Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Letter Q is for Quinine

Q is often an awkward letter with which to work.  It is somewhat like the ugly cousin who hangs back, while all the other relatives are having a great time.  And, then she inherits a boatload of money, and then....

The Letter Q

In the 1700s when England was creating its empire, malaria became a persistent problem.  Eventually someone discovered that the bark of the chinchona tree could be dried and then ground.  As QUININE, It could be used to treat malaria.
Also called Jesuit's bark
The Ultraviolet light reveals the presence of quinine, although now negligible.
The problem was that the taste was absolutely foul and almost unbearable.  

British officers directed the cook to create a concoction that would make the quinine at least palpable .  He must have been brilliant in his combination of sugar, lime, and gin as soldiers were happy to take their medicine.  Since the military were already given a ration of gin, this mixture made sense.

Cases of malaria dropped dramatically.

So, lift your glass to the humble beginning of the G & T:

Here is to Q for Quinine.

24 comments:

  1. I remember that my uncle who served in the Pacific during WWII had malaria and quinine was the drug du jour. I don't think it is used today as the pharma companies must have come up with stronger, more expensive drugs that carry with them a long list of potential effects.

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  2. I have vague memories of reading about quinine being mixed with gin. I don't remember where or when I read it though.
    I'm betting people were relieved when it was discovered malaria was carried by mosquitoes so a mossie net could be used to prevent bites, as well as taking the quinine. And when the tablets were invented it must have been so much easier to carry supplies.

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  3. It's in Canada Dry - who knew?
    Man, it must've tasted really bad...

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  4. heh, heh...that's mine and T's initials together G&T :) fantastic post, really enjoyed it.

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  5. I'm sure the excuse to have a Gin & Tonic didn't hurt matters any.

    Facts like this are interesting. :)

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  6. I still likes me a tonic and lime. When I used to go to bars with friends and didn't want to drink or was the designated driver I'd have tonic and lime and/or lemon then people would think I was drinking a gin and tonic.

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  7. Wow, had to taste awful. Another example of no need for super duper drugs

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  8. Q would be a toughy for me. I've never heard of Quinine.

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  9. It's STILL in Canada Dry? Interesting.

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  10. The whole turn of events does make a fascinating story. The humble G & T as a cure for what ails you. Still consumed by people all over the place.

    Blessings and Bear hugs.

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  11. I knew quinine treated malaria, but I had no idea where it came from- learned something new today. :)

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  12. Not only that, Matt drinks G & T and never gets bitten. He swears that's why the mozzies don't go near him. It is also useful to drink tonic when you have cramp. I take quinine pills for cramp too.

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  13. My father had malaria in the war - and claimed that his G and Ts were medicinal to the end of his days. Mama hadn't had malaria so hers were 'preventative medicine'.

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  14. I know about quinine because of a friend who also is a nurse. She gets debilitating leg cramps for non-specific reasons. Her doctor treated it with quinine tablets for years. They are no longer dispensed! Now she carried tonic water with her at all times, one last source of readily available quinine. If she forgets it, she stops at the first possible place to buy a six pack.

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  15. Hi human, Susan,

    "Q" an appearance from this amazing dog. Quinine has been consumed by my human in the past. He almost seems okay.

    Wishing you and your loved ones a peaceful Easter.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny, the friendly host of the Alphabark Challenge! :)

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  16. It's never been the same after I had to give up G&Ts.

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  17. I'm back to wish you a Happy Easter. :)

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  18. Nothing like a little sugar, lime and gin to make the medicine go down!

    Happy Easter!

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  19. What a great discovery. And how many more naturally occurring substances that can cure ailments are waiting to be discovered? Nature has it all I'd say.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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  20. Wow that's neat. I never knew that.

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  21. I never knew the history of quinine. Interesting photo of the UV light through it.

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  22. I've never cared for the taste of tonic water - maybe that's why. Interesting!

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!