History, Uses And Manufacture
Quinine is an alkaloid obtained from the bark of several species of the cinchona tree. Until the development of synthetic drugs, quinine was used as the primary treatment of malaria, a disease that kills over 100 million people a year. The cinchona tree is native to the eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in South America. Today, the tree is cultivated throughout Central and South America, Indonesia, India, and some areas in Africa. The cinchona tree contains more than 20 alkaloids of which quinine and quinidine are the most important. Quinidine is used to treat cardiac arrhythmias.