Sandarac. Sandaraca. Callitris quadrivalvis.

Botanical name: 

Sandarac. Sandaraca. Gum Juniper. Sandaraque, Fr. Sandarak, G.—A resinous substance obtained from the Callitris quadrivalvis Vent. (Thuja articulata, Vahl.), an evergreen tree (fam. Pinaceae) growing in the mountains of northwestern Africa.

Sandarac is a resinous exudation which occurs as a natural secretion in schizolysigenous reservoirs in the bark. It exudes naturally, but an increase in yield is obtained by cutting through the bark. The exuding resin hardens and is collected. It is sent by the natives to Mogador, Casablanca and Nazagan. From these points it is shipped to London, Trieste, Marseilles and Hamburg. It occurs in small, irregular, roundish oblong grains or tears, of a pale yellow color, sometimes inclining to brown, more or less transparent, dry and brittle, breaking into powder under the teeth, of a faint, agreeable odor increased by warmth, and of a resinous, slightly acrid taste. It melts with heat, diffusing a strong balsamic odor, and easily inflames. It is almost entirely soluble in ordinary alcohol, and entirely so in that liquid when anhydrous, and in ether. Heated oil of turpentine also dissolves the greater part of it, but very slowly. According to Unverdorben, it consists of three resins, varying in their relations to alcohol, ether, and oil of turpentine. The sandaracin of Geise, which remains after sandarac has been exposed to the action of ordinary alcohol, is a mixture of two of these resins. Tschirch (Harze und Harzbehalter, p. 276) has isolated and described an acid, sandaracolic acid, C44H64O4(OH)COOH, making up 85 per cent. of the natural resin and callitrolic acid, C64H82O5.OH)COOH, of which 10 per cent, is present. In Australia and Tasmania Callitris trees grow in vast numbers, and produce a sandarac which is almost colorless, having highly refractive power, and a pleasant aromatic odor, becoming dark by age, and sometimes assuming a superficial mealiness. This Australian sandarac softens easily, but does not melt in boiling water, is gritty to the touch, and can scarcely be distinguished from the African drug. (P. J., Jan., 1890.) For an elaborate description of Australian sandarach, see also A. J. P., 1896, 215. Sandarach was formerly given internally, and entered into the composition of various ointments and plasters. At present it is used chiefly as a varnish and as incense; its powder, termed pounce, is rubbed upon paper to prevent ink from spreading after letters have been scratched out. It is sometimes adulterated with mastic, rosin and dammar. A false sandarach has been described by R. Haneke. It resembled the real article, being lemon-yellow in color, transparent, and the tears elongated and rounded at the tips. When chewed it broke into fine powder and stuck to the teeth, while it softened on the water bath and flowed together into a resinous mass. Examination showed it to consist largely of colophony. (O. Z., liv.)

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