Quassia Bark, colloquially known as Bitterwood, is a medicinal plant known for its distinctive flavor and therapeutic properties. Hailing from the Simaroubaceae family, this tree bark stands out for its intensely bitter taste, which makes it an intriguing ingredient in both traditional medicine and beverages. Derived from either the Quassia amara or Picrasma excelsa trees, Quassia Bark is typically used in dried form, where it can be ground into a powder or used in its whole, chunky form.
The key characteristic of Quassia Bark, its potent bitterness, plays a significant role in the various applications it finds in traditional medicines. In many cultures, it has been historically used for its reputed digestive benefits, potential appetite stimulant effects, and for addressing fever. It is also sometimes employed as a natural insecticide due to its quassin content, the component responsible for its bitterness.
Quassia Bark's culinary applications are intriguing, and despite its bitterness, it is often used as a flavoring agent in beverages, such as bitters and aperitifs, where it contributes to a complex taste profile. Furthermore, it’s also used in the brewing industry as a foaming agent in certain beers. Overall, Quassia Bark, or Bitterwood, has a multitude of uses, spanning from medicinal to culinary, reflecting its unique characteristics and versatility.
Botanical Name: Quassia Amara
Also known as: Amargo, bitter-ash, bitter wood, hombre grande, Bitterwood, Amargo, Bitter Ash, Quassia Wood, Quassia Amara, Surinam Quassia, Jamaica Quassia, Quassia Chips, Quassia Tincture, Quassia Extract, Simaruba, Simarouba