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Display case of specimens of cinchona calisaya bark, England, 1830-1880

The display case (second on the right) shows samples of a species of cinchona bark known as cinchona calisaya, which comes from Peru. It was commercially grown in large amounts for the anti-malaria treatment quinine. These types were sold by English traders. The display cases are from the Howard Collection and were shown at a Wellcome exhibition in 1930, called the Tercentenary Cinchona Exhibition, celebrating the 300-year anniversary of the therapeutic uses of cinchona bark. The case is shown here with similar examples (A654755, A654757 and A654758). The collection belonged to John Elliot Howard (1807-83). His father, Luke Howard, had established the first British factory to produce quinine in Stratford, east London, in 1823.

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    Glossary: sample

    Individual units, segments, or small quantities taken as evidence of the quality or character of the entire group or lot

    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.