Gum Lac Tree.
A tree of the bigness of our apple tree, frequent in the East, but not yet known in Europe. The trunk is covered with a rough reddish bark. The branches are numerous and tough. They have a smoother rind, of a colour inclining to purple. The leaves are broad, and of a whitish green on the upper side, and of a silvery white underneath. The flowers are small and yellow. The fruit is of the bigness of a plum, and has in it a large stone. The outer or pulpy part is of an austere, and not very agreeable taste.
The gum lac is found upon the branches of this tree but it is pretended by some, that a sort of flies, deposit it there, and on other substances; and that it is a kind of wax; however, there are persons of credit, who say they have obtained by cutting the branches of this tree, and a like substance from the branches of the several kinds of jujubes, to which this belongs, in the hot countries. Probably the flies get it off this tree, and lodge it for their purposes upon sticks, and other substances, as we see it.
Our druggists have three kinds of this resin, for it is ill called a gum. The one they call stick lac, because it is brought in round sticks; the other seed lac, in small lumps; and the other shell lac, which is thin and transparent, and has been melted; of this resin the scaling wax is made with very little alteration more than the colouring it, which is done by means of cinnabar or coarser materials. Taken inwardly, gum lac is good against obstructions of the liver: it operates by urine and sweat. and is good in most chronic cases arising from such obstructions.
The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.