Re: plants n'drugs

Cliff Sloane (cesloane@MAROON.TC.UMN.EDU)
Thu, 2 Mar 1995 11:13:00 -0600

I have two thoughts on the subject.

1. I seem to recall that when Spaniards first landed on the Pacific Coast
(now Ecuador, Colombia & environs), they were struggling with malaria.
The people there sold them some cinchona bark as a cure. Since cinchona
contains quinine, it worked, and led to the extraction of quinine.
The interesting twist, for which I am seeking verification, is that the
folks who sold the Spaniards cinchona thought they were taking the
Spaniards for a ride. They had thought that cinchona was worthless, and
that a closely related tree (name??) was the real cure. Ironic, since
this latter tree contains no quinine at all.
Is this true?

2. About how we deal with New Agers.
There is an awful lot of abuse of anthropology in the popular press, as
we all know. When I think of the (mostly harmless) silliness of New Age
doctrine, I have to compare it to Molefi Asante's take on anthro in _The
Afrocentric Idea_. In this book, he equates all anthropology
(Eurocentric, of course!) with the positivism of Marvin Harris.
I'll take the New Agers any day!