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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

aka Ammoniacum, Gum Ammoniac, Persian Gum
(Dorema Ammonicum)
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CAUTION: As with ASPRIN should NOT be used on young people when FEVER from possible virus is present.

CONTAINS: Resin, volatile oil and salicylates.

Giant perennial (6-10 feet) of the umbelliferae family with large divided leaves and umbels of small flowers in spring and summer. Found in dry rocky areas from northeast Africa to southwest Asia and extending into southern Siberia. Monocarpic. The gum resin exudes from natural holes in the stems caused by beetles.

PROPAGATION: Easy by seed in spring and autumn.
NEEDS: Full sun and well-drained to dry soil.
HARVEST: Gum resin from stems. Color is pale when fresh and brown when aged; the flavor is acrid and the odor characteristically ammonia like. The gum is known in two forms - tear ammoniac and lump (or block) ammoniac. Only the tears are used officially for medicinal purposes. Tears are pale yellow nodules, brittle when cold but soften on warming; the fractured surface is milky white or pale brown. Lump is collected from the ground and thus contains impurities. It is sometimes used by natives but is not considered suitable for official medicinal use.


Relaxant, stimulant, peripheral vasocilator, broad-range expectorant, antispasmodic, mild diuretic action, sometimes used as a diaphoretic and emmenagogue
Has been used for respiratory infections, fever of colds and flu, for congestive and chronic bronchitis, and asthma (especially spasms of the bronchial passages).
Has been used internally for chronic bronchitis, asthma and excess mucous.
Has been used externally as a poultice for swollen joints ("white swellings") and indolent tumors.

All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully.
0.3 to 1.0 gram of resin 3 times daily.
5 to 15 grains of the powdered resin per dose.
Powdered gum is steeped in hot water at the rate of 1 oz per 1 pint of water.

Was once used in perfumery and in porcelain cement. The root is known as false sumbul as it was once used to adulterate sumbul.
African ammoniacum (feshook) from Ferula Communis is not used commercially; Moslems use it for incense.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH