Quercus infectoria, Olivier, and other allied species. The gall from the young twigs.

Habitat. Mediterranean Basin, eastward; Greece, Persia, Asia Minor, Syria.

Syn. Gall, Aleppo Galls, Smyrna Galls, Turkey or Mecca Galls, Galls, Oak Warts, Mad- Oak-, or Dead Sea-Apple, Apple of Sodom, Dyers' Oak, Galla Halepense-, Turcica0, Levantica-, Tinctoria-, Quercina; Fr. Galle d'Alep -- de Chene, Noix de Galle; Ger. Gallae, Gallapfel, Gallen.

Quer'cus. L. oak, fr. Celtic quer, fine + cuez, a tree -- fine, stately tree; or fr. Gr...., a pig -- i.e., pigs love and feed on the acorns.

In-fec-to'ri-a. L. infectorius, dyeing, staining; in, in + facere, to do, make, taint -- i.e., species easily infected or stung, thereby yielding dyeing product.

Gal'la. L. for gall, fr. Eng. Gallen, galled = chafed, as a horse, or from its gallish taste.


Polymorphous shrub, 1.3-2 M. (4-6 degrees) high; leaves obovate, shallow rounded lobed, 5-7.5 Cm. (2-3') long; flowers May, catkins; fruit Sept., acorn, 2.5-4 Cm. (1-1 2/5') long. NUTGALL (excrescence) nearly globular, .8-2.5 Cm. (2/5-1') broad, heavy, mostly sinking in water, olive-green, dark grayish, tuberculated above; basal portion smooth, contracted to short stalk; fracture short, horny; internally grayish, dark brown, with a central radiate portion, occasionally a central cavity connected by narrow radial canal to exterior, odor slight taste strongly and persistently astringent.


brownish-yellow -- starch grains up to .03 Mm. (1/800'), few stone cells with narrow cavities and branched pore-canals; occasionally reticulate tracheae, tannin masses, calcium oxalate prisms and rosettes. Solvents: alcohol; water. Dose, gr. 5-30 (.3-2 Gm.).

Commercial. -- Plant differs from Q. alba, N.F., in seldom being tree-like, in having less indented leaves, larger acorns, and dissimilar cupules. The leaf-buds and tender bark of shoots are stung (punctured) easily by the horny ovipositors of the female hymenopterous insects (Cyn'ips tincto'ria) which deposit one or more eggs in such galled places (wounds), and thereby establishes morbid growth that quickly leads to the formation of a small tumor of hypertrophied tissue enclosing the egg; upon the gall reaching full development the egg hatches into a larva or grub that at once begins feeding on juices of the central cavity, which, never larger than the larva, soon becomes lined with a wall of hard cells that gradually extend to the periphery, causing the gall to harden. The grub when grown passes into the pupa (chrysalis) stage, thence into a 4-winged fly, 6 Mm. (1/4') long, that must either die or cut itself out with its mandibles, thus making a small round opening midway the gall; should this not be acomplished the insect remains will be revealed upon cracking open the unpunctured gall. Color is the guide to quality--the whitish, light, and spongy being rejected. There are several varieties: 1, Aleppo (Syrian), best, bluish, usually collected before the fly escapes; 2, Smyrna, grayish-olive, intermixed with white galls (least valuable, generally with large performation); 3, Sorian, blackish, size of a pea; all three varieties exported from Trebizond, Smyrna, Bassora, Calcutta, Bombay; 4, European, light-color, more spongy, produced by a different cynips; much tannin; 5, American: (a) Q. alba, light, spongy; little tannin; (b) Q. virginiana (virens), Texas -- resembles Aleppo but not tuberculated; tannin 40 p.c.; (c) Q. lobata, California, 5 Cm. (2') broad, orange-brown, glossy, soft, spongy, interior; much tannin.


Tannin 50-60 p.c. (white galls 20-30 p.c.), Gallic acid 2-3 p.c., mucilage, sugar, fat, resin; in the nucleus starch.

