This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
Acacia. - Synonym. - Gum Arabic. A gummy exudation from Acacia Senegal Willdenow (nat. ord. Leguminosae).
Eastern Africa, principally Kordofan; Western Africa, near the river Senegal.
In roundish tears of various sizes, or broken into angular fragments, with a glass-like, sometimes iridescent fracture, opaque from numerous fissures, but transparent and nearly colorless in thin pieces; nearly inodorous; taste insipid, mucilaginous; insoluble in Alcohol, but soluble in water, forming a thick, mucilaginous liquid.
Slowly but completely soluble in 2 parts of water; insoluble in Alcohol.
Acacia is contained in Emulsum Amygdalae, Pulvis Cretae Compositus, and in some Trochisci.
1. Mucilago Acaciae. - Mucilage of Acacia. Acacia, 340; Water, to 1000.
2. Syrupus Acaciae. - Syrup of Acacia. Mucilage of Acacia, 25; Syrup, 75.
Acacia is demulcent. It is used to suspend insoluble substances, as oils, resins, and insoluble powders. A fluid ounce 30. c.c.of most oils or resinous tinctures requires 3 fl. dr. 12. c.c of mucilage of acacia for suspension, but copaiba requires 10 fl, dr. 40. c.c.. A disadvantage of it is that it is liable to undergo acetous fermentation, which greatly diminishes its emulsifying powers. This may be overcome, to some extent, by making it with tolu or clove water. It may give rise to indigestion and diarrhoea.