Guaiacum officinale, Linne, sanctum, Linne.
Habitat. 1. West Indies, South America (Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela). 2. West Indies (Cuba, Bahamas, Florida).
Syn. Guai'ac Resin, Lignum Vitae, Sanctum or Benedictum, Rockwood, Pock-wood; Br. Guaiaci Resina; Fr. Gaiiac, Gayac, Bois de Gaiac; Ger. Lignum Guajaci, Guajakholz, Franzosenholz, Pockholz; Fr. Resine de Gayac; Ger. Resina Guajaci, Guajakharz, Guajak.
Guai'a-cum. L. fr. Sp. guayaco, guayacan - i. e., plant's native Haitian name.
Of-fi-ci-na'le. L. see etymology of (Rheum) officinale, page 172.
Sanc'tum. L. sanctus, sancere, consecrate - i. e., used as incense in worship.
Guai'ac. The correct S. American name of the tree.
Plants. - Guaiacum (Guajacum) officinale, a tree 6-12 M. (20-40°) high, trunk .3-.5 M. (1-1 1/2o) thick, branches knotty, stem-bark
Fig. 214. - Guaiacum sanctum.
ash-gray, striated, variegated with greenish or purplish spots; leaves 7.5 Cm. (3') long, evergreen, paripinnate, 2-4 pairs; leaflets obovate, 2.5-4: Cm. (1 - 1 J') long; flowers large, blue, 4-10, in axils of upper leaves; sepals 5; petals 5; stamens 10, about 18 Mm. (3/4') long; fruit capsule, 2-celled, each 1-seeded (black), obcordate; Guaiacum (Guajacum) sanctum, a tree 6-9 M. (20-30°) high; leaflets narrower, mucronate; fruit 5-celled, seeds red; wood of both species consists of sap and heart, the latter heavier than water, sp. gr. 1.30, very hard, brown or greenish-brown, resinous, sap yellowish, with heat emitting balsamic odor, taste slightly acrid; in shops as raspings. Resin (guaiac), in irregular or large, nearly homogeneous masses, occasionally rounded or ovoid tears enclosing fragments of vegetable tissues, brownish-black, greenish-gray-brown on exposure, fracture with glossy lustre, thin pieces translucent, reddish, yellowish-brown; odor balsamic; taste slightly acrid; melts at 88° C. (190° F.); soluble in alcohol, ether, chloroform, creosote, solutions of alkalies, hydrated chloral T. S.; sparingly soluble in carbon disulphide, benzene, 85 p. c. soluble in alcohol, which, with excess of chlorine water or tincture ferric chloride - blue, changing quickly to green. Powder, grayish, becoming green on exposure. Tests: 1. Macerate for 3 hours in 4-5 times its weight of purified petroleum benzin - filtrate colorless, no green color with equal volume of cupric acetate T. S. (abs. of rosin). Solvents: alcohol; acetone; chloroform; ether; alkalies. Dose, gr. 5-30 (.3-2 Gm.).
Adulterations. - Owing to careless collecting may contain admixtures 10, 15, 30 p. c; thus rosin - heat for odor, or oil of turpentine will dissolve its own resin, leaving guaiac untouched; damar - 80-90p. c. soluble in benzin; Peru guaiac resin - 42 p. c. soluble in benzin; Carana resin - alcoholic solution not precipitated by lead acetate; also bark.
Commercial. - The best lignum vitae (wood of life - i. e., its virtues thought to prolong life) comes from St. Domingo in logs several feet long, with adhering gray bark, showing on edges shining crystals of calcium sulphate; the bark and yellow sapwood are removed and the dark, hard heartwood is turned and shaped into various implements, etc., the wastings being reserved for medicine. The finest resin is also from Jamaica and Haiti ports, of which the wood contains 20-25 p. c, being obtained: 1, as a natural exudation; 2, by incisions made into the bark; 3, by scarifying logs in the middle, suspending them horizontally by two uprights, applying fire at both ends, and catching melted resin as it runs from the centre in calabash cups; 4, by boring a longitudinal auger hole in one end centrally, elevating and heating the other end, catching the exuding resin.
