From London's Ghost Acres

Usually found on oak tree, used as sources for tannin or tannic acid for the process of converting animals skins and hides into leather (Watt 1885, 43).

Database name: Galls

Galls are growths that develop in the extremal tissues of plants and animals caused by parasites, fungi, bacteria, insects, or mites. (

The Pharmacopeia includes on mention of animal galls with the instructions of producing Purified Ox Bile from the gall of an ox. The Compendium notes that treatments that include Galls are predominately used for external uses, although there are some instances of indivudals ingesting galls or mixtures including galls to treat fevers or ague. Lotions are commonly made to treat piles.

The Compendium also includes a recipe for making ink from Aleppo galls.

British Pharmacopoeia 1867

Galls Galla

“Excrescences on Quercus infectoria… caused by the punctures and deposited ova of Diplolepis Gallae tinctoriae.”[1]


“Hardy heavy globular bodies, varying in size from half an inch to three-foughts of an inch in diameter, tuberculated on the surface, the tubercles and intervening spaces smooth; or a bluish-green colour on the surface, yellowish-white within, with a small central cavity; intensely astringent.” [2]Used in the preparations of:

  • Acidum Gallicum
  • Acidum Tannicum
  • Tinctura Gallae
  • Unguentum Gallae
  • Unguentum Gallae cum Opio

Purified Ox Bile Fel Bovinum Purificatum

“The purified gall of the Ox, Bos Tarus” made by combining freh ox bile (1 pint) and rectified spirit (2 pints). [3]


“A yellowish-green substance, having a taste partly sweet, and partly bitter, souble in water and in spirit.” Dose is 5-10 grains.[4]

Preparations of Galls

Gallic Acid / Acidum Gallicum[5]

  • “a crystalline acid prepared from galls”
  • galls, in coarse powder (1 lb), distilled water (as needed)
  • “Crystalline, in acicular prisms or silky needles, sometimes nearly white, but generally of a pale fawn-colour.”
  • used in the preparation of: Glyccrinum Acidi Gallici

Tannic Acid / Acidum Tannicum[6]

  • “an acid extracted from galls”
  • galls in powder, combined with ether
  • “in pale yellow vesicular masses or thin glistening scale, with a strongly astringent taste, and an acid reaction; readily soluble in water and rectified spirit, very sparingly soluble in ether.”
  • dose: 2-10 grains
  • used in preparations of: Glycerinum Acidi Tannici, Suppositoria Acidi Tannici, Trochisci Acidi Tannici

Glycerine of Gallic Acid / Glycerinum Acidi Gallici [7]

  • gallic acid (1 oz) and glycerine (4 fl oz)

Tincture of Galls / Tinctura Gallae [8]

  • galls, in coarse powder (1 ½ oz), proof spirit (1 pint)
  • dose: ½-2 fl drachm

Ointment of Galls / Unguentum Gallae [9]

  • galls, in fine powder (80 grains), benzoated lard (1 oz)

Ointment of Galls and Opium / Unguentum Gallae cum Opio[10]

  • ointment of galls (1 oz), opium, in powder (32 grains), mixed.

A Compendium of Domestic Medicine, 1865

Galls are predominately used externally, although Savory does state that there are some who use galls internally to treat ague and fevers (he does not indicate how effective this treatment is, however).

Galls are recommened in the treatment of poisoning from tartar emetic[11]

Remedies Containing or to be used with Galls

  • Galls: powdered galls included in a lotion and ointment to treat piles. Macerated bruised galls are included in the creation of a fomentation used to treat prolapses ani, the piles, and fluor albus.[12]
  • Ink: non-medical Savory also includes instructions on making ink from Aleppo galls.[13]

Diseases Treated with Galls

General Diseases

  • Piles, or Haemorrhoids: an ointment containing galls and opium can be administered for the treatment of piles[14]


  1. General Medical Council of Great Britain, British Pharmacopeia, (London: Spottiswoode & Co.,1867), 144
  2. GMCGB, 144
  3. GMCGB, 128
  4. GMCGB, 128
  5. GMCGB, 9-10
  6. GMCGB, 22
  7. GMCGB, 145
  8. GMCGB, 332
  9. GMCGB, 354
  10. GMCGB, 354
  11. Savory, John. A Compendium of Domestic Medicine (London: John Churchill and Sons, 1865), 178.
  12. Savory, 68
  13. Savory, 68
  14. Savory, 248

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