Quebracho – Everything You Need to Know
Quebracho is a hardwood tree indigenous to South America. Their notoriously dense wood earned them a name derived from the Spanish phrase, “quebrar hacha,” which means “axe breaker.”
There are over 15 different species of quebracho tree and many are used for commercial purposes, but only a few are used medicinally. The quebracho trees known for their medicinal uses include:
- Schinopsis quebracho-colorado (sometimes called red quebracho)
- Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco (white quebracho)
The bark of the quebracho tree is most commonly used, though the heartwood of quebracho-colorado has been approved for use by a few select distributors.
Quebracho is a source of the world’s most stable polyphenol. These polyphenols are what makes quebracho of interest to medicine.
Most information currently available is on quebracho-blanco. However, in the realm of gut related issues, quebracho-colorado is proving to be more beneficial and excels where quebracho-blanco does not.
From this point on, this article will be discussing quebracho colorado.
How Does Quebracho Colorado Work?
Quebracho extract naturally contains tannins, a water-soluble polyphenol.
The polyphenols in quebracho have been considered some of the most prolific for reducing methane in the guts of ruminants – animals that have a specialized stomach that ferments food before digestion, namely cattle.
Quebracho is a macromolecule, meaning it isn’t absorbed by the intestines and remains in the gastrointestinal tract, interacting with substances present without being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Due to it’s stability, the polyphenols in quebracho are not denatured by gastric acid or pancreatic enzymes.
Quebracho is a proanthocyanidin within the class of tannins, making it an extremely powerful antioxidant.
In fact, quebracho colorado extract is 95 percent proanthocyanidin and 5 percent water soluble sugars, meaning it’s an potent source of this strong antioxidant.
Through the antioxidative effects, quebracho interrupts inflammatory processes.
The main beneficial characteristics of quebracho are it’s:
- Large molecular size
- Ability to readily bond with hydrogen and methane
These characteristics of quebracho are the foundation of its different medical uses.
How to Use Quebracho
Quebracho is usually derived from bark but select manufacturers have derived it from the heartwood.
Currently, the only manufacturer with permission to use quebracho colorado is Atrantil, a botanical treatment for bloating and digestive issues.
Quebracho Uses & Benefits
Polyphenols are antioxidants well known for their ability to fight free radicals in the body.
Quebracho is a potent source of stable polyphenols, which is where most of its medicinal effects come from.
We would benefit from exploring more uses of this powerful antioxidant.
Quebracho readily bonds to hydrogen, thereby reducing the amount of hydrogen subsequently made into methane – a major cause of bloating and discomfort.
Secondly, quebracho is a natural antagonist to M. smithii, a predominant archaebacteria of the gut which gives off methane as a by-product.
Because of quebracho’s unique antifungal and antibacterial properties, it is able to target the cell wall lining of the archaebacteria.
Quebracho has been used to treat:
- Abdominal discomfort
There is still room for research surrounding best dosage practices of quebracho. Appropriate dosage is partly dependant on the processing and part of the plant it’s derived from.
For gut health treatments, quebracho is emerging as an effective option against the pervasive and growing list of gut conditions in America.
Studies on animals and humans have shown that quebracho is safe and effective when used as a food additive.
Multiple studies have used quebracho to reduce methane in dairy cows. Additional studies have also been completed on squirrels, guinea pigs, black bears, and chimpanzees, to help replicate the human anatomy.
A 2004 study on found quebracho safe for humans through a comparative in vitro study of the human stomach and small intestine.
Overall, quebracho is considered safe and effective for human medicinal use, especially when it comes to gastrointestinal related issues.
Due to its large molecular size it cannot easily be absorbed by the body, which is why there are little to no side effects.
Quebracho is FDA approved as a food additive permitted for human consumption.
Where Can I Find Quebracho?
Quebracho colorado isn’t widely available at this point. Some supplements are available, but these are nearly all quebracho blanco.
Be sure you don’t confuse quebracho colorado and quebracho blanco.
The best source of quebracho colorado is currently available in a gastrointestinal relief supplement, called Atrantil.
Atrantil leverages the resilience of quebracho in the gut to effectively reduce methane, which relieves bloating and other gastrointestinal issues.