Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Opoponax chironium
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae
Synonym: Pastinaca Opoponax.
Part Used: Concrete juice from the base of stem.
Habitat: Levant, Persia, South France, Italy, Greece, Turkey.

Description: A perennial, with a thick, fleshy root, yellowish in colour. It has a branching stem growing about 1 to 3 feet high, thick and rough near the base. Leaves pinnate, with long petioles and large serrate leaflets, the terminal one cordate, the rest deficient at the base, hairy underneath. The flowers, yellowish, are in large, flat umbels at the top of the branches. The oleo resin is procured by cutting into the stem at the base. The juice that exudes, when sun-dried, forms the Opoponax of commerce. A warm climate is necessary to produce an oleo gum resin of the first quality; that from France is inferior, for this reason. In commerce it is sometimes found in tears, but usually in small, irregular pieces. Colour, reddish-yellow, with whitish specks on the outside, paler inside. Odour, peculiar, strongly unpleasant. Taste, acrid and bitter. It is inflammable, burning brightly.

Constituents: Gum-resin, starch, wax, gum, lignin, volatile oil, malic acid, a slight trace of caoutchouc.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Antispasmodic, deobstruent. It is now regarded as a medium of feeble powers, but was formerly considered of service as an emmenagogue also in asthma, chronic visceral affections, hysteria and hypochondriasis. It is employed in perfumery.

Dose: 10 to 30 grains.

Other Species: From some species of Mulinum, and Bolax Gillesii and B. clebaria (belonging to same order), a gum-resin similar to Opopanax is obtained, which is employed by the native Chilian practitioners.