Jesuit's bark

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Jesuit's bark

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Jesuit's Bark, also called Peruvian Bark, is the historical name of the most celebrated specific remedy for all forms of malaria. It is so named because it was obtained from the bark of several species of the genus Cinchona, of the order Rubiaceae, that have been discovered at different times and are indigenous in the Western Andes of South America and were first described and introduced by Jesuit priests who did missionary work in Peru. Other terms referring to this preparation and its source were "Jesuit's Tree", "Jesuit's Powder" and "Pulvis Patrum".

Formerly, the bark itself, prepared in different forms, was used as a drug, but later in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, natural harvesting of immense quantities formed the base of the production of cinchona alkaloids. This industry was carried on principally in Germany, and the Dutch and English cinchona plantations in Java, Ceylon and India were the chief sources whence the raw material was supplied. Its main active principle, quinine, is now chemically synthesized. The term quinine comes from ghina, or quina-quina, the name given by Peruvian Indians to the bark, meaning medicine of medicines or bark of barks.




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