Nigaki (Picrasma quassioides)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Nigaki
Picrasma quassioides
Simaroubaceae

The bark is used as an insecticide[46, 61]. Another report says that it is the wood that is used[240]. It is a substitute for the insecticide quassia, which is obtained from the wood of a tropical tree[240]. Quassia is a relatively safe organic insecticide that breaks down quickly and is of low toxicity to mammals. It has been used as a parasiticide to get rid of lice, fleas etc.

Wood – hard, fine and close grained. Used for mosaic, utensils etc[46, 61, 158].

  • Medicinal Use

    The wood contains a number of medicinal compounds and has been shown to be anthelmintic, antiamoebal, antiviral, bitter, hypotensive and stomachic[279]. It increases the flow of gastric juices[279]. It is used in Korea in the treatment of digestive problems, especially chronic dyspepsia[279].

    A decoction of the stem bark is bitter, febrifuge and tonic[46, 61, 146, 158, 174, 218, 240, 272].

    The leaves have been used to treat itchy skins[240, 272]. (Probably acting by killing body parasites[K].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit[105, 177]. Small and red[183]. The fruit is a berry about 7mm in diameter[200].

    Young buds (the report does not say if they are flower or leaf buds) are used to make a tea[177, 179, 183].

    A bitter substance called quassin’ is extracted from (the bark of?) the tree and can be used as a hop substitute in brewing beer[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 months cold stratification[113] and should be sown as early in the year as possible. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[200]. Root cuttings 4cm long in December. Plant them out horizontally in pots in a greenhouse[78].
Requires a fertile humus-rich moisture-retentive loam in a sunny position[200]. Plants also succeed when growing in semi-shade[188]. According to [200] this plant is only hardy to zone 10 (not tolerating frosts) but there are healthy trees in many parts of Britain including one 8.5 metres tall at Kew in 1981, one 8 metres tall seen growing in light woodland shade at Cambridge Botanical Gardens where it was bearing fruit in the autumn of 1996 and one 9 metres tall at Westonbirt in 1980[11, K].
E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.