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sweet gum:see witch hazelwitch hazel,
common name for some members of the Hamamelidaceae, a family of trees and shrubs found mostly in Asia. The family includes the large genus (Corylopsis) of winter hazels, and the witch hazels (genus Hamamelis), sweet gums (Liquidambar
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Tree up to 120 ft (40m) with very pointy-looking maple-type leaves that smell like pine when rubbed. Fruits are strange spiky balls (not edible). Bark is the part you want- it has a resinous gum in it’s cracks, and is chewed like chewing gum (similar to pine resin) Contains Shikimic acid, which stops flu viruses from reproducing- highest levels in infertile seeds (the yellow ones without wings). B-vitamins, colds, throat, bowel/colon, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, ringworm. Expectorant (helps clear mucus), anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory. Inner bark and resin are used. If no resin is seen, cut to the inner bark and let sap run out and harden. The leaves have been used also, but are high in tannins. Best to soak several times or steam them to help remove tannins.
1. A moderately high-density hardwood of the eastern and southern US; whitish to gray-green in color and of uniform texture; used for low-grade veneer, plywood, and rough cabinet work.
2. Any of a class of colloidal substances that are soluble or swell in water, exuded by or prepared from plants; sticky when moist.