Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Cinchona calisaya (WEDD.)
Family: N.O. Rubiaceae

Synonyms: Jesuit's Powder. Yellow Cinchona.
Part Used: Bark.
Habitat: Tropical valleys of the Andes. Bolivia and Southern Peru.

Description: Cinchona is an important genus and comprises a large number of evergreen trees and shrubs, flowers white and pinkish arranged in panicles, very fragrant. Not all the species yield cinchona or Peruvian bark. The most important is called Calisaya or yellow bark. Its great value as a tonic and febrifuge depends on an alkaloid, quina (Quinine). This substance chiefly exists in the cellular tissue outside the liber in combination with kinic and tannic acids. Calisaya yields the largest amount of this alkaloid of any of the species - often 70 to 80 per cent of the total alkaloids contained in the bark which is not collected from trees growing wild, but from those cultivated in plantations. The bark for commerce is classified under two headings: the druggist's bark, and the manufacturer's at a low price. The great bulk of the trade is in Amsterdam, and the bark sold there mainly comes from Java. That sold in London from India, Ceylon and South America. Mature Calisaya bark has a scaly appearance, which denotes maturity and high quality. It is very bitter, astringent and odourless.

Constituents: The bark should yield between 5 and 6 per cent of total alkaloids, of which not less than half should consist of quinine and cinchonidin. Other constituents are cinchonine, quinidine, hydrocinchonidine, quinamine, homokinchonidine, hydroquinine; quinic and cinchotannic acids, a bitter amorphous glucocide, starch and calcium-oxalate.

Medicinal Action and Uses: See PERUVIAN BARK.

Preparations and Dosages: Decoction of Cinchona, B.P., 1/2 to 2 fluid ounces. Elixir of Cinchona or Elixir of Calisaya, B.P.C., 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Tincture of Cinchona, B.P.C., 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm. Cinchona wine, B.P.C., 1/2 to 1 fluid ounce.