Humans have been hacking plant chemistry for their own use as long as they have been around. One group of compounds, alkaloids, are an important category of medicinal drugs, and include morphine, caffeine, cocaine and quinine. It’s this last chemical that is sourced from the bitter bark of Cinchona, known as ‘the fever tree’, and was one of the earliest chemicals extracted in the newly rising chemical industry of the early 1800s. In May 2020, Donald Trump claimed that hydroxychloroquine was an effective coronavirus cure. From 1945 hydroxychloroquine replaced quinine as the main malaria treatment, ...


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