Buteae Gummi. Butea Gum, Bengal Kino. Buteae Semina. Butea Seeds.


BUTEA GUM [Bengal Kino]

"Butea Gum is the inspissated juice obtained from incisions in the stem of Butea frondosa, Roxb." Br.

For description and uses, see under butea seeds.



"Butea Seeds are the seeds of Butea frondosa, Roxb." Br.

The Sacred Tree, Butea frondosa (Fam. Leguminosae), enters largely into the religious rites of the Hindoos. Its red flowers are offered at the bloody sacrifice of the goddess Kali. Its leaf with three spreading leaflets is supposed to represent the Hindoo deity, and furnishes platters used when the Hindoo boy becomes of age.

Butea gum, which has sometimes been mistaken for African kino, is the concrete juice of the Butea frondosa Roxb., or Dhak-tree of Hindostan, and also to some extent of B. superba. The juice flows from natural fissures, and from wounds made in the bark of the tree, and quickly hardens. It is in small elongated tears, or irregular angular masses, less in size than a grain of barley, apparently black and opaque, but translucent and of a ruby-red color when examined in small fragments by transmitted light; in some specimens the tears are much paler than described, and of a very beautiful ruby tint. Many of the tears have small portions of bark adhering to them. They are very brittle, and readily pulverizable, yielding a reddish powder. They are very astringent to the taste, do not adhere to the teeth when chewed, and tinge the saliva red. The solubilities and reactions of this product to water, alcohol, and other chemical reagents are nearly the same as those of ordinary kino. When freed from impurities, consisting of from 15 to 25 per cent. of wood, bark, and sand, etc., it contains, according to E. Solly, 73.26 per cent. of tannin, 5.05 of soluble extractive, and 21.67 of gum and other soluble substances. It is used in the arts in India, and might undoubtedly be employed as kino in medicine. It is, however, very seldom imported into England, and never, at present, into this country. Pereira found a quantity in an old drug store in London, and sent a portion to Guibourt, from which that writer drew up his description of African kino. It is possible that the kino which formerly reached us, full of small pieces of wood, bark, etc., may have been the Butea gum.

Butea gum occurs in "small irregular shining fragments, very dark ruby color, thinnest flakes transparent when examined by transmitted light. Partially soluble in water; about 40 per cent. soluble in hot alcohol (90 per cent.), the solution being scarcely colored. No odor; taste astringent. Free from corky or woody particles. On keeping, the fragments may become dull and blackish." Br.

It is said (Hanbury) to yield 1.8 per cent. of ash and 13.5 per cent. of water, and to be composed of about equal parts of kino-tannic acid and a soluble mucilaginous substance. On dry distillation it yields pyrocatechin, which, according to Eisafel, does not preexist in it. " In India and the Eastern Divisions of the Empire, Butea Gum may be employed in making the official preparations for which kino (distinguished in commerce as East Indian, Malabar, Madras, or Cochin kino) is directed to be used." Br.

The British Pharmacopoeia describes the seeds as "flat, reniform, from twenty-five to thirty-eight millimetres long, sixteen to twenty-five millimetres wide, and one and a half to two millimetres thick. Testa thin, glossy, veined, wrinkled, dark reddish-brown. Cotyledons large, leafy, yellow. Faint odor; taste slightly acrid." Br.

For a description of the seeds of B. frondosa, see Ph. Rev., 1896, 232.

Uses.—Butea Gum is used for the same purposes and in the same doses as kino. The seeds have been used by the native practitioners in India as vermifuges against both the tape worm and the round worm. According to the Pharmacographica Indica, the infusion of three seeds exercises a laxative effect. Before being used, the seeds should be soaked in water and the integument carefully removed. The powdered dried kernels may be given in doses of ten to twenty grains (0.65-1.3 Gm.).

Off. Prep.—Pulvis Buteae Seminum, Br.

The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.