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hard, brittle gum resin that is obtained from various Southeast Asian trees of the genus Garcinia and is used as a colour vehicle and in medicine. Gamboge is orange to brown in colour and when powdered turns bright yellow. Artists use it as a pigment and as a colouring matter for varnishes. In medicine and veterinary medicine it is a drastic cathartic. On the skin it has a severe irritant effect. Gamboge was probably brought into Europe from the East at the close of the 16th century.