The quinine-containing bark of the Cinchona tree is probably the most valuable drug the Americas gave the world
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Cinchona or Quina is a genus of about 38 species in the family Rubiaceae, native to the tropical Andes forests of western South America. They are medicinal plants, known as sources for quinine and other compounds.
The name of the genus is due to Carolus “Carl” Linnaeus, who named the tree in 1742 after a Countess of Chinchón, the wife of a viceroy of Peru, who, in 1638, was introduced by native Quechua healers to the medicinal properties of cinchona bark. Stories of the medicinal properties of this bark, however, are perhaps noted in journals as far back as the 1560s–1570s.
It is the national tree of Ecuador and Peru.
Peru offers a branch of cinchona toScience (from a 17th-century engraving):Cinchona, the source of Peruvian bark, is an early remedy against malaria.
The medicinal properties of the cinchona tree were originally discovered by the Quechua peoples of Peru and Bolivia, and…
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