Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco Schltdl. - Apocynaceae - white quebracho, Quebracho (-Baum)
Evergreen tree with pendulous twigs, up to 20m high, native to South America (western Argentina, Chile, Bolivia); bark thick, corky; leaves elliptic to lanceolate, leathery, spine-tipped; short clusters of yellow, fragrant, funnel-shaped flowers; fruit a capsule containing numerous seeds.
Quebrachitol (L-methylinositol), first isolated by Tanret in 1887 from the bark of A.quebracho-blanco, was tested as a sweetening agent and showed to be as sweet as glucose (half as sweet as sucrose, cane-sugar), but with a metallic taste stated by some persons. It is capable of inducing colic or diarrhoea.
[An investigation of quebrachitol as a sweetening agent for diabetics., McCance, R.A., Lawrence, R.D., Biochemical Journal, 27(4), 1933, 986]
The bark contains a mixture of indole alkaloids with yohimbine (quebrachine), aspidospermine and quebrachamine.
[Application of Mass Spectrometry to Structure Problems. X. 1 Alkaloids of the Bark of Aspidosperma quebracho blanco 2., Biemann, K., Spiteller-Friedmann, M., Spiteller, G., Journal of the American Chemical Society, 85(5), 1963, 631-638]
Quebracho has been used in folk medicine as anti-asthmatic and febrifuge (also to treat malaria).
[Recursos herbolarios de San Luis (República Argentina) primera parte: plantas nativas., Del Vitto, L. A., Petenatti, E.M., Petenatti, M.E., Multequina, (6), 1997, 49-66]
[Atividade biológica e alcalóides indólicos do gênero Aspidosperma (Apocynaceae): uma revisão., Oliveira, V.B., Freitas, M.S.M., Mathias, L., Braz-Filho, R., Vieira, I.J.C., Rev Bras Pl Med, 11, 2009, 92-99] http://www.scielo.br/pdf/rbpm/v11n1/15.pdf
Quebracho bark is used to treat asthma, bronchitis, respiratory disorders, fever, cramps and to stimulate appetite. A respiratory stimulant effect is attributed to the main alkaloid aspidospermin. There are no controlled clinical trials to prove efficacy.
[Hagers Handbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, Springer 2010]
Köhler,F.E., Medizinal Pflanzen, vol.3 t.48 (1890)