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hura- = "to wrap" or "wind"
Hurakan, the ancient Mayan god of wind and storm
The name Monkey’s pistol comes from the action which also gave it the name Monkey's dinner bell.
When the fruits are ripe, they explode violently, showering segments of fruit and seeds up to 60 metres. This action caused Barret (1956) to comment, having been caught in such a shower, Hura stabs, poisons and shoots
Other Names: assacou or ussacu.
Common Names: Sandbox Treeochoo. Dynamite Tree, Possent, Possumwood, ( possen and possum are corruptions of ìpoisonî ),Jabillo ( Central America ), Monkeyís pistol ( West Indies ), Arbol de diablo ( Mexico ), Cieba de leche ( Colombia ), Cieba labillo ( Venezuela ), White cedar.
Homeopathic preparation: Tincture of milky juice. (Bradford’s Index).
Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Rosiflorae / Rosidae; Euphorbiales; Euphorbiaceae - Spurge Family
Some material contributed by Duncan Muir Thomas
Provings: Allen: Cyclopoedia, V. 4, 10. Mure: Braz. Provings.
Cattell: Brit. Jl. Hom., V. 11, p. 341. - - - - - -: Jl. Soc. Med. Hom. de Paris, 1840, V. 4, pt. 3.
- - - - - -: A. H. Z., V. 39, pp. 15, 27. (Bradford’s Index).
Description of the substance
Botanical Information: Stately tree, with a rough, warty bark, oval leaves and monoecious flowers. The male flowers are in stemmed, thick spikes, and the female flowers are in the top leaf axils or at the foot of the male spikes. The large woody capsules burst open explosively and contain flat, yellow-brown seeds. "The curious, rounded, hard-shelled fruits are about the size of an orange, and have as many deep furrows as there are cells, each cell containing a single flattened seed. When the fruit is ripe and exposed to a dry atmosphere, it bursts with great force, accompanied by a loud, sharp crack like the report of a pistol, for which reason it is often called the Monkey's Dinner-bell. The seeds are emetic, in a green state violently purgative, but when dry, according to Lunan, they lose this property. A venomous milky juice is abundant in all parts of the plant, and if it be applied to the eye causes almost immediate blindness." [Clarke]
The capsules were formerly used to sprinkle sand on wet ink; hence the name 'sandbox tree'.
"Mure compares his Hura with H. crepitans. They are probably varieties of the same species, the properties of the milk of the two being the same. The observed effects of H. crepitans were from eating the seeds, those of H. brasiliensis from single doses of the 5th attenuation."
Botanically, this indeed involves the same species. The different name is purely a question of different botanists: the name Hura crepitans stems from Linnaeus [1707-1778], while Willdenow [1765-1812] called the same species Hura brasiliensis .
The drastic nature of the symptoms is a general characteristic of the spurge family. For example, the "immediate blindness" of Hura resembles that of Mancinella , and all Euphorbiaceae share the violent gastrointestinal irritation. (Vermeulen’s Synoptic ll).
A tree up to 30 m in height. Leaves simple alternate, broad, ovate, cordate, acuminate; distantly repand - dentate, petiolate, hairy, petiole provided at its top with two large glands. Flowers small, reddish, monoaceous, apetalous; calyx cupulate, truncate or denticulate; male flowers numerous, stamens covered with scaly bract. Female flower infundibuliform (funnel shaped); style terminating in stellate stigma. Fruit a capsule, 7.5 cm long, 4 cm in diameter, deeply ribbed. (Pharmacopea).
Habitat: South America. (Pharmacopea).
Hura is part of the Euphoriaceae, comnon name (Brazilian)
Assacu (name given to the milky juice of the tree
Preparation of tincture of the milky juice, coulor jellow-whitish Description: A tree up to 30 m in height. Leaves simple alternate, broad, ovate, cordate, acuminate; distantly repand - dentate, petiolate, hairy, petiole provided at its top with two large glands. Flowers small, reddish, monoaceous, apetalous; calyx cupulate, truncate or denticulate; male flowers numerous, stamens covered with scaly bract. Female flower infundibuliform (funnel shaped); style terminating in stellate stigma. Fruit a capsule, 7.5 cm long, 4 cm in diameter, deeply ribbed.
Part used: Sap.
Distribution: South America.