From London's Ghost Acres

The Cinchona tree is a plant native to the Andes Mountains of South America. The bark of this tree (known as Peruvian Bark or Jesuits Bark in primary sources) is used to make Quinine to treat malaria. While originally exclusively found in the Andes, in the 19th Century the British and Dutch managed to smuggle the plant to their colonial holdings in India and Java, respectively. The Cinchona tree was able to successfully grow in these new environments, and it was grown and processed into Quinine on an industrial scale. Imports in 1911 stood at 20,401 cwts.

Cinchona Visualization

Database name: Peruvian Bark.

British Pharmacopoeia 1867

Yellow-Cinchona Bark Cinchonae Flavae Cortex

“The bark of Cinchona Calisaya… Collected in Bolivia and Southern Peru.” [1] Characteristics

“In flat pieced, uncoated or deprived of the periderm, rarely in coated quills, from six and eighteen inches long, on the three inches wide, and two to four lines thick, compact and heavy; out surface brown, marked by broad shallow irregular longitudinal depressions; inner surface tawny-yellow, fibrous; transverse fracture shortly and finely fibrous. Powder cinnamon-brown, somewhat aromatic, persistently bitter.” Given in a dose of 10-60 grains. Used in the preparations of:[2]

  • Decoctum Cinchinae flavae
  • Extratum Cinchonae flavae liquidum
  • Infusum Cinchonae flavae
  • Quiniae Sulphas
  • Tinctura Cinchoinae flavae

Pale-Cinchona Bark Cinchonae Pallidae Cortex

“The bark of Cinchona Condaminea… Collected from Loxa in Ecuador.” [3] Characteristics

“From half a line to a line thick, in single or double quills, which are from six to fifteen inches long, two to eight lines in diameter, brittle, easily splitting longitudinally, and breaking with a short transverse fracture; outer surface brown and wrinkled, or grey and speckled with adherent lichens, with or without numerous transverse cracks; inner surface bright orange or cinnamon-brown; powder pale brown, slightly bitter, very astringent.” (83) Given in the dose of 10-60 grains. Used in the preparations of:

  • Mistura Ferri aromatic
  • Tinctura Cinchonae composita

Red-Cinchona Bark Cinchonae Rubrae Cortex

“The bark of Chincona succirubra… Collected on the western slopes of Chimborazo.” [4]


“In flat or incurved pieces, less frequently in quills, coated with the periderm, varying inlewngth from a few inches to two feet, from on the three inches wide, and two to six lines thick, compact and heavt; outer surface brown or reddish-brown, rarely white from adherent lichens, rugged or wrinkled longitudinally, frequently warty, and crossed by deep transverse cracks; inner surface redder, fractured surface often approaching to brick-red; transverse fracture finely fibrous; powder red-brown; taste bitter and astringent.”[5] Dose is given in 10-60 grains.[6]

Preparations of Cinchona

Decoction of Yellow-Cinchona / Decoctum Cinchonae Flavae[7]

  • yellow-cinchona bark, in coarse powder (1 ¼ oz) and distilled water (1 pint)
  • dose: 1-2 fl oz

Liquid Extract of Yellow Cinchona / Extractum Cinchonae Flavae Liquidum[8]

  • yellow-cinchona bark, in coarse powder (1 lb), distilled water (as much as needed), and rectified spirit (1 fl oz)
  • dose: 10-30 minims

Infusion of Yellow Cinchona / Infusum Cinchonae Flavae[9]

  • Yellow Cinchona bark, in coarse powder (1/2 oz), boiling distilled water (10 fl oz)
  • dose: 1-2 fl oz

Aromatic Mixture of Iron / Mistura Aromatica[10]

  • pale-cinchona bark, in powder (1 oz), calumba root, in coarse powder (1/2 oz), cloves, bruised (1/4 oz), fine iron wire (1/2 oz), compound tincture of cardamoms (3 fl oz), tincture of orange peel (1/2 fl oz), peppermint water (as much as needed)
  • dose: 1-2 fl oz

