Alstonia Bark

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Alstonia Bark

Botanical Name: Alstonia constricta (F. MUELL.)
Family: N.O. Apocynaceae

Synonyms: Fever Bark. Australian Quinine.
---Part Used: The dried bark.
Habitat: New South Wales and Australia.

Description: The name is derived from Alston, a professor of botany in Edinburgh. In commerce the bark is usually in curved pieces or quills 2 1/2 inches wide and 1/2, inch thick. Periderm 1/10 to 1/4 of an inch; rusty brown, rugose, deeply fissured recticulations; internally the bark is cinnamon brown with strong coarse longitudinal stripes. Transverse section shows dark brown periderm covering the inner orange-brown tissues. Fracture short granular in outer layers and fibrous inner ones, slight aromatic odour, very bitter taste.

Constituents: Contains three alkaloids Alstonine, Porphrine and Astonidine, and traces of others.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Used for chronic diarrhoea, dysentery and in intermittent fever; also as an anthelmintic. Scientific investigation has failed to show why it is of such service in malaria, but herbalists consider it superior to quinine and of great use in convalescence, also much used by homoeopaths.

---Preparations and Dosages: Powdered bark 2 to 8 grains. Fluid extract, 4 to 40 minims.