strychnine


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Related to strychnine: arsenic, cyanide

strychnine

(strĭk`nĭn), bitter alkaloid drug derived from the seeds of a tree, Strychnos nux-vomica, native to Sri Lanka, Australia, and India. It has been used as a rat poison for five centuries, and rat biscuits still remain a cause of accidental poisoning in humans. Strychnine is a potent stimulant of the spinal cord; it also increases the secretion of gastric juices and heightens sensory awareness. Strychnine poisoning is characterized by violent convulsions. It is treated by keeping the victim absolutely quiet and administering barbiturate sedatives and artificial respiration. See first aidfirst aid,
immediate and temporary treatment of a victim of sudden illness or injury while awaiting the arrival of medical aid. Proper early measures may be instrumental in saving life and ensuring a better and more rapid recovery.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Strychnine

 

an alkaloid contained in the seeds of the strychnine tree (Strychnos nux-vomica) and in the seeds of other plants of the genus Strychnos growing mainly in tropical Asia and Africa. Strychnine was discovered in 1818 by the French chemists P. J. Pelletier and J. B. Caventou, and its structure was established in 1946 by R. Robinson. In 1954, R. B. Woodward and his colleagues achieved a complete synthesis of strychnine (approximately 30 steps). In its chemical structure strychnine is a complex polycyclic compound with the formula C21H22O2N2; it is a strong monoacid base difficultly soluble in water and readily soluble in alcohol and chloroform.

Strychnine is highly poisonous and is used for the extermination of animal pests. Strychnine nitrate and galenicals obtained from the seeds of Strychnos plants are used in medicine. In therapeutic doses, strychnine stimulates the reflex functions of the spinal cord and increases the excitability of the oblongatal (respiratory, vasomotor centers; center of vagus nerves) and higher centers of the brain. In toxic doses, strychnine causes characteristic tetanic convulsions (opisthotonus, risus sardonicus). The effect of strychnine derives from the ability to facilitate the transmission of excitation in the interneuronal synapses of the spinal cord, primarily in the region of the internuncial neurons, which act as inhibitory cells. The effect is also due to strychnine’s ability to reduce the reflex reaction time in nerve centers and intensify the dissemination of excitation in the spinal cord.

V. V. PARIN

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

strychnine

[′strik‚nīn]
(organic chemistry)
C21H22O2N2 An alkaloid obtained primarily from the plant nux vomica, formerly used for therapeutic stimulation of the central nervous system.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

strychnine

a white crystalline very poisonous alkaloid, obtained from the plant nux vomica: formerly used in small quantities as a stimulant of the central nervous system and the appetite. Formula: C21H22O2N2
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Investigators conducted two separate exhumations, which led to the discovery of strychnine in his stomach.
Strychnine is a strong poison but was once prescribed as a remedy for heart and respiratory complaints and as a stimulant.
Their poison of choice for both the government and private killer is usually Strychnine, a lethal toxin known to cause a painful and protracted death.
"'Don't touch it; that's strychnine,' the man told me," Alaa remembers, "but at that time nothing stopped me from collecting the pieces off the ground."
Cleistanthus collinus is the commonest plant followed by oleander, strychnine, kalli paal (a poisonous cactus), datura, papaya, and chrysanthemum in that order.
According to reports, a postmortem examination revealed that he died from strychnine poisoning.
When asked by a friend to engrave six whiskey glasses, because he had a habit of asking "What's your poison" when offering a drink, she engraved a design including arsenic, strychnine, and hemlock.
Gateshead Council is warning families not to tackle rodent problems by themselves after a number of animals in the Bensham area were poisoned by what is thought to be strychnine, which is banned in the UK.
A heavy boot is put on the dog's neck, and a spoon is used to press deadly strychnine into the mouth and gums.
Lipscomb (pictured) speaks to historian Dr Kate Williams and consultant pathologist Dr Suzy Lishman, who explain how the war on germs was waged using arsenic and strychnine, which could all be easily purchased over the counter.
Our government is slaughtering animals by shooting them with guns and strychnine poisoning.