Origin and Properties

This consists of the leaves of Sesamum indi-cum, and possibly of Sesamum orientate, annual plants, natives of the E. indies and probably of Africa, and cultivated to a considerable extent in our Southern States. They will grow also in the latitude of Philadelphia with care, but do not ripen their seeds; so that, to maintain a supply of the fresh leaves, it would be necessary to obtain the seeds from the South. They are commonly known by the name of benne plant. The large leaves are three-lobed, and sometimes three are attached to the same footstalk. They abound in a gummy matter, which they yield with great facility to cold water, forming a transparent and very ropy mucilage.

Medical Uses One or two of the large fresh leaves put into a tumbler of cold water, and occasionally stirred, will, in the course of a few minutes, render the liquid sufficiently viscid for use. The infusion thus prepared is a very bland mucilage, much used in the South as a demulcent drink in bowel affections, and those of the urinary organs. if dried, the leaves should be treated with hot water. They may be used also in the form of an emollient cataplasm.