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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.

on this pageBAHIA POWDER
aka Araroba, Araroba Powder, Brazil Powder, Chrysatobine, Crude chrysarobin, Goa, Goa Powder, Ringworm Powder, Voucapoua araoba
(Andira araroba)
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CAUTION: Due to the extreme nature of this material, it is recommended for SKILLED PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY. In crude form it should never be applied to the head as it can cause erythema and edema of the face. The pure powder can severely irritate the eyes, nose and throat and should never be applied directly to fungal infections of the inner thigh as severe inflammation of the testicles may occur in males.

CONTAINS: It contains 80 to 84% of chrysarobin (easily convertible into chrysophanic acid), resin, woody fiber and bitter extractive.
Goa powder is usually regarded as crude chrysarobin, while the purified chrysarobin (ararobe) is a mixture extracted by hot benzene, which melts when heated, and leaves not more than 1% of ash when it finally burns. Chrysarobin is a reduced quinone, and chrysophanic acid (also found in rhubarb, yellow lichen, Buckthorn berries, Rumox Eckolianus, and a South African dock, plus others) is a dioxymethyl-anthraquinone.
Chrysarobin contains at least 5 substances and owes its power to one of these, chrysophanolanthranol.
Lenirobin (a tetracetate) and eurobin (a triacetate) are recommended as substitutes for chrysarobin as they do not stain linen (benzin helps to remove the stain of chrysarobin).
The action of chrysarobin on the skin is not due to germicidal properties, but to its chemical affinity for the keratin elements of the skin. The oxygen for its oxidation is abstracted from the epithelium by the drug. Oxidized chrysarobin, obtained by boiling chrysarobin in water with sodium peroxide, can be used as an ointment for forms of eczema which chrysarobin would irritate too much.

This large, smooth tree is native to Brazil and found commonly in the area of Bahia, Brazil. The yellowish wood has longitudinal canals and interspaces in the trunk in which the powder is deposited in increasing quantity as the tree ages. The tree is felled, sawed and split and the powder removed. The powder is highly irritating to the eyes and faces of the men engaged in this occupation. It is then sifted to remove any pieces of wood that may have become combined with the powder. It is even, at times, ground, dried, boiled and filtered. The powder darkens quickly as the crude chrysarobin is changed from primrose yellow to shades of dark brown which is the color more commonly known in commerce. It is often combined with water to prevent the dust from rising.
The name "Goa" was taken from the Malabar port of that name where it was a substantial item of commerce at one time, arriving in the East Indies through Portugal and her colonies. It was in 1875 that the drug was recognized as actually being Brazilian araroba.

SOLVENT: Powder is insoluble in water but yields upto 80% of its weight to solutions of caustic alkalies and to benzene.


Vermifuge and skin disease remedy.
In India and South America it has been esteemed for many years in ointment form for ringworm, psoriasis, and dhobi's itch; it is also used by simply moistening with vinegar or saliva. This application causes the eruption to become whitish and will stain the surrounding skin. Today it is more commonly combined with a glycerine based ointment.
Has also been used for acne, cystic acne, eczema and other chronic skin ailments.
Considered an excellent vermifuge in cases of tapeworm: taenia mediocanellata (normally found in infected beef) and taenia solium (a less common variety usually found in infected pork). It is less successful against dibothriocephalus latus (normally found in infected fish).

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
The internal dose in pill or powder is a gastro-intestinal irritant, producing large, watery stools and vomiting. It has been used in eczema, psoriasis, acne and other skin diseases.
The 2% ointment has been used in cases of eczema (after exudation has ceased), fissured nipples and tylosis (formation of calluses) of the palms and soles after the skin has been removed by salicylic acid plaster, etc.
A drachm of chrysarobin is dissolved in a fluid ounce of official flexible collodion, painted over the parts with a camel hair brush and the part coated with plain collodion to avoid staining clothing; OR, chrysarobin may be dissolved in chloroform and the solution painted on the skin.
For hemorrhoids, an ointment mixed with iodoform, belladonna and petroleum gel jas been used. (Dose for all of the above is 1/2 grain according to Maude Grieve, who, although her work is still very relevant, is much dated.)
For skin treatments, the powder has been mixed with vinegar, lemon juice or glycerin for the formation of a paste which is then applied to the skin.
When taken internally for tapeworm, the average dose is reported to be from 3 to 5 grains of the powder in a teaspoon of honey.
An amber skin-varnish is made with 20 parts of amber to 1 part of chrysarobin in turpentine.
The powder can be made into an antiseptic paint for use during surgery.

Powerful irritant of the skin and used successfully in skin diseases, especially in ringworm and psoriasis and said to be helpful in herpes tonsurans and acne rosacea. Used for blepharitis, conjunctivitis keratitis, intense photophobia, optical hyperaesthesia, eczema. Should be used with caution on account of its ability to produce inflammation.
DOSE = Internally is the 3rd to 6th potency; used locally as a cerate, then 4 to 8 grains to the ounce of petroleum gel.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH