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Cinchona officinalis - L.

Common Name Lojabark
Family Rubiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Care must be taken in the use of this herb since excess can cause a number of side effects including cinchonism, headache, rash, abdominal pain, deafness and blindness[ 238 ]. The herb, especially in the form of the extracted alkaloid quinine, is subject to legal restrictions in some countries[ 238 ].
Habitats Cool, humid, mountain regions at elevations of 1,200 - 3,000 metres[ 200 , 310 ].
Range Western S. America - Ecuador.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (5 of 5)
Care
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Cinchona officinalis Lojabark


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Cinchona officinalis Lojabark
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Summary

Cinchona officinalis, otherwise known as Lojabark, is an evergreen shrub or small tree of about 6 - 20 m tall found in western South America particularly in Ecuador. Like other species under the same genus, it has long been used by native people in the treatment of fever and malaria. The bark is also used in the treatment of neuralgia, muscle cramps and cardiac fibrillation. It is made into tablets, liquid extracts, tinctures and powders. Alkaloid quinine extracted from the bark is used in hair oils and shampoo, sun-tan oil, insecticides, and as a vulcanizing agent.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Cinchona officinalis is an evergreen Tree growing to 8 m (26ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Inner bark
Edible Uses:

Quinine, extracted from the bark of the tree, is used as a bitter flavouring in tonic water and carbonated drinks[ 238 ].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


Lojabark has a long history of native use, especially as a treatment for fevers and malaria. Modern research has shown it to be a very effective treatment for fevers, and especially as a treatment and preventative of malaria. The bark contains various alkaloids, particularly quinine and quinidine. Up to 70 - 80% of the total alkaloids contained in the bark are quinine[ 418 ]. The bark is a bitter, astringent, tonic herb that lowers fevers, relaxes spasms, is antimalarial (the alkaloid quinine) and slows the heart (the alkaloid quinidine)[ 238 ]. The bark is made into various preparations, such as tablets, liquid extracts, tinctures and powders[ 238 ]. It is used internally in the treatment of malaria, neuralgia, muscle cramps and cardiac fibrillation[ 238 ]. It is an ingredient in various proprietary cold and influenza remedies[ 238 ]. The liquid extract is useful as a cure for drunkenness[ 418 ]. It is also used as a gargle to treat sore throats[ 238 ]. Large and too constant doses must be avoided, as they produce headache, giddiness and deafness[ 418 ].

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Other Uses

Other uses rating: Low (2/5). Other Uses: The alkaloid quinine, extracted from the bark, is used in products like hair oils and shampoo, sun-tan oil, insecticides, as a vulcanizing agent in the rubber industry, and in the preparation of certain metals[ 418 ].

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Medicinal  Management: Coppice  Minor Global Crop

A plant of the moist tropics, where it is found at elevations from 1,500 - 3,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 14 - 23°c, but can tolerate 7 - 27°c[ 418 ]. It can be killed by temperatures of 7°c or lower[ 418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 2,500 - 3,500mm, but tolerates 1,400 - 4,000mm[ 418 ]. Requires a well-drained, moist soil and a position in full sun or partial shade[ 238 , 418 ]. It grows very poorly or not at all on soils that have been exposed to fire[ 418 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.3, tolerating 4.8 - 7[ 418 ]. Plants start flowering after 3 - 4 years, and are uprooted and harvested after 8 - 12 years[ 418 ]. In commercial plantations, the trees are coppiced when about 6 years old[ 238 ].

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Propagation

Seed - Nodal softwood cuttings[ 200 ]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood in a sandy soil[ 200 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Cinchona officinalis, otherwise known as Lojabark, Quinine, red cinchona, cinchona bark, JesuitÕs bark, loxa bark, JesuitÕs powder, countess powder, Peruvian bark. Spanish: quina, cascarilla, cargua cargua, corteza coja.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Ecuador.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Cinchona calisayaPeruvian Bark, Quinine25
Cinchona micranthaHuannco24
Cinchona pubescensQuinine tree, Red Bark, Cinchona, Quina, Quinquina, Quinine Bark, Peruvian Bark, Jesuit's Bark25

 

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