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To the Editor:—
In the column "Medical Beliefs of Yesterday" in The Journal, Sept. 5, page 250, it is stated that Louis XIV of France was treated with quinine. This is not strictly true, in that quinine was not extracted from cinchona bark by Pelletier and Caventan in France until 1820, whereas Louis XIV was born in 1639 and died in 1715. The bark of the tree was called Jesuit bark in 1535. It was used as a drug in 1633, and it was given to the wife of the Viceroy of Peru in 1638. His family name was Cinchona or Chichona and the bark thereafter took its name from this family. The bark was introduced into France in 1649.
Mallon EA. CINCHONA BARK AND LOUIS XIV. JAMA. 1959;171(14):1990. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.1959.03010320080021
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