Quassia Cup


Quassia (1692-1787) was an obeah (healer) from the Guinea region of West Africa who was enslaved and taken to Surinam, a Dutch sugar colony on the Caribbean coast of South America. While investigating local plants with medicinal properties, Quassia learned of a tree that when, when made into an infusion, promoted appetite and assisted digestion. Daniel Rolander, a Swedish botanist who visited Surinam in the 1750s, met Quassia and acquired some samples of this tree. These samples eventually reached Carl Linnaeus, in Stockholm, and that noted botanist named the tree Quassia. Nineteenth century medical texts touted the benefits of water drunk from quassia cups.

Location: Currently not on view

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Medicine


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Schrader's Pharmacy, through Harry L. Schrader

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MG.302607.108Accession Number: 302607Catalog Number: 302607.108

Object Name: Quassia Cup

Physical Description: wood, quassia (overall material)Measurements: overall: 4 3/4 in x 2 1/16 in; 12.065 cm x 5.23875 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a5-9cb1-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_735376

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