Sulphate of Quinine / Quiniae Sulphate[11]

  • “the sulphate of an alkaloid, prepared from ywllow-cinchona bark, and from the bark of Cinchona lancifolia.”
  • Yellow cinchona bark, in coarse powder (1 pound), hydrochloric acid (3 fl oz), distilled water (as much as needed), solution of soda (4 pints), and diluted sulphuric acid (as much as needed)
  • dose: 1-10 grains
  • “Filiform silky snow-white crystals, of a pure intensely bitter taste, sparing soluble in water, yet imparting to it a peculiar bluish tint.”
  • used to prepare: Ferri et Quininae Citras, Pilul Quininae, Tinctura Quininae, Vinum Quiniae

Compound Tincture of Cinchona / Tincura Cinchonae Composita[12]

  • Pale cinchona bark, in a moderately fine powder (2 oz), bitter-orange peel, cut small and bruised (1 oz), serpentary root, bruised (1/2 oz), saffron (60 grains), cochineal, in powder (30 grains), proof spirit (1 pint)
  • dose: ½ - 2 fl drachms

Tincture of Yellow Cinchona / Tinctura Cinchonae Flavae[13]

  • yellow cinchona bar, in a moderately fine powder (4 oz), proof spirit (1 pint)
  • dose: ½ - 2 fl drachms

A Compendium of Domestic Medicine, 1865

"It may, however, be well to observe that bark in substance has of late fallen into considerable disuse, since the discovery of sulphate of quinine, a substance which contains all the active principles of the bark divested of extraneous matter, and the dose being consequently small, it is less likely to produce nausea or any derangement of stomach."[14]

Treats: intermittent and low fevers, relaxation of the system (caused by intemperance or from living in a warm climate), restores general health and strength[15]

Remedies Containing or to be used with Peruvian Bark Listed in CDM1865

  • Aloes, Socotrine: The Aperient and Tonic Aloetic Pills. Extract of bark (erxt. chinchonae) used.[16]
  • Alum: Alum Electuary contains powdered Peruvian bark[17]
  • Bark, Peruvian: Cinchona included in draught given to those suffering fever after quinine was not effective. Decoction of bark (dec. cinchonae) used in a bark gargle.[18]
  • Quinine, Sulphate of: made from Peruvian bark[19]
  • Sal Ammoniac: Decoction of bark (decoct. cinchonae) included in a gargle recommended by Dr. Copland to treat Putrid Sore Throat.[20]
  • Snake-root: can "exalt the febrifuge powers of Peruvian bark in cases of protracted agues."[21]
  • Soda, Carbonate of: grains of carbonate of soda combined with Peruvian bark and Virginia snake-root can remedy ague and fever.[22]

Diseases Treated with Peruvian Bark as listed in CDM1865

  • Dysentery: used in the early stages of the disease, (can be replaced with the use of other barks), during the third stage of treatment that involves restoring and toning the intestines.[23]

Medical Articles Containing Peruvian Bark as listed in CDM1865

  • Decoction of Bark: contains Peruvian Bark, not listed what is used to treat[24]


  1. General Medical Council of Great Britain, British Pharmacopeia, (London: Spottiswoode & Co.,1867), 81
  2. GMCGB, 81
  3. GMCGB, 82-83
  4. GMCGB, 82
  5. GMCGB, 83
  6. GMCGB, 84
  7. GMCGB, 97
  8. GMCGB, 115-16
  9. GMCGB, 159-60
  10. GMCGB, 210
  11. GMCGB, 268-69
  12. GMCGB, 326-27
  13. GMCGB, 327
  14. Savory, John. A Compendium of Domestic Medicine (London: John Churchill and Sons, 1865), 48.
  15. Savory, 48
  16. Savory, 34
  17. Savory, 35
  18. Savory, 48-49
  19. Savory, 144
  20. Savory, 149
  21. Savory, 155
  22. Savory, 156-57
  23. Savory, 249
  24. Savory, 312

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