Guaiacum,—Lignum Vitae.

Botanical name: 

Source and Composition. It is the heart wood of Guaiacum officinale, a West India tree (nat. ord. Zygophylleae), and contains 60-70 per cent, of Resin (Guaiaci Resina) which consists of 3 Acids, Guaiaconic, Guaiarec, Guaiac; also 4 Sub-resins, and a yellow Coloring matter.


Guaiaci Lignum, Guaiac Wood,—used in decoction.
Guaiaci Resina, Resin of Guaiac,—Dose, gr. v-xx, in wafer, or pill.
Tincture Guaiaci, ♏x-ʒj.
Tinct. Guaiaci Ammoniata, ♏v-ʒss.

Physiological Action. Guaiac is diaphoretic, expectorant and alterative. Its taste is acrid and very disagreeable. It irritates the gastric mucous membrane, increasing its mucus, salivates by reflex action, and stimulates the intestinal secretions and the flow of bile. Though a colloidal body it enters the blood, producing diaphoresis, and stimulating the excretory glands and the production of bronchial mucus. Its continued use produces gastric catarrh, and in large doses it causes vomiting, purging and severe congestive headache.

Therapeutics. It is a valuable remedy in—
Tonsillitis to abort the attack,—ʒss of Tincture every 4 hours.
Neuralgic Dysmenorrhoea,—Guaiac is promptly alleviative.
Chronic Rheumatism,—in which it has an established reputation.
Syphilis,—it has been well used in the form of the Compound Decoction of Sarsaparilla, of which Guaiac wood is an ingredient.

A Compend of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Prescription Writing, 1902, by Sam'l O. L. Potter, M.D., M.R.C.P.L.