Bark that cured the bite Premium26 June 2014 | by Catherine Pepinster
In the sixteenth century, Jesuit missionaries returning from South America brought home a powder with the power to heal a deadly disease then rampant in Europe No wonder the English memsahibs became so fond of a gin and tonic. In the days of empire, malaria was always a threat, even if your bed was surrounded by mosquito nets. So a dose of quinine – a staple of Indian tonic water – was essential as a deterrent. The quinine you find in drinks is chemically synthesised but its name suggests its source: the term comes from ghina, or quina-quina, a Peruvian name for a medicine coming from the bark of the cinchona tree. And Peruvian bark, better known as Jesuit’s bark, was once the most important remedy for all forms of malaria.That the Jesuits were crucial in discovering a
Register for free articles a month or subscribe now from £53* for 6 months unlimited access to article content.
Subscribe now and enjoy access to all parts of the tablet website, Including its 175 year archive...
Delivered to you each week
Read online / download on your iPad, iPhone, computer or Android device
For institutions: read online / download on your iPad, iPhone, computer or Android device. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Most Read Articles
Iron fists and velvet glovesPremium
Manage my subcription hereManage
Sign up for our newsletterSign Up