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The cinchona tree, malaria and colonisation

The cinchona tree, the source of quinine, provided the best treatment for malaria until the 1940s. But this “miraculous cure” from the forests of the Andes grew in a place where the deadliest form of malaria didn’t exist until colonial expansion brought the disease to the Americas.

Words by Kim Walker

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About the author

Head and shoulders black and white photograph of Kim Walker with woodland in the background

Kim Walker


Kim Walker is a PhD student working on the Cinchona collections at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with Royal Holloway, University of London.