It has been written that genuine cinchona trees grow wild in So. America, principally in the region of Bogota, Peru, but some are now cultivated in Europe. Many varieties have been found, even one in Georgia and So. Carolina, which was aptly called Cinchona Caroliniana.
Although discovery has been ascribed to the Jesuits, the natives of Peru knew the febrifuge power of cinchona long before the civilized world became acquainted with it.
The Jesuits were sent to Peru as missionaries. It was during this period that tertain ague was a prevalent disorder. They administered an infusion of cinchona and soon ascertained its extraordinary powers.
The Countess of Chinchon, wife of the Spanish Viceroy of Peru, after being cured of fever with this bark, returned to Spain in 1640 and introduced the remedy into Europe. It was then sold by the Jesuits under the name of “Jesuit’s powder,” a name it long retained.
In France it was employed, with great success, in the treatment of intermittents under the name of “English powder.” During this period, the actual remedy was held a secret. In 1679 the secret preparation was sold to Louis XIV, by whom it was divulged.
It is from the BARK of the cinchona tree that quinine is derived. Taking quinine to excess has often resulted in buzzing in the ears and deafness. Quinine should only be taken under the supervision of a physician.
In using the BARK, however, in its natural state, it is most useful.
Types of Cinchona
The most popular types of Cinchona are as follows:
Cinchona Calisaya is the yellow bark.
Cinchona Officinalis is the pale bark.
Cinchona Succirrubra is the red bark.
The red and pale varieties are considered more astringent, but it is claimed that the yellow furnishes the most quinine in proportion to bulk.
In the treatment of intermittents, either the red or the yellow bark is decidedly preferable to the pale. The red is usually considered the most powerful. The pale is considered superior as a tonic.
All of these varieties are stimulating nervines.
Cinchona is considered as ranking at the very head of the tonics. But, besides the mere excitation of the ordinary functions of health, it produces other effects upon the system which must be considered peculiar and wholly independent of its mere tonic operation. The power by which, when administered in the intervals between the paroxysms of intermittent disorders, it breaks the chain of morbid association and interrupts the progress of the disease, is something more than what is usually understood by the tonic property; for no other substance belonging to the class, however powerful or permanent the excitement which it produces, exhibits a control over intermittents at all comparable to that of cinchona. From the possession both of the tonic, and of the anti-intermittent property, the bark is capable of being usefully applied in the treatment of a great number of diseases.
It is in the treating of intermittent diseases that the bark displays its most extraordinary powers. It was originally introduced to notice as. a remedy in fever and ague, and the reputation which it acquired at any early period, it has ever since retained. Very few cases of this disease will be found to resist the judicious use of the bark or some of its preparations.
Early employment in SMALL doses (1 or 2 oz.) is recommended, preferably diflFused in water or some aromatic infusion.
Experience has proven that its eflBcacy in the intermittents is often greatly promoted by mixing with powdered Virginia snake root.
The medium dose of bark as taken in intermittents is 1 drachm., to be repeated more or less according to circumstances. When taken as a tonic in chronic complaints, the dose is usually smaller, from 10 to 30 grains, being suflBcient to commence.
Cinchona includes in its range of influence, the entire nervous system; the sympathetic, the cerebral, spinal, and the peripheral as well as the central nerves.
Its tonic properties will be found effective in incontinence of urine.
For an excellent general tonic, boil 1 qt. of water with the following: ?2 oz. each Peruvian bark, gentian root, orange peel, columbo root, and Hqorice and about Vz t. cayenne for 15 min. Cool, strain, and take /2 C. ev. 3 hrs. during the day.
Spasmodic conditions arising from weakness may be quieted by cinchona.
Cinchona is employed with benefit in all morbid conditions of the system providing the stomach, liver, bowels, and circulation are functioning properly. If necessary, add anti-bilious or physic remedies to the cinchona dose.
Cinchona is also useful in low or typhoid fever, either with or minus inflammation or in the suppurative or gangrenous stage, in typhus gravior, malignant scarlatina, measles, and smallpox, in carbuncle and gangrenous erysipehs, and in all cases in which the system is exhausted under large purulent discharges.
As a tonic, the bark is advantageously employed in chronic diseases connected with debility; as for example, in scrofula, dropsy, passive hemorrhages, certain forms of dyspepsia, obstinate cutaneous affections, amenorrhea, chorea, hysteria; in fact, whenever a strengthening influence is desired. Particularly those of a neuralgic character, migraine and violent pains in the eye, face, and other parts of the body, occurring periodically, are often almost immediately relieved by the use of the bark.
When large doses are deemed necessary, fill the ears with lady’s slipper and lobeHa repeating at intervals as needed. It prevents the presence of the extreme tension upon the auditory nerves.
The simple infusion is made steeping 1 t. bark in 1 C. boiling water for 1/2 hr. Drink 1 C. during the day.
Peruvian bark can be freely used as a mouth wash and gargle.