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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/252

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

course, gave little heed to these inane disputations; the value of cinchona was beyond the power of the faculty either to discover or to obscure. But, on behalf of the faculty, it remains to add that cinchona found powerful advocates within it from the first; and it will not surprise any one to be told that these were generally the men whom medical history, on other grounds as well, has extolled or at any rate saved from oblivion. Such were Sydenham and Morton in London, Albertini in Bologna, Peyer in Schaffhausen, and Werlhof in Hanover. The therapeutic position of cinchona was firmly established by Torti's treatise on the treatment of periodical fevers, published at Modena in 1709.

The next step in the relief of malarious sickness on the grand scale was the extraction of the alkaloid quinine from the cinchona-bark. The powdered bark was not only very unpalatable, but it was cumbrous to carry and dispense, and, although the principle of the remedy remained the same, it has proved of infinitely greater service in the form of quinine, and in the form of the cheap alkaloidal mixture known in Bengal as "quinetum." The first extraction of an alkaloid was in the case of morphia, from opium, in 1805; the discoverer was an apothecary of Hameln, who was rewarded rather better than the celebrated piper of that town, for the French Academy of Sciences voted him two thousand francs. Quinine was discovered in 1820 by the French chemists Pelletier and Caventou. The sciences and arts of botany and practical forestry, of chemistry and practical pharmacy, are now all concerned in the production of this most invaluable of remedies. The commerce of the world has taken cinchona in hand, and there are now plantations of the trees not unworthy to be named beside those of coffee and tea. The value of the crude bark imported into England alone in 1882 was nearly two millions sterling. The original and native cinchona region on the damp eastern slopes of the Andes in Peru is still a source of wealth, and a still greater source of wealth are the new plantations on the Andes in Bolivia. The Indian Government has successfully cultivated the bark on a large scale in the Nilghiri Hills in Madras, and more recently at Darjiling in the Himalayas; while a crowd of private planters have followed in the same enterprise in Coorg, Travancore, and Ceylon. The Dutch Government, who were the pioneers of cinchona cultivation, have found the climate and soil of Java well adapted for the species and varieties of trees most rich in quinine. Jamaica is the latest field to which this new and ever-increasing industry has extended.

How does quinine control, modify, or cut short an attack of ague? This is a question with which the commerce of the world can not grapple, but only the medical profession; and the truth requires it to be said, that the medical profession knows little of the modus operandi of quinine in ague. Sydenham, two hundred years ago, laid down the two great rules for the administration of bark: to give it after the