Cinchona was discovered in which country?
“Cinchona” refers to a genus of trees which are known for having strong alkaloid compounds in their bark, and notably one which has anti-malarial properties.
This particular alkaloid is now known as “quinine.” Cinchona trees are native to South America, and were long used by native people to treat fevers—as such, it is perhaps impossible to ever know exactly where the bark of these trees was first used as a medicine.
The first records of its use come from after the Spanish conquest of South America; as legend has it, the Countess of Chinchón, who was the wife of the Viceroy of Peru in Lima, was the first European to be treated with the bark of a particular tree to cure a malaria infection, in the 1640s. She survived, and apparently brought the tree back with her to Europe, where its use against malaria proliferated as Europeans explored and colonized tropical regions throughout the world.
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