Constituents. - Guaiaretic acid, C20H26O4, 10 p. c., Guaiaconic acid (alpha-resin), C13H20O5, 50-70 p. c., Guaiac beta-resin 10 p. c, gum 4-9 p. c., guaiacic acid, guaiac-yellow. Last two are crystalline, and may be dissolved out by milk of lime; if residue is now treated with hot alcohol, evaporated, and this residue in turn dissolved in hot solution of sodium hydroxide, the sodium salt of guaiaretic acid crystallizes
Fig. 215. - Guaiacum wood; cross-section, magnified 4 times; k, heartwood; s, sapwood.
out, while the mother-liquor contains guaiaconic acid and guaiac beta-resin, which, after removing alkali, are separated by ether, the latter being insoluble. Guaiaretic acid has a faint vanilla odor, is crystalline, not blue with nitric acid; guaiaconic acid is amorphous, colored blue by nitric acid and other oxidizing agents, guaiac-yellow occurs in pale yellow quadratic octahedra, having a bitter taste. By dry distillation of guaiac get guaiacene, C5H8O (odor of bitter almond), guaiacol, C7H8O2 (a colorless aromatic oil, green, with ferric chloride), creosol, C8H10O2 (resembles guaiacol), pyroguaiacin, C18H18O3 (in inodorous scales, green by ferric chloride, blue with warm sulphuric acid), ash 4 p. c.
Preparations. - 1. Tinctura Guaiaci. Tincture of Guaiac. (Syn., Tr. Guaiac; Fr. Teinture de Resine de Ga'iac; Ger. Tinctura Guajaci, Guajaktinktur.)
Manufacture: 20 p. c. Similar to Tinctura Aloes, page 110; menstruum: alcohol. Dose, v-60 (.3-4 Ml. (Cc.)).
2. Tinctura Guaiaci Ammoniata. Ammoniated Tincture of Guaiac. (Syn., Tr. Guaiac. Ammon., Tinctura Guaiaci Composita; Fr. Teinture de Gaiac ammoniacale; Ger. Ammoniakalische Guajaktinktur.)
Manufacture: 20 p. c. Similar to Tinctura Aloes, page 110; menstruum: aromatic spirit of ammonia. Dose, v-30 (.3-2 Ml. (Cc.)).
Unoff. Preps.: Compound Tincture, 12.5 p. c. (dil. alc.), +. Glycerite, 8.5 p. c. Mixture, 12.5 p. c. (tincture), + clarified honey 25, cinnamon water q. s. 100. Compound Gargle, 10 p. c. (am. tinct.). Mistura Guaiaci (Br.), 2.5 p. c., dose, 3iv-8 (15-30 Ml. (Cc.)). Trochiscus Guaiaci Resinae (Br.), 3 gr. (.2 Gm.). Syrup.
Properties. - Alterative, diaphoretic, expectorant, stimulant, antiseptic, astringent. Stimulates the flow of saliva, bronchial mucus, bile, and gastric juice, causing sometimes vomiting and purging; increases heart force and rapidity, dilates cutaneous bloodvessels, and large doses contract uterus. It is eliminated by bowels, bronchi, but chiefly kidneys.
Uses. - The wood, owing to its variability, now is used seldom in medicine; was employed first in Europe 1508, the Spaniards prizing it highly at that period and since, for syphilis, rheumatism, gout, scrofula, and skin eruptions. Its great service is in furnishing resin, and (owing to its hardness, toughness, density, and durability) for making pestles, blocks, pulleys, rulers, skittle and bowling balls, hawser bearings, etc.
The resin, although very strong, is becoming less used, being replaced by the more powerful chemical alteratives such as potassium and sodium iodides, etc. Useful in rheumatism, gout, lumbago, syphilis, scrofula, skin eruptions, amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, diphtheria, tonsillitis (quinsy). Guaiacol is substituted often for creosote in phthisis, coughs, etc. Dose, ij-10 (.13-0 Ml. (Cc.)).
Incompatibles: Spirit of nitrous ether, mineral acids, water.