Dichroa is a bitter herb that is commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine where it is considered to have a cold energy that benefits the heart, liver, and lungs.
The leaves have powerful laxative (purgative) proprieties and have been used traditionally to treat stomach cancer.
A decoction made from the stem bark is used as a treatment for high fever, and a decoction made from the leaves is often used specifically to treat malaria fever. The root contains a variety of alkaloids that are considered to have emetic, expectorant, antipyretic and laxative properties.
Dichroa as Malaria Medicine
In traditional Chinese medicine, the herb is used to kill the parasite that causes malaria, but it is also thought to be effective against amoebas (a single-celled organism).
One of the plant’s substances febrifugine has been found effective against protozoa, especially parasitic protozoa in the Genus Plasmodium that causes malignant and benign third-world malaria fever.
Compared with quinine, a more familiar fever-lowering agent, febrifugine is reported to have much stronger effect.
The disadvantage of using dichroa is that the plant is slightly toxic and induces nausea and emetic response at therapeutic doses, especially the leaves.