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Angostura Bark

Angostura Bark is bark from a small tree that grows in South America.

The tree grows up to 20 feet (6 metres) tall, with a straight trunk, 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) wide. It has glossy green leaves 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) long, 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) wide. When young, the leaves smell a bit like tobacco.

The bark on the tree is a smooth, yellowish grey. It comes off in pieces 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 1/2 cm) long, an inch (2 1/2 cm) wide, and 1/12 of an inch thick. It has an unpleasant smell.

The taste compound in the bark is called "Angosturin." It's colourless, and dissolves in water easily.

Angostura Bark is used in Fee's Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters, and probably also in Angostura Bitters, though we may never know, as the bottles don't reveal the exact ingredients. Some sources feel that Angostura Bitters do not in fact contain Angostura Bark. Angostura Bitters do contain an "aromatic bark", but they won't say what it is.

Angostura Bark is also used in the Australian soft drink Bundaberg Lemon, Lime & Bitters.


There's a tree called the "false Angostura" (aka Nux Vomica Tree), whose leaves won't have the tobacco smell, and whose bark won't have the unpleasant smell, but it's actually dangerous to consume.

Language Notes

Named after the port city of Angostura, Venezuela, called "Bolívar City" since 1846.


Angelica; Angostura Bark; Bay Leaf; Borage; Chamomile; Chervil; Chives; Comfrey; Curry Leaves; Dill; Dried Herbs; Epazote; Filé; Folium Indicum; Garlic Greens; Green Garlic; Gruit; Herbes Salées; Herbs; Hops; Jacob's Ladder; Lady's Bedstraw; Lavender; Loroco; Lovage; Marjoram; Mexican Tarragon; Mint; Mugwort Powder; Oregano; Pennywort; Potherbs; Rolling Mincer; Rosemary; Rue; Sachet Bags; Sage; Salad Burnet; Sarsaparilla; Sassafrass; Savoury; Screw Pine Leaves; Shiso Leaves; Silphium; Sorrel; Stevia; Sweet Cicely; Tarragon; Thyme; Trefoil; Valerian; Wild Garlic; Winter Purslane; Wormwood; Yarrow; Yomogi

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Also called:

Cusparia febrifuga, Cusparia felorifuga, Galipea Cusparia, Galipea officinalis (Scientific Name)


Oulton, Randal. "Angostura Bark." CooksInfo.com. Published 04 April 2004; revised 02 December 2007. Web. Accessed 03/17/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/angostura-bark>.

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