Acidum Tannicum. Tannic Acid, HCHO, U.S.P. -- Syn., Acid. Tan., Gallo-tannic Acid, Tannin, Digallic Acid; Fr. Tannin officinal, Acide tannique; Ger. Gerbsaure.)  Obtained by exhausting powdered nutgall with warm water, cooling, agitating the filtrate with one-fourth volume of ether; the emulsion separates in 10 days, yielding an upper ethereal layer (coloring matter, fat, resin, gallic and ellagic acids), which is discarded, and a lower aqueous fluid containing tannin, which under reduced pressure, is concentrated in a still to syrupy consistence, cooled, and spread on thin glass plates to dry -- these being placed on a steam table and covered over to produce puffy, spongy character.  It is a yellowish-white, light brown amorphous powder, glistening scales, spongy masses, darker on exposure to air and light, odorless, faint characteristic odor; strongly astringent taste, acid reaction; soluble in water, acetone, alcohol, diluted alcohol, slightly in dehydrated alcohol, glycerin (1) heated, almost insoluble in ether, chloroform, benzene, petroleum benzin; owing to weak combination with variable proportions of glucose once considered a glucoside.  Tests: 1. Aqueous solution + ferric chloride T.S. -- bluish-black color or precipitate.  2. Aqueous solution precipitates nearly all alkaloids, glucosides, solutions of gelatin, albumin, starch (dist. from gallic acid).  3. On drying -- loses 12 p.c.; incinerate -- ash .5 p.c.  Impurities: Gum, dextrin, resinous substances.  Incompatibles: Alkalies, alkaloids, emulsions, gelatin, ferric salts, mineral acids, salts of antimony, lead and silver.  Should be kept cool, dark, in well-closed containers.  Dose, gr. 1-20 (.06-1.3 Gm.).

Acidum Gallicum. Gallic Acid, HCHO.HO. -- This organic acid is prepared usually from tannic acid by boiling 15 minutes 1 part (or 2 parts nutgall) with sulphuric acid (1) and water (5); strain while hot, set aside for crystallization; a once popular method consisted in exposing to the air a mixture of nutgall and distilled water in a thin paste for a month, adding water occasionally to keep semi-fluid, expressing, rejecting liquid, boiling residue with distilled water, filtering hot through animal charcoal, setting aside to crystallize.  It is in white, pale fawn-colored, silky, interlaced needles or triclinic prisms; odorless; astringent, slightly acidulous taste; permanent, soluble in water (87), boiling water (3), alcohol (4.6), glycerin (10), ether (100), almost insoluble in chloroform; on drying loses 12 p.c.; saturated aqueous solution -- acid; incinerate -- ash .1 p.c.  Tests: 1. Neutralize saturated aqueous solution with few drops of sodium hydroxide T.S. -- gradually a deep green, changing to reddish by acids.  2. With ferrous solutions -- neither colors nor precipitates; with ferric solutions--bluish-black precipitate.  3.  Cold, saturated aqueous solution with alkaloids, glucosides, albumin, gelatin T.S., starch T.S. -- no precipitate (abs. of tannic acid).  It is the hydride of tannic acid, the latter being the anhydride of gallic acid, a relationship and convertibility shown by the equations: (1) 2HCHO-- HO = HCHO. (2) HCHO+HO = 2HCHO.  Impurities: Tannic acid, etc.  Incompatibles: Ferric and other heavy metallic salts, spirit of ethyl nitrite.  Dose, gr. 5-20 (.3-1.3 Gm.).


1.  NUTGALL. 1. Unguentum Gallae.  Nutgall Ointment.  (Syn., Ung. Gall., Ointment of Galls; Fr. Pommade de Noix de Galle; Ger. Gallapfelsalbe.)


20 p.c.  Rub nutgall 20 Gm. with ointment 80 Gm., gradually added, until thoroughlly mixed, avoiding iron utensils; externally.

