Pretty but Deadly

Pretty but deadly, and no, I’m not talking about women. I’m talking about plants. Nature is one of the greatest sources of poisons in the world. Below is a list of the few that historically have been used to great effect throughout history.

 

Hemlock.

Hemlock (Conium maculatum) is a toxic flowering plant indigenous to Europe and South Africa. It was a popular during Greek and Roman times. They used the flower to kill off their prisoners. Symptoms occur twenty minutes to three hours after exposure and start with trembling muscles, weakness, dizziness and in high enough doses, eventual death from central nervous system paralysis and respiratory failure.. The most famous hemlock poisoning in history is that of Greek philosopher, Socrates who was condemned to death for impiety in 400 BC.

poison_hemlock_flowers

Aconite

Aconite (monkshood or wolfsbane) causes arrhythmia which leads to heart attack and death from suffocation. Poisoning can occur even after touching the leaves of the plant without wearing gloves as it is very rapidly and easily absorbed. Because of its untraceable nature it has been a popular one with the “get away with murder” crowd. Emperor Claudius is said to have been poisoned by his wife, Agrippina with a plant full of the stuff.

aconite

Belladonna

No, these are not blueberries. This is Belladonna and it was used in the middle-ages for cosmetic purposes. Ladies used to make an eye drop to dilate their eyes and make themselves more seductive (or so they believed). Also, they would rub the berry over their cheeks to tinge them red—an early form of blush. Warriors also used the berries to poison the tip of their arrows and ten of these berries if ingested are lethal. The symptoms of the poisons included frothy saliva, impaired vision, vertigo, and coma.

atropa_belladonna

and these are but the beginning… Comment if want to know more. I love medicine.

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