Gum Catechu. An extract obtained chiefly from Acacia Catechu, but also from Areca Catechu, Butea Frondosa, Uncaria Gambir, and other trees. Two varieties have a place in the British Pharmacopoeia.
Catechu Nigrum. Black Catechu. Cutch. An extract of the heart-wood of Acacia Catechu. Nat. Ord. Mimosa?. Linn. Syst. Polygamia Moncia. Source. Pegu, various parts of the East Indies.
Catechu Pallidum. Pale Catechu. Terra Japonica. An extract of the leaves and young shoots of Uncaria Gambir. Nat. Ord. Cinchonaceae. Linn. Syst. Pentandria Mono-gynia. Source. Singapore and the Eastern Archipelago.
Med. Prop. and Action. Powerful astringent. Of the two varieties met with in commerce, the pale and the dark, the latter is to be preferred, as it-contains a larger proportion of Mimotannic Acid and C'atechin, upon the presence of which principles its astringent property depends. The dark kind averages 109 of Tannin (Mimotannic Acid and Catechin), the pale 97, in 200 parts. It is one of the most powerful and certain of the vegetable astringents, and may be advantageously combined with carminatives and chalk mixture. Alkaline salts are said to destroy its astringency.
* Lib. of Med., vol. v. Braithwaite's Retrospect, xlv., 18(52, p. 278.
Clinical Lectures, vol. ii. p. 87. § De Febribus, lib. ii. cap. 20.
iiss.; Cinnamon bruised oz. j.; Proof Spirit Oj. Prepared by maceration and percolation). Dose, fl. arm. j. - fl. drs. ij.
ij.; Refined Sugar lb. j.; Gum Arabic oz. j.; Tincture of Capsicum fl. oz. ss.; Distilled Water a sufficiency. Divided into 720 lozenges). Each lozenge contains about 1 1/4 grains of Catechu.
Dose of powdered Catechu, gr. x. - gr. xxx.
In Diarrhoea depending upon a relaxed or atonic state of the mucous membranes of the Intestinal Canal, Catechu, in doses of gr. x. - xv. of the powder, or fl. oz. j. - fl. oz. ij. of the Infusion, may be given with the greatest benefit. It is best given in combination with Opium and chalk mixture. Great care is necessary to ascertain clearly that the diarrhoea is not dependent upon, nor accompanied by inflammatory action, in which case this, as well as all other astringents, are not only useless but injurious. The same remark applies to diarrhoea arising from deranged biliary action. The absence of pain on pressure, the state of the skin, pulse, and eye, the history of the case, together with a careful examination of the faeces, will generally indicate those cases in which Catechu is admissible.
770. To Sore and Chapped Nipples, the local application of the Tincture of Catechu was first recommended by Mr. Faer.* In most cases it is very efficacious. The nipple is to be washed in warm water, then dried, and the Tincture applied with a camel's-hair pencil.
771. In Ptyalism, Salivation, and Idiopathic Ulceration and Snonginess of the Gums, a piece of Catechu, allowed slowly to dissolve in the mouth, is often of the greatest service. Its efficacy depends upon the presence of Mimotannic Acid and Catechin.
772. In Toothache, arising from relaxation of a portion of the gum, or when in the hollow of the tooth there is a piece of fungous flesh, a small portion of Catechu inserted into the carious tooth, or allowed slowly to dissolve in the mouth, is often productive of relief. Dr. Paris recommends a tooth-powder composed of 1 part Catechu and 3 of Charcoal, both finely powdered.
773. Relaxation of the Uvula, which gives rise to coughs and an uneasy sensation in the glottis, is frequently effectually removed by a piece of Catechu, allowed slowly to dissolve in the mouth.
* Lancet, July 9, 1842.
774. In Hypertrophy of the Tonsils, a very serviceable astringent gargle is composed of Infusion of Catechu fl. oz. vj., Tincture of Kino fl. drs. ij., M.
775. In Leucorrhcea, the Infusion of Catechu, used as a vaginal injection, once or twice daily, has been found useful in lessening the quantity of the discharge.
776. To Indolent and ill-conditioned Ulcers, where there is a copious discharge, the local application of Catechu in the form of ointment (gr. lx., Adipis oz. ss. - oz. j.), is occasionally attended with benefit; or they may be washed with the Infusion (tit supra).
Babington frequently used Catechu combined with Confectio Opii (Nevins). It is inadmissible in plethoric states.