Guaiacum is a low evergreen tree, native to the West Indies and Southern Florida. Its earliest importation into Europe was from San Domingo, as recorded by Oviedo (487), A. D. 1526; but that it was known in Germany previous to that date is proved by treatises by Nicolaus Poll (517), 1517; Leonard Schmaus (578), 1516; and Ulrich von Hutten (332), 1518, by whom it is given a place. Oviedo (487), who landed in America in 1514, observed the tree, which was called by the natives Guayacan. This drug, and its resin as well, was used empirically in domestic (native) medicine before its introduction to the profession.
Resin of Guaiacum is a product obtained from slow combustion, wherein, by a crude method, a horizontal guaiacum log, raised from the ground, is slowly burned, the resin collecting in grooves that are cut in the logs. It is used more extensively than is the wood.
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.