A Blog by John Halkett

Tag: Peru

‘Powder of the Devil’ … the revolutionary cure for malaria

Now the national tree of Peru and Ecuador, Cinchona changed the course of world history. There are more than 20 species of this impressive 25 metre tree with large, shiny, conspicuously veined leaves and deliciously fragrant, white to lilac-pink flowers that grow in small clusters, generally pollinated by butterflies and hummingbirds. But the tree’s real claim to fame is the effectiveness of its bark for treating malaria.

In the early seventeenth century, when Spanish colonists and Jesuit missionaries in Peru were first introduced to Cinchona bark, there was no malaria in South America.… Read more “‘Powder of the Devil’ … the revolutionary cure for malaria”

Jungle trees and Pope Francis

Recently been working in Peru where there is much excitement about the upcoming visit by Pope Francis in this almost universally Catholic country. Also of course Peru is famed as Amazon jungle country.
Peru is the fourth largest tropical forest country on the planet. Half of Peru’s land base is classified as forest, the vast majority of which is in the Amazon basin. Its Amazon forests are one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. Deforestation in Peru has traditionally been very low, 0.2-0.4 per cent annually, largely due to difficulty of access.
Current logging activity is concentrated in… Read more “Jungle trees and Pope Francis”

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