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Botanical Name: Uncaria Gambir
Species: U. gambir
Common Name: :Catechu Pallidum, Terra Japonica, Gambier, Cutch; Gambir Cubique, Fr.; Catechu, P. G.; Katechu, Gambir-Catechu, G.; Catecu, It., Sp.
Habitat: It is a native of Malacca, Sumatra, Cochin-China, and other parts of Eastern Asia, and is largely cultivated in the islands of Bintang, Singapore, and Prince of Wales.
Description;This is a climbing shrub with slender stems somewhat thickened at the nodes; leaves ovate or oblong, entire, rounded at the base but abruptly attenuated at the summit, opposite and stipulated, smooth on both sides.
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The stem is woody, often angular; leaves oblong-ovate, 7.5-10 Cm. (3-4′) long, petiolate, acuminate, entire, smooth; flowers small, pinkish, in clusters, calyx and corolla 5-divided, stamens 5, ovary 2-celled; fruit 2.5 Cm. (1′) long, narrow, ovoid tapering at each end, dehiscent, pericarp dry; seeds numerous, minute, pale brown, rough, tailed at each end.
The flowers are small, crowded into a dense globular head on a hairy receptacle; the flower heads are borne on long axillary peduncles which bear in the middle a whorl of bracts. At the point where these bracts occur the peduncle breaks after the falling of the inflorescence and the remainder of the peduncle becomes elongated and curved into hooks by means of which the plant climbs. Corolla gamopetalous, trumpet-shaped, tube slender; fruit one inch long, pericarp dry, dehiscing vertically into two valves; seeds very numerous.
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The gambir is prepared by lopping off the leaves, shoots, and twigs of the plant, chopping them into pieces, and throwing them into an iron pot filled with boiling water. When the leaves are exhausted and the liquid sufficiently thick, it is poured into small wooden tubs, and so soon as sufficiently cool, a half-closed hand is plunged into the semi-fluid mass and a piece of light wood shaped like an elongated dice box rapidly worked up and down in the hollow formed by the hand. The extract begins to thicken by a process which is compared to crystallization. The mass is finally turned out, and cut into cubes, which are put upon trays and smoke-dried. This extract, which is known by the native Malays as pinang or siren was first brought to the attention of the profession by Campbell.
Enormous quantities of gambir are used both in Europe and America in tanning, calico printing, dyeing, as an ingredient in boiler compounds for preventing the hard scaly incrustation caused by certain kinds of water, and other art processes requiring tannic acid.
Vanderkleed and E’we call attention to the fact that the apparent alcohol soluble content of gambir may be unduly raised by the high moisture content of some of the commercial varieties, which they report as containing over 21 per cent. of moisture, all of which would be calculated in the alcohol soluble extractive by the ordinary methods in which no allowance is made for water. (J. A. Ph. A., 1914, 1685.)
Parts used for medicinal purposes:Leaves,Twigs
Constituents. Catechin,Catechutannic acid
Tannic acid 25-38 p. c, Catechin (catechuic acid) 20 29 p. c, ash 9 p. c.
Medical Action & Uses:
Gambir is a serviceable remedy in those cases where astringents are indicated.
The complaints to which it is best adapted are diarrhea dependent on debility or relaxation of the intestinal mucous membrane, and passive hemorrhages, particularly from the uterus. A small piece held in the mouth and allowed slowly to dissolve is an excellent remedy in relaxation of the uvula and the irritation of the fauces and troublesome cough which depend upon it. Applied to spongy gums, in the state of powder, it sometimes proves useful; and it has been recommended as a dentifrice in combination with powdered charcoal, Peruvian bark, myrrh, etc.
Uses. – Diarrhoea, leuchorrhoea, gonorrhoea, cough, chronic sore throat, phthisis, bronchitis, hemorrhages, relaxed uvula, ulcerated nipples, chronic ulcers, relaxed oral mucous membrane and spongy gums (mouth-wash). In the arts for tanning, dyeing.
Dose, from ten grains to half a drachm (0.65—2.0 Gm.), which should be frequently repeated, and is best given with sugar, gum arable, and water.
Extract (gambir)„ usually in cubical or rectangular pieces 20-30 Mm. (4/5 – 1 1/5′) broad, grayish-, reddish-brown, dull, porous, friable; internally light brown, dull earthy color; inodorous; taste bitterish, very astringent; microscopically – numerous acicular crystals, non-glandular hairs, tracheae, few starch grains, .005-015 Mm. (1/5000-1/1650) broad, bacteria (?). Tests: 1. Macerate 1 Gm. with water (50), brownish filtrate, + dilute ferric chloride T. S. – intense green; with copper sulphate T. S. – no precipitate. Solvents: water dissolves 65 p. c; alcohol GO p. c. Dose, gr. 5-30 (.3-2 Gm.).
Shrinks tissues. Interferes with absorption of iron and other minerals when taken internally.
UNPROVED SPECULATED BENEFITS
Decreases unusual bleeding. Treats chronic diarrhea. Is used as gargle for sore throats.
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Don’t take if you:
Have any chronic disease of the gastrointestinal tract, such as stomach or duodenal ulcers, esophageal reflux (reflux esophagitis), ulcerative colitis, spastic colitis, diverticulosis, diverticulitis.
Consult your doctor if you:
Take this herb for any medical problem that doesn’t improve in 2 weeks. There may be safer, more-effective treatments. Take any medicinal drugs or herbs including aspirin, laxatives, cold and cough remedies, antacids, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, supplements, other prescription or non-prescription drugs.
Dangers outweigh any possible benefits. Don’t use.
Dangers outweigh any possible benefits. Don’t use.
Infants and children:
Treating infants and children under 2 with any herbal preparation is hazardous.
Keep cool and dry, but don’t freeze. Store safely away from children.
At present no “safe” dosage has been established.
Rated relatively safe when taken in appropriate quantities for
short periods of time.
For symptoms of toxicity: See Adverse Reactions, Side Effects or Overdose Symptoms section below.
ADVERSE REACTIONS, SIDE EFFECTS OR OVERDOSE SYMPTOMS
Signs and symptoms: What to do:
Diarrhea Discontinue. Call doctor immediately.
Kidney damage characterized by Seek emergency treatment.
blood in urine, decreased urine
flow, swelling of hands and feet.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.