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DISCLAIMER: I have yet to find a compelling reason to make or use quinine, especially when HCQ is so easy to get. Do you use quinine and why, I’d love to know why the buzz!!!

There is a recipe floating around the www teaching how to make quinine using only the peels of lemons & grapefruit. I wondered if there was indeed quinine to be had in a grapefruit peel so started searching.

What I found is that, yes, it seems there is quinine to be had from grapefruit peels (see last section below), but there is also a much more potent source, the bark of the cinchona tree.

This is what today’s tonic water-makers use. The video below is of an aboriginal woman talking about “the quinine tree” (which is the cinchona tree). She just boils the bark, doesn’t add any of the other fancy ingredients you’ll find in the recipes below and takes shots of the brown liquid for arthritis and joint pain.

It’s interesting to note that one of the uses for HCQ is fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.

The cinchona is also called the Fever Tree (there is a brand of tonic water called Fever Tree).


The following recipes are to make “quinine syrup”. It looks like you make it into syrup to make it more palatable. To make tonic water from quinine syrup, you mix the syrup with seltzer water 4:1.

Here is a good recipe — you can get cinchona bark from Starwest Botanicals. The recipe is show in a photo at the end and is much like the one I copied below from the NYT.



This is also good but you are only allowed to see it one time so I copied the recipe:

The syrup is made from cinchona, the bark of a shrub originally from Peru but now cultivated in various tropical climes worldwide, from which is extracted the alkaloid quinine, the original anti-malarial medication. 


  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ cup (1 ounce/20 grams) cinchona bark, powdered (a coffee grinder does this well)
  • 3-4 cups rich simple syrup (by volume, two parts sugar to one of boiling water, stirred to dissolve)
  • ¼ cup citric acid, also known as lemon salt
  • 3 limes, only the peeled zests
  • 3 lemons, only the peeled zests
  • 2 sour or Sevilla oranges, only the peeled zests (or peel of 1 grapefruit or pomelo)
  • 1 cup chopped lemongrass (3-4 stalks)
  • 9 whole allspice berries
  • 6 whole cardamom pods
  •  ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon lavender


  1. In a covered saucepan, bring all ingredients except the simple syrup to a boil and reduce heat immediately; simmer on low for a half hour, then remove from heat and allow to cool fully.
  2. Transfer to a carafe and chill for two days.
  3. Strain through a superfine chinois or cheesecloth, or by using a plunger press coffee maker.
  4. Return to carafe and refrigerate for a day or two, allowing sediment to accumulate on bottom.
  5. When layer seems stable, gently decant off the clearer liquid without disturbing the sediment “mud.”
  6. It should be about 3 cups at this point
  7. Add to this liquid an equal measure of rich simple syrup, mixing well.
  8. Funnel into a clean, cap-able bottle and refrigerate.
  9. Makes roughly 6 cups or 1.5 liters.

*The NYT recipe calls for powdered bark but the other recipes warn against it because it makes the quinine too strong? Need to do more study on that point.


There is definitely quercitin in grapefruit, but quinine? I’m not sure yet… there are several sources that say YES. I dunno. I’ll be back when I find out!!!

As always, please ask questions in the comments or contact me — phone & email are at the top of every page!

xo Sally

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