This is the bark of the root of Quassia Simaruba (Simaruba officinalis, De Cand.), a tree of considerable size, growing in the West Indies, and in Guiana.


It is in long flat pieces, folded longitudinally, fibrous flexible and tenacious, yellowish internally, inodorous, and very bitter, without admixture of other taste. It yields its taste and medical virtues to water and alcohol.

Active Principle. It owes its virtues to the same bitter principle found in quassia.

Therapeutic Application

Simaruba was first introduced into Europe from South America in the year 1713, as a remedy in dysentery, diarrhoea, and the hemorrhages; and acquired great reputation in these complaints. With our present experience, it can be admitted to have been useful in these affections only when complicated with a debilitated state of the alimentary canal, or of the system, calling for the use of tonics; and, as there are other remedies more efficient under these circumstances, it has fallen into almost entire neglect. It is in fact a simple bitter, having nothing peculiar in its action, and so closely analogous in properties to quassia, that it may be looked on as identical with that medicine in its effects and applications. It is usually administered in the form of infusion, which may be made in the proportion of two drachms of the bark to a pint of water, hot or cold, and given in the dose of two fluidounces three or four times a day.