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Botanical Name :Cinchona succirubra (PAVON.)
Synonyms: Quinaquina officinalis, Quinaquina lancifolia, Quinaquina coccinea
Habitat :Cinchona is native to the tropical Andes forests of western South America. They are medicinal plants, known as sources for quinine and other compounds.All cinchonas are indigenous to the eastern slopes of the Amazonian area of the Andes, where they grow from 1,500-3,000 meters in elevation on either side of the equator (from Colombia to Bolivia). They can also be found in the northern part of the Andes (on the eastern slopes of the central and western ranges). They are now widely cultivated in many tropical countries for their commercial value, although they are not indigenous to those areas.It is the national tree of Ecuador and Peru.
The Cinchona plants are large shrubs or small trees with evergreen foliage, growing 5–15 m (16–49 ft) in height. The leaves are opposite, rounded to lanceolate and 10–40 cm long.The flowers are white, pink or red, produced in terminal panicles. The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous seeds.The genus Cinchona contains about forty species of trees.
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The main plant chemicals found in quinine bark include: aricine, caffeic acid, cinchofulvic acid, cincholic acid, cinchonain, cinchonidine, cinchonine, cinchophyllamine, cinchotannic acid, cinchotine, conquinamine, cuscamidine, cuscamine, cusconidine, cusconine, epicatechin, javanine, paricine, proanthocyanidins, quinacimine, quinamine, quinic acid, quinicine, quinine, quininidine, quinovic acid, quinovin, and sucirubine.
The medicinal properties of the cinchona tree were originally discovered by the Quechua peoples of Peru and Bolivia, and long cultivated by them as a muscle relaxant to halt shivering due to low temperatures. The Jesuit Brother Agostino Salumbrino (1561–1642), an apothecary by training and who lived in Lima, observed the Quechua using the quinine-containing bark of the cinchona tree for that purpose. While its effect in treating malaria (and hence malaria-induced shivering) was entirely unrelated to its effect in controlling shivering from cold, it was nevertheless the correct medicine for malaria. The use of the “fever tree” bark was introduced into European medicine by Jesuit missionaries (Jesuit’s bark). Jesuit Barnabé de Cobo (1582–1657), who explored Mexico and Peru, is credited with taking cinchona bark to Europe. He brought the bark from Lima to Spain, and afterwards to Rome and other parts of Italy, in 1632. After Spanish colonization of the Americas, the Jesuit missionaries were the first to bring the Jesuit’s bark cinchona compound to Europe in 1632. 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 indigenous people of Peru have taken cinchona for many centuries, and it is still a well-used remedy for fevers, digestive problems, and infections. Cinchona, and in particular quinine, were the principal remedies for malaria until World War I. From the 1960s on, resistance of the malarial parasite to the synthetic drug chloroquine led to quinine?s use once again in preventing and treating malaria. Quinine is also used to treat other acute feverish conditions. As a bitter tonic, cinchona stimulates saliva, digestive secretions, and the appetite, and improves weak digestive functions. It is useful as a gargle for sore, infected throats. The herb is used in herbal medicine for cramps, especially night cramps. It also relieves arthritis. In India, cinchona is used to treat sciatica and dysentery, as well as problems associated with an imbalance in kapha. Edgar Cayce primarily recommended calisaya as a blood purifier and aid to digestion. There is also a distinct action of quieting the heart, reducing palpitations and normalizing the function.
Cinchona has been thoroughly researched, and its pharmacological actions are well established. Quinine is both strongly antimalarial and antibacterial. Like the other alkaloids, it is antispasmodic. The bitter constituents in cinchona, including the alkaloids and quinovin, produce a reflex stimulation of the digestion as a whole, increasing stomach secretions. Quinidine is known to reduce heart rate and improve irregularity of heartbeat.
Meanwhile, also in the 19th century, the plant’s seeds and cuttings were smuggled out for new cultivation at cinchona plantations in colonial regions of tropical Asia, notably by the British to the British Raj and Ceylon (present day India and Sri Lanka), and by the Dutch to Java in the Dutch East Indies (present day Indonesia).
As a medicinal herb, cinchona bark is also known as Jesuit’s bark or Peruvian bark. The bark is stripped from the tree, dried, and powdered for medicinal uses. The bark is medicinally active, containing a variety of alkaloids including the antimalarial compound quinine and the antiarrhythmic quinidine. Currently, their use is largely superseded by more effective modern medicines
Main Preparation Method: decoction
Main Actions (in order):
antimalarial, bitter digestive aid, antiparasitic, antispasmodic, febrifuge (reduces fever)
2.as a bitter digestive aid to stimulate digestive juices
3.for nocturnal leg cramps
4.for intestinal parasites and protozoa
5.for arrhythmia and other heart conditions
Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
anti-arrhythmic, antimalarial, antiparasitic, antiprotozoal, antispasmodic, bitter digestive aid, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart)
Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
amebicide, analgesic (pain-reliever), antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, astringent, digestive stimulant, febrifuge (reduces fever), insecticide, nervine (balances/calms nerves), neurasthenic (reduces nerve pain)
Known Hazards: : It contains quinine alkaloids that are toxic in large doses. Do not exceed
The birth of homeopathy was based on cinchona bark testing. The founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, when translating William Cullen’s Materia medica, noticed Cullen had written that Peruvian bark was known to cure intermittent fevers. Hahnemann took daily a large, rather than homeopathic, dose of Peruvian bark. After two weeks, he said he felt malaria-like symptoms. This idea of “like cures like” was the starting point of his writings on homeopathy. Hahnemann’s symptoms are believed to be the result of a hypersensitivity to cinchona bark on his part
Cinchona species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the engrailed, the commander, and members of the genus Endoclita, including E. damor, E. purpurescens and E. sericeus.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.