Brillat-Savarin calls the bark of the cinchona tree [1] (quinquina) “Jesuit’s bark” [2][3]. He explains that learning the process of making alcohol permitted people to separate chemicals from substances to create quinine, and morphine. He suggests that the discovery of brandy is more destructive than the discovery of gunpowder. Some people call the bark of the cinchona tree “Peruvian Bark” [4].

Quinquina is the bark from the Cinchona tree. The bark was once used to make quinine to treat malaria. Malaria is a disease given to people by mosquitoes with several undesirable symptoms. Tonic water contains quinine. Tonic water is sweet and the flavor of quinine is bitter.

Definition From A Medical Dictionary

quinquina (kwinˑ·kwiˈ·n),

n bark from the root or stem of the
Cinchona tree; formerly was used to treat malaria. Also called
Jesuit’s cinchona, and
Peruvian bark.


The Physiology Of Taste, by Brillat-Savarin, parts 11 and 14

Overcome by this evidence I bestow on the good fathers a double portion of gratitude, for they imported the Quinquina yet known as “Jesuit’s bark.”


Alcohol is the monarch of liquids, and takes possession of the extreme tastes of the palate. Its various preparations offer us countless new flavors, and to certain medicinal remedies, it gives an energy they could not well do without. It has even become a formidable weapon: the natives of the new world having been more utterly destroyed by brandy than by gunpowder.

The method by which alcohol was discovered, has led to yet more important results, as it consisted in the separation and exhibition of the constituent parts of a body, it became a guide to those engaged in analogous pursuits, and made us acquainted with new substances, such as quinine, morphine, strychnine and other similar ones.


1. Fig. 1. Splarka from en:wp, Tonic water uv. Digital Image. Wikimedia Commons. From: Wikimedia Commons, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tonic_water_uv.jpg (accessed February 26, 2016).


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