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Bitter Wood Purchase & Information

Alternative Names

Amargo, Bitter-Ash, Bitter Wood, Bitterwood, Bois Amer, Cuasia, Écorce de Quassia, Jamaican Quassia, Palo de Cuasia, Pao Tariri, Picrasma, Quassia Amer, Quassia Bark, Quassia de Jamaïque, Quassia de Surinam, Ruda, Surinam Quassia, Surinam Wood

Scientific Name

Quassia Amara

Why Do People Use Bitter Wood?

The oral preparations of Bitter Wood (quassia), like quassia powder, are used for indigestion, anorexia, fever, constipation, nematodes, as an anthelmintic for thread worms and ascaris, as a mouthwash and as a tonic or purgative. Topically Bitter Wood powder can also applied to skin for head lice (pediculosis). Rectally Bitter Wood may have effective results for nematode infestation. In Manufacturing Practices Bitter Wood is also used as a flavoring agent in beverages, laxatives, foods, lozenges and pastilles. The wood and bark parts have been utilized as insecticides.

Is It Safe To Use?

Likely Safe - Oral consumption of bitter wood powder in foods items is considered safe to use. Bitter Wood has been Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) rank in the United States. Appropriate and topical utilization of quassia also has effective results. Tincture form of bitter wood has been utilized topically with apparent safety in clinical studies. Likely Unsafe for Pregnant & Breastfeeding Females - Breastfeeding and pregnant females should avoid oral consumption of quassia. Bitter Wood powder has emetic and cytotoxic properties. However, there is insufficient and unreliable information available to rate the safety of topical and rectal consumption during lactation and pregnancy so health advisers do not recommend such usage.

How Effective Is Bitter Wood?

To rate the effectiveness of bitter wood in below condition, there is scarce information available: Lice - According to initial studies, by applying tincture of bitter wood one time can remove head lice. Clinical experiments also recommend that single application of bitter wood tincture may lead to 0.6% re-infestation rate after seven days. It is also recommended that by applying bitter wood tincture twice for one week interval between them may have effective results. However, more confirmations are required to rate the effectiveness of bitter wood for this use.

How Bitter Wood Works?

The most effective part of Quassia amara is the bark. Bitter Wood leaves are also used in many manufacturing practices. Bitter Wood consists of quassinoids that have strong bitter characteristics. Bitter Wood also consists of quassin, beta-carboline alkaloids, canthin-6-one, quassimarin and little amount of the coumarin scopoletin. These constituents may enhance bile and gastric acid secretion, and maybe represent digestive and appetite stimulant effects. There are some confirmations that some alkaloids such as beta-carboline may have positive inotropic effects as well. The constituent canthin-6-one is responsible for antifungal, cytotoxic and antibacterial effects. Quassimarin shows evidence of antitumor and antileukemic impacts. Quassin may also show antilarval impacts against Culex quinquefasciatus (mosquito).

What Are The Side Effects /Adverse Reactions of Bitter Wood?

Bitter Wood powder can have side effects such as nausea, mucous membrane irritation and vomiting. By the Long-term consumption of quassia, blindness and vision changes are reported.

How Bitter Wood Interacts With Other Herbs and Supplements?

Herbs Containing Cardiac Glycoside Properties - Combination of bitter wooe powder with herbs containing cardiac glycoside effects may enhance potentials risks of cardiac toxicity. Herbs in such category include Canadian hemp roots, black hellebore, hedge mustard, digitalis leaf, motherwort, figwort, lily of the valley roots, pheasant's eye plant, oleander leaf, squill bulb leaf scales, pleurisy root and some strophanthus seeds. Horsetail - Misuse or excessive usage of Quassia amara and horsetail may enhance the potential the potential risks of cardiac toxicity because it may cause potassium depletion. Licorice - Misuse or excessive usage of licorice with combination of bitter wood powder effects may enhance the potential risks of cardiac toxicity because of potassium depletion. Stimulant Laxative Herbs - Abuse may enhance the potential risk of toxicity associated with cardiac issues because of potassium depletion effects. Stimulant laxative herbs include alder buckthorn, aloe, blue flag, black root, colocynth, butternut bark, fo ti, yellow dock, European buckthorn, gossypol, gamboge, jalap, greater bindweed, Mexican scammony root, manna and senna, rhubarb.

How Bitter Wood Interacts With Drugs?

Antacids - Interaction rating between bitter wood powder and antacids is minor, so be careful about this mixture. There are some reports that quassia may enhance the acidity level of stomach so it may reduce the effectiveness of antacids. Digoxin (Lanoxin) - Interaction rating between quassia and digoxin is moderate, so be careful about this mixture. This combination may enhance the potential therapeutic risks and adverse effects associated with digoxin. Diuretic Drugs - Interaction rating between quassia is moderate, so be careful about this mixture. Excessive usage of quassia may increase diuretic-induced potassium loss. However, there are some issues that those who are taking quassia with the combination of potassium depleting diuretics may have an enhanced risk for hypokalemia. By starting the potassium supplementation or an increase in potassium supplement dose may be important for some patients. Diuretics included in such category that can deplete potassium include chlorthalidone (Thalitone), chlorothiazide (Diuril), hydrochlorothiazide (Hydrodiuril, HCTZ, Microzide), furosemide (Lasix) and others. H2-Blockers - Interaction rating between quassia and H2-Bloacker is minor so be careful about this mixture. Usage of quassia may enhance the stomach acid production and may lessen the H2-blockers effectiveness. The H2 blockers include ranitidine (Zantac), cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid) and nizatidine (Axid). Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) - Interaction rating between quassia powder and Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) is minor, so be careful about this mixture. There are some reports that suggest that quassia may enhance the stomach acid and may reduce the PPIs effectiveness. PPIs include lansoprazole (Prevacid), esomeprazole (Nexium), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Protonix) and rabeprazole (Aciphex).

How Bitter Wood Interacts With Foods?

Not known.

How Bitter Wood Interacts With Lab Tests?

Not known.

How Bitter Wood Interacts With Diseases and Conditions?

Inflammation and GI Irritation - Excessive dosage may lead to GI irritation and inflammation.

What Should Be the Dose/Administration of Bitter Wood?

ORAL - Typical dose of quassia is one cup tea that should be taken every day for 2 to 3 times. To make such tea, 1-2 grams wood is mixed in 150 mL boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain it afterwards. RECTAL - As an enema (1:20), 150 mL is commonly used rectally every morning for three days with 16g magnesium sulfate orally. TOPICAL - There is no information about the topical use of bitter wood.


Bitter Wood bark has shown effective results when consumed as an insecticide.

General Certificate of Analysis (COA)

Specification sheet links below are a standard copy of the COA less the batch or lot number and manufactures dates. Specification sheet can be dated and should only be considered as a general information. Please contact and request an up to date COA if needed for specific updated information before placing order by filling out the contact form with product name and SKU number. If ordering quantities of twenty five kilos or more contact for availability.

Specification Sheets

Bitter Wood Powder


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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