I became aware of the uses of quinine in my graduate student research on the economic history of Africa. Every European explorer in the 19th century used quinine to protect against and treat malaria. Quinine comes from the bark of the cinchona tree. An overdose of quinine is called cinchonism.
I recently learned from a friend, Roger H., who was the pianist for the San Francisco and New York City ballet companies that dancer’s leg cramps were treated with liquid quinine.
When I decided to try it on my bedtime leg cramps from old age, I found that it had been banned by the FDA for commercial use since 1994. It is now only available in effective medical dosage via prescription.
The FDA made this judgement based on 157 reports of problems over 23 years with 23 deaths. As usual with the government, we are being protected from an irrelevance by people who have no sense of statistics or proportion.
Over 23 years roughly one million people performed ballet and used quinine for leg cramps an unknown number of times per year.
That gives us a harm report of less than one person per 100,000 uses per year. More people are killed by mules kicking them in the head worldwide, than are harmed by quinine.
(The deaths from mule kicks to the head is a standard statistical number based on millions of mules used in WWI.)
Good lord, government can be ridiculous.
You can use tonic water before bed at about one quarter the dose level that works quickly.