Quinine is a bitter-tasting substance that comes from tree bark. In the past, quinine was used to prevent malaria, but today it's mainly an ingredient in tonic water.
In the 19th century, British colonists in India added gin to their anti-malarial dose of quinine to make it taste better; people still drink gin with tonic today, though typically not for medicinal purposes. While quinine is still occasionally given to those at risk of malaria in the form of a bitter salt, other treatments have fewer side effects. Quinine's potential to cause cardiovascular problems, even in the small amounts present in tonic water and bitter lemon, makes many people avoid it.
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