The Philippine medicinal herb kamantigue, also known as garden balsam, is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia belonging to the family Balsaminaceae (Touch-me-not family). With little doubt, Philippine national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal – being a medical doctor, dedicated naturalist, and a garden enthusiast – would have been familiar with the ornamental value and medicinal properties of the kamantigue. As a well travelled scholar in Europe, he too would have known of the closely related species Impatiens noli-tangere.
Leaves and seeds are edible: leaves and young shoots are cooked; the seeds raw or cooked.
· In the Philippines, pounded leaves used as poultice to dissolve whitlow.
· In Malaya, leaves used for poulticing broken and torn nails.
· In China, powdered seeds are prescribed for difficult labor.
· Flowers used for snake bites, lumbago, and intercostal neuralgia.
· For contusion, painful inflammation, joint pains, carbuncles, dysmenorrhea, lumbago, and snake bites: use dried flowers, 3 to 6 gms or seed preparation, 3 to 7 gms or the entire plant, 9 to 15 gms, boil to decoction and drink.
· Seed is expectorant; used for cancer treatments.
· For external use on any bruise or painful area; crush fresh plant and poultice the affected parts of the body.
· Leaf juice used for treatment of warts.
· Root and leaves used for various foreign bodies – coins or other metals inadvertently swallowed, as well as thorns or fish splinters.
· In the U.S. the most common use of jewel weed is to treat poison ivy rashes.
• Dye: Dyes is obtained from flowers and leaves. In parts of Asia, flowers are used as a substitute for Henna for dyeing finger-nails.
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