Herb: Winter's Bark


Latin name: Drimys winteri


Synonyms: Drimys aromatica, Wintera aromatica


Family: Winteraceae (Wintera Family)



Medicinal use of Winter's Bark:

The bark is a pungent bitter tonic herb that relieves indigestion. It is antiscorbutic, aromatic, febrifuge, skin, stimulant and stomachic. An infusion of the bark is used in the treatment of indigestion, colic, dandruff and scurvy. It is also used as a parasiticide. The bark is harvested in the autumn and winter and is dried for later use.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
7.5 m
(25 feet)

Flovering:
January
to June


Scent:
Scented
Shrub

Habitat of the herb:

The dominant tree in moister lowland sites to Tierra Del Fuego. Boggy sites by streams etc in rich soils.

Edible parts of Winter's Bark:

The aromatic pungent bark is powdered and used as a pepper substitute in Brazil, Chile and Argentina. It is rich in vitamin C.

Other uses of the herb:

The powerfully aromatic bark contains resinous matter and 0.64% of aromatic essential oil. Wood - not durable, heavy (it sinks in water) - interior of houses, boxes etc. It burns badly with a smell.

Propagation of Winter's Bark:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on the plants for at least their first winter in a cold frame. Plant them out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Layering in March/April. Takes 12 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10 - 15 cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Approximately 60% take. Cuttings of mature wood of the current year's growth with a heel of older wood, November in a cold frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

The dominant tree in moister lowland sites to Tierra Del Fuego. Boggy sites by streams etc in rich soils.

Known hazards of Drimys winteri:

The sap of this plant can cause serious inflammation if it comes into contact with the eyes.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.