Cinchona trees

Cinchona trees

Cinchona trees

Specification & Spread

Cinchona bark – cortex chinae (cortex cinchonae)
Cinchona trees – виды рода cinchona:
Kalisaya cinchona tree – cinchona calisaya wedd.
Ledgerian cinchona tree — cinchona ledgeriana moens ex trimen
Quina bark– cinchona officinalis l.
Howard cinchona tree – cinchona robusta howard
Reddish cinchona tree — cinchona succirubra pavon and others.
Madder family – rubiaceae.

It is a cinchous trees have leathery opposite shiny leaves and pentamerous flowers with a tubular corolla, gathered in paniculate inflorescences at the ends of the branches.
The species differ in height, shape and size of leaves, colour of veins, flowers. For example, in the cinchona tree of the arnaceae, the leaves are broadly elliptic with reddish veins, the flowers are pinkish-purple; in chinchona, the leaves are elliptical or lanceolate with a red median vein, the flowers are yellowish or white.
The fruit is a bilocular capsule with small seeds supplied with a bat.

The native country of Cinchona trees is the mountain forests of the Andes (Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia), where it grows at an altitude of 800-1700 m above sea level. It is cultivated on the islands of Java, Ceylon, Madagascar, in tropical East Africa.


Cinchona bark contains the sum of alkaloids (up to 30), derivatives of quinoline.
The amount of alkaloids and its percentage vary widely (6.5-17%) depending on the species, age and growing conditions. The main ones are quinine (30-60% of the amount), its stereoisomer is quinidine; cinchonin and its stereoisomer cinchonidine.
Alkaloids accumulate in the parenchyma of the cortex in a bound form with quinic and cinhotannic acids.
The content of cinnamic acid reaches 5-8%.
In addition, quinovine (up to 2%) is contained, which is a glycoside, which is cleaved during hydrolysis to quinic acid and a carbohydrate – quinovoz; anthraquinones, alizarin derivatives.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The bark is harvested from cultivated and wild plants. On the plantations for the 6-7th year, thinning is carried out, uprooting part of the densely standing trees with the roots and removing the bark from the branches, stocks and roots. Thinning is carried out annually; 25 year old plantations are completely uprooted.

Drying. The bark is air dried.
The bark is included in the pharmacopoeia of many countries of the world, including the British herbal pharmacopoeia, the European pharmacopoeia.

Depending on the colour of the bark, the following varieties are distinguished:

  1. brown or grey cinchona bark: the pieces of bark are grey-brown on the outside, yellow-brown on the inside, 1-5 mm thick;
  2. yellow or orange cinchona bark: the pieces of bark can be in the form of tubes with a thickness of 1-6 mm or in the form of large flat pieces up to 20-30 cm long and 10-15 mm thick. This variety, harvested from stocks and thick branches, consists only of the inner bark, therefore the pieces are on both sides of a reddish-yellow colour;
  3. red cinchona bark is a thick pieces of bark with a lumpy-warty crust of a reddish-brown colour; the inner surface is also reddish brown.

The fracture of all varieties in the outer part of the bark is smooth, in the interior – coarse-hardened, short-fibrous.

The smell is weak. The taste is very bitter and astringent.

Properties and application

Cinchona has a specific effect on malaria pathogens, affecting asexual forms of plasmodium, causing bouts of malaria; on the sexual and tissue stages of the parasite has no effect. It does not prevent the occurrence of relapses.
Side effects: tinnitus, dizziness, insomnia, hand shake, uterine bleeding.

Cinchona has:

  • antipyretic effect;
  • due to the bitter taste it enhances the secretion and stimulates the appetite;
  • stimulates the contraction of the smooth muscles of the uterus. quinine stereoisomer – quinidine possesses:
  • antiarrhythmic activity.

Application of cinchona 

Cinchona preparations are obtained from the bark of cinchona trees, which are used as an antiprotozoal agent for all types of malaria plasmodia.
The therapeutic antimalarial properties of the cinchona decoction were identified by the Indians. The Indian red water» in 1638 cured the wife of the viceroy of Peru, Count of Chinchon (in her honor the tree was named cinchona). At that time, there was no treatment for malaria in Europe, and the bark began to be removed from Peru in large quantities.

Cinchona trees were rapaciously cut down, and by the middle of the 19th century, the proximity of their complete destruction became apparent. There was a need to introduce a cinchona tree into culture, but there were no enterprising organizers in its homeland, and the Peru government did not want to lose its monopoly on the sale of cinchona bark and did not give permission to export seed to other countries. However, the German botanist Hasscarl with great difficulty managed to harvest the seeds and saplings of cinchona tree and take them to Java. The second time a large batch of seeds was stolen in Peru by the English merchant C. Ledger and also delivered to Java. It took many years of work to develop this culture in Asia and to increase the alkaloid of trees through breeding.

It is used as an antiarrhythmic agent for tachycardia, atrial fibrillation.

  • Hypersensitivity,
  • hemoglobinuria fever,
  • diseases of the middle and inner ear,
  • hearing loss,
  • optic neuritis,
  • deficiency of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase,
  • pregnancy,
  • breast-feeding.