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Quinine

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Awitt
1311466.  Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:23 pm Reply with quote

Comes from the bark of the cinchona tree, commonly found in some South American countries.
The Jesuits were the first to take it to Europe, and it was first used against malaria in Rome as far back as 1631.

The bark was shipped to Europe and known as Jesuits Bark/Peruvian bark, and until the 1940's when laboratory synthetic treatments were developed, it remained the main cause of treatment for malaria.

The form of quinine most effective in treating malaria was found by Charles Marie de La Condamine in 1737. In 1820, French researchers Pierre Joseph Pelletier and Joseph Bienaimé Caventou first isolated quinine from the bark of a tree in the genus Cinchona - probably Cinchona officinalis - and subsequently named the substance.

The name was derived from the original Quechua (Inca) word for the cinchona tree bark, quina or quina-quina, which means "bark of bark" or "holy bark". Prior to 1820, the bark was first dried, ground to a fine powder, and then mixed into a liquid (commonly wine) which was then drunk.

Quinine played a significant role in the colonization of Africa by Europeans. Quinine had been said to be the prime reason Africa ceased to be known as the "white man's grave".

To maintain their monopoly on cinchona bark, Peru and surrounding countries began outlawing the export of cinchona seeds and saplings in the early 19th century. The Dutch government persisted in its attempts to smuggle the seeds, and in the late 19th century the Dutch grew the plants in Indonesian plantations. Soon they became the main suppliers of the plant, and in 1913 they set up the Kina Bureau, a cartel of cinchona producers charged with controlling price and production.
By the 1930s Dutch plantations in Java were producing 22 million pounds of cinchona bark, or 97% of the world's quinine production

There is also the book 'the miraculous fever-tree: the cure that changed the world' by Fiammetta Rocco.

 

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