Download Bitter Nemesis: The Intimate History of Strychnine by John Buckingham PDF

By John Buckingham

ISBN-10: 1420053159

ISBN-13: 9781420053159

Inspired by way of the medicinal good fortune of quinine, early nineteenth century scientists was hoping strychnine, one other plant alkaloid with striking houses, may additionally turn into a brand new weapon opposed to sickness. Physicians attempted for over a century, regardless of growing to be proof on the contrary, to regard every thing from paralysis to constipation with it. yet strychnine proved simply to be disappointingly deadly-relegating its destiny virtually solely to animal regulate, the damaging adulteration of meals, and felony exploits. The infamous and actual tale of the way a toxic alkaloid...Bitter Nemesis: The Intimate historical past of Strychnine provides a scholarly and compelling historical past of this interesting chemical substance from its discovery to provide occasions. A well known editor for the Dictionary of usual items, Dr. John Buckingham fuses his eclectic pursuits into a rare mixture of unique learn spanning the geographical regions of background, medication, literature, chemistry, and forensics....Changed the process HISTORY!Uncovering information and logistics from the earliest experiments played in an period whilst right clinical trials for trying out new medicinal drugs have been nonetheless of their infancy, the writer explores strychnine's trial-and-error contributions to clinical, clinical, and forensic advancements. He additionally investigates old milestones and the conception of strychnine in well known culture-including legal notoriety, unintentional misuse, and new claims of strychnine's merits that reach via to the current day. Juxtaposing the true trials, mistrials, and protracted interest linked to one in all history's such a lot infamous pharmaceutical mess ups, sour Nemesis deals infrequent perception into the anarchic, but encouraged panorama, practices, and legacy of nineteenth century technological know-how.

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Additional info for Bitter Nemesis: The Intimate History of Strychnine

Example text

But strychnine blocks the nerve transmission to both sets of muscles, causing them both to contract violently. The muscles affected include those needed for respiration and so the victim is prevented from breathing. Death is caused by suffocation; the muscles continue to contract until exhaustion causes a temporary respite, the victim dies, or the strychnine wears off and he recovers. There is arching of the back (opisthotonos), and the characteristic Risus sardonicus, caused by contraction of the facial muscles.

Indb 17 6/1/07 3:46:44 PM 18 • Bitter Nemesis: The Intimate History of Strychnine as a useful medicament that two qualified doctors could consider it healthy to raid the dispensary and take it on a daily basis. One of the questions that this book will try to answer is how such a deadly poison gained such an undeserved reputation. A contributory factor was the scientific climate in early nineteenthcentury France. Despite the equivocal nature of most of his results, by the time that Fouquier published the full account of his trials, other French doctors, anxious not to miss out on the excitement generated by the new drug, had already begun to experiment on their own patients.

The nuts also look rather like ulcers, and in traditional medicine were very probably used to treat ulcers for that reason. Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal, 1829, 31; 446. Chapman, 1995. British Medical Journal, May 9, 1857:402. Desportes, 1808. Gerard, 1975. Gerard was even more of a borrower than Turner. This third edition was much revised and improved by Thomas Johnson, and many of his worst mistakes corrected. Coatsworth, 1718. Take four pounds of live millipedes, infuse them cold in eight parts of white wine, then strain for use.

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