Facts and Benefits of Angostura

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Facts and Benefits of Angostura

Angostura Quick Facts
Name: Angostura
Scientific Name: Angostura trifoliata
Origin South America
Shapes 5-celled seed capsule
Taste Pungent
Health benefits Treat Tuberculosis, Diarrhea and Dysentery, Cough and Good in Paralysis
Angostura trifoliate (Galipea officinalis) commonly known as Angustura, Angusture, Angusture Vraie, Angostura trifoliata, Bonplandia trifoliata, Carony Bark, Chuspa, Cusparia, Cusparia Bark, Cusparia febrifuga, Cusparia trifoliata, Galipea officinalis, True Angostura is a medicinal plant native to South America. Its bark is commonly misconstrued as being used in Angostura brand bitters which is named after the town in Venezuela.­­­ It is also used in a number of other aromatic bitters, such as Abbott’s Bitters. The tree was given the name of Galipea officinalis to symbolize the true variety of Angostura and thus differentiate it from the very dangerous substitute and contaminant.

Plant Description

Angostura is an ambiguous tree or shrub which grows between 10 meters and 20 meters in height.  The plant has straight stem irregularly branched, covered with smooth plenteous chunky external grey bark. The outer layer of bark is a yellowish grey cork which is easily removed, often being soft, the inner surface is lighter brown and sometimes laminated, fracture short and resinous white, points being visible on broken surface; the transverse section shows numerous cells filled with circular crystals of Calcium Oxalate, small oil glands, small groups of bast fibers with a musty smell and bitter taste.


Leaves are alternate, petiolate and composed of three leaflets oblong and pointed, smooth, glossy and vivid green, sometimes with small white spots on them and in their first state having a tobacco-like aroma, this odor is one of the characteristics distinguishing the true Angostura from the false which is odorless.

Flower & fruit

Flowers have salver-shaped corollas and arranged in axillary, terminal, peduncled racemes. The flowers also have a peculiar nauseous smell. Fruit is a 5-celled seed capsule, two or three of which are often unsuccessful; two seeds in each capsule, round and black, one only is normally fertile.

Health benefits of Angostura

Angostura plant has widely been used by the natives of those regions to treat a varied number of health ailments. Bark of this plant is highly effective in cure of fever and diarrhea. Its bark has got amazing soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in providing quick and safe recovery from numbness, palsy and tremors. Besides this, the decoction made using the bark helps in improving appetite, assisting in digestion, weight loss and alleviating stomach pain. Listed below are some of the well-known health benefits of using Angostura plant

1. Treats Cough

Strong decoction of the bark of Angostura helps to treat recurrent and whooping coughs along with certain problems related to the human pulmonary system.

2. Antispasmodic Action

Antispasmodic properties of this plant make Angostura very useful in treating disorders caused due to weak digestive system such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s disease. The plant helps to improve digestion, metabolism and is successful cure of these diseases.

3. Prevents Water Retention

With the help of perspiration and urination, excess of water is removed from the body which solves the problem of water retention in the body. This also helps in efficient weight management of a person.

4. Antimicrobial and Antibacterial Agent

Angostura bark has remarkable antimicrobial and antibacterial qualities that heals various types of skin problems and disinfects small and major injuries.

5. Treat Diarrhea and Dysentery

People who are suffering from dysentery and diarrhea should start consuming Angostura as it helps in combatting dehydration and other difficult signs of these diseases. This plant has been used in South America as one of the best remedy for dysentery and diarrhea. Consumption of its extract helps in reducing stomach pain too.

6. Diuretic Agent

Angostura is known as a diuretic that helps to increase perspiration and urination in a person. By both these actions toxins gets expelled from the body efficiently and effectively.

7. Treat Tuberculosis

Due to the presence of two important chemical compounds angosturin and galipine, the bark of Angostura displays useful anti-tuberculosis qualities. This property is used for natural, safe and permanent treatment of life threatening disease – Tuberculosis

8. Flawless Skin

Angostura indirectly impacts your skin by making it flawless and blemish free naturally. By efficient detoxification of the toxins in the form of perspiration and urination, it gives one smooth and spotless and beautiful skin easily.

9. Good in Paralysis

Bark of Angostura is found to be very effective on the nerves of the spine. It is used in helping people with minor to chronic paralytic problems.

10. Stimulates Blood Circulation

Angostura aids in stimulating blood circulation in the body so that each and every cell of the body receives enough amount of nutrition and stays healthy.

11. Efficient Detoxifying Agent

Angostura helps in eliminate toxins from the body in the form of perspiration and regular elimination of bowel from the body. This flushes out the harmful toxins and pathogens from the body which are the reason behind various external and internal health issues.

12. Preventing Malaria

Angostura is found very effective in preventing the reoccurrence of malaria in a person. It powerfully fights against the causes leading towards this problem and difficult symptoms in an effective manner.

13. Strong and Healthy Hair

Angostura stimulates the health of hair by encouraging outward circulation of blood. This encourages the flow of blood to the scalp and also supplies large amounts of nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. On getting sufficient quantity of oxygen and nutrients your hair becomes strong, vitalized and healthy.

Traditional Uses and benefits of Angostura

  • Bark has long been known and used by the natives of South America and West Indies as a stimulant tonic.
  • In large doses it causes diarrhea and is often used as a purgative.
  • Most useful in bilious diarrhea, dysentery, and diseases which require a tonic.
  • Some doctors choose Angostura Bark to Cinchona for use in fever cases; it is also used in dropsy.
  • Bark of angostura is often used in the form of an infusion or a tincture to cure malarial fever.
  • Infusion or tincture prepared with angostura bark is also used for treating paralysis, as it has a positive effect on our spinal nerves.
  • Traditionally, it is believed that the bark of angostura possesses tonifying properties that may aid in arousing the paralytic nerves and, at the same time, promote speedier recuperation from palsy, numbness and tremors.
  • Bark of angostura is used to make an extremely potent decoction.
  • Decoction is consumed unsweetened in the form of a bitter tisane for alleviating stomach cramps, helping digestion and even improving appetite.
  • Decoction prepared with the angostura bark has been prescribed to people suffering from various different skin complaints as well as for sterilizing small and also major injuries.
  • People have also been using an extremely strong decoction of angostura bark internally for treating recurrent coughs, whooping coughs as well as common complaints related to the pulmonary system.
  • It has also been reported that the use of angostura is effective for promoting blood circulation – only outward blood circulation.

Culinary Uses

  • Angostura is used in alcoholic beverages.
  • An extract of the bark is used to flavor various foods including bitter tonics, baked goods, candy, ice cream etc.

Other Facts

  • Commercially it is an ingredient of bitter liqueurs.
  • Natives also use it to stupefy fish in the same manner as Cinchona is used by the Peruvians.


  • Higher doses may cause diarrhea and vomiting.
  • It can have direct effects on health if had in large doses.
  • The angostura bitters can act as an emetic and laxative, if had in large doses.
  • Pregnant and breast feeding mothers should keep away from bitters as its contraindications and adverse reactions are not known.
  • Angostura should be used with caution in patients taking antibiotics or being treated for tuberculosis.
  • Angostura should be used with caution in patients taking anti-cancer or anti-malaria drugs











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