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Jamaican Quassia Bark Powder

  • Picrasma excelsa
  • Origin: Jamaica
Jamaican Quassia Bark Powder


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Common Name

Standardized: Jamaica quassia
Other: bitterwood

Botanical Name

Picrasma excelsa (Sw.) Planch.
Plant Family: Simaroubaceae


Quassia excelsa



Quassia is indigenous to Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Suriname, Colombia, Argentina, and Guyana. The herb is extremely bitter, the name amargo means "bitter" in Spanish.

The general name, Quassia, comes from a man named Quassi of Surinam who had incredible success using it as a secret ingredient for a particularly bad fever that was running rampant through Surinam. The tall deciduous trees are also known for another interesting trait: no bugs or insects ever bother the trees. This is due to a component in the resin called quassin, which is an incredibly effective insecticide. West Indians in particular use a water extract for an insecticide on their fields. Quassin extract is said to by many times more bitter than quinine, and is used as an ingredient in many medications that would normally contain quinine.


Quassin (gives Quassia its bitterness), phytochemicals quassimarin and simalikalactone D.

Parts Used

Wood, leaves

Typical Preparations

Usually taken in the form of an infusion, in capsules, or tincture.


Specific: Not for use in pregnancy except under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner. Consumption of large amounts of quassia can irritate the mucous membrane of the stomach and lead to vomiting.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.