"Sappan is the heart-wood of Caesalpinia Sappan, Linn." Br.
Sappan wood, Sampfen wood, Bakam, Tairi, Patang, Teri, Verzino, It.; False Sandalwood, Indian Redwood, Samfen.
Caesalpinia Sappan is a small thorny tree indigenous to the Eastern and Western Asiatic Peninsulas, Pegu and Tenasserim, and is also cultivated in Central India. The leaves are large and abruptly bi-pinnate; the flowers being yellow and in axillary racemes; and the pods are oblong, flattened, nearly smooth and dehiscent or indehiscent. The wood yields a valuable red dye which is also prepared from the pods and from the bark. The commercial samples vary considerably. There are two commercial varieties, viz., (1) Singapore or Dhansari, and (2) Ceylon sappan, the former being preferred. According to Dymock, the freshly cut wood is whitish, but becomes red on exposure to the air. He also states that the addition of alkalies increases the yield of coloring matter, turning it a reddish-violet. According to the British Pharmacopoeia, it occurs in "hard, heavy pieces of variable size, or in orange-red chips. In transverse section, well-marked concentric rings, numerous narrow medullary rays, and large vessels. No odor; taste slightly astringent. It communicates to alcohol (90 per cent.) and to water a red color, which becomes carmine-red, but not purple, upon the addition of solution of sodium hydroxide (distinction from Logwood)." Br.
According to the investigations of Bolley, sappan wood contains brasilin, C16H14O5. identical with that of Brazil wood.
Sappan, or samfen, as it is sometimes called, has been an article of commerce for at least five hundred years. It is employed in the arts as a substitute for logwood in dyeing. Medicinally it is used as an astringent in the treatment of diarrhea. It may be given in the form of a decoction.
Dose, from fifteen to forty-five grains (1-3 Gm.).
Off. Prep.—Decoctum Sappan, Br.
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.