Quassia amara, Bitterwood Cultivation, Conservation and Commerce


Quassia amara is a member of the Simaroubaceae family, which consists of 19 genera and 95 species of trees and shrubs that are mostly tropical in distribution. Folks in the temperate region may be familiar with the Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), which is also in the Simaroubaceae family. It is known as an invasive to eastern North America but a native medicinal to those in China. Quassia, with 40 species in the rainforests of tropical America and Africa, contains trees and shrubs. Quassia amara is the source of bitter-tasting compounds and is used currently in commercial products as a vermifuge and as an insecticide. Among those in Costa Rica it is known commonly as Hombre Grande translated as the strong man to make a tea that can cure pain in the stomach, rid parasites, help with diabetics and treat fever.

Quassia amara, Bitterwood Cultivation, Conservation and Commerce. Rafael Ángel Ocampo Sánchez, Roberto Díaz Rojas. Translated by Dr. Gerardo A. Mora.


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