Cinchona, fairest of Peruvian maids,
To Health’s bright Goddess in the breezy glades350
On Quito’s temperate plain an altar rear’d,
Trill’d the loud hymn, the solemn prayer preferr’d
Each balmy bud she cull’d, and honey’d flower,
And hung with fragrant wreaths the sacred bower;
Each pearly sea she search’d, and sparkling mine,355
And piled their treasures on the gorgeous shrine;
Her suppliant voice for sickening Loxa raised,
Sweet breath’d the gale, and bright the censor blazed.
“—Divine Hygeia! on thus votaries bend
“Thy angel-looks, oh, hear us, and defend!360
“While streaming o’er the night with baleful glare
“The star of Autumn rays his misty hair;
“Fierce from his fens the Giant Ague springs; “And wrapp’d in fogs descends on vampire wings;
“Before, with shuddering limbs cold Tremor reels,365
“And Fever’s burning nostril dogs his heels;
“Loud claps the grinning Fiend his iron hands,
“Stamps with his marble feet, and shouts along the lands;
“Withers the damask cheek, unnerves the strong,
“And drives with scorpion-lash the shrieking throng370
“Oh, Goddess! on thy kneeling votaries bend
“Thy angel-looks, oh, hear us, and defend!”
Cinchona. l. 349. Peruvian bark-tree. Five males, and one female. Several of these trees were felled for other purposes into a lake, when an epidemic fever of a very mortal kind prevailed at Loxa in Peru, and the woodmen, accidentally drinking the water, were cured; and thus were discovered the virtues of this famous drug.
But Geoffroy states, that the use of the bark was first learned from the following circumstance:—Some cinchona trees being thrown by the winds into a pool of water, lay there till the water became so bitter that every body refused to drink it. However, one of the neighboring inhabitants being seized with a violent paroxysin of fever, and finding no other water to quench his thirst, was forced to drinks of this, by which he was perfectly cured. He afterwards related the circumstance to others, and prevailed upon some of his friends who were ill of fevers to make use of the same remedy, with whom it proved equally successful.
—from Joseph Gaertner’s De fructibus et seminibus plantarum
It would be of important service to the physician, as well as to the merchant, if there were any sure and simple methods of distinguishing the good kinds of cinchona from such as are bad or damaged: but hitherto we have nothing to guide us except their appearance, which may be fallacious, and our judgment from which must depend on our individual skill and practice. Mr. Seguin indeed has said, that the aqueous infusion of the good kinds possesses exclusively the property of precipitating infusion of tan, and that of the bad of precipitating animal gelatin; but this is an error, for there are several species of true cinchona, that do not precipitate tanning, and yet cure fever*.
*Our readers will recollect, that Sequin fancied he had discovered the febrifuge principle in cinchona to be nothing more or less than gelatin.
—from Hippolyto Ruiz and Joseph Pavon’s Flora Peruviana, et Chilensis (1799)
The salt of bark, prepared by Godfrey and other chemists, merits more attention than it has hitherto received. Where the bark has been in other forms rejected by the stomach, as in some old very gouty habits, I have found that this as a tonic has succeeded; and where there has been ulcerated sore throat, and glandular swellings from scrofula, I have experienced great advantage by ordering to be taken, by first moistening the finger and dipping it in the bark flakes, and then applying it to the tongue, and swallowing the saliva; and in a case of mortification, where powdered bark was rejected, I had the pleasure to find that this remained, and produced a most happy effect.
Infusion of Cinchona Bark. (Infusum Cinchonae Officinalis. E.)
Take of Peruvian bark, in powder, one
—water, one pound:
Macerate for twenty-four hours, and filter.
(Infusum Cinchonae sine Calore. D.)
Take of Peruvian bark, in coarse powder,
—water, twelve ounces, by measure:
Triturate the bark with a little of the water, and add the remainder during the trituration. Macerate for twenty-four hours, and decant the pure liquor.
This is a very elegant form of exhibiting the active principles of chinchona bark, and that in which it will sit lightest on weak delicate stomachs. The trituration directed by the Dublin college will promote the solution. The residuum of the cold infusion may be afterwards employed in making other preparations, especially the extract, for its virtues are by no means exhausted. But it must never be dried and sold, or exhibited in substance, for that would be a culpable fraud.
|Class:||5. Pentandria (Five Males)|
|Order:||I. Monogynia (One Female)|
|Class:||Equisetopsida C. Agardh|
|Subclass:||Magnoliidae Novák ex Takht.|
ex Bercht. & J. Presl
|Species:||Cinchona officinalis L.|
Hitherto no species of quinquina (cinchona) ... has been discovered in the equinoxial part of New Spain. It is probable, however, that this precious discovery will one day be made on the declivity of the Cordilleras, where arborescent ferns abound, and where the region of the true febrifuge quinquina with very short stamina and downy corollae commences.
We do not propose here to describe the innumerable variety of vegetables with which nature has enriched the vast extent of New Spain, and of which the useful properties will become better known when civilization shall have made farther progress in the country. We mean merely to speak of the different kinds of cultivation which an enlightened government might introduce with success; and we shall confine ourselves to an examination of the indigenous productions which at this moment furnish objets of exportation, and which form the principal basis of the Mexican agriculture.
Under the tropics, especially in the West Indies, which have become the center of the commercial activity of the Europeans, the word agriculture is understood in a very different sense from what it receives in Europe. When we hear at Jamaica or Cuba of the flourishing state of agriculture, this expression does not offer to the imagination the idea of harvests which serve for the nourishment of man, but of ground which produces objects of commercial exchange, and rude materials for manufacturing industry. Moreover, whatever be the riches or fertility of the country, the valley de Guines, for example, to the south-east of the Havanah, one of the most delicious situations of the new world, we see only plains carefully planted with sugar-cane and coffee; and these plains are watered with the sweat of African slaves! Rural life loses its charms when it is inseparable from the aspect of the sufferings of our species.