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erbal Medicine Materia Medica


© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

Guaiacum officinale


Names: Guaiac, Lignum vitae.

Habitat: W. Indies, Florida and S. America.

Collection: The resin of the woods exudes naturally and is often collected and used as such, otherwise the heart-wood itself is cut into smal lchips.

Part Used: The heart-wood.


  • Lignans; furoguaiacidin, guaiacin, furoguaiacin, furoguaiaoxidin.
  • Resin acids; guaiaretic, hydroguaiaretic, guaiacic and [[alpha]]- and [[beta]]-guaiaconic acids
  • Miscellaneous; vanillin, terpenoids including guaiagutin, guaiasaponin.
Actions: Anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory, laxative, diaphoretic, diuretic.

Indications: Guaiacum is a specific for rheumatic complaints. It is especially useful where there is much inflammation and pain present. It is thus used in chronic rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis. It will aid in the treatment of gout and may be used in the prevention of recurrencein this disease. Due to the high content of resins in this valuable herb, Care must be taken with patients with gastritis or peptic ulceration.

Combinations: It may be used together with Bogbean, Meadowsweet or Celery Seed.

Preparations & Dosage: Decoction: put l teaspoonful of the woodchips in a cup of water, bring to boil and simmer for l5-20 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture: 1-2ml three times a day.

About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary......more
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