Secrets of the Hydroxychloroquine/Cinchona Bark Connection
Sold under the brand name Plaquenil among others, is a medication used to prevent and treat malaria.
Currently being used as a treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Was approved for medical use in the United States in 1955.
It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.
In 2017, it was the 128th-most-prescribed medication in the United States, with more than five million prescriptions.
HCQ is a synthetic molecule derived from quinine, an alkaloid found in the bark of the cinchona tree.
Cinchona was discovered by Nicolás Monardes (1571) and Juan Fragoso (1572) who both described a tree that was subsequently identified as the cinchona tree and whose bark was used to produce a drink to treat diarrhea. Explorers soon learned from the indigenous peoples that it was used to effectively treat other diseases and cinchona bark tea soon developed a use medicinally for increasing appetite; promoting the release of digestive juices, treating bloating, fullness, and other stomach problems. The quinine was used as a muscle relaxant by the Quechua, who are indigenous to Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, to halt shivering due to low temperatures. The Quechuas would mix the ground bark of cinchona trees with sweetened water to offset the bark's bitter taste, thus producing something similar to tonic water.
Ultimately it was discovered that cinchona bark tea was extremely useful in treating and curing malaria. At the time, the British Empire was losing 52 to 62 million pounds a year due to malaria infections so it suddenly became of great importance to secure the supply of the cure and the market for this wonderful antimalarial agent exploded. In the years that followed, cinchona bark, known as Jesuit's bark or Peruvian bark, became one of the most valuable commodities shipped from Peru to Europe. When King Charles II was cured of malaria at the end of the 17th Century with quinine, it became popular in London. It remained the antimalarial drug of choice until the 1940s, when a pharmaceutical manufacturer realized it needed to secure a patent in order to protect the profits. In 1944, the total synthesis of quinine was achieved and by 1945, a modification of this compound via hydroxylation led to the development of HCQ and remains in use, without change to this day.
The mechanism of action for both HCQ and quinine are the same, yet the synthetic version is promoted as a safer. superior alternative. Both are antimalarial and antiviral, yet quinine has been the subject of a serious misinformation campaign that attempts to attribute sickness and death to its use starting in the 1940's. Interestingly enough that was the same decade that it's synthetic derivative HCQ was introduced to the world. HCQ carries a host of potential side-effects that quinine does not present when used properly.
Common side effects of Plaquenil(HCQ) include:
nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or cramps, loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, dizziness, spinning sensation, headache, ringing in your ears, mood changes, nervousness, irritability, skin rash, itching, or hair loss, muscle weakness, twitching, uncontrolled movement, loss of balance or coordination, blurred vision, light sensitivity, seeing halos around lights, pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding, confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior, or seizures (convulsions).