Tabernaemontana divaricata "Seeds"
An evergreen shrub, it grows to a height of 1.5m with a spread of 1m. The stem is erect and branching; the leaves are opposite, thick, smooth, 10-15cm long and ovate-acuminate; the flowers are white and 5 lobed.. 'Flore Pleno' is the variety with double flowers.
A native of India, China and Thailand, it prefers well-composted, well-drained, sandy soils in a protected sunny or partly shady position, and is drought and frost tender.
Bark scrapings are used by the Tikunas to ease the pain after childbirth. Decoctions of the bark are used to alleviate stomach and rheumatic pains, as well as diarrhoea.
Tagar is widely used in India and Sri Lanka. It is mentioned in the Kama Sutra, is recommended as an aphrodisiac, and has a reputation of making women more fertile. The latex has a cooling effect and is applied to wounds to prevent inflammation. Latex mixed with oil is applied to the head to releave headaches, eye pressure and corneal inflammation. The juice from the flowers is dropped into the eyes in cases of opthalmia (not advised without medical supervision!!). Chewing the root relieves tooth-ache. Decocted with oil and applied to the head it is said to relieve all indispositions, especially pains, of the head. A water decoction of the root is an efficient wormicide and is used to treat respiratory problems such as athma. In Malaysia the leaves are pounded with sugar candy and water to give a drink for curing coughs. Yunani practitioners value the flowers as an analgesic. In Indonesia the leaves, bark and twigs may form the main components of an arrow poison used on the Mentawei Islands.
Tabernaemontana divaricata contains at least 15 alkaloids of the complex indole type. Many are closely related to the well known ibogaine and voacangine, both of which are also present. Extracts of this species were once used for addiction withdrawal treatment due to their ibogaine content.