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Gamboge

Botanical: Garcinia hanburyii (HOOK)
Family: N.O. Guttiferae

---Synonyms---Gutta gamba. Gummigutta. Tom Rong. Gambodia. Garcinia Morella.
---Part Used---Gum resin.
---Habitat---Siam, Southern Cochin-China, Cambodia, Ceylon.


---Description---The commercial Gamboge is obtained from several varieties, though Garcinia Hanburyii is the official plant, an almost similar gum is obtained from Hypericum (St. Johnswort). The Gamboge tree grows to a height of 50 feet, with a diameter of 12 inches, and the gum resin is extracted by incisions or by breaking off the leaves and shoots of the trees, the juice which is a milky yellow resinous gum, resides in the ducts of the bark and is gatheredin vessels, and left to thicken and become hardened. Pipe Gamboge is obtained by letting the juice run into hollowed bamboos, and when congealed the bamboo is broken away from it. The trees must be ten years old before they are tapped, and the gum is collected in the rainy season from June to October. The term 'Gummi Gutta,' by which Gamboge is generally known, is derived from the method of extracting it indrops. Gamboge was first introduced into England by the Dutch about the middle of the seventeenth century; it is highly esteemed as a pigment, owing to the brilliancy of its orange colour. It has no odour, and little taste, but if held in the mouth a short time it gives an acrid sensation. The medicinal properties of Gamboge are thought to be contained in the resin. It is official in the United States Pharmacopoeia.

---Constituents---Resin gum, vegetable waste, garonolic acids; the gum is analogous to gum acacia.

---Medicinal Action and Uses---A very powerful drastic hydragogue, cathartic, very useful in dropsical conditions and to lower blood pressure, where there is cerebral congestion. A full dose is rarely given alone, as it causes vomiting, nausea and griping, and a dose of 1 drachm has been known to cause death. It is usually combined with other purgatives which it strengthens. A safe dose is from 2 to 6 grains, but in the treatment of tapeworm the dose is often as much as 10 grains. It provides copious watery evacuations with little pain, but must be used with caution. Dose, 2 to 5 grains in an emulsion or in an alkaline solution.

---Other Species---
The tree G. Morella is the Indian Gamboge; a gum resin is obtained from it; it has a similar action to Gamboge and is used as its equivalent in India and Eastern Colonies. Dose, 1/2 to 2 grains.

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Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.

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