Page:The medicinal plants of the Philippines (1901).djvu/13

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PREFACE.

Commissioned by His Majesty's Government to study the medicinal plants of my native country, I returned there and spent two years in collecting data regarding the use that the Filipinos make of their plants in the treatment of disease. At the same time I collected and carefully preserved some with the purpose of taking them to Europe, to study their chemical composition in the laboratories of Paris under the direction of the eminent men who had been my instructors in medicine.

The work I did in the Philippines was preliminary, a preparation for the more extended study of the subject which I wished to make in Paris, where I went with my notes and collection. Unfortunately, upon leaving Manila, I confided the mounting and pressing of my plants to an inexperienced person who stupidly placed in the midst of them several succulent tubers which decomposed during the voyage and spoiled the other plants. At the same time I received in Paris an important collection of the vegetable drugs of the Philippines, sent by my friend the pharmacist, M. Rosedo Garcia, and destined for the World's Fair of 1889. I opened with great pleasure the wood and zinc box in which the collection came, anticipating that I should be able to carry out my plan of study and at the same time win for my friend, Garcia, a well-deserved premium. Imagine my disappointment upon finding that, by an unfortunate coincidence, his plants had arrived in the same condition as mine, having also been packed with tubers of ubi, gabi, etc., and several cocoanuts which had decomposed.

Many times since then I have tried to obtain from Manila, through exchange or payment of money, a similar collection, but have been unable to secure a single leaf of the plants I so

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