Botanist's Glossary

Quillaja - Quillaja saponaria

  • Description
    • The quillaja (Rosaceae family) is an evergreen tree from South America (Chile, Peru) that grows to a height of 20 meters. It has drooping branches, shiny leathery leaves, and small white flowers. The only part of the tree that is used is the bark, better known as "Panama wood". It was imported in Europe in the 19th century as an emulsifying and degreasing cleansing agent.
  • Traditions
    • Panama wood is commonly used in industry as a natural foaming agent. Rich in saponins, it is one of the ingredients included in the composition of natural soaps in Asia. It also has medicinal applications and is used topically to soften the skin and relieve itching associated with dermatological conditions.
  • Properties
    • Quillaja extract is obtained from its bark. Rich in polysaccharides, it helps to maintain the skin’s hydration by forming a protective film on the surface. It helps the skin to retain its suppleness.