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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 Cortex erythrophlei, Doom Bark, Mancona Bark, Nkasa, Ordeal Bark, Red Water Bark, Sassy Bark, Saucy Bark
(Erythrophleum suaveolens syn Erythrophleum guineense)

Causes initial tightening across the brow and
severe pain in the head leading to coma and death.

CONTAINS: Erythrophleine (action similar to digitalis); erythropleic acid, a volatile alkaloid, tannin, resin.

A large spreading tree to 100 feet of tropical Africa with rusty-pubescent branchlets and hard bark; leaflets are ovate-elliptic in 4 pairs; flowers appear in racemes, are fragant, and cream or reddish in color; the fruit is a woody legume 4½ inches long and 2 inches wide.


During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Casca Bark was considered astringent and analgesic. Even in the smallest doses it produced gastric problems, very severe in some cases, so could not be relied upon with any certainty. A hydrochloride produced from the bark was once used in dental surgery. Although the reason is not clear, it was also used in an aqueous solution at the rate of 1/10th of 1% and applied to the cornea.Of historical interest to researchers ONLY, standard derivations such as the alkaloid were given at the rate of 1/40th of a grain and the extract at 1/4 grain.

The wood has been used in construction.
The bark has been used as an arrow poison.
In West Africa the drug obtained from the bark was used as an ordeal poison in witchcraft and sorcery trials.

© 2005 by Ernestina Parziale, CH