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Conium And Calabar Bean





=Conium Maculatum= (Spotted Hemlock).--All parts of the plant are
poisonous, often mistaken for parsley. Contains the poisonous principle
coniine, a volatile liquid alkaloid with a mousy smell; insoluble in
water; soluble in alcohol, ether, and chloroform. It also contains
methyl coniine.

Symptoms.--Dryness of throat, headache, dilated pupil, dysphagia, loss
of muscular power, passing into complete paralysis. Delirium, coma, and
convulsions, occasionally.

Post-Mortem Appearances.--Congested brain and lungs; redness of the
mucous membrane of the stomach. The stomach and intestines should be
examined for fragments of the leaves and fruit, recognized by their
microscopical appearances.

Treatment.--Emetics, tannic acid or gallic acid. Diffusible
stimulants.

Method of Extraction from the Stomach.--Use Stas-Otto process.

Tests.--The mousy odour. Deepened colour and dense white fumes with
nitric acid. Pale red, deepening, with hydrochloric acid.

There are several other umbelliferous plants which are poisonous. The
water hemlock (Cicuta virosa) produces symptoms not unlike those of
hemlock; it has been mistaken for parsnip and celery. It contains an
active principle, cicutoxin, which in some respects is allied to
strychnine and picrotoxin. The fool's parsley, or lesser hemlock
(Ęthusa cynapium), is another member of this group, although doubt has
been expressed as to whether it is really poisonous. The water dropwort
(Oenanthe crocata) is undoubtedly poisonous, especially to cattle. In
man it produces abdominal pain with diarrhoea and vomiting; dilated
pupils, slow pulse, and cyanosis; delirium, insensibility, and
convulsions. The post-mortem appearances are not characteristic, but the
stomach and intestines should be examined for portions of the plant.

=Calabar Bean or Physostigma.=--The bean of Physostigma venenosum
contains the alkaloid physostigmine or eserine, with the antagonistic
alkaloid calabarine.

Symptoms.--Vomiting, giddiness, irregular cardiac action, contraction
of the pupils, paralysis of lower extremities, and death from asphyxia.

Treatment.--Emetics; hypodermic injection of 1/50 grain sulphate of
atropine, repeated if necessary.

Method of Extraction from the Stomach.--Use Stas-Otto process.

Test.--The contraction of the pupil which it causes.





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