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GUAIACWOOD (Guaiacum officinale)

 

Guaiacwood Guaiacum officinale

 

Also known as: gaïacwood or roughbark lignum-vitae

 

The guaiacwood is a species of tree in the caltrop family, Zygophyllaceae, that is native to the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America.  It is an evergreen tree that grows to around 60 feet tall and its flower is the national flower of Jamaica.

 

Like myrrh and other tree resins, the gaiacwood tree resin has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. This resin contains vanillin, the polytriterpenoids guaiaguttin, and the resin acids, guaiaconic, guaianetic and guacic acids along with saponins. It has been used as a laxative, diuretic and to promote sweat in fevers. Taken internally it is said to lower blood pressure and to relieve gout and arteriosclerosis. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that promotes circulation and clears toxins from tissues and is especially useful in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism. It can also be used as a wash or lotion for skin diseases.

 

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