4% Quassia Amara Extract as good as Metrogel and Finacea

Written by on February 25, 2011 in Natural Treatments, research, Rosacea Topicals with 9 Comments

A just published abstract introduces a botanical extract for the treatment of rosacea. Researchers from the National University of Córdoba in Spain compared a topical gel containing 4% Quassia Amara with Metrogel and Finacea. The extract compared favourably to these established rosacea topicals, and thus might offer an alternative treatment for rosacea sufferers.

A search on PubMed for Quassia extract reveals a a couple of dozen relatively recently published articles investigating the chemical makeup of Quassia extract, and its effect as an anti-ulcerogenic, as an antimalarial, and antibacterial and antifungal agent. It would seem from this that Quassia amara is attracting a growing interest as a pharmacological active.

Many drugs can trace their genesis to a biological source. Whilst a natural source for an interesting extract may sound enticing, even promising, I see the advantage of a natural source being the ease of sourcing experimental samples. The easier samples are to source, the more likely that researchers will be willing to undertake new studies.

It is tempting to get excited about something new, and the promise that it may bring to rosacea sufferers, but I like to caution my excitement with the knowledge that “nothing is as promising as an unproven treatment”.  That is, it is easy for a new treatment to hold some promise, but far harder for it to be proven to be more effective, less problematic and therefore superior to what we already have.

Having never heard of Quassia amara before today I look forward to reading more about it in the future.

Evaluation of the Efficacy and Tolerance of a Topical Gel With 4% Quassia Extract in the Treatment of Rosacea

J Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Feb 22, Ferrari A, Diehl C, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba.

Background: There are various treatment options available for rosacea, depending on the subtype, but treatment is still generally unsatisfactory. Some studies have reported antiparasitic and anti-inflammatory properties of Quassia amara.

Aim: To check the efficacy and safety of a topical gel with 4% Quassia amara extract in the treatment of various grades of rosacea.

Methods: A group of 30 patients with various grades of rosacea (I-IV) were investigated in a single-center, open-label study. They were treated with a topical gel with 4% Quassia amara extract for 6 weeks. Response was evaluated by the flushing, erythema, telangiectasia, papules, and pustules scores. At the end of therapy, overall improvement, safety, and tolerability were assessed.

Results: Twenty-seven of 30 patients (90%) completed the study. The treatment resulted to be very effective, and the results achieved were in line with those published with topical metronidazole and azelaic acid. Safety and tolerability were excellent.

Conclusion: Topical quassia extract could be a new, efficient, and safe weapon in the armamentarium for the management of rosacea.

Related Articles

About the Author

About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

Follow Rosacea Support

Subscribe via RSS Feed

9 Reader Comments

  1. andy says:

    Hmm very interesting. Is it a coincidence that this treatment has anti parasitic and bacterial properties?
    Maybe the dermodex mite may play a larger role in the disease than we thought.
    Whats next for this then?

  2. David Pascoe says:

    Of course it is 5-10 years and millions of dollars to progress a new active molecule to a full blown rosacea treatment, but the lure of a growing multi million dollar market for rosacea topicals might see new developments with Quassia Amara.


    The 2004 patent application includes the claim “A method for treating facial erythrosis, couperose or rosacea utilizing a composition comprising quassinoids.”

    So it looks like at least part of rosacea is already covered by a patent relating to this.


  3. Olly says:

    Very interesting. I wonder if this is available to be made up by say Skin Actives – much like 4-Ethoxybenzaldehyde?

    Also, the active ingredient cannot be patented unlike many pharmaceutical products.

  4. Hi Olly,

    Why do you think the active ingredient cannot be patented ?

    I would have thought that isolating an active molecule and proving it works for say inflammatory skin conditions would constitute and invention that could be patented. Certainly that appears to be how many treatments develop.


  5. Olly says:

    Maybe I have misunderstood the treatment then. I thought Quassia Amara was a shrub? You cannot patent a shurb, but you can the formula you create using it.

    However, there is nothing stopping someone using the Quassia Amara extract with a different base (cream etc).

    Having said that, if there is a ‘special process’ that must be done to unlock the power of this shrub when used as a topical treatment, then they can patent the process I believe. As you say, it may be the case they they do this, isolating an active molecule before placing it with a base for topical application.

    I like to know more to know for definite.

  6. Katie says:

    Would this perhaps be less irritating? that’s my current problem with all the topicals that are out now. They induce flushing like you wouldn’t believe! 🙁

  7. Hi Katie, sadly there is no way to say if this potential new topical is better tolerated compared to say metrogel and finacea. A lot will depend on how reactive your skin is as well as how it copes with the inactives and vehicle of a topical. Unfortunately it isn’t a simple formula.

  8. Olly says:


    What are you using?

    I only use natural products. Grapeseed oil and sea buckthorn oil at night have certainly helped along with infrared and yellow LED.

    Recently added lavender oil to the grapeseed as it’s a strong antifungal and trying to get rid of the SD. That does seem to induce a little flush though :/

  9. James says:

    I wondered if anyone had found a brand of quassia amara gel that they find helpful for rosacea? Thank you for your advice on this!

Leave your comment here


Subscribe to Rosacea News

Enter your email address to receive the latest news about rosacea in your inbox.