Categories: Medicinal plants

7 health benefits of quinine and side effects

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Discover the 7 Shocking health benefits of quinine and side effects.

Quinine, also called chinchona, is a substance extracted from the peel of a common plant in South America, which is called Quina, whose scientific name is  Chinchona calisaya.

In the past, quinine was one of the most used substances in the treatment of malaria or malaria, however, since the creation of other synthetic drugs such as chloroquine or primaquine, quinine began to be used only in certain specific cases of malaria and under medical guidance.


Although quinine is not widely used today, its tree continues to be a source for the preparation of traditional remedies, such as quinine tea, due to its febrifugal, antimalarial, digestive, and healing properties.

Uses  of quinine

Quinine is used alone or with other medications to treat malaria (a serious or life-threatening illness that is spread by mosquitos in certain parts of the world).

Health benefits of quinine

Apart from offering high concentrations of quinine, the quinine tree also contains other compounds such as quinidine, cinchonine, and dihydroquinamine, which can be used for various purposes. Below are the 7 health benefits of quinine;

1. Help in the treatment of malaria

Quinine’s major benefit is for the treatment of malaria. It’s not used to prevent malaria, but moderately to kill the organism accountable for the disease. When depleted to treat malaria, quinine is given in a pill form.


2.  Benefits of quinine for  fever

Quinine has been believed to have antipyretic action. Even though  quinine administered before acetaminophen produces a rapid drop in temperature than administration after acetaminophen, quinine alone has no effect on fever.

3. Benefits of quinine for lungs

When quinine and chloroquine are being inhaled, these two compounds activated the taste 2 receptor protein (TAS2R).

In doing so, they  block the allergic reaction in the lungs, and stop the asthma from arising.

Previous research has already shown that TAS2R agonists, compounds that activate the receptors, leads to relaxation in the airway of the lungs.


But researchers had not been skilled  to test whether it was able to prevent the inflammation of asthma.

4. Benefits of quinine for leg cramps

Another familiar use of quinine has been for the treatment of leg cramps caused by vascular spasm. For more than 50 years, quinine, quinidine, and hydroquinine have been used to prevent muscle cramps.

Nonetheless, because 157 adverse drug reactions associated to quinine were reported from 1969 to 1992, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assumed that quinine was not safe for use in this condition.

In 1994, the FDA restricted the marketing of quinine for nocturnal leg cramps and terminated its availability and the labeling of products for this use in prescription and nonprescription form.

  1. Improve digestion
  2. Reduce body aches

  3. Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory action

Likewise, the compounds obtained from the cinchona plant, mainly quinine, can be used as a bitter additive in certain medicines and beverages and can be found, for example, in some tonic waters.

However, in soda form, quinine is not found in sufficient concentrations to have a therapeutic effect.


Does tonic water contain quinine?

Tonic water is a type of soft drink that contains quinine hydrochloride in its composition, which gives the typical bitter taste of this drink.

However, the concentrations of this substance in tonic water are very low, being below 5 mg / L, so it does not have any therapeutic effect against malaria or any other type of disease.

How to make quinine tea

The cinchona is popularly used in the form of tea, which can be prepared with the leaves and peel of the plant.

To prepare the Quina tea, mix 1 liter of water and 2 tablespoons of the peel of the plant, and boil for 10 minutes; then let it rest for a further 10 minutes and drink a maximum of 2 to 3 cups per day.


In addition, the quinine present in the cinchona plant can be purchased in capsule form, however, it is important to note that this drug should only be used under medical indications since there are contraindications and there could be side effects.

It is also important to bear in mind that quinine tea can be indicated by the doctor only as a complement to treatment with medications because the concentration of quinine obtained in the leaf is lower than that obtained from the trunk of the tree; for this reason, tea alone does not have sufficient activity against the infectious agent responsible for malaria.

Quinine and Corona virus

According to a study carried out in Germany, quinine could have the potential of a treatment option for SARS-CoV-2, as the toxicological and pharmacological profile seems more favorable in relation to its progeny drugs H-CQN or CQN.

Side effects of quinine

The use of the quinine plant and, therefore, quinine, is contraindicated in pregnant women and children, as well as in patients with depression, blood clotting problems, or liver diseases.


In addition, the use of quinine should be evaluated when the patient uses other medications, such as Cisapride, Heparin, Rifamycin, or Carbamazepine.

The use of the cinchona plant must be indicated by the doctor, since excess amounts of this plant could have adverse effects, such as altered heartbeat, nausea, mental confusion, blurred vision, dizziness, bleeding, and liver problems.

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