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Medical Dictionary

cinchona

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noun cin·cho·na \siŋ-ˈkō-nə, sin-ˈchō-\

Medical Definition of cinchona

  1. 1 capitalized :  a large genus of South American trees and shrubs of the madder family

  2. 2:  a tree of the genus Cinchona

  3. 3:  the dried bark of any of several trees of the genus Cinchona (especially C. ledgeriana and C. succirubra or their hybrids) containing alkaloids (as quinine, cinchonine, quinidine, and cinchonidine) and being used especially formerly as a specific in malaria, an antipyretic in other fevers, and a tonic and stomachic—called also cinchona bark, Jesuits' bark, Peruvian bark



Biographical Note for cinchona

Chin·chón \chin-ˈchōn\play Countess of (Doña Francisca Henriquez de Ribera) vicereine. According to a legend first given out in 1663 and supposedly based on a now-lost letter, Countess Chinchón, the wife of the viceroy of Peru, fell ill with malaria. The governor of a neighboring province quickly provided a remedy in the form of a certain tree bark. The countess experienced a seemingly miraculous recovery, and word of the bark's extraordinary powers quickly spread. The name of the countess henceforth became associated with the bark. While the story is apocryphal, Linnaeus perpetuated the name of the countess, albeit in misspelled form, by designating the genus of that tree Cinchona in her honor.



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