Tacamahac. Tacamahaca.—These names are applied to a resinous substance which is sometimes substituted for or admixed with Elemi resin. There are two classes of these products: (1) one having an odor resembling Elemi and including the East Indian Tacamahac which is probably obtained from Calophyllum Inophyllum L. (Fam. Guttiferae), and Bourbon Tacamahac, obtained probably from C. Tacamahaca Willd. The West Indian and East Indian Resin Anime is a product of one of the Burseraceae; (2) a second class having an odor of incense and including Cayenne Incense, obtained probably from Icica heptaphylla Aubl. (now Protium heptaphyllum March. (Fam. Burseraceae), a West Indian Tacamahac obtained from Protium heptaphyllum and related species. There are also several gums and resins of this same character which are obtained from Bursera gummifera L. and other plants of the Burseraceae. The resinous substance derived from Bursera tomentosa Triana, a tree of considerable size, of the Fam. Burseraceae, growing in the island of Curacoa and in Venezuela, is in irregularly shaped pieces of various sizes. The color is usually light yellowish or reddish-brown, but in the larger masses is more or less diversified. The pieces are in general translucent, though frequently covered with powder upon their surface, so as to render them apparently opaque. They are heavier than water, brittle, and pulverizable, yielding a pale yellow powder. Their odor is resinous and agreeable, their taste bitter, balsamic, and somewhat acrid. Exposed to heat, they melt and exhale a stronger odor. Tacamahac is partially soluble in alcohol, and completely so in ether and the fixed oils. It consists of resin with a little volatile oil.
The East Indian tacamahac and called tacamahaca orientale, or tacamahaca in testis, comes into the market in gourd shells covered with rush leaves. It is of a pale yellow color inclining to green, slightly translucent, soft, and adhesive, of an agreeable odor, and an aromatic bitterish taste. It is at present very rare in commerce. The tree which yields this resin produces a drupe, about as large as a plum, from the seeds of which 50 per cent. of a greenish-yellow fixed oil is obtained by expression, which is used in India for lamps, and as a local application in the itch. (J. P. C; 1861, 23.) Guibourt describes several other varieties of tacamahac, which, however, are little known. Among them is a soft, adhesive, dark, green oleo-resin (J. P. C., 3e ser., xxiv, 396), said to be procured from the Calophyllum Tacamahaca Willd., growing in the islands of Reunion and Madagascar. (See also Pennetier, Matieres Premieres, 642.)
Tacamahac was formerly highly esteemed as an internal remedy, but is now used only in ointments and plasters. Its properties are analogous to those of the turpentines. It is sometimes used as incense.
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.