Definition of quassia in English:

quassia

Pronunciation /ˈkwɒʃɪə//ˈkwasɪə//ˈkwɒʃə/

noun

  • 1A South American shrub or small tree related to ailanthus.

    • ‘Native to tropical America and the Caribbean, quassia grows in forests and near water.’
    • ‘This type of size reduction is of dubious value and is only officially used for quassia which is a hard wood.’
    • ‘The quassia tree grows from 50 to 100 feet high; it has smooth, gray bark and alternate, odd-pinnate leaves with oblong, pointed leaflets. Its small flowers are yellowish or greenish, its fruit is a small rupe about the size of a pea.’
    1. 1.1mass noun The wood, bark, or root of the quassia, yielding a bitter medicinal tonic, insecticide, and vermifuge.
      • ‘The burning of scents like frankincense and myrrh dates back to the ancient Egyptians, and continued through the centuries, gradually including sweet spices like cinnamon, quassia, cloves, allspice and nutmeg.’
      • ‘There is preliminary evidence that quassia may be useful in the treatment of leukemia or gastric ulcers.’
      • ‘Emetic herbs include bayberry, boneset, buckthorn, culver, false unicorn, lobelia, mandrake, mistletoe, mustard seed, pleurisy, quassia, rue and senega’
      • ‘Several early clinical studies performed on quassia verified its traditional use as a natural insecticide, documenting it as an effective treatment for head lice infestation in humans.’
      • ‘A few preparations make use of digestive enzymes, while many others contain plant substances such as chirata, gentian, calama, quassia, orange peel and many spices.’

Origin

Named after Graman Quassi, an 18th-century Surinamese slave who discovered its medicinal properties in 1730.

Pronunciation

quassia

/ˈkwɒʃɪə//ˈkwasɪə//ˈkwɒʃə/