Chinchonine is of less strength than quinine, and is used in mild cases of intermittent fever; but in severe cases, the use of quinine is absolutely necessary. Since the discovery of the medicinal properties of this bark, it has proved an inestimable blessing to the human race.
Although the bark was used for many years, it was not till Dr Gomez, a surgeon in the Portuguese navy, in 1816 isolated the febrifugal principle, and called it chinchonine, that its true value became known. But the final discovery of quinine, as it is now used, is due to the French chemists Pelletier and Caventon, in 1820. It is a white substance, without smell, bitter, fusible, and crystallised.