Gutta Percha. Gutta Percha.

Gutta percha consists of the dried purified latex of various species of Palaquium (P. borneense, Burck, P. oblongifolium, Burck, etc.), and from Payena Lerii, Burck, large trees belonging to the natural order Sapotaceae and indigenous to the Malay Archipelago. It is obtained by felling the trees, cutting transverse channels in the trunks, and allowing these channels to fill with latex, which is removed after it has coagulated, kneaded with water to remove impurities, and made into lumps; the product is subsequently boiled with water to free it further from impurities, and the softene dmass formed into large flattened cakes. Attempts which have been made to obtain gutta percha from the leaves, and thus avoid the destruction of the trees, have not yet been entirely successful; the latex can be obtained by incising the trunk of the living tree, but this method has not been generally adopted. Gutta percha is imported in blocks of variable but often considerable size, greyish-brown externally, reddish-grey and laminated or fibrous internally. They often contain impurities, which may be removed by mechanical means (straining whilst plastic, etc.).

Constituents.—The chief constituent of gutta percha is the hydrocarbon gutta, C30H48, which is white when pure, and has been obtained in minute crystals. On exposure to the air it gradually assumes a reddish colour. From the crude drug alcohol extracts two series of substances classed as albans and as fluavils, all of which are crystalline. The former have been hydrolysed by alcoholic potash, yielding cinnamic acid and crystalline resinols. The fluavils also yield cinnamic acid and resinols. In addition to these substances, gutta percha contains albanans, which differ from the albans in being less soluble in alcohol. Gutta percha is entirely soluble in benzol, oil of turpentine, and carbon bisulphide, and almost entirely soluble in chloroform.

Action and Uses.—Its chief use in pharmacy is for the preparation of traumaticin, a 10 per cent. solution of gutta percha in chloroform (see Liquor Gutta Percha), which is employed as a substitute for collodion, and with which chrysarobin, resorcin, and other medicaments may be incorporated for application to the skin. A more viscid solution, known as Liquor Gutta Percha Fortior, and containing 20 per cent. of gutta percha, has been used, and is preferred by many dermatologists. Spread in thin sheets, as gutta percha tissue, it is used as a covering for moist dressings and poultices to delay evaporation or prevent soiling of linen. A prepared gutta percha is used as a stopping for decayed teeth.


Liquor Gutta Percha, B.P., 1885.—SOLUTION OF GUTTA PERCHA, B.P., 1885.
Gutta percha 1; chloroform, 8.
Liquor Gutta Percha, B.P.C.—SOLUTION OF GUTTA PERCHA. Syn.—Traumaticin. 1 in 10.
Employed for the close application of medicaments, such as chrysarobin, to the skin; on evaporation, a dry elastic film remains.

The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.