Quillaia: Uses, Botanical Source, Characters, and Chemical Constituents


Quillaia Bark, Soap Bark, Cortex Quillaiae

Botanical source

Quillaia consists of the dried bark of Quillaja Saponaria Mol. and other species of Quillaja of the family Rosaceae. These are all large trees.

Quillaia Geographical Source

Quillaja saponaria is indigenous to Chile and Peru.

Macroscopical Characters

Quillaia occurs in large flat pieces about a meter long, 10 to 15 cm wide and about 6 m thick. The outer surface is brownish in colour and longitudinally striated. The inner surface is smooth, white or yellowish-white in colour. Fracture is splintery; splinters separate as thin plates with laminated surfaces. The transversely cut surface shows bands of phloem and medullary rays as tangential and radial lines respectively. The drug is almost odourless but possesses an acrid taste.

Microscopical Characters

The bark contains patches of dead phloem tissues, which consist of red-brown thin-walled cells. The secondary phloem consists of tangential bands of sieve tubes and parenchyma alternating with bands of phloem fibres, which are often characteristically knotted and bent. Many phloem parenchyma cells contain single prisms of calcium oxalate. Some cells also contain clusters or microcrystals. Sclereids occur infrequently along with phloem fibres.

Chemical Constituents

Quillaia contains two toxic saponin glycosides. It also contains quillajic acid, quillaja sapotoxin, starch and sucrose.

Uses of Quillaia

Quillaia is recommended as a stimulant and expectorant.

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