2. Tinctura Gallae, N.F., 20 p.c. (alcohol 9 + glycerin 1.  Dose, 3ss-2 (2-8 cc.).

Unoff. Preps.: Fluidextract, mv-30 (.3-2 cc.).  Infusion, 5 p.c., 3j-2 (30-60 cc.).  Unguentum Gallae cum Opio (Br. Nutgall 18 p.c., + opium 7.5 p.c.).

II. TANNIC ACID. -- 1. Glyceritum Acidi Tannici.  Glycerite of Tannic Acid.  (Syn., Glycer. Acid, Tan., Glycerite of Tannin; Fr. Glycere de Tannin, Glycerine tannique; Ger. Tanninglycerit glycerol.)


20 p.c.  Weigh glycerin 79 Gm. into tared, wide-mouthed bottle, suspend tannic acid 20 + sodium citrate 1, in gauze bag, in the glycerin; heat in water-bath until dissolved, stirring mixture occasionally.  Dose, mx-30 (.6-2 cc.): externally.

2. Trochisci Acidi Tannici.  Troches of Tannic Acid.  (Syn., Troch. Acid. Tan.; Fr. Tablettes (Pastilles) de Tannin; Ger. Tanninpastillen.)


Rub together until thoroughly mixed tannic acid 6 Gm., sucrose 65, tragacanth 2, form mass with orange flower water q.s., divide into 100 troches.  Dose, 1-3 troches.

3. Unguentum Acidi Tannici.  Ointment of Tannic Acid.  (Syn., Ung. Acid. Tan.; Fr. Pommade de Tannin; Ger. Tanninsalbe.)


20 p.c.  Dissolve tannic acid 20 Gm. in glycerin 20 Gm., with gentle heat, mix solution thoroughly with ointment 60 Gm., avoiding iron utensils.

4. Collodium Stypticum, N.F., 16 p.c., + flexible collodion q.s. 100.

5. Syrupus Iodotannicus, N.F., .54 p.c., + iodine .27 p.c.

Unoff. Prep.: Suppositoria Acidi Tannici (Br., each 3 gr. (.2 Gm.)).

III.  GALLIC ACID. -- 1. Pyrogallol.  Pyrogallol, CH(OH), U.S.P.  Syn., Pyrogall., Pyrogallic Acid, Acidum Pyrogallicum; Fr. Acide pyrogallique; Ger. Pyrogallolum, Pyrotallussaure.)  This trihydroxybenzene (triatomic phenol) is obtained by heating gallic acid for half an hour under pressure with water (3), boiling with animal charcoal, filtering, evaporating -- HCHO + heat = CH(OH) + CO; yield 75 p.c.  It is in light, white, nearly white leaflets, fine needles, odorless, bitter taste, acquiring grayish tint on exposure, soluble in water (1.7), alcohol (1.3), ether (1.6), melts at 131 degrees C. (268 degrees F.).  Tests: 1. Aqueous solution (1 in 10 reduces solutions of silver, gold and mercury salts, even in the cold; incinerate--ash .1 p.c.  2. Aqueous solution (1 in 20) neutral, slightly acid, colorless, yellowish, brown on exposure from absorbing oxygen; with a few drops of ferric chloride T.S.--brownish-red; with fresh ferrous sulphate T.S.--blue color.  Should be kept dark, in well-closed containers.


I.  NUTGALL: Astringent, tonic; constringes muscular tissue, thus checking secretions, hemorrhages, local inflammations, etc.

II.  TANNIC ACID: Local astringent.  Internally -- contracts  blood-vessels, restrains peristalsis (constipates), coagulates mucous secretions, prevents secretion of gastric and intestinal juices, precipitates pepsin, etc.; it is converted into gallic acid in the intestines, and until this change is effected it cannot become absorbed to act as a remote or systemic astringent, simply being able to control locally gastric and intestinal bleeding.  Externally -- astringent, coagulates blood (forming a clot), albumin, and gelatin (tans tissues), is hemostatic, antiseptic, depressant, irritant; the salts have no astringency.

