Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Peruvian Bark

Peruvian Bark, the name still retained in our Trade Returns for the bark of the cinchona, from which quinine is prepared, though but a small part of that imported now comes from Peru or even from South America. Cinchona is a genus of evergreen trees belonging to the order Rubiaceaj, including thirty-six species, about a dozen of which are utilised. They are natives of the Andes, between lat. 10° N. and 22° S., growing mostly between 5,000 and 8,000 feet above the sea-level. In 1638 the Countess of Chinchon, wife of the governor of Peru, was cured of a fever by this bark, and it was afterwards known as Jesuits' bark, because its use was disseminated throughout Europe by the Society of Jesus. In 1860, under the superintendence of Mr. Clements Markham, plants were taken from Peru to the Neilgherry Hills, and Sir Robert Christison showed that sulphate of quinia is as abundant in the bark of young shoots as in that of older stems, so that the trees are now treated like osiers. Indian bark first came into our market in 1867. Our imports now average 6,500 tons, coming mostly from Ceylon and Madras, and in increasing quantities from Java. In the last century the crude "bark" was largely and successfully administered as a febrifuge, but now the crystalline alkaloids, especially quinine, quinidine, cinchonine, and cinchonidine, are extracted, and can be far more accurately dispensed. The chief species cultivated are C. officinalis (yielding pale cinchona), Crown or Loxa bark, C. Calisaya, and its variety Ledgeriana (yielding yellow cinchona or Calisaya bark), and C. snccirubra, yielding red Cinchona bark.