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Powdered cinchona, Paris, France, 1820-1900

The label on the bottle translates from French as “Produced by J. Pelletier”. In 1820, Pierre-Joseph Pelletier (1788–1842) and Joseph Caventou (1795-1877) discovered and isolated the compound in cinchona bark that made the bark so effective against malaria. They named the compound quinine. Since then improvements in production techniques have given us more effective quinine-based drugs against malaria.

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    Glossary: pharmacy

    The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.

    Glossary: malaria

    Parasitic disease transmitted by certain kinds of mosquito. Malaria is characterized by fever and enlargement of the spleen. Each year, there are approximately 515 million cases of malaria, killing between one and three million people.

    Glossary: quinine

    A substance taken to fight malaria. Quinine is found naturally in the bark of the cinchona tree. It is also an ingredient in tonic water.

    Glossary: cinchona

    The dried bark of any of the Cinchona trees. Used to stimulate the appetite, prevent bleeding and, in the past, to treat malaria.