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J R Coll Physicians Edinb. 2002;32(3):189-96.

Plants against malaria. Part 1: Cinchona or the Peruvian bark.


On of the most compelling sagas in the history of medicine and therapeutics is the emergence of the Peruvian bark (Cinchona) and also of the pharmacologically active substance derived from it, quinine. Its discovery involved exploration, exploitation and secrecy, and it came, in the nineteenth century, to reflect the struggles of the major European powers for domination, territory and profit. This short history shows how the use of Cinchona enabled the exploration of dangerous malarial areas and in this way facilitated imperial expansion by the Western powers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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