal Chitra in India. The root bark, rubbed into a paste with flour and water, and applied to the skin, will blister it. Some Indian peoples use the root to cure toothache, and in southern India, the dried root used to be highly regarded as a syphilis and leprosy cure (P A Simpson).

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