Soap Bark is a plant. The inner bark is used as medicine.
Despite safety concerns, people take quillaja for cough, bronchitis, and other breathing problems.
Some people apply quillaja extract directly to the skin to treat skin sores, athlete’s foot, and itchy scalp. It is sometimes included in shampoos for dandruff, in hair tonic preparations for thinning hair, and in douches for vaginal discharges.
In foods, quillaja is used in frozen dairy desserts, candy, baked goods, gelatins, and puddings. It is also used in beverages and cocktails and as a foaming agent in root beer.
In manufacturing, quillaja extracts are used in skin creams. Quillaja is also used as a foaming agent in fire extinguishers.
In South America, quillaja bark is used to wash clothes.
- Soap bark tree has a long history of medicinal use with the Andean people who used it especially as a treatment for various chest problems. It is the source of quillaja, the extract of which is used as a food additive and as an ingredient in pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and fire-fighting foam. It is used as additive for photographic films and foaming for drinks. The saponin content of the bark helps to stimulate the production of a more fluid mucous in the airways, thus facilitating the removal of phlegm through coughing. The saponins of this tree are also considered to have adjuvant properties for vaccine solutions., QS21 adjuvant is a saponin obtainable from Quillaja saponaria extract
- Quillaja seems to be safe when taken in food amounts. But it might be UNSAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal doses. Plants such as quillaja that contain high amounts of tannins can cause stomach and intestinal disturbances, and kidney and liver damage. Quillaja also contains chemicals called oxalates that can lower blood calcium levels and cause kidney stones. Quillaja use can also cause diarrhea, stomach pain, serious breathing problems, convulsions, coma, red blood cell destruction, and kidney failure. Quillaja can also irritate and damage the lining of the mouth, throat, and digestive tract.It is not known if quillaja is safe when put on the skin or in the vagina. If inhaled, the powder can cause sneezing.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
While quillaja isn’t safe for anyone, some people are at even greater risk for serious side effects. Be especially careful not to take quillaja if you have any of the following conditions:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Quillaja might be UNSAFE for both mother and infant. Avoid use.
Stomach and intestinal (gastrointestinal, GI) problems: Quillaja can irritate the GI tract. Don’t use it if you have a stomach or intestinal disorder.
Kidney disease: The oxalate in quillaja can cause kidney stones. Don’t use it if you have kidney disease or a history of kidney stones.
- Medications taken by mouth (Oral drugs) interacts with Soap Bark
Quillaja contains a large amount of chemicals called tannins. Tannins absorb substances in the stomach and intestines. Taking quillaja along with medications taken by mouth can decrease how much medicine your body absorbs, and decrease the effectiveness of your medicine. To prevent this interaction, take quillaja at least one hour after medications you take by mouth.
- Metformin (Glucophage) interacts with Soap Bark
Metformin (Glucophage) is used to help decrease blood sugar. Quillaja might decrease how much metformin (Glucophage) the body absorbs. Taking quillaja along with metformin (Glucophage) might decrease the effectiveness of metformin (Glucophage) for lowering blood sugar. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your metformin (Glucophage) might need to be changed.
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Source: WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-385-quillaia.aspx?activeingredientid=385&activeingredientname=quillaia