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What are the Uses and Benefits of Quassia Amara- Herb?

Quassia Amara


Quassia amara is a species of genus Quassia. It is also known as Amargo, bitter-wood, bitter-ash, or hombre grande.  It is used as traditional medicine, insecticide, and food additive.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Plantae

Clade: Angiosperms

Clade: Eudicots

Clade: Rosids

Order: Sapindales

Family: Simaroubaceae

Genus: Quassia

Species: Q. amara

Binomial Name

Quassia amara


Quassia amara is native to Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Suriname, Argentina, French Guiana and Guyana.

Parts Used Medicinally

Heartwood, Leaves

Chemical Constituents of Quassia Amara

The main constituents of the Quassia amara are quassin (0.09 to 0.17%) and neoquassin (0.05 to 0.11%). Out of both components, Quassin bears more bitter property.

Other components present in this herb are: beta-carbolines, beta-sitosterol, beta-sitostenone, gallic acid, dehydroquassins, gentisic acid, hydroxyquassins, isoparain, isoparaines, isoquassins, malic acid, methoxycanthins, methylcanthins, methoxycantins, nor-neoquassin, simalikalactone D, parain, paraines, quassialactol, quassimarin, quassol, quassinol, and nigakilactone A.


It is a shrub or small tree about 3 meters tall or rarely reaches to 8 meters. The leaves of this tree are compound and have alternate leaf arrangement which is 15-25 cm long, and having 3-5 leaflets projected on either side of the stem. The axis of the leaf is winged.

The flowers have appeared in a much-branched inflorescence (15-25 cm long). Each flower is white in color from inside and bright red on the outside, and about 2.5-3.5 cm long. The fruit is a small stone fruit or small drupe which is about 1-1.5 cm long.

Medicinal Properties of Quassia Amara

  • Bitter tonic
  • Antipyretic
  • Anthelmintic
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-leukemic
  • Insecticidal actions

Therapeutic Uses of Quassia Amara

1. Rheumatism or Fever

Because of its antipyretic properties, it helps to relieve fever, inflammation and pain caused due to rheumatism.

For the treatment of rheumatism, the infusion of this bitter wood can be applied externally.

2. Anti-Leukemic Property

This herb also has Anti-leukemic property. Some studies show that quassimarin, extract of Quassia Amara can be effective against leukemia.

3. Improve Digestive Health

This herb is used as a bitter tonic and bitter herbs produce juices in the stomach, which helps to improve function of the digestive system.

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