Soap bark

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 28.12.2020

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Panama Bark; Quillaja saponaria; Soap bark-tree.

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Soap bark, also known as Panama bark, consists of the dried, cut bark of trunks of the soap bark tree (Quillaja saponaria), largely freed from cork and outer bark. This tree belongs to the rose family. The home of the soap bark tree is Chile, Bolivia and Peru. It is cultivated in southern Europe.

Spectrum of action
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Soap bark contains saponins and tanning agents. These saponins consist of a multitude of different bisdesmoids (see saponins below). The most important aglycon of these saponins is the quillaya acid.

Field of application/use
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Soap bark is used cosmetically and medicinally in soaps, especially in hair shampoos, also as an expectorant. Furthermore, local treatments of psoriasis, seborrheic eczema and scalp eczema are carried out with the extractum fluidum. A tincture of soap bark and alcohol is a component of Liquor carbonis detergens. Furthermore, components of soap bark are used as adjuvants in various vaccines (see below). Vaccines (see below ISCOM; ISCOMATRIX).

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The drug is considered to be the dried bark. A tincture is produced from dried bark by extraction.

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