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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

aka Angustura, Bonplandia trifoliata, Cusparia Bark, Cusparia febrifuge
(Galipea officinalis syn Galipea cuspana)
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A rainforest shrub or small slender tree to 20 feet with smooth gray bark. Native to tropical South America (Caroni region of Venezuela and northern Brazil). Leaves are trifoliate and smell of tobacco and the flowers are white, tubular and hairy having an unpleasant odor. The flowers produce 5-celled seed capsules containing round black seeds. The plant is not cultivated, but collected from the wild. The bark is removed as needed and dried for use in concentrated infusions, liquid extracts and powders.
This useful plant has a history of use as a bitter tonic by South American natives and a number of the varieties have been used to produce healing for a different number of conditions. It was first introduced into Europe circa 1759. The well known Angostura Bitters were first produced in Angostura, Venezuela (currently Cuidad, Bolivar).
The original recipe was patented by Dr. J.G.B. Siegert in 1824, but the modern day recipe, currently having the following ingredients, does not contain this plant : Bitter orange peel, herbs and spices, including the dried rhizome and roots of Gentiana lutea. The true extract is still used to flavor alcoholic and soft drinks.
The bark was once used medicinally, but the supplies were often found to be contaminated with poisonous bark of Strychnos nux-vomica or else Copalchi Bark from Mexico.

CONTAINS: Angosturin (colorless crystalline substance soluble in water, alcohol or ether), 2.4% bitter crystalline alkaloids (galipine, cusparine, galipidine cusparidine, cuspareine), 1.5% volatile oil, a glucoside which yields a flourescent substance when hydrolysed by heating with dilute sulphuric acid.


Bitter tonic, aromatic bitter, stimulant, stomachic.
Has been used as a substitute for cinchona
Laxative and emetic in large doses (anything over 15 grains of the powder).
Has been used to stimulate liver and gallbladder, lower fevers, and to relax spasms.
Has been used for dysentary, bilious diarrhea, poor appetite, feverish illnesses, intermittant fever, and edema.

All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully.
Infusion = 100 parts water to 5 parts powder, steeped (covered) for 15 minutes and then strained; single dose is 1-2 fl. oz.
Tincture = 5 to 30 minims.
Powder = 5-15 grains.

Added to water, it will stun fish.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH