Facts about Cinchona

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Cinchona Quick Facts
Name: Cinchona
Scientific Name: Cinchona officinalis
Origin Wet montane forests in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia
Shapes Oblong capsule, 1.5–2 cm. long, ovoid to cylindrical or ellipsoid
Taste Bitter
Health benefits Beneficial for fevers, digestive problems, infections, acute feverish conditions, sore, infected throats, arthritis, sciatica and dysentery
Cinchona officinalis commonly known as Cinchona is actually an evergreen tree belonging to Rubiaceae (Madder family). The plant is native to mountainous tropical regions of South America, especially Peru; cinchona is now also grown in India, Java, and parts of Africa, and is cultivated intensively on tree farms. Lojabark, Quinine, red cinchona, cinchona bark, Jesuits bark, loxa bark, Jesuits powder, countess powder, Peruvian bark are some of the popular common names of the plant.

The plant is best known as the source of quinine, which for centuries was the most extensively taken antimalarial remedy in the world. It was first documented in Peru by a Jesuit missionary in 1633. As well as being a remedy for malaria, the herb is also used for fevers and digestive problems. Various Cinchona species are used medicinally, including C. calisaya, C. ledgeriana, and C. officinalis. The trees are propagated from cuttings in late spring, and the bark of the trunk, branches, and root are removed from 6- to 8- year-old trees, and then dyed in the sun. The annual production of cinchona bark has been estimated at about 8,000 tons (8,200 tons) a year.

Cinchona Facts

Name Cinchona
Scientific Name Cinchona officinalis
Native Wet montane forests in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia
Common Names Lojabark, Quinine, red cinchona, cinchona bark, JesuitÕs bark, loxa bark, JesuitÕs powder, countess powder, Peruvian bark
Name in Other Languages Arabic:  Liha’ shajar alkiina (لحاء شجر الكينا) ,   alkina almukhzania ( الكينا المخزنية) 
Azerbaijani: Aptek kinə ağacı
Bengali:  Ku’inina bākala (কুইনিন বাকল),  Sinakōnā aphisinālisa (সিনকোনা অফিসিনালিস)
Brazilian Portuguese: Quinquina
Chinese: Zhèng jī nà shù (正鸡纳树)
Czech:  Chinovník lékařský
Dutch:  Quininebast, kinaboom
English:  Brown Peru bark, China loxa, Crown bark, Jesuits’ bark, Ledger bark, Lojabark, Loxa bark, Quinine Bark tree, Yellow bark, Yellow cinchona, Crown peru-bark, Quinine tree, red cinchona, cinchona bark, Jesuit’s powder, countess powder, Peruvian bark
Finnish:  Kiinankuori
French:  Arbre à quinine, Ecorce brune du Pérou, Quinquina gris, Quinquina officinal, Quinquina gris-brun
Galician: Quina
German:  Chinarinde, Chinarindenbaum
Greek: Kiníni Kiníni (Kινήνη  Kiní̱ni̱), Kinchóni i farmakeftikí (Κιγχόνη η φαρμακευτική)
Hindi:  Kunīna (कुनीन),  Kunīna vr̥kṣa kī chāla (कुनीन वृक्ष की छाल),  Sinakōnā āphisinailisa (सिनकोना आफिसिनैलिस ), Sinakōnā bārka (सिनकोना बार्क)
Italian:  Chinino, Albero di chinina
Japanese:  Kinahi (キナ皮)
Kannada:  Barkina
Malayalam:  Koyina, Sinkona
Netherlands: Kinaboom
Polish:  Chinowiec lekarski
Portuguese: Quinquina
Quechua:  Kinakina
Russian:  Tsinkhona lekarstvennaya (Цинхона лекарственная),  Khinnoye derevo (Хинное дерево)
Sanskrit:  Sinkona, Kunayanah, Kunayaka
Spanish:   Kina-kina (Peru), Qinchona, Uritusinga, quina, cascarilla, cargua cargua, corteza coja
Swedish: Kinaträd, Kinin
Tamil:  Ciṅkōṉā (சிங்கோனா),   Oruvita maruntucceṭi (ஒருவித மருந்துச்செடி),  Koyiṉā (கொயினா),    Koyiṉāmarappaṭṭai (கொயினாமரப்பட்டை), Koyiṉācceṭi (கொயினாச்செடி)
Telegu:  Jvarapatta
Turkish:  Kınakına ağacı, Kınakına
Ukrainian:  Khinne derevo (Хінне дерево)
Urdu:  Kanakana
Vietnamese:  Canhkina xám, Vỏ canh ki na, Vỏ cây Peru
Plant Growth Habit Evergreen shrub or small tree
Soil Requires a well-drained, moist soil and a position in full sun or partial shade
Plant Size About 6 – 20 m tall
Bark Reddish
Stipules Lanceolate or oblong, acute or obtuse, glabrous
Leaf Lanceolate to elliptic or ovate, usually about 10 centimetres (3.9 in) long and 3.5–4 centimetres (1.4–1.6 in) wide
Flower Tubular flowers are small and usually creamy white or rose in color. The flowers are borne in terminal clusters, and the petals have characteristically hairy margins. The lobes are ovate, acute and corolla tube is about 1 cm long
Fruit Shape & Size Oblong capsule, 1.5–2 cm. long, ovoid to cylindrical or ellipsoid, septicidally dehiscent into 2 valves from base or sometimes from apex with valves then loculicidal through septum
Seed Numerous, medium-sized, ellipsoid to fusiform and somewhat flattened with membranous marginal wing and elliptic central seed portion
Taste Bitter
Plant Parts Used Bark
Available Forms Tablets, liquid extracts, tinctures and powders
Culinary Uses
  • Quinine, extracted from the bark of the tree, is used as a bitter flavoring in tonic water and carbonated drinks.
Other Facts
  • Alkaloid quinine extracted from the bark is used in hair oils and shampoo, sun-tan oil, insecticides, and as a vulcanizing agent.

Plant Description

Cinchona is an evergreen shrub or small tree that normally grows about 6 – 20 m tall. The plant requires a well-drained, moist soil and a position in full sun or partial shade.  The plant has reddish bark and stipules are lanceolate or oblong, acute or obtuse and glabrous. Leaves are lanceolate to elliptic or ovate, usually about 10 centimeter (3.9 in) long and 3.5–4 centimeter (1.4–1.6 in) wide; acute, acuminate, or obtuse tip. Base is rounded to attenuate; coriaceous, glabrous above and often lustrous; glabrous beneath or puberulent or short-pilose, especially on the veins.

Flowers and fruits

The tubular flowers are small and usually creamy white or rose in color. The flowers are borne in terminal clusters, and the petals have characteristically hairy margins. The lobes are ovate, acute and corolla tube is about 1 cm long. Fertile flowers are followed by oblong capsule, 1.5–2 cm. long, ovoid to cylindrical or ellipsoid, septicidally dehiscent into 2 valves from base or sometimes from apex with valves then loculicidal through septum, stiffly papery to woody, often lenticellate, with calyx limb persistent. Seeds are numerous, medium-sized, ellipsoid to fusiform and somewhat flattened with membranous marginal wing and elliptic central seed portion.

Health benefits

Cinchona is both strongly antimalarial and antibacterial. Like the other alkaloids, it is antispasmodic. The bitter constituents in cinchona, including the alkaloids and quinovin, produce a reflex stimulation of the digestion as a whole, increasing stomach secretions.  It is known to reduce heart rate and improve irregularity of heartbeat. The indigenous people of Peru have taken cinchona for many centuries, and it is still a well- used remedy for fevers, digestive problems, and infections. It is also used to treat other acute feverish conditions.

As a bitter tonic, cinchona stimulates saliva, digestive secretions, and the appetite, and improves weak digestive function.  Apart from that Cinchona is useful as a gargle for sore, infected throats. The herb is used in herbal medicine for cramps, especially night cramps. It also relieves arthritis. Indian remedy In India, cinchona is used to treat sciatica and dysentery, as well as problems associated with kapha.

Traditional uses and benefits of Cinchona

  • It has long been used by native people in the treatment of fever and malaria.
  • Bark is also used in the treatment of neuralgia, muscle cramps and cardiac fibrillation.
  • Modern research has shown it to be a very effective treatment for fevers, and especially as a treatment and preventative of malaria.
  • Bark is a bitter, astringent, tonic herb that lowers fevers, relaxes spasms, is antimalarial (the alkaloid quinine) and slows the heart (the alkaloid quinidine).
  • Bark is used internally in the treatment of malaria, neuralgia, muscle cramps and cardiac fibrillation.
  • It is an ingredient in various proprietary cold and influenza remedies.
  • The liquid extract is useful as a cure for drunkenness.
  • It is also used as a gargle to treat sore throats.

Dosage and Administration

Traditional way of preparing the medicine was to grind the dried bark into a powder, prepare a decoction (boiling the powder) and then either drinking as a bitter tea or mixing with wine or other alcohol.

There are suggested dosages given in several herbalist reference books. It should be stressed that the alkaloids contained in cinchona bark are powerful drugs and thus no one should self-administer a cinchona decoction without consulting a medical doctor.

Tonic water, which consists of a much lower concentration of quinine than what is recommended for malaria treatment, is considered safe.

Precautions

  • Care must be taken in the use of this herb since excess can cause a number of side effects including cinchonism, headache, rash, abdominal pain, deafness and blindness.
  • The herb, especially in the form of the extracted alkaloid quinine, is subject to legal restrictions in some countries.
  • Large and too constant doses must be avoided, as they produce headache, giddiness and deafness.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=506063#null

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cinchona+officinalis

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=CIOF

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/13483

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=410877

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinchona_officinalis

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/tro-27900157

https://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/265163

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/CIHOF

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