Quillaja saponaria Molina.

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Family

Rosaceae.

Habitat

Indigenous to Chile and Peru; introduced in India in Ootacamund.

English

Soap Bark, Quillaia Bark.

Action

Bark—cutaneous stimulant. Its liquid extract is used as a lotion for certain skin diseases of the scalp, and in antiulcer preparations.

The detergent and medicinal properties of quillaia are due to the presence of haemolytic saponins (9–10%) of which quillaia-saponin (which yields glucuronic acid and quillaic acid, a sapogenin, on hydrolysis) is most important.

Quillaja extracts caused marked swelling and haemorrhage in stomach and small intestines of mice after 24 hours.

An isolated saponin (QS-21) from the bark shows evidence that it might augment both antibody and cell-mediated immune response, significantly increasing antibody levels. (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2007.)