Abelmoschus esculentus. Okra, bendee, gombo.

Botanical name: 

Abelmoschus esculentus

Okra, bendee, gombo

Description: Natural Order, Malvaceae. Formerly in the genus Hibiscus. Genus ABELMOSCHUS: Calyx five-toothed, spathe-like; involucre five to ten leaved. Fruit a five-celled capsule, opening by five valves. A. ESCULENTUS: An annual, with erect stems from three to four feet high, branched, woody toward the base, tender parts covered with bristles and often purple-spotted. Leaves alternate, long-petioled, lower ones angled, middle ones palmate, upper ones digitate, all rough and bristly. Flowers axillary, solitary, very large, pale yellow; calyx of a remarkably soft texture, bursting on one side. Capsule four to ten inches long, an inch in diameter, somewhat bristly. Native to the West Indies; now much cultivated throughout the tropical regions and in the more southern portions of the temperate zone for culinary purposes.

Properties and Uses: I. The capsules abound in an agreeable mucilage, which is used as an aliment in broths and soups. An infusion is grateful in dysentery and diarrhea; in acute inflammation and irritation of the stomach, bowels, and kidneys; and during the existence of a glassy tongue in typhoid cases. A portion of a single capsule, steeped in a pint of warm water, and moderately sweetened, .makes a drink that may be used freely. The mucilage is less viscid and more palatable than many other vegetable demulcents.

II. The leaves are also demulcent, though less so than the capsules. When gathered in their green state and pounded, they make a valuable emollient poultice. Miss L. Dille says the plant is prized in Jamaica by the common people.

The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com