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Uncaria gambir

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Title: Uncaria gambir  
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Subject: Uncaria, List of loanwords in Malay, Caesalpinia digyna, Rhus pentaphylla, Rumex hymenosepalus
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Uncaria gambir

Uncaria gambir
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Uncaria
Species: U. gambir
Binomial name
Uncaria gambir
(W.Hunter) Roxb., 1824
  • Nauclea gambir Hunter
  • Ourouparia gambir (Hunter) Baill.
  • Uruparia gambir (Hunter) Kuntze

Uncaria gambir, the gambier or gambir, is a species in the genus Uncaria found in Sarawak.

Gambier is used in Sarawak for chewing with areca and betel, for tanning, and for dyeing. It contains flavan-3-ols (catechins) which are known to have medicinal properties and are components of Chinese herbal remedies and certain modern medicines.


  • Processing 1
  • Use in China 2
  • Additional uses 3
  • Chemistry 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


To make gambier, the leaves are first boiled in water. They absorb it and turn brownish in color. The leaves are then pressed mechanically to squeeze and extract liquid. This liquid is then dried into a semi-solid paste and molded into cubes, which are dried in the sun. Gambier is generally packed in 50 kilogram multilayered packing (PP Bags inside and gunny bags outside).

Use in China

Diplomat Edmund Roberts noted that upon his visit to China in the 1830s, Chinese were using it for tanning, and noted that the uncaria gambir made "leather porous and rotten." He also noted that the Chinese would chew it with areca nut.[2]

Additional uses

Gambier is also used to produce enological tannins. Traditionally, Gambir Sarawak is used to reduce the pain when one is having toothache and also as a mean to prolong the duration of love making by delaying the ejaculation. If you even come to Sarawak (the origin of Gambir Sarawak), you will see people selling it on the street in different packaging. It comes in solid or liquid form.


Extracts contain chalcane-flavan dimers (gambiriins A1, A2, B1 and B2) in addition to (+)-catechin, (+)-epicatechin and dimeric proanthocyanidins, procyanidin B1, procyanidin B3 and gambiriin C.[3]


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  2. ^ Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 138. 
  3. ^ Revised structures of gambiriins A1, A2, B1, and B2, chalcane-flavan dimers from gambir (Uncaria gambir extract).Taniguchi S1, Kuroda K, Doi K, Tanabe M, Shibata T, Yoshida T and Hatano T, Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2007 Feb;55(2), pages 268-272,

External links

  • Gambir Sarawak
  • Gambir Sarawak in WorldHeritage Bahasa Malayu
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