From London's Ghost Acres

Quassia wood is used to form extracts, infusions, and tinctures. It was classified as a tonic in the Compendium, and was often given to treat green sickness or other uterine ailments. Other uses included treating those suffering from gout, and aiding the digestion of sedentary people.

Combining quassia and sugar created a poison for flies.

British Pharmacopoeia 1867

Quassia Wood Quassiae Lingum

“The wood of Picraena excels… From Jamaica.” [1]


“Billets varying in size, seldom thicker than the thigh. Wood dense, tough, yellowish white, intensely and purely bitter. Also chips of the same.” Used in the preparations of [2]

  • Extractum Quassiae
  • Infusum Quassiae
  • Tinctura Quassiae

Preparations of Quassia

Extract of Quassia / Extractum Quassiae[3]

  • quassia wood, rasped (1 lb), distilled water (as needed)
  • dose: 3-5 grains

Infusion of Quassia / Infusum Quassiae[4]

  • quassia wood, in chips (60 grains), cold distilled water (10 fl oz)
  • dose: 1-2 fl oz

Tincture of Quassia / Tinctura Quassia [5]

  • quassia wood, in chips (3/4 oz), proof spirit (1 pint)
  • dose: ½-2 fl drachms

A Compendium of Domestic Medicine, 1865

Classified as a Tonic (Remedies Which Increase the Tone and Vigour of the Body, Producing the Effects More Slowly than Stimulants)[6]

“Quassia was first introduced by a negro, in Surinam, called Quassi, as a secret remedy for malignant fevers.” It is often given to treat green sickness or other obstructions of the uterus, due to its ability to be combined with sulphates of iron and zinc, and other metallic slats. It can be used to treat gout, and is used to aid digestion in sedentary persons on the Continent. An infusion of quassia mixed with sugar is a poison for flies. ([7]

Remedies Containing or to be used with Quassia

  • Acid, Muriatic: combined with an infusion of quassia to form a mixture that prevents worms (recommended by Dr. Paris)[8]
  • Acid, Nitric, Diluted: infusion of quassia and tincture of quassia are included in a draught given in cases of heartburn[9]
  • Elixir of Vitiol: can be combined with quassia to treat nervous and dyspeptic cases[10]
  • Infusions, Concentrated of cloves, calumbo, cascarilla, chamomile, gentian, orange peel, quassia, rhubarb, roses, and senna: used often in medicine chests as they can be diluted to form infusions. This allows for large doses to be provided in smaller amounts.[11]
  • Quassia: see def[12]
  • Tincture of Steel, Muriated. Tincture of Perchloride Iron: often combined with quassia. An infusion of quassia is included in a mixture.[13]

Medical Articles Containing Quassia

  • Mixture for Destroying Flies: infusion of quassia[14]

Prescriptions Containing Quassia


  • Alternatives in the form of Mixture or Draught: infusion of quassia, given in secondary syphilis[15]


  1. General Medical Council of Great Britain, British Pharmacopeia, (London: Spottiswoode & Co.,1867), 267
  2. GMCGB, 267
  3. GMCGB, 126
  4. GMCGB, 163
  5. GMCGB, 339
  6. Savory, John. A Compendium of Domestic Medicine (London: John Churchill and Sons, 1865), 395.
  7. Savory, 122
  8. Savory, 4
  9. Savory, 6
  10. Savory, 34
  11. Savory, 84
  12. Savory, 122
  13. Savory, 153
  14. Savory, 297
  15. Savory, 309

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