Drawing on Atlantic history, the history of science, and commodity studies, this book manages to make a strong original contribution to scholarship on a topic, medicinal cinchona (quina in botanical form), that has drawn its share of general writings over the years. The study's primary concerns, aside from the early Amazonian bark antidote for malarial fevers, are the intersecting “networks” or “politics” of knowledge that swirled around cinchona and between officials, botanists, pharmacists, and Andean protagonists in the trade. These discourses are plucked from consecutive Spanish crown attempts across the long seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to regulate or improve the tree's extraction and quina commerce, centered around the designated royal reserve of cinchona in the eastern Loja forests of today's Ecuador.

The Andean Wonder Drug covers such an extended chronology in two well-structured sections: part 1, “Andean, Atlantic, and Imperial Networks...

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