Cambogia. U. S.


GAMBOGE Cambog. [Pipe Gamboge]

"A gum-resin obtained from Garcinia Hanburii Hooker filius (Fam. Guttiferae).'' U. S.

Cambogia, Br. 1898; Gambogia, U. S. Pharm. 1870; Gummi-resina guttae (s. gutti), Gutta Gamba, Cambodia; Gommegutte, Fr. Cod.; Gutte, Fr.; Gutti, P. G.; Gummigutt, G.; Gumma gotta, It.; Gutagamba, Goma gutta, Sp.

Under the name of Cambogia Indica, Indian Gamboge, the British Addendum formerly recognized a gum-resin obtained from the Garcinia Morella Desrouss.. Several plants belonging to the family of Guttiferae, growing in the equatorial regions, yield on incision a yellow opaque juice, which hardens on exposure and bears a close resemblance to gamboge; but it is only from a particular tree, growing in Siam, that the official gum-resin is procured. According to observations of Baildon and Jamie, gamboge is obtained exclusively from the province of Cambodia, the plant not being found in any other part of Siam nor in Cochin China. (J. P. C., Juillet, 1874.) Several years since, Christison received from Singapore specimens of the gamboge plant cultivated in that island, and derived from Siam, which proved to be a Garcinia, differing from the G. elliptica of Wallich chiefly in having its male flowers upon pedicels. Subsequently Hanbury obtained from the same source numerous specimens of the same plant, and was enabled to confirm the statement of Christison; but he also found that the plant approached very near to the Garcinia Morella of Desrousseaux, from which it could be distinguished only by its pedicellate flowers. These specimens were afterwards submitted to the inspection of Thwaites in Ceylon, who is perfectly familiar with the Garcinias of that island, and were pronounced by him to belong to a variety of G. Morella, scarcely differing from the Ceylon plant, except in having pedicelled instead of sessile flowers; for these two varieties the names of G. Morella, var. sessile, and G. Morella, var. pedicellata, were proposed. Sir Joseph Hooker, however, determined (Journ. Linn. Soc., xiv, 485) that the var. pedicellata is a distinct species, differing from G. Morella in having not only its flowers pedicellate, but also its leaves more ovate and much larger, and its fruit larger; he very properly gave it the specific name of Hanburii to commemorate the contributions of the late Mr. Hanbury to pharmaceutical science; and his connection with the history of the present plant. According to the researches of Beckett, G. Hanburii is confined to the islands and sea coast of the Gulf of Siam, where it is known as "Ton Rong," and where it grows to the height of fifty feet, with a diameter of twelve inches.

It is doubtful if all of the Gamboge of commerce is obtained from Garcinia Hanburii. Some of it is probably obtained from G. Morella Desr. and G. Roxburghii Engler, plants growing in Canara; G. Wightii T. Anders, a plant of Southern Farther India; G. tetranda Wall., G. Gaudichaudii Planch. et Triana growing in Cochin China and G. pictoria (Roxb.) Engl., a plant found in Ceylon and Farther India.

Ceylon gamboge, derived from G. pictoria, Roxb., is procured by incisions, or by cutting away a portion of the bark, and scraping off the juice which exudes. The specimens sent to Christison were in flatfish or round masses, eight or nine inches in diameter, apparently composed of aggregated irregular tears, with cavities which are lined with a grayish and brownish powdery incrustation. It resembled coarse gamboge, and was identical in composition. In Ceylon it is used as a pigment and purgative. (Christison.) New Caledonian Gamboge, derived from Garcinia collina Vieil, is described by Heckel and Schlagdenhauffen as very similar in its appearance and reactions to ordinary gamboge; its color is, however, deep orange. A white crystalline compound, which when heated beyond 235° C. (455° F.) produced pyrocatechin, was found in it, and marked the point of difference between it and other varieties of gamboge. (Rep. de Pharm., 1893, 193.)

Gamboge is said to be procured in Siam by breaking off the leaves and shoots of the tree; the juice, which is contained in ducts or latex vessels in the bark, issues in drops, and, being received in suitable vessels, gradually thickens, and at length becomes solid. Jamie, of Singapore, states that incising the trunk and larger branches is often practised. The juice is frequently received into the hollow joints of the bamboo, and the water expelled by mild continuous heat. In this way the so-called pipe gamboge is formed, the contraction during drying causing the cylinders to be hollow. According to Beckett, Siam gamboge is obtained only from trees of not less than ten years of age and during the rainy months, from June to October, by cutting long, spiral grooves into the bark and collecting in hollow bamboos the sap which trickles down in a viscous stream. (Kew Bulletin, 1895.)

The name gummi gutta, by which gamboge is generally known on the continent of Europe, probably originated from the circumstance that the juice escapes from the plant by drops. The official title was undoubtedly derived from the province of Cambodia, in which the gum-resin is collected. Gamboge was first brought to Europe by the Dutch, about the middle of the seventeenth century. We import it from Canton and Calcutta, whither it is carried by the native or resident merchants. There is no difference in the appearance or character of the drug as brought from these two ports—an evidence that it is originally derived from the same place.

