Re: plants n'drugs

Matthew Hill (mhill@WATARTS.UWATERLOO.CA)
Fri, 3 Mar 1995 09:01:51 -0500

On Thu, 2 Mar 1995, Cliff Sloane wrote:

> 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?
Even more interesting, is what did they think the Spanish wanted it for,
malaria supposedly being one of the diseases introduced to the Americas
by the European invasion?