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March 13, 1920

QUININ: 1820-1920

JAMA. 1920;74(11):738. doi:10.1001/jama.1920.02620110028010

In the Paris Journal de Pharmacie of May, 1820—a hundred years ago—Joseph Pelletier, professor at the Ecole de pharmacie, who two years earlier had discovered strychnin, stated in a letter to one of the editors:

I take occasion to announce in your journal, in the name of MM. Labillardiere, Caventou and myself, the discovery of a base ["une substance alcaline"] in gray cinchona. This is perhaps the substance which Gomès first found and named cinchonin, or the pure resin obtained by Laubert; but these chemists did not recognize the true character of the substance for which the basic nature remained to be discovered and most of the properties to be investigated. The yellow cinchona likewise contains a substance capable of combining with acids and forming crystalline compounds; but this substance differs from cinchonin (the base of gray cinchona) in several features.

Soon after the successful chemical isolation of the two

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