Cinchona pubescens (Quinine)

Welcome to the place to learn about the Fever Tree and everything it has to offer to us!  The bark of the Cinchona pubescens tree contains a component called quinine which is used for a number of reasons.  There is a very long list of illnesses and diseases that the quinine is able to cure or lessen the severeness of.  A few of the many uses for quinine include:  treating malaria, reducing fever, regulating heartbeat, killing germs or insects, stimulating digestion, reducing spasms, relieving pain, or calming nerves.  

Who knew one tree could do so much?  ...the Peruvians!
The quinine tree had a major impact on history.  Many, many years ago when Europeans visited tropical islands, they would die of malaria.  The Peruvian natives showed the Europeans that it was possible to cure malaria with the bark from the quinine tree.  After the Europeans were informed of this, they were able to reside in the tropical areas without getting sick.  The Europeans were then able to conquer the tropical lands and their empire expanded.

Usually when you think of medicine, you think of swallowing gross chalky pills or downing horrific tasting syrups.  Well, that wasn’t exactly the case when it came to the British curing their malaria.  Quinine bark was used to make tonic water.  The British colonials used that tonic water to make gin and tonics to prevent malaria.  Sounds like a great remedy, eh?

To find out more about how this tree fits into the bigger "tree of life" go to Classification.




This webpage was created as part of a larger assignment for Organismal Biology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.  Visit to explore many other organisms that just may peak your interest! 

This webpage was created by Kayla Neitzel and last updated April 16, 2011.