Quebracho. Aspidosperma quebracho.

Synonym—Quebracho Blanco.

The bark of Quebracho contains at least six alkaloids. Aspidospermine, which is thought to be one of these, is not a single alkaloid, but represents the full activity of the drug; dose, ¼ to ½ grain.


Fluid Extract Quebracho, not miscible with water; dose, fifteen minims to one fluid drachm.
Solid Extract Quebracho; one part equals ten of drug; dose, one to three grains.

Physiological Action—In investigating the physiological action of this agent, Penzoldt determined that its influence was exerted upon the heart and respiratory functions. He found in different forms of dyspnea—from emphysema severe bronchitis, phthisis, chronic pneumonic processes, with periodic asthma and pleuritis, that after giving one to two teaspoonful doses of a solution sometimes two or three times a day, the frequency of breathing generally diminished, the respirations were less deep, and that the cyanosis especially, in phthisis and emphysema, was almost invariably diminished or removed. The effects lasted for hours and were followed, without exception, by improvement of the patient. It is now prescribed for the above conditions. In one case of inherited pulmonary stenosis, and in another of thrombosis of the left main branch of the pulmonary artery, the effect was remarkable, though but temporary.

Mariasi y Larrion, of Madrid, employed quebracho in a number of diseases of the respiratory and circulatory organs. The following conclusions are a short resume of his observations from a paper translated for the Therapeutic Gazette in 1880:

"The principal action of this drug is to cause a diminution of the number of pulse beats per minute, and lessen the frequency of the respiratory act.

"Its principal and direct action is on the circulatory center, giving tone and regularity to the contractions of the heart, with an intermediate effect on the nervous system."

Specific SymptomatologyQuebracho acts specifically in restricted, difficult breathing—dyspnea, as occurring in many forms of heart disease and mildly in asthma of whatever character.

It is not employed with such good effects in nervous dyspnea.

Its action is rapid, and is manifested almost immediately after the administration of the medicament.

Its administration in the doses indicated is not dangerous, and its continuation will not have any undesirable influence on other organs.

Therapy—Hale calls it the digitalis of the lungs and lauds it for its influence on difficult breathing without much distinction as to the cause.

The agent has quite a positive influence in malarial fevers.

In thrombosis of the pulmonary artery, in some eases of apoplexy, and in uremic dyspnea, it has been of great service. Those of our own physicians who have used it wherever there is difficulty in breathing, are enthusiastic in praise of the relief it gives. It overcomes some severe cases of cyanosis, and although its influence is not always permanent, it often prolongs life and the relief is most grateful to the patient.

It undoubtedly removes temporary obstruction to the oxidation of the blood and by stimulating the respiratory centers it increases oxidation. and facilitates the excretion of carbonic acid.

The agent has quite a positive influence in malarial fevers with or without lung complications, acting as a sedative, antiperiodic and febrifuge. It is not widely used for this purpose and it does not influence other fevers.

The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.