Basic Information



Species                       : Cinchona officinale Linn.

Local Name                  : Cinchona (Nep)

Synonym                     :

Family                          : Lauraceae

Habitat                       : It is a tree of 6- 15 m high with rough bark. Cinchona grows best on well drained, virgin

                                   and fertile soil with pH 4.5- 6.5. Thrives at higher elevations of 6,000- 8,500 ft in

                                                                                               South India.

Distribution                : It is distributed in sub- tropical and temperate region.

Sikkim                        : Ranipool.

Out side             : West Bengal (Mungpo, Ratpancha, Monsong and Rongo), Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, Indonesia,
                                    Zaire, Tanzania, Kenya, Guatemala, Ecuador, Bolivia mountains of Peru and Columbia and Costa Rica


Morphological information

It is a slender tree, 6- 16 m high leaves about 4 x 10 cm in size, small, smooth, shining, ovate lanceolate. Petiole reddish. Flowers deep pink, 1.4- 1.6 cm long, borne on small terminal panicles. Capsules oblong 1.5- 2 cm long. Bark of the tree rough and brown.




It is said that in 1633 a Peruvian priest "Padre calancha" was aware of the existence of a tree in the country of Loja (South Western Ecuador) called "Fever tree", bark of which was administered in the form of lotion to cure all kinds of fevers. The discovery of Cinchona plant was accidental. An Indian in Peru suffering from fever was forced to drink water from a stagnating pond in which several cinchona trees had fallen, and he was cured. Thus, the priest Padre Calancha got the clue. On the basis of his information, the Corregidor of Loja sent a sample of the bark for treatment of counters of Cinchona, wife of count of Cinchon Viceroy of Peru, who was suffering from Malaria in 1638. The counters were cured and shortly after this, the bark was introduced in Europe. However, recent studies, including the detailed investigations of the diary of the count of Cinchon have revealed that this story is myth. In fact, Jesuit priests who introduced the bark in Europe apparently learned the value of the tree. Sir W.J. Hooker sent the first Cinchona seeds to India in 1861 that was to reach Dr. Thomas Anderson, then the Superintendent of Royal Botanical Gardens, Calcutta.

Parts                         : Bark.

Status                       : Cultivated, endangered in wild.

Phytochemistry        : Avicularin isolated from leaves.



The plant is propagated by seed or by vegetative method. However, seeds raise most of the commercial plantations. The seeds are broadcasted on surface of seedbeds, which are well fertilized with leaf mould or compost. Nursery bed should be shaded and irrigated regularly. The seed germinate within 11- 20 days. Seedling are transplanted 10- 15 cm apart in beds when they are 2.5-  5 cm tall (after 4- 5 months) in about 2 years when the plants will reach to the height of 30- 60 cm then they are transplanted in the field keeping the distance of 120 X 1200 cm or 150x150 cm between each of the plants. Trees are thinned after 3rd year as to leave 50% trees at the end of the 5th year. The first harvest is obtained after 6- 8 years of planting. Trees are cut at some distance from the ground level so that sprouts come up from the stem and a second crop is obtained 6- 7 years after the first harvest.



The plant bark is useful anti malarial, analgesic in common colds, cough, influenza and headache. It is also prescribed in amoebic dysentery, a tonic dyspepsia and infestation of pinworms. It is administered in labor cases for strengthening uterine contractions. The extracts of Cinchona are used in hair lotions and ointments, for stimulating growth and to control the oiliness of hair. The bark is an essential ingredient in many tonics due to its bitter, stomachic and stimulant properties. Quinine causes a marked fall in blood pressure, increases renal blood flow and antagonizes experimental neurogenic hypertension when infected intravenously in large doses. Used in making pesticides.



The quinine (alkaloid) sulphate is one of the basic ingredients of a compound drug formulation prescribed for fever due to elephantiasis.


 The bark of cinchona plant is used in different kinds of fever, especially in malarial fever.


1.  Anonymous (1961). The Wealth of India (Vol. 3). Publications and Information Directorate, CSIR, New Delhi, 563-571.

2. Chopra, R.N., S.L. Nayar, I.C. Chopra (1999). Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants. National

Institute of Science Communication CSIR, New Delhi, 64.

3. Dr. Akhtar Hussain (1993). Medicinal Plants and their cultivation. Published by Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow, 6 10.

4. Parkashi, Satyesh Chandra; Asima Chatterjee (1997). The Treatise of Indian Medicinal Plants. National Institute of Science Communication, New Delhi, 80.

5. Progress Report of the Project "Studies on Medicinal Plants of Sikkim" (1998 2001). State Council of Science and Technology for Sikkim.