Origin

This is the bark of different species of Cinchona, trees growing in South America, along the course of the Andes, extending from the northern coast near Caracas to La Paz in Bolivia, through nine degrees of latitude, at various elevations on the mountain sides, seldom less than four thousand feet above the level of the sea. The species known to yield bark to commerce are C. Calisaya and C. Boliviano, growing in Bolivia; C.micrantha,C. nitida, and G. ovata, inhabiting the provinces of Huamilies, Huanuco, etc., in the interior of Peru; C. Con-daminea, C. scrobiculata, and G. succiruba, of northern Peru and Ecuador; and C.lancifolia, C. cordifolia, and G. Pitayensis, of New Granada; beside several others less known, or of less importance.

Classification. The varieties of Peruvian bark may be arranged in two divisions; 1. the officinal or those recognized in the U. S. Pharmacopoeia, and brought exclusively from the Pacific coast of S. America; and 2. the non-officinal, commonly designated as Garthagena barks, and exported from the northern coast of the continent. The officinal barks are divided by the Pharmacopoeia into the pale, yellow, and red; the non-officinal include the three varieties of hard Carthagena, fibrous Carthagena, and hard Pitaya bark.

Properties

Peruvian bark is in quills or flat pieces, of various dimensions, with or without epidermis, of a yellowish-brown, reddish-brown, reddish, or orange-brown colour in the interior, of a feeble somewhat aromatic odour in powder or decoction, and of a bitter taste varying in degree, sometimes nearly pure, but more commonly also nauseous or astringent. It yields its virtues partially to pure water, but completely to alcohol, or to water acidulated with sulphuric or muriatic acid. The several varieties require special notice.