Simaba cedron Planch (Simaroubaceae) has frequently been reported as a traditional remedy against snake bites, malaria, gastrointestinal and other disorders. Starting in the 18th century, European physicians and researchers made several efforts to verify the reported virtues and to isolate active principles. Most important achievements are reviewed her. From modern investigations, an anti-malarial activity seems plausible due to the quassinoids contained. An effect against snake-bites seems questionable, research about the usefulness against gastrointestinal disorders, which is also reported, is missing. Other Simaroubaceae, however, are under current investigation now.