The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Guaiacum officinale L.

Common Names

  • Gualacum
  • Guayacan
  • Lignum vitae
  • Pockwood

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Parts Usually Used

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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Guaiac is the resin from a tree; the crooked trunk grows 30-40 feet high and provides lignum vitae, the olive-brown, heavy, very hard wood which contains the oily resin.
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Where Found

Grows in the West Indies, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.
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Medicinal Properties

Antiseptic, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant
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Legends, Myths and Stories

In Paracelsus’ time, merchants brought home a sort of wood that was said to contain a medicinal resin. This wood was extraordinary because it sank in water, obviously being heavier than water, and this made it different from any other wood known at the time. It was found in the West Indies and South America and, when heated, a resin flowed from it that became a remedy for consumption.
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Guaiac is used to help gout, fever, catarrh, syphilis, sore throat, consumption, rheumatism, and skin diseases. Take a decoction of the wood and keep warm to induce perspiration and keep cool for diuretic action.
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Formulas or Dosages

Decoction: boil 1 tsp. granulated wood in 1 cup water. Take 1 tbsp. 3-6 times per day.

Resin: take 2-5 grains at a time.
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Avoid during pregnancy.
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Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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