Gambir (or gambier) (Ourouparia gambir) is a shrub native to the countries bordering the Straits of Malucca, being found also in Ceylon and India. The dried juice of an Indian tree (Acacia catechu and Acacia suma. is often confused with gambir, and its extract (catechu or cutch) is only too often substituted therefor. Gambir has been obtained from the Orient from the beginning of historical records, and in those countries, mixed with other substances, seems ever to have been used as an astringent in domestic medicine. Both gambir and catechu, as these products are often called indifferently, have ever been articles of export to China, Arabia, and Persia, but were not brought into Europe until the seventeenth century. They are similarly astringent, and although the U. S. P., 1900 edition, drops the word catechu, it is questionable as to whether in commerce a close distinction is drawn in the product.
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.