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Cascarilla (Croton Eleuteria )

croton eleuteria (cascarilla)


Scientific Name: Croton eleuteria, Cascarilla officinalis.

Family: Euphorbiaceae.

Other Names: Cascarilla, Sweetwood, Sweet Bark, Bahama Cascarilla, Eleutheria, Cascarilla Cortex, Cortex Thuris, Aromatic Quinquina, False Quinquina, Sweet Wood Bark, Sweet Bark.

Habitat: Indigenous to the West Indies, also grown in tropical areas of America.


Flower and Fruit: The flowers are small, with white petals and has a pleasant fragrance.
Leaves, stem and root: The plant is a small tree that rarely grows to more than 6 m. It has small, opposite, ovate-lanceolate leaves about 5 cm long. Scales beneath densely cover the leaves, giving them a silver-bronze appearance. Above, the scales are scattered and white. The bark occurs in short quilled pieces, usually with a chalky, more or less cracked, white surface, with black dots due to the fruit of lichens. The transverse fracture is reddish-brown.
Characteristics: The taste is aromatic and bitter.

Compounds Found in Cascarilla

Volatile oil (1.5 to 3%): chief components are p-cymene, limonene, alpha-thujone, pinenes, linalool, myrcene, terpeninol-4
Diterpene bitter principles: including Cascarillin A (15%)
Resin: (25%)


Cascarilla is a stimulant and a tonic.

Medicinal Parts

The dried bark.

Medicinal Properties and Uses

Aromatic, bitter tonic, with possibly narcotic properties. It is used in dyspepsia, intermittent and low fevers, diarrhea and dysentery. It is a stimulant to mucus membrane, and in chronic bronchitis, is used as an effective expectorant; while it is also valuable in dyspepsia, flatulence, chronic diarrhea, nocturnal pollutions (nocturnal emissions), vomiting, debility, digestive disorders and convalescence. When added to Cinchona, it will arrest vomiting often caused by that herb.



Mode of Administration: Available as a powder, extract or tincture.

Cascarilla Herbal Formula

Infusion of Cascarilla Bark

1 ounce Cascarilla Bark (cut)
1 pint distilled water

1. Put the bark into the cold water and allow to stand 4 hours.
2. Bring to boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Strain and cool.
4. Add molasses or brown sugar if desired.
5. Bottle and keep in a cool place.

Dose: A wineglassful (2 ounces) 3 times a day, before or after meals. The dose of the powdered bark is 20 to 30 grains, in molasses, honey or brown sugar.

Precautions and Adverse Reactions

Health risks or side effects following the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages are not recorded.

New species of Croton from the Yucatan Peninsula. Phytologia
New species of Croton from the Yucatan Peninsula. Phytologia

Other sources

Find other reading material on this and other croton species:
Lundell, C. L. 1940. New species of Croton from the Yucatan Peninsula. Phytologia 1: 401-409.
Martínez, M. 1959. Las Plantas Medicinales de México. Cuarta Edición. México: Ediciones Bota.
Fawcett, W., and A. B. Rendle. 1920. Croton. In Flora of Jamaica 4: 275-286. British Museum, London.
Daniell, W. F. 1863. On the Cascarilla, and other species of Croton, of the Bahama and West India Islands. Pharm. J. Trans. 4: 144-150.


Elementary Treatise in Herbology. Dr. Edward Shooks
PDR for Herbal Medicines. Joerg Gruenwald, PhD, Thomas Brendler, BA, Christof Jaenicke, MD etal.

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