This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
COMMON NAMES. Bitter-wood, Bitter-ash.
MEDICINAL PART. The wood.
Description. -- This is a tree growing from fifty to one hundred feet high, with an erect stem, three or more feet in diameter at the stem. The bark is grayish and smooth. The leaves are alternate, unequally pinnate; leaflets opposite, oblong, acuminate, and unequal at the base. Flowers are small, pale or yellowish-green. Fruit three drupes, about the size of a pea. The Quassia Amara, or bitter quassia, is a shrub, or moderately-sized branching tree, having a grayish bark.
History. -- Quassia Amara inhabits Surinam, Guiana, Colombia, Panama, and the West India Islands. It flowers in November and December. The bark, wood, and root, which are intensely bitter, are used to the greatest advantage in malignant fevers. For the medicinal parts of this tree, as they seldom reach England or America, we get as a substitute the Picroena Excelsa of Jamaica and other neighboring islands, which flowers in October and November, and in the two succeeding months matures its fruit.
Properties and Uses. -- Quassia is tonic, febrifuge, and anthelmintic. Cups made of the wood have been used for many years by persons requiring a powerful tonic. Any liquid standing in one of these vessels a few moments will become thoroughly impregnated by its peculiar medicinal qualities. Wherever a bitter tonic is required, Quassia is an excellent remedy.
Dose. -- Of the powder, thirty grains; of the infusion, from one to three fluid ounces; of the tincture, one or two fluid drachms, and of the extract, from two to ten grains.