Varieties.—The best gamboge is in cylindrical rolls, from two to five centimeters in diameter, sometimes hollow in the centre, sometimes flattened, often folded double, or agglutinated in masses so that the original form is not always easily distinguishable. The pieces sometimes appear as if rolled, but are in general striated longitudinally from the impression made by the inner surface of the bamboo. They are externally of a dull orange color, which is occasionally displaced by greenish stains, or concealed by the bright yellow powder of the drug, slightly adhering to the surface. In this form the drug is sometimes called pipe gamboge. Another variety is imported under the name of cake or lump gamboge. It is in irregular masses weighing a kilo or more, often mixed with sticks and other impurities, containing many air-cells, less dense, less uniform in texture, and less brittle than the former variety, and breaking with a dull and splintery instead of a shining and conchoidal fracture. The worst specimens of this variety, as well as of the cylindrical, are sometimes called by the druggists coarse gamboge. They differ, however, from the preceding only in containing a greater amount of impurities. Indeed, it would appear from the experiments of Christison. that all the commercial varieties of this drug have a common origin, and that cake or lump gamboge differs from the cylindrical only in the circumstance that the latter is the pure concrete juice, while to the former, farinaceous matter and other impurities have been added for the purpose of adulteration. The inferior kinds of gamboge may be known by their greater hardness and coarser fracture; by the brownish or grayish color of their broken surface, which is often marked with black spots; by their obvious impurities, and by the green color which their decoction, after cooling, gives with tincture of iodine (starch). When pure, the gum-resin is completely dissolved by the successive action of ether and water, so that the amount of residue left by any specimen treated in the manner just spoken of indicates approximately the measure of the adulteration.

Properties.—The official description is as follows: "In hard, brittle, cylindrical pieces, usually hollow in the center, from 2 to 5 cm. in diameter, from 10 to 20 cm in length, externally grayish-orange-brown, longitudinally striate; fracture conchoidal, smooth, orange-red: odorless; taste very acrid. When rubbed with water it yields a yellow emulsion which becomes darker and almost transparent upon the addition of ammonia water. The emulsion turns green upon the addition of iodine T.S. (starch). The powder is bright yellow, containing few or no starch grains. When mounted in hydrated chloral T.S. and examined under the microscope the particles, for the most part, slowly dissolve, leaving scattered fragments of vegetable tissues. Not less than 65 per cent. of Gamboge is soluble in alcohol. Gamboge yields not more than 2 per cent. of ash." U. S.

From the brilliancy of its color, gamboge is highly esteemed as a pigment. It has no odor, and little taste, but, after remaining a short time in the mouth, produces an acrid sensation in the fauces. Its sp. gr. is 1.221. "When solution of iodine is added to a cooled aqueous decoction, the color should not become distinctly green (absence of more than a trace of starch), When incinerated it should not yield more than 3 per cent. of ash." Br. 1898. It is a gum-resin, without volatile oil. Christison has shown that the proportion of gum and resin varies in different specimens even of the purest drug. In one experiment, out of 100.8 parts he obtained 74.2 of resin, 21.8 of gum, and 4.8 of water. The gum is quite soluble in water, and of the variety denominated arabin. Flückiger, however, says that the gum is not identical with gum arabic, as its solution does not redden litmus, and is not precipitated by neutral lead acetate, nor by ferric chloride, nor by sodium silicate or bib orate. By fusing purified gamboge resin with potassium hydroxide, Hlasiwetz and Earth (Ann. Ch. Ph., 138, 61) obtained acetic and other acids of the same series, together with phloroglucin, C6H3(OH)3, pyrotartaric acid, C5H8O4, and isouvitinic acid, COOH.C6H4.CH2COOH. Sassarini found gamboge to contain the following constituents: 1. Gum analogous to arabin. 2. Volatile oil, consisting of terpene and a camphor. 3. Isouvitinic and acetic acids. 4. A phenol ester. 5. Resin. 6. Methyl alcohol and some higher homologues. 7. A liquid having a fruity odor resembling aldehyde or acetone. He believes phloroglucin found by others to be a decomposition product. (Ann. di Chim. Farm., 1897.) Gamboge is readily and entirely diffusible in water, forming a yellow opaque emulsion, from which the resin is very slowly deposited. It yields its resinous ingredient to alcohol, forming a golden-yellow tincture, which is rendered opaque and bright yellow by the addition of water. Its solution in ammoniated alcohol is not disturbed by water. Ether dissolves about four-fifths of it, taking up only the resin. It is wholly taken up by alkaline solutions, from which it is partially precipitated by the acids. The strong acids dissolve it; the solution when diluted deposits a yellow sediment. The color, acrimony, and medicinal power of gamboge are thought to reside in the resin. Hirschsohn gives a method for detecting gamboge in mixtures in Ph. Z. R., xxiv. (A. J. P., 1885.)

Uses.—Gamboge is a powerful, drastic, hydragogue cathartic, so very apt to produce nausea and vomiting and much griping when given in the full dose that it is almost never employed except in combination with other cathartics. In large quantities it is capable of causing fatal effects, and death has resulted from a drachm. The full dose is from two to six grains (0.13-0.4 Gm.), which in cases of tenia has been raised to ten or fifteen grains (0.65-1.0 Gm.). It may be given in pill or emulsion, or dissolved in an alkaline solution. In the dose of five grains (0.32 Gm.) the resin is said to produce copious watery stools, with little or no uneasiness. If this be the case, it is probable that, as it exists in the gum-resin, its purgative property is somewhat modified by the other ingredients.

Dose, two grains (0.13 Gm.).

Off. Prep.—Pilulae Catharticae Compositae, U.S.

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