Botanist's Glossary

Cinchona - Cinchona succirubra

  • Description
    • The cinchona (Rubiacaea family) is an evergreen tree that grows to a height of 25 meters. It belongs to a group of species that form a band stretching over 3,000 km of the Andes, from Northern Bolivia to Venezuela. Its name comes from the word kina-kina, which means "bark of barks" in the language of certain ethnic groups from the Andes. The natives would use a powder made from this bark to reduce fever. In the early 17th century, the Spanish discovered the bark to be very effective against malaria.
  • Traditions
    • In the first half of the 17th century, a Jesuit missionary and Spanish citizen were cured of malaria by a bark powder given to them by the chief of a village in Peru. They soon spread the news of the excellent effects of "Jesuit's powder". As with many remedies, cinchona has both material and symbolic powers: it reduces fever and, in its country of origin, protects against evil spells.
  • Properties
    • With antiseptic, seboregulating and anti-dandruff properties, this plant is used in hair products. Rebalancing and revitalizing, it gives hair vitality and shine.