Gamboge

View Slideshow Pictures

What other names is Gamboge known by?

Baie de Brindall, Camboge, Gambodia, Gambooge, Garcinia hanburyi, Gomme-Gutte, Gummigutta, Gutta Cambodia, Gutta Gamba, Tom Rong.

What is Gamboge?

Gamboge is a gum-like substance (resin) from the trunk of the Garcinia hanburyi tree. Don't confuse gamboge with garcinia (Garcinia cambogia).

Despite serious safety concerns, people take gamboge for constipation, generally in combination with other laxatives. They also take it for expelling intestinal worms.

Some gamboge products are "stretched" by adding rice and wheat starches, sand, and vegetable fragments. You can spot these adulterated products because they are usually coarser and hard.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of gamboge for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Quick GuideVitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?

Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?

How does Gamboge work?

Gamboge has a strong laxative effect.

Are there safety concerns?

Gamboge seems to be UNSAFE. It can cause stomach pain and vomiting. Large amounts are poisonous and may cause death.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

While gamboge seems UNSAFE for anyone to use, some people are especially sensitive to the toxic effects. Be particularly careful not to use gamboge if you have one of the following conditions:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It's UNSAFE to use gamboge if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. It contains chemicals that may cause harmful side effects or death.

Heart conditions: Since gamboge is a stimulant laxative, it might cause the body to lose too much potassium. This can cause heart damage or make existing heart disease worse.

Digestive tract conditions including Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, appendicitis, stomach pain, ulcers, obstruction, nausea, or vomiting: Gamboge is a stimulant laxative. It might make these conditions worse.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Digoxin (Lanoxin)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Gamboge is a type of laxative called a stimulant laxative. Stimulant laxatives can decrease potassium levels in the body. Low potassium levels can increase the risk of side effects of digoxin (Lanoxin).



Medications for inflammation (Corticosteroids)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications for inflammation can decrease potassium in the body. Gamboge is a type of laxative that might also decrease potassium in the body. Taking gamboge along with some medications for inflammation might decrease potassium in the body too much.

Some medications for inflammation include dexamethasone (Decadron), hydrocortisone (Cortef), methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisone (Deltasone), and others.



Stimulant laxatives
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Gamboge is a type of laxative called a stimulant laxative. Stimulant laxatives speed up the bowels. Taking gamboge along with other stimulant laxatives could speed up the bowels too much and cause dehydration and low minerals in the body.

Some stimulant laxatives include bisacodyl (Correctol, Dulcolax), cascara, castor oil (Purge), senna (Senokot), and others.



Warfarin (Coumadin)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Gamboge can work as a laxative. In some people gamboge can cause diarrhea. Diarrhea can increase the effects of warfarin and increase the risk of bleeding. If you take warfarin do not to take excessive amounts of gamboge.



Water pills (Diuretic drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Gamboge is a laxative. Some laxatives can decrease potassium in the body. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium in the body. Taking gamboge along with "water pills" might decrease potassium in the body too much.

Some "water pills" that can decrease potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDiuril, Microzide), and others.

Dosing considerations for Gamboge.

The appropriate dose of gamboge depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for gamboge. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors