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Bottle of 100 anti-malarial pills, London, England, 1891-1940

These anti-malarial pills were used by travellers or people living in areas where malaria was common. The pills contain quinine, a bitter tasting part of the bark of a cinchona tree, originally from South America but also cultivated in South Asia. From the early 1800s, quinine was used as a remedy against malaria. It was added to tonic water so the remedy was easier to swallow and today is still present in tonic water. It is still used to a limited degree as a medicine.

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Glossary: bottle

Vessels having a neck and mouth considerably narrower than the body, used for packaging and containing liquid and dry preparations

Glossary: anti-malarial drug

Drugs that are taken to prevent or cure malaria. Treatments can be preventative, or as therapy to cure malarial infection.

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.