Tonic water, also known as Indian tonic water, is a carbonated soft drink with dissolved quinine.
The amount of quinine in tonic water would not be much help against its original target, the fever of malaria.
Quinine, derived from the bark of the cinchona tree, must be administered in very high doses to reduce fevers.
Because high doses cause many side effects, including ringing in the ears and other hearing problems, the artificial substitute chloroquine is generally used.
When the British in India used quinine to treat malaria, they made it palatable by adding sugar and lemon or lime, and often a bit of gin.
The British developed a taste for this “Indian tonic,” and in 1858, Erasmus Bond, an Englishman, patented a version.
But in modern tonic water, quinine is essentially just a flavoring element.
Quinine is often recommended as a relief for cramps.