QuinineQuinine, C20H24N2O2, is a natural alkaloid having antipyretic, antimalarial and analgesic properties. It was formerly used in the prevention of malaria until supplanted by its derivatives quinacrine, chloroquine, and primaquine.
Excessive use of quinine may cause cinchonism (see Side Effects) and even death.
Quinine is a flavour component of tonic water. According to tradition, the bitter taste of antimalarial quinine tonic led British colonials in India to mix it with gin, thus creating the Gin and Tonic cocktail.
However, if this was the case, today's refreshing gin & tonic is a rather different drink from theirs: The quantity of quinine in a glass of modern-day tonic water is a tiny fraction of that formerly used in treating malaria.