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Guaiacum officinale is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone (UK) Suitable for: light (sandy), medium. Guaiac is a natural resin extracted from the wood of the Guaiacum officinale plant . The basis of the test depends on the presence of the heme moiety from the. Synonyms, Guajacum officinale L. Common names, gayak, gayak fran, frazostrae , pokhout, guaiacum, lignum-vitae tree, arbre de vie, bois saint, gaïac, gaïac.

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Other common names include rough bark lignum-vitae, guaiacwood, pockholz, and tree of life. Native to the Caribbean and the northern officinlae of South America, Lignum Vitae or Guaiacum officinale is a small and slow-growing tree of about 3 m officinae and 60 cm in trunk diameter, with a dense crown and crooked bole. The leaves are compound, broadly oval and rounded at the tip. The flowers are blue in color with five petals. The fruits are heart-shaped, yellow-orange with red flesh and black seeds.

It is the officina,e flower of Jamaica. Established plants are very drought tolerant. The resin from the tree is used for flavoring cakes and chewing gum. It is also added to edible oils to prevent acidification. The resin is also used medicinally for chronic forms of rheumatism, skin diseases, scrofula, dysmenorrhea, toothache, etc.

The wood is hard, close-grained, tough, dense, and durable. It is used for pulleys, blocks, pestles, etc. The plant is grown from seed. Guaiacum bijugum Stokes; Guiacum breynii Spreng.

The resin obtained from the tree is used for flavouring cakes and chewing gum[ ]. It is also officiinale to edible oils to prevent acidification[ ].

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally. The wood is officinal in many Pharmacopoeias, and owes its medicinal properties to the presence of the resin, which is ofgicinale official[ ].

Guaiacum officinale

Both resin and the wood possess stimulant, diaphoretic, and alterative properties, though the resin has a much stronger action[ ]. The resin is also regarded as an emmenagogue[ ]. It is a useful remedy in the treatment of chronic forms of rheumatism ; also in syphilitic and gouty affections, scrofula, skin diseases, dysmenorrhoea, and other uterine affections[ ].


The resin is applied to the tooth for treating a toothache, and also applied externally to bring relief in cases of rheumatism[ ]. The resin sometimes flows spontaneously from the stem of the tree; at other times, it is obtained artificially by jagging or notching the stem and allowing the exuding juice to harden, or by boring holes in logs of the wood and then placing them on a fire so that the resin is melted and runs through the hole, or by boiling chips in salt and water, when the resin floats on the surface of the water[ ].

The deep reddish brown colour of the resin changes upon oxidation to a blue or blue-green, a property made use of for differential staining[ ]. The heart wood is of a dark greenish-brown colour, owing to the deposition of guiacum resin ; the sap wood is pale-yellow[ ]. The wood is remarkable for the direction of its fibres, each layer of which crosses the previous diagonally[ ].

Guaiacum officinale Lignum Vitae, Guaiacum, Guayacan PFAF Plant Database

Its great strength and tenacity, combined with the self-lubricating properties due to the resin content, make this wood especially adapted for bearing underwater[ ]. The wood is used for pulleys, blocks, pestles, rulers, skittle ball etc[ ]. The most important as well as the most exacting use for it is for bearing or bushing blocks lining the stern tubes of propeller shafts of steamships[ ].

Steel and tube mills are made using lignum-vitae in increasing amounts to replace brass and babbit metal for bearings in roller mills and pumps, as the initial cost is less than metal, the life is several times longer, and lubrication is unnecessary[ ].

A plant of the moist, lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 – 28? It can be killed by temperatures of 1?

It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1, – 2,mm, but tolerates – 3,mm[ ]. Prefers a sunny position[ ]. Succeeds in a range of fertile, moisture-retentive soils[ ]. Tolerant of moderate levels of salt in the soil[ ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 – 7. Plants are very tolerant of salt-laden winds[ ]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[ ]. This species is the national tree of Jamaica, where it is widely planted as a street tree[ ].


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Guaiacum officinale – L. Dry and humid coastal woodland[ ]. America – Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas to the Caribbean. You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box. Guaiacum officinale is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m 32ft by 10 m 32ft at a slow rate. It is hardy to zone UK It cannot grow in the shade.

It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

The plant can tolerate maritime exposure. QR Code What’s this? Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified but some can. Please view the copyright link for more information. Lignum Vitae, Guaiacum, Guayacan. Alluvial deposits near the coast[ ].