These animals included snakes, toads, scorpions, spider, and centipedes. After a period of time passed, the pot was opened and the surviving animal was deemed the most venomous or poisonous. It was subsequently ground up and used as a poison. This concoction was used in dark magic to attack enemies and manipulate lovers, and according to folklore, a gu spirit could transform into various animals, like worms, frogs, pigs, snakes or dogs.
The earliest references to toxic weapons are contained in ancient Greek myths about Hercules using the venom of the Hydra monster to poison his arrows. Even Leonardo da Vinci proposed a vessel containing a mix of sulfide, arsenic and verdigris which could be thrown at enemy ships.
As the rising fumes were inhaled, the result would be a sudden mass asphyxiation of sailors. There have been many famous ancient poison deaths. Classical Greek philosopher Socrates was sentenced to death for the crime of corrupting youth and flouting the state, and he suicided by drinking a hemlock potion.
Researchers now propose that Alexander the Great, conqueror of the Persian Empire, may have also succumbed to poison , based on his symptoms. While poisons are notorious for doing what they do best, antidotes can counteract some forms of poisoning.
Around —63 BC, Mithridates VI, King of Pontus knew of the danger of poisons, and worried obsessively that he was vulnerable to assassination. As such, he became a fervent pioneer in the search for antidotes. Described as paranoid, he exhaustively tested poisons and supposed antidotes on prisoners, and even on himself.
He would dose himself with small amounts of poison daily in hopes of building up tolerances. Antidote prescriptions and notes on medicinal plants were created based on his zealous research and experimentation. Not all toxins, poisons or venoms endanger lives or kill. Many plants possess healing qualities that have been used throughout history and are still employed today for health and wellness. But the lessons of Paracelsus were about observing dosage, and as toxic plants remain as dangerous today as they did in the past, we endeavour to keep them safely out of reach.
As such, special gardens exist where toxic and deadly plants can thrive and avoid extinction while being admired by the visiting public. One famous poison garden can be found in Alnwick, on the grounds of an English castle. The curators maintain plants like deadly nightshade and hemlock.
Modern appreciation for the dangers of poison continues, but poison itself as a means of murder has waned in popularity. Modern medical forensics can often readily detect the majority of poisons, venoms and toxins, so the danger of being caught dosing your enemy is high.
Modern antidotes have been found for many of the more common poisons, and medical technology is better now than in antiquity, leading to more recoveries. The risk of poison today lies more in accidental ingestion, which remains a major cause of death in young people.
Curare has also been adapted for use as a muscle relaxant during surgery. Arsenic is a metalloid element, atomic weight It occurs in small amounts in air, water, and soil, and in greater amounts in volcanic ash and in copper and gold mines. Because it kills insects, a compound called chromated copper arsenate, or CCA was used from the s to to preserve pressure-treated wood. Arsenic has been used in medicines it was once the indicated treatment for syphilis , chemical warfare, and as a pesticide.
Various arsenic compounds are used to color paint and fireworks and as a semiconductor in integrated circuits. It is also used to harden metal for ammunition and the process of bronzing. Image by Flickr user James Laing.
Arsenic kills by inhibiting the production of necessary enzymes. Small amounts of arsenic ingested over time possibly through drinking water can raise the probability of cancer. Acute poisoning causes stomach cramps, diarrhea, confusion, convulsions, vomiting, and death.
Murder by arsenic was popular in the Middle Ages as the substance was easy to procure and the symptoms of poisoning resembled those of cholera.
Now, evidence of arsenic poisoning is easier to find. Chronic arsenic ingestion can be found months, even years later in the victim's hair and fingernails. The most famous arsenic poisoners were the Borgia family in the Middle Ages. It was said that a little arsenic improved the taste of wine, and the gracious Borgias made sure their guests had the best-tasting wine possible. Young family of Volkov's, Oleg and Katya, move to an apartment they bought and get acquainted with their neighbor, locksmith Arnold Sharapov.
Right during a friendly dinner Katya cheats on her husband. Frustrated Oleg decides to drown his sorrows in alcohol, but at the bar accidentally meets Ivan Petrovich Prokhorov, pensioner, whose wife in his time was also unfaithful. In a conversation with the nice old man, Oleg learns that Prokhorov punished his wife by slipping poison into her yogurt.
And now Ivan strongly persuades Oleg to also kill his unfaithful wife, using a small collection of poisons which Prokhorov constantly carries with him. After some hesitation Oleg decides to do the terrible thing, but random interference from his mother-in-law Eugenia Ivanovna Kholodkova saves the wife of the hapless poisoner. As a result of a family quarrel, Oleg leaves the house and is a guest of Zoya, wife of Arnold, who in turn drove her traitor-husband out of the house. The LD50 of tetrodoxotin, by comparison, is around micrograms per kg if orally ingested, and as little as 10 micrograms per kg if injected.
Assessing toxicity is not easy. The chemical state of a substance is important, as is how we ingest it. If we swallowed liquid mercury metal as distinct from inhaling the vapour , it would very likely pass straight through us harmlessly. And yet when in an American professor got just a drop or two of the compound dimethyl mercury on her rubber gloves, it penetrated the gloves and her skin, sending her into a fatal coma some months later. Nevertheless, here is a representative selection, in ascending order, of five truly deadly poisons, all at least a hundred times more toxic than cyanide, arsenic, or strychnine.
This extremely toxic plant poison was famously used to kill the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov , exiled in London. On 7 September , he was waiting for a bus near Waterloo Bridge, when he felt an impact on the back of his right thigh. Looking round he saw a man bending down to pick up an umbrella. Markov was soon taken to hospital with a high fever — and died three days later. The sphere had been drilled to take a small amount of ricin and may have been fired from an air gun hidden in the umbrella.
Ricinus communis: find ricin here. Ricin is obtained from the beans of the castor oil plant Ricinus communis , which is cultivated to extract the oil — the ricin remains in the solid fibre. It is a glycoprotein that interferes with protein synthesis in the cell, causing cell death.In “Poison”, BBD’s debut single after their group New Edition went on hiatus, the boys are warning all dudes out there to be careful about the ho’s they spit game at. It became.