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A greenish-brown resin obtained from trees of the species Guaiacum santum and Guaiacum officinale native to Mexico and the West Indies. The pleasant smelling resin contains guaiac acid, vanillin, guaiac yellow, and guaiac saponin. Guaiac is used in flavorings, medicines and varnishes. It is also used to make Pagenstecher's paper for the detection of trace levels of hydrogen cyanide. While filter paper is impregnated with an alcoholic solution of guaiac, dried then coated with an aqueous solution of copper sulfate. The paper turns blue in the presence of hydrogen cyanide.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Guaiacum santum; Guaiacum officinale; goma de guayaco (Esp.); bois de guaiac (Fr.); guaiaco (It); guaiac gum; guaiac resin; guaiacum; gum guaiac

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in ethanol, ether, acetone, chloroform and alkali.Slightly soluble in benzene and carbon disulfide.