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The Poison of Physostigmine Essay

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Physostigmine is a white crystalline alkaloid extracted from the beans of Physostigma Venenosum plant. The poisonous effects of Physostigma Venenosum have been known since nineteenth century. William Freeman Daniel was the first scientist who observed the first use of calabar beans. He traveled to Africa with a exploring discovering mission. Somehow, he ended up at the Old Calabar near the Niger river. He observed the people, the culture, they way of life that they were lived in, and government. He documented everything that he saw at the Old Calabar. Interestingly, he noticed that justice system was harsh. The documented that court was composed of the king and several chiefs and Calabar beans were used as a justice system. He said, if…show more content…
He decided to swallow one quarter of a calabar bean on an empty stomach. When he realized he poisoned himself, he drank his soapy shaving water to make himself vomit.

The experiments in the 1800s revealed the mystery of the Calabar beans and its physiochemical properties. In the 1855, Robert Christison, a Scottish toxicologist and physician experimented Calabar bean on himself. When he realized he poisoned himself, he drank soapy water to make himself vomit. In the 1862 Thomas Fraser found the power of physostigmine contracting the pupils of the eyes. In the 1864, the alkaloid was crytallized by Jobst and Hesse, which they called “Physostigmine”. In the 1865, Vee and Leven independently isolated an alkaloid from Calabar beans. They called it eserine. In the 1870, the Calabar beans were used successfully to treat glaucoma. In the 1973, Barthlow discovered the antagonism between atropine and physostigmine. In the 1935, Percy Julian accomplished the first total synthesis of the physostigmine. In the 1936, Ed Alburquerque discovered that physostigmine protects against nerve gases.

Physostigmine is white, odorless, and bitter microcrystalline powder, which can dissolve slightly in water. It is soluble in alcohol, benzene, chloroform, ether, and very soluble in dichloromethane. It is extremely toxic. Physostigmine sulfate was taken orally in rats. The lethal dose was 4mg/kg. Physostigmine was taken intraperitoneal and
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