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quas·sia

n 1  cap  :  a genus of shrubs or trees (family Simaroubaceae) having pinnate leaves with winged petioles and large racemose scarlet flowers - compare SIMAROUBA   2  :  a drug consisting of the heartwood of various tropical trees (family Simaroubaceae) used in medicine as a bitter tonic and as a remedy for roundworms, as an insecticide, and in brewing as a substitute for hops
 
Quas•si, Graman (fl 1730),
Suriname slave. Quassi was a black slave who obtained his freedom and practiced as a medicine man. Around 1730 he discovered the medicinal value of the bark and heartwood of certain trees in the treatment of malignant fevers common in Suriname. According to tradition, a traveling Swede bought the secret of the cures and brought specimens of the plants back to Sweden. Linnaeus examined the plants and named the genus Quassia. Later, the name quassia was applied to the drug as well.
 
   
 
Similar sounding terms:  case  casei  cas·sia  CCI 

 
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