Friday, May 6, 2011

Uncaria gambir - Gambir

Gambir, Uncaria gambir is a member of Rubiaceae family.  It is a climber plant, uses hooks derived from reduced branches, to cling to other vegetation.  

Uncaria is a genus of some 40 species.  Uncaria was named in 1789 by Johann von Schreber in his 8th Edition Genera Plantarum. 'Uncaria' derived from Latin word ‘uncus’ which means “a hook”, in allusion to its hooks .

Gambir is extracted from the leaves.   The leaves are first boiled in water, mechanically pressed to squeeze out the liquid.  The liquid is then dried to semi-solid paste, and then dried in the sun.

Gambir is used for chewing with areca and betel in most S.E.Asian country.

Gambir is said to have some anesthetic property.  Natives of Sarawak use gambir for treating toothache, insect bites, ear piercing etc.  However, the most well known usage of Sarawak’s gambir is most probably to prolong erection during sexual intercourse.   Though there are no medical report to support the effectiveness of gambir in prolong erection, there are no evidence to suggest otherwise either. 
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