Picrasma excelsa

Other Names: Ash. Bitter Ash, Bitterwood

Quassia is indigenous to Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Suriname, Colombia, Argentina, and Guyana where it is used extensively for fevers, malaria, parasites, digestive problems, and gallbladder and liver disease.

Quassia is an extremely bitter herb.

Quassia as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

quassia amaraThe medicinal part of the plant is the dried trunk wood.

The bark of the tree is used to treat digestive problems, and is used by the native peoples to treat malaria and dysentery.

It is used as an appetite stimulant, and to help those quitting alcohol.

Within the United States, Quassia is becoming more well-known and is utilized for stomach, gallbladder, digestive problems, as a laxative, amebicide, insecticide, lice, and intestinal worms.

Quassia Uses

  • Analgesic (pain-reliever).
  • Antitumorous.
  • Antiviral.
  • Gastro protective.
  • Insecticide.
  • Larvicide.
  • Muscle relaxant.
  • Sedative.
  • Antibacterial.
  • Antilithic (prevents kidney stones).
  • Antispasmodic.
  • Antivenin.
  • Carminative (expels gas).
  • Febrifuge (reduces fever).
  • Liver and gallbladder bile stimulant.
  • Digestive stimulant.
  • Hepatoprotective (liver protector).
  • Hepatotonic (tones, balances, strengthens liver functions).
  • Hypoglycemic.
  • Sialogogue (increases saliva).
  • A tonic (tones, balances, strengthens).

Quassia is considered one of the best stomach bitters, and is especially useful for those with debility of the stomach.

Folk medicine: Folk medicine uses include dyspepsia (Mexico and Brazil), loss of appetite, and stimulation of gastric juice and saliva production. These effects are attributed to the amaroid content. Quassia is also used for fever (Costa Rica and Surinam), malaria, dysentery, gonorrhea (Brazil), lice and worm infestations, as an antiseptic wound treatment, for diarrhea (Costa Rica and Brazil), for snake bites (Guyana), for liver disease, edema and menstrual complaints.

Homeopathic uses: Uses in homeopathy include poor digestion and liver disease.

Culinary Uses of Quassia



Quassia should not be used during pregnancy.

Quassia has been documented to have an antifertility effect in studies and men undergoing fertility treatment or those wishing to have children should avoid using this herb.

Large amounts of Quassia can irritate the mucous membrane of the stomach leading to nausea and vomiting.

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