Has bitter lemon got quinine in it?

Answered by John Hunt

Bitter lemon does contain quinine. Quinine is a bitter compound that is derived from the bark of the cinchona tree. It has a long history of use as a treatment for malaria and was also used in the past to alleviate nocturnal leg cramps. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of quinine for treating leg cramps in 1994 due to concerns about its safety and efficacy.

Despite the ban on using quinine for leg cramps, it is still available in certain beverages, including tonic water and bitter lemon. These drinks often contain small amounts of quinine to give them their characteristic bitter taste. While the concentration of quinine in these beverages is much lower than what would be used for therapeutic purposes, it is still present.

It is worth noting that the FDA has set limits on the amount of quinine that can be present in beverages. According to their regulations, the maximum allowable concentration of quinine in tonic water is 83 parts per million (ppm). This limit is in place to ensure that the amount of quinine consumed from these beverages is unlikely to cause any adverse effects.

Despite the ban on using quinine for leg cramps, some individuals may still use beverages containing quinine in the hope of alleviating their symptoms. However, it is important to note that the FDA has stated that the risks associated with using quinine for leg cramps outweigh any potential benefits. Quinine has been associated with a range of side effects, including serious and potentially life-threatening reactions such as blood disorders and cardiac arrhythmias.

It is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using any medication or supplement, including those containing quinine. They can provide guidance on the most appropriate and safe treatment options for nocturnal leg cramps.

Bitter lemon does contain quinine, but it is present in small amounts. The FDA has banned the use of quinine for treating leg cramps due to safety concerns, and it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with its use. Consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended for individuals seeking treatment for nocturnal leg cramps.