III.  GALLIC ACID: Mild astringent, does not coagulate blood, hence recognized only as remote astringent, but not to raw and bleeding sufaces; internally -- controls systemic hemorrhages (contracts blood-vessels), decreases secretion of urine and sweat; does not constipate like tannic acid, and is eliminated by the kidneys unchanged.

IV.  PYROGALLOL: Violent irritant, depressing poison (large quantities); causes vomiting, purging, abdominal pain, quick pulse, low temperature, cyanosis (lips), convulsions, coma, death; urine dark (albumin, methemoglobin), blood chocolate colored, red corpuscles disorganized, liver changed as by phorphorus.


I. NUTGALL: Chronic diarrhea, dysentery, gleet, leucorrhea, antidote to tartar emetic and alkaloids (emetine, morphine, colchicine, strychnine, etc.), constringes the stomach, thus delaying absorption, forming of the alkaloids insoluble tannates.  In cases of poisoning give infusion freely.  Locally infusion as gargle for relaxed mucous membrane of mouth, throat, vagina, rectum; ointment with 5-10 p.c. opium, good in hemorrhoids after inflammatory stage.  Chiefly used for obtaining tannic and gallic acids, for ink, dyeing, tanning.

II.  TANNIC ACID: Hemorrhages (epistaxis, uterine, etc.) diarrhea, dyspepsia, cholera, relaxed uvula, coryza, inflamed fauces, diphtheria, toothache, aphtha, excessive salivation, leucorrhea, chapped nipples, gleet, gonorrhea, ulcers, piles, chilblains, chronic bronchitis, whooping-cough, phthisis, influenza, ozena, fissures, hemorhoids, prolapsus ani and uteri, vesical catarrh, hemorrhage after extracting teeth, spongy gums (contracts vessels, checks absorption, hence loosening of teeth), obtunds sensitive dentine, either alone or combined with morphine and creosote, to toughen mucous membranes, skin around nipples, confunctivitis, erectile tumors, ingrowing toe-nails; aqueous solutions (1 to 50) may be injected into urethra and bladder, but should never be used hypodermically.

III.  GALLIC ACID: Menorrhagia, purpura, epistaxis, hemoptysis, hematemesis, hemorrhage of stomach, intestines, lungs kidneys, night sweats, polyuria, Bright's disease, dyspepsia, bronchitis, hemorrhoids, chronic ulcers, pyrosis, alopecia.

IV.  PYROGALLOL: Psoriasis, syphilitic ulcers, lupus, epithelioma, parasiticide for ringworm.  Should not be applied over extensive surface, as absorption may poison; not used internally; ointment 1-5-10 p.c.

Allied Products

1. Chinese Nutgalls (Rhus semiala'ta) by sting of A'phis s(ch)inen'sis. -- Gals 4-5 Cm. (1 3/5-2') long, ovate, irregular, tuberculate, grayish-downy, hollow; shell thin, fragile, containing many insect-remains.

2. Japanese Nutgalls (R. semialata or R. japon'ica) resemble Chinese. -- The tannic acid of these differs from that of official galls.

3. Vallonea, Acorn Cups of many Quercus species (Q. Robur, Q. Vallo'nea, Q. AE'gilops), 2.5 Cm. (1') in diameter, with thick, spreading scales, strongly astringent taste, largely used in tanning.

4. Tamarisk Galls (Tam'ariz articula'ta (orienta'lis), T. africa'na. T. gal'lica). -- Asia, Africa, 3-12 Mm. (1.8-1/2') thick, subglobular, knotty, contain tannin 40-50 p.c.

5. American Nutgalls (Q. alba, Q. virginiana (virens), Q. lobata), first poor in tannin; second (Texas) like Aleppo, but not tuberculate, tannin 40 p.c.; third (California), 5 Cm. (2') thick, glossy, orange-brown, rich in tannin.