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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 paraly
is. 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


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

(Æthusa 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.