The dried gummy exudate of Acacia Senegal, Willdenow; and of some other African species of Acacia. (Nat. Ord. Leguminosae.) Eastern Africa (Kordofan, chiefly), and Western Africa north of river Senegal.
Common Names: Acacia; Gum Arabic.
Principal Constituents.—Arabin (C12H22O11—Arabic acid) in combination with salts of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Description.—Tears or fragments of a nearly odorless, translucent white, yellow-white, to pale amber-colored exudate, having a rather insipid and mucilaginous taste; soluble in water, but insoluble in alcohol.
Preparations.—1. Mucilago Acaciae, Mucilage of Acacia. Dose, 1 to 4 fluidrachms or more.
2. Syrupus Acaciae, Syrup of Acacia. Dose, 1 to 4 fluidrachms or more.
Action and Therapy.—Acacia is largely employed in the preparation of pills and in the emulsification of oils and resins. It is demulcent and probably slightly nutritive. In the form of a solution or mucilage it is an agreeable lenitive for irritated and inflamed membranes, and for this purpose is frequently used in medicinal preparations for coughs, colds, hoarseness, pharyngitis, gastric irritation and inflammation, diarrhea, dysentery, ardor urinae, etc. It also forms a good mucilage in which to suspend heavy and insoluble powders. When the stomach is irritable in low fevers and in pulmonary tuberculosis, a half ounce of acacia may be dissolved in 5 fluidounces of water, sweetened with sugar, and given in tablespoonful doses occasionally to relieve the sense of hunger when but little food can be taken. Mucilage of acacia is soothing to burns and scalds of the mouth and alimentary canal, and may be used as a demulcent after poisoning by irritant and corrosive poisons. Acacia may be given freely and at pleasure, in the form of powder, troches, mucilage, or syrup, as desired.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.