- Botanical: Guaiacum officinale
- Family: Zygophyllaceae
- Hits: 562
Known asGuajacum officinale, Roughbark Lignum-vitae, Guaiacwood, Gaïacwood, Guajak
Parts Usedbark, resin, wood
Medicinalabdominal pain, bowel cleansing, circulation, diarrhea, digestion, gastrointestinal, gout, laxative, indigestion, rheumatism
Heart & Circulationcirculation
Muscle & Jointsarthritis, gout, rheumatism
Stomach & Intestinalabdominal pain, bowel cleansing, gastritis, laxative
Propertiesantispasmodic, diaphoretic, digestive, hypotensive, stimulant
This small tree is very slow growing, reaching about 10 m in height with a trunk diameter of 60 cm. The tree is essentially evergreen throughout most of its native range. The leaves are compound, 2.5 to 3 cm in length, and 2 cm wide. The blue flowers have five petals that yield a bright-yellow-orange fruit with red flesh and black seeds.
Properties & Uses
The wood is very little used in medicine; it obtained a great reputation about the sixteenth century, when it was brought into notice as a cure for syphilis and other diseases; later on the resin obtained from the wood was introduced and now is greatly preferred, for medicinal use, to the wood. The wood is sometimes sold by chemists in the form of fine shavings, and as such called Lignum Vitae, which are turned green by exposure to the air, and bluish green by the action of nitric fumes. This test proves its genuiness. It is a mild laxative and diuretic. For tonsilitis it is given in powdered form. Specially useful for rheumatoid arthritis, also in chronic rheumatism and gout, relieving the pain and inflammation between the attacks, and lessening their recurrence if doses are continued. It acts as an acrid stimulant, increasing heat of body and circulation; when the decoction is taken hot and the body is kept warm, it acts as a diaphoretic, and if cool as a diuretic. Also largely used for secondary syphilis, skin diseases and scrofula.
native to the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America
Resin acids (15-20%) (guaiazulene, guaiaconic, guaianetic and guaiacic), saponins, polyterpenoid, vanillin, lignans (containing essential oil guajol), sterols