STRYCHNINE for anaes­thet­ics

Scottish Daily Mail - - Good Health -

SCI­EN­TIFIC NAME:

Strych­nos nux-vom­ica

GROWS: In­dia and SE Asia THE strychnine tree is com­monly known as nux

vom­ica be­cause it is highly poi­sonous and the hard, disk­like seeds of the tree are some­times re­ferred to as ‘vomit but­tons’. Th­ese seeds are the chief com­mer­cial source of the poi­son strychnine, which Agatha Christie chose as the mur­der weapon of choice in her first Poirot novel, The Mys­te­ri­ous Af­fair At Styles. Although it’s highly poi­sonous, in the 1890s doc­tors dis­cov­ered that ad­ding a drop of strychnine with a gen­eral anaes­thetic could prevent or treat sur­gi­cal shock (a crit­i­cal con­di­tion brought on by sud­den drop in blood flow) be­cause it raised blood pres­sure, and the prac­tice con­tin­ued un­til the 1930s. Ear­lier this year, re­searchers in China found that strychnine can slow the growth of hu­man colon can­cer cells.

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