Linnaeus named this genus of tree species after the Countess of Chinchon, according to legend, promoted the use of the medicinal bark after she herself was successfully treated for malaria in the s. The scientific name was later modified from Chinchona to Cinchona, which is the accepted spelling today. Distribution and Habitat: The native range of cinchona species are the lower to mid-elevations of the Andes in South America. Cinchona is the national tree of both Peru and Ecuador. Supposedly, the planting of cinchona trees outside of South America was initiated by the Jesuits, who had long collected the bark in Peru and promoted its use wherever there were Jesuit missions.
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The flowers are white, pink, or red, and produced in terminal panicles. The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous seeds. A key character of the genus is that the flowers have marginally hairy corolla lobes. During the 19th century, the introduction of several species into cultivation in the same areas of India and Java, by the English and Dutch East India Company, respectively, led to the formation of hybrids.
The origins and claims to the use of febrifugal barks and powders in Europe, especially those used against malaria, were disputed even in the 17th century. Jesuits played a key role in the transfer of remedies from the New World. The traditional story connecting cinchona with malaria treatment was first recorded by the Italian physician Sebastiano Bado in A Spanish governor advised a traditional remedy, which resulted in a miraculous and rapid cure.
The Countess then supposedly ordered a large quantity of the bark and took it back to Europe. Bado claimed to have received this information from an Italian named Antonius Bollus who was a merchant in Peru. Clements Markham identified the Countess as Ana de Osorio, but this was shown to be incorrect by Haggis. It was his second wife, Francisca Henriques de Ribera, who accompanied him to Peru. He noted that bark powder weighing about two coins was cast into water and drunk to cure fevers and "tertians".
The legend was popularized in English literature by Markham, and in he also published a "plea for the correct spelling of the genus Chinchona". Both identify the sources as trees that do not bear fruit and have heart-shaped leaves; it has been suggested that they were referring to Cinchona species.
Italian sources spelt quina as "cina" which was a source of confusion with Smilax from China. Over time, the bark of Myroxylon may have been adulterated with the similar-looking bark of what we now know as Cinchona. The bark was included as Cortex Peruanus in the London Pharmacopoeia in Cortex peruvianus study by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek , The "fever tree" was finally described carefully by the astronomer Charles Marie de la Condamine , who visited Quito in on a quest to measure an arc of the meridian.
The species he described, Cinchona officinalis, was, however, found to be of little therapeutic value. The first living plants seen in Europe were C. He proposed a Spanish expedition to search for plants of commercial value, which was approved in and was continued after his death in by his nephew Sinforoso Mutis. To maintain their monopoly on cinchona bark, Peru and surrounding countries began outlawing the export of cinchona seeds and saplings beginning in the early 19th century.
The French mission of , of which de la Condamine was a member, lost their cinchona plants when a wave took them off their ship. The Dutch sent Justus Hasskarl , who brought plants that were then cultivated in Java from The English explorer Clements Markham went to collect plants that were introduced in Sri Lanka and the Nilgiris of southern India in Two more key alkaloids, quinidine and cinchonidine, were later identified and it became a routine in quinology to examine the contents of these components in assays.
The yields of quinine in the cultivated trees were low and it took a while to develop sustainable methods to extract bark. In the meantime, Charles Ledger and his native assistant Manuel collected another species from Bolivia. Manuel was caught and beaten by Bolivian officials, leading to his death, but Ledger obtained seeds of high quality. These seeds were offered to the British, who were uninterested, leading to the rest being sold to the Dutch. The Dutch saw their value and multiplied the stock.
The species later named Cinchona ledgeriana  yielded 8 to 13 percent quinine in bark grown in Dutch Indonesia, which effectively out-competed the British Indian production.
It was only later that the English saw the value and sought to obtain the seeds of C. The use of cinchona in the effective treatment of malaria brought an end to treatment by bloodletting and long-held ideas of humorism from Galen. For his role in establishing cinchona in Indonesia, Hasskarl was knighted with the Dutch order of the Lion. Cinchona pubescens has grown uncontrolled on some islands, such as the Galapagos , where it has posed the risk of out-competing native plant species.
A 19th-century illustration of Cinchona calisaya.
Chinarinde (Cinchona pubescens)
Description[ edit ] C. When cut, the bark tends to turn red. Leaves are elliptical to oblate and thin. The leaves have pubescent teeth that turn red when they are older, hence its nickname the red quinine tree. Its flowers form in large panicles.