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Gambir.

Botanical name:

An extract prepared from the leaves and twigs of Ourouparia Gambir (Hunter), Baillon (Nat. Ord. Rubiaceae). Sumatra, Ceylon, and countries bordering the Straits of Malacca. Dose, 1 to 30 grains.
Common Names: Gambir, Gambeer, Terra Japonica, Pale Catechu.

Description.—Irregular masses or cubes, reddish-brown, pale brownish-gray or light brown, friable, crystalline, and breaking with a dull earthy fracture, bitterish with sweetish after-taste, no odor and great astringency. Dose, 15 grains.
Principal Constituents.—Catechutannic acid (35 to 40 per cent) the active astringent; catechin (catechuic acid) probably inert; and pyrocatechin.
Preparations.—1. Trochisci Gambir, Troches of Gambir (Gambir about 1 grain, Sugar, Tragacanth, and Orange-flower Water).
2. Tinctura Gambir Composita, Compound Tincture of Gambir (Gambir and Cinnamon). Dose, 1 fluidrachm.

Action and Therapy.—External. Gambir is powerfully astringent. It restrains excessive discharges, overcomes relaxation and congestion, and checks local hemorrhages. Gambir is now used in place of catechu (extract of wood of Areca Catechu) as it carries practically the same bodies in more available form, though it contains less tannin than that extract. It may be used in relaxed sore throat, relaxed uvula, and the relaxation and congestion of the fauces common to speakers and singers. A gargle or the troches may be employed. It is rarely used, by injection, in leucorrhoea, and in powder or tincture to control epistaxis. It is a good astringent for congested and spongy gums.

Internal. The powerfully astringent properties of gambir are utilized in the control of serous diarrheas. If there is much mucus present a purge of castor oil is advised, to be followed by the gambir alone, or with camphorated tincture of opium. It is seldom used in modern Eclectic practice.


The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.



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